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A Book for Newcomers to the North Shore

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If last summer is a good indicator, more and more people will be moving to their little spot of heaven on the Scandinavian Riviera of Lake Superior. Beryl Singleton Bissell’s wonderful book of essays, “A View of the Lake,” is a must read for them, and for anyone looking to understand life on the North Shore. Bissell and her husband Bill moved to the shore line town of Schroeder, MN in August of 1998. She writes, “Bill and I were not like other couples who travel to the North Shore at every opportunity and who dream, year after year, of someday owning a home there.” In fact, their decision arose on impulse after Bissell completed two weeks of a writing retreat in Lutsen where Bill proposed marriage. Bissell writes, “I responded by saying I would marry him ONLY if we moved to the North Shore.” The essays she presents here are a true representation of all of the feelings newcomers have when they move to this vast and rural landscape that is inhospitable in the worst of times and glorious

Todd Ford Public Information Coordinator for Cook County + North Shore Health

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Todd Ford Cook County government and North Shore Health are sharing Todd Ford. He serves as the new Public Information Coordinator for both organizations. He enters this new position after serving as Marketing Director for Grand Portage Lodge and Casino. Although the work of both organizations is quite different, Ford’s areas of influence are the same. A big issue for the county and the hospital is employee recruitment. He will work with Human Resource departments to effectively improve current, and develop new, recruiting programs. In the area of media and public relations, Ford will edit and distribute media releases and articles. He will arrange interviews for representatives of each organization and provide talking points that will keep a consistent and effective message. Ford received his Marketing Degree from Columbia College Chicago and he spent ten years in a leadership position with an advertising agency in Chicago. From there he was recruited to become the Creative Director a

The Best Years of Your Life on the Long Way Home

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Somewhere in the not so distant past I heard a high school principal address his students with this. “Remember, these are the best years of your life.” I was dumbfounded (gobsmacked as my friend Adrian would say.) Then I remembered the wisdom of teenagers who know the bull excrement sessions they are forced to attend mean little to their present life, and less to their future. They would ignore this driveling swine. If any of us thought the rest of life after high school is all down hill, the despair would be overwhelming. My high school class had more than 1,000 students. I was a nerd. Nearsighted with astigmatism and my hair cut (not styled mind you) by former Sergeant Dad in the age of long haired, freaky people. He favored a more militaristic style. I simply wanted to endure my high school years, keep my head down, and stay hidden in the shadows as much as possible. There have been many best years of my life since then though. Getting married, and staying married, is the best. Hold

The Best Meetings are as Rare as Rocking Horse Poo

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 No nice way to say this. I hate meetings. Thinking about what I could write for this fine Journal about goings on in Cook County, I spent some time on the county website. First, I was reviewing the blurb for each of the five commissioners to see who will have to decide about running for re-election this year. Turns out that due to redistricting, each of the seats will be on the ballot. We political hacks call that a gold mine for organizing and getting out the vote. Back to meetings.  Each of the blurbs list the various committees and other organizations, including those outside the county, each commissioner claims. I won’t say that none of them are valid, but depending on the commissioner, they list from 29 to 44 groups. I bet you thought the scheduled public meetings of the Board would be burden enough on the average person's schedule. Knowing that each of these involves at least one meeting a quarter, I got to stewing again about the uselessness of meetings. As a business perso

First HRA Exec Director in Cook County Jason Hale

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Jason Hale has assumed the Executive Director position in the recently formed Cook County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. Most recently, Hale worked for almost seven years at the City of Duluth. He worked in business and economic development efforts, ending with the position of Senior Housing Developer, a newly created position that he held for three years. A native of Owatonna, MN, a small city in southern Minnesota that he says is a great place to grow up, Hale ended up completing his bachelor degree at the University of Minnesota Duluth and he has been in the Arrowhead for more than a decade. Hale received his Master Degree in Management and Change Leadership in 2016 from The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth. He has been a registered investment advisor and is a licensed Real Estate Broker and Appraiser. He worked for a year with the St. Louis County Assessor's Office as an appraiser in 2014. Hale was one of two finalists for the Cook County position and began his tenure

Don't Mess With Teen Drivers

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Our second youngest grandchild, Chloe, has turned 16 and is learning to drive. With learner permit in hand she has been driving the byways of suburban Las Vegas with a licensed adult, Mom or Dad. A feisty young lady, Chloe wants to be licensed to drive when they move to Minnesota this summer so she can drive herself to school and work during her senior year of high school. (For those who don’t know, our daughter Jess and her kids visited Grand Marais last summer, for the first time in ages, and decided Minnesota was where they wanted to live. Jess and Matt have found employment in Duluth and are close to a deal on a house in Carlton after mucking about in the crazy real estate market around the Zenith City. The other day, Matt was on a driving excursion with Chloe behind the wheel. Not known for his limitless patience, Matt was commenting on her driving--hoping she’d learn the “right way” to do things like signaling turns, handling round-abouts, and stopping for the red signs that say

North House Pauses to Engage With Community in Grand Marais

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North House Folk School in Grand Marais was denied its petition for a setback variance it sought for a new classroom/workshop building it plans to construct on property it owns on the harbor waterfront. Asked what the next step is for the well-known folk school, Greg Wright, its Executive Director, said, “We’re taking a deliberate pause to engage with the community.” Wright has planned public meetings for 9-10 am on Tuesday, April 19th and 26th and 7-8 pm on April 21st and 28th. The meetings will be held at the so-called North House green building at 505 West Highway 61. “We are listening to concerns and questions people have about the waterfront for the future,” Wright said. He hopes the School’s neighbors will come to share their thoughts and review the drawings for the site. Following these meetings the school will consider how to proceed to gain the space it needs and decide how to proceed. North House Folk School began on a shoestring in 1997 when a small group of classes were hel

The Long Way Home 4.15.22--Change

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I can state without fear of contradiction, the more things change, the more things change. Recently there was a minor social media kerfuffle here about the Jim Scott Fish House on Grand Marais’ harbor. It is registered as a national historical site and sits on property that the North House Folk School acquired a few years ago. It’s basically used for storage, and alongside a steel sided fish processing building, it stands in the way of a planned classroom building the school wants on the site. It became an issue as the City of Grand Marais was considering a variance request of harbor setback regulations for the new building.  The school does not intend to destroy the Scott building, but wishes to move it to a new location and preserve it as best as they can. The kerfuffle was between those wanting the Scott building to stay where it is (and be preserved) and those who want the school to follow its plan to move it, preserve it, and build more classroom space. My friend Kay always said t