Showing posts from June, 2023

Not Your Average Gift Shop Opens in Hovland This Weekend

Bob and Shel Busch are opening a unique gift store, Objects to Crave, on July 1 in the small village of Hovland at the northwest corner of Hammer Road and US Highway 61.  The Busch family has been part of the Hovland community for three generations. Home for Bob and Shel is near the Twin Cities, but they’ve owned a house near the new store for more than 22 years. Shel says that her three, now adult children were virtually raised in Hovland. Bob still works for Honeywell but is looking to retire in the next few years and make Hovland his retirement home. “We love this area,” he said.  The building was built in 1965 and has housed several different businesses including The Chicago Bay Cafe in the 1970s and Runningen’s Furs and Bear Camp in recent years. Shel’s grandparents Darold and Janet Larson operated an antiques and gift shop in the same building in the 1980s called Treasure Cove .  Objects to Crave is part museum, part antique shop, and part traditional gift shop. It is a perfect b

Cook County Public Health Releases Draft of 2023-2027 Health Assessment

The State of Minnesota requires community health boards to determine public health priorities and focus local resources on the greatest community and organizational needs using an assessment and planning process that engages the community. The five year cycle is to follow a circular process of assessment, prioritization, planning and implementation.  Cook County Public Health staff is tasked with facilitating this process to assess the health and well-being of the Cook County community while engaging the community in determining priority areas of health to improve over the next five years.  The health department presented a draft of its 2023-2027 Community Health Assessment (CHA) at a meeting last Wednesday at the Community Center. The meeting was intended to discuss the draft Assessment and give the public opportunities to engage with local health data more deeply. You may access the draft CHA at the Cook County Public Health and Human Services website. Another meeting is planned for

Cook County Public Health Presents Data from 2022 Minnesota Student Survey--Forming Substance Use Prevention Coalition

Cook County Public Health presented a significant amount of data that resulted from the 2022 Minnesota Student Survey, a statewide effort . The Survey was conducted from January to June last year with fifth, eighth, ninth and eleventh grade students from across the state. Participation in the survey was completely voluntary and anonymous. Begun in 1989 and conducted every three years since, the Survey had 70% of school districts participating with 135,000 students, down from 81% of districts and 170,000 students in 2019. The internet accessed survey included questions about school climate, out-of-school activities, healthy eating, emotional health, substance use, and connections with school and family.  The survey is extensive and focuses on the well being of students from bullying to gender identity. It also surveyed the accessibility of technology.  The Cook County presentation is focused on local student mental health and substance use and is held at the Cook County Higher Education

The Long Way Home 6.23.23

Today I’m straying into some politically incorrect areas that may piss off  those on the left, and the right. I recently learned that in 2021 the Minnesota DNR changed the name of the Gypsy Moth to the Spongy Moth. The nasty bug is an invasive, non-native species found in the eastern US that causes significant damage to trees. It has recently been found moving into our great state.  The DNR thought the word gypsy offensive to Romani (Roma) people. The Roma are a nomadic people who traditionally lived an itinerant lifestyle in southern and eastern Europe.  Gypsy has been used to label and denigrate them, partly because people believed they originated in Egypt. They actually originated in Northern India. Ignorance is a widespread human condition.  Since I’m not a “real” journalist, I can declare I am a left of center Democrat. I’m not afraid of the “liberal” label. All the worry about offending people has gone too far. It serves to cement the biases and prejudices of those who loudly, an

The Long Way Home 6.16.23

It seems the older I get the more time I spend thinking about how I got through the stupid and evil things I did to become the WOKE person I am as I end my seventh decade. Much of the stupid and evil is lost to my current memory but I have a partner in crime, The Bohunk, to fill in the dark spaces.  Jim Harrison, in his memoir Off to the Side, writes, “It’s amazing how ineffective a mind can be when studying itself.” You probably already know this. He also wrote that he titled the book as he did because off to the side is, “a designated and comfortable position for a writer.” Preferring to avoid the crowds, this confession of his makes me feel better about myself. The other night I was washing dishes after a wonderful supper, a sometimes tedious and sometimes joyful chore that I’ve been doing for a number of years, along with setting the table for the dinner service. At least since we returned to the paradise that was rural Cook County in 2016.  The Bohunk is an excellent and ever expe

The Long Way Home 6.9.2023

Politicians need to stir up enough outrage among half plus one of voters to win the next election. They’ve gotten quite good at it. We’ve just witnessed one of the more effective, yet silly ways, in the recent brouhaha over raising the federal debt ceiling. A complicit media has a field day reporting on all the machinations surrounding the issue. But like everything in politics they report more about who is winning or losing than they do about the substance.  Congress first passed a debt ceiling in 1917, setting a limit on how much money the government could borrow to pay its debts (money it has previously borrowed). Prior to that, members needed to approve each borrowing and, looking for Congressional efficiency, they told the Treasury Department it had an allowance and said, “don’t come back until you’ve used it all.” Since 1960, Congress has acted 78 times to raise, extend, or redefine the debt limit.  The national debt has increased under every presidential administration since Hoo

Minnesota Becomes 23rd State to End Marijuana Prohibition

On Tuesday, May 30,2023, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed legislation removing the prohibition of recreational marijuana use and possession, making Minnesota the 23rd state to do so. Effective August 1, 2023, all misdemeanor convictions for marijuana possession will be expunged. Previous felony criminal marijuana convictions will be reviewed for expungement by a state body on a case-by-case basis some time after August 1. A constitutional amendment, only the 18th in history, prohibited the possession, distribution, and use of alcoholic beverages after midnight on January 17, 1920.  Intended to curb the perceived problems of alcohol use and abuse, it proved to do the opposite. Without regulation, organized crime stepped in to produce and distribute everything from moonshine to beer. The problems only worsened, and folks who wanted to enjoy a healthy cocktail after work began lobbying for repeal. By December 5, 1933 the 18th amendment was repealed, although some states continued to imp

“The Donut Lady & The World’s Best Pet Chicken” a Heartwarming Story

The World’s Best Donut Shop in Grand Marais is a popular stop for tourists and residents alike. Founded in 1969 by Merieta Altrichter, you can find its red and white building at the corner of Wisconsin Street and Broadway or follow the lines of people waiting to get a delicious doughnut or Skizzle during the season. Merieta’s family, for five generations now, have operated the shop that keeps Grand Marais on the map.  Merieta loved three things, her family, her pets, and her donut recipes. She wrote “The Donut Lady & The World’s Best Pet Chicken” about one special pet she nurtured. Merieta died in 2008, before the book could be published. Working with Minnesota Children's Press of Grand Marais, the four generations of her family that operate World’s Best Donuts today have published Merieta’s story of Emmy, the pet chicken. This book will appeal to people of all ages. The production quality is top-notch. The high level of care that went into editing and illustrating is evident.

The Long Way Home 6.2.2023

I have found the perfect part-time job for retired freight brokers like me who need to supplement an inflation battered Social Security income. The last several summers I toiled in retail sales, helping folks find what they need and ringing up sales for my never satisfied employers. Many a beautiful North Shore day was spent indoors, entertaining customers who dubbed me as “a hoot” in a Google review.  Not this year. Much to my surprise, I’ve been hired by the Cook County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) to serve as a Watercraft Inspector, seeking out invasive species that may be affixed to a watercraft and sharing a bit of knowledge with the public about Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) and how we can control their spread. Trained and authorized by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), I’m ready to go. My surprise at getting hired is attributed to the fact that I’ve never had a government job before, and due to what comes off my keyboard, I’m not always viewed

New State Senator Secures $700,000 for Cook County Historical Society

Photo Credit Bruce Barsness In a press release issued May 20, the office of Senator Grant Hauschild announced the success of the “Grand Deal on Bonding Bill'' by the Minnesota Legislature. Both houses of the Minnesota Legislature are majority DFL but the effort on the “Grand Deal '' by its nature is bi-partisan. The cash bonding portion of the legislation may pass both houses with a simple majority, but the general bonding legislation requires a supermajority. The DFL could not do it without Republicans joining in. Hauschild was elected in 2022 to represent the newly crafted Senate District 3, which includes part or all of Koochiching, St. Louis, Lake and Cook Counties. He proved his abilities when, as a freshman senator, he brought home significant state funding for programs in the Arrowhead. “Our district had the most projects in this legislation,” Hauschild said. The final bonding legislation included $300 million in funding for nursing homes. A chronic shortage of a