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Loving the 80′s

Boundary Waters Blog - 1 hour 24 min ago

The temperature has been up into the 80′s the past 5 days and I have to say I am enjoying it. The sun has been shining brightly and the water has warmed up once again. It feels like July and the forecast says it will for the weekend as well. That means spending time splashing in the water and enjoying the great outdoors.

I didn’t expect the sun to be as strong as it was today. I went for a hike over at Chik-Wauk and didn’t bother with sunscreen or a hat. I guess I should have because I ended up with a sunburned face. I’ll take it though because I love the feel of sunshine and a dip in the river made it feel just fine.

I hope you are able to enjoy some time outside this weekend, I plan to!

Categories: Member Feeds

9/03/15 - Everyone is coming up to visit Sawbill

Sawbill Newsletter - 11 hours 37 min ago

9/03/15 - Everyone is coming up to visit Sawbill this Labor Day weekend- even the wildlife! In the past few days, we've had sighting reports of a bull moose, wolf, and bobcat near Sawbill, although completely outside of our store and campground areas. Unfortunately, the animals didn't feel the need to stop for a photo shoot as they were busy minding their own business so no pictures were taken. The best time to try and see wildlife is around dusk and dawn- the bull moose and wolf were both sighted on the trail before 8 am. And of course, if you happen to get pictures of some of our furrier locals, we'd love to see them. - Britta

This Spotted Tussock Moth caterpillar was a little easier to capture on camera, especially since it decided to hitch a ride on Ana's arm.

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Monroe Crossing, Ole & Lena, Art Openings & Music

North Shore Arts Scene - 21 hours 36 min ago

Cascade River Falls by David Johnson.


The Arrowhead Center for the Arts will be hopping this weekend as the Grand Marais Playhouse brings in Monroe Crossing for a concert on Thursday night, and then on Friday and Saturday nights, Michael and Julie Bateson perform “Ole and Lena at the State Fair.”

Monroe Crossing performs at the ACA on Thursday at 7 p.m.

This is not the first time Monroe Crossing has performed at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts with its electrifying blend of classic bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, and heartfelt originals. The concert sold out last time they were here. The band has performed for enthusiastic audiences across the U.S., Canada and Europe. For more information about Monroe Crossing and to hear their music, click here.   Tickets are $20 adult, $10 for students 18 and under. For tickets, click here, or they can purchased at the door.

 Mike & Julie  Bateson. as Ole & Lena,  will perform at the ACA on Friday & Saturday at 7 p.m.

Mike & Julie Bateson have been performing skits and plays as the Scandinavian couple, Ole & Lena, for more than 10 years across the upper Midwest. In their latest, “Ole and Lena at the State Fair,” we’ll see more crazy jokes and hilarious situations as they get ready for the State Fair and then turn it upside down.

Tickets are $15 adults, $5 for students 18 and under and are available at the door.

There are a number of great art exhibits and openings this weekend, too.

“View from Pincushion,” Sumi-e, by Susan Frame is at the Johnson Heritage Post.

Susan Frame’s “Sumi-e Painting Exhibit” continues at the Johnson Heritage Post through Sept. 13. The Heritage Post is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday and Monday.

The opening reception for “Paintings and Hand-painted Woodcuts” is on Friday from 5-8 p.m. at the Betsy Bowen Studio & Galleries.

A new exhibit, Paintings and Hand-Painted Woodcuts by Betsy Bowen will open with a reception at the Betsy Bowen Studio & Galleries from 5-8 p.m. The exhibit features a selection of Bowen’s archived paintings and hand-painted woodcuts, including original illustrations from books Betsy has written, illustrated and/or collaborated on. Elfin’s Bakery will be stoking the wood-fired oven in the backyard and will be offering samples of delicious bread starting around 5 p.m. All the galleries in the building, including the Betsy Bowen Studio Gallery, Stephan Hoglund Jewelry & Photography, Wickwire Clay Works and Ron’s World Rocks will be open. All invited.

An exhibit of paintings by David Gilsvik at the Tettegouche State Park Visitor Center opens with  a reception at 7 p.m. Friday.

Meanwhile, at the Tettegouche State Park Visitor Center, an exhibit featuring more than 22 paintings by plein air painter David Gilsvik opens with a reception at 7 p.m. Friday. The exhibit features a wide variety of North Shore scenes. Gilsvik will give a presentation about art and painting at the opening. The exhibit continues through September.

“Split Rock Lighthouse,” watercolor, by Kris Trembley is one of the watercolors on exhibit at the Cross River Heritage Center.

The Cross River Heritage Center opened a spectacular exhibit of watercolors by the Lake Superior Watercolor Society this week. This is the fall exhibit of the Lake Superior Watercolor Society, comprised of more than 30 artists who live in or around the Twin Ports (Duluth and Superior, Wis.). The show features a wide variety of work by member artists. The opening reception for the exhibit is from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 13. The exhibit continues through Oct. 15.

“What’s Happening,” by Stefanie Mitchell, is one of the works that will be exhibited at Joy & Co.

The debut exhibit of local visual artist, Stefanie Mitchell, will open with a reception at Joy & Co. from 4-8 p.m. on Friday. Mitchell works with various mediums, frequently pulling vintage images into a modern context. Subtly spiritual, sometimes humorous, her work is designed to make a quiet nod to the often ironic mystery that is existence. All invited. Refreshments will be served.

Lake Superior  by Bonnie Gay Hedstrom.

Bonnie Gay Hedstrom will give a demonstration of felt painting at Kah-Nee-Tah Galleries in Lutsen from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday.

Anna Hess will  demonstrate painting on glass at the Grand Marais Art Colony at 1 p.m. on Saturday.


In other art news, photographer David Johnson is a new artist at Sivertson Gallery. His photographs are printed on giclee paper.

This photograph by David Johnson is on exhibit at Sivertson Gallery.

Cellist Yvonne Caruthers, who will play at Sivertson Gallery this Friday for First Fridays, was invited by plein air painter Neil Sherman to come down to the harbor and play for him while he painted … which she did. Check it out.

Yvonne Caruthers plays her cello for Neil Sherman as he paints the harbor. Photo by Conni Heitoff.


Neil Sherman’s painting.








The Thunder Bay Art Gallery has extended the exhibits “Sonny Assu: Continuum” and “Janna Brown: Still Echoes Resound” to Sept. 13.

And here’s something interesting to explore.  A new app designed to give visitors quick access to places to eat, stay and play in Cook County is now available. It also includes an events directory that is synced automatically each day with the event calendar on the Visit Cook County website. Android users can find the app by clicking here. Apple users can find the app by clicking here.

Here’s the music schedule for the weekend:

Thursday, Sept. 3:

  • Joe Paulik, Music by the Campfire, Lutsen Resort, 6 p.m.
  • Red Dog Band, Gun Flint Tavern, 6:30 p.m.
  • Monroe Crossing, Arrowhead Center for the Arts, 7 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 4:

  • Yvonne Caruthers, Sivertson Gallery, 4 p.m.
  • Michael Monroe, Thomas Owens Park, Two Harbors, 7 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Music by the Campfire, Eagle Ridge Resort, 7 p.m.
  • Briand Morrison, Bluefin Grile, 8 p.m.
  • Gypsy Lumberjacks, Gun Flint Tavern, 9 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 5:

  • J Squared and The Makers, On the Deck at Papa Charlie’s, 6 p.m.
  • Don Juan, Sydney’s Rooftop, 6 p.m.
  • Eric Frost, Lutsen Resort, 7 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Music by the Campfire,  Bluefin Bay, 7 p.m.
  • Michael Monroe, Log Cabin Concert, rural Grand Marais, reservations @ 387-2919
  • Thea Ennen, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30 p.m.
  • Gypsy Lumberjacks, Gun Flint Tavern, 9 p.m.
  • Dance Party with DJ Beavstar, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 6:

  • Yvonne Caruthers, Bach for Breakfast, Sydney’s, 7:30 p.m.
  • SplinterTones MacArthur House Fest, (520 W. 2nd St.), 3 p.m.
  • Gypsy Lumberjacks, Gun Flint Tavern, 7 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 7:

  • Eric Frost, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 8:

  • Gordon Thorne, Gunflint Tavern, 6:30 p.m.

Here are some of the gorgeous photographs we found this week:

First, a stormy night:

Thunder storm over Grand Marais by Travis Novitsky.


Then, a peaceful afternoon:

Harbor Park by Don Davison.


An intriguing sunset:

“Blue Hour Turned Pink Over Grand Marais” by Bryan Hansel.


Silver light:

Photo by Don Davison.


And blue reflections:

Photo by Sandra Updyke.


Wind & the Big Lake.

Photo by Paul Sundberg.



“The Circle of Life– old cedar along the Kadunce” by Layne Kennedy.


“The Pair” by David Johnson.

The harvest:

“The next generation of wild ricers” by Brian Peterson.

And the loon:

Photograph by Bill Cady.











Have a great weekend, everyone!






Categories: Member Feeds


Boundary Waters Blog - Wed, 09/02/2015 - 10:36pm

We know the black bears have been hungry all summer long.  Recent visitors to Voyageur  have also expressed their hunger.  While standing on the deck this afternoon some “camp robbers” came by looking for a handout. I obliged and offered some bread and a safe landing spot to land on, my hand.  The whiskey jacks/Canadian jays were quite pleased and will no doubt return.

Another visitor came by looking for scraps last night.  Ron and Elsa were happy to see their long lost fox friend snooping around their camper.  Hopefully he will become a frequent visitor again and bring his friends and family.

Speaking of friends and family why not come up to Voyageur this weekend with some of yours. Find some folks who are hungry for a get-away and rent our Riverside Cabin this weekend. It would be a shame to have it sit empty so we will let you rent it for $350 for up to 4 people for 3 nights.  It’s a one time offer due to last minute availability so take advantage of it and book it today.

Categories: Member Feeds

9/02- Last Saturday night, lucky Sawbill campers

Sawbill Newsletter - Wed, 09/02/2015 - 7:49pm

9/02- Last Saturday night, lucky Sawbill campers were able to peer out of their tents and view the smoky orange supermoon lighting up the sky above their heads. A supermoon is when the moon is in its closest orbital position to Earth and also is full, resulting in a moon that is brighter and larger seeming than normal. Coming up this month is the very rare occurence of a lunar eclipse during a supermoon, which is set to happen on the night of September 27th. The last time these two events coincided was in 1982. - Britta

The supermoon peaking out from behind some pine trees.

Categories: Member Feeds

Show Us Your Best

Arrowhead Electric - Wed, 09/02/2015 - 2:56pm

Remember to send in your pictures for the 2016 Arrowhead Cooperative Calendar!

Please read and follow the guidelines carefully.

1. Only Arrowhead Cooperative members, directors, employees and their family members are eligible.
2. Submissions must include: photographer’s name, mailing address, phone number, and email address
3. Two entries per person will be accepted.
4. For each submission we need 1 cleanly printed photo AND 1 digital copy.
5. Photos can be either horizontal or vertical orientation.
6. Submitted photos become the property of Arrowhead Cooperative and may be used in other publications or digital media. Photos will not be returned.
7. Deadline: Thursday, October 1, 2015.
8. Email photos to AND mail prints to Arrowhead Cooperative PO Box 39 Lutsen, MN 55612

Categories: Member Feeds

September is Here

Gunflint Lodge - Wed, 09/02/2015 - 1:54pm

September is here.  After the busiest August ever, we are all ready to catch our breath.  Our occupancy rate was 92% so there were not a lot of empty cabins during the month.  High room counts are both a blessing and a curse.  The housekeepers always seemed to have lots of do.  Luckily everyone from dock boys to outfitters to gardeners helped them.  Head housekeeper Jesse did a great job keeping them all organized.  At the end the money is nice but you wonder if you will live through it.  Monday night was one of the first nights during the month that Bruce and I did not go back to the lodge after dinner.  We just sat.
As fall comes everyone is seeing more animals on the trail.  Many of them do not seem to be in their normal habitat.  Dave at the front desk has seen a lynx as he drives to work for three mornings is a row.  Wife Bonnie says take a picture but Dave says it is too dark that early in the morning.  Down at the dock we have had a blue heron hanging around the past couple of days.  Neither Bruce nor I can recall ever having one here.  They are fun to watch.  Bruce and I also saw a wolf down by the South Brule bridge as we drove to Duluth early one morning.
This is also the time of year when we finish up some of the summer activities.  As the kids go back to school, Joey’s fishing fun will end.  Next Sunday is the last barbeque for the summer.  As soon as it gets a little cooler pizza Tuesdays will stop.  In fact as it cools down, fewer and fewer people will be eating on the patio.  Outside eating is a blessing for only a couple months of the year in northern Minnesota.  The standup paddle boards and small kayaks will get put away as the lake gets colder.  Berry picking is basically over.  We did not have a lot of berries this summer.  I never figure out why but am grateful for those that we do get to pick.
Speaking of picking, my garden is exploding.  Green beans seem to be the big winners this year.  The trellises they are growing on are almost ten feet tall.  Blue Lake seems to be the kind that grows best for me.  Also my onions and potatoes are producing huge crops.  I will be giving stuff away just to use it all.  It takes a long time for two people to eat the potatoes from an 8 foot square bed of them.  Lettuce is also hanging in.  The lodge is using lots and lots of my parsley.  I made some pesto from the basil crop.  That will taste good during the winter.
The other thing that we are starting to see is the color change.  Yellows are appearing in the shoulder shrubs.  The maples are starting to turn red.  That is not a big deal because we don’t have a lot of them.  Next week the poplar and birch will start to turn.  Then everything brightens up.
Categories: Member Feeds

September Already

Boundary Waters Blog - Tue, 09/01/2015 - 10:33pm

It doesn’t seem possible that it can be September. It feels like yesterday summer was just beginning. Time has a way of passing much too quickly.  Before we know it the lakes will turn solid once again and our paddles will be stored for another winter. Take advantage of the liquid lakes and come canoe camp in the BWCA. Celebrate September!

Categories: Member Feeds

Nippersinkers at the State Fair

Unorganized Territory - Tue, 09/01/2015 - 2:06pm

A few weeks ago, daughter-in-law Sara mentioned that she and Gideon and their girls planned to go to the Twin Cities to go to the Minnesota Zoo and the Minnesota State Fair.

How fun, I thought, quietly wishing that I could go too. I know I’m a bit crazy, especially for wanting to go to the “Great Minnesota Get Together.” All the people, the smells, the gooey and greasy foods, the traffic, the heat… But I love it.

Or at least I did the one time I attended the state fair. It was years and years ago, when my oldest son was just three years old. I went with a family group, with my aunt Nelda, cousin Sue, her children Roger and Rebecca, my sister Rhodelle, little Benjamin and our dear friend Inga, who recently passed away.

It was a wonderful trip. We also went to Valley Fair amusement park, but I remember the fair the best, with the people, the fun carnival games, and the cool chairlift that gave us a bird’s eye view over the fairgrounds.

We saw the country group Alabama in the bandstand. It was a fabulous concert. To this day when I hear Play me some mountain music…or If you’re gonna play in Texas…. I’m transported back to that energetic and entertaining concert.

Even the massive downpour that hit as we were leaving the concert didn’t detract from the fun. It rained so hard it was like we were standing in a shower. We started to run to the parking area, but after a few yards we realized running was futile. Our vehicles were many blocks away, there was no way we wouldn’t be drenched when we got there. So instead we slowed down and danced in the rain.

Inga, always a kook, started singing. At that time there was a silly MccDonald’s commercial about some kids at Camp Nippersinkers that got rained out and the kind counselor that took them to Mickey-D’s to dry out. Inga started singing the jingle at the top of her lungs, “We are Nippersinkers. We’re in luck. If it rains all week, just pretend you’re a duck!”

Wewereall shivering uncontrollably— but giggling hysterically— by the time we reached our cars. The rest of the weekend was fun too, but that day was the best. It is a wonderful memory and it is precious now that Inga is gone.

I haven’t been back to the fair. In part because we are just too busy, but also because Chuck is normally a crowd-hater. He doesn’t like large groups of people. He can’t stand waiting in line. And he doesn’t like heat. So I haven’t ever asked if he wanted to go to the fair. He does a lot of things for me, but I thought that would be pushing the envelope of his patience.

So when Sara talked about their trip, I just thought, how fun, and went on about my business. However, a few days later Sara was at our house again and she mentioned it and Chuck asked if we could invite ourselves to go along.

I was in shock. I had to look around to see if there was a ventriloquist throwing his voice, pretending to be Chuck. I resisted the impulse to feel his forehead, to see if he was feverish. Instead I pointed out that the fair is crazy with people, that traffic is crazy in the Cities and that it will be hot down there. I asked him if he was serious.

To my delight, he said yes! So we are heading to the state fair—not only the normally crazy and chaotic fair, but opening weekend of the fair, no less. Hopefully it won’t rain. But if it does, we’ll just have to make the most of it. Wish us luck!


Money is spent and forgotten, while unforgettable memories live on.

Justine Kerfoot (Woman of the Boundary Waters

Categories: Member Feeds

Don’t Forget about Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center

Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center Blog - Mon, 08/31/2015 - 12:38pm

If you are planning a trip up the Gunflint Trail yet this fall stop in to Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center. Our hours remain the same from 10 am to 5 pm daily until October 18th. What a great time to get out and go for a nice drive along the Gunflint Trail. You can see some foliage starting to turn the fall colors. There has been some great animal sightings along the trail. Moose have been spotted up by Way of the Wilderness Outfitters and Trails End Cafe and right in our swamp at Moose Pond Drive. Driving to work the past few mornings my husband has spotted a lynx by the Gunflint Lake Overlook (at 5:40 am) you have to get up early to see some of the wildlife on the trail.

September 6th, we will have our annual Old Fashioned Pie & Ice Cream Social here on the front porch of Chik-Wauk Museum from 11 am to 4 pm. It is such a wonderful gathering of friends, neighbors and visitors to Chik-Wauk for the day you never know who you will run into. Suggested donation of $5 for pie ala mode.


Our guest author this year is John Hendricksson. John first came up here 36 years ago. He has written 7 books including his new one “Over the Portage, into History.”

Don’t forget to check out the sidewalk sale that will be held outside on the future site of the Administrative Building (located right across from the Museum.)  You will be able to find some great gift items marked down from 10% off up to 50% off!

Enjoy the drive up the Gunflint Trail.


Categories: Member Feeds

Mining Near the BWCA

Boundary Waters Blog - Mon, 08/31/2015 - 9:19am

A recent email from Mining Truth had the following to say about the proposed mine. I’d like to know the truth.

For years, PolyMet has claimed their proposed sulfide mine could never pollute the Boundary Waters. But the U.S. Geological Survey, tribal scientists, independent experts, and a story in the Ely Timberjay have called PolyMet’s rosy predictions into question.

PolyMet’s plan is built on computer models that predict where polluted seepage would travel. However, computer models are only as reliable as the data going in – and the data used was not accurate.

PolyMet’s models use bad data and as a result make false assumptions. The model showed a computer simulation that actually makes water flow uphill, away from the Boundary Waters. These models also understate destruction of wetlands and polluted water flowing into the St. Louis River.

Ask Governor Dayton to require that independent scientists verify pollution predictions in the PolyMet plan.

To make matters worse, the computer models were run by Barr Engineering, a contractor paid by PolyMet. This conflict of interest could be forgiven if someone was checking their work – but they are not. No government agency working on this new mine has run the computer models used in the PolyMet study. This is clearly and legally unacceptable.

Governor Dayton says his decision on PolyMet is the “most momentous” decision he will make as Governor. But he can’t make that decision on behalf of Minnesotans without science that accurately predicts where PolyMet’s pollution would go.

Ask Governor Dayton to get accurate, independent data before making a decision that could contaminate Minnesota’s water for hundreds of years.


Paul Austin            
Conservation Minnesota

 Paul Danicic    
Friends of the Boundary
Waters Wilderness

Scott Strand        
Minnesota Center for
Environmental Advocacy

Categories: Member Feeds

Summer Weather Again

Boundary Waters Blog - Sun, 08/30/2015 - 8:52am

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy the last days of summer then come on up to Voyageur. The forecast calls for temperatures into the 80′s again this week. The water is refreshingly cold, the fish are biting, bugs are basically non-existent and as always it’s a great place to relax and get-away from it all.

Family time in the Boundary Waters

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Dwindling Days

Boundary Waters Blog - Sat, 08/29/2015 - 7:30am

The days of summer are dwindling. Daylight hours are dwindling. Our summer crew is dwindling.  These are dwindling days.

A big THANK YOU to our entire Voyageur Crew 2015 for a fantastic summer.  Best of luck in all you do and may you frequently choose the path that leads you back to Voyageur.

Voyageur Canoe Outfitters Crew

Categories: Member Feeds

City Council Meeting 8-26-15: Breaking into Budget Season

Grand Marais Mayor Blog - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 9:53pm
The City Council met for another meeting last night at 6:30pm at City Hall to discuss a number of very important topics for the City.

Everyone was present for the meeting except for Councilor Kennedy, who had informed us of his absence.

For the open forum, where members of the public are invited to speak for up to 5 minutes on a topic, we had two community members come forward:

1. Kathy Sullivan came forward to request that the City Council acknowledge September 21st as an International Day of Peace. She mentioned that this was done last year and that she is coordinating activities to celebrate this day across our North Shore communities.  The Council spoke about this later in the meeting and we decided that I would issue a Mayoral Proclamation declaring September 21st as an International Day of Peace.  Let's all do our part to bring peace into our communities. If you would like to help out with the coordination of International Day of Peace activities, please call Kathy at (218)370-9799.

2. Bev Greene of the Senior Center and Arrowhead Animal Rescue came before the Council to remind/invite the Council of/to the positive partnership that the two entities have shared over the years and asked to be involved in the conversation or moving the City Garages away from the area in the Rec. Park so that it could include the animal pound as well. She said that Arrowhead Animal Rescue has some funds it could contribute to the project to get the facility that they would like and that they are committed to operating whatever facility they have, be it in the Rec. Park or at a new garage facility.  The Council thanked her for her work and for coming to extend those offers.

On to the Consent Agenda!  The Consent Agenda is a list of general business that needs to be accomplished and that can be done in one motion instead of individually.  The Consent Agenda only included the minutes of our previous meeting, our agenda for the 8-26-15 meeting, and the bills that needed to be paid since the last meeting.  This passed unanimously.

Following the consent agenda we had a brief presentation from Bradley Peterson, a representative of the Council of Greater Minnesota Cities, a non-profit organization that promotes issues faced by Minnesota Cities outside of the Metro area. We have been a member of CGMC for several years and feel that it has been a good partnership.

The CGMC basically works in five different areas relevant to smaller/rural cities:
1. Local Government Aid (State monies that come to cities to assist in operations and capital projects) and Property Tax management
2. Transportation (they are working on getting some additional funds to help cities with street projects etc)
3. Economic Development (This includes workforce housing and business development programs)
4. Annexation and Land Use (basically works on state zoning standards to make things easier for smaller cities to function)
5. Environmental Regulations (Such as our standards for the wastewater plant and the water treatment plant)

We asked Mr. Peterson several questions about the things that CGMC have been working on and were satisfied that they are working on issues that are directly beneficial to Grand Marais as well as some ideas for ways that we could pay for some of the projects we see coming in the future. Overall it feels like a good connection to what is happening on the state level and to give us opportunities to take advantage of funding streams that are lesser known or in the works.

Next the City was asked to consider and approve a contract with the Cook County Soil and Water Conservation District for the construction of a rain garden (and some improved landscaping around the area) in between the library and the Coldwell Banker Building as well as some stormwater management solutions for 2nd and 3rd Avenues East above 4th street. These projects are a very good deal for the City as they provide improved stormwater management at a very low cost compared to building a complete stormwater system (which would be almost impossible in our geography).  The City is agreeing to pay for 25% of the installation cost of the projects and to maintain them for 10 years. The Soil and Water Conservation District will oversee the construction and will assist us in maintaining these two projects.  After these are implemented we will hopefully not have any more flooding happening in the library (it has only happened a few times) and no more erosion up between 2nd and 3rd Avenues East.

As part of the agreement with the County to manage the bond payments for the Cedar Grove Business Park, the City began the process of reassessing the remaining unsold lots in the business park to make them more sale-able.  This first step basically initiates the process.  There are four or five more steps as we get closer to the formal reassessment of the lots.

Why are we doing this you may ask?  Well, we are reassessing the lots because the City made a deal with the EDA when the park was built that the sale price of each of the lots would include an amount of money that would come back to the City to help pay for the infrastructure put into each of those lots, i.e. road, electric, water, sewer. The assessments done at that time assumed a particular value of the lots and now the value of those lots has decreased, so the assessment should be re-done to reflect that. From what I understand in this situation, the reassessment is a very good thing as it will make the management and sale of those lots more regular and thus easier to perform, which is another good step toward increasing the impact of the business park for our community.  More to come on this in the future!

We took a few minutes to put into the formal minutes of the meeting that the Council has in fact dived into the City budget so that we can get a preliminary levy (the amount of money we raise from residents through property taxes to provide the City's services) by September, as we are required.  The Council has already spent several hours over two meetings to get the basics of the City budget down and to go through a rough draft of the 2016 City budget line by line to see where we stand.  Currently, with cost of living increases for our City staff (which is our biggest expense... and they are worth every penny!), insurance increases, and other expected expense increases, the City is looking at a 12.2% increase over last year.

Now, you may balk at that percentage, the City Council did, but there are a few things to consider that go into this number:

1. We have made agreements with our employees to provide certain benefits for them and they will take care of us.  These expenses are things that we try our best to minimize, but that we have agreed to offer and thus we aren't about to back out on that.

2. We save money each year for capital projects such as rebuilding roads, improving the water and sewer systems, replacing valuable equipment, etc.  These are huge expenses and we have the option to levy and save the money ahead of time or pay interest on the borrowed money later.  As a financial tool, planning ahead and saving up the money gets us better deals on projects and saves us a LOT of money on debt service.  We could cut these numbers to get the levy down, and we probably will do that, but we will agree to increase the amount a little every year for the next few years so we can be in a good place when it comes time to do some projects.

3. Revenues: The City may spend a lot of money, but we also make a fair amount of it.  As we start the budget process we practice a "liberal on spending, conservative on receiving" mindset.  This sets us up for a worst-case scenario of the most expensive possible year (that we would allow) and a very modest year for income (the City gets considerable income from the liquor store and the Rec. Park, which we assume, for budgeting reasons, will stay modest even though it has been doing very well). What happens in most cases is that the City doesn't spend all of the money it budgets and the liquor store/Rec. Park make more money than we expected them to, which puts us in a good place, but all it takes is another cold summer like last summer and revenues could be WAY down, so we have to assume the worst.

If you have any more questions on the budget process, I would be glad to answer them.  I will also hopefully be doing an editorial for the paper on the budget process to explain elements of it a bit more.

We then moved on to Council and staff updates:
-Councilor Moody had no update to give

-Councilor Benson didn't have a specific update, but asked about the website progress, which will be addressed in Financial Director Dunsmoor's update!

-Councilor Mills reported on the Broadband Commission meeting, where they reported that nearly all of the first round of connections to the system have been completed, but that there is a growing log of new connections that they are starting to plan for, so this process will be ongoing.  He also reported on a meeting that he (and I) attended with the DNR concerning improvements to the boat launch on the west side of the harbor. The DNR put out potential plans last year for improvements to the boat launch and surrounding areas and this was a meeting to look at those plans critically and to try to select the plan that would best fit our needs and harbor space.

City Administrator Roth reported that there was, indeed, a joint meeting at 4:00pm on the 27th with the County, Tribe, Hospital Board, School Board, and the City. There will be much good conversation there about our various partnerships and relationships.

As mentioned before, Financial Director Dunsmoor reported other options for re-doing our website and debuted a new look for the City of Grand Marais website.  I think that it looks much better and that is beginning to be more usable.  Please send me ideas or suggestions of things that you would like to see on the website understanding that we have not starting conversations about online payments of utility bills or permits.

My update went all over the place:

1. I attended a meeting with the Violence Prevention Center speaking about the great work they are doing behind the scenes in our community. They are also planning a dance party event to raise funds for their work on September 12th in conjunction with Radio Waves!  You should check it out!
2. I also met with members of the snowmobile club to discuss how we can work together better this winter to make the experience of snowmobilers and non-snomobilers as good as we can. Better signage, designated parking, advertising snowmobiling friendly establishments, etc were all discussed.  We will definitely continue the conversation and see how we can work together.
3. I shared a correspondence with the Council of a city resident who is in favor of vacation rentals and gave their reasons for it. There have been many comments made to me about it and I encourage you all to keep telling me what your feelings are about it.  We need to get a good sense of what the issues are and how we can best address it.
4. The Integrated Emergency Management Conference is coming up soon!  It begins on September 14th and runs through the 17th up in Grand Portage with about 100 participants across numerous agencies and governmental institutions.  This is a training that will teach us what our particular responsibilities are in the case of an emergency.  I am excited to attend and am glad to have some proactive training on this sort of thing.  I hope that we never, ever need to use it though!
5. The League of MN Cities is having a regional meeting in Mountain Iron on October 8th to discuss regional concerns.  I encouraged the Council to attend this meeting if they could. Also the LMC Annual Conference is in Bloomington next April, which would be a great opportunity to see the work the League has been doing.
6. Speaking of the work the League has been doing, I participated in 2 policy committee meetings covering housing and rural economic development through the League.  I was very impressed with the scope of work the League is trying to do and the smart ways they are going about it.  We have a great partnership with them and I hope to make it stronger by participating in these meetings.
7. I agreed to write the proclamation designating September 21st as International Day of Peace for Grand marais.

After the reports we closed the meeting in order to discuss and consider offers to purchase a piece of property located at 1800 W Hwy 61.  Some of you know this as the Tomteboda property, some know it as the Gateway Motel property. The reason we closed the meeting to discuss this is that the City needed to create a plan for if and how much we wanted to purchase that property.  Such negotiations are not considered public until a purchase agreement is signed to protect the City from counter offers or from other people swooping in to purchase. Think of it like you were buying a house.  You wouldn't want your realtor to know what your strategy is when you go in to negotiate... That is what this is about. Like I said before, when a purchase agreement is signed, the information about purchase price becomes public.  The City isn't trying to pull a fast one, just following protocol.

If you are interested in more about this, check out the state's description here:

So, on to your question about the property itself: Why would the City buy that property???
In another, different worksession, the Council brainstormed different opportunities for relocating our municipal garages out of the Rec. Park for obvious reasons... a.) they are not attractive, b.) they occupy prime space, c.) they are not the safest structures to have campers wandering around, and d.) the environmental integrity of that space would be better without them.

Three locations were identified as possible locations that would have a.) enough space, b.) possibility of having/building the right facilities, and c.) affordable.

Those three locations were:
1. The Business Park--This idea was the most developed.  The City would buy several of the lots and landscape them to include our buildings, storage, and flat parking/outside storage space.  This was attractive, but expensive due to wetland considerations and the amount of landscaping necessary to get the lots flat.
2. The County Garage--In the instance that the County were to sell their garage, the City would be interested in the facility.  It is large enough, in a decent location, and in decent repair. The problem here is that the County garage is not for sale at present, so this option is not really viable.
3. 1800 W Hwy 61-- This property is mostly flat, has some of the necessary infrastructure already, is big enough to build what we need, has decent accessibility, is close to our power plant, and is available.  Thus we are entertaining what it would take to use this as a potential location.

*For the record, nothing has been purchased. The listing on the agenda says it all: "to develop or consider offers or counteroffers."

On that note we adjourned to an open meeting and then adjourned the meeting for the night.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or comments and I would be glad to chat with you about them.  We are starting to get into some serious business for the City and it is important to hear what you all are thinking!

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8/28/15 - This Friday, Sawbill is having a flashback

Sawbill Newsletter - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 1:44pm

8/28/15 - This Friday, Sawbill is having a flashback with former crew members. A number of former crew are back at Sawbill working, either for another season, or just for a few days while they visit. It's great to see what's going on in their lives now, and their help is always appreciated. Of course, if seeing pictures of the wonderful time the crew is having in the roll and put pile inspires nostalgia in any other former crew, come up and visit! You're always more than welcome here. - Britta

From left to right- Top: Brian, Nils John with Roy, Cindy, Ana, Jessica and Britta. Bottom: Buck and Andy with Phoebe. Photo credit to Claire.

The former crew members have some fun and laughs in the roll and put pile.

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Father Son Canadian Kayak Trip

Boundary Waters Blog - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 10:51am

There aren’t too many things more memorable than a father son trip. This duo made memories while on a wilderness kayak trip into Northern Light Lake in Canada.  It’s just one portage out of Saganaga Lake and the perfect destination for kayaking.  Great fishing, beautiful scenery, and pictographs were just a few of the highlights of their trip with Voyageur Canoe Outfitters.  Thanks for sharing the photos with us!

Kayak Trip to Northern Light Lake


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Trail Center advice

Unorganized Territory - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 7:44pm

I love Trail Center on the Gunflint Trail for many reasons. The big metal malt cups, the Fungi sandwich, the world’s smallest ice cream sundae, and the new artery-clogging but delectable, deep-fried bacon. I also like the tasty Camp Chow samples on the counter and the funky T-shirts and clothing items offered for sale.

But I think what I like best about Trail Center is the attitude of the place. Everyone is welcome. The décor says it all, from framed Royal Canadian Mounted Police posters to pink-glitter slippers; from campaign posters of many different county elections to the big bumper-sticker covered log chairs, it is clear the opinions of the owner are all over the board.

Sarah Hamilton and her “crew” welcome everyone, local or visitor; cross country skier or snowmobiler; hiker or ATVer; paddler or pontooner. As long as you are accepting of others, you will find yourself at home at Trail Center.

Chuck and I visited Trail Center recently with our wonderful Indiana and Minneapolis relatives. We were shocked by a line of people waiting to enter the dining room. We’re spoiled. Most of the time the restaurant signs says “Seat Yourself.”

But we didn’t mind. There are a lot of interesting things to look at on the little store shelves and of course Camp Chow samples to try. We weren’t in a hurry, we were just riding around on the Trail to give our relatives the Cook County experience.

We were seated within a few minutes and ordered shakes and malts.

My wonderful sister-in-law and me picking out our malts at Trail Center.

The Trail Center staff was friendly and helpful as always, but they did look a bit frazzled. As we were waiting, I reread the note on the back of the Trail Center table top drink menu.

The note offers “a little food for thought while you wait for yours.” It goes on to remind visitors that Trail Center is a small restaurant in a small community that serves as few as 40 people per day during the off season (November through April). Amazingly—and the reason we had to wait—those numbers can reach 500 during the summer months.

The note continues, “We are sorry you have to wait, but expanding our restaurant to service these few months would put us out of business.”

Finally, in Trail Center style, the note finishes by saying, “We are very glad you are here and hope you can relax and enjoy us. We enjoy you.”

I think the Trail Center notice should be painted on a billboard and set up at the county line. Although Trail Center is the only business I know that verbalizes this frustration, there are many others who feel the same.

The entire county has the same problem. Most of our stores, gas stations and restaurants have a solid core staff year round. In the shoulder seasons, those of us who live here year round are able to waltz in just about any place at any time and receive almost instant and attentive service.

But then the opening of fishing comes and slowly and steadily, traffic increases and lines get longer at the checkout counters. Our quiet little community gets overrun with vacationers and by the 4th of July, the pace in our local businesses is frantic.

Most of the time we don’t mind. If visitors are happy—as they should be on vacation—and treat the service community kindly, it can be fun trying to keep up with it all. Servers dance between tables and joke with customers. Gift shop owners get shoppers through the line with utmost speed, smiling and chatting. As long as people are patient and cheerful, it all works.

That is why it would be nice to have the Trail Center note printed far and wide. As summer winds down, we could all use the reminder— relax and enjoy!

I don’t care if you’re black, white, straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian, short, tall, fat, skinny, rich or poor. If you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you. Simple as that.

Robert Michaels MD

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Voyageur Brewing Company at the Minnesota State Fair

Voyageur Brewing - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 9:03am

If you didn’t have a reason to visit the Minnesota State Fair before then you surely do now. Voyageur Brewing Company beer is being poured in the “Land of 10,0000 Beers.”

Breweries & Brewpubs Get Together at Land of 10,000 Beers Exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair

The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild is proud to present the “Land of 10,000 Beers” Craft Beer Hall exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair,  August 27 – September 7. The exhibit, now in its fourth year, features nearly 200 beers from nearly 60 breweries and brewpubs. This is the first time brewpubs are allowed to pour at the Fair, thanks to a new Minnesota law passed in the 2015 legislative session.

Housed in the Agriculture/Horticulture building, the “Land of 10,000 Beers” showcases the best of Minnesota’s craft beer industry and details the brewing process all the way from the farm to the pint glass. The Craft Beer Hall tells the history of beer culture in Minnesota and highlights the state’s brew-cation destinations. In addition to the great craft beer, there’s a root beer section for kids and daily beer education presentations.

Visitors to the exhibit can select among six different flights of beers — “Belgian/Sweeter,” “Lighter,” “Darker,” “Hoppier,” “Minnesota Mix,” as well as a new “Brewpub” flight, which will feature beers from the 10 participating brewpubs. Each flight consists of four, 5-ounce samples for $10, which can be purchased with cash or card.

For daily updates on beer flights and expert presentations, check out our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter, @mncraftbrew.

You can also purchase a beer flight in advance online at

Come see what’s pouring at the “Land of 10,000 Beers” Craft Beer Hall to celebrate the craft beer movement and support Minnesota’s craft breweries and brewpubs!

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Northern Lights- Just Another Reason to Visit the Gunflint Trail

Boundary Waters Blog - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 6:54am

In spite of an almost full moon the northern lights put on a show for those lucky sky watchers last night. Our Voyageur Crew was outside enjoying a campfire when the show began.

Bursts of intense color lit up the sky and danced among the stars. Oh how lucky we are to live in a place with a dark sky.

If you want a chance to see the dance of the aurora borealis then you are in luck. We have a cabin open and waiting for you and because it’s already Thursday, it’s half-off the normal price. Call today, rent a cabin for the weekend and we’ll see you tomorrow!

Northern Lights

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Art, William Kent Krueger and WTIP at the State Fair

North Shore Arts Scene - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 3:06am

Tara Block took this lovely photo of Lake Superior the other day. Enjoy!

Crisp, cool early fall temps greeted us this week as summer on the North Shore begins to wind down. There’s lots to do this weekend, though.

North House Folk School will display “Sofia,” 10 works by artist Daniel Hansen, son of Grand Marais residents Mark and Wendy Hansen, in the Blue Building from Thursday, Aug. 27 through Monday, Sept. 7. The exhibit is free and open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. An opening reception and presentation by the artist will be held Thursday, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m.

On Friday night, North House will hold an outdoor film screening of “Kharma Bums” at 8:30 p.m. The travel-adventure documentary  follows a 130-mile stand-up paddleboard journey in India, beginning at the Kumbh Mela, the largest gathering of humans ever recorded. The screening is free, donations welcome at the door. All invited.

Plein air painter Joi Electa has been teaching the basics of oil painting classes throughout the county this summer. On Thursday, she will teach a class at Joy & Co., formerly The Garage, from 3-6 p.m. She will teach a class from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday at Trail Center on the Gunflint Trail  and at Cascade River State Park (meet at the parking lot off Highway 61) at 3 p.m. on Friday. Fees apply.

Split Rock Moon by Susan Frame.

At the Johnson Heritage Post Gallery, Susan Frame’s exhibit, Sumi-e Painting, continues through Sept. 13. The exhibit includes a great selection of her work, focused principally on the North Shore. The Heritage Post is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and from 1-4 p.m. Sunday and Monday.

This is the last weekend to see the multi-artist exhibit at the Cross River Heritage Center  in Schroeder, featuring paintings by Sandi Pillsbury Gredzens and Charlotte Durie, watercolorist David Hahn and mixed media artist Kim Knutson. A new exhibit by members of the Lake Superior Watercolor Society featuring watercolors of the North Shore opens Tuesday, Sept. 1 with a reception for the artists from 2-4  p.m.  on Sunday Sept. 13.

Artist proof by Betsy Bowen.

Woodcut printmaker Betsy Bowen has recently released a small group of artist’s proof bird prints from a series that was created for the 2001 Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center calendar.

Though these prints in their numbered edition have long since sold out, a few artist’s proofs have been pulled from the archives and framed. Artist’s proofs are created in the proofing process at the beginning of the print run of a numbered edition. A number of these prints are currently available at the Betsy Bowen Studio & Galleries, 301 1st Ave. W., in Grand Marais.

The galleries are open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

The 2016 Inuit calendar has arrived at Sivertson Gallery.

Sivertson Gallery has just received the 2016 Cape Dorset calendar with a great selection of prints by Inuit artists.

Saturday kicks off with the Cook County Farm & Craft Market in the parking lot of the Senior Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

At 1 p.m., there will be a demo in the glass studio at the Grand Marais Art Colony. All invited. Free.

At 3 p.m. Saturday, award-winning Minnesota mystery writer, William Kent Krueger, will be at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts. “A Conversation with Kent Krueger” is a fundraiser for Cook County Higher Education and sponsored by CCHE and Birchbark Books & Gifts. All invited. For tickets, click here or call 387-3411.

Also on Saturday, Kate Fitzgerald will give a Full Moon Reading at Drury Lane Books at 5 p.m. by the bonfire. The event is free.

WTIP Community Radio will broadcast from the Minnesota State Fair from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2.

The Minnesota State Fair opens this weekend and will feature “Radio on a Stick” when WTIP Community Radio broadcasts live from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 2 from the State Fair grounds. This is the first time WTIP has had this opportunity. Hosts Bob Carter, Ann Possis, Sherrie Lindskog, Julie Carlson, Sue Maijala and Beth Olson, as well as program director Matthew Brown and station manager Deb Benedict, are scheduled to be on the air. Visit Cook County director, Linda Kratt and her team are providing support and will be on hand to meet and greet fair-goers with information about Cook County.

WTIP will offer special programming, information and entertainment throughout the day, including interviews on the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, Joel Karsten on tending a straw bale garden, how to travel in a mini RV camper, and lots more state fair-related guests and topics. The programming will be aired in Cook County as well. So listen in! Go to to stream it.

Speaking of WTIP, it’s almost time for the Radio Waves Music Festival sponsored by WTIP and held at Sweetheart’s Bluff in the Rec Park Sept. 11-13. More than 30 bands will be performing this year with a lineup for all musical tastes, including rock, classic country, folk, jazz, Americana, alternative country and more. With a large tent for musicians as well as attendees, it’s a rain or shine event.  Tickets are $10 per day, or $20 for the weekend, with children ages 12 and under free. To see the lineup of musicians, click here. And stay tuned for more info on this popular event.

Layne Kennedy has donated a print for the Points North Online Auction for North House.

And not to forget, Unplugged XIV is Sept. 17-19, featuring three nights of music, a Craft Artisan Market, workshops and more at North House Folk School. An online auction is held as well, since the event is a fundraiser for the North House endowment fund.

More than 12 musicians will be performing over the three-day event: NPR’s Mountain Stage with Larry Groce Sept. 17 & 18, and the classic Unplugged with Jon Vezner Sept. 19. For tickets and more info, click here.

Upcoming: Registration is now open for the Readers & Writers Festival sponsored by the Grand Marais Art Colony Nov. 5-8. Some of the presenters include: Lorna Landvik, author, Cathy Wurzer, Erin Hart – author, Coffee House Press, Graywolf Press, Milkweed Editions, Minnesota Historical Society Press, and University of Minnesota Press, to name a few. For more info, click here.

Here’s the music lineup for this weekend:

Thursday, Aug. 27:

  • Joe Paulik, Music by the Campfire, Lutsen Resort, 6 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne, Gun Flint Tavern, 7 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 28:

  • Portage Band, American Legion, 6 p.m.
  • Plucked Up String Band, WTIP’s The Roadhouse, 6 p.m.
  • Eric Frost, Music by the Campfire,  Eagle Ridge Resort, 7 p.m.
  • Dan Newton, accordionist, Bandshell, Thomas Owens Park, 5 p.m.
  • Jim & Michele Miller, Voyageur Brewing Co.,, 8 p.m.
  • Crazy Chester, Gun Flint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.
  • Pushing Chain, Bluefin Grille, Tofte, 9 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 29:

  • Eric Frost & Friends, Voyageur Brewing Co., 3 p.m.
  • Billy D & Brenda B, Birch Tree Terrace, 3 p.m.
  • Pete Kavanaugh, Music on the Deck at Papa Charlie’s, 6 p.m.
  • Don Juan Trio, Sydney’s Rooftop, 6 p.m.
  • Jon Kallberg, Lutsen Resort, 7 p.m.
  • Pushing Chain, Campfire Music, Bluefin Grille, 7 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30 p.m.
  • Crazy Chester, Gun Flint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.
  • Eric Frost & Friends, Voyageur Brewing Co., 9 p.m.
  • Dance Party with DJ Beavstar, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 30:

  • Yvonne Caruthers, Bach for Breakfast, Sydney’s, 7:30 p.m.
  • Cook County Jam, Sunday Music on the Mountain, Caribou Highlands, 5 p.m.
  • Yvonne Caruthers, Gunflint Lodge, 6:30 p.m.
  • Wild Berry Jam, Gun Flint Tavern, 6:30 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 31:

  • Southwire, Monday Songwriter Series, Papa Charlie’s, 8:30 p.m.
  • Briand Morrison, Bluefin Grille, 9 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 2:

  • WTIP Radio at the State Fair, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne & Bob Bingham, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.

We found lots of great photos this week. Let’s start with some wildlife shots. The first one is by David Johnson, taken as a bald eagle launches off a rock on the breakwater.

Photo by David Johnson.

Paul Sundberg took this great photo of a spruce grouse. He says they are quite tame, when you find them.

Spruce grouse by Paul Sundberg.


Nace Hagemann posted some great moose photos this week. Take a look:

Moose twins nursing by Nace Hagemann.


Early morning on the pond with moose, a duck and a beaver by Nace Hagemann.

Here’s an interesting sunset shot taken by David Johnson.

Angry Sunset by David Johnson.

The northern lights were jumping on Wednesday night, but no photos had been posted by press time. Here’s one by Heidi Pinkerton taken at Bear Island Lake recently.

Photo by Heidi Pinkerton.

Don Davison posted some lovely photos of Grand Marais recently.

Busy Summer I by Don Davison.

Busy Summer II by Don Davison.

Jean Fitz Cochrane posted this fantastic photo on her Facebook page the other day. Do you know where it was taken?

Photo by Jean Fitz Cochrane.

And here’s one of Isle Royale. Do you recognize this beach?

Photo by Alan Netland.

Kathy Gray Anderson caught this beauty on Devil Track Lake recently.

Photo by Kathy Gray Anderson.

Sandra Updyke took this intriguing shot of Carlson Creek.

Photo by Sandra Updyke.

And last but not least, here’s a powerful waterfall shot by Don Malcolm.

Storm over Kakabeka Falls by Don Malcom.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

















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