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Unorganized thinking

Unorganized Territory - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 11:44pm

As I write this Unorganized Territory, I’m preparing to travel to Brainerd for the final session of the program I have been participating in this summer, the Blandin Foundation Editor & Publisher Community Leadership Program (E&P). It’s been an interesting experience although I’ve had a few “What was I thinking?” moments.

Two of the sessions have started on Thursday, which is the day we do our final proofreading, packaging, and sending to the printer. So it’s tough to be out of town that day. Frantically trying to get everything printer-ready before Thursday caused a few of those “What was I thinking?” thoughts.

The purpose of the E&P program is to allow editors and publishers to have some time away from their dayto day activities to look at the overall picture of the newspaper and its role in the community. The program is based on the Blandin Foundation’s 8 Dimensions of a Healthy Community, which are Life-Long Learning, Inclusion, Spiritual, Recreational and Artistic Opportunity, Environmental Stewardship, Infrastructure and Services, Safety and Security, Community Leadership and Economic Opportunity.

The Blandin Foundation asks participants in its E&P program and its other community leadership programs to take a hard look at these topics. Each participant is asked to evaluate how his or her community is doing in these dimensions. Are there life-long learning opportunities for all, from preschooler to the elderly? Are there adequate police and fire services so residents feel safe? Do community members care about the natural environment and work to protect it? Are all members of the community—regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity—included in making decisions that affect them?

Those are just a few of the questions raised in the Blandin Leadership Program. And although the program offers community building exercises and shares examples of what successful Blandin participants have accomplished, there are few answers. There is no “one size fits all” model of a healthy community or how to create it. I think at some point every Blandin Leadership program participant worries that he or she won’t make a difference, as the Blandin Foundation asks. I think we all ask, “What was I thinking?”

For me, participating in the program meant taking a hard look at the Cook County News-Herald and meant asking for feedback. That is why the News-Herald, with help from Cook County Higher Education, conducted a newspaper focus group back in May.

I survived my PowerPoint presentation!

The focus group was not as well attended as I would have liked, but those who were there offered invaluable advice. Some of it was difficult to hear. It was challenging to take criticism of our coverage of some troubling news stories, especially when many of the concerns were due to the headlines on articles.

Ask any writer—headlines are tough. It is extremely difficult to summarize a 500 -1,200 word article in five to eight words. It is hard to encapsulate the idea of the article in just a few words without sensationalizing the content. As I listened to some suggestions for alternate headlines that could have been used, I thought the ideas were great. But, as I listened to some of the complaints, I also couldn’t help thinking, “What was I thinking?”

When I compiled the results of the focus group and shared it with my friends and co-workers at the News- Herald, I was met with mixed reactions, ranging from “No way can we do that” to “That’s not a bad idea.” We’ve enacted some of the suggestions and are working on others. But as I distributed the suggestions and comments from the focus group, I could see my fellow News-Herald staffers thinking, “What was she thinking?”

Today, as I’m again hurrying to head off to the last E&P session, I am getting very nervous about the “final exam” of the program. I have to give a 15-minute presentation on what I’ve learned through the program and what actions the News-Herald will implement to help make our community a better place. I will be offering a Power Point presentation, only the second I’ve ever done in my life. “What was I thinking?”

It is especially hard because I don’t feel that I’ve done much in the way of community building yet. I am truthfully struggling with the balance of building community and allowing the community to have a voice. And as a newspaper, we cover not only the fun stuff—the festivals, the new businesses, the births and weddings—but also the tragic deaths, the accidents, fires, and court matters.

I keep turning to a George Orwell quote that is in rotation on my email footnote: Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations.

My Power Point presentation addresses that. I will share my conflict and struggle to find balance. And I will admit that we have been taking baby steps.

We’ve tweaked our letter to the editor policy to put the responsibility to be respectful on submitters. We’ve resurrected our “Get Involved in Government” feature, providing a “Clip and Save” list of various government boards with information on when and where they met. We are trying to be cautious about headlines and pull-quotes, not highlighting something that doesn’t represent the article well. There are more things in the works—stay tuned.

I’m also thinking of starting a “Coffee with the News-Herald” monthly event, meeting with readers at the local coffee shop. I’m a bit nervous about that though—what do you think readers? Should we do it? Or will it be another thing that makes me say, “What was I thinking?”

Drop me an email at to let me know what you think!


After enlightenment, the laundry

Zen quote from Mirja P. Hanson Editor & Publisher Community Leadership Program facilitator

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Our House is a Very Fine House

Boundary Waters Blog - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 10:16pm

Do you ever wish you could live in a tent in the wilderness? Think about how little time you would have to spend cleaning and making beds. It sounds quite attractive to me especially if I could set the tent up in the Boundary Waters. It would make a very fine house indeed.

Camping in the BWCA

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Favorite Everyday Products: Immersion Blender

Aging Youthful - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 1:00am

Mark and I use our immersion blender every day! Mostly we use ours for blending up smoothies and drinks, but it has been known to be used to blend some soups, and homemade tomato sauce. Mark uses it to mix up his “kitchen sink” eye opening breakfast smoothie. He starts with his IsaLean Pro protein and adds in our powdered fruits and greens along with some blueberries and/or other berries. Me, I use it to mix up my “bulletproof” coffee: a tablespoon each of grass-fed butter and coconut oil added to my heated cold-press coffee and mixed to frothy goodness. Our sits on the counter and never gets put away because we use it literally every day.

What other uses can you think  of?


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Labor Day Weekend coming up

North Shore Art Scene - Thu, 08/28/2014 - 12:24am

Bryan Hansel took this photo of Thompson Falls the other day.

Fall is in the air —  no doubt about it — making Labor Day weekend right on time this year.

It will be pretty quiet in Cook County, but there’s still plenty to see and do.

Moors & McCumber play at What’s Upstairs? Stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Photo by Rodney Bursiel.

First up is a Thursday-night  concert by Moors & McCumber at What’s Upstairs? Stage, above Betsy Bowen’s Studio at 7:30 p.m, Aug. 28, followed by the screening of “Cold Love,” an adventure film about Lonnie Dupre.

Moors & Mc Cumber, who have performed at What’s Upstairs before, are dynamic and highly skilled musicians who  switch up instruments on almost every song.

They play guitar, mandolin, fiddle, tenor banjo, Irish bouzouki, piano, harmonica, cello, weissenborn, ukulele, and create catchy melodies that are big, bright and electrifying to watch live. The acoustics in the space are outstanding, too. Tickets are $15 and are available at the door. All invited.

On Friday, North House Folk School will continue its craft demonstrations from 1o a.m.-4 p.m. The demonstrations are held Thursday through Sunday through Sept. 7.   Tina Fung Holder will be demonstrating basketry this week.Free. All invited.

This is the last week of  art demonstrations at the Grand Marais Art Colony. A clay demo will be held in the ceramics studio at 10 a.m. on Friday. All invited.

Internet cartoonist Bill Barnes, who will be giving workshops in cartooning at the Grand Marais Public Library from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, will talk about the upcoming workshops on WTIP’s The Roadhouse on Friday night. Musicians Max Bichel and John Gruber will be in the studio to a few tunes.

On Saturday, the Cook County Farm & Craft Market will be held in the Senior Center parking lot from 9 a.m to 1 p.m. featuring lots of arts and crafts, baked goods and vegetables in season including tomatoes, peppers, onions, kale and lettuce. Maria Nickolay will play.

On Sunday, Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center will host an Old Fashioned Pie and Ice Cream Social on the museum front porch and grounds over Labor Day weekend on from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. As always, there’s a suggested donation for pie, ice cream and beverage. This day also features the annual Chik-Wauk “sidewalk” sale which offers steep discounts on many gift shop items.

Also on Sunday afternoon, MacArthur House celebrates its 14th anniversary with music on the deck with Mad Max & His Flying Circus (The SplinterTones) from 4-7 p.m. Bring your own chair and an appetizer to share. MacArthur House is located at 520 W. 2nd St. All welcome.

In other art news:

Carah Thomas (Carah Boo) will release her first solo CD at the Radio Waves Music Festival next weekend.

Carah Boo (Carah Thomas) has completed her first solo CD which will be released at the Radio Waves Music Festival next week. The title of the CD is “Big Empty Heart,” the title cut, written by Thomas. The CD features mainly traditional folk songs on mountain dulcimer and voice, along with two originals and three cover songs. Kari Wrich designed the CD cover with a photo by Nina Rizzo. Al Oikari recorded, mixed and produced the CD as well as plays on it.

September artists exhibiting at the Cross River Heritage Center include Trish Hunter, Tim Ostroot, Mary Jane Huggins, Kathleen Gray Anderson and Dave DeGree.

Birchbark Books & Gifts has copies of William Kent Krueger’s latest, “Windigo Island.” They also have John Henricksson’s book, “Over the Portage, Into History.” It was first published as an e-Book.

Sivertson Gallery is now carrying children’s books. Titles include “Children of the Northlights” by Ingri & Edgar Parin D’Aulaire“Market to Market” by Nikki McClure; “The Best Part of a Sauna” by Sheryl Peterson, illustrated by Kelly Dupre; and “A Wild Neighborhood” by John Henricksson, illustrated by Betsy Bowen.

Tickets are still available for the Grand Marais Art Colony’s “Tour d’Art: The Legacy,” a homes tour of artists and instructors associated with the Art Colony.

The tour includes the homes of Hazel Belvo and Marsha Cushmore, Sharon and Steve FrykmanLiz Sivertson, Byron Bradley and Dan Quick. The tour is Oct. 4. For more information, call 218-387-2737.

Here’s the music schedule:

Thursday, Aug. 28:

  • Joe Paulik, Music on the Beach, Lutsen Resort, 6 p.m.
  • Moors & McCumber, What’s Upstairs Stage, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 29:

  • Briand Morrison, The Pie Place, 6 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Music by the Campfire, Eagle Ridge Resort, 7:30 p.m.
  • Fuzzy Ellis, Gunflint Tavern, 9 p.m.
  • Michael Monroe, Bluefin Grille, 9 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 30:

  • Cook County’s Most Wanted, Birch Terrace Pation, 3 p.m.
  • J Squared and The Makers, Papa Charlie’s, 6 p.m.
  • Portage Band, American Legion, 6 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne, Lutsen Resort, 7 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Bluefin Grille, 7 p.m.
  • Pete Kavanaugh, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30 p.m.
  • Fuzzy Ellis, Gunflit Tavern, 9 p.m.
  • Dance Party with DJ Beavstar, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 31

  • Mad Max & His Flying Circus, MacArthur House B&B backyard, 4 p.m.
  • Boyd “Bump” Blomberg, Lusten Resort, 7 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 1

  • Joe & Jessi,  Bluefin Grille, 9 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 3:

  • Jim & Michelle Miller,  Moguls Grille, 6 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne & Bob Bingham, Bluefin Grille, 9 p.m.

We found some great photos this week.

Let’s start out with this great portrait of a man and his dog by David Johnson.

Photo by David Johnson.


And then a beautiful fall-is-here photo by John Sikkila.

Fall is here. John Sikkila captured it perfectly in this photo of crown coral and spring cap mushrooms.


Here’s a wonderful shot of the northern lights by Heidi Pinkerton.

Photo by Heidi Pinkerton.


We had quite a thunder storm the other night. Travis Novitsky too shot of the storm over the Spirit Tree in Grand Portage.

Photo by Travis Novitsky.

Sandra Updyke was out walking the beaches on a windy day and took this image.

Photo by Sandra Updyke.


Here’s a another beautiful image of our beloved North Shore. It’s by Paul Sundberg.

Photo by Paul Sundberg.


Stephan Hoglund took this beauty.

Photo by Stephan Hoglund.


And Michael Furtman caught this loon parent bringing a BIG fish to its rapidly growing offspring. It took the youngster awhile to swallow it, but he managed, Furtman wrote on his Facebook page.

Photo by Michael Furtman.


Thomas Spence took this great shot of the Temperance (?) River at sunset the other day.

Photo by Thomas Spence.

And Bryan Hansel captured the Blue Hour in this lovely shot… the Blue Hour is about 45 minutes after sunset when, under the right conditions, everything turns blue. Enjoy!

Photo by Bryan Hansel.

And have a wonderful weekend!
























Thursday, Aug. 28:

  • Joe Paulik, Music on the Beach, Lutsen Resort, 6 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 29:

  • Briand Morrison, The Pie Place, 6 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Music by the Campfire, Eagle Ridge Resort, 7:30 p.m.
  • Fuzzy Ellis, Gunflint Tavern, 9 p.m.
  • Michael Monroe, Bluefin Grille, 9 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 30:

  • Cook County’s Most Wanted, Birch Terrace Pation, 3 p.m.
  • J Squared and The Makers, Papa Charlie’s, 6 p.m.
  • Portage Band, American Legion, 6 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne, Lutsen Resort, 7 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Bluefin Grille, 7 p.m.
  • Pete Kavanaugh, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30 p.m.
  • Fuzzy Ellis, Gunflit Tavern, 9 p.m.
  • Dance Party with DJ Beavstar, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 31

  • Mad Max & His Flying Circus, MacArthur House B&B backyard, 4 p.m.
  • Boyd “Bump” Blomberg, Lusten Resort, 7 p.m.

Monday, Sept. 1

  • Joe & Jessi,  Bluefin Grille, 9 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 3:

  • Jim & Michelle Miller,  Moguls Grille, 6 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne & Bob Bingham, Bluefin Grille, 9 p.m.





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Paddling Safely in the Boundary Waters

Boundary Waters Blog - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 4:51pm

Some of these suggestions for safe paddling aren’t applicable in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area but I figure most of our readers paddle elsewhere too.  It’s a short, cute video that is a good reminder to be smart wherever you paddle.  With Labor Day Weekend right around the corner I’m hoping many of you plan to paddle and this will keep you paddling safely.

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Banana Split For Breakfast? Yes please!

Aging Youthful - Wed, 08/27/2014 - 1:00am

This is an AWESOME way to get your kids to love having a healthy breakfast. Man, if my mom would have made these as a kid, I would have been begging for more! This recipe of the week, just like the Overnight Oats recipe from a couple weeks ago, doesn’t need a “recipe”, you can do whatever you want with it, just be sure to keep it with natural and low sugar ingredients. Heck on Sundays, why not even add in a few dark chocolate chips for a little extra treat? Or…use this as an evening snack when you are craving the real thing but don’t want to get off track!

Here are a few basic “rules”.

  • You MUST start out with a banana sliced lengthwise on either side of the dish/bowl.
  • Use cooked oats, cottage cheese or greek yogurt as the “ice cream”. You have have the “scoops” all the same or once of each!
  • Top with a little more greek yogurt to look like “cream” or better yet, if you have access to a raw dairy in your area, whip up some raw milk cream!
  • Top with any chopped real fruit of your choice
  • If you must sweeten a little more, use REAL maple syrup or local raw honey (not the high-fructose corn syrup varieties you find at the grocery store).
  • Don’t forget to add a few of your favorite chopped nuts!

This just goes to prove that eating healthy does NOT have to be boring. I think I’m heading to the kitchen right now to see what I can round up for a banana split!

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May your paddle be true and deep

Tuscarora Lodge and Outfitters News - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 10:46pm

Our beloved Jerry Vandiver….Nashville singer songwriter and really good guy….had a particularly fabulous annual concert this year.  He also invited Danny and Liz to join him for a couple of his songs.

He’s something.

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Cold Day on the Gunflint Trail

Boundary Waters Blog - Tue, 08/26/2014 - 7:53pm

Tonight the temperature is predicted to drop into the 40′s and today it felt like fall. It was cool and breezy with a high of only 61 degrees. Some people like this weather, I’m not one of those. I prefer the high of 80 degrees we had on Sunday.

The temperature is supposed to get up into the 70′s again this week. I’m looking forward to sunshine and warmth to end the summer. School starts for the kids on Tuesday and the days of summer are dwindling.

The good news? The water temperature is warmer than the air and we can still enjoy swimming and paddling. Come on up before the lakes turn solid.

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Voyageur Crew from Owatonna

Boundary Waters Blog - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 8:29pm

I better continue the introductions of our Voyageur Crew 2014 before they depart. We currently have three Voyageur Crew members from Owatonna, Minnesota which is also the hometown of Don Enzenauer who we bought Voyageur from over 20 years ago.

Matt Ritter is a 2nd year Crew Member who just graduated from Lake Superior College this spring. He majored in Automotive Service Technology and has a job in that field beginning mid-September. We’ll be sad to see him go and even sadder knowing he most likely has entered the real world and he won’t be returning to Voyageur next summer. We can’t be sure he won’t be back since what he really wants to be when he grows up is an inspiration to this planet. I think there’s a better chance of doing that at Voyageur then there is working on vehicles, but you never know.

Matt can perform all of the jobs at Voyageur and believe me, we’ve had him do them all. He transports groups via towboat, drives them in vehicles, cleans cabins, cleans gear, works in the store, cooks and does KP but he most enjoys building and fixing things. He’s done quite a few projects this year and they all turned out awesome. We’re going to miss his handy work around here.

You may remember Matt from the blog I wrote about the Ely Challenge. He was the paddling partner of Abigail who paddled to Ely and back in less than 24 hours. He also was a fierce competitor at the annual canoe races; we’ll have to ask him back at least to paddle for that next summer.

His favorite lake in the BWCA is Red Rock Lake and his favorite route includes Ottertrack.  He most wants to paddle the Falls Chain in the Quetico Park. I guess we know he’ll at least return to paddle again.

I guess I’ll have to introduce the other two Owatonna crew members in a different blog since this one got quite long.

Paddling the Boundary Waters

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8/25/14 - Our incredible Sawbill guides, Dave and Amy Freeman, are embarking on another big canoe adventure.

Sawbill Newsletter - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 8:16pm

8/25/14 - Our incredible Sawbill guides, Dave and Amy Freeman, are embarking on another big canoe adventure. They are paddling from Ely, Minnesota to Washington, D.C. This time, they are not only teaching wilderness values as they go, but lobbying for clean water and maintaining the diverse, vibrant economy in northeastern Minnesota.

You can find out much more at:

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single paddle stroke. An enthusiastic crowd encourages Dave and Amy as they paddle petitions (including the canoe itself) from Ely to Washington, D.C.

The portage trail may be rocky, but Dave and Amy will complete their mission to keep the BWCA Wilderness safe.

Amy and Dave in their native habitat.

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What’s REALLY In Our Food: “Exploding” Soy Protein?

Aging Youthful - Mon, 08/25/2014 - 1:00am

I LOVE my IsaLean protein bars, not only for the taste, but for the natural ingredients that are in the bars. They are a “processed” food and do contain a higher amount of natural sugars, I have to be careful to not rely on them for my food, as I am suspecting I have a fructose sensitivity (yep, even the natural kind found in fruit). I am so grateful our company does not use soy protein in any of their products becasuse it is NOT the health food we’ve been told it is. From the Natural News Website:

Virtually all “protein bars” on the market today are made with soy protein. Many infant formula products are also made with soy protein, and thousands of vegetarian products (veggie burgers, veggie cheese, “natural” food bars, etc.) are made with soy protein. That soy protein is almost always described as safe and “natural” by the companies using it. But there’s a dirty little secret the soy product industry doesn’t want you to know: Much of the “natural” soy protein used in foods today is bathed in a toxic, explosive chemical solvent known as hexane. Click here for the full article….



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Don’t Get Lost

Boundary Waters Blog - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 10:54pm

I read a story about a man getting lost in California while he was on a fishing trip and it reminded me about a couple I encountered the other day. I was out picking blueberries with friends in a very popular location.  We were talking and picking and then we heard someone yell, “HELLO!”.  We yelled back and in response we heard a man say, “Thank God, we were lost.”

We couldn’t see the man and didn’t see him until about twenty to thirty minutes later.  During this time we kept yelling to him so he could use our voices to figure out which way the road was. We were done picking but waited for him and his wife to get out to the road before we left. They emerged from the woods grateful, sweaty and disheveled.  He said he wouldn’t have known what to do if we hadn’t been there.

When they saw our buckets of blueberries they asked in astonishment, “Did you pick those right here by the road?” We answered, “Yes.” and then he said to both us and his wife, “Well, now we’ll know we don’t have to go in so far tomorrow.” To this his wife replied, “I won’t be going blueberry picking tomorrow.”

Thankfully this story had a happy ending.  It’s easy to get turned around in the woods especially since all of the trees and brush are about 10-12 feet tall. It’s very thick in places with tall grass hiding rocks, holes, downed timber and burned stumps. In one of the places I went picking I took flagging ribbon around to mark my path so I couldn’t get lost.

This reminded me of another story. A long time ago when Mike’s cousin Sheri was very young we went out hiking. I put her in charge of tying the flagging ribbon onto the trees while I attempted to locate/make my own trail to a destination I wanted to reach. The instructions I gave her were simple, “Just make sure you can see the last ribbon from where you tie the next ribbon.”

After awhile of bushwhacking I finally gave up and decided it was time to turn back the way we came. When I looked for the flagging I couldn’t see any in sight. I asked Sheri where the ribbon was and she said, “I ran out a long time ago.”

I think about that now and think it is so funny. On that particular day however I didn’t think it was funny. I was responsible for her and an employee I brought along on the expedition and I had no clue where to go. We eventually made it back to civilization exhausted and me soaking wet from a swim I had to do to in order to get someone to go back to get them with a boat.

Both of these stories had a happy ending but could just as easily not have been.  Try to keep the odds in your favor when you’re out in the woods and bring along a compass, map, whistle, flagging ribbon, gps, cell phone, sun dial or whatever else will help you from staying lost.

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Hey Summer, You’ve Been Fun

Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center Blog - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 4:33pm

You know what? It’s been one fun Gunflint Trail summer at Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center.

We kicked off Kids’ Day, which sees a couple dozen kids through the museum on Mondays: making journals, learning about pond life, seeing if they can jump as far as a frog, and all sorts of other fun, hands-on activities. We host our last Kids’ Day of the season, tomorrow, August 25. Last Tuesday, our U.S. Forest Service naturalist friends put on their last presentation of the season at Chik-Wauk. And we’ve finished up a series of special guest presentations on Sundays as well. We’ve been having such a good time, it’s hard to believe that it’s nearly back to school time. We hope you found some time to play with us this summer!

To celebrate Smokey Bear’s 70th birthday, Smokey came for a visit to Chik-Wauk on August 4th, along with some U.S. Forest Service and Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department friends. Kids got to learn Smokey’s story and learn about fire is fought on the Gunflint Trail. A good time was had by all. Happy Birthday Smokey!

Thanks to all those who attended the Gunflint Woods, Winds, and Strings Benefit Concert on August 16. Several local and guest musicians entertained a sellout crowd of over 150 Gunflint Trail neighbors and guests. Thanks also to the organizing committee and all the volunteers who worked to put on this important fundraising event for the Gunflint Trail Historical Society and Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center.

The pace at Chik-Wauk always slows down a little during the week between when the MN State Fair starts off and Labor Day weekend. Things don’t stay quiet for long though. Come the Sunday of Labor Day weekend (August 31), we’ll have a full house for the Annual Old Fashioned Pie and Ice Cream Social Fundraiser. This beloved event features homemade pie, ice cream, book signings (with local authors John Henricksson and Nace Hagemann), and a gift shop sidewalk sale. The festivities go from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. , or until the pie runs out. Sorry, you won’t find any pie on a stick at the pie and ice cream social. With homemade pie this good, you don’t need a gimmick.

While you’re at the museum, don’t forget to pick up a few items in gift shop. These sales are so important to keeping Chik-Wauk strong and Christmas is just four months away, eh?

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Delete The File

Aging Youthful - Sun, 08/24/2014 - 1:00am

“Children are happy because they don’t have a file in their mind called ‘All the things that could go wrong.’ ~Marianne Williamson

#SoulFoodSunday #AgingYouthful

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Catch and Release Fishing in the BWCA

Boundary Waters Blog - Sat, 08/23/2014 - 9:33pm

We encourage catch and release fishing in the Boundary Waters and Quetico Park. This helps to ensure quality fishing for canoe country campers who visit in the future. While it is nice to get a photo of your fish it is better for the fish if it is done while the fish is in the water. If you must have a photo of yourself with a fish you plan to release then be sure to follow the guidelines below and remember to support the weight of the fish body with a hand under its belly and keep the fish horizontal. Do not hold a fish by the lower jaw because it can damage jaw muscles that will affect the ability of the fish to feed after release. It’s fun to catch a fish and even more rewarding to watch it swim away after you have released it.


  1. Be Prepared. Too many times I have casted a lure into the water not expecting to catch a fish and one ends up stuck on my lure. I then find myself struggling to reach a needle nose or other tool in order to release the fish. Always plan to catch a fish and have a needle nose, gloves or whatever else you need nearby so you can quickly and efficiently release a fish.
  1. Be Efficient. You can increase the rate of survival if you avoid over playing the fish. Retrieve the fish deliberately, not too quickly, slowly or sporadically. This will help reduce the stress and fatigue a fish experiences.
  2. Go Barbless. The use of barbless hooks or cutting the barbs off of lures can aide in a quick release that does less damage to a fish.
  3. Wear Rubberized Gloves. I know it might look silly and your friends may make fun of you but if you are planning to release a fish then wear rubber gloves. It helps protect the coat of slime the fish needs on its body and gloves allow you to get a firm grip without squeezing the fish too hard. Touching fish with your bare hands can cause fungus growth or infections leading to the death of the fish.
  4. Fish Belong in Water. If at all possible it is best to release a fish while the fish is still in the water. Air is an enemy of fish and sunlight can damage their eyes. To release a fish in the water just reach over the side of the watercraft and use a needle-nosed pliers to gently remove the hook from the fish and watch it swim away.
  5. Cut the Line. When a fish has swallowed the hook do not try to remove the hook from inside of the fish. Just cut the line as close to the hook as possible and over time the hook will dissolve or dislodge.
  6. Handle With Care. If you must touch the fish then either wear gloves or wet your hands first to protect the slime coating.  Keep your fingers out of the gills and eyes and hold the fish firmly without squeezing and prevent the fish from battering itself on hard or hot surfaces. Support the body of the fish with a hand under the stomach even while it is in the water so the pressure on the hook is eliminated.
  7. Use Nets Sparingly. If you must bring the fish into the boat with a net then be sure it is a rubberized net. This type of net will cause less damage to the fish.
  8. Release with Care. Gently return the fish to the water in a headfirst position pointing it straight down to allow the fish to plunge into the water.
  9. Fish CPR.  A fish may need to be revived if it is exhausted or if it has spent too much time out of the water. Hold the fish in the water in their normal swimming position while supporting the belly and holding both the mouth and gills open.  Move them forward or hold them facing into a current to allow water to pass through their gills.  They should swim away under their own power.

If all efforts to release a fish fail then consider it as part of your catch.  Otherwise give each fish the best fighting chance at survival so they may go on to live and reproduce for other generations. Follow these guidelines and let them go so they can grow.

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8/23/14 - There is a research project underway here in Cook County that examines the impact of international workers in the local communities.

Sawbill Newsletter - Sat, 08/23/2014 - 9:16am

8/23/14 - There is a research project underway here in Cook County that examines the impact of international workers in the local communities.

Part of the project is a survey of visitors, in which you are welcome to participate.

Former Sawbill crew member, Lee Stewart, started camping at Sawbill with her parents in the 1950s. Her mother, Lizzy Millard, would have been happy to see that her descendants are still camping at Sawbill. - Bill

Lizzy Millard's descendants, Emily Elizabeth Stewart Thomas, Lee Stewart, Jane Elizabeth Thomas - 60+ years of family tradition and counting.

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Land of True Happiness, Canadian Wilderness!

Tuscarora Lodge and Outfitters News - Sat, 08/23/2014 - 8:49am

A blog from former staffer Amy -

On August 8, my friends Laura, Tessa, Steph, and I set off on a wonderful, witty, wandering wilderness women’s adventure. All of us had spent summers guiding and traveling through the Boundary Waters on the US-Canada border, but this was the first time any of us had ventured north of that border on a multi-night Quetico trip. We were so excited and so ready to go (especially guide dog Avery!).

A tow from Tuscarora gave us a jumpstart on our 95-mile journey. Thanks Kyle!

After checking in with Janice at the Cache Bay Ranger Station, we paddled north toward the Falls Chain.  It was so much fun to put “faces” with the names we’d heard so many times (Silver Falls, Saganagons, Kawnipi), to see the unique characters of the many waterfalls (Bald Rock, Koko, Four Falls, Little Falls, Canyon, Kennebas) around which we portaged. Turns out the sound of rushing water is very encouraging when you’re carrying a heavy pack and/or canoe!

Although we saw several other people along the Falls Chain, by the time we turned south towards Agnes it was beginning to feel like it was just us and the Canadian wilderness. We loved the still mornings and evenings (good for sunset yoga on the rocks!), streams along the Agnes River, pictographs, islands, and cliffs during this part of our journey. And we did a lot of singing of voyageur songs and oldies!

On our 4th day we stopped at Louisa Falls and were glad to be hiking up the steep, rocky, rooty trail without our canoes and gear. There the sun peaked out for the first time in a few days…it felt pretty glorious!

Our campsite on Sunday Lake that night was one of our favorites. We’d fallen into a pattern of good rock time, cooking yummy meals and taking out the map to talk through our plans for the next day. And that night we watched the sky and lake for a long time.

Over the next few days we looped south along the border and then northeast along the man chain. These lakes are very confusing to talk about… “Was that This Man or That Man? Is this This Man or That Man?” …but cliffy and island-y and calm.

In addition to large “Welcome to Canada” signs, we experienced lilypads and knee-deep mud during this part of the journey. It was all very wonderful!

The last few nights of our trip were cold and brought beautiful misty mornings. On our final morning in the Quetico we paddled through Ottertrack Lake in awe as the mist revealed perfectly still water and cliffs brightened by elegant sunburst lichen.

It was hard to leave this beautiful place experienced with beautiful friends. But Quetico, we will be back!!


If you go…

They did the route in 7 days but be warned, these girls move!  Moving 15 to 20 miles a day is not unheard of for them.

  • Day 1: Hook Island to Saganagons
  • Day 2: Saganagons to Murdoch (comes right after Kawnipi)
  • Day 3: Murdock, Agnes River, Agnes (halfway)
  • Day 4: Agnes, Meadows, Sunday
  • Day 5: Sunday, Bayley Bay of Basswood Lake, Birch Lake, Carp Lake, Sheridan Lake, That Man, No Man, This Man
  • Day 6: This Man, Other Man, Bell, Fran, Saganagons, Lilypad, Jasper, Ottertrack (Canada side)
  • Day 7: Ottertrack, Swamp, Sag, Roy, Grandpa, Seagull
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Moose Calling at the State Fair

Boundary Waters Blog - Fri, 08/22/2014 - 6:39am

This might just be the way to get people from up north down to the Minnesota State Fair.

Hear the Call of the Moose at the Minnesota State Fair

Fairgoers can hear the Call of the Moose at the Minnesota State Fair. A new partnership between the Department of Natural Resources and Les Kouba Outdoors was formed to raise awareness of the plight of Minnesota moose and raise money for moose research and management.

At the fair:

Get info on a new critical habitat license plate featuring moose art by renowned wildlife artist Les Kouba. Information about the program is available on the DNR website at
Hear moose calling when the finalists of the Let Loose Your Minnesota Moose-Moose Calling Contest sound off on the DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29. The DNR’s Tom Rusch, Tower area wildlife manager, will give moose background, demonstrate calling and help judge. Sign up for the contest from 9 a.m. today through 12:45 p.m. Aug. 29, at the fair at the Call of the Moose Store, or online at or
Hear original music from Michael Monroe dedicated to the Call of the Moose Minnesota. Monroe blends vocals, guitars, bamboo and crystal flutes, and will perform at various times on Thursday, Aug. 28, at the Call of the Moose store, and at 1 p.m. on Aug. 29 before the calling contest.
Merchandise is being sold near the DNR building at the Call of the Moose store. A portion of the proceeds benefits moose research and management. See a restored statue of a life-size moose that has been displayed at the State Fair for nearly 20 years. This year, the moose is outfitted with a tracking collar similar to those used to track real moose in northern Minnesota. See a video of the moose restoration at
Why all the focus on moose? Moose in Minnesota are in trouble. A 50 percent decline in the moose population since 2010 has left the iconic Minnesota animal in real danger of disappearing.

Information on the partnership between the DNR and Les Kouba Outdoors is available online at Information from the DNR on moose research can be found at


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Funny Fox Video

Boundary Waters Blog - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 4:34pm

We love fox and we know how curious and mischievous they are. I’m not sure why this person left their GoPro on the ground but the fox took advantage of the opportunity to steal it. The video mainly shows the inside of the fox’s mouth. I’ve always been tempted to put a GoPro on my dog or wish I could put one on a fox to see where they go. Guess I will just have to settle for this video for now.

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Highway 61 Revisited: Help Redesign Highway 61

Moving Matters - Thu, 08/21/2014 - 2:50pm

The City of Grand Marais invites all that live, work, shop, walk, bike, drive, or play along Highway 61 in Grand Marais to the kick-off of Highway 61 Revisited to help redesign this important corridor. The first gathering will be Thursday, September 4th 6-8 pm at the Grand Marais Public Library.


Join us for a lively evening to engage in discussion and share ideas to improve Highway 61 through Grand Marais.

For more information and updates, visit

*Free childcare is available for families participating in the evening, for children age 4 months and over. Drop-off will be at the YMCA starting at 5:30 pm, pick-up after the event.



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