We were thrilled to have a visit from the Superior National Forest leadership team this week. The team is about 30 Forest Service employees who hold the higher administrative jobs at the Forest Service headquarters in Duluth and in the District Offices around the Forest. They were taking a full day to tour various parts of the Tofte District, which includes most of the West End.
The Forest Service plays a large role in our lives here in the West End, as they administer the vast majority of our land base. Their multiple-use mandate provides business opportunities in timber and recreation of all types. They are also important employers in their own right. As if that isn’t enough, they provide a lot of the recreation opportunities that we all enjoy, including trails of all types, fishing docks, campgrounds and hunting land, just to name a few.
The individuals on the leadership team are out and about in the forest on a daily basis, but it’s also valuable for the whole team to get out together, so they can discuss and ponder future policy decisions while looking at the actual effects of their past decisions.
It’s easy to make fun of any big organization like the Forest Service, but the reality is that they do a great job administering the public lands that provide for the lifestyle that makes us all want to live here. In my long experience with the Forest Service, I’ve invariably been impressed with the intelligence and dedication of the employees. They do a lot for us and we shouldn’t take them for granted.
The Bloodmobile is returning to Tofte on Monday, November 16, from 2:30 until 6 pm. It parks at Zoar Lutheran Church with registration taking place just inside the church. Long-time blood drive volunteer, Julie Rannetsberger, is organizing things this time around, so give her a call at 663-7111 to schedule a time to donate.
I almost never miss an opportunity to donate blood, but I’ll have to pass this time because I’ll be on vacation in Hawaii. Someone is welcome to take my place though – at the blood drive, not in Hawaii!
I usually don’t report local births, because if I do one, then I have to do them all. But I’m making an exception for the birth of Freja Tofte Hedstrom last week. Freya is, I’m told, the first child born of a union between the Toftes and the Hedstroms, two of the largest and most prominent pioneer families in Cook County. Congratulations to the parents, Abby Tofte and Sam Hedstrom, as well as the grandparents, Brian and Kelly Tofte, and Ed and Kris Hedstrom.
The election ballots are out for the operating levy referendum for the Cook County Schools, also known as Independent School District Number 166.
In my opinion, the correct vote on this issue is “yes.” Without this authorization, our largest school district will be crippled in its efforts to educate our children.
Education is the key to almost everything in a civil society. I could provide examples all day, but the bottom line is that our tax dollars spent on public education provide a return on investment that would be the envy of any Wall Street hedge fund. Failure is not an option here. We can pay a little now or pay a lot later.
Aside from the financial sound financial reasons for voting yes, it is also just the right thing to do. What kind of community would we be if we didn’t invest in the well-being of our children?
Thanks in advance for doing your part to keep the West End a wonderful place to grow up and a great place to raise a family.