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West End News: April 10

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It’s not too early to mark your calendar for the “Gala for the Grove.”  The Gala is a gourmet dinner, live auction and dance, and is the largest annual fundraiser for the remarkable Birch Grove Community School in Tofte.
This year, the Gala is scheduled for Saturday, May 17th at Surfside Resort in Tofte.  Seating is limited, so reserve your place early.  You can also be a sponsor of the event at various levels.
You should also think about what you might have to donate to the live auction.  In the past, some memorable items have been auctioned, including a pedigreed puppy, free use of a vacation villa in Mexico, and a truckload of black dirt, among many, many other things.
This year, the Gala is looking for a local artist to donate a significant piece of art.  The artist will be given a lot of publicity and will have the chance to mingle and meet many local art buyers during the Gala’s social hour.
For reservations, sponsorships or auction donations, call Diane Blanchette at 663-0170.  You can always contact WTIP for that phone number if you missed it.
In every story that I read about job openings in Minnesota, welding is invariably mentioned as an area where many high paying jobs are currently available.  Cook County Higher Education is offering a 30-credit Welding Technology Certificate right here in Cook County.  Completing the course will qualify you to work in production welding, manufacturing, repair, maintenance work or the construction industry.  The program is geared for working adults and can be completed over two years.
The certificate can also be applied toward higher degrees including Applied Engineering and Technology Management.
Scholarship help is available, but the scholarship deadline is April 15th, so if you’re interested, contact Cook County Higher Education at 387-3411 right away.  The wonderful folks at Higher Ed will help you with every step of the process.
The Cook County Soil and Water Conservation District is offering low cost tree and shrub stock for sale this spring. A variety of species are available.  You can see images and descriptions on the District’s website.  Just google “Cook County Soil and Water Conservation” to find the site.  Orders are due by April 18th for pickup on May 15th in Grand Marais.
Many years ago, one of the trail food companies produced a package of freeze-dried water as a marketing gag.  We had the package on display in our store here at Sawbill and it drew a lot of comment.  A surprising number of people took it seriously and suggested that it would be perfect for desert camping trips.
Imagine my amusement when I heard that the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota is busy freeze-drying water samples taken from Lake Superior. 
It turns out that freeze-drying the water gives them a more accurate sample of what is dissolved in the water than the traditional method of evaporation.  Letting water evaporate gives volatile compounds the chance to evaporate too, giving the scientists -who are a picky bunch - inaccurate results.
Now if they can just figure out how their freeze-dried water can be used for desert camping…