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West End News: April 24

Cook County Ramble
Cook County Ramble

WEN_final cut_20140424.mp34.13 MB

It’s a well-established fact that affordable housing for working people in Cook County is a problem.  That problem is particularly acute for young people who are just starting out and don’t have the assets that lenders want to see as collateral.
We suffer from what I call “the Aspen Syndrome” where much of the already scarce private property is occupied by expensive vacation homes, which in turn, drives up the cost of all available properties.  Add the high cost of a septic system and general construction, and the dream of home ownership is effectively out of reach, even for double income families.
If you live and work in the West End – and want to own your own home or start your own business, you should attend the information and strategy session, that is designed specifically for you, on Thursday, April 29th, starting at 7 pm at the Lutsen Resort Ballroom.
A panel of people knowledgeable in housing and business in Cook County will go over, in detail, the resources that are currently available for buying or building a home and/or starting a business in the West End.  
There will also be time to talk about what strategies can be brought to bear on these long-standing problems.  We are not alone in this problem, so we can learn from other communities.  I urge everyone who is interested in the local housing issue to attend and contribute ideas.
You can contact WTIP for details and contact information.
Birch Grove Community School in Tofte is once again offering its popular Campsite Kids summer program for children from Kindergarten to 5th grade.  The program runs every weekday from 7 am until 5 pm in June, July and August.  It includes many creative and stimulating activities, including field trips, S’Mores and much more.  You can find all the details by googling Birch Grove School.  Call Diane at 663-0170 to register your child for this excellent program.
Lutsen Mountains has hit the news all over the Midwest by announcing that they will be open for skiing through the first weekend in May.  This is a first for the hill and probably a first for any ski area in Minnesota. 
For locals who know the hill, only the Eagle Mountain runs will be open, with only the Bridge chair lift running.  It is Saturday and Sunday skiing only.  The hill is closed on weekdays now.  There are very reasonable local lift tickets available, including a two fo the price of one offer, but you have to purchase them 72 hours in advance on the website.
I was at the hill all day on Easter Sunday.  Not only was there plenty of great snow, but sitting on the chalet deck and watching the experts ski the moguls on Hari-Kari was endless entertainment.
The second annual Cook County Ramble is being held at Cascade Lodge on Friday, May 2nd starting at 7 pm.  The name references the famous Midnight Rambles organized by the late American musical legend, Levon Helm, at his farm in New York.  The Cook County Ramble features a bunch of local musicians playing songs that were previously performed by Levon Helm. 
Last year’s event was a smashing success, so I expect this year’s event to be even more fun.  There is a suggested donation at the door and the proceeds go to the instrument fund at Cook County High School. Last year, the event raised a thousand dollars for the instrument fund, which more than doubled their budget.
Many thanks to the O’Phelans at Cascade Lodge for donating their restaurant space for this great event.  As I always say, “Be there, or be square!”