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West End News Jan. 13

Frank remembers friend and commercial fisherman Kermit Carlsen of Schroeder who passed away this past week.
Frank remembers friend and commercial fisherman Kermit Carlsen of Schroeder who passed away this past week.

Finalcut_WestEnd_20100115.mp34.22 MB

The Birch Grove Center at Birch Grove School offers lots of events to the West End community. A great one is skating at night under the lights on the Birch Grove rink. This weekend will be special. Good ice, mild temperatures, and if you want to make the skating into a party, pizza is available at the center from 5 until 9 on weekend nights. Fun, fun, fun.

Our community lost another friend and fisherman with the death of Kermit Carlsen of Schroeder this past week. Kermit and Margaret were partners not only in marriage, but also in their commercial fishing. They were forced to stop fishing when the pollution from the Erie mining plant fouled their nets. Kermit was prominent in calling out Erie mining for the pollution. Erie eventually paid substantial fines to the state for the pollution. Unfortunately the individual commercial fishermen who suffered losses because of the pollution were forgotten in the settlements.

Kermit also joined in the skepticism and anger of the local fishermen about the ever-increasing load of regulations which, in his opinion and the opinion of most of the fishermen, made little sense. Kermit was able to explain all of this in either Norwegian or English.

One story that Kermit told me which was hilarious was this: He was in a coffee shop in Duluth, in line, waiting to order coffee. The man ahead of him was talking on his cell phone in Norwegian about a very personal matter, probably believing that no one close by understood Norwegian. Just for fun Kermit gave his order to the clerk in Norwegian. Kermit said, "He dropped the phone.” A wonderful Norwegian joke.

We will all miss Kermit. The West End community extends our sympathy to Margaret and the members of the family.

The census count is getting close. This census is critical for Minnesota at every governmental level, township, county, state and federal, for the reason that the population of the state is close to the point where Minnesota is in real danger of losing one congressional district. Many entitlement programs are based on the number of people in the governmental unit.

For example, for years Cook County was not eligible for money from some federal programs because the county had fewer than 5,000 official residents according to the census. No matter how many are actually here, only the official count determines eligibility.

For this reason I feel it is very important that each resident of the county be counted in the census. It is beyond important, it is critical, especially in the West End for the reason that we have the only official townships in the county. So please consider lending your cooperation to the effort and be counted in the census.

You would think that this would all be cut and dried but there are glitches now and then. We experienced this at the time of the first census after we moved to Sawbill full time, which was the 1980 census. We waited for the interviewer to show up, but no one came. We called the census supervisor and found out that somehow as far as the census went we were in "no man's land.”

The boundary for census districts was the Sawbill Trail. The east side of the trail where we lived was in the jurisdiction of a census district far away. The west side of the trail after the top of the hill out of Tofte had no residents. An enumerator had come and visited the west side, vacant campgrounds and all, and had gone home. The enumerator for the east side looked at a map, decided that there were not residents, so did not come.

An enumerator made a special trip to question us, which was good. We asked about the folks around Pancore Lake, and the folks on the Grade and Gust Lake. The answer was, "What folks?" I imagine that it was absolutely against all regulations, but we volunteered to deliver census documents to these folks and the offer was accepted. We were sure that if the census could not find us they would never find the neighbors tucked away in the woods. So make sure that you are counted.