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West End News: January 30

boot hockey at Birch Grove
boot hockey at Birch Grove

WEN_20140130_finalcut.mp37.84 MB

Cook County Higher Education in Grand Marais has two offerings this week that may appeal to West End residents.
The first is called “Taking the High Road,” which is a six week study skills course that teaches you how to develop the proper mindset for studying. 
The instructor is Bob Pratt, a Cook County native who was the first in his family to go to college.  Bob, who is now retired and living in Grand Marais, holds a Phd and is one of the world’s leading authorities on adult and non-traditional learners.  Bob’s passion and mission in life is empowering people to improve their lives through education, so matter what their circumstances.  Not only is he a skilled and encouraging teacher, but he is one of the nicest and most pleasant people I know.
If you have any inclination toward returning to school, Bob’s class is for you.  It starts on Wednesday, February 5th, from 4 until 5:30 pm and continues for six Wednesdays, ending on March 12th.  There is a small charge for the course, but scholarships are available through Cook County Higher Education.
For more information, or to register, call Higher Ed at 387-3411.  You can find Higher Ed online by searching Higher Education, Cook County, Minnesota.  As always, you can contact WTIP at any time to get the contact information.
The other event being organized by Higher Ed, is the Emerging Leaders Group Coffee from 7:30 am until 9 am, at the North Shore Campus in Grand Marais on Tuesday, February 4th.  This is an informal gathering for anyone who wants to make a positive impact on the future of Cook County.
This is intended to be an ongoing opportunity and will be directed by the participants.  The plan is to have time for networking, as well as discussing issues that are important to Cook County.  The first session will be lead by Tim and Beth Kennedy.  Tim is a participant in the Blandin Leadership Program.
It would be great if some of our emerging leaders in the West End could represent us.  The same goes for every part of the county, of course.  Again, it is 7:30 to 9 am at the North Shore Campus of Cook County Higher Education, 300 West 3rd Street in Grand Marais.  It is free and everyone is welcome.
Also on February 4th are the precinct caucuses for the major political parties in Minnesota.  The precinct caucus system is the ground floor of democracy, where regular people can influence the issues championed by each political party that will eventually influence what kind of society we choose to construct for ourselves.
The Independence Party conducts their caucuses online, so consult their website for how to participate.  The caucuses the Republican and Democratic-Farmer-Labor Parties are all held in Grand Marais.  This year the Republicans will caucus at the 4-H Building and the DFLers will gather at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts. 
The caucus process is easy and fun.  All you have to do is show up at 7 pm on Tuesday, February 4th.  Each precinct can endorse candidates, propose changes to the party platform and, if you would like, get yourself elected to party positions that can lead to the party’s statewide convention in June.
You can get full information on the caucus system in Minnesota by going to the website of the Minnesota Secretary of State.
The entire West End is reeling from the tragic and untimely passing of Mark Buckman.  Mark is a life-long West End resident with deep roots throughout the Cook County.  Mark’s quiet and steady demeanor earned him many friends, especially among his co-workers at the Lutsen Mountains Ski Area where he was loved and respected by all.  I join everyone in the community in extending condolences to Mark’s family and many, many friends.
Congratulations to the organizers, racers and fans of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.  For a while last year it looked like the Beargrease would disappear from the scene, but a dedicated group of volunteers rallied around the race and made it one to remember.  Hopefully, it will continue for many years to come.
And finally, don’t forget the crazy fun annual boot hockey tournament at Birch Grove Community Center, Friday, February 7th starting at 5:30 pm.  Serious bragging rights are on the line and the competition will be semi-serious.
For WTIP, this is Bill Hansen with the West End News.

{photo courtesy of the Birch Grove Foundations}