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West End News November 29

Peg Morris (Ed Landin)
Peg Morris (Ed Landin)

WEN_20121129_Finalcut.mp34.58 MB

I recently received word about the death of Peg Morris.  Peg and her partner, Ed Landin, were Cook County residents for many years. They started out with a cabin between Grand Marais and Lutsen while they operated a resort on Lake Superior just outside Two Harbors.  In 1994, they sold the resort, moved full-time to Cook County and were very active members of the community until they moved away in 2002.
Peg was a remarkable woman, with many talents.  She was a biologist by training and became a well-respected employee of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. While living in Cook County, Peg served on the Governor’s Commission on the BWCA Wilderness, the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission, Minnesota Resort Association, and both the Cook County and Arrowhead Library Boards.  She was a founding board member and eventually chairperson of the Northeast Initiative Fund, which later changed its name to the Northland Foundation. Peg was also a licensed bird rehabilitator and nursed many injured birds back to health.  I remember her delighted description of recovering wild birds flying around inside her house.
Peg changed my life when she called me back in the early ‘90s asking if I would consider serving on the Northland Foundation board of trustees. Before I could start making excuses, she said, “Serving on the Northland board has been the most fulfilling thing I’ve done in my life.” That stopped me in my tracks, because Peg had done many, many interesting things in her life. I agreed to serve and Peg was absolutely right about what a great experience it is. I will be forever grateful to her for steering my life in that direction.
Peg died back in September, after struggling with a mysterious and progressive brain and nerve degeneration for many years. It was never fully diagnosed, and while it robbed her of speech and muscle control, her eyes made it clear that she knew what was going on around her. She was 64 years old. 
Grand Marais State Bank in Tofte has several seasonal initiatives going on. I previously mentioned their “giving tree” where you can donate gift items to be placed under the tree in the bank lobby and they will be distributed to local families who can use a little extra holiday cheer this year.  They are also acting as a collection point for the Cook County Food Shelf. If you donate a food item between now and the middle of December, your name will be entered in a drawing for a $50 gift certificate. And finally, if you open a new checking or savings account during the holiday season, the bank will donate $5 to the Salvation Army Red Kettle collection effort. Thanks to Nancy Christenson and her great crew for their generous work.
The big news from here in the backwoods is that we’ve received more than 16 inches of snow since Thanksgiving.  When I tell people in town about this, they frankly give me a skeptical look. All I can say is, hop in your car and see for yourself. The first 11 inches that came on Thanksgiving night was wet, so every tree is just loaded with snow. Our little 6K ski trail here at Sawbill is open and in excellent condition. As a bonus, the snow on the trees makes every view down the trail look like a Currier and Ives Christmas card. While Sawbill Lake has been at least partially frozen for a couple of weeks, the heavy snow on top of thin ice has made lake travel sketchy and uncertain. Best to stay off the ice for a little while longer.
We’re off to a good start on my favorite season, and my hope is that this is truly the arrival of winter and the holiday season will be snowy, fun and joyful.

Airdate: November 29, 2012