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West End News Oct. 13

Sawbill crew members are out grouse hunting
Sawbill crew members are out grouse hunting

Finalcut_WEN_20111013.mp38.11 MB

 The Cook County Community Fund has produced a document called “A Guide To Giving” which is a directory of over 100 non-profit organizations that accept donations and are active in Cook County. The booklet will be mailed to every mailing address in Cook County. It is fascinating to look through it to see how many different efforts there are to improve life in the county. It includes churches, schools, recreational clubs, environmental causes, health care, emergency services and much, much more.

The Cook County Community Fund was created a few years ago to act as sort of a clearing-house for charitable giving in the county. You can make a general donation to the Community Fund and they will re-grant it to one of the non-profits that applies to them for support. Or, the Community Fund hosts a number of funds that provide long-term support for specific organizations or causes.

To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time that anyone has published a comprehensive list of the local non-profits. Please save your copy when you receive it, or pass it along to someone who might be interested in supporting something that benefits our community. The Community Fund tried very hard to include every organization in the guide, but if they missed anyone, it can be added to the website version of the guide.

Making a donation to something that you care about is a terrific thing to do. Numerous studies have shown that people who make donations are generally happier and more successful in life than people who don’t make donations. Giving to local non-profits is an old and deep tradition here in Cook County, so I urge you to look at the guide when it arrives and do what you can. You can see the guide online now at:

I was in Ely the other day to collect some of the gear that we had rented to the firefighters working on the Pagami Creek fire. As you may imagine, they have rented from every outfitter in the Ely area. In the heat of battle, the firefighters don’t pay much attention to who provided any given piece of gear and it quickly becomes all mixed together. As part of the process in winding down the fire, the Forest Service collects all the gear in Ely and then works with each outfitter to get their gear back to them. It was interesting to hang around for a while and watch as pumps were returned, drained, serviced and staged for their return to storage. There were dozens of pallets of rolled fire hose sitting around. While I was there, a hotshot crew pulled in, unloaded a pile of hose, and in just a few minutes, straightened it, rolled it, bundled it and stacked it neatly on pallets. It was clear how good they are at the firefighting business just by watching them handle this one mundane chore.

The fire containment was strongly tested earlier this week with the continuation of freakishly warm and windy weather. The fire lines did their job, though, and the flare-ups and spot fires were handled without a problem. With the long range forecast looking much more seasonable and wet, decommissioning this fire will probably start in earnest this week.

Grouse hunting continues to be very good in the West End. Every hunter I talk to is getting birds and many report bagging their limit. We’ve been eating a lot of grouse here at Sawbill thanks to our crew members who enjoy hunting. Fishing, on the other hand, seems to be slowing way down. I have a vivid memory from when I was a little kid. I asked Dick Raiken, who owned Sawbill Lodge at the time and was the best woodsman I’ve ever met, about late fall fishing. I clearly remember him saying, “When the leaves go down, lean your fishing rod in the corner and take out your shotgun.” That advice has always held true.