West End News: April 17

Eric
Eric "Frosty" Frost

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It’s time again for the annual West End guessing game called “when will the ice go out?”  Sometimes this is a game of casual interest even when it involves small amounts of money being wagered. On the other hand, in a year like this one, when it seems like the ice might not be out by the opening day of fishing, it gets serious.
 
Here’s what I know.  At the moment, there is 31” of good ice on Sawbill Lake.  The snow pack in the woods is about 20” on average.  The creeks and rivers are open where the water is moving.  The grackles, purple finches, juncos and robins are back.
 
If I were subjected to enhanced-interrogation techniques, I would say that ice-out will be just in time for opening day.  However, I’ve learned over the years that nothing makes you look foolish faster than predicting the ice-out date.
 
Every year about this time, Lutsen Mountains holds its “Mountain Meltdown” celebration.  Last Sunday, four local bands performed for what amounts to the defacto end-of-the-year party for the ski hill.   At the height of the Meltdown celebration, local musician and all around good guy, Eric Frost, from Tofte, was treated to a great surprise. 
 
Last fall, Frosty recorded a handful of his original songs at the recording studio of Jerry and Dusty Levine in Silver Bay.  Jerry and Dusty are the long-time sound engineers at Papa Charlie’s nightclub in Lutsen.  Frosty recorded only the vocal tracks of his songs, with the intention of adding the instruments sometime in the future.  Jerry and Dusty took the vocal from Frosty’s song call “Mr. Moonshiner” and added all the instruments in the style of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the iconic southern rock band, including a blistering rock guitar solo by Dusty.
 
All the other musicians had been alerted by Jerry, so Frosty was lured to the middle of the room and Jerry unleashed the song with all the considerable audio power that Papa Charlie’s sound system can muster.  It was great fun to watch Frosty’s face as it changed from listening to just any song, to realizing it was his song, which caused him consternation, to the dawning realization of what Jerry and Dusty had done.  His smile was priceless.  Listen for it soon on a radio station near you.
 
The Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts of the US Forest Service are looking for full time wilderness volunteers for the upcoming summer season.  The volunteers are full-fledged wilderness rangers, spending 8 days at a time in the BWCA Wilderness, working on campsites and portages.  Volunteers receive reimbursement for expenses, which amounts to about $200 per trip and free housing when they are off the trail.
 
This is a great opportunity for someone who is contemplating a career with the Forest Service or who just loves wilderness.  You should know that the work is physically very demanding and requires a high level of fitness.  The wilderness rangers travel, work and camp together in small groups for 8 days in a row, so it helps to have an easy-going personality.
 
If you are interested, contact Cathy Quinn at 218-387-3240.  You can always contact WTIP if you missed that number.
 
One of the best things about small town newspapers, including our own Cook County News Herald, is reading the law enforcement briefs that often read like little haikus about the more difficult parts of life in our community.
 
Amongst the common complaints of keys locked in a car, noisy neighbors, and vehicle in the ditch, is the occasional report of something that is unintentionally hilarious.  The all-time classic, from a couple of years ago, was “caller reports three legged dog running in front of the library with a chicken in its mouth – headed east.”  The level of detail in that report made me spit out my coffee.
 
This week comes another classic: “Monday, March 31, 7:50 am – Caller said there was a deer sitting by the front door, unknown if it was injured or just hungry.  He gave it a bagel, but was unsure if the deer can get up.”
 
This report raises a bunch of questions for me.  Was the bagel toasted?  Was cream cheese involved?  Did the deer eventually get up and leave?  Did it return the next morning for breakfast?  I guess we’ll never know.
 
I do know that I like living in a place where law enforcement is called to help deal with a bagel-eating deer.
 

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