West End News: March 28

Levon Helm
Levon Helm

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An interesting new business is coming to Lutsen soon. Chuck Corliss, long time Lutsen visitor and homeowner, is building a winery and brewery on the east side of the Ski Hill Road, just a little ways up from Highway 61.
 
Chuck recently attended an informal get-together with neighbors to show them the plans for the project and solicit ideas and concerns.  Chuck plans to initially sell bottles of wine that are made elsewhere, but marketed under his own brand.  Eventually, he plans to grow fruit on the property and use that to blend his own wines.  A gift shop and tasting room will be located in the same building.
 
For the beer brewing side of the business, Chuck has teamed up with local brew masters, Mike Carlson and Matt Kartes.  They’ll brew small batches of high quality beer in a separate building on the site.  They will sell large bottles of their beer, known as growlers, from the gift shop.  They also hope to have their beer on tap at bars around Cook County and perhaps regionally.
 
The plans do not include a restaurant or bar on the Lutsen site, although Chuck is brainstorming about offering classes, tastings, acoustic music and other events.  He is striving to make the business compatible with the other uses in the neighborhood, and he plans to make the buildings, landscaping and gardens as tasteful and pretty as he can.
 
Chuck is hoping to be at least partly open by this fall, but possibly not fully open until next spring.  He is moving ahead full speed with all the various licenses, permissions and plans that he needs before breaking ground.
 
A new and fun music event is happening in the West End Soon.  On Friday, Apr. 19, Cascade Lodge Pub, located between Lutsen and Grand Marais, will be the site of the “Cook County Ramble: The First Waltz.”  Many of Cook County’s most active musicians will gather to perform songs made famous by Levon Helm. Helm was most famously the drummer for The Band, which was Bob Dylan’s band for a while, among many other accomplishments. 
 
Levon Helm died last year on Apr. 19, so this event is designed to honor his memory.  In recent years, Helm hosted a famous concert series call the Midnight Ramble at his home in Woodstock, New York.  Helm was also featured in the movie, “The Last Waltz,” directed by Martin Scorsese, which documents The Band’s final concert in 1978. So, the Cook County Ramble: The First Waltz, is working to carry the work of one of America’s music icons forward, right here in Cook County.
 
Each musician or musical group will present its own interpretation of two songs that were previously recorded by Levon Helm.  At the end, all the musicians will join in on two of Helm’s most famous songs, inspired by the final scene from “The Last Waltz.”
 
Everyone is welcome to come and watch the fun.  Given the level of musicianship around Cook County, it should be well worth the effort.  The event is a fundraiser, so the musicians are all donating their time and talent.  There will be a small suggested donation at the door with half the receipts going to the Cook County High School Band instrument fund and half to Levon Helm’s charitable foundation, Keep It Goin’.
 
If you have any questions about the “Cook County Ramble: The First Waltz,” or if you would like to perform or even just help out, contact Eric Frost at 370-1362, or call WTIP for Eric’s contact information.
 
The Birch Grove Foundation is hosting an interesting event, also on Apr. 19, from 5:30 until 8 p.m.  The foundation director, Patty Nordahl, is inviting all the West End non-profits, public service organizations, townships and volunteers to a gathering at Birch Grove.  The purpose is to share information, get to know each other and explore where and when it might be useful to work together.
 
The agenda asks that participants bring any promotional materials that you might have to share about your organization and dates and times of any events that are coming up to be put into a community calendar. 
 
The Birch Grove Foundation is also putting together a list of West End community assets, so people should think about what they consider to be an asset to the West End.
 
There will also be a brainstorming session about broadband Internet access, which is arriving in the West End soon, to generate ideas of how broadband can be used to improve the community.  The ideas will be used for a Blandin Foundation grant application for a “Public Access Technology Hub” in the West End.
 
And, last, but certainly not least, the wood-fired oven will be hot and you will be able to make your own pizza.  Drinks will be provided and a collection will be taken up to pay for the pizza makings.
 
In my opinion, this is a really important effort that the Birch Grove Foundation is making on behalf of the West End.  It should be very useful and lead to better communication and cooperation in the community as we enter the world of broadband and the many other opportunities that are in front of us.  Contact the ever-reliable Patty Nordahl at bgf@boreal.org (that’s bgf as in Birch Grove Foundation), or call WTIP for her contact information.


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