West End News: May 23

'The Glacier' at Sawbill
'The Glacier' at Sawbill

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The Gala for the Grove, Birch Grove School's biggest annual fundraiser, was a smashing success once again this year.  School Director, Diane Blanchette, reported that this year's Gala more than met the goal of raising $10,000.  She asked me to thank Dennis Rysdahl, who donates the facilities and staff, along with the many other sponsors, who donated cash, raffle prizes and auction items.  The great local band, D'Merritt, provided live music for dancing.  Everyone had a great time and it's not too early to pencil in next year's Gala on your May calendar.
 
West End parents, remember the Campsite Kids and Summer Sapling programs this summer at Birch Grove.  Campsite Kids is qualified day care for kindergarten through fifth grade children three days a week, all summer long.  There will be weekly "campy" themes with field trips, creative projects, campfires, access to the school library and many other fun activities based in the Birch Grove outdoor classroom.
 
Summer Saplings is a similar program that is geared to the 3 to 5-year-old set.  It also runs three days a week, all day.  The number of participants is limited, so for more information or to register, call Diane at 663-0170 or contact WTIP for full contact information.
 
We can't let the kids have all the fun, so adults can plan on attending the popular North Shore Landowners Workshop at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center in Finland. This workshop is sponsored by the North Shore Stewardship Association at Sugarloaf Cove and has generated rave reviews from those attending in the past.  It's always nice to meet your land-owning neighbors, but you can also learn why all the birches are dying, how to control invasive species on your property, which trees to plant and how to ensure their survival and many other useful things.  The event is Friday, June 7th from 12:30 to 4 p.m.  It is free and open to public, but pre-registration is encouraged.  You can register at the Sugarloaf Cove website, or by calling 218-525-0001.  As always, you can contact WTIP for full contact information.
 
The entire West End Community was saddened by the news of the death of John Fredrickson from Silver Bay.  John died May 18 at home in Silver Bay.  John was a well-known and well-liked member of the community.  He was an entrepreneur who owned the Standard station in Silver Bay and John's Sanitary Removal, which he built into a thriving business over the last 28 years.
 
John was also then longtime chief of the Silver Bay Fire Department, which is known as one of the finest small town fire departments in the state of Minnesota.  Last year, he was honored by the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs’ Association as Fire Officer of the Year. 
 
He was a famous hard worker, but was also a dedicated family man.  He will be missed by the whole community.  Our condolences to the all of John's family and friends.
 
Molly Rider, of Lutsen, will be departing this week to paddle the entire length of the Mississippi River.  The trip is sponsored by outdoor club at Bowdoin College in Maine where Molly is a student.  She'll be joined by her best friend from school, and two friends from Two Harbors.  Watch the WTIP website for updates as the trip progresses.  Molly plans to arrive at the Gulf of Mexico sometime in early August.
 
It seems like all the lakes in the BWCA Wilderness are finally clear of ice. Brule Lake had significant ice until the 20th of May. Here at Sawbill, it is starting to green up, but the snow bank in front of the store, which I call "The Glacier," is still three feet tall.  It may last until the first of June this year.  Having "The Glacier" on site is bad for ice sales, because people can just throw a shovel full of snow into their coolers.  Its presence is good for sweatshirt sales though, so I guess it all works out in the end.

photo by Bill Hansen

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