Our view: Thumbs up, Thumbs down
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Local author finalist for book award
Thumbs up (and congratulations) to Sawyer’s Jim Northrup for being one of four finalists in the “Minnesota” category of this year’s Minnesota Book Awards. Northrup was nominated for his book, “Anishinaabe Syndicated: A View From the Rez,” released earlier this year, a “distillation” of the first 12 years of his award winning “Fond du Lac Follies” column.
Northrup may not have been planning to provide a historical record for future generations when he started his column 23 years ago, but that’s what happened. While Northrup was motoring around the country in a long line of “rez” cars – and writing conversational and frequently humorous columns about those adventures – he witnessed and participated in many actions leading to significant changes for American Indians, from enforcing tribal fishing and hunting rights to the rise in tribal power that came with money from the casinos to the revival (ongoing) of the Ojibwe language. [Read the Pine Journal review at www.pinejournal.com, linked to this editorial.]
How fortunate we are to have Northrup around to voice his honest and uncowed opinion about current events, on and off the Fond du Lac reservation. All of those who attended the library’s local author meet and greet last month can feel smug knowing that you met a possible Minnesota Book Awards author.
The winners will be announced April 14 at the 24th annual Minnesota Book Awards gala event at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul. Other finalists in the Minnesota category are “The Pillsburys of Minnesota” by Lori Sturdevant with George S. Pillsbury; “Pioneer Modernists: Minnesota’s First Generation of Women Artists” by Julie L’Enfant, and “Sisterhood of War: Minnesota Women in Vietnam” by Kim Heikkila.
On a related subject, during the month of March, Minnesotans are invited to cast their votes to name a winner for the Readers’ Choice Award. The link to vote is at www.thefriends.org.
A big brother to look up to
Thumbs up to another Carlton County celebrity, Kody Mickle. Although he wasn’t looking for fame, the Cloquet High School freshman found it after he put his CPR training to work saving the life of his 2-year-old sister, Kenadie Mickle. Kenadie had suffered a febrile seizure and then stopped breathing; she was turning blue by the time her big brother came upstairs to help. Mickle’s story was front page news in the Pine Journal two weeks ago, then was repeated in various regional news outlets in the days that followed. Now Judy Hanne Gonzalez, executive director of the American Red Cross Northland Chapter, is nominating Kody for a Red Cross Heroes award. While we hope her nomination is successful, Kody is already a hero to everyone in Cloquet for keeping his cool when things were going very wrong.
Thumbs down to Cloquet School District and the plan to sell orchestra instruments. Yes, district officials made an educated decision – and a difficult one – when they decided to do away with the orchestra program at the schools. We can live with that, for now. But it seems penny-wise and pound-foolish to sell off all the orchestra instruments, especially if the district wants to try to sell voters on another referendum attempt.
Superintendent Ken Scarbrough said the sale hasn’t happened yet, although the instruments have been appraised. He also pointed out that the instruments would deteriorate over time if they were put into storage. (So much for the Stradivarius.) However, if and when they do sell the instruments, the public will be notified of the process, Scarbrough said.
Austin, Minn., (population 24,718) has its own symphony orchestra … why not Carlton County? Maybe some musically minded Carlton County citizens can put in a bid that would allow people of all ages from across the county to keep the music alive