Our View….Fist bump, Carlton County!There was a day when Carlton County’s greatest claim to fame was the tragic Fire of 1918.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
There was a day when Carlton County’s greatest claim to fame was the tragic Fire of 1918. Since that time, we’ve produced a few Olympic athletes, a number of noted scholars and even a movie star or two.
What many of us might not be aware of, however, is that Carlton County continues to have many dedicated and talented individuals who work quietly behind the scenes to make Carlton County stand out above the crowd on a local, state and even national level.
Joining our community this week is Wish, the new 17-month-old K9 officer of the Cloquet Area Fire District. Wish, an accelerant detection dog, replaces Nick, who was with the department for nine years, retiring in 2010. Not only is Carlton County fortunate to have the resources of such a dog at its disposal, but her presence makes Carlton County unique in the state of Minnesota — and the entire region, for that matter — in having the only arson-detection dog in the area.
When Nick was on duty, he and his partner, Gordy Meagher, were called to assist in fire investigations throughout the state as well as Iowa, Colorado and Illinois. Through the dog’s finely tuned efforts and abilities, investigators were able to hone in on the source of countless fires in an effort to bring the perpetrators to justice.
With Wish now on duty, chances are the eyes of the region will once again be on Carlton County as a source of help and assistance.
In other news this week, we learned that the highly effective TXT4Life program is poised to expand statewide, thanks to an implementation bill passed by the Minnesota legislature. Pioneered through the hard work of Carlton County Health and Human Services and piloted in our seven-county area of northeastern Minnesota, the program is proving to be an idea whose time has come — encouraging teens and other young people to text for help and support when they are feeling suicidal or otherwise in a vulnerable state of mind.
Since the original grant to fund the program was secured in 2011, a significant number of teens have accessed the help of trained professionals through this program and, very likely, lives have been saved. The legislation to fund the statewide initiative received almost unprecedented bipartisan support, thanks in large part to the hard work of Carlton County Health and Human Services Director Dave Lee and his staff as well as the influential backing of Carlton County’s Senator Tony Lourey and Representative Mike Sundin.
Now, Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Lucinda Jesson has asked to sit down and visit with Lee about this and other health and human services initiatives being effectively pioneered here in Carlton County.
Carlton County continues to make history, thanks to the hard work and initiative of its leaders and the support of its residents. We deserve to give ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back — or a fist bump, if you will. What we’re doing here is turning heads all over the nation.