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Ah, the sights, sounds and smells of winter! Granted, one doesn't usually associate smells with winter - at least not in the same way as the delicate fragrance of lilacs in springtime, the heady smell of freshly mown grass in summertime, or the bittersweet scent of decaying leaves in autumn. But to me, winter has a smell all its own, unlike any other season of the year, and that scent can be summed up in two words - woodsmoke and wool.... There's something about the smell of wood burning in the fireplace that evokes the aura of winter.
Have you ever dreamed of going where the jungle is so dense you can't penetrate its depths more than 10 or 15 feet? Where catfish grow as big as 60 pounds, rats are the size of cats and you can eat piranhas for lunch (or they might return the favor!)? Where parrots have wing spreads three feet across, bass are as big as the landing net and anaconda spiders lay in wait for their victims in shallow pools of water? Well, Cloquet native and local businessman Mike McKinney did - and recently, that dream of a lifetime came true.
Got a heart for kids and a few extra hours to spare? There's someone out there waiting for you. That's the premise that has driven the very successful R.E.A.C.H. (Recreational Experiences Achieving Community Harmony) program in Carlton County to strive for still bigger and better things. Since 2000, R.E.A.C.H. has provided recreational opportunities for kids at risk. Now, the program is branching out to provide mentors who can be there for those kids on an ongoing basis. The R.E.A.C.H.
The winter heating season brings with it many safety risks, including chimney fires and the threat of carbon monoxide from faulty systems or improper venting. Thanks to the widespread use of smoke, carbon monoxide and radon detectors in today's homes, many lives have been saved, but they're only as good as the people who maintain them. Captain Kevin Schroeder of the Cloquet Fire Department said this winter alone the local department has responded to some 18 to 20 reports of carbon monoxide alarms that have activated in residential homes.
A number of fund raisers are being planned in support of the work of the R.E.A.C.H. program, including its new mentoring initiative. "When you don't have a consistent stream of state and federal dollars coming in," said Director Dawn Shoberg, "you have to fund raise to keep the program going." A special event called "Leap for R.E.A.C.H." is planned for Friday, Feb. 29, beginning at 5 p.m. at the Lost Isle in Carlton. It will include a spaghetti dinner and dance.
It seems that everyone is looking for a "one-stop shop" these days. Folks want to take care of all their banking, bill paying and travel plans online, mail packages, buy stamps and order shipping containers from the living room of their homes, or buy groceries, medications, and underwear all in one spot - all at the same time they're having their tires rotated.
If this frigid winter weather persists, I'm toast. That's because, in my relentless search to stay warm and cozy, I sometimes test the limits. Take, for example, the frosty morning when I decided to wear long underwear to work under my navy dress slacks - and glanced down in the middle of the county board meeting to see my long johns peeking out from below the hem of my pants! Or the day it was snowing so hard I decided to wear my Sorels to work with my dressy black pants suit - and forgot to bring my shoes.
Over time, the federal and state governments have chinked away at their budgets for human services programs, resulting in a gradual cost shift to local governments - with the local taxpayer often feeling the pinch the greatest.
Kathleen Mary Schlumpberger, 56, of McGregor died as the result of a snowmobile accident last Friday that occurred east of County Road 19 in Autumba Township. According to Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake, Carlton County Dispatch received a 911 call at approximately 6:50 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 11.
Certain Carlton County residences, rentals and commercial properties are about to receive a new lease on life. At Tuesday's Annual Meeting of the Carlton County Board, Lezlie Ballis of Lakes and Pines Community Action Council informed commissioners the county is requesting some $951,000 in grant funding from the state of Minnesota's Small Cities Development Program for owners interested in rehabilitating their buildings. "Rehabilitation is not remodeling," clarified Ballis.