A hometown newspaper with a local office, local owners & lots of local news

Articles written by Francy Chammings

Sorted by date  Results 1 - 25 of 36

  • Don't pass on reunions

    Francy Chammings|Jun 21, 2024

    In recent weeks, local schools held graduation ceremonies to honor this rite of passage into adulthood. These are momentous occasions, but most of us carry few memories of the speeches or the ritual after a few years have passed. What we do carry with us are the knowledge and lifelong emotional connections to our classmates. The grad parties and celebrations will continue for a while, but then it is time to move on. As the Class of ’24 continues to find its way in the world, they hold m... Full story

  • Calling for some kindness

    Francy Chammings|Apr 12, 2024

    The words “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are ensconced in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. At a time when people in the new colonies struggled to meet basic needs, procure property and establish a free society, it is a bit puzzling that the Founding Fathers would list “pursuit of happiness” on an equal level as “life” and “liberty.” We are almost 249 years removed from the time when those words were written. The United States of America has grown from 13 colonies t... Full story

  • Francy that: When it comes to saving the world, everybody matters

    Francy Chammings|Feb 2, 2024

    We live in the land of more than 10,000 lakes and 6,000 rivers and streams. Fresh clean water sustains our way of life from the systems in our homes, to the farmers who grow our food, to the outdoor recreation opportunities on or near our waterways. It is easy to take all of this for granted. Even though we experienced a record snowfall season last winter, our precipitation pattern left us very dry throughout the summer months. Our garden in Carlton County needed watering often, as did the... Full story

  • We can all help the watersheds

    Francy Chammings|Dec 22, 2023

    For much of the history of this country, rivers, lakes and waterways served as our sewers. That is until the Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire for the 13th time in 1969. This prompted the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972 and launched programs nationwide to clean up our surface waters. Under the direction of the Environmental Protection Agency, national standards regulating pollutants and the restoration and monitoring of all surface water began. However, as the understanding of water poll... Full story

  • Francy That: 'Worthless' land provides wide range of benefits

    Francy Chammings|Nov 10, 2023

    When I was young, we called them swamps, those low areas on the farms where grass for pasture or hay crops failed to grow. They were often wet and farmers said the soil was “sour” and the land worthless. However, in 1970 we learned the true value of these natural entities with the passing of the Environmental Protection Act and the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to the Carlton County Planning and Zoning guide, Carlton County has retained “over 94 percent of it...

  • Francy that: Theater is a shining gem in the area

    Francy Chammings|Jun 30, 2023

    We had seen the flyers around town and the articles in the Pine Knot in the six years after we moved to Carlton County. We never managed to attend a performance of the County Seat Theater until our granddaughter was in a cast. Little did we know what an entertainment treasure we have in our midst. "To be or not to be; that is the question," is the oft repeated line in the theater's recent production of "Women Playing Hamlet." That has not been a question for the community theater group these... Full story

  • Newspapers play important role in ancestry research

    Francy Chammings|Apr 14, 2023

    Those enticing ads depicting people immigrating to a better life in the USA sponsored by Ancestry.com have succeeded in convincing millions of people to submit DNA samples as a means of finding their roots. We search for stories of the past, details about where we came from, health histories and more. In all of this, we hope to learn how our ancestors survived to pass their genes on to us, but we need hard facts to establish the basis of our stories. The New York Library website says,... Full story

  • Movie theater survives despite many plot twists

    Francy Chammings|Feb 10, 2023

    There was a time in America when going to the movies was a favorite pastime for people of all ages. Then, enter television, home theater systems, movie rentals and now streaming services, and the moviegoing experience can seem antiquated. There are survivors, and Premiere Theatres in Cloquet is one of them, even after a pandemic emptied theaters for many months. Major corporations are cutting away. Cineworld is selling all of its 500-plus Regal theaters. Despite all the dire news, Premiere... Full story

  • Home sweet home, here in Carlton County

    Francy Chammings|Jan 6, 2023

    Christmas will have passed by the time this piece appears in the paper. Here’s hoping it was a time of peace and joy for all. Now, we look to the new year with expectations that maybe life will improve, inflation will drop, good-paying jobs will be plentiful, and all those nasty viruses will disappear. We know that’s not reality. Words of wisdom from an old friend and mentor continue to bolster my outlook when things begin looking gloomy. He said: “Happiness is not about having what you want;... Full story

  • Francy that: An unwanted holiday guest lurks

    Francy Chammings|Nov 25, 2022

    Last spring, after months of following Covid-19 guidelines, we completed a road trip to South Carolina. Many activities were outdoors or in buildings that required masks. No Covid symptoms upon our return. I flew to Florida for a week in May. Safe again. Maybe we were too careless, over-confident that the Covid pandemic had missed us. We relaxed our defenses. After a cautious return to attending church services, birthday parties and family gatherings — mask-free, hugs all around — life felt nor...

  • Francy that: 'As a civil society, we know better'

    Francy Chammings|Oct 14, 2022

    In general, Americans are generous and willing to lend a helping hand to our fellow citizens. Donations after disasters, local charitable fundraisers and volunteer efforts for those in need demonstrate our benevolence no matter what political party individuals follow. So, what happens to our ability to be kind in the political arena? As we advance through this election cycle, we spiral deeper into the quagmire of negative, and too often derogatory attacks on those who do not share our views,... Full story

  • Legacy lives in beadwork and in book

    Francy Chammings|Sep 9, 2022

    For many of us, the opportunity to tell people how much we admire them or recognize their accomplishments slips away when that person passes from this life. Ozhaawashkogiizhigokwe Janis Fairbanks found herself in this predicament after the death of her brother, Abajiins-ba Ralph Charles Fairbanks, in 2020. "I didn't know the impact he had on people until I saw the collection of beadwork that was returned to me about 16 months after Ralph passed away," Janis said. Ralph, a member of the Fond du...

  • Francy that: We can't take water for granted

    Francy Chammings|Jul 22, 2022

    Cool, clear, water. Nothing compares with that most basic of human needs, the substance that comprises 55-60 percent of our bodies, the liquid that flows freely from our taps, flushes our toilets and cleanses our bodies. Water is the life-giving elixir we so easily take for granted, until it is gone. The July 27, 2021, issue of Time magazine carried an article by José Andrés, a world-famous chef. He said, “As the climate crisis worsens, we need to address protecting and preserving our water res...

  • Students fill gaps at Mobile Food Pantry program

    Francy Chammings|Jun 24, 2022

    The bad news just keeps coming: War in Ukraine, mass shooting, gas prices and inflation. But in the midst of the cacophony of the negative, we can find reasons to hope for a better future. One of the promising signs appeared in the form of student council members from Cloquet Middle School volunteering at the Mobile Food Pantry program distribution in Cloquet. This program is one of five in the area developed as an outreach service by Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank. Executive director... Full story

  • They're sharing Lilly's hearing journey

    Francy Chammings|Apr 29, 2022

    Storytime at Cloquet's Public Library has been an integral part of Katie Beck's schedule ever since Stella, her 5-year-old daughter, was born. So, when children's librarian Keiko Satomi suggested Katie and her husband, Jon, share the story of their second daughter, Lilly, they agreed. Lillian ("Lilly") was born Aug. 1, 2019. When she was given her newborn screening, the doctor determined that she was deaf. "Lilly was our first deaf person that we ever met in our life," Katie said. "At first for...

  • Wanted: a place for lost dogs and cats

    Francy Chammings|Feb 25, 2022

    In August, Carlton County will have been without an animal shelter for four years. That's not OK, says a new group of concerned citizens. Now called Carlton County Animal Rescue, the group has been meeting since October. Their ultimate objective is to build and manage a shelter to house lost or abandoned cats and dogs in Carlton County. It's been a grassroots movement from the beginning, when Bekki Babineau recognized that an animal rescue group was needed and placed a message on the Cloquet... Full story

  • Across a century, print shop remains

    Francy Chammings|Jan 7, 2022

    Rebuilding Cloquet after the 1918 fire spurred not just growth of the wood products industries, including paper production, but also what are known as "spin-off" developments. The Northern Printery, established in 1923 by Parker Childs, remains as one of those businesses. Rick Luke, the current owner, has spent the better part of his life working in the original building at 206 Avenue C. "I started here in 1969 as a trainee for high school my senior year," Luke said. "It was called vocational...

  • Francy That: Thank goodness we have a local newspaper

    Francy Chammings|Nov 26, 2021

    We know as citizens of Carlton County that we are very fortunate. We live in one of the most bucolic domains of nature populated with magnificent forests, crystal clear streams, and multiple lakes creating a “little slice of heaven.” Folks are friendly and community-minded whether celebrating local festivals all year-round or fundraising for charities. The list of pluses could fill the whole paper, but the major reason we can celebrate our good fortune is that we are one of a diminishing lis... Full story

  • Wood City Quilters scratch an itch for stitch

    Francy Chammings|Oct 15, 2021

    Some of us may remember learning about the pioneer days when the women settlers would gather every so often for a quilting bee, a day of camaraderie and sewing. Even though our 21st-century lifestyle is far removed from those early days, the essence of the quilting spirit is alive and well in the members of the Wood City Quilters. The group formed in April 2019 with about 15 members. They originally met in the Esko Town Hall, but now meet on the second Wednesday each month in the Cloquet Public... Full story

  • Francy That: Farm stories show the value of local agriculture

    Francy Chammings|Sep 24, 2021

    For the past several months, I have had the privilege of interviewing and writing about a few of the farmers in Carlton County. Summer is an extremely busy time for them, but they graciously sat down, answered my questions and shared their stories. I regret that I could not include every farmer in the county, but I believe that by informing readers about the lives of a few of them, understanding and appreciation will spread to all of those who work the land in our county. My main goal was to...

  • Family keeps tradition alive at 100-year-old farm

    Francy Chammings|Sep 3, 2021

    In 1976, Roy and Rose Aho decided to sell their dairy cattle and quit farming. Roy had been hired full-time at the paper mill (now Sappi). With small children to care for, Rose could not manage the milking and chores alone. "We bought a camping trailer. We took a trip out West to see my sister, went down to Disneyland," Roy said. "We were home for two weeks and said, 'Eh.' We got into beef cows." "And they've been here ever since," Rose said of the place found north of Cloquet. According to... Full story

  • A branch off the area CSA farming tree

    Francy Chammings|Jul 30, 2021

    In 2005, Rick Dalen and his wife Karola had the opportunity to start their own Community Supported Agriculture business under the tutelage of John Fisher-Merritt, founder of the Food Farm in Wrenshall. Dalen describes Fisher-Merritt as a "pioneer" of CSA farming and credits him with providing the means to test the waters of operating one himself. The deal was that Dalen could use a couple acres of land, equipment, greenhouses and hoop houses at the Food Farm in exchange for working at the farm.... Full story

  • Holding on despite dairy trends

    Francy Chammings|Jul 16, 2021

    "I am one of a dying breed," said Peter Laveau during a recent interview at his farm. He is referring to his occupation as an independent family dairy farmer. In 1990, the state numbered just under 10,000 dairy farms. By the end of 2020, the total was down to 2,334, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Farms have become larger and produce more with volume working for them. The small-farm operations have lost out. To be a dairy farmer requires dedication and determination. It's... Full story

  • Lands: Muse and music on the farm

    Francy Chammings|Jun 11, 2021

    Some folks come to farming through family generations, finding themselves tilling the soil on acres cleared and planted by those whose DNA inhabits the cells in their bodies. Others arrive on the land through a much more circuitous route. Adam Kemp of Uff-Da Organics is one of these people. He began his farming career 12 years ago when he was hired at Northern Harvest Farm and discovered an affinity for working the land and growing healthy food. A music composition major at the University of... Full story

  • In a changing world, savoring our farms

    Francy Chammings|Jun 4, 2021

    Sometimes we hold a treasure within our reach without an awareness of its value and, as the refrain from the song "Big Yellow Taxi" goes, "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you don't know what you got till it's gone." Many states across the country are recognizing what the loss of family farms means to our quality of life in rural areas. Carlton County's farms constitute a wealth of wholesome food and valuable resources in our backyards, but do we truly appreciate our farmers?... Full story

Page Down