“Don’t write about politics or religion,” they said

Column 34 Published in the September 6th issue of the Warroad Pioneer

Weeks come and go like the passing of a summer’s breeze. Tucked away in the happy hermitage of my Angle home, it’s challenging at times to remember what, if any, value the words I string together hold for anyone else.

Inspiration is everywhere, as a wise Warroad Pioneer editor once told me, and yet the questions remain in my ego’s mind: who cares? What is it all for? What does it matter what lessons any of us suffer through, what demons we wrestle on the quest for Truth?

Is everyone else on this same quest, I wonder. Are we born knowing Truth and then slowly forget as we are brutally “civilized” in whatever fashion our cultures dictate? Or are we born wicked and sinful – our inheritance – as the Bible’s Old Testament suggests?

I lean towards the former, of course. Any belief that fosters love over fear easily gets my vote.

If there is one truth I have come to accept over the past many years of searching and studying, it is that no one group of people or set of beliefs holds a monopoly on the Truth. Regardless of how fervently any religion defends their righteousness or for how many hundreds of years they have been doing so, it doesn’t change the fact that all of us have access to the Truth, to salvation, to the love of the divine. The opposite belief is the root of all wars, both individual and global. It has led to suffering and strife across all groups of people around the entire globe. And therefore, it cannot be Truth.

Only love can point to Truth.

I recognize this is not a popular belief to hold in the Midwest’s Bible Belt, nor here at The Angle where our only spiritual center is a happy little non-denominational, Bible-believing church. Many of us have been raised to believe that only our religion holds the key to salvation, and we can all point to our strict interpretations of certain passages from the religious books as “proof.”

Yet it is this imperialism that fosters intolerance, discrimination and outright violence – as it has done for centuries. Certainly Jesus didn’t teach exclusivity. His way was “the way” of forgiveness, “the truth” of inclusive love and “the life” of compassion.

I wonder if Jesus would have taught tolerance of intolerance…for that has been one of my hardest lessons: holding space and compassion for all those who fervently believe the rest of us are going to Hell in a hand basket because we don’t subscribe to their beliefs.

Certainly there is beauty and truth to behold in all faiths. And that is my pursuit now – learning all. I am fortunate in that the pace of life at The Angle allows me to both look for my life and for the Truth that all life holds.

I am also fortunate here at The Angle, because a small group of Bible-believing women put up with my “otherness” in their usually cozy Bible study. Yep, I am studying the Bible. We’ll read the whole darn thing in one short year and I’m on week 3.

At the same time, I’m studying A Course in Miracles, the principles of Buddhism and the wisdom of the ancient Toltecs, all interspersed with factual readings in contemporary science. I have not studied Aboriginal Spirituality, Islam or Hinduism in any depth, but those will be next on the great list.

My soul’s hope is that I will accept Truth in all its different forms and come to know peace. My ego’s hope is that I’ll open my eyes and the eyes of others to move beyond our limiting beliefs in order that our judgement of others will cease.

Peace most obviously cannot be ours while we judge others. A Course in Miracles teaches that the last judgement is actually “a final healing rather than a meting out of punishment.”

I like to picture all of us waiting beyond the veil of judgement, watching with love as the last one of us opens his eyes to a judgement he made of some other person or some situation or some poor inanimate object. When the false thoughts of that last judgement fall into nothingness, we will all finally see together the Truth of our beautiful reality and how it has had its loving arms wrapped around us this whole time whether we felt them or not.

Regardless of where we put our faith, we must believe that all things work together for good. And in fact, every single major religion and spirituality teaches this tenant. If we believe the opposite, fear will win. Peace will never be ours. And as such, until all of the world’s religions make peace with each other and work together for good, the world will never know peace. Another simple truth.

And so…here at The Angle, this tiny little forgotten pocket, there wrestles one child of God with all of the great questions of our time in search of Truth.

The truth in the fragile dust-covered wild flower blossom along our gravel roads. The truth in the wily smile of a three-year old when she answers common sense with perfectly wonderful nonsense. The truth in a commitment to a man, a family, sobriety, and this community. The truth in a metaphysical quest for open-hearted learning about forgiveness, inclusive love and compassion.

Come along for the ride. It’s sure to involve politics too.

The Giving Tree

Column 33 Published in the August 16, 2016 issue of the Warroad Pioneer

So…he asked me to keep him out of my column. And for the most part, I will honor that request. But some of the things he says and some of the things he does are just too darn funny or so utterly remarkable that I simply must remark.

If only so that the joy they bring remains. And the lessons they impart catch.

My ex and I recommitted five months ago, to each other and to being sober.

We are clear-headed, communicating, co-parenting and doing so with a whole lot of laughter and compassion. It feels amazing. Miraculous. Like another honeymoon phase all over again.

Though we both know sobriety isn’t a magic pill for relationship smooth sailing, it sure has been a booster shot towards that end.

Once, many years ago, he told me that I would never fit in here at The Angle. At the time, I took it as the worst possible insult. I so desperately wanted to be welcomed and to know this life and these people. I threw myself into whatever community cause fell into my lap. It felt right and good, and I had no qualms giving hundreds and hundreds of hours c. I tried to convince myself all the while that it was an altruistic gift, even while my ego was constantly craving praise and validation.

His words seemed a brutal prediction, but I can see now that he wasn’t judging; he was protecting. He recognized my thin skin and soft heart as completely exposed in the fearless way I’ve laid it all out there in my writing, in my giving, in my asking for nothing in return. He knows the way of it here so much better than I ever will.

“Anyone who gets involved here will get burned,” he whispered into my hair as I wept in his arms.

Words like a wasp sting have plagued me for a week – words that implied I steal from the miniscule Angle Days’ budget, that I believe everyone here is a drunk, and that I don’t have this community’s best interests at heart. I gave these untruthful words unwarranted power and they robbed me of my workday smile, took the joy out of an event I cherish and cast a wearying spell that left me planning my escape from The Angle.

But don’t get your hopes up yet, Wasp.

Wrapped in his loving arms once more, I feel a bravado akin to what it took to move here. Just as I have always done, I will say what’s in my heart in the only way I know how – through words on a page. I don’t do confrontation – it only makes me cry. I don’t do gossip – it feels wrong on all fronts. But I do write. And I write with love and full-frontal honesty. I am a woman who has found a bit of her voice, and just like in politics, that scares the bejesus out of those who cling to the old ways and fear change. The first thing change-haters do to women who speak up is attempt to tear them down in any way they can.

But bee stings fade. The pain dissipates. And love returns. Even for those who are not so fond of me.

I love The Angle. I love the people of The Angle. And I don’t do love by sitting down and fading into the background. I’m not afraid to point out patterns that aren’t healthy about something that I love. I’m not afraid to write about unpopular topics that are nonetheless important to who we are as humans and spiritual beings.

Even though I’ve only been here going on five years, I have something to say about this place. But more than anything, a writer simply wants to start a conversation. Please, if you have a response to anything I’ve written, just come talk to me. Or write anonymously to me. Don’t say cruel, baseless things that are bound to get back to me in twisted, worse-off words than how they started.

It’s instances like this that turn the word “small” of our small town into a bad word. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

But it doesn’t have to be like that here. We all have a completely equal opportunity to stand up and get involved. Criticizing those who do is part of our national vernacular, but can’t The Angle be different? Can’t this beautiful and amazing lifestyle prove itself above the mudslinging of everywhere else? I believe it can.

On each trip to and from town, I watch for two specific great white pines and a lone cedar that are marked with large red X’s. One such trip in the future, I will see them no more. They are healthy, beautiful trees older than me by a century, I’d wager, and the thought of their senseless loss gets me emotional. I don’t want to know the ridiculous reason they suddenly need to be cut down. I don’t want to feel the urge to fight a losing battle for them, even though I already do. They are part of this Angle community just like I am and just like everyone and everything else.

I stopped my truck and trailer on one trip home, wrapped my arms around one of the trees and held it, just like my man had held me when The Angle cut me down. I hid my face when people drove by, but yep, that was me, out there on the road hugging a great white pine, my arms not even reaching half-way around. If you had stopped, you’d have seen tears rolling down my face because life and people can be so cruel at times.

And then I moved on.

The tree has given all she had to give as a whole, tall sentry. And now she’ll be cut down, moved along and will give some more in some other form.

And so will I.

All about Angle Days

Column 32 Published in the August 2, 2016 issue of the Warroad Pioneer

Angle Days is this coming weekend – August 5-6. Our crew has opted to put what little event budget we have to work in different ways this year, instead of into direct advertising…so, can you guess what I want to talk about in this column?

Thirty years ago, someone had the idea for the chili cook-off and the blueberry dessert challenge, and those two competitions are still the cornerstone of our little festival. The public gets to taste the chili and pick the winner. The variety never disappoints, even when some years there are only four cooks and other years there are 18.

It’s The Angle; you just never know what’s going to happen, and no matter what does, it all works out.

A small panel of blueberry discerning judges get to decide who used this local “blue gold” best in a sweet treat.  Then, of course, we all get to eat them.

In the four years since renaming it Angle Days (it used to be the Blueberry Festival), we’ve added many different events that represent a little piece of what The Angle is all about.

There’s a Fun Run – which is more like a trail walk. The High Noon Shoot Out is a clay pigeon tournament. The Golf Cart Race & Obstacle Course has been popular with all ages and is a highlight to both participate in and watch. The Trash-to-Treasure competition is themed “garden art” this year; it represents the resourcefulness and ingenuity it takes to live at The Angle.

The Edge Riders snowmobile club will put on their annual fish fry, and the Girl Scouts will host the Sunday morning community breakfast. Angle Outpost does the Walleyeball (volleyball) Tournament and Anglewood Builders sponsors the Casting Competition. So many local businesses and the area resorts donate prizes and participate as best they can on what is usually a busy turnover day.

Linda Knight donated another gorgeous quilt this year for the raffle; it’s made with Minnesota Commemorative Cloth and at Linda’s request, the funds raised go specifically towards keeping all of the fun competitions either Free or at a very low cost of entry. For example, it used to be $30 to enter the chili competition and now it’s only $10.  (Thanks, Mom. Your generosity has always been something I aspire to live up to.)

Speaking of family, my dad’s band – The Knightlighters – will provide the live music. They’ve donated their musical gift in the past, but we’re actually legit enough now that we can give all the members gas money to get here. I’m excited to be joining them on keyboard for the first time on mainland turf. The home-made dance floor that was donated by several individuals a few years back will be set-up and ready.

We’re planning our gourmet lemonade flavors, painting a photo-board cut-out, mapping out where the vendors will set-up, and trying an Angle Flea Market for the first time this year. Fireworks are planned; they just need a ride from Fargo to Warroad, where Chris Ford has volunteered to bring them across the lake. The dunk tank will be back – thank you Warroad Chamber of Commerce! Hammerschlägen is on the docket if the right volunteer steps-up in time. And I’m sure there are more fun tidbits I’m forgetting.

It’s a small-town affair (wait, we’re not even a township), and it takes a little bit from a lot of people to make it happen. But, it sure is a good time, and it feels great to show people The Angle.

Of course, I’m still dreaming about making that fishing tournament I keep talking about happen someday, and a pontoon parade, and water races of some sort. And wondering how to get the islanders more involved….

Good thing there’s always next year.

If you want to check out the schedule of events for Angle Days, visit www.facebook.com/MinnesotaAngleDays.  You can also email nwangledays@gmail.com if you have questions, want to sell your wares or have ideas or feedback.  I’d love to hear from you and hope to see you at the ‘big’ event.


Walk a mile in their shoes

Column 31 Published in the July 19, 2016 issue of the Warroad Pioneer

We zip around our little community here at The Angle on all types of wheels: strollers, bikes, golf carts and go-carts, three-wheelers and quads, Rangers and other branded ATVs. Our children ride on laps and learn to steer early. They are safe yet unrestrained, and are able to enjoy this unique way of life in many of the same ways adults do.

Once, when I admonished my 3-year old that she at least needed to be sitting down while we were moving, she looked back at me, her hair wild and wind-blown, her face alight with adrenalin and the summer sun, and said quite plainly to me, “But Mom, I just want to be free.”

Freedom is certainly something we take for granted in this little corner of the country.

It occurred to me while out boating on our Independence Day, July 4th, that despite where we live – with our backs to an international border – we are still relatively free to move in all directions.  I have felt very little “patriotic” pride of late, and yet there I was enjoying the sensation of feeling “American”.

For those of us who choose and/or were born into this way of life, being able to travel unimpinged, crossing international boundaries regularly and often daily or twice-daily for long stretches at a time, this freedom is hugely important.

What would happen to this freedom, if we as a country began treating (based on the actions of a few) whole nations of people, especially our next-door neighbors, like thugs, criminals or terrorists?

My daughter got to continue feeling the wind in her face that day, even though the parenting books collecting dust in my Kindle dictate that I should have enforced my “sit down” command, if only for consistencies’ sake.

But sometimes, …ok, a lot of the time…I just let her Be.

I let her Be, because I want her to have that and know it and live it as a Right. I want her to internalize what it is to feel absolute freedom of movement, of choice, of sensation, of joy and life. Yes, even at three. Her plea “I just want to be free” wasn’t manipulative or even whiny for once. It came from the seat of her soul, where all she knows is freedom.

I’ve written before that The Angle is a microcosm for the rest of the world. But that’s not true really at all. We don’t have much for variety in religion. We don’t have much for variety in culture. We don’t have much for variety in much of anything, except for maybe insects that bite or suck our blood.

Sure, yeah, we’re all beautiful, unique snowflakes, blah, blah, blah. But except for a brave few, we all look and talk about the same, follow similar political beliefs, and subscribe to the same old unquestioned self-righteousness.

The restaurants here all serve basically the same kind of frozen-then-fried American fat-food.  The resorts all bring in the same sort of sells-well stuff year after year after year. The work-force all makes our living by supporting tourism or supporting the community members who support tourism. And yes, in its own way, The Angle is a beautifully oiled little mechanism that runs well even when kinks are put in the cog, accidentally or otherwise.


After forty years of eating Manna, even God’s chosen people began to complain about the lack of variety.

Let me clarify that I’m not complaining about the Sameness.  I’m complaining about the lack-of-acceptance of Other. I would hope that I’m one more small headlamp shining a ray of light on a darkness inherent in every community, big or small.

Our transgender community member still has a tough time of it up here, but at least she’s having to “act” less and less. She chose this tiny, wayward community years and years ago because here she feels safe. And shouldn’t she have the right to feel safe, just like every other human being? (I wonder if men in general have any idea how often we as women fear for our safety. If they really knew, maybe they’d curtail the lewd stares and the rude catcalls disguised as compliments.)

Freedom aside, shouldn’t everyone have the basic right of safety?

And shouldn’t we all feel safe when we have the rare interaction with law enforcement?

Yes, all lives matter, but I think what this un-listened-to group of people is trying to say, and sometimes imperfectly, is that “hey, we’re people too and our lives matter TOO. We’re getting killed or receiving harsher sentences for causes that others don’t really have to worry about.”  The Black Lives Matter movement is yet another headlamp shining a light on a darkness that we’ve ignored for too long.

Our little community of freedom fighters, as I’ve labeled us before in this column, certainly hasn’t had to walk a mile in their shoes. We haven’t fought for anyone else’s freedom but our own, and someday that selfishness will come at a price. We have lived with white-privilege for a long time in this neck of the woods. Just ask our Native American and First Nations people.

It takes no small amount of courage to live true to who you are, to ask for your rights and your freedom in the face of fear and aggression.

This is my public apology for still calling you “Davie,” Nicole. You’ve told me your name is Nicole Annie and I will honor that from this day forward.

This is my public apology to everyone of color for letting those racist comments slide for fear of confrontation. I will honor us all as a people by remaining silent no longer.

We live on the outskirts of society here at The Angle and we feel different, special. For that and many other reasons, I expect better of us. We can start setting a better example for everyone in our community, for everyone who travels here, and for all the children who hang their heads out the window just to feel the wind and sky and freedom of this beautiful life.

The Task at Hand


Column 31 Published in the July 5,2016 issue of the Warroad Pioneer

Well hello there, July. Welcome, and we’ll take you, biting black flies and all.

June, the moody mistress that she was, blessed us with an abundance of variety. Steady? No, not she. She took us from whipping winds and bone chilling wet to sweltering heat that sat heavy and dense like a used towel left to dry in a heap.

A recent June day, I remarked to no one in particular in my otherwise unoccupied vehicle, “You know it’s a Windy day when there are miniature white caps on the standing water in the farmers’ fields.”

I love the long drive into town passing the many fields in their different states of dress and undress. The neighboring farmers are the buffer as we move from our densely wooded community to the progressively more open and populated, albeit still sparsely, outskirts of these rural towns. The hearts of their downtown areas and the bustle of their local commerce is a welcome change to the remote day-to-day life that is The Angle’s.

Our tourism economy here at The Angle gives the impression of busy-ness everywhere you look, and indeed we are a hard-working community. But there’s also a hint of loneliness that hangs in the air just as it does on the busiest city streets.

Peculiar to our species, no doubt, we are seeking. We are aching. Wondering. We get so consumed with taking care of our own egoic pursuits that we often fail to make the heart connections that are so vital to our growth, our happiness.

The tabloid of my life at The Angle: the off and on relationship, the ragged, yet wholehearted endeavors to find my place in our misfit community, the craving and searching for soulful, authentic connections, it all continually points me back to learning about love, forgiveness and God.

A Course in Miracles continues to be an almost daily guide for me. It has reminded me yet again that ANYTHING, if it’s not Love, is fear. If a thought doesn’t bring joy, then it is riding on fear, however deeply hidden. Stress equals fear equals illusion equals false, no matter how fiercely I believe in it. If a thought brings anything other than an abiding joy, it is not of God, not of reality. What a bonanza that knowledge is! I write it again and again solely so that I may continue to learn it. We’ve created all these illusions ourselves, and I can finally see that breaking down the fear-based illusions is my life’s work.

There is a certain peace that has settled in now that I no longer have to strive to learn unconditional love. It seemed such an impossible task even mere months ago. I would fail and fail again at every test, judging this, fearing that.

In fact, “unconditional love” is redundant. If it’s not unconditional, it’s not Love. Fear can create love-like feelings, but it takes only a careful look and I’ll see the cracks in the foundation.

Love is our true nature, and we’ll return to it regardless of our earthly wanderings, our raging Get and Keep egos, our ramshackle life stories created largely on fear.

Recognizing what fear has built in my life is my task now. Perhaps that is why my journey led me here, back to Minnesota, to The Angle, so that I may lead a simpler life closer to family and closer to the land.

It would seem there are less trappings here and that living more wholesomely would be a boon. Oh, but Egos are tricky beasts. They will latch on to anything, wrap their fear tentacles around it and create stress under the guise of achievement. Mine has built the illusion of “so much to do” that at times, I can barely breathe.

I was a steady drinker for two decades of my life because my ego had run rampant. Escaping felt like part of surviving, but in fact it only slowed my recognition. I see now that addictions are so prevalent in our culture because we are so mind-identified. Alcoholism has a nasty social stigma, for sure, but if I’ve learned anything over the past many years, it’s that addiction is addiction is addiction.

Guilt seems like a noble cloak to wear in the aftermath of addiction, but it’s not. Guilt comes from fear.

There are many who would argue to the death that what they fear is indeed real. Fear seems real to us because we believe in it and we believe in it because we created it.

I don’t want a life lived in defense of what I’m afraid of. I want a life broken open to Love. Raw and real. Graceful in it’s slow reveal, like the pregnant fields on my drive to town. Like the beauty in my three-year-old’s sly smile as she learns new and better hide-and-seek spots. Like the subdued glory of the pink and white lady slippers that pepper the ditches along our rural highways for just these few shorts weeks this time of year.

I want to see it all. Especially my fears. Bring it on, July.



(Alas, my lady slipper photo was too blurry. The above photo was pulled from Flickr via the MSFT bank of online photos using the Common Creative content licensing. I don’t know the person’s name to give them credit, unfortunately. So beautiful.)

Peace is Imminent

Column 29 Published in the June 21, 2016 issue of the Warroad Pioneer


This past winter, I had an irksome conversation with a relatively new visitor to The Angle. He was a guest of one of the larger resorts and has only been coming here for a year or two. Clearly, he doesn’t quite “get” this way of life and was joking about the naivety of our trusting nature and how he had “lucked out” as a result.

I can’t recall the exact situation that he was recounting or how the conversation came about even, but I do remember my reaction to something he said about “lifting.”  Aghast, I looked at him in disbelief and said quite vehemently, “Angle people don’t steal!”

“Well, I’m not from The Angle,” he countered, quickly.

That stunned me into silence, but the disdain must have soured my face because he said no more and left.

His words have stayed with me for months.

The proclamation that he’s “not from The Angle” was justification enough in his mind for whatever quasi-wrongdoing he was up to.

Sure, he spends a tidy sum to vacation here, and perhaps that left him feeling entitled to something we have that he does not. Or perhaps he’s a simple, sorry sought, an emotional vandal wherever he goes. Or maybe he’s aching to capture what The Angle is about in the only bully way he knows how.

Or more likely than not, he’s a lost child of the divine and lives a life run by the ego as most of us do.

I’ve come to believe that we have something to learn from everyone we encounter. In Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the Tao Te Ching, one passage stands clear in my memory: “What is a good man but a bad man’s teacher? What is a bad man but a good man’s job?”

Slowing down and patiently waiting to receive the lesson can be the true test in today’s immediate gratification society.

Along that vein, my patience is being sorely tested by the reactions of family, friends and neighbors about the latest senseless mass shooting.  Instead of responding with love and sympathy, the fearful ones are gearing up to defend their right to bear military-style assault rifles. These are not weapons of self-defense or hunting; automatic weapons, like the Sigsauer MCX assault rifle used by Omar Mateen in Orlando, are designed solely for the mass slaughter of human beings.

I’m going to write those words one more time and then I pray I’ll never have to write them again: “assault rifles are designed solely for the mass slaughter of human beings.”

It’s disgusting, isn’t it?

Barring a zombie apocalypse, I don’t understand why any responsible gun-owner would insist that these be readily available to whomever wants them in our society.

And so, I wait patiently for the lesson, trying my best not to judge and giving love to those who live in fear.

The Beatles, the Bible, A Course in Miracles and a multitude of others all teach that love is all there is, that love is The Answer. Always.

To my family members, who are so certain the government is coming for your guns and equate assault rifles with freedom…I love you. I really do. I hope you will soon know that your fear is unfounded, that your fear is senseless, that in fact, your fear is in your mind, born of nothing.  Love is the only answer to fear.

To my neighbors at The Angle and in Warroad, who didn’t lower their flags after the POTUS ordered all flags at federal buildings and ships at sea to fly at half-staff…I love you. Even though you’ve lowered them before when federal flags were lowered, at the recent deaths of a supreme court justice or a former first lady, for example, I will assume you simply didn’t get the memo this time. I’d rather not believe you’re trying to make a statement about the lifestyles of the youth who were killed while dancing in a nightclub. Love is the only answer to fear.

To the bully Angle visitor whose face I don’t even remember but who thinks it’s okay to steal while here because you’re not from here…I love you. Please come back and let me show you the real Angle, beyond your big-box resort and the bars where you get your drunk on. You’ll grow to love this place as we all do. And then you’ll be a steward, not a vandal. Love is the only answer to fear.

Fear does not make us stronger or braver. Fear does not protect us from enemies. Fear builds walls between countries. Fear bans people of specific religions. Fear keeps you trying to control all minorities because you most fear becoming one yourself.  Fear makes you loathe people who are simply trying to get a foothold on life: refugees, immigrants, minorities of all sorts, shapes, colors, disabilities, preferences, and women (though we are the majority in world population and college education now). Ha!

You fear our presence because at the root of it all you fear the power of love.


Snap out of it. Go hug your pet. Go look in the mirror right now and tell your eyes “I CHOOSE LOVE.” We live in a beautiful world. Our lives are brilliant. We, as a people, are the most amazing, perfect creatures.

I’m so bored of the fear-mongering I could scream. Wake up, people! Wake up, Kellie!

And we all will, in good time. Peace is imminent.

Live with it.



Welcoming Growth & Change + Northerly Park Explained – Part 3

Column 28 Published in the June 7, 2016 issue of the Warroad Pioneer


The growing season has arrived.

Our wily Angle kids will run free and far this summer. Barefoot and sun-freckled, they are trail-making, fort-building little workers who help hold up many a business around The Angle. They’ll grow in inches, confidence and a resourcefulness that child pavement pounders responsible only for their activity performance may never have the luxury of knowing.

Gardens are planted, flowers are on display and the smells of black dirt and freshly cut grass are a late-spring healing tonic all their own.

Business at The Angle is growing about as fast as my new basil plants.

Dahlia’s & Dirt, The Angle’s beautiful little greenhouse opened for its short season over the Memorial Day weekend. US-grown plants and soil aren’t allowed through the Canadian border, so we Angleites rely heavily on this little jem, now in its third year.

Long-time mechanical repair business D&S has sold to Jordan Story, a young hard-working Angle resident of five years and the great-grandson of Prothero’s Post owners Dale & Grace Prothero. He’s got Angle DNA in his blood, and the business, renamed Story’s Service and Storage, will offer service and storage, of course, and also parts, oil, batteries, boat detailing and a few items after Jordan’s own passions – Muskie tackle and premium coolers. They’ll also have an E-TEC diagnostics system up and running soon, which will save many distraught boat owners a dusty trip to town.

Oak Island Resort has new owners as well. Jenny and Kyle Kruidenier, whose family has been coming to The Angle for a combined thirty-odd years, just recently took the reins from Lori and Paul Jenson. The Krudienier’s are starting their first season this busy summer with a full book of business, and the community wishes them well.

New Flag Island Resort owners Andrea and Chuck Haggenmiller follow in the familial footsteps of many other family-run businesses here at The Angle.  After a winter full of adventures, they are well on their way to seasoned veteran status now in their second season.

I hope to profile some of our Angle newcomers in upcoming columns, giving them a proper meet and greet Angle Full of Grace style. *~*

This will be the last of my chatter about “Northerly Park” for a while. Now we wait. Within a month or two we’ll hear back from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails commission on the priority ranking, and if it’s what we hope then the real work begins. Here are the final two criteria applicants are asked to provide explaining how our park idea qualifies for regional designation and subsequent funding.

Criteria #3: Well-located to Serve a Regional Need and/or Tourist Destination

“Northerly Park” is exactly centrally located in Angle Inlet or “The Angle,” as it is known by the locals.  The park is at the intersection of two main roads; all vehicular traffic in and out of The Angle passes by the park.

Though The Angle is generally remote, according to the Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau, $1.9M was spent on lodging at The Angle in 2015, which has an economic impact to the area in excess of $10M. This is an increase of 15% over 2014 lodging expenditures, which means The Angle is growing. There are currently 16 lodging facilities in The Angle but no public facilities whatsoever. Day-trip visitors can’t even use the restroom without walking into a bar or a resort lodge.

Keeping the park as Day-Use Only (at least in the beginning) would maintain no- to low-impact on the two neighboring resorts that offer minimal camping spaces.

A new airport is in pre-construction planning stages, which would add another port of entry to the NW Angle. Visitors arrive primarily by road and secondarily by boat across Lake of the Woods. It is a hugely popular snowmobiling destination and the park’s central trail would connect the groomed lake trails to the Outlying Area Reporting Station (OARS) and the southbound land trails.

Mostly, the area is in need of an iconic emblem within a representative environment that denotes arrival at the northernmost spot in the lower 48. GPS units put that spot out in the shallow, weedy waters of Angle Inlet Bay and the locals believe it is a rock on the far side of Magnuson Island. Regardless, it is either inaccessible or on private property. The observation tower, and “Northerly Park” as a whole, gives visitors the opportunity to “be” at that northernmost spot.

Criteria #4: Fills a Gap in Recreational Opportunity within the Region

The nearest park to The Angle is the Roseau City park, 67 miles away, and there are other regional parks near Warroad, MN, 73 miles away. A remote state park exists on Garden Island of Lake of the Woods and at Zipple Bay on the south shores of Lake of the Woods, 87 miles away.

Currently, there is no trail system in the area for walking, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.  People utilize the main road, which is heavily traveled by vehicles towing boat and RV trailers.  All roads at The Angle are gravel with no sidewalks or side ATV trails, which poses a risk for pedestrians due to dust and flying rocks. The park would fill a huge safety gap for locals and resort goers who want outdoor exercise, bird watchers needing amenities, and winter sports enthusiasts needing a business-neutral warming location. It would also provide budget-conscious families with a public summer fishing spot and canoe access, something that does not currently exist at The Angle.

In the whole of the NW Angle, there exists one small educational or historical sign. The park would serve as an outdoor community museum of sorts, cataloging and documenting the varied and incredible history of this unique place.