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Chili Feed Fundraiser February 10th for “Love the HUB Month” in Grand Marais

The place to be in Grand Marais on Saturday, February 10th, is the HUB. Chili will be served from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, and a good time will be had. According to the Programs and Activity Director for the HUB, Chris Bautch, there will be a variety of chilis, from tradi­tional beans and beef to a vegetari­an chili donated by the local restau­rant Up Yonder.

Chris stated the meal will include cornbread, a variety of toppings for the chili, dessert, and beverages. The meal prices are $10 for adults and $5 for kids.

The HUB is a non-profit orga­nization under the Cook County Council on Aging umbrella.

“We started our fundraisers last year with the first ‘Love The Hub Month’ events,” Chris said. A pan­cake breakfast was served and ex­ceeded expectations, according to Chris. It inspired another success­ful pancake breakfast the Saturday before Father’s Day last year. Up­per Lakes Foods, the leading food supplier for the HUB, donated the food for the fundraiser.

The HUB started over half a cen­tury ago when a group of local peo­ple formed the “Golden Age Club.” They organized local events to en­courage community connections for older folks. In 1976, the Cook County Council on Aging (CCCA) formed and began planning for a Senior Center. In 1977, CCCA pur­chased the current site of the HUB from Gunlint Trail legend Justine Kerfoot. Justine ran an outfitting service at that location.

Pictured: Chris Bautch, Programs and Activity Director for then HUB, hands out meals during the pandemic. (Photos courtesy of Chris Bautch)

Until five years ago, the building was known around town as “The Senior Center.” The decision to adopt the new name recognized its role as a central point of commu­nity connection for all generations, not only seniors.

Over the years, the buildings were remodeled, expanded, and modernized; much of that was vol­unteer work.

Encouraging community connec­tions continues to be the mission of the HUB. “It is all about build­ing community connections,” said CCCA/HUB board member Larry Dean. “I always think of the HUB as a place where folks can create caring connections.”

Earning its name, the HUB is tru­ly a hub of activities. In addition to much-needed meal service alterna­tives for its clients, there are craft­ing groups, Bone Builders exercise classes, Tai Chi, and numerous card-playing groups.

The Hub is also an inexpensive meeting place for people to grab a coffee or tea (free-will donation only) and sit in a quiet corner with friends or colleagues.

Chris publishes a monthly news­letter and calendar of all events at the HUB. It is available on its web­site, www.grandmaraishub.com, and on Facebook at The Hub/Grand Marais Senior Center. You can sign up for email updates on the website.

The newsletter includes the menu for lunches served Monday through Friday. Seniors aged 60 and over pay just $4.50 for a healthy, hot meal. The under-60 crowd is also welcome; they will pay just $8.00. The menu has a great deal of vari­ety from day to day. One day might be pizza, while the next is a beef burrito.

Please contact the HUB before 9:00 AM the day you plan to dine.

Most funding for the food service programs comes from the Arrow­head Economic Opportunity Agen­cy (AEOA).

“We have also been fortunate to receive grants from many great nonprofits,” Larry said. “And we continue to work on raising mon­ey from individuals. Most recently, our daily clients have helped us buy 25 new chairs to replace our older ones.”

The HUB also runs a Meals on Wheels (MOW) program to deliver hot meals to people shut in at home for whatever reason and age. Five volunteer drivers deliver the meals, and two volunteers substitute as needed.

“Our MOW drivers are often the only point of human contact these people have,” Chris said. It’s not unusual for the drivers to stay a few minutes to chat with recipi­ents. They deliver an average of 20 meals daily within a five-mile radi­us of Grand Marais.

The other staff member at the HUB with Chris is Kitchen Coor­dinator Carmen Kivy-Grogan. Car­men relies on volunteers to help with meal preparation and serving.

The HUB prepares frozen entrees to serve the MOW clients on week­ends and holidays. “Nothing goes to waste here,” Chris said. “With leftovers, we make up meals to be frozen for future use.”

“I can’t stress enough how much volunteers mean to us here,” Chris said. “Our board members always chip in to help as well.”

It’s evident from talking with Chris that she loves her work. She made her career in Early Childhood Edu­cation and feels her current job has brought her “full circle.”

Chris started working at the HUB about four years ago. She took on the Programs and Activity Direc­tor position one year ago after Bev Green’s retirement.

The HUB board Chair is Jan Smith, the Vice Chair is Gwen Lenz, the Secretary is Audrey Stattelman, and the Treasurer is Tod Smith. Roger Linehan and Larry Dean are at-large board members, and Cook County Commissioner Dist. 1 Deb White is the county board liaison. The HUB is located at 10 North Broadway in Grand Marais. It is open Monday through Friday at 8 AM to 4 PM. The phone number is 218-387-2660. You may reach Chris by email at cccoa@boreal.org.

Steve Fernlund
Steve Fernlund
Typically these “about me” pages include a list of academic achievements (I have none) and positions held (I have had many, but who really cares about those?) So, in the words of the late Admiral James Stockwell, “Who am I? Why am I here?” I’m well into my seventh decade on this blue planet we call home. I’m a pretty successful husband, father, and grandfather, at least in my humble opinion. My progeny may disagree. We have four children and five grandchildren. I spent most of my professional life in the freight business. At the tender age of 40, early retirement beckoned and we moved to Grand Marais. A year after we got here, we bought and operated the Cook County News Herald, a weekly newspaper in Grand Marais. A sharp learning curve for a dumb freight broker to become a newspaper editor and publisher. By 1999 the News Herald was an acquisition target for a rapidly consolidating media market. We sold our businesses and “retired” again, buying a winter retreat in Nevada. In the fall of 2016, we returned to Grand Marais and bought a house from old friends of ours on the ridge overlooking Lake Superior. They were able to move closer to family and their Mexico winter home. And we came home to what we say is our last house. I’m a strong believer in the value of local newspapers--both online and those you can wrap a fish in. I write a weekly column and a couple of feature stories for the Northshore Journal. I’m most interested in writing about the everyday lives of local people and reporting on issues of importance to them.
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