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Doubles Cribbage Tournament Sunday, April 21 for Bob Pratt Scholarship Fund

On Sunday, April 21, Cook County Higher Education (CCHE) will hold its third an­nual cribbage tournament at the Birch Terrace Supper Club in Grand Marais to raise mon­ey and awareness for the Bob Pratt Scholarship Fund. Teams should check in at 12:30 pm, and the fun begins at 1:00 p.m.

The tournament is open to 32 teams, and the entry fee is $40 per team. It’s a double-elim­ination tournament, and cash prizes will go to the teams fin­ishing in first to third place.

The Pratt family and Bob’s longtime friend on the Cook County Higher Education Board, Doug Bruce, creat­ed the Scholarship Fund. To date, the fund has raised over $90,000. It was established under the auspices of Cook County Higher Education (CCHE) to provide schol­arships to help people start, develop, and gain new skills valuable to the applicant, local employers, and Cook County. In 2023, 15 scholarships worth $7,249 were awarded to Cook County residents seeking job skills training in welding, net­work security, bookkeeping, and septic design.

Karen Blackburn, Execu­tive Director of CCHE, said the goal is to eventually raise enough funds to pay for schol­arships from interest earned, making the fund perpetually self-funded. She added that over 100 individuals and busi­nesses have contributed to the Bob Pratt Skills, Trades & Technology Scholarship Fund since it began almost three years ago.

The CCHE website pro­vides, “This endowed scholarship is awarded to Cook County, MN residents interested in pursuing a training, course, or program that furthers skills and career opportunities. Funds cannot be used for re­newal certi­fications, CE credits, or education equaling an AA degree or higher… This scholarship is for individuals living in Cook County, MN, but training can be completed outside of Cook County. Both high school students and adult learners may apply. Applica­tions are accepted at any time.”

Bob grew up in Grand Mara­is and graduated from Cook County High School. Accord­ing to his family, Bob was al­ways looking out for the little guy and working to eliminate roadblocks to help people suc­ceed.

After a career in education in various locations around the country, the Pratts returned to the North Shore to be home in their retirement. Bob and Bev met at the Colvill Townhall, still standing and in use along the Kadunce River, while still in high school. Both were ac­tive in the broader community.

After high school, Bob worked in construction, commercial fishing, and driving trucks. His love of trucking never left him. He went on to attend and graduate from UMD, becom­ing a teacher in Hermantown. He earned a graduate degree at Arizona State University and worked as a school counselor in Tacoma, WA. He received his PhD in Educational Psy­chology at the University of Connecticut.

Bob died on January 24, 2020.

Scholarship application infor­mation can be found on the CCHE website, https://mycche.org/ or by phone at 218-387-3411. Donations to the Bob Pratt Skills, Trades, and Tech­nology Scholarship Fund can be mailed to CCHE, PO Box 57, Grand Marais, MN 55604.

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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