A thoughtful, heart-wrenching essay about a slow-smoldering fire that destroys the ancient trees on a property near Grand Marais, Minnesota, earned a Gold Award for Lake Superior Magazine at the annual conference of the International Regional Magazine Association (IRMA), this year held September 8-13 in Reno, Nevada.

The magazine, one of the smaller members of the association, also earned two merit awards at the event -- one for a travel feature about Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula and one for a photographic essay on Ontario’s Slate Islands.

The Lake Superior Journal, “We Shall Have to Take Care,” written by Ruth Anne Olson, appeared in the August/September 2010 issue of Lake Superior Magazine.

“An honest, heartbreaking piece about fragility, loss and acceptance. Lovely,” wrote one judge about the gold award winner.

“This piece on a destructive fire employs an understated tone that packs a punch. It builds suspense and the unhappy ending is tempered by a sense of renewal,” commented another judge.

Minnesota photographer Layne Kennedy’s photographic essay on the Slate Islands received a merit award and this comment from one judge: “I found myself staring and staring some more at the photos. The more I studied them, the more I found to look at.”

Erik and Jane Nordberg, residents of the Keweenaw Peninsula, earned a merit for their travel piece, which is part of Lake Superior Magazine’s on-going “Not-So-Secret” series of tours around Lake Superior.

“What a wonderful travel feature!” wrote one judge. “The writer does not light up the sky with a lyrical, narrative adventure, but instead creates a first-person, detail-rich explanation of WHY you should go there. One line early on made me both laugh and keep reading: ‘Just drive north from Chicago until you think you’ve gone too far – then drive another couple of hours.’”

Lake Superior Magazine Editor Konnie LeMay said she is delighted by the awards.

“Since we are competing against some of the best and largest regional magazines in the United States and Canada, I’m always thrilled and amazed when we’re able to earn an award – especially a gold -- from IRMA.”

Among IRMA members are Arizona Highways, Traverse, Wisconsin Trails and Texas Parks & Wildlife in the United States and Cottage Life, British Columbia Magazine and Saltscapes in Canada.

Lake Superior Magazine, in its 32nd year, is a family-owned publication of Lake Superior Port Cities Inc. and is based in Duluth, Minnesota, at 310 E. Superior St. Its website -- LakeSuperior.com -- recently underwent a makeover for better access to lakewide news and features stories, travel information, directories, advertisers and events. -- LSM

On the Web

New Duluth Public Schools sites: DenfeldNews.com, DuluthEastNews.com

Duluth Events

Avenged Sevenfold Buried Alive Tour, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 6:30 p.m., Amsoil Arena. Scheduled to perform: Avenged Sevenfold with special guests Hollywood Undead, Asking Alexandria and Black Veil Brides. Note: Sevenfold also appears at Target Center on Saturday, Dec. 3.

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