crow wing county
Rat Lake now Little Ossawinnamakee
The Crow Wing County Board last week voted to change the name of Rat Lake in Breezy Point to Little Ossawinnamakee Lake.
A group of lakeshore property owners petitioned the county for the name change, noting that there already is another Rat Lake in the county and more than a dozen others in the state.
Little Ossawinnamakee is fed by Ossawinnamakee Lake, a much larger body of water just to the west.
A spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources testified at a public hearing that the department supported the name change, and the board voted unanimously in favor of it.
Trail group names volunteer of the year
The Superior Hiking Trail Association has named Michael Loscheider of Minneapolis its 2020 Volunteer of the Year.
Loscheider, a volunteer who helps maintain the more than 300 miles of trails along Lake Superior, also built wooden signs to replace broken or missing signs and added new ones to the popular trail system that is used by thousands of hikers each year.
NorShor Theatre reopens to audiences
The historic NorShor Theatre reopened this week to live audiences with a Duluth Playhouse production of "Dancing Queens: The music of Abba's Mamma Mia."
The city's largest theater company has been mostly shuttered since the start of the pandemic, aside from summer camps for children and a small family production of "Charlotte's Web."
The hourlong Abba production featuring only three singers was a way to gauge how comfortable audiences felt about gathering again in a theater, even with COVID-19 safety protocols enforced, said Phillip Fazio, producing artistic director of the theater and director of the Abba show.
Two other small-scale shows will run this summer as the theater gears up for the opening of its 2021-22 season with a full production of "Spamalot" in the fall.
"So many theater companies have closed their doors for good," Fazio said. "I was terrified of a similar fate."
After planning and canceling shows several times this past year as COVID cases surged, Fazio is hopeful for a regular upcoming season. Furloughed employees have returned, and the "Spamalot" set is ready. Fazio credits grants, patrons and donors for keeping the playhouse afloat.