Bear History Notes

The initial column “Grin and Bear It” [Lavender, Nov. 7] misses a couple key historical notes on the local history of bears.

One: North Country Bears (NCB) absorbed the failing MNBears (MNB)—note the correct name—in an effort to preserve the peace, and unite the two very different mind-sets between the groups. While NCB was run by three friends, and focused on being just a social, no-dues, pay-as-you-go club, MNB was more politically active, running fund-raisers and the like for local causes, and had a $25 annual membership fee, which gave voting privileges. The NCB model was far more popular than the MNB model. NCB, having no legal status, took on MNB’s not-for-profit status with the merger, and added a fourth board position of treasurer.

Two: As I was a member of the board after the merger for a time, when the Gen-X group formed (or perhaps reformed), I recall no hostility toward the group from the board, and we welcomed them with open arms to the community. We even gave the President of the group a seat on the board as an at-large member.

Three: Grand Avenue Bear Coffee at Starbucks actually predated Cafe Prague, and for a while, the two coexisted, until Cafe Prague closed. When the club started to actively advertise the Wednesday Night Bear Coffee gatherings at Starbucks on their Web site calendar, the group got too big for the space, and the new location at Dunn Brothers was selected. And for a year or so, there was even a bear dinner gathering after coffee nights, which started in St. Paul, and moved across the river with the coffee nights, but that died away.

—Logan Quinn

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