Our county is in the process of revising the Land Use Guide Plan, that acts as the guiding document for planning, zoning and ordinances on county-owned and private lands. This is an opportunity to voice your support for Cook County continuing to create opportunities for safe walking, bicycling and accessibility for our residents, from age 8 to 80! Share your thoughts at the public meeting (Wed., Sept. 17th 6:30 p.m.at the Cook County Community Center), or email Planning and Zoning Director Tim Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s not often you get an opportunity to help craft a future for a place you love. When you do, you should take it. Residents of Cook County will get such an opportunity Wednesday, Sept. 17. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the community center, a team from county government will listen as residents describe what they would like the Cook County of 2035 to look like in terms of land use, community appearance, economic vitality and community life. Residents also will also have the opportunity to offer specific action steps needed to achieve that desired future.
County residents are strongly urged to attend the Sept. 17 meeting and help sculpt a healthy, prosperous and environmentally responsible Cook County future.
This is all part of an effort to update the county comprehensive land use plan. The plan now in effect was written in 1997, a time of dramatically different circumstances. It does not fit the Cook County of 2014 very well, nor suggest the path the county should follow as it moves into the next several decades.
A central issue is how the county can achieve the proper balance between protecting the environment and creating conditions for a prosperous economy that can support a community of diverse ages, needs, skills and interests. The land use plan addresses only the 8 percent of the county that is in private or county hands, excluding Grand Marais.
This update process is a really big deal. The plan that results from this process won’t just be advisory; for the first time, it will have the force of law. It also will directly influence Cook County’s access to IRRRB funding. The IRRRB board has served notice that henceforth it will evaluate grant proposals against the land use plan from the county where the request originated.
The Sept. 17 meeting is designed just to hear what county residents would like the updated land use plan to emphasize. Residents will have opportunities later to give feedback on drafts of the update.
The County Planning and Zoning website contains background materials on the current plan and the update process, including the agenda for the public meeting (http://www.co.cook.mn.us/index.php/comprehensive-land-use-plan-a-addendums).
– Jim Boyd, Member of the Plan Update Committee
This weekend is the annual Gunflint Trail Garage Sale. On Saturday and Sunday, September 2oth and 21st you’ll be able to find deals up and down the trail. Businesses and cabin owners are participating so there will be plenty of places to stop. Participating businesses are Clearwater Lodge & Golden Eagle Lodge(set up at Clearwater), Boundary Country Trekking, Hungry Jack Outfitters, Trail Center Lodge, Norwester Lodge, Big Bear Lodge, Gunflint Lodge, Gunflint Pines and VOYAGEUR CANOE OUTFITTERS!
If you stop in and get your map stamped at every business and bring it to Trail Center on your way back to town you’ll get a prize. If you come all of the way to the end of the Gunflint Trail and visit us at Voyageur then you’ll have the opportunity to purchase some camping gear for a great prices. We’ll have canoes for sale including a Minnesota II Kevlar, a Seneca, a Royalex and more. We’ll also have paddles, packs, thermarest pads and tents for sale along with some great deals on gift store items including clothing.
We hope you will come see us on Saturday or Sunday from 8am-4pm. If you’re interested in purchasing a canoe and can’t make it up then feel free to give us a call on Monday or sign up for our email newsletter so you’ll know when we have more for sale.
Many years ago, several elections ago, the Cook County Coalition of Lake Associations held a candidate forum. There were many hard-hitting questions about property taxes and protecting water quality and so on. But the question that sticks in my mind from that long ago Q&A session was—who pays for the coffee and treats consumed at county board meetings?
There was a round of laughter when the question was asked, but it was obvious that people— voters—wanted to know. What government fund was used to purchase the coffee? How much was allocated to cookies and donuts each year? Was this an acceptable use of our tax dollars?
The audience seemed pleased to hear that the commissioners themselves provide the goodies shared during the midmorning break. There is a schedule and they all take turns bringing a treat. In fact, they not only bring enough for their board colleagues, they bring extra for county staff and citizens— and members of the press—in attendance. I’ve been fortunate over the years to sample some tasty treats prepared by local politicians. My favorite treat is the rum cake made by former Commissioner Walt Mianowski.
And the coffee itself? That is paid for by donations from the commissioners and county staff as well. No tax dollars wasted on coffee.
However, I don’t think money spent on coffee would be a total waste of county funds. I know, people who know me will be quick to say that I am addicted to coffee, so of course I would be supportive of the government providing coffee. But there is more to it than that.
The idea came up recently in a meeting I had with some Blandin Foundation Community Leadership participants. I was meeting with them to talk about our shared experience with the leadership training. They were taking part in the traditional Blandin leadership program and I was in the midst of the Editors & Publishers program. We were comparing notes and talking about the topic they have chosen to work on—building government trust.
I shared some of the things we are considering at the paper, such as the yet-to-happen “Coffee with the News-Herald.” As I explained that I would like to get together with readers now and then to chat over a cup of coffee, there was laughter. One of the Blandin participants said, “I see a theme here!”
Apparently one of the group working to build trust in government had suggested that the county offer coffee to taxpayers waiting for help. One of their group liked the idea of a little coffee station in the lobby of the planning & zoning office or the assessor’s office—like those at the car dealership or fancy hair salon. She suggested that a beverage—it didn’t have to be coffee, it could be a nice rooibos tea or even a cooler filled with refreshing water—would go a long way to soothing an irritated soul.
It brought to mind the book by Greg Mortenson, Three Cups of Tea, about Mortenson’s accidental foray into humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although his story was questioned as exaggerated and his charity challenged in 2011, it is clear that Mortenson’s nonprofit, Central Asia Institute, has built and helped operate some schools—and it continues to do so. So despite the cloud of uncertainty surrounding his story, Mortenson is doing good works.
And what good Mortenson has accomplished started with Three Cups of Tea. The book title comes from a proverb of a Tibetan/Pakistani ethnic group, the Balti: “The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family…”
I know, it would be complicated to have a coffeemaker and hot water and tea bags and containers of water scattered around the courthouse. It would be an additional task for a county staffer who already has enough to worry about. No one has time to sit and drink three cups of tea before conducting government business.
But it’s a nice thought. It’s good to see leaders thinking of ways they can build trust, even if it is with something as simple as providing coffee or orange pekoe to visitors. It’s a start.
There is no trouble so great or
grave that cannot be much
diminished by a nice cup of tea.
It’s that time of the year and football season is here. Mike is helping coach the Cook County Varsity Football team for the second season this year. Last Friday night his team played in Duluth, then we drove up to Thunder Bay to watch our son Josh play a game on Saturday and today he took Abby and a friend to watch the Minnesota Vikings play. Tomorrow Josh has another game in Silver Bay, Minnesota as does the Junior Varsity football team so Mike will have had 4 days in a row of travel and football. I sure hope he was ready for football!
It’s also volleyball season for Abby and she has games on both Tuesday and Thursday night of this week. The forecast calls for lots of windshield time this week.
Every once in awhile we have a guest share their Voyageur Experience with us. You can find more stories on our website but I thought I would share one with you here.
Bill and I have just returned back from a terrific trip to the Boundary Waters. It had been years since I had been on a canoe trip, and my husband had hardly even been in a canoe! So, we were very excited for our adventure in the North Woods. Voyageur Outfitters came highly recommended from a friend living in the Twin Cities area. We weren’t disappointed! Due to our lack of experience, we opted to stay in a cabin for a few days and do day trips; only venturing out into the wilderness the final day for an overnight camp out. From start to finish, the crew exceeded our expectations. All crew members were enthusiastic, informative, and genuinely concerned with our enjoyment and safety. We were given lots of advice on routing, both for our day trips and the overnight. This group truly loves the wilderness and their job! I hope to see all of them again. I hesitate to mention names because they were all outstanding. But, I guess I have to give a special shout-out to the girl! s: Kyra, Abigail, and Hannah. They were the best!
We didn’t see an bears or moose – but the LOONS!!! We were thoroughly captivated by their calls! One evening, we heard them do their dance – unforgettable!
Mike and Sue are running a great operation. We hope to be back next year!
Lindsay & Bill – Atlanta, GA
9/13/14 - Former Sawbill crew member, Beth Lynch, visited us a few weeks ago. She took a short canoe trip with some friends and had some great wildlife encounters. - Bill
Beth's group was walking a portage when they heard wolves howling nearby. Beth knew that wolves sometimes use the portage trails for travel so they stepped off the trail and waited. They were rewarded by seeing this little guy trotting down the trail.
Beth Lynch is comfortable in a canoe.
On Wednesday a guest arrived and told us he had seen a wolf on his way up the Gunflint Trail. Hannah who has worked at Voyageur all summer expressed displeasure that she had been here all summer and still hadn’t seen a wolf. I told her it was easier to see them in the fall and winter and that we see quite a few of them.
That afternoon she drove down the Gunflint Trail and called me when she got to Grand Marais. “Guess what I saw on the drive to town?” Yep, she saw a wolf. Then on Thursday when I drove to town to watch Abby’s volleyball game guess what I saw on the drive to town? Yep, I saw a wolf. Today on my way up the Trail guess what I saw. Yep, I saw another wolf.
It’s funny how things like that happen. We can go all summer without seeing one and then see one a day. You just never know what you’re going to see on the Gunflint Trail, but if you had to guess…
9/12/14 - We've been remiss in failing to introduce our newest Sawbill crew member. Brian Henry comes to us via a full career in the U.S. Forest Service. After retiring a few years ago, he terrorized the walleyes in area lakes before offering to help us out during our busy season. We threw him into the deep end of the pool on August 1st and he never looked back. His deep knowledge of the area and unflagging good cheer have been a welcome addition! Thanks Brian. - Bill
Brian Henry in a rare moment when he doesn't have a smile on his face.
This weekend in Grand Marais is the Unplugged Festival at the North House Folk School. If you have never been to it then I suggest checking it out in the future. There are some great bands and fun to be had. This Saturday night Mike and I will be pouring Fulton Beer at the Festival. Fulton was started by three couples, one of which is from Grand Marais, Minnesota.
While pouring beer we have the opportunity to talk about our brewery opening in Grand Marais. The progress of the construction at Voyageur Brewing Company is incredible. It’s so exciting to see how much gets done in such a short time. Next year before you come up the Gunflint Trail for your canoe trip you’ll have to stop in at the Brewery for a Nalgene or stainless steel growler filled with a delicious beer.
Oh yes it is! One of my ultimate most favorite everyday product is IsaDelights Plus chocolates. These little buggers taste AWESOME, once you have them and try to eat a Hershey bar, you will think you are eating wax (OK, you kind of are…but I digress).
What makes these guys so special? They not only make you LOOK good as they help keep your sweet tooth satisfied without blowing your goals, and they make you FEEL good as they release dopamine to make your brain happy. When your brain is happy, YOU are happy, your family is happy, your partner is happy…etc. etc. etc.
A little more info from the website on these little wonders:
When your brain is low on “feel-good” chemicals, it seeks out sugar, junk food and caffeine to artificially boost your energy and mood levels. IsaDelight Plus is specially formulated with green tea extract, amino acids, antioxidants, B vitamins and minerals to help ease those cravings. The creamy Milk Chocolate and delicious Dark Chocolate squares also boost your energy, mood and fire up your fat-burning potential.
Curbs cravings on Cleanse Days or any day (Yes we can have chocolate on CLEANSE DAYS!).
Low in sugar, equal to 1/8 of an apple
Helps burn fat
Only 60 calories per treat
Contact me to get your hands and brain on this buggers or order them here.
This weekend is guaranteed to be a lot of fun for everyone, with the Grand Marais Art Colony‘s Plein Air Competition and North House Folk School’s Unplugged on deck.
The Grand Marais Art Colony‘s Plein Air Competition continues with the Quick Paint competition on Artist’s Point from 4-5:30 p.m. on Thursday followed by an Open BBQ and Picnic. In the Quick Paint, artists are given 90 minutes to complete a painting somewhere on Artist’s Point. With a shotgun start, the event is great to watch as the artists work furiously to complete a painting in an hour and a half as observers wander around and watch. It’s really fun. All welcome.
On Friday at 11 a.m., the juror for Plein Air, pastel painter Bonnie Paruch, will give a lecture at East Bay Suites. The public is invited.
The Plein Air Exhibit & Sale opens at the Johnson Heritage Post with a reception from 5-7 p.m. on Friday night. The winners of the competition are announced and prizes are awarded in a number of categories including Best Overall, the Quick Paint awards, the Night Paint awards, the People’s Choice award and the Red Suspender Invitational awards. Refreshments will be served.
Then on Saturday, Hazel Belvo will speak about the exhibit at the Johnson Heritage Post from 10 -11 a.m. Entitled “Developing a Visual Literacy,” Belvo will facilitate a group conversation and reflection on the plein air exhibit while guiding participants in ways to interact with and respond to artwork. Free. Open to the public.
The exhibit & sale continues at the Heritage Post through Sept. 28. For more info, visit www.grandmaraisartcolony.org.
Unplugged XIII is three days of music and three days of craft at North House Folk School, with lots more scheduled as well, attracting hundreds throughout the region, as well as in the county, to enjoy workshops, speakers, music jams, concerts and more from Sept. 11-13.
The music includes two concerts with Mountain Stage Radio on Thursday and Friday nights and the classic Unplugged concert on Saturday night with Jon Vezner. Tickets are still available, but they’re going fast.
Thursday’s concert with Mountain Stage Radio is at 7 p.m. and includes David Wax Museum, Dan Wilson, Chris Smither, Tony Trischka’s Great Big World and The Don Juans.
Friday’s concert with Mountain Stage Radio includes David Lindley, Pert Near Sandstone, Carrie Newcomer, Judith Owen and Bill Miller.
The classic Unplugged with Jon Vezner includes Don Henry, Bill Miller, Jeff Gilkinson, Pat Donohue and Ellis.
There’s also live music before each concert (The Spruce Roots, 6 p.m. Thursday, LaVigne, Hand, Mills & Viton, 6 p.m. Friday and Briand Morrison, 6 p.m. Saturday.)
There’s a Songwriter’s Circle with Boyd “Bump”Blomberg from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, and a Big Top Tent Community Square Dance with Pert Near Sandstone from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday.
The event is a fundraiser for North House Folk School’s Endowment Fund. North House also holds the online Points North Auction as well as a Silent Auction during Unplugged.
There are a variety of workshops and speakers, as well as a Folk Artisan Marketplace featuring Liz Bucheit: Saami-inspired jewelry; Kim Garrett: rosemaling; Beth Homa-Style: birchbark weaving; Marcie McIntire: Aniishinaabe beadwork and moccasin sewing; Jim Sannerud: greenwood turning; Mary Schleip: rosemaling and Michel Seiler, silversmithing. And Fulton beer will be on tap during the concerts!
In other art news, the first session for Make-A-Bowl for Empty Bowls will be held in the ceramics studio at the Grand Marais Art Colony on Monday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. Participants will make a wheel-thrown bowl and a hand-built bowl, both of which will be donated to the Empty Bowls Fundraiser for the Food Shelf, which is held in November.
There are a number of sessions to choose from: Sundays at 2 p.m. and Mondays at 7 p.m. through Oct. 13. Registration is required (to make sure there’s enough room for everyone.) Call the Art Colony at 387-2737. All welcome!
Also, the Cook County Farm & Craft Market continues in the parking lot of the Senior Center. It is held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and features a variety of arts & crafts as well as local produce in season.
Local venues have scheduled lots of good music this weekend, too. Here’s the schedule.
Thursday, Sept. 11:
- Joe & Jessi, Gunflint Tavern, 7 p.m.
- Unplugged XIII, Mountain Stage Radio, North House Folk School, 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 12:
- Portage Band, American Legion, 6 p.m.
- Unplugged XIII, Mountain Stage Radio, North House Folk School, 7 p.m.
- Black River Revue, Gunflint Tavern, 9 p.m.
- Joe Paulik, Bluefin Grille, 9 p.m.
- Bughouse, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.
- Mountain Stage After-Party, Papa Charlie’s, 11:15 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 13:
- Joe Paulik, Lutsen Resort, 7 p.m
- The Sivertones, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30 p.m.
- Unplugged XIII, Singer/Songwriter Circle, North House Folk School, 7:30 p.m
- Pert Near Sandstone, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.
- The Splinters, Papa Charlie’s, 11:15 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 14:
- Billy D & Friends, Birch Terrace Lounge, 3 p.m.
- Timmy Haus, Gunflint Tavern, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 15:
- Communist Daughter, Monday Night Songwriter Series, Papa Charlie’s, 8:30 p.m.
- Pete Kavanaugh, Bluefin Grille, 9 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 17:
- Open Mic Night, Gunflint Tavern, 5 p.m.
- Briand Morrison, Moguls Grille, 6 p.m.
- Gordon Thorne & Bob Bingham, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
- Black River Revue, 9 p.m., Gunflint Tavern
We have lots of photographs to choose from again this week.
Let’s start with a few of the beautiful full moon photos taken earlier this week.
Next, a few storm shots from the gale we had on Wednesday.
Jim Christiansen took this shot at Brighton Beach near Duluth.
Thomas Spence caught these rollers in the West End.
And Sheila Smith photographed her first completed plein air painting, probably the same day.
Lake Superior has been calm this week, too.
And Devil Track Lake has been colorful.
Here’s another inland beauty.
And two moose in the rain…
And the sunsets have been incredible.
Enjoy your weekend, everyone!
While the other day we experienced summer in September today we had winter. Rumors circulated about the sighting of snow falling around the mid-trail region but we didn’t see any flakes at Voyageur. It was chilly with a high temperature of just 43 degrees and very windy. The main wind speed was between 9-13 miles per hour and gusts were in the 20 mile per hour range all day long. We also received over a half of an inch of rain so all in all it wasn’t a great day to be paddling in the Boundary Waters. The sun did appear just before it was ready to set tonight and Tony’s brother Justin snapped some beautiful photos of it before it disappeared.
The rest of the week looks like it will be nicer with sunshine and less wind. Tonight the first fire of the season is roaring in my fireplace and Rugby couldn’t be happier.
9/10/14 - Today is the unofficial first day of fall. A cold, steady rain fell all last night and the temperature was in the low 40s with a cold, gusty north wind and steel-grey overcast skies. It's days like this that make the bluebird days so fine.
Not to worry though, the forecast for the next five days is sunny, calm and cool.
The fall colors are just beginning, but the light frost predicted for the next few nights will ignite a storm of leafy reds, oranges and yellows. It's going to be a great year for color! - Bill
This is not the most enticing invitation to canoe country, but tomorrow promises blue skies and calm winds.
As the days get shorter and nights longer, our thoughts start turning towards the change of the seasons and dire predictions of The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Our focus turns to winter activities but at the same time we are already talking about the summer of 2015.
The one activity we see increasing in interest is stand up paddle boarding. We are looking at ways to give you more and better instruction. Maybe we try doing a few more yoga classes along with demos, either in the harbor or in some warmer inland lakes.
What we really need is input from you. What can we do to make our offerings better for you? Shorter tours or longer tours? Do we move more inland or bolster up the big lake?
And while we are at it, look at this web site and some of the videos. Let us know what you think. Would something like a SUP rowing scull interest you? Should we sell them or rent them? Could you see racing them? The possibilities are endless. So take a look and let us know.
I’ve talked about my love of bulletproof coffee on Facebook and every time I do, I have people ask me to share what it is. When I do, some are a little taken aback when I mention adding a tbsp. of butter to their coffee. Now before you go “ewwwwww”, just know I thought the same thing when I first read about it and then decided to give it a try. Let me tell you….it is AWESOME, as long as the butter is organic and unsalted, and comes from cattle that are grass-fed and raised hormone and anti-biotic free. It’s simple to make and will be better than any concoction you get at Starbucks. (For me, I love my Americanno, but it now pales in comparison to my bulletproof!
Here’s how I make mine:
Step 1: I start by cold-pressing my coffee. I grind my own beans as needed, place three 1/8 c. scoops in the bottom of a French Press and fill with water. I will let sit at least overnight and press in the morning. (I get two servings out of my press as I usually only have one cup a day). I fill my large coffee mug with coffee to measure and then heat on the stove (I choose to NOT microwave for personal reasons…I don’t microwave much.). You can use regular brewed coffee if you choose.
Step 2: While my coffee is heating, I put a tbsp. each of Kerrygold unsalted butter and Organic UNrefined coconut oil in the bottom of the coffee mug. (You can use straight MCT oil as well).
Step 3: When coffee is hot, I pour about 1/3 of the hot coffee over the butter and oil and then mix with a stick blender (I only fill to 1/3 full as the whipping action will have it overflow if you fill it too full!).
Step 4: Pour the rest of the hot coffee in the cup and enjoy!
Some recipes call for more butter, but my taste buds prefer the tbsp. of each. True Bulletproof coffee is suppose to be made with some specially roasted beans, (which I have placed an order…) and will let you know if there is a difference.
Give it a try and come on back and let me know what you think!
A sure sign of fall is when the flocks of geese fly over the Boundary Waters with bills pointed south. Today there were a couple of very large flocks of geese all heading south. Their timing coincides with the departure of the Quetico Park Ranger.
The difference between the geese and Janice the Cache Bay Ranger is she heads north when the weather gets cold. What does that mean for people wanting to visit the Quetico Park? People are welcome to visit the Quetico when the Ranger is no longer there but camping fees are purchased on a self-service basis.
Permits to enter the Quetico Park are no longer needed after the Ranger Station closes but overnight camping fees must still be paid. Payment is by cash only that is deposited into a collection container. Checks aren’t allowed because by the time payment is retrieved the date is old and the bank won’t accept them.
The good news is the price of the overnight camping fee goes down a little bit. The rate is $16.50 per adult per night and youth is $6.50 per night and the rates are at par. If you have questions then you can call the Quetico Park directly at 807-597-5019.
Safe travels to all those migrating south or north.
9/8/14 - Here are a few more pictures of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association camping trip at the Sawbill Lake Campground last weekend.
9/8/14 - Here are a few more pictures of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association camping trip at the Sawbill Lake Campground last weekend. - Bill
Wood and canvas canoes on Sawbill Lake.
Canoe ballet, solo style.
A happy group of wooden canoe fans, led by Alex Comb of Stewart River Boatworks.
What it is: Titanium dioxide is a component of the metallic element titanium, a mined substance that is sometimes contaminated with toxic lead.
Where it is: Commonly used in paints and sunscreens, big food corporations add it to lots of things we eat, too, including processed salad dressing, coffee creamers, and icing.
Why it’s bad: The food industry adds it to hundreds of products to make dingy, overly processed items appear whiter. “White has long been the symbolic color of ‘clean,’” explains food industry insider Bruce Bradley, who shares the tricks, traps, and ploys of big food manufacturers on his blog, BruceBradley.com. “Funny, when you use real food, you don’t need any of these crazy additives—I think I prefer the real deal.”
These types of ingredients added to food is why I believe it is more important than ever to cleanse our bodies of impurities regularly. Contact me for more information by clicking on the “contact” floating button or text me at 407-545-8113.
A high temperature of 76 degrees today on the Gunflint Trail made it feel like summer. We hardly had any days that warm all summer long. It doesn’t look like we’ll have that warm of a day again for at least a week as temperatures are supposed to cool off after Tuesday and drop into the 40′s.
The leaves are starting to change on the Gunflint Trail and with the days getting shorter and shorter they will only get better. Fall is a favorite time of the year for folks to paddle in the Boundary Waters. Frequent wildlife sightings, lack of bugs and very few people make it a wonderful time to canoe camp.
We hope you can come paddle with us this September and if you’re lucky then you might just get a summer day in September too.