Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

DNR Fisheries continues stream and lake surveys in October

Thu, 09/29/2016 - 12:16pm

Fisheries staff from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Grand Marais area office will conduct surveys and assessments on several Cook County lakes and streams during the next few months.

Survey results are reviewed and incorporated into individual lake and stream management plans. The plans identify goals for key species in the lake and outline specific management activities. They are typically revised every six to 10 years. All current lake and stream management plans for the Grand Marais area are available at the area office, and copies can be provided upon request. Public comments and suggestions for management of these waters are welcomed at any time.

October 3 - Survey Moosehorn and Shoe lakes.

October 10 - Survey Pine Mountain Lake, lake trout spawn-take in Mountain Lake.

October 17 - Survey Pancore and Olson lakes, complete lake trout spawn on Mountain Lake.

These survey plans are tentative. Lakes and streams may be added or dropped and timing may change. Questions and general information about area lakes and streams can be addressed to the DNR’s Grand Marais area fisheries office at 1356 Highway 61 E., Grand Marais, MN 55604. Questions also can be submitted by calling 218-387-6021 (note new number) or emailing grandmarais.fisheries@state.mn.us.

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This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at www.cookcountynews-herald.com.

 

Nice fall weather perfect for a color tour

Thu, 09/29/2016 - 10:52am
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Looks like a dry weekend ahead with temps in the 60’s and not much wind, so the color will stay on the trees.  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Kevin Huyck (hike).

 

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"Oktoberfest" at Voyageur Brewing Company to benefit Cook County Community Fund

Wed, 09/28/2016 - 11:34am

Voyageur Brewing Company (VBC) in partnership with the Cook County Community Fund (CCCF) will host an “Oktoberfest” event from Sept. 29 through Oct. 1 – a weekend that will include German music, food, games, and VBC beer, including a new “Oktoberfest” brew.

VBC will donate $1 per pint and 50 cents per half-pint for all purchases of the Oktoberfest brew sold that Thursday through Sunday to the CCCF.

VBC co-owner Mike Prom said, “The Cook County Community Fund supports the work of nonprofits throughout our community through educational workshops and grant funding. The opportunity to make a difference and impact the work of so many great causes really appealed to us at Voyageur.”

The new Oktoberfest brew will be tapped on Thursday to kick off the event. The Dunkelweizen Bearpaw will be on tap along with all four flagship beers. 

The CCCF will host its annual celebration at Voyageur on Friday, Sept. 30 at 5 p.m. Grantees from 2015 will share stories about the impact of the funding they received, and 2016 grantees will be announced.

Jeff Cadwell, co-chair of the CCCF advisory board, said, “This is an exciting partnership for us. We hope that sharing in the celebration at Voyageur will bring more visibility to the good work of our county’s many nonprofits so that more residents and regular visitors will donate to the Community Fund, increasing the number of grants we can distribute throughout our community.”

Oktoberfest will include special German fare, including pretzels with a flight of house-made mustards and other sauces. Games throughout the weekend such as a pretzel toss and chicken dance-off are family-friendly. An exclusive Oktoberfest stein will be available for purchase. The Oktoberfest brew will be available throughout the month of October.

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Growing Northwoods Food Project seeks board members

Wed, 09/28/2016 - 11:28am

The people involved in the Northwoods Food Project have been very busy since forming in 2009. The nonprofit is working to develop Cook County's long term food sustainability and self reliance by developing a countywide food growing system. As these efforts continue, the Northwoods Food Project is seeking two board members to serve three year terms.

Pat Campanaro of the Northwoods Food Project (NFP) made the announcement about seeking board members and said, “No experience is necessary except a commitment to seeing more locally grown food here!”
Diane Booth, the county Extension director said NFP and Extension have partnered on a number of projects, such as two small community gardens, one at the Grand Marais Recreation Park and one at WTIP community radio.
A major NFP effort was the Green Dollar Survey. Working with other organizations in the county, NFP spearheaded the study which highlighted how dependent the community is on outside food sources and the importance of local food sources for the county’s tourism economy.

“There is a huge market and opportunity for local food production,” said Booth. “We just need to support local food production with city, county and business support to keep more of those dollars within our community.”

NFP also conducted a compost study to determine how much food waste (nitrogen) source might be available to produce local compost in Cook County. Booth said this information could led to a new business in the area in the future. 

NFP has held informational meetings with current producers to support them in their agricultural endeavors and had discussion with government officials about zoning more favorable to different aspects of food production.

Commissioners set preliminary levy and sales tax increase

Wed, 09/28/2016 - 10:59am
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The County Commissioners are locked in the hard work of budgeting. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Commissioner Garry Gamble about setting a preliminary levy and passing a sales tax increase.
 
 

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Online petition created to curb ongoing moose hunt

Tue, 09/27/2016 - 11:06am
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An online petition has been created as an effort to end a recently-established moose hunt in northeastern Minnesota.

After a few years of its absence, a moose hunt was authorized by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and it started over the weekend on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Robin Johnson, the founder and president of a non-profit organization known as Save Minnesota Moose, created the petition on the website change.org. She says the moose population is not stable enough for hunting seasons to be opened in 2016.

As of 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27, the petition had collected nearly 200 supporters or signatures.

Johnson says she plans to send the petition to the Fond du Lac Tribal Council this week, and will continue to send an updated version as more signatures are collected.

Monday morning the news staff at WTIP reached a Conservation Officer with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to discuss how many bulls were taken over the opening weekend of the hunt.  The officer said he was not authorized to give out such information and did not say how many bulls were harvested on Saturday, Sunday and through Monday morning. WTIP next attempted to reach Tribal Chairman Kevin DuPuis for comment and as off 11:00 Tuesday morning have not heard back from Tribal headquarters of the Fon du Lac Band, which is located near Cloquet.

WTIP news staff did speak with local DNR wildlife officials in Grand Marais who confirmed a large collared bull moose was killed on Pine Mountain Road. There were also other, unofficial reports of moose kills during the first three days of the hunt, according to the local DNR office.

The moose hunt goes from Sept. 24 through Dec. 31, or until 25 bull moose have been killed.

Steve Merchant is the DNR wildlife populations program manager for the state of Minnesota. He says the Fond du Lac Band will have to report all moose harvested in this year’s hunt to state officials, but the timeline to report such activity is not immediate.

The Fon du Lac Band announced on their website last week that the moose hunt will be authorized this fall. The posting said recent research found the moose herd had stabilized in recent years and is now at around 4,000 animals.

The area open to moose hunting includes portions of St. Louis County and most public lands in Lake and Cook counties, including large areas of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. 

The petition created by Save Minnesota Moose can be found by clicking here.

 

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WTIP Opioid program elicits tip, leads to arrest

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 2:43pm
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As a result of WTIP’s recent Third Thursday program on opioid abuse, a tip was received and an arrest was made of someone importing fentanyl into the county. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Sheriff Pat Eliasen.

Update: Chief Deputy Will Sandstrom from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office said the department was contacted regarding the use and distribution of fentanyl at several resorts located inside of Cook County.

After following up on tips from the public, two people were detained in connection with a controlled substance delivered to a local resort in the mail. Jeremy Jeska was charged with a controlled substance violation and was booked into the Cook County jail. The package that was intercepted by law enforcement contained a vial of liquid that matched a vial located in Jeska’s pocket when he was arrested.

At the time of arrest, Jeska was in possession of liquid fentanyl, and powdered cocaine. 
 

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High insurance costs drive county levy higher

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 11:18am

Cook County Commissioners were busy on Tuesday, September 20, and highlighting their meeting was a 4-1 vote to renew the county’s health plan with the Northeast Service Cooperative Pool, a 19.1 percent increase over last year’s plan.

It was an increase that left some commissioners shaken.

“This is 4.5 percent of our county’s levy,” said Commissioner Garry Gamble. “Some counties are levying at that.”

The increase is a $300,000 hike. Total cost of the plan is $1,869,276. The county has 26 single plans and 84 family plans.

Gamble asked Cadwell is he had enough time to look at other options before the commissioners set the final levy at the end of the year, but Cadwell said the insurance plan had to be submitted by October 15. He also said it would take his department months to properly research and present health plan options for the county board to examine.

Commissioner Frank Moe said he thought the increase in cost was “too dramatic” and he moved to not approve the plan. His motion died of a lack of a second.

“I understand where Commissioner Moe is coming from,” said Gamble, “But if we do nothing we are abdicating our responsibility.”

With that a motion was made, seconded and approved with a no vote from Moe to pass the 19.1 percent increase in health insurance.

The board can renegotiate with the employees’ union for health plans in 2018, and Cadwell said he would have a variety of options for the board and the union to consider before it was time to set the 2018 budget.

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This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at www.cookcountynews-herald.com.

 

Progressing through autumn: a little rain a little sun

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 10:03am
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Once we get through a couple of rainy days, the weather should clear up nicely after Wednesday through the weekend.  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Stewart.

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Photos from Year in the Wilderness and a message to WTIP listeners from Dave Freeman

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 3:25pm
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To conclude their year spent entirely within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Dave and Amy Freeman paddled out to some 100 friends, fellow adventurers, activists and curious people on Friday, Sept. 23 on the Kawisihiwi River south of Ely. An even larger crowd waited back on the mainland.

The large flotilla left in kayaks, canoes and a collection of boats from River Point Resort and Outfitting Company located on Birch Lake. Joining Dave and Amy in their canoe was their loyal companion, a sled dog named Tank.

All the photographs in this collection were taken during the exit party held at River Point in honor of the Freemans and during the flotilla event.

The Freemans paddled some 2,000 miles and visited an estimated 500 lakes and rivers during the past year. They traveled by canoe, skis, snowshoes and dog team, in addition to walking countless rods on portage trails.

Dave and Amy dedicated their year in the wilderness in support of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters’ efforts to protect the region from proposed copper-nickel mines in the BWCAW watershed.

And while the Year in the Wilderness is now complete, Dave and Amy continue on. The couple will travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with lawmakers on Monday, Sept. 26.

Below is an audio message from Dave Freeman to listeners and supporters of WTIP and the weekly podcasts the Freemans provided this station during their Year in the Wilderness. 
 

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Rally for the Cure raises thousands for research

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 8:05am

From the top of their heads to the bottoms of their feet, most of the 64 ladies who took part in the 9th annual Rally for the Cure golf tournament at Superior National at Lutsen on a warm, sunny Sunday, September 18 day were outfitted entirely in pink. Pink. Pink, and more pink.

At tournament’s end, they had enthusiastically raised $3,700 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Rally for the Cure is a grassroots organization that works to spread awareness about breast cancer and early detection in support of the Susan G. Komen Foundation through organized golf, tennis and dining events.

“We had ladies from Dryden, Thunder Bay, Duluth, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Brainerd, Silver Bay and of course Cook County play,” said Superior National Professional Golf Association (PGA) pro Heath Ekstrom, who is the chief ambassador and organizer of the tournament. 

The event started the night before with a social hour hosted by Ekstrom’s wife Leah, with about 40 women attending.

Prizes were given for best costume, best decorated cart, best theme, raffles, and those who paid for mulligans had that money donated to the Rally for a Cure fund, said Ekstrom.

“At various times ladies would stop and talk about people they know who have been affected by breast cancer,” said Ekstrom, who said the day has added meaning to him because he lost his grandmother to breast cancer.

“It was a great day, but our numbers were down a bit this year. We have had a high of 89 golfers one year. I have put out a challenge to our local ladies to recruit more golfers for next year’s Rally which will be held on September 17,” Ekstrom said, who added he would seek more sponsors for the tournament.

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This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper atwww.cookcountynews-herald.com.

School District 166 looks at special education services

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:59am

One of the agenda items for the School District 166 September 15 school board meeting was a review of the district’s 2016-2017 goals. One of the goals was to better define the district’s relationship with the Northland Learning Center, the regional cooperative that provides special education services to ISD 166.

The school board took steps toward that goal during the meeting with a report from Reggie Engebritson, executive director of the Northland Learning Center (NLC).

Board members asked questions about special education staffing decisions.  They also asked how students in need of special education are identified.

Engebritson explained that the first step is at ISD 166. She said if a teacher sees a student struggling with academics or behavior, he or she can share those concerns with the ISD 166 Child Study Team (CST). Engebritson said the team gives the teacher recommendations for “pre-referral interventions.” The teacher follows the recommendations and brings data back to the team and that information goes to NLC.

Within 30 days, an evaluation is done, said Engebritson, and then the school, parents and special education specialists have a meeting to develop an individual education plan—an IEP.

Engebritson said she hopes that answers the question sometimes asked, which is “Why does it takes so long to get children special education services.”

Another goal set by the school board is to ensure that the school district IEP team includes representation from the Grand Portage community, which will be done, said Superintendent Dr. Bill Crandall.

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This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper atwww.cookcountynews-herald.com.

 

 

Fond du Lac Band to conduct moose hunt in northeastern Minnesota starting Sept. 24

Fri, 09/23/2016 - 10:21am

The State of Minnesota suspended its Minnesota moose hunt indefinitely in 2013 after the January 2013 survey showed a moose population decline of 35 percent. The survey estimated the moose population at 2,760 animals, down from 4,230 in 2012 and far below the 8,840 counted in 2006.

The 1854 Treaty Authority, which manages off-reservation hunting, fishing and gathering rights for the Grand Portage and Boise Forte Bands, followed suit and cancelled moose hunts on off-reservation (ceded) lands. The Fond du Lac Band also halted its harvest on ceded land.

However, Fond du Lac Band has decided to once again conduct a moose hunt on ceded land. Fond du Lac Band held a lottery for band members to hunt in the 1854 ceded territory, offering 50 bull moose permits. The season will run from September 24 to December 31, or until 25 bulls have been taken.

Hunters are required to register their moose within 24 hours of harvest. Hunters will be given 48-hours notice of the season’s closing if 25 moose are harvested before December 31.

The area open to hunting, the ceded territory, includes portions of St. Louis County and nearly all of Lake and Cook counties as well as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It excludes developed areas such as the towns of Silver Bay, Beaver Bay and Grand Marais.

The Cook County News-Herald reached Dr. Seth Moore, director of biology and environment for the Grand Portage Band and asked if Grand Portage was also going to have a moose hunt in 2016. Moore said a decision had not been made yet.

Moore said if a subsistence hunt for moose is held, the 1854 Treaty Authority sets the season and allocates permits for the Boise Forte and Grand Portage. Moore said the average harvest when hunts have been conducted in the past has been “about 10 animals for each band, for a total of about 20 animals.”

Board chair of Cooperation Station discusses status of daycare options in Cook County

Fri, 09/23/2016 - 7:29am
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The Cook County YMCA is in the process of taking over Cooperation Station, a local daycare provider. We spoke with Cooperation Station Board Chair Betsy Jorgenson about what this means for that organization and other local daycare providers. 
 

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Schroeder considers use of Minnesota Power maintenance building

Thu, 09/22/2016 - 12:18pm

With Minnesota Power’s Taconite Harbor Energy Center coal-fired power plant scheduled to be idled on September 26, there is a lot going on at the plant, General Manager David Rannetsberger said to Schroeder supervisors at their September 13 meeting.

One of those items is what to do with the maintenance building located across Highway 61 on the hill.  Rannetsberger presented a rough draft of a lease proposal for the building for supervisors to consider.

With the power plant on the lake closing, West End firefighters lose a valuable place to fill their pumper trucks. However, there is a 6,000-gallon water tank in the maintenance garage that firefighters could use, said Rannetsberger.

When asked the lease cost, Rannetsberger replied, “I was thinking about $250 per month, plus some snowplowing. If you lease the building we would want you to keep the lower road plowed as part of the agreement.”

Another part of that agreement would include Schroeder paying to heat the building while Minnesota Power would pay for the electricity.

Supervisor Roger “Bill” McKeever asked if Schroeder could switch propane companies because the township’s current provider is cheaper than the one who fills the tank for Minnesota Power. Rannetsberger said that option could be explored. He also said if the building was kept at 40 F or so it wouldn’t cost much to keep it heated.

“If we [Minnesota Power] want the building back we would give Schroeder 60 days notice,” he said.

Supervisor Bruce Martinson said the board would need the firefighters’ blessing before they pursued a lease, but early indications are that the building might be of good use to the township.