Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Local PUC joins fight to save the monarch butterfly

Sun, 07/24/2016 - 8:51am

Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission joined with Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA) to help create habitat for monarch butterflies and other pollinators.

Loss of habitat has resulted in an estimated 90 percent reduction in the eastern U.S. population of the iconic butterfly.

Locally, SMMPA Member Representative and Line Superintendent/Power Plant Operations Manager Mike Taylor led an effort to establish a small pollinator plot in the Grand Marais Recreation Park.  

“The assistant park manager really took this project on and did most of the work with help from some of the park employees,” Taylor said.

Grand Marais PUC members can take part in the program if they want to, said Taylor. “SMMPA gave us seed packets that can be picked up for free at Grand Marais City Hall.”

With SMMPA’s help, Grand Marais and several of its other member municipalities established 26 pollinator sites in 12 different communities this year. Sites are generally in the 200-400 square-foot range and consist of milkweed plants and a variety of flowering nectar plants. Milkweed is the main food for monarch caterpillars, and nectar plants such as flowers provide nourishment for adult butterflies.

SMMPA purchased the seeds and plants from Prairie Restorations of Princeton, Minnesota. Prairie Restorations “Sowing it Back Together” program uses native Minnesota plant species to help create habitat for pollinators like the monarch butterfly.

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

Canoe races and Gunflint Trail offer new experiences for duo from Turkey

Sun, 07/24/2016 - 7:50am
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The Gunflint Canoe Races took place on Wednesday, July 20. There were some familiar faces from around Cook County in attendance during this year’s event. But also on hand were two international students who are spending their summer working along the North Shore.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs has this feature on the first trip up the Gunflint Trail for two young people from Turkey. 
 

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WTIP Weekend News Roundup for July 23

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 10:52am
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Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. A mining meeting in Ely, Tofte and Birch Grove School work on disagreements, primary ballot confusion, death and destruction from violent storms…all this and more in the week’s news.

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Boundary Waters canoeist shares details of powerful storm

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 12:09pm
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Near hurricane force winds pushed by one of the most powerful storms to hit northeastern Minnesota in decades moved through the region early Thursday morning, flattening trees and causing damage from Duluth to Ontario.

Winds may have gusted as high as 90 mph as the storms moved across the region, including large sections of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

WTIP's Joe Friedrichs spoke with Kevin Kramer, a canoeist who was camped at a campsite on Brant Lake near the Gunflint Trail during the storm.

 

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New ISD166 superintendent discusses budgets and new staff

Fri, 07/22/2016 - 10:24am
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This week was Dr. Bill Crandall’s first ISD166 school board meeting as shared superintendent with the Lake Superior District. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with the new superintendent.

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"Everything under the Sun...and Shade" at West End Flower Show

Thu, 07/21/2016 - 1:09pm

Members of the West End Garden Club invite everyone to come and discover "Everything  Under the Sun ....and Shade" at the 2016 Flower Show to be held Saturday, July 23 from 1 - 5 p.m. at the Schroeder Town Hall.

Garden Club members will be letting their imaginations run wild using this fun theme as they display their colorful flowers. Admission is free. Lemonade, coffee, and tea will be served during the entire show, as well as members' famous home baked cookies and bars.

Bring a friend—or a bear—and enjoy an afternoon of flowers and fun.

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

 

Grand Marais Garden Club invites the community to "Nature's Symphony"

Thu, 07/21/2016 - 1:07pm

The Grand Marais Garden Club invites you to its annual flower show entitled Nature’s Symphony on Friday, July 22 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Cook County Community Center located at 317 W. 5th St.  Jan Attridge is this year’s chairperson.

 You will enjoy a beautiful display of floral arrangements of locally-grown flowers.  The 60 members of the club display many kinds of flowers grown in their own gardens.  Refreshments will be served as well as homemade rhubarb punch.  There will be a plant exchange/sale so you can pick up perennials for your garden.  This year a new feature will be bouquets of flowers for sale as well. Now you can take home some of these flowers to enjoy!

The event is free with donations accepted.

 The Grand Marais Garden Club has been in existence for 82 years.  The members donate their time and talents to Grand Marais by planting and tending all of the flower boxes in town, helping to maintain Harbor Park, the Memorial Rose Garden and the South of the Border curb flower garden. The club meets on the second Monday of the month at 10 a.m. at the Senior Center and enjoys informative presentations and garden tours.

Come enjoy one of the prettiest events of the summer at the Flower Show.  All are welcome.

Come and discover Everything  Under the Sun ....and Shade at the 2016 West End Garden Club Flower Show to be held Saturday, July 23 from 1 - 5 p.m. at the Schroeder Town Hall.

Garden Club members will be letting their imaginations run wild using this fun theme as they display their colorful flowers. Admission is free. Lemonade, coffee, and tea will be served during the entire show, as well as members' famous home baked cookies and bars.

Bring a friend—or a bear—and enjoy an afternoon of flowers and fun.

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Severe storms could return to the area later this weekend

Thu, 07/21/2016 - 11:06am
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The severe storms that quickly moved through the county Thursday left a long trail of downed trees and powerlines stretching from west of Duluth through northern Cook County and on into northern Wisconsin and lower Michigan. Similar weather could return later on Saturday. WTIP's Jay Andersen spoke with meteorologist and hazardous weather specialist Carol Christenson.

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Twin Metals hearing in Ely draws large crowd

Thu, 07/21/2016 - 9:56am
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The second of two public "listening sessions" held by the U.S. Forest Service on Twin Metals mineral leases was held in Ely this week. The Twin Metals leases are regarding a proposed copper mine just southeast of Ely.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs has this interview about the event.  
 

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North Shore strawberry farm a welcome slice of paradise

Wed, 07/20/2016 - 12:23pm
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A family-owned and operated strawberry farm near Hovland is proving to be a huge success along the North Shore. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs recently visited the farm and has this report. 
 

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Office Outpost is open for business

Wed, 07/20/2016 - 11:01am

An interesting new facility has opened in the Grand Marais Municipal building on Broadway Avenue. The space that once housed the Grand Marais Tourist Information Center, but was vacant for about a year, has been repurposed to a stylish and welcoming workspace. It is now the Office Outpost, a telework space in the heart of Grand Marais. On Tuesday, July 12, a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house was held to introduce the coworking concept to the public.

After the ribbon cutting, the doors were opened for tours. Visitors were surprised at the transformation from a noisy, poster-bedecked information center to a quiet and clean space with 11 workstations. Bob Pranis of the Cook County Broadband Commission was pleased to explain that the Office Outpost is the perfect place for someone on vacation who wants to do a little bit of work on his or her laptop or a local entrepreneur who needs to get out of a noisy house to work for a few hours a week in a spot with high-speed Internet, access to a professional printer/scanner/copier and a Keurig coffee station.

Small Business Development Center Representative Pat Campanaro added that others might want to take advantage of the sunny conference room that will hold eight people or the private room with video conferencing capabilities.

One of the best things, explained Pranis, is that the facility with its amenities is open 24/7. Individuals wanting to use the space can visit the Office Outpost website on their smart phones for information. After paying the fee and downloading a free Kisi app, they are able to unlock and enter to get to work whenever they want.

Use of the facility is fee-based, with use plans running the gambit—$5 for just an hour; $25 for a day; $75 per week or $150 for a month.

The response so far has been positive. A meeting held this spring brought about 25 people out to learn more. Several have already signed up to use the space, said Pranis.

Primary ballots can confuse mail recipients

Wed, 07/20/2016 - 4:48am
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A general look of confusion crossed the faces of many Cook County postal patrons when they found a Primary Ballot in their mail boxes recently. The State Legislature changed Minnesota’s caucus system back to a primary system, but that won’t happen until the next partisan election.

When the ballot is opened there are just three names, all for Associate Justice to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Typically justices are not household words, but in this case at least two of the names may sound vaguely familiar if you follow the news.

The incumbent is Natalie Hudson. She is one of three women on the court and the only black justice. She was appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton in October of 2015. Prior to that she served on the Court of Appeals, appointed by then Gov. Jesse Ventura and subsequently elected twice.

Michelle MacDonald is a private practice attorney and until recently served as a Conciliation Court judge in Hennepin County. In 2014 she was a Supreme Court Candidate endorsed by the Republican Party. She was in the news in June 2014 when it was discovered she had been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and resisting arrest in 2013. The revelation came less than two weeks after party delegates in Rochester endorsed MacDonald to run against Justice David Lillehaug.

The third candidate is Craig Foss, about which little is known publicly. The Secretary of State’s office lists his residence in St. Paul, he has no website. There is a Craig Foss listed in private practice in St. Paul, a Craig Foss who is a corporate council in Minneapolis and a third practicing in Alexandria.

According to Cook County Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, who oversees elections here, the primary will cost the county in the neighborhood of $15,000. A minimum of three election judges will be at each of two polling places – the courthouse and the community center. A full complement of election judges – 22 minimum – will work the mail ballots on primary night, August 9.
Powers said at the very least the primary will serve as a dry run for the November 8 General Election.

 

Joint meeting July 20 to discuss rate increase for Birch Grove Center tenants

Tue, 07/19/2016 - 12:54pm

A joint meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 20 between the Tofte Town Board and the tenants of the Birch Grove Center.

Quorums of both the Tofte town board and the Birch Grove Community School (BGCS) Board may be in attendance at the meeting, which has been called to discuss the June 28 decision to increase rent for tenants in the Birch Grove Center from $8.50 per square feet to $10.50, a 20 percent increase.

The increase will be borne by the Birch Grove School and the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic. W.E. Connect, which manages the facility for the township will not be impacted by the decision as it is paid by the Town of Tofte to manage the building for the township. 

BGCS Director Caroline Woods said no school board business will be conducted at the meeting and any information gained at the meeting will be presented to the full board of directors at the regularly scheduled meeting of the board on Tuesday, July 26 at 5:30 pm in the Bobcat Den at BGCS.

However, Wood told the News-Herald, “The school’s budget is set for FY 2016-2017,” adding, “The school is not in a position to take from general education funds for books, technology, transportation, or salaries.”

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

 

Professor Marvel to appear at Grand Marais Public Library July 23

Tue, 07/19/2016 - 12:52pm

Professor Marvel will be at the Grand Marais Public Library at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 23 to present his non-stop action-packed show. This program is free and great for families with kids ages pre-kindergarten to fifth grade.

Professor Marvel’s Magic of the Olympics magic show provides a fun, interactive playground where kids’ natural creativity can be inspired. The show focuses on six different books: fun fiction, outstanding origami and a crafty cookbook are featured and then illustrated with magic and illusion woven throughout their pages. Featured books include selections from authors Mary Pope Osborne, Kristi Yamaguchi, James Dean, and Louis Sachar.

For more information contact the library at (218) 387-1140.

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

PUC forgives YMCA water loss

Tue, 07/19/2016 - 12:51pm

Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission board members voted unanimously to forgive the bill for more than 1 million gallons of water leaked from the Cook County Community YMCA swimming pool due to a rock stuck in a mechanical valve at the bottom of the pool.

The leak occurred for about one month (from mid May to mid-June) before being discovered during a random check by PUC meter readers. Swimming pool attendants didn’t notice the missing water because the pool is automatically refilled to maintain a constant depth.

The board agreed in principal to forgive the bill at its previous meeting, but needed a letter from Cook County Maintenance Director Brian Silence asking for the charges to be forgiven, which they received at their regular July 6 meeting.  The county owns and maintains the YMCA building.

It is standard policy for the PUC to forgive the first leak for a business or individual if it goes undetected and is not the fault of the owner. However, a second leak in similar circumstances is not forgiven.

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