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Judge upholds Forest Service plan for South Fowl snowmobile trail

Sun, 02/22/2015 - 7:29pm

On February 13, 2015, Judge John Tunheim issued a long-awaited opinion on the U.S. Forest Service 2006 decision to construct the South Fowl snowmobile trail access between McFarland and South Fowl lakes in Hovland. Reached by phone after the ruling became public, Attorney David Oberstar said the ruling was “all in favor” of the U.S. Forest Service.

Oberstar, of Fryberger, Buchanan and Smith of Duluth, represented Cook County, the Arrowhead Coalition for Multiple Use (ACMU) and Conservationists with Common Sense (CSCS) as interveners in the lawsuit in support of the Forest Service snowmobile trail proposal. The county, ACMU and CWCS supported the development of Alternative 2, which most closely resembles the trail closed by the Forest Service in 2003, known by many local residents as the “Tilbury Trail.”

The plaintiffs seeking to block the trail were the Izaak Walton League of America, Inc.; Wilderness Watch of Missoula, Montana; Sierra Club Northstar Chapter; and Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness (NMW).

The News-Herald contacted Gunflint Ranger Nancy Larson to ask what was next regarding this snowmobile trail. Ranger Larson said the Superior National Forest was glad to have a decision from the court. She said, “Gunflint Ranger District staff will be examining the details of the court decision and the South Fowl EIS to develop an action plan of items to implement the decision as intended.”

“In light of the time that has passed since this project was first developed, the Gunflint Ranger District recognizes interest in the trail being constructed as soon as possible. The action plan we will develop will likely identify opportunities for volunteers to contribute to trail construction,” said Larson, noting that because of local interest in the trail, she anticipates “a cadre of willing volunteers.”

Ruby's Pantry coming to Grand Marais

Sat, 02/21/2015 - 11:39am

For quite some time now, some Cook County residents have been traveling to Silver Bay to visit Ruby’s Pantry. Starting in May, people from Cook County will no longer have to make that trek: Grand Marais will have its own monthly distribution taking place on the second Thursday of each month from 4:30 - 6 p.m.—once all the details are worked out.

Ruby’s Pantry was developed with a twofold purpose: to help people in rural Minnesota stretch their food dollars and to lessen food waste. Around 40 percent of food in the USA is thrown out. 

A number of people are working on a steering committee and have volunteered for various oversight responsibilities: Karen Halbersleben and Jane Shinners will coordinate registration and money; Barb Spaulding will line up volunteers; Beth Kennedy will be in charge of marketing. The Grand Marais site coordinator is Ginny Padzieski. Ruby’s Pantry requires a church sponsor for each site, and Spirit of the Wilderness Episcopal Church will be that.

For more information on Ruby’s Pantry, visit:  And stay tuned for more information about Ruby’s Pantry in Grand Marais.


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

Casino Express trip with Cook County Senior Center on February 23

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 3:40pm

The Cook County Senior Center has another trip to Grand Portage planned for Monday February 23. The bus will be leaving the Senior Center at 4:15 p.m. and returning around 10:30 p.m. The bus is free to ride. If you need a pickup within Grand Marais, let the Senior Center know by calling 218-387-2660.


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


Open Bonspiel at Cook County Curling Club Feb. 20 - 22

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 3:38pm

There has been a lot of activity at the Cook County Curling Club in 2014-2015 curling season.  Besides regular league games played on Monday and Tuesday evenings, on Wednesday afternoon we have a strong group of dedicated curlers who play a pick-up game of curling.  Most of the players are retired folk that enjoy getting together and playing a 6 end game of curling.  It is a great way to spend those cold winter afternoons and to have a great time with some neat people. 
With support from the YMCA for advertising on Wednesday evenings we have had two sessions for curling lessons for beginners.  The first session started in November for six weeks and the second session started in January and we only have two weeks to go. The evening lessons have brought in the younger population and they have been having fun learning the game with the help of seasoned members, Rory Smith, Brian Smith, Shawn Swearingen, Rich Palmer, Andrew Smith, Joanne Smith and Bill Parish.
Over the Christmas holidays the club gave lessons to four different groups of nine that were vacationing here. The club has been offering curling lessons to guests who come to visit our area for the last three years and advertises it on their website.  It has been pretty successful as we average five to six groups a season.  Plus, it gives our visiting guests another experience from the North Shore.
In February and March the curling club hosts its bonspiels.  The first one is an Open Bonspiel, February 20 - 22 and the Charles J. Futterer Open Memorial Bonspiel is March 13 - 15.  These events bring in outside guests to our area to enjoy a weekend of curling and to enjoy what Grand Marais has to offer.  The public is always welcome to come watch. 

 If you would like to learn more about the Cook County Curling Club. Check out the website at:


Cook County starts comprehensive trail plan process

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 1:54pm

Lake County has a comprehensive trail plan, and Cook County shouldn’t be too far behind in developing its own multi-trail system.

After years of talking about a comprehensive trail plan, the county board approved a resolution to apply to the Minnesota Lake Superior Coastal Program for funds to develop a comprehensive trails plan. There is a $7,500 match and Arrowhead Regional Development Council (ARDC) will seek additional funding for the match. The goal is to identify needs, prioritize projects, improve connectivity and improve the management of the trails.

According to the application, Cook County is home to 250 miles of cross country skiing, 450 miles of snowmobiling, 380 miles of hiking, approximately 2,000 miles of potential biking, and seemingly endless miles of rivers and lakes for canoeing and hiking. The trail’s plan will dovetail with the current updating of the county’s comprehensive land use plan, and will create an opportunity to develop each plan with consideration and cooperation of one another.

The plan will include developing a report that includes available county, state, federal and local plans, maps and Global positioning Systems (GPS) data. Once possible trail corridors and connections to trails have been identified recommendations will focus on trail and destination connectivity, construction and maintenance, amenity and experience enhancement, intergovernmental and public/private partnerships, marketing awareness, and management and administration.

Cook County will collaborate with Andy Hubley who is the director of the Regional Planning Division at the ARDC. Hubley helped Lake County complete its comprehensive trail use plan.


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

One night only at Arrowhead Center for the Arts: The Belle of Amherst

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 1:53pm

The Grand Marais Playhouse will be presenting a one-woman show The Belle of Amherst by William Luce on February 21 at 7:30 p.m. This very special event will be performed by Catherine Glynn. Tickets are $15 adults and the performance is free to students 18 and under.

In The Belle of Amherst, Emily Dickinson welcomes audiences into her lifelong Amherst homestead in mid-19th century Massachusetts. While Dickinson found solace in solitude through much of her life, acclaimed playwright William Luce weaves her poems, diaries, and letters into a one-woman portrait of one of America’s greatest and most prolific poets, mixing Dickinson’s encounters with close friends and family with the poet’s own, often amusing observations.

“Full of passion and poetry and heart,” New York Daily News wrote. “The Belle of Amherst illuminates a brilliant wordsmith through the words she left behind.’

Catherine Glynn began rehearsals for The Belle of Amherst 26 years ago and performed it at St. John's University as her senior thesis project for her BA in Humanities. Since then she has acted studied and taught theatre at UT-Austin and The University of Delaware's Professional Theatre Training Program. She has acted with the Austin Shakespeare Festival, Riverside Shakespeare, The Rude Mechanicals, Collaboraction, SPAC, The Commonweal, Chicago Dramatists and The New American Theatre among others. She is appearing with permission of Actor's Equity.


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