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News and other information from Cook County

First beach advisories of season issued

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 11:53am

Now that the snow and ice have finally dwindled, the Minnesota Department of Health beach monitoring program has begun. Two North Shore beaches received “no water contact” advisories this week.

Water samples collected on June 2, 2014 at Paradise Beach had bacteria levels that indicate possible fecal contamination. The water at the beach will be tested again today.

The Durfee Creek Area Beach also showed elevated levels of E.coli bacteria from the test on June 2. The beach will also be retested today.

Other beaches that received advisories on June 2 include Agate Bay, Burlington Bay and French River Beaches in Two Harbors and the 20th Street/Hearding Island Canal Beach and the Lakewalk Beach in Duluth.

Beach monitoring is conducted at the following beaches in Cook County:  Chicago Bay boat launch in Hovland; Paradise Beach, Kadunce Creek, Durfee Creek in Colvill; Old Shore Road, Harbor Park in Grand Marais, Recreation Park campground in Grand Marais, Cutface Creek Wayside Rest; Temperance River State Park, Schroeder Town Park and Sugarloaf Cove Beach in Schroeder. At press time, all had “water contact acceptable” ratings.

A number of factors, such as dog, geese and other wildlife feces, dirty diapers, failing septic systems and sewer line breaks and overflows, can contribute to higher levels of illness-causing bacteria.

The Minnesota Lake Superior Beach Monitoring Program offers the following tips to minimize risks associated with potential water contamination. Its website recommends waiting 24 hours before going swimming after a heavy rainfall and showering after swimming or recreating at the beach. It also advises that beach goers do not swallow water and that they try to keep face and head out of the water. If possible, the website says to wear earplugs and goggles. Finally, it advises people with weakened immune systems not to swim.

Butterflies featured at Chik-Wauk Museum & Nature Center

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 11:51am

Not sure what a skipper is? Chances are, one of these little insects has fluttered by you on a lazy Gunflint Trail day without you even noticing.

This year, hone your butterfly, moth, and skipper identification skills by visiting Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center’s special exhibit: “Butterflies, Skippers, and Moths of the Gunflint Trail.”     

Temporary exhibit chair Betty Hemstad worked with Youngstown State University entomology professor emeritus David MacLean to prepare this year’s exhibit. The exhibit features beautiful specimens from David’s collection and an in-depth look at the Gunflint Trail’s members of the Lepidoptera order of insects. This exhibit will be on display every day from now through Oct. 19.

Chik-Wauk and the Gunflint Trail Historical Society will also present a number of special events and a series of naturalist programs during the summer months.

Museum admission is $3 for adults, $2 for children 5-18, and Gunflint Trail Historical Society members and children 5 and under, free.

For more information about the summer schedule, call Chik-Wauk at 218-388-9915.

Gunflint Trail residents and emergency responders rescue couple from overturned canoe

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 3:02pm

A page went out to Gunflint Trail emergency responders at 10:05 a.m. on Saturday, May 24 calling for help for people who had tipped over in a canoe in the frigid waters of Gunflint Lake near Mile O’ Pine.

Members of the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department and Gunflint Ambulance responded. Gunflint Trail firefighter, Bob Baker, from nearby Gunflint Pines, heading directly out on the water in his boat to the overturned canoe which was about 300 – 400 yards from shore.

Baker said by the time he got there, other cabin owners had reached the two people and were bringing them ashore to Heston’s Lodge. Rescuers told Cook County Law Enforcement dispatch that the people were out of the water by 10:19 a.m.

Emergency personnel spent about an hour with the canoeists, a woman and man in their 20s, warming them up and making sure they were okay.

Baker said the couple was very fortunate that cabin owners had spotted them. “The ice has only been off the lake a couple of days, so the water is extremely cold,” he said.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, a boating accident is five times more likely to be fatal if the water is colder than 60 degrees.

Tim Smalley, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources boating safety specialist, says cold water can kill in ways you might not expect. Victims who fall overboard can suffer cold water shock, which involuntarily causes them to take a big breath. If their head is underwater, they can drown immediately.

For people lucky enough to keep their head above water, unless they're wearing a life jacket, drowning will occur long before hypothermia gets them, said Smalley.

Baker said he tells his resort visitors to exercise extreme caution in early spring. “I tell them they need to stay within a few yards from the shore.”

 

Public meeting on Caribou Falls State Wayside tonight

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 2:59pm

A public meeting to review design concepts for the Caribou Falls State Wayside Rest will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 2 at the Schroeder Town Hall.

The project proposes safety and aesthetic improvements to this heavily used wayside, including changes to the location and design of the parking area as well as inclusion of new pedestrian pathways, interpretive signage and a vault toilet.  The wayside design will meet ADA requirements to accommodate visitors with disabilities. 

Area residents, elected officials and individuals interested in the wayside are encouraged to attend and provide feedback. 

Hjordis Volunteer Deckhands training, June 6 & 7

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 1:39pm

Calling all volunteer deckhands! You can have the opportunity to spend the summer on the North House Folk School's 50-foot schooner, the Hjordis. WTIP’s Ann Possis spoke with North House Folk School volunteer coordinator Matt Nesheim on North Shore Morning.
 

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County office filings continue until Tuesday, June 3

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 3:48am

Kristin DeArruda Wharton has joined five other candidates who have filed for Cook County Commissioner in District One. John W. Bockovich, Frank Moe, Jerry Hiniker, Harry Drabik and Steve Fleace round out the field. Incumbent Jan Hall has decided not to seek reelection.

For Commissioner District Three, Jan Sivertson remains the only candidate. Incumbent Sue Hakes will not seek another term. And with the filing deadline set for Tuesday, Ginny Storlie joins Tim Goettl in challenging incumbent Bruce Martinson in District Five.

Incumbents Braidy Powers and Dusty Nelms have filed for Auditor-Treasurer and County Recorder, respectively.

As expected Patrick S, Eliasen and Leif Lunde have filed for Cook County Sheriff.

Molly Hicken has filed for County Attorney, a position she has been filling while Tim Scannell is on extended medical leave.

No filing yet for Soil and Water Supervisor in District 4, however Nancye Belding and incumbent James Hall have filed in District 2.

City and school board filing opens July 29.