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John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon planning meeting Dec. 19

Fri, 12/18/2015 - 2:49pm

The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon committee will host an informational planning meeting for fans and volunteers Dec. 19 at "Camp 6” in Beaver Bay. The meeting will start at 12:30 p.m. and run until 3:30 p.m.

Topics of discussion will include the important role the Beaver Bay area will have in this year's race events and volunteer opportunities available along the North Shore.

This year’s events and race begin Jan. 30, 2016 in Duluth.

For more information contact Jean Vincent at (218) 349-0947 or Mike Keyport at (218) 387-5152.

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

Grand Marais levy increase lower than expected

Fri, 12/18/2015 - 10:51am

There was good news for Grand Marais taxpayers Dec. 9 as City Administrator Mike Roth told city councilors that some adjustments in the 2016 draft budget resulted in a lower levy increase than that which was previously approved.

The major change occurred due to adjustments in what the city will pay for medical insurance. Specifically, Roth said one of the city’s 20 employees with insurance had decided to drop down to a lower level of coverage next year, resulting in a lower payment the city is liable for. That means the city’s proposed levy now stands at $871,865, down from the $880,746 figure that was last discussed a month ago; the preliminary levy was originally set at $924,767 in September.

The original proposed levy would have meant a 12.2 percent increase over the current year, but councilors and administrators have worked to bring that number down. The first reduction – achieved by downward adjustments in administrative expenses, a lower allocation to the library, and an increase in anticipated income from the Rec Park – was made in November and brought the increase down to 6.8 percent. The latest numbers presented by Roth translate into an increase of 5.7 percent.

Other than the change in insurance rate, Roth said an adjustment was made in the expected revenues from the Rec Park and campground, which he raised by $40,000 to $900,000. However, he said that increase was offset by an extra $40,000 in park expenditures, “so it’s a wash.”

Final adoption of the 2016 budget is set for a special meeting Dec. 18, at which time council will also consider the salaries of its non-union employees.

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

 

Trucking route change through Duluth applauded

Fri, 12/18/2015 - 10:49am

Dean Berglund of Grand Marais has spent his life trucking, hauling logs and pulpwood throughout the region. Berglund has seen many convoluted trucking routes, but none worse than the one that directed him to take loads of logs and wood through one of Duluth’s busiest streets.

The News-Herald’s Brian Larsen interviewed Berglund after the recent announcement that Congressman Rick Nolan had pushed for—and received—an alternate route around the city of Duluth.

Berglund said, “Imagine, having to haul heavy loads of wood on Superior Street on those bumpy cobblestones through heavy traffic when there was a safer, better route to follow. What were they [politicians] thinking?”

So Berglund, like every other trucker in the Northland, was happy to learn that Representative Nolan, serving on the House Transportation Committee, helped craft the $305 billion, five-year transportation bill recently signed into law by President Barack Obama. Folded into that bill is $3.4 billion in state highway funds for Minnesota, as well as language that created the new route around Duluth.

Nolan explained that his logging safety amendment permits huge logging trucks to avoid the narrow and often snow-covered residential, retail, and commercial thoroughfare of Superior Street—instead routing them on a 24-mile stretch of I-35 from north of Duluth to south of Scanlon.

Federal regulations used to prohibit logging trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds from using l-35, but with this amendment logging trucks can carry loads up to 99,000 pounds if they have six axels or more on this 24-mile stretch of road.

Nolan said, “It’s a common sense fix—supported by the community, public safety officers and the loggers—that will prevent accidents and undoubtedly save lives.”

Berglund said the new routes is sensible and applauded Nolan for fighting for the change.

It's Christmas Bird Count time

Thu, 12/17/2015 - 10:11am

Both feeder watchers and birders on foot and in vehicles are invited to take part in the 2015 Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC).  The inventory of the Grand Marais counting circle will be held Saturday, December 19.

The Grand Marais CBC is a 7.5-mile radius circle from a point 3 miles south of the middle of Devil Track Lake.  The count circle covers Highway 61 to Lindskog Road and north, some of County Rd 60, the Gunflint Trail to the landfill road, Pine Mountain Road to the backside of Elbow Lake, Devil Track Road to Bally Creek Road, Ball Club Road to The Grade, Pike Lake Rd, and Highway 61west to Cascade Lodge, and all of the lakeshore between Lindskog Rd and Cascade Lodge.

Participants can cover as much or as little as they like. Novices and professionals are welcome; CBCs are open to birders of all skill levels.  

Counts are needed not only for the counting day, but “count week,” which is the three days prior and three days after the count day of Saturday.

For count day, you'll need a guide book, binoculars, a scope for lake birding, warm clothes, warm boots/Yak Traks, a log book to record your observations, and a keen and quick eye to count our winter rarities!  

If you are a feeder watcher, keep you feeders full up and through count day to encourage birds to be there on that day, have various foods available in feeders and on the ground to entice as many species as possible.

While Audubon's National CBC effort began Christmas Day 1900, the first known Minnesota CBCs were conducted on Christmas Day 1905 in Minneapolis, and Red Wing. During those last 109 years, the Christmas Bird Count has been conducted uninterrupted in the state and has grown to include almost 70 census circles and involved more than 28,000 participants.

Each and every year more than 1,000 participants canvas the state to conduct the survey.

Great Expectations students participate in National Novel Writing Month

Wed, 12/16/2015 - 3:50pm
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NANOWRIMO stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it’s an annual project during the month of November. William Durbin is an author who writes books geared toward young readers, and he recently visited Great Expectations School to engage students in how they might start writing their own novels. WTIP’s Martha Marnocha visited a classroom to find out more.
 

Listen: 

Lutsen Mountains hosts grand opening of new Doppelmayr gondola Friday

Wed, 12/16/2015 - 11:44am

Be a part of history – take a ride during the grand opening of the new Doppelmayr gondola at Lutsen Mountains. An opening ceremony will be held Friday, December 18 at 11 a.m.

Lutsen Mountains broke ground on Tuesday, June 23 on the new $7 million Doppelmayr gondola. With red cars as a nod to the iconic original, the new 8-passenger gondola will multiply rider capacity to 1,000 visitors per hour. According to Lutsen Mountain owners, this project is part of a 10-year, $25 million transformation that has evolved Lutsen Mountains into a state-of-the-art destination ski resort.

At almost 5,000 feet long, the $7 million Doppelmayr gondola is the primary transportation between mountains. It departs Lutsen Mountains’ base area on Ullr Mountain, drops into the Poplar River Valley, and ascends to the summit of Moose Mountain.

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