Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Ely inspection station to open for summer season

Fri, 05/24/2013 - 6:41am

INTERNATIONAL FALLS, Minn. (AP) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the Ely inspection station will open for the summer tourist season Saturday.

The border station is located in the National Forest Service Complex in Ely. The station serves people arriving from Canada through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

There are no roads into or out of Canada in that remote wilderness area. All travel into and out of Canada is by non-motorized small boat, canoe, kayak or aircraft.

The Ely inspection station is a seasonal facility. It will remain open during the summer tourist season through Sept. 7. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Central time, seven days a week.

New classes, instructors at Art Colony starting Memorial Day weekend

Thu, 05/23/2013 - 1:20pm

Two new instructors will be teaching at the Grand Marais Art Colony starting Memorial Day weekend.
Experience Watercolor with Spencer Meagher will be held May 25 and 26. Students will learn the fundamentals of watercolor painting, from transferring the sketch through the initial wash to the final details. Understanding the difference in paint, paper, and brush qualities while practicing proper techniques including wet-in-wet, dry brush, splattering, and sponging, among others will be taught.
This class is open to all levels, no drawing experience necessary.  Students can bring their own supplies or pay the supply fee.
On May 27-30, Creative Breakthrough: Bringing the Art Spirit into Your Work will be presented by Mary Pettis, a classically trained painter and an eloquent and respected teacher with 35 years experience who has won extensive awards in national painting events and exhibitions, as well international recognition.
The class is designed for students with some painting experience working in oil. Through exercises, lectures, discussions, and demonstrations, students will learn the path to finding their inner creative spirit. Each day there will be painting – not to turn out finished pieces, but to get a sense of the exercises that will make stronger, more powerful paintings in each of six considerations: line, shape, values, color, edges, and texture.
Call the Art Colony at (218) 387-2737 to register or for more information.

Grand Portage National Monument open for Memorial Day weekend

Wed, 05/22/2013 - 10:47am

Grand Portage National Monument staff will temporarily open the historic Lake Superior fur trade depot at Grand Portage for Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 25-27.The historic depot will be closed again from May 28-31. During that time the heritage center will remain open from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. daily.
Chief of Interpretation Pam Neil said the National Monument will open the historic depot for the summer season on June 1, 2013. Neil said this amended schedule marks a change from past years.
"We have received a reduction of approximately $67,000 to our operating budget as a result of the sequestration of federal budgets. We are making adjustments in our operations, including amending our opening dates, to meet the requirements of sequestration and be able to accommodate visitors travelling over the Memorial Day weekend. As always, we are looking forward to another busy, rewarding, and productive year," stated Superintendent Tim Cochrane.
Beginning on June 1, 2013, the monument’s heritage center will be open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until mid-October. While at the heritage center, visitors can view the monument’s new interpretive film, Rendezvous With History: A Grand Portage Story and additional video Shorts along with over 2,000 square feet of exhibits that highlight Ojibwe culture and the history of the North West Company. 
The historic depot area will be open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through mid-October as well. In the Great Hall, visitors can “window shop” via a new exhibit entitled, From Furs to Fashion. This exhibit is a London streetscape complete with storefronts that welcome “shoppers” interested in the luxurious hats and furs, as well as powder puffs, fancy perfumes, and even fishing lures made for European shoppers from pelts and parts of mammals traded to the North West Company in the 1790s.

Minneapolis Guitar Quartet to appear at Arts Center June 1

Tue, 05/21/2013 - 3:49pm

With the passion, style, and musical sophistication borrowing from the best chamber music and string quartet traditions, the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet has successfully earned its place as one of the world's leading guitar ensembles since its founding in 1986.
Thanks to the North Shore Music Association, the group will perform at 7:30 p.m. June 1 at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts. Classes will also be offered at the Grand Marais Art Colony June 2. Classes include Guitar Master and Beginning Flamenco Dance.
The Minneapolis Guitar Quartet (Joseph Hagedorn, Maja Radovanlija, Ben Gateño and Wade Oden) will teach the guitar class from 10 a.m. to noon; Colette Illarde will teach dancers from 1 to 2 p.m.
Since 2006, the MGQ has collaborated with Flamenco dancer Colette Illarde, developing two different productions with music by the great Spanish composers Joaquin Rodrigo and Enrique Granados. This dynamic and wide ranging synthesis features music arranged by the MGQ, while Ms. Illarde’s choreography reflects the extraordinary vitality of Spanish culture and includes Spanish regional and folk dancing, classical ballet and flamenco.
The Minneapolis Guitar Quartet’s concerto appearances include the Austin Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra and the Columbus Symphony, among others. In recital, the MGQ has performed in more than 30 states in such cities as Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Omaha, and Boston. The MGQ has been heard on the nationally syndicated Saint Paul Sunday, and on National Public Radio's Performance Today. From its first four CDs on the Albany and GSP labels, the group has garnered unanimous international critical acclaim. "With (Over Land and Sea)," said Soundboard Magazine, "the MGQ demonstrates that it is one of the major guitar ensembles in the world."

Burn restrictions still in place for Cook County

Tue, 05/21/2013 - 3:43pm

Although the state burning restrictions are lifted in several counties today, restrictions remain in Cook, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Pennington, Roseau, north St. Louis and north Beltrami counties. It is anticipated these will be lifted soon.
Because fire danger can change quickly, DNR foresters can turn off burning permits in individual counties whenever conditions warrant. This could occur if there is a dry, windy day when fires could start easily and burn quickly.  Check the fire restrictions page on the DNR website at: for information on daily changes to burn permits.

Art In the Garden, June 1st at the Community Center

Tue, 05/21/2013 - 3:02pm

The U of M Master Gardeners will host "Art in the Garden" at the Cook County Community Center on Saturday, June 1. Morning activities include "Garden Yoga," "Garden Art for the Heart & Soul," and "Landscape Art." In the afternoon, participants can choose one of four "make and take" garden art projects, including hypertufa, stained glass, mosaic flower pot, or metal garden art. Registration is requested by May 24, to Diane at the CC Extension Office, 387-3015. 

In this interview, master gardners Maxene Linehan and Nancy Carlson share details with WTIP volunteer Julie Bishop.

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Study: Less Lake Superior habitat for big trout

Tue, 05/21/2013 - 9:17am

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — New research finds that Lake Superior's warming water probably already is affecting its most abundant big fish, the cold water-loving siscowet lake trout.

Increasing water temperatures over the last three decades have made conditions more favorable for chinook salmon, walleye and lean lake trout but less favorable for siscowet lake trout.

The study estimates that fatty siscowets have lost about 20 percent of their historic habitat because of the temperature changes that have already occurred.

The research used a mix of computer modeling and temperature measurements. It was conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, funded by Wisconsin Sea Grant.

The Duluth News Tribune reports the researchers picked lake trout, siscowet, salmon and walleye because they are among the most important species for sport angling and the region's tourism economy.

County to discuss septic ordinance changes at Tuesday work session

Mon, 05/20/2013 - 1:28pm

At the April 16 county board meeting, the septic system ordinance was discussed. After a long delay while the state responded to objections from the counties regarding new Minnesota Pollution Control Agency septic system rules, the Cook County Planning & Zoning Department has revised a septic ordinance it drafted several years ago in accordance with state law.
Each county now has until February 2014 to get its own septic ordinance in place. Cook County’s previous draft ordinance would have required property owners to have their septics pumped every three years whether they needed it or not.  The currently proposed ordinance allows people to postpone pumping as long as their septic tanks pass an inspection, which must be done every three years.
The board will discuss the proposed ordinance in a work session Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. at the courthouse.  The public will have time to comment on the ordinance before the board takes action to adopt it.

Weather: rain and more rain

Mon, 05/20/2013 - 12:32pm

Rain and more rain due before the sun comes out on Thursday. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Carol Christenson .

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Moose researchers begin monitoring moose calves

Sun, 05/19/2013 - 9:05am

As part of its study to determine what is causing the steep decline in the moose population in northeastern Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has begun radio collaring 50 moose calves.

Researchers began capturing and collaring the young moose on May 8 in the Arrowhead Region. To date 28 calves have been captured and collared. The collars placed on the moose calves hold GPS trackers and transmitters that send back information (heart rate, air temperature, ect.) to researchers every 20 minutes. If a moose doesn’t move for six hours—twice its normal naptime—researchers assume it has died and go retrieve it to bring back to study in their St Paul lab.

Researchers give the cow and calf at least 36 hours to bond before they separate them and collar the baby.

Three calves have died. Scientists want to know why three-quarters of the area’s moose calves are dying within a year of birth, a number that is unsustainable to maintain the moose population in northeastern Minnesota.

Glenn DeiGiudice, PhD research scientist/moose project leader is in charge of the calf project, which he said this is the most detailed moose calf mortality study he had ever worked on.

One surprise early on is the amount of twins born this spring.

DeiGiudice said,“So far the project is going very well. We have captured 11 sets of twins, a much higher percentage then we thought we would find,”

In January 2013, the DNR radio collared 111 adult moose. About half of those were females and researchers are using their location to identify when they have calved.

City contributes to restoration of Gunflint Trail welcome signs

Sun, 05/19/2013 - 8:59am

 John Schloot, representing the Gunflint Trail Historical Society, spoke to the Grand Marais city council on Wednesday, May 8 about the attempt to re-paint and restore the Gunflint Trail welcome signs on Second Avenue West near the Grand Marais Public Library. The organization asked that the city commit $1,500 toward the project, which is estimated to cost about $7,500 ($6,000 of which is for actual sign restoration).

City Administrator Mike Roth said that the latest request is “a little different from where we started,” referring to the original request made last year which asked for no money from the city, only permission to remove the bear and voyageur signs from their pedestals for indoor re-painting during the winter, and some assistance from the city street department in removing and re-installing the metal figures. Nevertheless, Roth recommended that the council grant the request because the city does own the historic signs, the signs definitely need refinishing, and the Gunflint Trail Association will manage the details.

Council granted the request for $1,500. It is hoped work on the signs can begin soon, with completion at or before the end of summer. The project is already behind its original schedule due to the unseasonably cold and damp spring weather.

Walls going up and name change for Cook County YMCA

Sat, 05/18/2013 - 3:05pm

As anyone who has driven by the Cook County High School campus in recent days has seen, the walls of the new portion of the Cook County Family YMCA facility are going up. As the walls were started, the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted to change the name of the facility the Cook County Community YMCA – rather than family YMCA.

Commissioner Sue Hakes brought a request for the name change from the Community Center Steering Committee, some of whose members thought the word “community” sounded more inclusive than “family.”

In a memo asking Board Secretary Janet Simonen and Board Chair Jan Hall to add the request to the May 14 county board agenda, Commissioner Hakes said the Duluth Area YMCA, of which the Cook County facility is a branch, wanted to retain the right to change the name “should they acquire a naming-right-level gift.”

It would be nice to see the word “family” on the facility for people who are looking for family-friendly services in Cook County, Commissioner Garry Gamble said.

Regarding the two names, Commissioner Hakes said, “Personally, I love them both” but added that that she wanted to respect the wishes of the steering committee.

Commissioner Jan Hall said she was getting a lot of phone calls from people with questions about what the functions of the current Community Center would be once the new facility is in operation.

Commissioner Gamble pointed out that Community Center Director Booth’s job would need to be discussed.  The board will take this up at a future meeting.


Author Sarah Stonich to visit Grand Marais May 20

Sat, 05/18/2013 - 3:03pm

Sarah Stonich will visit the Grand Marais Public Library at 3 p.m. May 20 as part of a 16-library tour across the Arrowhead Library system with her new book Vacationland.

Stonich describes the book as “very much a regional title set in Minnesota resort country,” and says it's expected to be a popular summer read. The author also said she would be happy to meet with book clubs during her visit to Grand Marais.

To learn more about Stonich, visit

Weekend News Roundup for May 18

Sat, 05/18/2013 - 10:31am

Each week the WTIP news staff puts together a roundup of the news over the past five days. Moose calves are being collared, the clinic gets federal dollars, Gypsy moths are back in the news, a Grand Portage man is charged with attempted murder, and much more…all in this week’s news.

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Auditions for Grand Marais Playhouse summer production "Fit to Kill" on May 21

Fri, 05/17/2013 - 4:03pm

The first summer show for the Grand Marais Playhouse will be Fit to Kill by Victor Cahn.  This play will be directed and designed by Jack Nickolay. Auditions are May 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the ACA. There are roles in Fit to Kill for two women and one man. A perusal script is available now at the public library.
Fit To Kill is described as a thriller about strategy, betrayal, and deception. Adrian, a charming but self-indulgent chess master, enjoys a life of luxury thanks to his marriage to Janice, an older but still sexy and vibrant woman who has made a fortune as the CEO of an exercise empire. The arrival of Amy, a reporter with an agenda of her own, unleashes a whirlwind of deadly schemes that will keep audiences guessing until the final seconds. 
This production will be produced in a black box configuration on the ACA stage, not as a dinner theater as previously announced. The audience and actors will all be on the stage together! Limited seating available.
More information about the Grand Marais Playhouse, showtimes and tickets can be found at