Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

City council grants requests A-Z

Fri, 04/26/2013 - 3:48pm

Grand Marais city councilors approved a number of varied requests at their April 10, 2013 meeting, ranging from A (air conditioning) to Z (zip line).
First on the list was a request for a letter of support from the Cook County Historical Society to the Minnesota Historical Society backing the local agency’s pursuit of a grant to purchase and stabilize the Bally Blacksmith Shop in Grand Marais. Hal Greenwood of the Historical Society was in attendance to present the letter from museum director Carrie McHugh, and council gave its support.
Bev Wolke of the local Chamber of Commerce appeared next with a request for a permit to hold the annual car show on Wisconsin Street from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 15; Wisconsin Street will be closed beginning at 7 a.m. Wolke said the event will be the same as last year’s and include music in the park and a Girl Scout booth. The permit was approved.
Sally Nankivell of the Cook County Visitors Bureau made the next request, for installation of an air conditioner for the Visitor Information Center on Broadway, adjacent to City Hall. The Visitors Bureau leases the space from the city, which owns the building. Nankivell said the office seems to be getting hotter and hotter every summer, and presents an uncomfortable environment for both visitors and employees. Council approved the request, with an estimated price tag of about $500. Kim Linnell has inspected the building and researched what type of equipment is needed (a free-standing unit with a window vent).
The American Legion was granted a request for a Club On-Sale Sunday Liquor License, effective immediately. Laura Powell-Marxen made the request, stating that it would be a re-instatement of the Legion’s prior license.

Portage to perform at North Shore Care Center Saturday

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 12:50pm

The classic county band Portage will perform their monthly gig at the North Shore Care Center on Saturday, April 27 at 6:30 p.m. As always, families, friends, and community folks are welcome to attend.
There are volunteer opportunities for all ages at the North Shore Care Center. For more information about the activity calendar or volunteer programs, please contact the Activity Dept. at 218-387-3518 or visit our website www.nshorehospital.com.

Local runner invited to Down Under Sports tournament

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 12:47pm

Senior runner Sarissa Falk has been invited to participate in the 25th annual Down Under Sports tournament hosted on the Gold Coast of Australia this summer. Falk is only one of six high school runners in Minnesota to be invited. Only 300 runners across the U.S. have been invited.
In Australia Falk will run for the North Central Conference Team on a 5.7k (3.5 miles) cross country course. She will compete against thousands of runners from around the world.
Two years ago Darren Waha from Grand Portage ran in the Down Under cross country race and he said it was an awesome experience, one that he will never forget.
But for Falk to get there she will need to raise some money—she has less than a month to raise funds for the trip. If you would like to donate or need more information, call Sarissa Falk at (218) 387-2849.
Sarissa is the daughter of Mark and Sue Falk of Grand Marais. She plans to attend Hamline University after graduation and while she is unsure of a major, she plans to run track and cross country. In addition to competing in Australia, Sarissa is also entered in Grandma’s Garry Bjorklund half marathon this summer.
“This is a once in a lifetime chance for me,” said Falk.  “It would be awesome to go to Australia to run and to meet new people.”

Cook County revising septic ordinance to meet February 2014 deadline

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 12:46pm

At the county commissioner’s meeting on April 16, Planning & Zoning Director Tim Nelson said that the state of Minnesota changed its rules regarding septic systems in 2008, 2010, and 2011, with the new rules placing more responsibility on counties without more funding.  Nelson testified before legislators in St. Paul regarding a bill that would have given counties more flexibility in determining their own septic standards.  The state finally allowed counties to keep their old standards, adopt new ones, or adopt a combination of old and new.
Each county now has until February 2014 to get its own septic ordinance in place.  In the meantime, counties must enforce the state’s rules. Cook County Planning & Zoning Department has revised a septic ordinance it drafted several years ago in accordance with state law and will be seeking comment on it from the county board and the public.
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.
Commissioner Bruce Martinson asked if the county could extend the inspection period to four or five years instead of three.  Nelson said the state allows only inspections to remain valid for three years, except for newly installed systems, which can remain valid for five years before requiring another inspection.  After that, they would need their tanks inspected every three years.
County Attorney Tim Scannell wondered if the proposed ordinance includes any standards more stringent than the state’s.  Nelson said no, although it outlines the process of working with contractors more specifically than state rules do.

Hwy 53 reroute is DOA

Thu, 04/25/2013 - 8:35am

No one liked it, and it was called dead on arrival a month ago, but just to make sure, several Iron Range lawmakers this week took steps to formally kill the western reroute option for U.S. Highway 53 in Virginia.

The Duluth News Tribune reports Sen. Dave Tomassoni of Chisholm, added an amendment killing the west option onto the Senate Omnibus Transportation bill that passed on Tuesday. State Rep. Jason Metsa, of Virginia, said he will add the amendment to the House version scheduled for a vote yesterday.

The western route would have taken motorists around dozens of businesses and bypassed Eveleth and Virginia altogether.

Highway 53 has to be rerouted between Eveleth and Virginia because Cliffs Natural Resources gave notice in 2010 that it would terminate its easement for the road in May 2017. MnDOT must have a new road open by then.

Cliffs wants to mine taconite iron ore under the road’s current location and, because of a 1960 easement negotiated between the state and the previous owner of the mineral rights, the state apparently doesn’t have the option to say no.

Some local officials have suggested using the state’s right of eminent domain to acquire land from Cliffs for the highway. MnDOT officials said that would only be a last option if no other alternatives were workable.

 

Cook County to use Clean Water Legacy grant to inspect septic systems on east end of Cook County

Wed, 04/24/2013 - 2:34pm

Cook County has been awarded Clean Water Legacy Grant funds that will allow it to inspect 162 lakeshore septic systems on three lakes on the east end of Cook County.  Since 2001, inspections have been done on lakeshore septic systems in the West End, just north of Grand Marais, and up the Gunflint Trail.
Properties along McFarland, Greenwood, and Tom lakes in Hovland will be inspected. 
The grant is for $126,125, with the county providing a match of $31,531 in the form of in-kind services.  This amounts to an inspection cost of $973 per system.
On April 9 County Planning & Zoning Director Tim Nelson told the county board that to help homeowners come into compliance, property owners with noncompliant septic systems will be able to obtain low-interest loans from the county that can be paid back over time with their property taxes.
The county currently has a two-page septic ordinance that is being revised to conform to new state septic requirements.  Only two things automatically trigger septic inspections at this time:  the addition of a bedroom (a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency rule) and permit requests on shore land (a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources rule).
If a system is found to be noncompliant, the state gives property owners two years to come into compliance.  If they do not, they can be referred to the County Attorney’s Office for enforcement.

Cook County Family YMCA names branch executive director

Wed, 04/24/2013 - 2:33pm

The Cook County Family YMCA has named Emily Marshall as its Branch Executive Director. Marshall will begin her new role on May 13, 2013.
In an announcement of the decision, Duluth YMCA Director Chris Francis said, “The interview process included a panel of individuals representing the city, county, school district, and the community our new branch will be serving.  After a lengthy process that drew candidates from across the country, Emily stood out as the clear candidate for this position.”
Marshall is currently employed as the aquatics director with the Duluth Area Family YMCA where she has been serving since 2002. Marshall has served in numerous other roles for the YMCA, including member service desk attendant, lifeguard, swim instructor, camp counselor, Camp Miller program director, and family program specialist at the downtown Duluth facility.
Although Marshall will begin her new role in May, she will be working with YMCA executives in Duluth over the next two months and beginning the process of transitioning to Grand Marais.

"First Baptist of Ivy Gap" debuts Thursday, April 25

Wed, 04/24/2013 - 2:32pm

A Samuel French publisher describes this entertaining production this way: “During WWII, six women gather at the church to roll bandages and plan the church's 75th anniversary. Overseeing things is Edith (Sarah Larsen), the pastor's wise-cracking wife who dispenses Red Cross smocks and witty repartee to Luby (Mara MacDonell), whose son is fighting in the Pacific; Mae Ellen (Michaela Peterson), the church's rebellious organist who wants to quit but hasn't the courage; Olene (Cailan Carpenter), who dreams of a career in Hollywood; Sammy (Adrianna Berglund), a shy newcomer with a secret; and Vera (Brenna Hay), an influential Baptist with a secret of her own. When Luby learns her son has been wounded, she confounds the others by blaming the vulnerable Sammy.
Twenty-five years later, the ‘First Baptist Six’ reunite. Back to reconcile with Luby—whose son died of his wounds—is Sammy, whose own son is now in Vietnam and Olene, whose flashy show business career will set the town on its ear. There to welcome them are Vera, her secret still safe; Mae Ellen, still rebellious and still looking for an escape; and Edith, whose biggest challenge isn't the church's upcoming centennial but revelations that shake relationships formed over a quarter of a century. With humor and pathos, these six very different women find comfort, forgiveness and redemption in each other.”
First Baptist of Ivy Gap runs April 25,26, 28 and May 2-5, Thursday - Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Advance tickets are available on-line at www.tix.com. The box office is open one hour before each performance. Tickets are $10 adults and $5 for students (18 and under).

Senior Center hosts a Mystery Tour

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 12:50pm

Are you adventurous, or enjoy surprises and love having fun? Would you like to get out and venture through our beautiful area? Then join the Cook County Senior Center for a fun Mystery Tour. Can you guess where they are going? If you can guess, you win a free trip, including lunch!
You must correctly guess two of our mystery stops. All entries must be submitted to Kristen at the Senior Center and you must be signed up for this trip to participate. Enter as many times as you would like. The deadline is any time prior to departure.
The first clue is: You will travel through more than three towns on our trip. Receive your second clue when you register and pay for the trip.
The actual Mystery Trip will be Monday, April 29, departing the Cook County Senior Center at 9:45 a.m.
This trip will include at least two mystery stops including a lunch stop. The cost is only $15.00 per person for transportation from the Senior Center. In town pickups are available for a $1 fee. Lunch is at your own cost ($10-$12 should be sufficient).
Call the Senior Center at 218-387-2660 for more information.

Ely business owners prepare anti-mining center

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 8:24am

ELY, Minn. (AP) — A group of Ely business owners is preparing to open an "action center" on the city's main street to stir up opposition to copper-nickel mining.

The Duluth News Tribune reports a fundraiser last week for the new "Sustainable Ely" center drew 65 people. Organizers say the risk of environmental damage to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area isn't worth the promised jobs and economic boost.

Sustainable Ely is expected to open about May 24th, just in time for the summer influx of cabin owners, anglers and canoe campers headed to the Boundary Waters. Organizers are hoping for 25,000 visitors this summer.

Bob McFarlin, a spokesman for the proposed Twin Metals mine near Ely, vows the BWCA won't be harmed, and says the project has strong support in the area.

Learn about Medicare and Affordable Care Act at Grand Portage ENP on April 25

Sun, 04/21/2013 - 12:49pm

The Grand Portage Elder Nutrition Program offers more than just healthy and affordable meals for senior citizens. ENP also hosts informational speakers. On April 25 there will be an evening presentation by Marjori Bottila at the Grand Portage ENP at the community Center on the Affordable Care Act and Medicare Part A-D. Bottila will also talk about "Protecting ourselves from Fraud, Scams  & ID Theft."                                                                               Anyone interested should attend. For more information of if you need a ride, call the ENP at 475-2655.

"Red Horse" coming to Arrowhead Center for the Arts

Sat, 04/20/2013 - 10:16pm

The North Shore Music Association presents Red Horse in concert at 7:30 p.m. April 27 at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts.

Weekend News Roundup for April 20

Sat, 04/20/2013 - 10:02am

Each weekend WTIP news produces a round up of the news stories they’ve been following this week. An endangered river warning was issued this week by a waters watchdog group. The Legislature managed to avoid dealing with wolf trapping and the long winter may help shorten the wildfire season.…all in this week’s news.

Program: 

Attached file

North House prepares for Northern Sustainability Symposium

Fri, 04/19/2013 - 10:28am

Dmitry Orlov, author of the award-winning book Reinventing 
Collapse is visiting Minnesota for North House Folk School's fourth 
annual Northern Sustainability Symposium, May 3-5. Coursework and 
programs at the Sustainability Symposium revolve around changes that
can be made by individuals for a more sustainable future: learning to
repair and repurpose, simplify and reclaim the everyday skills of self-
reliance from the not-so-distant past.
Orlov will give a presentation on Saturday, May 4 at 7:30 p.m. Born in 
Russia, he moved to the U.S. while a teenager, and has traveled back 
repeatedly to observe the Soviet collapse during the late eighties and 
mid-nineties. He is an engineer who has worked in many fields, 
including high-energy physics research, e-commerce and Internet 
security.
He is the author of the award-winning book Reinventing Collapse: The 
Soviet Example and American Prospects and of the forthcoming The Five 
Stages of Collapse: Survivors' Toolkit.
Orlov will also teach two half-day workshops – one on sail-based 
transport and one on building lasting communities.
Additional event coursework includes 14 courses ranging in length from 
a half day to 4.5 days. The coursework nurtures the do-it-yourself 
spirit by teaching skills that are integral to sustainable future. 
Courses include hand sewing, knife and tool sharpening, canning food, 
starting a root cellar, soap making, installing solar panels and more. 
Registration is required for coursework.
Programming during the event also features a tour of Cook County's 
greenhouses, a screening of the film In Transition 2.0, and a wood-

Strong winds, temperatures hamper ice removal on highways across Minnesota

Fri, 04/19/2013 - 9:27am
Photo by Andrew Ciscel via www.wikimedia.org

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) reports that heavy snow compaction and ice from Thursday’s extensive snowfall are making travel difficult to hazardous from the southwest corner to the northeast corner of Minnesota. Roads in the Twin Cities Metro area are in fair condition.  

MnDOT urges drivers to be patient, plan for trips to take additional time and if possible, avoid travel. Plow crews are currently working to remove the ice and compacted snow, but are inhibited by strong winds, drifting snow and cold temperatures in rural areas.

MnDOT maintenance personnel say Friday’s primary concern is the wind. Drifting snow can cover a highway again immediately after a plow has just passed. The wind may blow salt off the road, and the salt becomes less effective in colder temperatures.

Officials do not anticipate any interstate or highway closures at this time; however, motorists may encounter brief lane and road closures where crashes occur.

Crews expect road conditions to slowly improve throughout the day, as precipitation ends across the state Friday morning.

 

Motorists should remember to:

  • Check road conditions at www.511mn.org or call 511; it takes time to get roads back to good driving conditions.
  • Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
  • Stay back at least five car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow cloud. Snowplow operators will pull over when it is safe to do so to allow traffic build-up to pass.
  • Stay alert for snowplows that turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They may also travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
  • Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions. Snowplows typically move at slower speeds.