Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Grand Marais gets new fire tender

Mon, 03/25/2013 - 10:14am

Grand Marais Fire Chief Ben Silence and lead firefighter Aaron Mielke visited city councilors at their March 13 meeting, and brought with them the fire department’s newest acquisition – a 2012 tender. A FEMA grant was used to pay 90 percent of the cost of the approximately $210,000 vehicle. The truck was manufactured by Stainless & Repair Inc. of Marshfield, Wis., holds 2,000 gallons of water and is equipped with a 750 gallon-per-minute pump. The tender replaces a 1984 converted milk truck, which was traded in.
Chief Silence lauded Mielke’s dedication and perseverance for completing the many grant forms, putting together the specs and attending meetings that led to the city’s successful grant application. “I give him much credit for his time and effort,” said Silence. “It was an excellent job.”
The tender joins a fleet that also includes a 2007 pumper, a 1978 50-foot ladder truck, a 1994 Ford support truck and a First Responders vehicle. The department, which includes firefighters and First Responders, is comprised of 22 members.

Computer classes at the Senior Center

Mon, 03/25/2013 - 10:14am

A free Basic Computer Class is being offered at the Cook County Senior Center in Grand Marais on Wednesday, March 27 from 12:30 - 3 p.m. If you don’t know anything about computers or are intimidated by them, this is the class for you. If you need some refreshing on using a computer, this class is for you. Pre-registration is requested and donations for the class are accepted.
There is high-speed internet, as well as computers for you to us at the Senior Center. Or if you prefer, you are welcome to bring your own laptop or tablet computer.
The Senior Center will also help provide additional training for folks with future questions.
For more information, stop in or call the Senior Center at 387-2660.

Starting to look a lot like Spring

Mon, 03/25/2013 - 10:02am

Spring maybe delayed on the East coast, but it’s coming along nicely here on the North Shore. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with meteorologist Mike Stewart about warming weather.

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Incredible Exchange opportunities for youths now

Sun, 03/24/2013 - 11:45am

Applications will be accepted from March 18 through April 18
for the Incredible Exchange summer sessions.
The goals of these programs are to promote youth volunteerism in our
community and increase the potential to create a positive relationship
between youth and adults. In exchange for volunteering, youth earn
credit to participate in a recreational or cultural activity of their
choice, promoting constructive use of free time.
Youth learn new skills and practice being responsible while having
fun. The Incredible Exchange is for ages 11-14, the Incredible
Internship is for ages 15-18. Contact Community Education at (218)
387-2000 for more details.
These programs are sponsored by the Cook County commissioners,
Community Education, Cook County Extension and Kids Plus.
 

Planning for 4th of July celebration starts now

Sun, 03/24/2013 - 11:40am

All three West End townships—Lutsen, Tofte and Schroeder—met
on Tuesday, March 12 and the subject of fireworks at the West End
Fourth of July celebration met with differing levels of support.
In Lutsen, meeting moderator Henry Welch called attention to a letter
from the Town of Tofte requesting a $1,500 donation to support the
West End July 4th celebration held at the Tofte Town Park. The request
is an increase from the 2012 donation of $1,000 and the Tofte letter
explained that it sought an increase to help cover the cost of
additional music for the celebration.
Paul Goettl asked if there was a breakdown of how much goes toward the
fireworks and how much goes to the band. “Are we paying the whole
thing?” he asked.
Diane Blanchette and Patty Nordahl, who were involved with planning
the celebration in their roles at Birch Grove, said businesses donate
to the Birch Grove Foundation and the foundation contributes as well.
Blanchette said she was not certain, but she believed the band cost
about $3,000 last year. The fireworks were quite a bit more,
Blanchette said.
Goettl said it would have been nice if someone from Tofte had given
the town more information. He moved to table the decision on the
donation request until the township’s continuation of its annual
meeting in August.
The motion passed by the Lutsen citizens present with two nay votes
At the Schroeder annual meeting, citizens were concerned that if all
donation requests were granted the township would be over budget. A
motion was debated, then passed to grant the request for a donation to
fireworks, but for $1,000, not $1,500.
In Tofte there was no debate over the amount the township will

Weekend News Roundup for March 23

Sat, 03/23/2013 - 9:32am

Each weekend WTIP news produces a round up of the news stories they’ve been following this week. Shipping season started this week, WTIP had some big winners in Associated Press competition, also we’re a healthy county with broadband coming up by the end of summer…all in this week’s news.

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Summer conservation apprentice opportunity at Cook County

Fri, 03/22/2013 - 7:32pm

A summer apprenticeship position for a young adult, age 18-25, is 
available at the Cook County Soil and Water Conservation District 
(SWCD) through Conservation Corps Minnesota. Apprentices spend their 
summer working alongside natural resource professionals. The goal is 
to train and mentor future conservation professionals by providing 
apprenticeship service opportunities to Soil and Water Conservation 
Districts.
Apprentices will serve as AmeriCorps members and will receive a 
monthly living stipend and an education award of $1,468 to use towards 
qualifying education and student loan expenses. The member will serve 
from May 20 through August 23.
The SWCD has been chosen as one of several placement sites throughout 
the state. The program is funded through the MN Environment and 
Natural Resource Trust Fund and LCCMR.
Applications are required and available online at www.conservationcorps.org/apply
. The application deadline is March 29, 2013. For more information, 
please contact the SWCD at (218) 387-3649 or Conservation Corps 
Minnesota at (651) 209-9900.
 

Community health coverage program focus of March 26 Business Luncheon

Fri, 03/22/2013 - 7:30pm

Two representatives from HealthShare, a Duluth-based 
“community health coverage program,” will explain what HealthShare 
offers Cook County's small businesses and their employees at Higher
Education's March Business Networking Luncheon. The luncheon will 
begin at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 27, at Higher Ed's North Shore 
Campus. The program will conclude by 1 p.m. Cost is $15.
HealthShare executive director Jenny Peterson and business services 
representative Wyn Mathews will explain how the program works and how 
it collaborates with health care organizations and the communities it 
serves. Several Cook County employers already have signed on with 
HealthShare. HealthShare is unique in Minnesota and one of only a 
handful of similar organizations nationwide. It  provides coverage to 
the uninsured – including many part-time employees – who work for 
small businesses that cannot afford health benefits.
HealthShare costs employers and employees about $60 each per month, 
with the remainder financed by Generations Health Care Initiatives, a 
foundation in Duluth; St. Luke's; Essentia Health; Northland 
Foundation; Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation; and others. In past years, 
the program has received significant federal and state grants to 
sustain the program. A key feature of HealthShare is its strong 
emphasis on behavior change to promote health and wellness.
To register for the program (formerly known as the Women’s Business 
Networking Luncheon), call (218) 387-3411 or email jboyd@northshorecampus.org
  by noon on March 25.
 

Hospital faces sequestration and insurance cuts

Fri, 03/22/2013 - 9:17am

The Cook County North Shore Hospital and Care Center is facing a couple of $200,000 income reductions. One from the federal government and one from an insurance provider. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with hospital administrator Kimber Wraalstad in this extended interview.

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Dan and Lee Ross works on display at the Art Colony March 22-April 7

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 9:43am

Local artists Dan and Lee Ross, nationally recognized stone and clay sculptors, spent two weeks in January at the Grand Marais Art Colony exploring an unfamiliar media – printmaking. This opportunity led the Rosses in new directions, challenging them to redefine their artistic language through ink, paper and the printing press.
The result is a collection of original prints entitled “Entry Points” which will be on display at the Art Colony from March 22-April 7 in the Founder’s Hall. The public is invited to attend the Opening Reception and Artist Lecture at 5 p.m. Friday, March 22. The artists will also be available on Saturday, March 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to speak with exhibit visitors.
Dan and Lee's paths crossed in 1972 as students at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Subsequently a collaboration began that continues to this day. They work side by side from initial design to the finished piece. Their work ranges from small hand-held clay pieces to large scale commissions carved out of granite. Moving to Hovland in 1991 had a dramatic impact on their work. New forms and shapes evolved after they observed how tumultuous storms and shifting ice sheets rearrange their boulder strewn shoreline.
This is the second Artist-in-Residence at the Grand Marais Art Colony. In the 2012 inaugural residence, visual artist Hazel Belvo spent two weeks developing a large scale body of paintings which she shared with the community through open studios and public lectures. For generations, the Art Colony has been a nurturing sanctuary for the creative spirit - welcoming artists of all skill levels and backgrounds into the artistic community of the North Shore. The Artist-in-Residence program provides established artist(s) with access to our studio spaces to expand and explore their creativity. For more information see www.grandmaraisartcolony.org or call (218) 387-2737.

Debate over donations at Schroeder annual meeting

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 9:39am

A rather heated discussion ensued at the Schroeder Township annual meeting on Tuesday, March 12, when donation requests totaling $21,000 came up. It was noted that could push the projected 2013 budget almost $4,000 higher then revenues, which concerned some citizens.
Donations requested were: Schroeder Area Historical Society asked for $10,000, Birch Grove Foundation requested $3,500, Birch Grove Community School $5,000, Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center $1,000 and the Town of Tofte asked for $1,500 for the July 4th fireworks and music.
After much discussion, a motion was made to not fund the $1,000 request to Sugarloaf and to donate $1,000 (not $1,500) to Tofte for fireworks and then to reduce all the other requests by 10 percent. This passed with a majority of support by the voters and the budget requests granted were $17,650 instead of $21,000.

Cook is healthiest NE county

Thu, 03/21/2013 - 4:53am

Northeastern Minnesota’s most-rural county is also the region’s healthiest.

The Duluth News Tribune reports Cook County ranks among the top 30 in the state in the two major areas evaluated in the fourth annual County Health Rankings, released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Out of 87 counties, Cook County ranked 29th in “health outcomes” — up from 42nd last year. The health outcomes category considers premature deaths, low birth weight and similar data.

Cook County ranked 23rd in “health factors,” which includes a wide array of measures ranging from adult obesity to sexually transmitted infections to the violent crime rate.

St. Louis, Lake and Cook counties have ranked relatively low in all four years of the County Health rankings.

Although Cook County falls well below some of the counties in the suburban Twin Cities and most of those in southeastern Minnesota, it stands out in the region. St. Louis County ranked 72nd in health outcomes and 59th in health factors; Lake County ranked 83rd in health outcomes but 28th in health factors; and Carlton County ranked 81st in health outcomes and 36th in health factors.

 

Lutsen debates Birch Grove donation

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 10:30am

At the Lutsen Township annual meeting on Tuesday, March 12, there was debate over a donation to Birch Grove Community School. The first request for a contribution of $3,500 for the Birch Grove Foundation, the same donation as last year, was passed almost unanimously with minimal discussion.
However, the second request, for $5,000 from the Birch Grove Community School, met with a barrage of questions for school board members and Director Diane Blanchette. This is the first time the school has asked for financial support from Lutsen and Schroeder.
Concerns were expressed over the school’s finances and Blanchette explained that the school has worked very hard to deal with state funding delays and decreased funding because of declining enrollment. She said in 2011-2012 expenses were cut by $38,490 through a variety of saving measures that included changes in transportation and cuts in salary. Blanchette said the school has tried not to impact the educational program.
Questions were asked about declining student enrollment and Blanchette said there are currently 28 students, down from a high of 48. “How do you keep it viable without higher numbers?” asked Val Groth.
Blanchette replied, “That’s Birch Grove’s history. Parents and community members came together long before we were even a charter school because enrollment was a problem, but people wanted a school in our community.
Val Groth said she supported choice for parents, but added, “In some ways, I feel this is taxation without representation. Without a school board we elect, I feel like we don’t really have a voice.”
Blanchette quickly replied, “We have a vacant seat on our board!” She encouraged Groth and anyone else who had questions to come by the school and ask.

Superior Cycling Association annual meeting tonight at East Bay Suites

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 10:29am

The Superior Cycling Association invites anyone interested in what's happening with bicycling in Cook County to its annual meeting which will be held March 20 at 7 p.m. at East Bay Suites.
Superior Cycling Association (SCA) spokesperson Mark Spinler explains, “We will have a short business meeting and then have maps and information about the mountain bike single track trail systems we are building at the Pincushion Recreation Area north of Grand Marais and the Sugar Bush Ski Trail System north of Tofte.
“Come see what we have accomplished to date and what we have plans for this coming trail building season,” said Spinler.
Simple refreshments will be available.
There will be a special offering for those interested in winter biking. After the meeting Superior North Outdoor Center will have a fat tire bike and bikes with studded tires available for test
rides. “Consider becoming a member to help us continue our work with trail building,
advocacy, rides, and events,” added Spinler.
For more information, contact Spinler at 9218) 370-9497 or e-mail bike@boreal.org.

Shipping season starts today

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 5:40am

The 2013 shipping season will get under way in the Twin Ports late today when the 1,000-foot laker Mesabi Miner is expected to be the first departure of the season.

The Duluth News Tribune reports the Miner began loading coal yesterday at the Midwest Energy Terminal in Superior. It then moved to the Port Terminal to load and install a drive motor for its conveyor system before making a Lake Superior delivery to Marquette, Mich.

The Miner will return to Duluth over the weekend to load iron ore at the CN dock and then head to Indiana Harbor on Lake Michigan. The Canadian-flag CSL Tadoussac also is set to head to Duluth this weekend from winter layup in Thunder Bay to load iron ore pellets.