Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Lutsen debates Birch Grove donation

Wed, 03/20/2013 - 11:30am

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 - 11:29am

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 - 6:40am

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.

Grand Portage Elders host Stew Cook Off & Meat Bingo Thursday, March 21

Mon, 03/18/2013 - 12:22pm

Spring is in the air and the Grand Portage Elders will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a Stew Cook Off & Meat Bingo on Thursday, March 21 at the Grand Portage Lodge. The fundraiser will start at 5 p.m. with dinner and bingo to follow. Everyone is invited to enter a stew for the contest.
Call Carol Hackett for more information at the ENP at (218) 475-2655. All proceeds from this fund raiser will go towards trips and activities at the ENP.

WTIP wins Associated Press broadcast news awards

Mon, 03/18/2013 - 11:17am
L to R; WTIP Programming Director Kelly Schoenfelder, and producer Carah Thomas.

Winners in the 2012 Minnesota Associated Press Broadcasters news contest have been announced. WTIP is in a class for stations with more than one and less than three full time staff in the news department.

WTIP took First in the “Feature” category for "Behind the Work: Joshua Lindstrom of Fika Coffee," by Carah Thomas.

Honorable mention in the feature category also went to  WTIP for "Moments in Time: The Beaver House," by Carah Thomas; as well as  "Anishinaabe Photographer Travis Novitsky," by Staci Drouillard.

In the “Series/Special” category First Place went to WTIP’s "Lake Superior Project," by Kelly Schoenfelder and Barbara Jean Meyers.

For the “Documentary/Investigative” category, WTIP received honorable mention for "History Speaks: Isle Royale National Park," by Kelly Schoenfelder and Barbara Jean Meyers.

The “Writing” First Place award went to WTIP commentator Fred Smith for his “Wildersmith on the Gunflint" for Sept. 21, 2012, about leaf peepers and the changing season on the Trail.

View more news from WTIP

QuickBooks user group starts Wednesday, March 13

Mon, 03/18/2013 - 10:52am

 If you are a QuickBooks user, you probably have encountered those moments when you cannot for the life of you figure out how to do that next step, or undo that unfortunate last step. You need a user group, a gathering of fellow QB users who believe that many brains working together can find solutions where one brain, isolated, cannot. Please consider joining the Cook County Higher Education's QuickBooks User Group led by Karl Hansen and Berta Bauer, two experienced QB users.

The QB User Group  held its first meeting on Wednesday, March 13, at Higher Ed. Cost per meeting is $5. The initial plan is to meet once every two weeks  Wednesday from 5 - 7 p.m.for a two-hour discussion, but how often the group meets and for how long ultimately is for the group to decide.

To participate in the QB User Group, you should bring a laptop computer with your QB software loaded on it. If you have QB loaded on a desktop at your home or office, we have several laptops, loaded with the 2011 QB version, available for use during the user group meetings.

Moose mortality messages are coming in

Mon, 03/18/2013 - 8:17am
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The first GPS messages from dead moose to Minnesota researchers are coming in.

Minnesota wildlife researchers trapped 111 moose in January and February and placed GPS trackers and transmitters on them. The Duluth News Tribune reports already, six of the 111 moose in the study have died.

Of those, four are listed as having perished from the stress of being tranquilized and collared, leading to other problems and their death. That rate is average for capture/collaring projects and is lower than recent Minnesota moose studies, according to Erika Butler, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources veterinarian in charge of the moose mortality project.

Of the two animals that died from other causes, both appear to be victims of wolf attacks. One had been mostly eaten, and the other had injuries from a wolf attack but had not been eaten.

While wolves were the ultimate cause of death for those two moose, Butler said both of them, and even some of the moose that died from capture-related stress, had lower-than-usual body fat in what has been a fairly normal, if not mild, winter in moose country.

Butler went on to say, “When we are capturing them in January, that’s early enough in winter that they should still have some good body fat, and three of these didn’t. That’s not normal.”

Seth Moore, director of biology and environment for the Grand Portage Band is studying 19 moose captured in and around the Grand Portage Reservation and fitted with the same kind of collars the DNR is using.

So far, one of his moose has died, and investigators found a surprising cause. Moore said “It was clear that wolves killed it. The site was just decimated from the struggle. But when we got to looking in the lungs, they were just full of bright-green pneumonia. This was a health-compromised animal that wolves got to.”

According to aerial surveys, the Northeastern Minnesota moose population decreased a jaw-dropping 35 percent from last winter to this winter — from an estimated 4,230 in 2012 to 2,760 this January. That one-year decline was more than double the average drop in recent years of 15 percent. The population was as high as 8,800 in 2006.

County commissioners consider security improvements at county buildings

Sun, 03/17/2013 - 3:58pm

At the March 12 meeting, Cook County commissioners wrestled to balance security concerns with fiscal responsibility as they discussed recommendations for security improvements at the courthouse and other county buildings on March 12, 2013.  The recommendations came from a security committee that was formed after the December 2011 courthouse shooting.  After working with a consultant, the committee formulated a list of improvements they considered of highest priority.

Recommended were security cameras in the courthouse, Community Center, and Highway Department buildings, duress buttons in all offices and meeting rooms, an intercom system, a keycard access system that would be programmed by computer to allow various levels of access, a walk-through x-ray machine and a metal detector like those at airports, and two full-time entry-level bailiffs to staff the x-ray machine and metal detector during normal courthouse business hours.  The total cost of the equipment would be just over $164,117 and the cost of two new employees was calculated at $119,100 a year.

Commissioner Garry Gamble said he understood the important of safety but thought the recommendations were an overreaction to the shooting.

Financial Aid information night at Cook County Higher Education Tuesday, March 19

Sun, 03/17/2013 - 3:54pm

Need money for college education or training?  Come hear financial aid professional LaNita Robinson speak about federal financial aid and application tips in this interactive presentation.

Robinson will be able to answer your questions about financial aid whether attending a community and technical college or a four-year program. Topics include: what is the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal student Aid); completing the FAFSA (common trouble spots); when should you apply; and what is the difference between a grant, scholarship and loan? This presentation is for adults going back to college, high school juniors and seniors, parents and guardians.

Robinson lives in Duluth, and is currently the director of financial aid with Lake Superior College. She has over 12 years of experience in federal financial aid and says despite all her years of experience, “She still sees new things every day which is part of the challenge and reason why financial aid rarely tends to get monotonous.”

Area youths invited to leadership training

Sat, 03/16/2013 - 12:35pm

On March 22, youth are invited to join together for a free leadership training filled with fun, friends and food.

Leadership is about standing up, inspiring others and being responsible even when it may not be convenient or pleasant.  In this two-hour session, young people in grades 6-8 will explore a variety of leadership models, begin to analyze their personal style and work together in teams experimenting with a shared leadership model.  The workshop facilitators are Pat Campanaro, Dr. Kathy Ogle and Dr. Val Ulstad.  Each one of these women brings years of leadership experience and an interest in sharing her knowledge on the topic of leadership.

After the workshop, all of the participants are invited to stay for pizza and a movie on the big screen at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts.  The event will last until 8:15 p.m.  Students are to meet at the Cook County Community Center at 3:45 and be picked up by 8:15 at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts. 

Weekend News Roundup for March 16

Sat, 03/16/2013 - 10:17am

Each weekend WTIP news produces a round up of the news stories they’ve been following this week. The senate acts on a wolf hunt moratorium, Rep. Nolan petitions the EPA, protests and petitions seek action against the county attorney, Iron Range cancer report was released, Chisholm musher takes the Beargrease and the railroad wants to fill in part of Twin Ports harbor…all in this week’s news

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Caregiver support group begins Tuesday, March 19

Fri, 03/15/2013 - 10:26pm

The first meeting of a monthly caregiver support group is Tuesday, March 19, noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Fireside Room of the First Congregational Church in Grand Marais.  Care Partners, the group sponsor, is providing facilitators and refreshments. Participation is free.

Care Partners will also provide a trained volunteer, at no cost, to stay at home with the loved one in need of care or supervision so that the caregiver can attend the group.

Roberta Olin, Grand Marais, and Vicki Biggs-Anderson, Colvill, will facilitate. Both have been caregivers to family members. 

Grand Marais Library presents harp and flute performance Saturday

Fri, 03/15/2013 - 10:21pm

"The Timeless Beauty of Harp and Flute" will be presented at the Grand Marais Public Library at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 16.

The free program will be presented by Betty Braunstein, flute and Janell Lemire, harp, members of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra.

Betty and Janell play two of the world’s most beloved instruments; the ancestors of these two instruments are amongst the oldest in the world. Using their modern flute and harp, images from the past, actual instruments from other times and places, and music for flute and harp, these musicians will explore the question of why human beings have been music-makers since the beginning of time.

The program is suitable for audiences of all ages, and is funded with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Senate panel passes wolf hunt moratorium 7-6

Fri, 03/15/2013 - 8:05am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Opponents of wolf hunting won a victory as a Minnesota Senate panel votes 7-6 for a five-year moratorium on future wolf seasons.

Wolf hunting opponents argued before the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on Thursday that the state acted too hastily when it decided to resume sport hunting and trapping after the region's wolves came off the endangered list early last year. Hunters and trappers then killed 413 wolves during the state's inaugural wolf season, which ended in January.

Supporters of the wolf hunt told the committee the state's wolf population has recovered enough to allow for properly managed hunting and trapping, and that the decision was made after years of study and court battles.
The bill now goes to a Senate environment budget committee, where its prospects are uncertain.

Join the Senior Center for an overnight stay at Grand Portage Lodge & Casino

Thu, 03/14/2013 - 10:38am

The Cook County Senior Center has planned an overnight trip to the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino is planned for Monday, March 18. Guests will receive $15 in free slot play and seniors receive two-for-one drink coupons from the Players Club. Spend the evening and the next day; enjoy $5 off your breakfast. The cost for double occupancy is only $12 per person; single occupancy, $24.
For more information or for registration of any of these upcoming trips, stop in or call the Senior Center at 387-2660.