Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Cliffs to idle two mining production lines

Tue, 11/20/2012 - 9:44am

Cliffs Natural Resources temporarily will idle two of its four Northshore Mining production lines, meaning 125 workers temporarily will lose their jobs. According to the Duluth News-Tribune, the company made the announcement Monday morning.

According to Cliffs’ spokeswoman Sandy Karnowski, the lines affect Northshore’s mine in Babbitt and plant in Silver Bay and are being idled due to poor market conditions. Karnowski said both sites may reopen if market conditions improve,

Cliffs will also temporarily shut down its Empire Mine in Michigan sometime during April or May, which will see 500 employees lose their jobs. The shutdown will last through the summer.

The affected employees will receive supplemental unemployment pay and benefits based on the length of time they’ve worked for Cliffs.

County commits loan 1 percent funding to Superior National golf course

Mon, 11/19/2012 - 2:45pm

On November 13, the county board committed $3.1 million of the county’s 1 percent recreation and infrastructure sales tax revenue that it had previously agreed to reserve for the golf course.
The project had been downsized from over $6 million to $4.5 million. The difference between the county’s funding and the rest of the cost is expected to be made up with revenue bonds and up to $600,000 from the Iron Range Resource and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB).
Consultant John Wait of Sirius Golf Advisors reminded commissioners that the purpose of building Superior National was to draw tourists to Cook County.  “Golfers come for the golf but stay because of the beauty,” he said.  Superior National benefits the county in the form of sales tax, property tax, and lodging tax, he said. 
Superior National is one of the most spectacular locations of any golf course in the country, Wait said.  If you took away the scenery, however, you would have a “very, very average golf course” that is substandard in some ways, he said.
Not enough money has been invested in either marketing or maintenance in recent years, Wait said, and the cart paths, tees, irrigation system, greens, and sand traps are all in serious need of repair.  The course is nearing a “death spiral,” he said, and unless they upgrade it in addition to repairing it, he expects it to start running at deficits of $150,000 a year.
The overhaul of the golf course will take three years and will include the addition of four acres of land that will be acquired from Lutsen Mountains.  During that time, the most popular holes will remain open while new ones, just as exciting, according to Wait, will be built. 
Commissioner Sue Hakes said they had been told that the course should be either 18 or 36 holes but not 27 holes as is being planned now and that it should be managed by an outside firm.

EDA commercial rehab to assist two properties in Grand Marais

Mon, 11/19/2012 - 2:40pm

At the November 13 meeting of the Cook County – Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) meeting, EDA Housing Coordinator Nancy Grabko gave the board an update, announcing two of the businesses who would be receiving commercial rehab assistance.
Receiving commercial rehab assistance will be Mangy Moose Motel, which will use the money for energy efficiency upgrades and handicap accessibility for the motel and the beauty salon housed on its grounds. The second business to receive assistance will be the Gunflint Tavern - Fireweed Brewery which applied for assistance to become more energy efficient and for help with signage.
Grabko told the EDA board that two more businesses would be receiving commercial rehab assistance, but she could not make that announcement yet, as those business owners had not been contacted.

Wolf season part one ends

Mon, 11/19/2012 - 9:17am

The first half of Minnesota's inaugural wolf hunt closed Sunday, Nov. 18, with fewer than 150 wolves killed, according to Department of Natural Resources numbers.

The DNR set a quota for 200 wolves allowed to be culled, with only 147 killed in the 15-day "early season." The northwest zone had 78 wolves killed, followed by the northeast with 61 and the east central zone with eight.

The east central zone was closed Nov. 5 and the northeast was closed Nov. 14 as the regions approached or exceeded individual targets, the DNR said.

A late season, which also has a quota of 200 wolves, will run from Nov. 24 to Jan. 31.

Applicants not selected in this year’s early or late season wolf license lottery can purchase a surplus hunting or trapping license on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at noon today.

GTHS begins restoration of landmark Gunflint Trail signs

Sun, 11/18/2012 - 4:55pm

The Gunflint Trail Historical Society has started work to restore the historic Gunflint Trail entrance signs located in downtown Grand Marais just north of Highway 61.

One of the signs is a voyageur holding a canoe labeled “Gunflint Trail” and the other is a bear driving a motorboat.

They are located at the foot of 2nd Avenue West in front of the Grand Marais Public Library. The walls on which the signs sit are believed to have been built by the Works Progress Administration in 1938.

The GTHS said in a news release that time has taken a toll on the signs. Lettering on the Voyageur's canoe that once was bright red has completely faded. The GTHS says the landmarks need a new coat of paint and other repairs.

Historical society trustee John Schloot is overseeing the restoration. He says, “These signs are a historic piece of Americana, We cannot allow to fall into a total loss. A few bucks today will keep them good for 10-20 years."

The City of Grand Marais owns the signs and the GTHS has received permission from the City Council to undertake repairs. The GTHS will be partnering with the Cook County Historical Society to complete this project. 

With assistance from the Grand Marais Street Department, the signs were removed from their stands this fall. Artist Yarrow Korf will repaint the signs over the winter.  The refurbished signs will be reinstalled in Spring 2013.

The cost of this refurbishment project is approximately $5000. The  GTHS is accepting donations to assist in the cost of the restoration.

Cook County Council on Aging looking for board members

Sun, 11/18/2012 - 4:02pm

There is always something happening at the senior center in
Grand Marais and there are always questions and concerns about senior
living in Cook County that need to be addressed. One entity that works
to meet those needs is the Cook County Council on Aging. The council
is seeking members to join its board of directors.
The council oversees operations at the senior center in Grand Marais
and at the very successful First & Second Thrift Store. They do so by
providing overall leadership and strategic direction to staff. Board
members should have an interest in these enterprises as well as an
understanding of the senior community’s needs. Board members should
have a passion for working with seniors and a willingness to commit
time for board meetings, committee meetings and various special events.
Council meetings are held the first Tuesday of the month at 9 a.m.
Board members also are expected to serve on a committee. New board
members would start after the first of the year.
If you are interested in joining the Cook County Council on Aging
board of directors, stop by the Cook County Senior Center for an
application or e-mail For more information, call
(218) 387-2660. Applications are due by November 28 at 4 p.m.