Around Cook County
Join the North Shore Music Association March 2 for a shared bill of two exceptionally talented Minnesota musicians, Barbara Jean and Chastity Brown.
Calling the North Shore home until recently, Barbara Jean has developed her craft through constant live performance and has recently struck out on her own to take her debut record, The Great Escape to fans all across the Midwest. Classically trained on the viola at the U of M, and self-taught at the banjo, her voice and songs transcend tradition with a mix of Americana, Appalachia, and an insightful vulnerability in lyric and delivery. Performing solo, as a duo, or in larger ensembles, she brings a grace and comfort to the stage at once disarming and captivating, gaining her a burgeoning audience and high praise from her peers.
Throw all the genres and hyphenates together you want to describe Chastity Brown— gospel, roots and soul, jazz, blues and country – they are all right, and also not enough to describe this talented musician. She channels songs that are borne deep in the American bone, the hunger, desperation and confidence that runs through our times. Coming from Tennessee to Minnesota, she now tours the country and has recently released her fourth full-length record, Back-Road Highways.
Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts are $10 adults, $5 ages 18 and under. Tickets are available in advance at www.tix.com, or night of performance at the door. General seating. Lobby opens at 6:30 pm.
WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Pollution Control agency will host an open house Thursday to provide an update on its long-term study on whether the state should revise its water quality standard for protecting wild rice beds.
The MPCA says the open house will include an overview of the study followed by a poster session. Posters will focus on current and future research projects, the standards setting process and study timeline, and about the current sulfate limits to protect wild rice.
Mining interests and wastewater treatment plant operators have sought to loosen the sulfate standard.
Those attending the session will have an opportunity to provide input on the work.
“Seen Through Native Eyes: A Celebration of Native Art” is being brought to the community by a collaboration between the Art Colony and Spirit of the Wilderness Episcopal Church. Mary Ellen Ashcroft, vicar of Spirit of the Wilderness explains the purpose of the exhibit. She said, “We hope to delve deeply and begin to see (at least realize what we can’t see) through native eyes, both to broaden our artistic vision, but also to deepen our understanding. In this year of the 150th anniversary of the massacre of 38 Dakota warriors, we felt it appropriate to stop and consider from a different perspective.”
In addition to a Friday night reception for featured artists Robert Two Bulls and Johnson Loud, the event now includes a screening of the movie 38+2, which commemorates the anniversary of the 38 Dakota people hanged 150 years ago—and the story of the modern day recreation of their tragic journey. The film will be shown at Cook County Higher Education at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 28. There will be discussion with Two Bulls and Loud afterwards and refreshments will be served.
In addition to the film and exhibit at the Art Colony, Two Bulls (Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota) and Loud (Red Lake, Chippewa) will conduct workshops on March 2, from 9 – 4 p.m. at the Grand Marais Art Colony. The workshops are open to ages 10 and up. From 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. there will be a presentation and discussion of Native Art. From 12 4 p.m. the artists will demonstrate their art form. Two Bulls will give an interactive presentation on oil painting. Loud will demonstrate the creation of his pottery.
The cost of the workshops is $50, with an additional $15 for supplies for the Robert Two Bulls class. Scholarships are available. For more information or to register, contact the Grand Marais Art Colony at (218) 387-2737.
At the Grand Marais city council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 13, councilor and park board member Bill Lenz presented two drawings of proposed footbridges for the new trail to the lake in the Rec Park. One is a covered bridge, while the other is of the more traditional uncovered variety. The cost of each is about the same ($10,000) despite the addition of a roof. City Clerk Mike Roth explained the reason for that: One requires more materials that cost less; the other requires fewer materials that cost more.
Lenz said he and the park board would like to hear comments from the public about which design they prefer, and encouraged input to the park office before the park board makes its decision next month. (More detailed artist’s renderings of the designs are available at the Rec Park—and we’ll have one configuration in the News-Herald this week.
The bridge is part of the Community Connections project that will lead pedestrians from the highway into the northeast section of the park next to North House Folk School.
Zumba comes to the West End! To help everyone get moving during the cold month of February, there will be a Zumba Gold demonstration with Chris Angelo at 10:30 a.m. on February 27.
Everyone is invited to join the fun!
On the 28th there will be a community forum to explore career readiness for students when they leave Cook County High School. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with the forum organizers.
The weather has been very nice and it looks like it will continue mild. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Stewart in Duluth about March lambs and lions.
Each weekend WTIP news produces a round up of the news stories they’ve been following this week. Lake Superior School District is reapplying to keep its 4-day week schedule, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency had good news for the Poplar River and long-time county personnel director and board clerk Janet Simonen is retiring…all in this week’s news.
Two St. Olaf graduates (both with ties to Cook County) who
became the first women to paddle 2,000 miles from Minneapolis to
Hudson Bay in 2011 are returning to speak about their three-month
paddle. They will be at Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply on Saturday,
February 23 at 4:30 p.m.
Ann Raiho and Natalie Warren will tell their story about following the
path Eric Sevareid chronicled in his book Canoeing with the Cree.
Since their trip ended Raiho has attended graduate school while Warren
spent a year speaking about their adventure and then started Wild
River Academy in Washington DC in 2012. Wild River Academy hosts three-
day river trips designed to connect high school girls with successful
women. It also seeks to inspire women to grow through wilderness
adventures. Early this year Warren moved the business to the Twin
Cities with her friend and business partner Nick Ryan.
Warren, from Miami, Florida, and Raiho, from Inver Grove Heights,
Minnesota met at Camp Menogyn in 2007, getting to know each other on a
50-day canoe trip into the Canadian wilderness.
The goal of their presentation is to encourage people to pursue their
passions, resulting in greater opportunities for themselves and their
Minnesota’s ice fishing shelter removal dates are approaching.
The DNR says dark houses, fish houses and portables must be off the ice of inland waters no later than midnight March 18 in the northern third of the state. Enforcement action will be taken if shelters are left after the deadlines.
For Minnesota-Canada border waters, the shelter removal deadline is March 31.
After removal dates, shelters may remain on the ice between midnight and one hour before sunrise only when occupied or attended.
It’s said the house always wins. But as a Thunder Bay man can confirm, there is an exception to every rule.
On Tuesday, February 12, during a visit to Grand Portage Lodge and Casino, a Thunder Bay resident won a staggering $330,336.65 (U.S. funds) jackpot from one of the casino’s popular new progressive slot machines.
According to casino spokesperson and Marketing Manager Frank Vecchio, the slot machine is a “wide-area progressive linked to a number of Native American casinos.”
The jackpot win is reported to be the second largest single payout in the casino’s 24-year history.
The lucky winner, a Portage Players Club member, is a regular player at Grand Portage Lodge and Casino who wishes to remain anonymous. He had traveled to Grand Portage to participate in “Fat Tuesday”—one of the casino’s most popular annual promotions.
Asked about his win, the man said, “I’m still in shock. I haven’t made any solid plans about what to do with the money. All I can say is that it’s going to make life a whole lot easier.”
Marketing Manager Vecchio said, “All the staff and owners of Grand Portage Lodge and Casino are thrilled that one of our loyal Portage Players Club members has hit it so lucky. It makes us happy at Grand Portage Lodge and Casino when our players win and we hope this big jackpot will carry through a winning streak for our players throughout 2013.”
For the last eight years, on the last Saturday of every month, the classic country band Portage has performed at the Cook County North Shore Care Center to the delight of care center residents, family members and friends and care center staff. This wonderful musical tradition has been recognized by Aging Services in Minnesota. Portage was presented with the Stars Among Us 2013 Volunteer of the Year Award at the annual Aging Services in Minnesota Institute at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Minneapolis on February 6, 2013.
Portage was nominated for the award by Care Center Activities Director Kay Rosenthal, who explained that Portage has been performing for elders in Cook County and beyond for more than 10 years. “They have had a long standing gig at our Care Center the last Saturday of every month for the past eight years,” wrote Rosenthal, adding, “And they know how to fill the dance floor—our dining room—every time!”
Members of Portage are Jim Spry, Butch Deschampe, Arvid Dahl, Tom Hoy and Joe Peterson. Sue Maijala was a former drummer in previous years.
Portage will be back at the Care Center on February 23—the last Saturday of the month—once again to share their talents. Rosenthal said a special celebration is planned at 6:30 p.m. that day to congratulate Portage for being the 2013 Volunteers of the Year. They truly are “Stars Among Us!”
After its second calendar year of being collected, the Cook County 1 percent recreation and infrastructure sales tax showed an increase of 9.2 percent over revenue from the year before. In 2012, the tax brought in $1,234,919.33.
The 1 percent tax is funding numerous projects throughout the county, including the Grand Marais Public Library addition, recreational enhancements at Birch Grove Community Center in Tofte, the installation of broadband fiber optic infrastructure to everyone on the electrical grid, improvements at Superior National at Lutsen Golf Course, research regarding the feasibility of a biomass district heating plant in Grand Marais, and a new community center facility attached to Cook County High School along with outdoor recreational amenities on county property nearby.
The three Cook County lodging tax districts brought in $916,917.52 in 2012, an increase of 4.9 percent over the year before based on the businesses that had completed their reports when results were tabulated.
The Lutsen-Tofte Tourism Association brought in $588,124.14, an increase of 3.1 percent over 2011. The Gunflint Trail Tourism Association brought in $110,058.06, an increase of 7.3 percent. The Grand Marais Area Tourism Association brought in $218,735.32, an increase of 9.1 percent.
Ely did not fare nearly as well. Its lodging tax revenue went from $260,540.75 in 2011 to $255,797.46 in 2012, a decrease of 1.8 percent.
The Poplar River Management Board (PRMB) continues to make progress on large-scale projects to reduce sediment from the lower segment of the Poplar River in Lutsen.
Ten contractors submitted bids for the next project, the Caribou Highlands Flowpath. According to PRMB President Tom Rider, the three lowest bidders were all very qualified companies. The contract went to Reuben Johnson & Sons of Superior, Wisconsin with a bid of $157,000.
The Caribou Highlands Flowpath project will involve the installation of erosion control measures along the strip of land between Caribou Highlands, which sits on a bluff, and the river. It will capture all the storm water originating on the Caribou Highlands property. The land directly adjacent to the river is owned by Lutsen Mountains and includes a ski trail and an access road.
“It’s a pretty important project due to the proximity of this resort to the river and the scale of land and storm water involved,” Rider said. The work will start this spring and is expected to be completed in June or July.
“We also have two other smaller conservation projects that will be carried out this summer – the Mystery Mountain Flowpath Project and the Lower Eagle Mountain Road Project,” said Rider. A request for bids will go out later this winter with construction to take place this summer.
At the February 4 bimonthly PRMB meeting, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) reported on data trends regarding sediment levels in the Poplar River. Measurements gathered from 2009 to 2011 show a 35 percent reduction from previous levels. Rider said this reduction is expected to grow as completed projects mature on the landscape, such as the Ullr Tightline that was completed in 2012, and as additional projects are added, such as the ones to be completed this summer.
Lutsen, MN – The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) provided updated data trends on sediment in the Poplar River to the Poplar River Management Board in February. MPCA has estimated that total suspended solid (sediment) loads have been reduced by about 35% since 2006.
The sediment loads from 2002 to 2006 was about 1,000 tons per year, while the average load for the years 2009 through 2011 was about 660 tons per year.
Tom Rider, President of the Poplar River Management Board said the report was good news. “We have worked since 2005 identifying the most significant sources of sediment and implementing best management practices and conservation projects.”
The MPCA analysis suggests continued decrease in sediment loading should be expected from projects implemented in 2012 and planned for 2013. This includes the Ullr Tightline project that was completed in November of 2012 with estimated sediment reductions of 90 tons/year.