Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Volunteers at First & Second Thrift store earn money for local nonprofits

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 11:20pm

On Wednesday, February 13, the Cook County 
Senior Center was filled with excited representatives from area 
nonprofits. It was time for twice-yearly distribution of profits from 
the First & Second Thrift Store in Grand Marais, which is always a fun
event. Throughout the year, volunteers staff the thrift store and the 
donation center, accumulating hours to be credited toward their 
designated organization. No one is sure just what they’ve “earned” 
until the numbers are tallied and announced at the gathering.  It’s 
always a pleasant surprise for the volunteers and the nonprofit 
organizations to see just how much has been raised.
At the gathering this week, 25 different organizations received a 
portion of the $20,044.75 made at the thrift store from July 1, 2012 
to December 31, 2012. In all 68 volunteers worked a total of 1822.25 
hours! The payout amount for this period was $11 per hour. The payout 
varies depending on store profits and expenses, but since the store 
opened in 2007, local nonprofits have received $$198,214.98.
First & Second is located in the Cobblestone building next to 
Pumphouse Fitness. The store is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and 
Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The warehouse for accepting donations of clean, lightly used items is 
located on the south side of the garage behind the Cook County Senior 
Center. The donation center is open Wednesday and Saturday from 9 a.m. 
to 1 p.m.
  If you are interested in volunteering at the thrift store and 
raising some money for your favorite local nonprofit, contact Thrift 

Assessors office request for assistance still under consideration

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 11:17pm

At their Feb. 12 meeting, county commissioners did not 
disagree with the notion that the Assessor’s Office has a lot of work 
to do or that keeping more detailed property records is a good idea, 
but they weren’t ready at their February 12 county board meeting to 
grant Assessor Betty Schultz’s request for a new position in the 
department.
The Minnesota Department of Revenue (DOR) requires that counties 
assess at least one-fifth of their properties – called a quintile – 
each year so that all properties get assessed at least every five 
years.  The DOR is in the process of conducting a review of all 
Minnesota assessor offices to gauge compliance.
Cook County has not been able to meet the quintile requirement for 
years, and Assessor Schultz is trying to figure out how her department
is going to do it.  She said the DOR has told her the county must be 
in compliance within five years.  “It’s a serious responsibility,” she 
said.  “Right now we cannot meet the requirements at the current level 
of staffing.”
In addition to increasing the number of assessments the department 
will be doing each year, the county board has authorized Schultz to 
gather more detailed information on all properties and implement a new 
computer system to track that information.
The onsite assessment will involve measuring land elevations, views, 
access, lakeshore footage, roadways, tillable soils, water, sewer, and 
electric utilities, and buildings, including quality, condition, story 
heights, open vault areas, age, decks and porches, differing uses 

Weekend News Roundup for February 16

Sat, 02/16/2013 - 11:02am

Each weekend WTIP news produces a round up of the news stories they’ve been following this week. A lawsuit to stop the Lake Superior region wolf hunts has been filed. There’s a new mining process being tested, Post Office woes in Duluth and a conversation with Rep. David Dill…all in this week’s news.

Program: 

Attached file

Local Musicians Showcase at Arrowhead Center for the Arts Saturday

Fri, 02/15/2013 - 10:28am

The North Shore Music Association invites the community to 
the 2013 Local Musicians Showcase on Saturday, February 16 at 7:30 
p.m. at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts in Grand Marais.
The showcase includes Samuel Black on piano; Jane Howard on piano; 
Pederson & Cora, a folk duo; Kent Johnson, acoustic guitar; Swamp 
Donkey, psychedelic soul-rock and Cook County's Most Wanted, eclectic 
blues and rock.
Tickets are $10 adults, $5 for students 18 and under. The event is 
general seating, for sale at door or www.tix.com (no fees!)

County continues to consider ways to reduce costs at Cook County Family YMCA

Fri, 02/15/2013 - 10:27am

Whether to work out project reductions with the lowest 
bidders on the next phase of the Cook County Family YMCA building or 
to re-bid the work was still in question after a discussion by the 
county board on February 12. Wade Cole of ORB Management brought the
pros and cons to the commissioners after a conference call the day 
before with attorney Ken Donovan.
When the bids for the next phase came in, they brought the project 
cost to $1.96 million over its $9.5 million maximum.  The Community 
Center Steering Committee then came up with a list of how the costs 
could be contained.
Attorney Donavon said there could be a legal risk if the county did 
not re-bid the project. Companies that were not the low bidders could 
take issue with not being able to re-bid when the project was changed 
significantly.
In the conference call, the attorney told the county representatives 
that the need to re-bid or not depends in large part on the extent of 
material changes within the project. Although there is no clear 
definition of when a material change is large enough in scope to 
require a re-bid, Mr. Donovan indicated that a 20 percent scope change
is sometimes used as a general rule.
After discussing the items that could be changed to bring costs down, 
the attorney stated that the risk to the county was ‘not terribly 
high’ and any second low bidder would have the burden of proof of 
showing that the county had not done its due diligence.
Re-bidding the work would put the project behind about six to eight 
weeks, bringing its completion into 2014.
Costs could also increase because of “reimbursables,” extra costs 

PolyMet announces environmental improvements

Fri, 02/15/2013 - 6:56am

PolyMet Mining announced Thursday that it has accomplished “numerous improvements” in solving potential environmental problems at its proposed copper mine and processing plant near Hoyt Lakes.

The Vancouver-based company said the advancements will reduce environmental impacts of the project, help ready its long-delayed draft Environmental Impact Statement for release this coming summer and should help move the project along through permitting and toward construction.

Company officials say the latest advancements include reductions in sulfur dioxide, mercury and greenhouse gas emissions, groundwater seepage containment and all water discharged from the project will be treated using reverse osmosis.

North Shore Care Center hosts The Sivertones today

Thu, 02/14/2013 - 4:05pm

The North Shore Care Center is delighted to offer a special evening of music with The Sivertones tonight, February 14, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Sivertones will bring their eclectic mix of blues and jazz to the Care Center in a Valentine’s Day celebration.
Additional live music in February will be presented by the award-winning Portage band, Al Fuller, Susan Scherer, Myron Bursheim, and Harris Mills. The Care Center has become a venue for great music over the years. We thank everyone who contributes to the music and dancing scene—especially during these winter months to beat “cabin fever.”
For more information about activity programs or volunteer opportunities, please contact the Activity Department at 218.387.3518 or visit: www.nshorehospital.com.

Comedian brothers to appear at Harbor Light in Grand Marais Feb. 15 - 16

Thu, 02/14/2013 - 2:45pm

The Thompson Brothers comedy tour will be making a stop February 15-16 at the Harbor Light in Grand Marais,.  Shannon and Tommy Thompson are brothers, comedians and anyone who has seen them on tour agrees, hiliarious. 
Shannon is the older brother, and started in comedy shortly before Tommy.  His humor is dark, real and extremely funny.  Tommy’s act is personal, playful and down right hysterical. 
The brothers will be performing two shows, Friday and Saturday night.  Showtime is 9:00 p.m. both nights.
Call the Harbor Light for reservations (218) 387-1142.

Candlelight Ski and Snowshoe Hike on Sugarbush trails

Thu, 02/14/2013 - 11:31am

If you are looking for something special to do on the weekend following Valentine’s Day, consider joining the Sugarbush Trail Association for its Candlelight Ski and Snowshoe Hike on Saturday, February 16, 2013 from 6 – 8 p.m.
Meet at the Oberg Mountain trailhead and ski or hike on candle-lit trails through the beautiful Superior National Forest. Join the fun around the bonfire with hot chocolate and treats provided by area resorts.
Organizers say, “With the fresh, recent snowfall, we should have great skiing.”
For more information, visit www.sugarbushtrail.org.

Cook County/Silver Bay takes fifth in State Alpine Meet

Thu, 02/14/2013 - 5:08am
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Cook County/Silver Bay took fifth in the Minnesota State Alpine Ski Meet yesterday at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.
 

Anders Zimmer led the way for Cook County/Silver Bay, finishing 17th in a total time of 1:19.49.
 

Also finishing for the North Shore team were Luke Fenwick in 38th and Will Lamb in 43rd. Logan Backstrom came in 51st, Colin Berglund finished in 65th and Kyle Martinson was 78th.
 

The Blake School from Minneapolis won the boys meet with 169 points with Stillwater Area in second, Orono in third and Eden Prairie in fourth. Cook County/Silver Bay’s fifth place came on a 124-point performance.
 

The other team results show Edina finishing sixth, East Ridge of Woodbury in seventh and Hermantown in eighth.

The girls meet was won by Minnetonka followed by The Blake School, Minneapolis Southwest, Mankato West, Mounds View, Stillwater Area, Duluth East and Bloomington Jefferson.
 

Gene's Food promotes family game night with prize drawing

Wed, 02/13/2013 - 9:58pm

There is nothing more fun on a cold winter night than gathering the family together to play some games. Gene’s Foods in Grand Marais is promoting family game nights with a series of drawings each Saturday for the next three weeks, starting February 16.
Two winners each week in each category—ages 3-5, 6-8 and 9 – up—will win a brand new board game.  There are new games like Blockers, Scribblish, Hoopla, and Cranium and old favorites like Candy Land, Monopoly, Scrabble, Life and many more.
In addition to the game, they will win pop and popcorn—an instant family game night!
Stop by the store and enter the drawing today to see if you will be a lucky winner!

Muntean leaves electric cooperative

Wed, 02/13/2013 - 1:04pm

Arrowhead Electric Cooperative, General Manager Jeanne Muntean has resigned after over 31 years with the organization.

Muntean started at Arrowhead as a receptionist in 1981 and became General Manager in 2010.

The Board of Directors has not named a successor or interim manager at this time.

County Chamber of Commerce gathering draws crowd

Wed, 02/13/2013 - 11:17am
Charles Skinner, one of the founding members of the new Chamber, addresses the audience.
More than 50 local business people and managers turned out for the launch of the new Cook County Chamber of Commerce  Tuesday, Feb. 12th at Sivertson Gallery in Grand Marais.
 
The Greater Grand Marais Chamber is handing the reins to leaders of the new countywide Chamber, which is in the late stages of organizing. Grand Marais Chamber President Kim Linnell and Director Bev Wolke wrote in the newsletter that, “A great new beginning is in effect for the Chamber of Commerce. After much discussion and hard work by many, we are pleased to inform you that there is a new and better Chamber awaiting you.
 
“This new Chamber will be the one voice that this county has so long been in need of. We believe this will help strengthen the county’s economic growth and development to help for a brighter future for all of us,” Linnell and Wolke wrote.
 
At the Feb. 12 Sivertson Gallery party, prospective members were briefed on new Chamber's countywide organizational efforts and its plans for future programming. Those plans include a “Cook County Day” at the Legislature this March at which Chamber members will seek to impress on legislators the importance of issues that matter greatly to Cook County businesses.
 
Speaking at the event was Jennifer Byers of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.  She spoke briefly about how the new county Chamber and the state Chamber will work together for the benefit of county businesses.
 
Also on hand were Chamber organizers Mark Sandbo, Jan Sivertson, Mike Prom, Bruce Kerfoot, Charles Skinner and Scott Harrison. 

Animal welfare groups launch wolf hunt lawsuit

Wed, 02/13/2013 - 8:17am
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Humane Society of the United States and other animal welfare groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday to restore federal protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region that were lifted last year.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in the District of Columbia against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its parent agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior. It says the decision to take wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan off the endangered list threatens the animals’ recovery throughout most of their historic range.

Hunters and trappers in Minnesota and Wisconsin killed 530 wolves combined during those states’ recently concluded seasons — 413 in Minnesota and 117 in Wisconsin. The Michigan Legislature voted in December to authorize wolf hunting, which could resume as early as this fall.

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman said she couldn’t comment on the lawsuit, but the agency took the wolves off the endangered list because the population had recovered and followed the law in doing so.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued a statement saying that putting wolves back on the list would not be in the best interest of the animals or state residents.

Michigan is expected to make a decision on wolf hunting this spring. Officials say if a hunt is approved, it probably will be limited to parts of the sparsely populated Upper Peninsula where wolves have preyed on livestock and pets.

A spokesman for the Minnesota DNR declined to comment until officials could review the lawsuit.

Music group "Portage" honored for volunteerism

Tue, 02/12/2013 - 1:02pm
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St. Paul, Minn. (February 11, 2013) – Portage, a musical group from Grand Portage has been named the Aging Services of Minnesota 2013 District B Volunteer of the Year for their years of entertaining the residents at Cook County North Shore Hospital and Care Center. This special award is the highest honor recognizing the dedication and service of volunteers who support Minnesota seniors.
 
Portage was honored in February by Aging Services of Minnesota, a trade association for older adult services organizations in Minnesota.
 
Portage is a classic country music band that has been performing for the residents in and around Cook County for over 10 years. They have had a long standing gig at the care center the last Saturday of every month for 8 years – and they fill the dance floor every time.
 
“They play my favorite song, Heartache by the Number every time, just for me,” said resident Gert Scott
 
“The members of Portage are an inspiring example of what volunteers can accomplish in the lives of older adults,” said Gayle Kvenvold, president and CEO of Aging Services of Minnesota. “Their dedication and talent have made a difference in the lives of so many.”
 
Volunteers like the members of Portage are the unsung heroes in Minnesota’s health care system. Their deep commitment, talent and contributions make it possible for older adult services organizations to extend the level of care and services to their residents, clients and communities.
 
For more information about the 2013 Aging Services of Minnesota Stars Among Us awards, visit our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/AgingServicesMN?feature=watch