Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

"No water contact" advisory issued for Grand Marais Campground Beach

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 1:11pm

The Minnesota Department of Health beach monitoring program has continued through this summer. The Grand Marais Campground Beach received a “no water contact” advisory yesterday. Another water sample will be collected today, August 19 to see if the bacterial levels have returned to acceptable levels.

Other beaches that received advisories on August 18 include the Leif Erickson Park and Sky Harbor Parking Lot Beach in Duluth. They will also be retested today.

Beach monitoring is conducted at the following beaches in Cook County:  Chicago Bay boat launch in Hovland; Paradise Beach, Kadunce Creek, Durfee Creek in Colvill; Old Shore Road, Harbor Park in Grand Marais, Recreation Park campground in Grand Marais, Cutface Creek Wayside Rest; Temperance River State Park, Schroeder Town Park and Sugarloaf Cove Beach in Schroeder. At press time, all had “water contact acceptable” ratings.

A number of factors, such as dog, geese and other wildlife feces, dirty diapers, failing septic systems and sewer line breaks and overflows, can contribute to higher levels of illness-causing bacteria.

The Minnesota Lake Superior Beach Monitoring Program offers the following tips to minimize risks associated with potential water contamination. Its website recommends waiting 24 hours before going swimming after a heavy rainfall and showering after swimming or recreating at the beach. It also advises that beach goers do not swallow water and that they try to keep face and head out of the water. If possible, the website says to wear earplugs and goggles. Finally, it advises people with weakened immune systems not to swim.

Anyone who becomes ill after contacting beach water is asked to contact the Minnesota Department of Health at (877) 366-3455.

To find the latest results of beach monitoring for North Shore beaches, visit .

National Senior Citizens Day celebrated at Birch Grove Community Center Wednesday

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 11:05am

On August 20, “National Senior Citizen’s Day” from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., the Birch Grove Community Center is hosting a Senior Open House for all Cook County Seniors.  The Cook County Senior Center and Grand Portage Elders are invited too. 

There will be a showing of the award-winning PBS coumentary "Age of Champions," which follows five competitors who spring, leap, and swim for gold at the National Senior Olympics.

Birch Grove Foundation Executive Director Caroline Wood said, “We will have lunch and bingo with a suggested donation of $10 to stay and play.  Senior service providers are welcome to attend and we will have a presentation on the Tofte Senior Housing Initiative.”

The Birch Grove Community Center is located at 9 Good Neighbor Hill Road, Tofte Minnesota.  You can call Caroline at 218-663-7977 to RSVP or volunteer. 

"Ready for Air: A Journey through Premature Motherhood" author Kate Hopper will speak at Drury Lane Books Saturday

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 10:59am

Kate Hopper will discuss her new book, Ready for Air: A Journey through Premature Motherhood at 5 p.m. Aug. 23 at Drury Lane Books in Grand Marais.

For Kate Hopper, pregnancy is downright unpleasant. She is tired and heavy and worried, and she wants her wine and caffeine back. But then, at a routine checkup, her doctor frowns at her chart and says, "I’m worried about a couple of things"—and unpleasant suddenly seems like paradise.

What follows is a harrowing, poignant, and occasionally hysterical journey through premature motherhood, from the starting point of "leaking a little protein" to the early delivery of her tiny daughter because of severe preeclampsia and the beginning of a new chapter of frightful, lifelong love.

Half a million babies are born prematurely in the United States every year—almost one every minute—each with a unique story, and Hopper eloquently gives a voice to what their parents share: the shock, the scares, the lonely nights in the neonatal intensive care unit, the fierce attention to detail that makes for sanity and craziness, the light of faith, the warmth of family, and the terrifying attachment.

With candor, grace, and a healthy dose of humor, Hopper takes us into the final weeks of her pregnancy, the this-was-not-part-of-the-plan first weeks of little Stella’s life, and the isolated world she and her husband inhabited when they took their daughter home at the onset of a cold Minnesota winter.

Finally, Hopper ventures into the complicated question of whether to have another child. Down-to-earth and honest about the hard realities of having a baby, as well as the true joys, Ready for Air is a testament to the strength of motherhood—and stories—to transform lives.

Hopper teaches writing online and at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

StandDown event in Duluth assists Veterans: August 22

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 1:32pm

As part of a series of StandDown events across northern Minnesota, Duluth will be offering "one-stop services" with information and assistance available from multiple agencies at one time. WTIP volunteer Mark Abrahamson spoke with Steve Saari, Duluth Regional Director of the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, on North Shore Morning.

The Duluth StandDown is Friday, August 22nd, from 8am to 2pm at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center or DECC. For more information locally, contact Pat Strand, the Cook County Veteran Service Officer, telephone 387-3639, and Clarence ‘Clinker’ Everson, the Grand Portage Veteran Service Officer, telephone 475-2780.

Information is also available on the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans website.


Listen to the Story

Cook County Local Energy Project to present "Step 2" report on district heating project

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 11:31am

Mark Spurr, of FVB Energy, Inc., will conduct a presentation covering the Step 2 Report – Grand Marais District Heating Project at 1 p.m. Aug. 19 at the Cook County courthouse.

This is the final report on the biomass-fuelled, district heat system which has been considered for portions of Grand Marais.

The presentation is outside of the normally scheduled commissioners’ meeting. A quorum of commissioners may be present, but no decisions will be made.

The Grand Marais City Council and the Grand Marais PUC may also be in attendance. Grand Marais residents and any interested members of the community are encouraged to attend.

The report presents the design, construction, operation and costs of the proposed facility, including a business plan and recommendations on options for moving forward.

The overall project, funded by the Cook County Board of Commissioners with 1 percent recreation and infrastructure sales tax revenue, has consisted of two steps.

According to Gary Atwood of the Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP), the work of Step 1 demonstrated that district heating in Grand Marais had sound economic potential based on estimates of construction and operating costs.

In an announcement of the presentation, Atwood wrote, “The county board and City of Grand Marais elected to move forward with Step 2 which included a schematic design and layout of the facility, detailed site surveys, design of the piping distribution system, and a final business plan incorporating bids for construction and contractual agreements with future customers.”

The Step 2 Report and additional background studies can be reviewed at the Grand Marais Public Library.

Learn about Haiti at Hovland presentation Tuesday

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 11:29am

For several years Trinity has shared a partnership with the congregations of Bonne Nouelle (Good News) Episcopal in the village of Bigonet, Haiti and St. James Episcopal in Minneapolis. A lot has been learned, and the learning expanded this March when Kathi Johnson, Pastor Kris Garey, both of Hovland and Ruth Anne Olson, a part-time Hovland resident, joined other St. James members to visit Bigonet. 

What an adventure! Many people would ask ahead of time, “what are you going to do?”  The answer, “spend time with people” seemed inadequate, but became true as the group met open arms and homes and learned from people whose lives are exceedingly difficult. 

One specific part of the visit was bringing fabric for the newly initiated “sewing and tailoring” vocational class established by the school in Bigonet.  Many people from Hovland, Cook County and the Twin Cities gave fabric and sewing items.

The partnership expanded—an example is the quilters of Bethlehem Lutheran in Grand Marais offered fabric, then the congregation helped with funding for the school in Haiti.  More lives working together. 

You can see photos, art objects from Haiti, and hear some of the adventure stories that accompany such a trip at a presentation at Trinity, 4957 E. Highway 61 on Tuesday August 19, 7 p.m.