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News and other information from Cook County

Let your voice be heard in the political process at county precinct caucuses

Sat, 02/01/2014 - 10:09pm

Although political caucuses are examples of grassroots democracy at its best, relatively few citizens attend their precinct caucuses—perhaps because caucuses, although they have been part of the American democratic process since 1763, seem mysterious to those who have never participated. Organizers of local political parties encourage citizens to come out and learn more about this opportunity at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Just what is a precinct caucus? It’s simply a meeting of friends and neighbors, organized by Minnesota’s political parties where citizens can engage each other in a conversation about which candidates to support in the next general election and what public policy positions should be adopted as part of the party’s platform.

Who can attend a precinct caucus? Everyone! Precinct caucuses are open to the public and participation is encouraged by the political parties. In order to vote, offer resolutions or become a delegate at a precinct caucus, attendees must be eligible to vote in the next general election, live in the precinct, and be in general agreement with the principles of the political party. Although participants must be 18 years old, students are welcome and encouraged to come watch the process.

What do participants do at the caucus? Expect some healthy debate as citizens discuss public policy issues and pass resolutions to be offered as part of the political party’s platform. Attendees get to vote in a straw poll to see what the local party thinks of state and federal candidates. There are also actual elections—of the precinct officers, who are responsible for organizing political activities within the precinct, and delegates, who will represent the precinct at the political party’s county and state conventions. According to the Secretary of State, delegates influence candidates and policy positions the party ultimately endorses.

Weekend News Roundup for February 1

Sat, 02/01/2014 - 11:02am

Each week the WTIP news staff puts together a roundup of the news over the past five days. The current propane crisis and mining issues…all in this week’s news.


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Girl Scouts invite all girls to a pajama party Thursday, Feb. 6

Sat, 02/01/2014 - 9:37am

Girl Scout Troop 4077 is hosting an All Girls K-5 Pajama Party on Thursday, Feb. 6 at the Evangelical Free Church in Grand Marais.

Anyone can participate, even those not in Girl Scouts. The admission fee is one pair of unused pajamas, size 5-year-old to adult, boys’ or girls’.

Spaghetti and garlic bread will be provided, and there will also be Rice Krispie bars, popcorn, cutie Clementines and cheese sticks with a choice of milk or water.

There will be games such as Twister and limbo, crafting and face painting. The event will be held from 3:30 to 7 p.m.

The girls are welcome to wear their PJs to school. The donated pajamas will be taken to the Damiano Center in Duluth. Learn more about the Damiano Center at

For more information or to make a donation, call Christine Kunze at  (218) 370-8338 .

Local artists invited to take part in A'RT fundraiser

Sat, 02/01/2014 - 9:34am

Karen Neal of Hovland is encouraging local artists to participate in a fundraiser to benefit public art projects such as creation of a new wall mural in Grand Marais.

“I recently finished a 12-inch by 12-inch mosaic for the A’RT (Art ‘Round Town) fundraiser which will be held at the Johnson Heritage Post in Grand Marais from Feb. 14 through 17,” said Neal. “Proceeds will go to local public art projects, with emphasis this year on a fresh new mosaic on the west wall of Johnson’s grocery store created by students.”

Anyone with any artistic flair or mind set should consider making his or her own 12-inch by 12-inch piece to donate, said Neal. Each item will be sold for a $100 donation. All mediums are requested.

Artists may drop off their work at the Johnson Heritage Post between noon and 4 p.m. Feb. 8-10, or contact Ann Mershon by e-mail ( to make other arrangements. “If you enjoy making art or craft, give it a try. You don’t have to be a professional to participate in this,” Neal said.

Emerging Leaders Group brewing...

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 11:34am

Cook County Higher Education is hosting an ‘Emerging Leaders Group’ Coffee on Tuesday February 4th from 7:30 to 9am.  It's an informal gathering for anyone who wants to make a positive impact on the future of Cook County.  The first session will be lead by Tim and Beth Kennedy.  Tim is a participant in the Blandin Leadership Program.  Higher Ed is at 300 West 3rd Street in Grand Marais.   More information from 387-3411.  

WTIP volunteer Marnie McMillan spoke about the Emerging Leaders Group with Pat Campanero of the Small Business Development Center and Paula Sundet Wolf of Cook County Higher Education on North Shore Morning.



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Propane assistance information at a glance

Fri, 01/31/2014 - 9:46am

Minnesota officials have set up a public hotline to help residents deal with propane issues during this recent shortage.

The State Emergency Operations Center says the hotline will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Residents who have questions about the propane situation or who are in danger of running out of heating fuel can call (651) 297-1304 in the metro area or (800) 657-3504 in greater Minnesota.

Also you can call AEOA for heating/fuel assistance information 1-800-662-5711.

Fuel Assistance applications can be picked up at the Community Center in Grand Marais, at the Courthouse main lobby and Public Health and Human Services office as well as from the Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission at City Hall.

Additional information and resources on the Cook County website. For additional resources, see Stay Warm Minnesota, a state website.

WTIP is planning a propane crisis information broadcast on First Thursday Community Conversation, Feb. 6 at 7pm. Questions or comments? 387-1070 or before or during the program. In the meantime, hear what MN Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman had to say about the situation on Jan. 31's Roadhouse.