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News and other information from Cook County

MPCA seeking comments on ballast water permitting process

Sat, 09/07/2013 - 10:03am

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is seeking public comment from now through Sept. 11 on its draft ballast water general permit. This state permit would continue the MPCA's regulatory role in helping protect Minnesota waters of Lake Superior from potential environmental and economic harm caused by aquatic invasive species carried in the ballast water of ships.

The draft five-year state permit would affect 55 to 65 U.S.-flagged lakers (a "laker" is a vessel that transits only the Great Lakes), 60 to 65 Canadian-flagged lakers, and 225 to 275 ocean-going ships that transit through, and discharge to, Minnesota waters of Lake Superior.

The MPCA's draft requirements focus on lakers' treatment systems that, when installed, will minimize the introduction of new or spread of aquatic invasive species and submission of a Ballast Water/Sediment Management Plan. Once a ship's plan is approved, the agency would issue a Notice of Coverage for the vessel.

MPCA staff began working on the ballast water discharge program in early 2007 and issued a permit in September 2008. International efforts on this issue, federal court decisions, new requirements contained in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency permit, new U.S. Coast Guard rules, and past state legislation helped shape the MPCA staff's permit-development efforts.

A copy of the draft permit, fact sheet, and public notice are available for review at the MPCA offices in St. Paul and Duluth and online on the MPCA's Public Notices webpage.

Radio Waves Music Festival starts today with Community Band at 4 p.m.

Fri, 09/06/2013 - 11:59am

The 6th Annual Radio Waves Music Festival starts today! It features a diverse line-up of North Shore musicians playing back to back over three days at Sweetheart’s Bluff in the Grand Marais Recreation Area, from Friday - Sunday, Sept. 6 - 8. It’s the perfect setting for sharing the weekend with friends and family, while enjoying a wide variety of music. There will be a dance floor, free children’s activities from noon - 4:00 p.m. both days, and on-site food vendors providing snacks, meals, kid-friendly options, and a special Sunday morning breakfast. Don't worry about the weather, there's a big tent to protect the musicians and audience!

This year’s line-up reflects the incredible talent and diversity of North Shore musicians.  “It was really important to us to be inclusive and to build a line-up that explores the talent of the area,” says WTIP’s Music Director Cathy Quinn.  The line-up offers a variety of genres, from rock to folk, jazz, swing, and country. See the complete line-up below.

This year, the Radio Waves Music Festival is celebrating its sixth year. It takes place annually the weekend after Labor Day under a big tent in an outdoor venue, with on-site food, children’s activities, and on-site camping. Admission is only $5 per day or $10 for the weekend. For more information, check out WTIP’s website: www.wtip.org or call (218) 387-1070.

Bid accepted for Superior National at Lutsen improvements

Fri, 09/06/2013 - 11:56am

At the August 13, 2013 meeting of the Cook County - Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA), the EDA board was disappointed to hear from golf course consultant Jeff Brauer of Golfscapes, Inc. that the bids received for renovations at Superior National at Lutsen golf course had come in too high, with a $727,133.42 difference between the lowest bidder and the proposed budget of $3,897,982.50. However, Brauer reassured the EDA that “value engineering” could put the project back in line with the EDA’s project budget and could allow work to still begin this fall.

“So we’re not dead in the water?” asked EDA Chair Mark Sandbo. Brauer said no and asked for authorization to work with the low bidders and Superior National staff to see what changes could be made to get the project within budget.  The EDA asked him to proceed and a special meeting was held on August 21 to hear another proposal, closer, but still $262,032.92 higher than what the EDA had earmarked for the project.

Value engineering to bring down costs

Mid-America Golf and Landscape of Kansas City, Missouri, remained the company with the lowest bid after value engineering at $4,160,015.42. To reach that reduced bid, Brauer and Superior National staff agreed to eliminate the driving range, to reuse nearly all the existing cart paths and to eliminate some greens protective material as it was already being provided in the stormwater management plan.

Other “minor reductions” could be made, wrote Brauer in his bid summary, but it was noted that he and Golf Course Manager Bob Fenwick believed further reductions would take the course below “resort-level,” which the EDA is seeking per its business plan put together by Sirius Golf Advisors.

Join WTIP for the 6th Annual Radio Waves Music Festival

Fri, 09/06/2013 - 10:23am

Join WTIP Community Radio for the 6th Annual Radio Waves Music Festival September 6th to 8th.  It features live music throughout the day, a dance floor, children’s activities, and on-site food vendors.  It’s a rain or shine event under a big-top tent in the Grand Marais Recreation Area. Check out the music line-up and details. 
 

Grand Portage Band cancels moose hunt

Fri, 09/06/2013 - 6:32am

The Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has announced it will not hold its planned moose hunt this fall, avoiding an arbitration process with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The Duluth News Tribune reports that the band in August had announced it would issue 21 permits for a bulls-only moose hunt Oct. 5-20 on lands in the ceded territory covered by an 1854 treaty.

The DNR opposed the band’s plans for the hunt based on an agreement between the state and the 1854 Treaty Authority, which represents both the Grand Portage and Bois Forte bands.

As a result, the DNR had begun a formal arbitration process with the Grand Portage Band, but no arbitration hearings had yet been held when the band canceled its hunt.

Under a court-approved agreement between the DNR and the treaty authority, the bands may not hold a big-game hunting season for which no corresponding state hunting season is being held.

The state pays the Grand Portage and Bois Forte bands each year to limit their exercise of some treaty rights. During fiscal year 2013, which ended June 30, the DNR paid $2.68 million each to the two bands.

In February, the DNR decided to cancel its moose hunting season because of conservation concerns about the moose population. The population has dropped from an estimated 8,800 moose in 2006 to an estimated 2,760 in this past winter’s survey. The population suffered a 35 percent drop from 2012 to 2013.

Norman Deschampe, chairman of the Grand Portage Tribal Council, said that a tribal subsistence hunt “is fundamentally different than a sports hunt and should be considered differently.”

Deschampe also said the band was disappointed that the DNR ignored its obligation to consult with the band before cancelling the state moose hunt.

The Bois Forte band earlier opted not to hold a moose season.

Maria Nickolay offers "Ireland's Call" concert at Hovland Town Hall

Thu, 09/05/2013 - 10:58pm

Justice and reconciliation are the themes of a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) trip that Maria Nickolay of Hovland will be taking this fall. Nickolay leaves October 1 for Rostrevor, Northern Ireland.

To raise funds for her mission trip, Nickolay is performing Irish music at the Hovland Town Hall on Friday, September 6 at 7 p.m Hall.

Nickolay has been working hard to raise the $12,000 required to take part in this mission opportunity, This concert is the latest effort to reach her fundraising goal. It is also an opportunity to hear an amazing young musician perform.

There is no cover charge at the door, but donations will be happily accepted toward her YWAM trip.