Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Bread and more at Birch Grove Community Center celebration

Fri, 09/28/2012 - 11:34am

A lot has been happening at the Birch Grove Community Center 
in recent months—and some of the work has been done by HOBBITs. No, 
not the fictional characters of J.R.R. Tolkien novels, but some hard
working community members who have dubbed themselves the Hearth Oven 
Bread Baking Initiative Team—HOBBITs.
The folks that built the brick hearth oven were supervised by Derek 
Lucchese of North House Folk School. There were nine people in the 
class, but there was a wider community involvement in the creation of
the oven.
Support for the construction of the oven and the upcoming bread baking
classes was from grants, financial donations and in kind donations 
from the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation, Cook County Community Fund, the 
Town of Tofte, Lutsen Resort and Bluefin Bay, Doug Nordahl and many 
other individuals.
The first community bake will be Sept. 29 at the Birch Grove 1% Grand 
Opening Celebration. The HOBBITs will be cooking pizza at the event 
from 2 – 5 p.m.
As a reward for their hard work, the HOBBITs were on hand for the 
placement of a time capsule. All of the builders contributed something.
After the kick-off bread baking, the HOBBITs will help develop 
policies for future use of the oven. Birch Grove Community Center 
Director Patty Nordahl said, “We hope to have lots of classes 
pertaining to the use of the oven!”

Grand Marais City council sets levy

Fri, 09/28/2012 - 11:31am

Grand Marais’ preliminary tax levy for 2013 has been set, and 
what it means is that the city can collect 6.3 percent more in local 
taxes than it did last year.
Council members formally adopted the levy Sept. 12 after discussing it 
with department heads during two work sessions and prioritizing 
proposed capital improvement projects. The budget that was unanimously 
approved sets the levy at $866,552.44, up from this year’s 
$815,057.51. It also calls for general fund spending of $1,893,496 – 
up from the current $1,863,218 – and revenue of $616,406.34.
Local governments by law have to set a preliminary levy in September 
each year. They can then lower the figure for a final levy, but cannot 
raise it when the final version is ratified at year’s end. Councilors 
and City Administrator Mike Roth said there are a number of options 
available for reduction of the levy increase, and it is likely 
taxpayers will see the figure fall in December.
“There are some choices we have that can get this number down 
significantly, even to flat, by the end of the year,” said Mayor Larry 
“Bear” Carlson. “And that’s what we’re going to be working toward.”
Councilor Tim Kennedy also acknowledged the need to further reduce the 
levy increase. “We know people are struggling in this economy, and we 
need to do what we can to keep the numbers down. This is our chance to 
do it.”

Portage to play at North Shore Care Center Saturday

Thu, 09/27/2012 - 10:46pm

The band "Portage" will perform their classic country music at 
the North Shore Care Center on the last Saturday of the month on 
September 29 starting at 6:30 p.m. As always, families and community 
members are welcome to join in the fun.
There are volunteer opportunities, such as making music and many other 
options, for all ages at the North Shore Care Center. For more 
information please contact the Activity Department at 218-387-3518 or 
visit our website

Arrowhead Electric seeking entries for logo contest

Thu, 09/27/2012 - 10:45pm

Arrowhead Electric Cooperative has provided electricity to 
rural Cook County since 1953. The cooperative’s vision is,
"Connecting the Tip of the Arrowhead" and AEC Director of Member 
Services Joe Buttweiler said, “We believe we are still fulfilling that 
vision today.”
However, Arrowhead Electric Cooperative is soon to be much more than 
an electric cooperative. The co-op will be a full-service local 
provider of electricity, high-speed Internet, TV and phone services.
“With growth of the co-op, a new name and logo is needed that reflects 
the co-op and all of the services provided to members.  The co-op is 
seeking ideas as it looks to rename and re-brand,” said Buttweiler.
Persons interested in submitting entries for a new name, logo or a 
combination name and logo should send their ideas to AEC Customer 
Service Representative Jenny Kartes at by noon on 
Friday, Oct. 5.
Name and/or logos must be submitted in a digital form along with your 
name, address and telephone number.  The winning entry will be awarded 
one year of free broadband, TV and phone service. If two winners are 
chosen, each winner will receive six months of free service.

MN Dept. of Health looking at fish consumption and childbearing

Thu, 09/27/2012 - 12:32pm
Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush)
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is headed back to Grand Marais and Grand Portage to conduct two focus groups with women of childbearing age.  During the two hour sessions, women will be asked to look at the guidelines for fish consumption currently in use by Minnesota and other Great Lakes states, and to offer feedback on their effectiveness.  The goal is to make that guidance better.  
The October 9th Grand Marais focus group has been filled, however, participants are still being sought for the October 8 session at Grand Portage.  

As before, participants must be 18 years or older, be of childbearing age, and must eat some Minnesota-caught fish. For focus group data to be valid, only one person from a household or two from a family group may be included (e.g., a sister-in-law would be fine). Compensation: $25.00 Visa gift card.  Child care and a light supper will be provided.
Time is short.  If you would like to participate in the Grand Portage focus group, please call or email Deborah Durkin at the Minnesota Department of Health;, 651-201-4901.
Monday, October 8, 2012, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. 
Where:  Log Community Building, Grand Portage

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 in Grand Marais 
Location: First Congregational Church, Grand Marais

Time: 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. (but come a little early to get settled)

(*Click on the AM Community Calender link below to hear a WTIP interview with Deborah Durkin of the Minnesota Department of Health.)

USFS allows campfires in BWCAW; reopens area near Knife Lake to public use

Thu, 09/27/2012 - 11:47am

Due to cooling temperatures and shorter days, the US Forest Service lifted restrictions on Thursday, September 27 , that previously limited the hours for campfires in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. 

Wilderness visitors may now use campfires, charcoal, and wood-burning camp stoves at all hours of the day. 

Forest managers have also determined that it is safe to re-open the area inside the BWCAW along the Canadian border and around Knife Lake to public use.  Reconnaissance of the Emerald Lake/Ft. Frances #59 wildfire Wednesday, September 26, indicated very little evidence of active fire behavior.  The area inside the BWCAW was closed earlier this month while the fire was actively burning on the Canadian side.  Fire crews will continue to monitor the fire area.

Dry, sunny weather is inviting visitors to the Forest to view fall colors and for early hunting season.  Forest managers ask that everyone continues to be extra careful with all open fires as conditions are still dry in the woods. 

Updates regarding conditions on the Superior National Forest are available via the Forest web site at:

Information regarding fire conditions and restrictions across Minnesota, is available through the Minnesota Interagency Fire Information website at: