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News and other information from Cook County

Co-op members working to save mosaic mural

Thu, 09/13/2012 - 11:09am

At the Cook County Whole Foods Co-op public meeting on August 21, a group of co-op members agreed to work to save the four season mural created by local elementary school students, teachers and volunteers. The mosaic was scheduled for removal as renovation of the co-op moved ahead, but an effort is underway to keep the mural intact during construction and to restore the artwork to the exterior of the building when work is completed. However, leader of the fundraising group Ann Mershon said, “Though we've had an outpouring of support for saving the mural, there are some bumps.” The biggest “bump” is financial. Initial “ball park” estimates put the cost at approximately $15,000 - $30,000 to preserve and restore the mural.
The group recognized that there is some frustration that the effort to save the mural got underway after plans for the new building had been completed. Plans call for the demolition of the existing building at the beginning of October.
Mershon said the group hoping to save the mural understands that the co-op board has worked a long time on the new building project. “We want to be supportive of that effort and understand the stress involved, particularly for board members,” said Mershon.
However, one of the group, Jeff Kern, stressed that the value of public art should also be considered. “This is a landmark. School children from many different years contributed to this and it’s part of our community,” said Kern.
Mershon noted that the co-op board had committed approximately $10,000 to preserving the mural. The co-op board wanted to maintain the mural if it was financially feasible. At the very least, the co-op board planned to have high resolution photos of the mural taken and displayed prominently in the new building.

Wilderness Fire Updates -- Thursday, Sept. 13

Thu, 09/13/2012 - 9:47am
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The US Forest Service says aerial suppression efforts and fire crews are being used today to fight two small fires in the Gunflint and Tofte districts of the Boundary Waters.

The fire east of Little Sag Lake near Mora Lake, in the Cavity Lake Fire area is receiving helicopter water drops as of this morning and crews are scheduled to move in. The fire was first reported yesterday at a quarter-acre in size.  

Early last evening, a small fire was spotted between Peterson Lake and Horn Lake on the southern edge of the wilderness near the Baker Lake entry point.  A Forest Service Beaver is currently dropping water on that quarter acre size fire.

The Fort Frances #59 fire, between Knife and Emerald Lake is very active today with smoke running parallel to the shore of Knife Lake. The smoke is causing concern along the Gunflint Trail. The fire remains on the Quetico side and is being closely monitored by fire units on both sides.

Currently there are three active wildfires in the Kawishiwi District monitored out of the Ely ranger station.

Crews, aircraft to fight two small BWCAW fires Thursday morning

Thu, 09/13/2012 - 4:17am

The US Forest Service says aerial suppression efforts and fire crews will be used on Thursday to fight two small fires in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
 

The USFS reported at 7:45 PM, Wednesday, that detection efforts picked up a fire east of Little Sag Lake near Mora Lake, in the Cavity Lake Fire area.  The fire was called in a quarter-acre in size.  On Thursday morning, aircraft are scheduled to be used on the fire and ground crews are to head in to the fire.
 

Earlier Wednesday evening, the USFS reported that during an afternoon detection flight Wednesday, a small fire was spotted between Peterson Lake and Horn Lake on the southern edge of the BWCAW near Baker Lake entry point.  At that time, the fire was approximately one quarter of an acre in size.  The USFS said it would be actively suppressing the fire with aircraft.
 

The USFS also reported Wednesday evening that the fire burning within a quarter mile of the northern shore of Knife Lake near Emerald Lake in Ontario was causing smoke again in the upper Gunflint Trail area.
 

The East Zone duty officer flew the fire Wednesday and confirmed the additional smoke in the Upper Gunflint Trail area was being caused by this fire. The USFS will continue to monitor the fire daily during its regular detection flights.
 

Ontario fire causes smoke over Upper Gunflint Trail

Wed, 09/12/2012 - 5:35pm

The US Forest Service reported at 5:25 PM, Wednesday, that the fire burning within a quarter mile of the northern shore of Knife Lake near Emerald Lake in Ontario is causing smoke again in the upper Gunflint Trail area. 

The East zone duty officer flew the fire today and confirmed that again the additional smoke is caused by this fire. The USFS will continue to monitor the fire daily during its regular detection flights, the USFS reported in a media memo..

During an afternoon detection flight Wednesday, a small fire was spotted between Peterson Lake and Horn Lake on the southern edge of the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness near Baker Lake entry point.  This fire is approximately one quarter of an acre in size.  The Forest Service will be actively suppressing this fire with aircraft. 

MNDoT to repair Hwy. 61 from Lester River to Two Harbors

Wed, 09/12/2012 - 4:45pm

 

DULUTH, Minn. —Motorists traveling on Highway 61 between the Lester River Bridge in Duluth and Two Harbors may encounter single-lane restrictions until Nov. 16 as crews complete repairs related to the June 19–20 flood.

 

One lane will remain open in each direction at the work sites as MNDoT does the repairs..

 

More than 40 locations will be repaired including areas near the Big Sucker River, Knife River, French River, Talmadge River and Schmidt Creek.

 

Work at these locations includes drainage repairs, grading, shoulder work and debris removal. Most of the projects will be completed sequentially.

 

For updated travel information on all Minnesota roads, call 511 or visit www.511mn.org.

Hovland, Tofte, Finland post offices to see reduced retail window hours

Wed, 09/12/2012 - 11:02am
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Many small rural post offices will see their window hours cut to as few as four per day by the first of the year.

WTIP has learned that facilities in Hovland and Finland will see retail window reductions to four hours per day. Tofte will have its hours reduced to six per day. Peter Nowacki of the Postal Service regional office in Minneapolis said, “Keep in mind that the changes will not impact access to PO boxes, mail collections or delivery of mail, only the retail window.”

Nowacki said all affected customers will receive a letter explaining the changes and the time and place of a community meeting. They will also receive a survey to gauge the community's preferences as to how they want their services delivered.

Nowacki was unable to say when the notifications would be sent or give  dates for the meetings at this time. He did say that any changes would go into effect a month or two after the community meeting is held an all public input is evaluated.

According to Sen. Al Franken’s office, last year, 117 post offices were scheduled to be closed in Minnesota. That decision was eventually reversed by the Postmaster General. A range of options were designed to meet customer needs – one was limiting service hours.
 

The new strategy was announced by the Postal Service in May as “a framework to achieve significant cost savings as part of the plan to return the organization to financial stability.”
 

Other options suggested by the postal service are three existing alternatives. They include service by either rural carrier or highway contract route; contracting with a local business to create a “Village Post Office;” or by offering service from a nearby Post Office.
 

A voluntary early retirement incentive for the nation’s more than 21,000 non-executive postmasters was also announced.