Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Kennedy appointed to Parks & Trails Commission

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 4:25pm

At the February 18, 2014 meeting Cook County commissioners, Tim Kennedy of Grand Marais was appointed to represent the county on the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks & Trails Commission.

Kennedy is longtime member of the Superior Cycling Association and North Shore Ski and Run Club and a strong advocate for establishing and building trails to accommodate those activities. He came before the board asking to be the county’s representative on the council at the regional and statewide levels so that he can advocate for Cook County.

The Superior Cycling Association applied for Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Parks and Trails Legacy Grant funding last fall and while it was turned down, Kennedy said, “We are still hopeful and optimistic,” that the club would reapply and receive funds in the future.

If granted the money would be used to build more single-track mountain biking trails at Pincushion Mountain in Grand Marais and Britton Peak in Tofte. Each area has about five miles of single-track mountain biking trails with two more miles to be added to each system this summer.

Outstate Minnesota is in a constant fight with the Metro area for state funds to build and maintain more recreational trails, said Kennedy.  In the last three years $70 million in state funds have been allocated to the Metro Parks while the rest of the state has been awarded $26 million.

The GMPTC works with the governor and legislative leaders to select projects seeking funds from the Parks & Trail Legacy Fund, which was initiated by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

“If I get appointed to the coalition it will give us more footing to apply for more Legacy funding, which might be as early as this fall,” Kennedy said.

Mountain biking is a growing sport nationally, and single-track riders are pushing that trend even further.

Summer apprentice position available at Cook County Soil & Water Division

Sun, 03/16/2014 - 4:23pm

Conservation Corps Minnesota is currently accepting applications for young adults, ages 18-25, for summer apprentice positions in 37 Soil and Water Conservation Districts throughout Minnesota. Apprentices will spend their summer working alongside natural resource professionals to learn hands-on skills in managing soil and water resources. Responsibilities will vary by site and may include communicating with landowners, providing educational materials, monitoring, inspecting sites, preparing reports and other conservation-related activities. The Cook SWCD apprentice will be based at the courthouse in Grand Marais.

Apprentices will serve as AmeriCorps members and receive a monthly living stipend of $1,210 as well as an education award of $1,468 to use towards qualifying education and student loan expenses. Educational credits may be arranged by the apprentice. The service term runs from May 19-August 15.

Interested candidates should apply online at by March 21, 2014.

The program is funded through the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resource Trust Fund and LCCMR.

Grand Marais Playhouse to hold town meeting March 18

Sat, 03/15/2014 - 5:28pm

The Grand Marais Playhouse Town Meeting has been re-scheduled for March 18 at 7 p.m. at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts.

This is a very important meeting about the upcoming season and future seasons of the Grand Marais Playhouse. Anyone interested in the Playhouse, whether audience, actor, crew, parent, community member should come participate in the discussion. Survey results will be shared and discussed as well! Please go to to complete the survey if you have not done so.

Playhouse Artistic Director Sue Hennessy said, “We need to hear from you.”

Commissioner Sue Hakes receives Bush Foundation Fellowship

Sat, 03/15/2014 - 5:26pm

Cook County Commissioner and former Grand Marais Mayor Sue Hakes received some exciting news on March 4. The Bush Foundation announced a list of 24 regional leaders who would be receiving Bush Fellowships—and Hakes is on that prestigious list.

Nearly 400 people applied for the 2014 Bush Fellowship. Applicants were asked to describe their vision for strengthening or contributing to the common good of the region and to explain how they would use a Bush Fellowship to achieve that vision. From the initial pool of applicants, 60 semi-finalists were selected to provide additional details about their vision. From there 36 finalists were selected and invited to travel to the Bush Foundation’s headquarters in Saint Paul, Minn. for a half-day of interviews with the Fellowship Selection committee, which was composed of community leaders and Bush Fellowship alumni from across the region.

Hakes said, “I'm honored, humbled, and thrilled beyond belief to have been selected.”

Weekend News Roundup for March 15

Sat, 03/15/2014 - 9:09am

Each week the WTIP news team puts together a roundup of the week's news. A new oil pipeline is proposed. The public, the EPA and DNR all weighed in on a couple of different mining projects. And Minnesota’s wolves get a slight reprieve. This and much more…all in this week’s news.


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Another amazing Mush for a Cure success!

Fri, 03/14/2014 - 10:20pm

Everyone has been touched by cancer in his or her life in some way and the silliness at the Mush for a Cure is a great way to celebrate its survivors—and to raise money to find a cure for breast cancer. This year’s event, held March 7-8, raised about $36,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

A large part of the money came from the Bald, Brave and Beautiful (BBB) head-shaving competition. In 2014, Mush for a Cure had its first ever woman in the Bald, Brave and Beautiful competition, Ana Genz. Ana is a 16-year breast cancer survivor and was the 2012 Mush for a Cure Honoree.

She bravely sat in the barber chair and had her lovely black hair cut—and shaved off. First her pretty pigtails were chopped off by friends (and saved to send to Locks of Love) and then she was shaved completely bald, her reward for raising over $5,000.

The other contestants in the BBB competition were Cory Christianson, fishing guide and Cook County News-Herald outdoors columnist, who raised over $1,500.

Joining Cory in the challenge was Craig Horak, owner of Tire and Auto Lodge in Grand Marais, who increased his earnings by $550 when he told the crowd if they raised that much to make his total $2,500, he would also shave off his beard—and shave his chest. A man of his word, after the hat was passed and the money collected, he let himself be shorn.

The BBB was the culmination of the Friday festivities that started with a fabulous pasta dinner and Trail Center and ended with a Pink Zombie party at Windigo Lodge.