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News and other information from Cook County

News Tribune reports explosives found in barrels pulled from Lake Superior

Sat, 02/02/2013 - 8:45am

The Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa says it found still-active explosives in barrels of military waste retrieved this summer from Lake Superior.

The Duluth News Tribune published the report about the barrels in its Saturday edition.

The information was included in a preliminary report released Friday on the band’s effort to find, raise and test the contents of barrels that were dumped in Lake Superior a half-century ago. The report confirms the band raised 25 barrels, far short of the 70 the project had called for. And while there were active explosives in the barrels, the band said there was nothing considered an immediate human health or environmental concern.

The News Tribune  reported that 25 barrels were recovered between July 30 and Aug. 13, the band said Friday, and included either parts from cluster bombs or a composite of incinerated metal, which is exactly what was found during the last search-and-recovery in the 1990s.

“Preliminary data results show no immediate cause for concern regarding the safety of water and fish consumption,” the band noted Friday.

But this time, the band said in the report, they also found still-active explosives in the small devices called “ejection cup assemblies” apparently used as part of the technology to spread the small, grenade-like cluster bombs apart in mid-air as they fell to the ground.

Explosives experts on board conducted tests in the ejection cup assemblies and identified an active ejection charge composed of M5 propellant. Each of 22 barrels contained between 600 and 700 ejection cup assemblies, the report notes.

Comments sought on possible changes to border lake fishing regulations

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 7:24pm

Interested citizens have until Monday, Feb. 11, to comment on Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) considerations to bring border water angling regulations in-line with the state’s inland regulations. Lakes along the Ontario border that could be affected by the change in regulations include Basswood, Crooked, Lac La Croix, Iron, Loon, Knife, Ottertrack, Gunflint and others. 

 The DNR is considering extending the inland regulation of one walleye more than 20 inches to all Ontario border waters that currently don’t have special regulations. The move is aimed at standardizing regulations for all border water lakes to eliminate situations where border lakes are left less protected than inland waters.

Cook County RidgeRiders invites all to the 4th annual Fun Run Feb. 2

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 10:04am

The Cook County Ridge Riders snowmobile club is hosting its 4th annual Fun Run on Saturday, February 2 and hopes to have as big—or bigger—turnout then they had last year.
“Last year we raised close to $6,000 and had 150 riders,” said one of the Fun Run organizers, Andrea Everson.
Registration is between 8-10 a.m. at Devil Track Landing or Hungry Jack Lodge and the entry fee is $20. Entrants can start at either the Devil Track Landing or at Hungry Jack Lodge, said Everson, and travel up or down the trail and end the day at Devil Track Landing.
Participants don’t need to snowmobile, said Everson. “You can travel by car, snowmobile, or, in one instance, one fellow even came in a plane. You can travel anyway you like. And if you want to just come to the party at night, just show up. It doesn’t matter if you participate in the ride.”
Along the way riders will collect a poker card from the businesses they will visit. The first card will be handed out at the Landing, followed by stops at Trail Center Lodge, Windigo Lodge, Gunflint Lodge, Gunflint Pines and Hungry Jack Lodge. The best five cards will be used for your poker hand and the best hand—and worst hand—will win a prize. All hands must be turned in by 5 p.m. at the Landing.
Besides having a good time, riders will be helping to pay for snowmobile trail maintenance and a $250 scholarship that will be given to a Cook County High School graduating senior. Prizes include snowmobile jackets, helmets, and sweatshirts, said Everson.
All told, snowmobilers will cover about 100 miles on trails.
“We are hoping that riders follow the rules and ride safely and responsibly,” Everson said, adding, “and have a great time.”

Celebrate the art of winter!

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 10:02am

The Grand Marais Art Colony invites you to celebrate winter, art and creativity with them this weekend. Starting on Friday, Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. there will be an opening reception at the Art Colony. Winter Arts Festival plein air paintings and photography will be on display. If you miss the reception, you can see the winter works until February 24.
On Saturday, February 2, you are encouraged to tour snow carvings at various locations around Cook County. Take a self guided tour of the snow carvings created as part of the Winter Arts Festival located at: Bearskin Lodge, Grand Marais Art Colony, Harbor Park, Caribou Highlands, Eagle Ridge at Lutsen Mountains, and Bluefin Bay Resort in Tofte.
The carvings on display until February 10—weather permitting.
On Saturday, February 2 from 1 – 4 p.m., community members are invited to gather for Community Ink Day. Participants will be able to print their own valentine. Come into the Art Colony's print studio to learn a new artistic process called monoprinting. All materials and instruction are provided. All ages are welcome. The cost is $5 per person
Also on Saturday, February 2 at 6 p.m., consider taking in Hot Art for Cold Nights at Sivertson Gallery. The gallery kicks off its Fireside Chat series with a Winter Plein Air themed talk.
For more information about these events, contact the Grand Marais Art Colony at (218) 387-2737.
Enjoy the art of winter!

Cook County Invite Nordic Ski Meet moved to Saturday morning

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 9:06am
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A weather forecast  for below zero temperatures on Friday, February 1, has caused the Cook County Invite Nordic Ski Meet to be moved to 11 AM, Saturday, February 2, on the 2.5 km course at Pincushion Mountain just north of Grand Marais..

Originally scheduled for Friday,  predictions of frigid weather caused the one-day postponement. Cook County Viking Nordic Coach Mark Summers said in an interview on WTIP's DayBreak Thursday morning that 4 below zero is the cutoff temperature for Nordic meets. He said that forecasters said temperatures could very well be below that cutoff at the original 10 AM, Friday race start time.

The Cook County Invite is scheduled to involve 10 teams including the Vikings, with each team bringing from 40 to 50 skiers from junior high through high school varsity. Summers said that the meet is a tune-up for skiers in their preparation for the Section 7 meet which will be held next week. He said the only team in the Section that might not attend is Grand Rapids, but that was not certain.

The Invite involves both Freestyle (skate-ski) and Classic techniques. The opening round is the Freestyle with the second, or Pursuit, round being Classic in style. The high school boys' and girls' varsities are scheduled to start the Freestyle competition at 11 AM, Saturday. The junior varsity will follow immediately with the junior high Classic race next on the schedule. The varsity boys and girls Pursuit starts at 2 PM.

Summers said that Section 7 is "arguably the best (Nordic) section in the state." He noted that Duluth East and Ely are perennial Section 7 powerhouses.

"Every school in the section has a well-establish program with talented kids," he said.

Minnesota Power to close one of three coal-burning units at Tac Harbor; no layoffs expected

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 4:33am
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Minnesota Power announced Wednesday it will vlose ofne of three coal-fired units at its Taconite Harbor plant on the North Shore in Cook County.

The Duluth News Tribune reported Thursday morning that Minnesota Power will convert its coal-fired power plant in Hoyt Lakes to natural gas as the utility continues a move away from carbon dioxode-creating coal.

Burning coal causes smog, acid rain, global warming and toxic air emissions.

The company said it will retire one of three coal-burning units at Taconite Harbor but keep the other two units burning coal because they already have been upgraded with pollution-control devices for mercury and other emissions.

Al Rudek, vice president of strategy and planning for the utility, said no layoffs are expected at Taconite Harbor or Hoyt Lakes. He told the Duluth newspaper that the company hopes any cuts in the work force would be achieved through attrition.

The company said it would spend $15 million in 2015 to convert the 110-megawatt Laskin coal plant in Hoyt Lakes to cleaner-burning natural gas, which produces much less carbon dioxide and mercury than coal. The plant would be the first gas-fired generator for the Duluth-based utility.

And the company will add $350 million in pollution-control technology at its Boswell 4 unit in Cohasset to meet current and forthcoming pollution regulations, keeping that unit open for the foreseeable future.

The announcement noted the utility’s addition last year of more wind turbines in North Dakota, where it now generates 400 megawatts of wind energy for its northern Minnesota customers.

The moves will push Minnesota Power, which produced 95 percent of its electricity from coal less than a decade ago, to more than 20 percent from non-coal sources, a critical step in the face of expected climate-change legislation to reduce pollution from burning coal.