Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Applications for deer, wolf hunt permits open until Sept. 6

Wed, 08/29/2012 - 10:38am

Hunters who have yet to apply for an either-sex deer permit or wolf hunting and trapping licenses are encouraged to do so well before the Thursday, Sept. 6 deadline.
Nearly half of the state's deer permit areas now are lottery areas, which means hunters must apply for and be selected to receive a permit that allows them to shoot antlerless deer in lottery areas.
Because many of these areas—focused in the northwestern, north-central and a portion of northeastern Minnesota—have not been lottery areas for years, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) strongly recommends that hunters check to ensure the area where they hunt has not become a lottery area.
Hunters already have applied for more than half of the licenses available in each of the three wolf hunting seasons to be conducted this fall and winter. Applying early allows time for hunters to gather information needed for applications. Early application also helps reduce long lines and bottlenecks that can occur when hunters apply at the last minute.
Current and up-to-date information is available online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer and www.mndnr.gov/hunting/wolf.

Learn about mushrooms with mycologist Gianrico Vasquez

Wed, 08/29/2012 - 10:37am

Gianrico Vasquez, a former AFS student in Cook County and a mycologist from Italy, will present a "Fungi Lesson" and talk about the most common edible and poisonous mushrooms found in Cook County during a September 1 class at Cook County High School.
The class will start out in the classroom with a quick overview of picking mushrooms. Then students will head out on a mushroom picking field trip. After the field trip, you will return to the classroom to learn about the mushrooms you have picked.
The class is sponsored by Cook County Community Education, and will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Mianowski Conference Room. There is a $5 per person fee.
To register for the class, contact Community Education at (218) 387-2000.

US Fish and Wildlife seeks public input on location of wind energy facilities to protect endangered species

Wed, 08/29/2012 - 10:19am

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is leading development of a Habitat Conservation Plan for the Midwest that will conserve endangered species and promote development of clean energy which in turn will reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide. 

And, the service is seeking public input from people in Minnesota and seven other states that are involved in development of the plan for locating wind energy facilities. 

While it is well known that some species of bats are particularly vulnerable to striking turbines at wind energy facilities, the purpose of the plan is to develop conservation measures such as locating turbines or facilities, minimizing adverse effects from construction and operations, and mitigating adverse impacts through the development of a strategic strategy for the long-term conservation of species. 

The Endangered Species Act makes it illegal to “take” – harm, harass or kill – animals on the Endangered Species List. Therefore a permit is needed if take is expected to happen accidentally.  The proposed plan is required to obtain an incidental take permit for participating wind energy facilities in the Midwest.

Partners in the development of this plan are eight Midwestern states,, the American Wind Energy Association, and The Conservation Fund.  The Service is asking the public to help identify issues that are important to them as the plan is developed.  The incidental take permits will cover participating wind energy facilities in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Steelworkers at two Minn. mines prepare to strike

Wed, 08/29/2012 - 10:17am
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HIBBING, Minn. (AP) — Steelworkers at two Iron Range taconite mines say they're prepared to strike as soon as Saturday.

The labor contracts at Hibbing Taconite and United Taconite expire at midnight Friday. Negotiations between union leaders and officials of Cliffs Natural Resources have been ongoing in Pittsburgh since early August.

The Hibbing Tribune reports that Cliffs officials plan to keep the mines operating If a strike happens. Cliffs spokeswoman Sandy Karnowski says temporary replacement workers are on stand-by for both Hibbing Taconite and United Taconite.

Nearly 1,100 steelworkers between the two mines are covered by the expiring contract. The agreement was reached on that pact just hours before the deadline four years ago.

Wade Bexell, treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 2705, says they're getting prepared for whatever comes.

Ramp, lane closures scheduled on Interstate 35 in Duluth Aug. 30-31

Wed, 08/29/2012 - 5:32am

Motorists on Interstate 35 near 27th Avenue West in Duluth will encounter lane and ramp closures on Thursday, Aug. 30, and Friday, Aug. 31, while crews smooth the pavement by grinding-off bumps.

On Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. the southbound right-turn lane on the I-35/Ore Dock Bridge located south of 27th Avenue West will close.

On Thursday late-afternoon or Friday the ramp from southbound I-35 to southbound I-535 will close for several hours as will the ramp from northbound I-35 to southbound I-535.
 

Cook County sees increased revenue from sales and lodging tax

Tue, 08/28/2012 - 2:52pm

Cook County’s 1 percent recreation and infrastructure sales tax has now been collected for two years.  Revenues from July 2011 to June 2012 were $1,172,630.17, a 5.8 percent increase over the year before.
As of June 30, Cook County’s year-to-date lodging tax revenue saw an increase of 3.8 percent over the year-to-date revenue at the end of last June.
Lutsen-Tofte Tourism Association revenue was up 1.4 percent, Gunflint Trail Tourism Association revenue was up 6.2 percent, and Grand Marais Area Tourism Association revenue was up 11.8 percent.
The Ely area saw an increase of 6.1 percent over the first six months of 2011.