Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Pond scum found in warming waters of Lake Superior

Tue, 07/31/2012 - 10:01am

SUPERIOR, Wis. (AP) — State park officials have found pond scum on the waters of Lake Superior, a discovery that might be linked to warmer water temperatures.

A Wisconsin Public Radio report says about two miles of coastline from Cornucopia to the Apostle Islands sea caves had a light coating of blue-green algae.

Apostle Islands resource manager Julie Van Stappen says it's unusual to have any kind of algae blooms in the lake.
She says the water temperature is 67 degrees, whereas it's usually about 58 degrees. Lake Superior is experiencing some of its hottest water temperatures in the past 30 years. Some parts of the big lake are reporting 20 degrees above average as we enter August.

Meteorologist Mike Stewart  said "It has been the warmest summer in 142 years of data gathering in the Duluth area.”
Nancy Larson is with the state Department of Natural Resources. She says the scum is a result of several factors, including warmer temperatures and flooding that carried nutrients into the lake.

Much of the algae has broken up, but Larson says it's possible it could return.

Banadad Trail Association fundraising for trail improvements

Mon, 07/30/2012 - 11:10pm

The Banadad Trail Association is undertaking a fundraising 
campaign to construct a new section of the trail and enlarge the 
parking on the trail’s west end.  The project will reconstruct the 
west end of the Banadad Trail, which crosses private property, secure 
a permanent easement, and ensure continued access for skiers from the 
west end.
“We are so excited to undertake this project,” said BTA president 
Linda Bosma, who has been skiing the Banadad Trail for 18 years.  “A 
change in property ownership creates the opportunity for us to improve
the west end of the trail, which is popular with day skiers who want 
to ski in and out, as well as the through skiers, who ski the entire 
29 kilometers of the trail in one day.”

The project cost is $11,340.  The BTA has been awarded a Trail 
Connections Grant from the Department of Natural Resources that will 
cover $7,800 and the association must raise the balance. “This is the 
most ambitious project we have undertaken as a new organization,” said 
John Bottger, BTA vice president and Gunflint Trail resident.  “We’ve 
secured grants and donations to cover maintenance and grooming costs 
of the trail since 2009, when we formed, and last year we rebuilt a 
remotely located bridge within the BWCA.  So while this new project is 
significant, we feel up to this challenge.  But we’ll definitely need 
the support of our members, skiers, and other supporters of the trail.”
Bosma noted that people have already begun donating, even though the 
campaign is just getting off the ground, with over $1,000 in donations 

Registration open for Fisherman's Picnic Slow PItch Softball Tournament

Mon, 07/30/2012 - 12:01pm

Registration is now open for the Grand Marais Lions Fisherman’s Picnic Slow Pitch Softball Tournament on Saturday and Sunday, August 4 – 5.
Lion Bob Spry is accepting registrations at or by phone at (218) 387-2411. Entry fee is $120 for a team.
There is a maximum of 28 teams and each team is guaranteed three games. Games start at 8 a.m. on Saturday at Cook County High School, at the Rec. Park and at Pappy Wright Field. Finals are Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Rec. Park field.
Sign up now for this exciting traditional Fisherman’s Picnic event!

Lumber Camp challenges local sawyers to compete in chain saw contest

Mon, 07/30/2012 - 12:00pm

As the weather gets warmer and downtown Grand Marais gets busier, thoughts turn to the Grand Marais Lions Club’s Fisherman’s Picnic—and Lumber Camp.
The Fisherman’s Picnic Lumber Camp, proudly presented by Central Boiler and Wood-Mizer Portable Sawmills is returning August 2 - 4 with sawmill demonstrations, log rolling, chopping, cross-cut sawing, stock sawing, and axe throwing with the pros!
Part of the fun is watching the best local sawyers go head-to-head in the chainsaw contest, sponsored by Husqvarna and Steve’s Sports. In this exciting contest, professionals and individuals with solid operating experience.  Loggers, chainsaw carvers, tree service, forestry, log builders, clearing crews, and experienced chainsaw operators are invited to compete with Husqvarna 576XP saws, cutting through 20-inch lathe-turned white pine. 
There is $1,500 in prize money (paid out to top 10 finishers overall, the top 8 women, a mixed doubles contest and the fastest time) and a Husqvarna chainsaw for the winner of the overall and women’s division. There will also be a mixed double finale on Saturday right before another exciting event, the cross-cut contests.
Lumber Camp organizer Niel Atkinson said, “This year the women’s division promises to be strong so come out and see the best women compete for cash and a chainsaw. Come out and see the North’s Shores best and cheer on your favorite sawyer!”
To compete in the stock saw contest:
Entry fee is $20 in advance or $30 day of the event. Pre-registration preferred. Mail entry to: Niel Atkinson, 80 South Clearwater Rd, Grand Marais, 55604.  Checks payable to Clearwater Logging. Call Niel at 388-0899 or e-mail with questions. 
All competitors receive a competitor package of sponsor items worth over $30.

Feds pull plug on Excelsior Energy

Mon, 07/30/2012 - 8:57am

Excelsior Energy Inc. has reached a crossroads in its more-than-a-decade-long effort to build a new power plant on the Iron Range.

The Duluth News-Tribune today reports that after investing about $22 million in the company’s Mesaba Energy Project, the U.S. Department of Energy has decided to cease its financial support for Excelsior.

And the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is expected to take up a request in mid- to late August that will affect permitting for the power plant, now planned to operate with a different fuel than first proposed.

In 2004 the Department of Energy earmarked $36 million for the project, but stopped $14 million short of that mark when Excelsior failed to fulfill certain performance expectations.

In 2001, Excelsior proposed to build a plant that would convert coal into a gasified fuel and burn it as a highly efficient way to generate power. The plant was supposed to create more than 1,000 construction jobs as well as 150 full-time, ongoing positions in the small town of Taconite, located next to Itasca County’s Canisteo mine pit.

But those plans were recently revamped, and now call for a 600-megawatt plant — about half the size first proposed — running on natural gas rather than coal.

Weekend News Roundup for July 28

Sat, 07/28/2012 - 9:17am

Each weekend WTIP news produces a round up of the news stories they’ve been following this week. The Voter ID amendment could signal some changes locally if it passes and the city and its former pool architects have settled…all in this week’s news.

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