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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.

Attached file

North Shore Dragon Boat Festival starts tonight with parade and music

Fri, 07/27/2012 - 12:03pm

Although the action on the water during the North Shore Dragon Boat Festival is wonderful, there is also a lot of fun on dry land. On Friday night, July 27 there is a raucous parade and opening ceremony followed by music on the waterfront.
The participants in the Dragon Boat Festival gather in the Grand Marais Municipal Parking Lot (next to the Senior Center) for the “Parade of Teams.” The simple parade that started the first year as just a march of teams behind the Dragon Festival dragon, has turned in to an outlandish competition to see which Dragon Boat team can be the wildest, craziest, most fun-loving team. The parade starts at 7 p.m.
In the past the parade has included a party bus of paddlers, “His Royal Highness Bob Baker” of Team Gunflint, sled dogs with the Cook County Dog Mushers, and some wild women “on the edge.”
The outrageous parade travels just a few blocks, to Harbor Park, for the always-entertaining “Wake the Dragon” ceremony with a community notable—Mayor Larry “Bear” Carlson will return to perform the dragon-awakening honors.
After the ceremony, everyone is invited to stick around for The Splinters, the popular local dance band that performs an upbeat mix of music, ranging from zydeco and electric polka to Tex Mex and Celtic rock.
Dragon Boat racing kicks off at 9 a.m. Head to the waterfront to watch the action. And listen to the racing paddle-to-paddle on WTIP radio at 90.7 Grand Marais; 90.1 Grand Portage; or 91.7 
Gunflint Trail.
There is much more fun throughout the weekend, visit for the latest information.

Fisherman's PIcnic permits approved by city for Aug. 2 - 5 event

Fri, 07/27/2012 - 12:01pm

Grand Marais city councilors gave approval for a number of permits for this year’s Fisherman’s Picnic at their July 11 meeting. The annual event will be held Aug. 2-5.
Andrew Smith and Al Taenzer of the Lions Club, which sponsors the event, appeared first with their application for a street and sidewalk permit. There was some discussion about the number and location of Dumpsters, vendors’ responsibility for disposing of their trash, and closing of streets. Smith said that possibly another Dumpster could be added in the parking lot near city hall and placement of the trash bins would be done with accessibility for those who empty them in mind (there were some problems with getting to the receptacles last year). With Smith’s assurances of making the minor adjustments, council approved the permit for the 83rd Fisherman’s Picnic.
Council also approved a permit application presented by Scott Puch of the American Legion to allow beer sales and a bingo tent in the Legion parking lot during Fisherman’s Picnic. Puch said the event will be done in accordance with established safety and security precautions, which have worked out well in previous years. Those precautions include matching T-shirts for staff, wristbands for those who have approval to be in the tent, separate entrances for the bingo tent and bar, and security staff at each entrance.
Puch said nothing has been changed or added, and asked that minors accompanied by adults be allowed to stay in the tent and play bingo until midnight on the condition that they stay in the tent only, and out of the bar. “A lot of kids play bingo, and like to stay late,” Puch said. Councilors said they had no problem with that.

Magic Show at the Library Friday, July 27

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 9:36pm

The Grand Marais Public Library invites you to be inspired 
and amazed by magician Star Michaelina at 1 p.m. Friday, July 27.
Star Michaelina presents The Magic of Dreaming Big, an interactive, 
comedy magic show for children of all ages. This fun-filled show 
features books that help everyone learn what can be accomplished by 
following your dreams.
Iron Range native Star Michaelina followed her dreams to become a 
professional magician. With a background in mime, juggling, dance and 
circus skills, Star's lighthearted programs have won accolades from 
libraries, troop leaders, and the Guthrie Theater.
Admission to the event is free thanks to sponsorship by the Arrowhead 
Library System Kids Stuff Program and the local library.
For more information about Star, visit