Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Scare up some pink at Mush for a Cure!

Thu, 03/06/2014 - 10:48am

The community is invited to once again take part in the wild and crazy—and this year, a bit scary—Mush for a Cure. The theme for the 8th annual event’s kickoff on Friday, March 7 is “Pink Zombie Party” which includes the “Bald, Brave and Beautiful” competition. The merriment continues on Saturday, March 8 with pink-clad people and dogs taking to the trail for a fun run that benefits the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Saturday’s events take place on Gunflint Lake in front of Gunflint Pines Resort beginning at 8 a.m. with a pancake breakfast open to all.  The long course, which at press time had 21 participants signed up, begins there with an entertaining sourdough start at 12 p.m. The short course, with 11 racers at press time, including some skijoring teams finishes there, so there is action all day.

The Cook County Ridge Riders snowmobile club will be grilling food and there will be other activities throughout the day.  And in case of inclement weather, a big tent will be set up on the lake.

The highly successful fundraiser has brought in $186,500 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation in its eight years. One of the organizers, Sue Prom of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters encourages everyone to join the fun. Prom said, “This is not a race where one team wins. It's an event where everyone wins by raising money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.”

"Our Town" debuts at Arrowhead Center for the Arts Thursday, March 6

Thu, 03/06/2014 - 10:45am

The Grand Marais Playhouse pleased to present the community youth play "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder, which runs for one weekend only, March 6 - 9. Thursday - Saturday, 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 adults and $5 students. Sunday, March 9 is donation day (pay what you can for your ticket).

This timeless drama of life in the mythical village of Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, has become an American classic with universal appeal. Thornton Wilder's most frequently performed play, "Our Town" appeared on Broadway in 1938 to wide acclaim, and won the Pulitzer Prize. From the very beginning, "Our Town" has been produced in amateur and professional theatres around the world.

Wilder offers a couple of chairs on a bare stage as the backdrop for an exploration of the universal human experience. The simple story of a love affair is constantly rediscovered because it asks timeless questions about the meaning of love, life and death. In the final moments of the play, the recently deceased Emily is granted the opportunity to revisit one day in her life, only to discover that she never fully appreciated all she possessed until she lost it. "Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you," she says as she takes her place among the dead.

Don’t miss this play with a talented intergenerational cast of local performers.

WTIP's "Spring Forward" Membership Drive March 6-10

Thu, 03/06/2014 - 8:47am

Listener support helps WTIP maintain and strengthen our services. Please support our efforts by becoming a member or renewing your membership!

During our "Spring Forward" Membership Drive, March 6th – 10th we’re celebrating all the ways we serve our community of listeners. In addition to providing all our regular services, we’ll be featuring some special programs and highlights, including:

Live music:

 Barb LaVigne and Yvonne Mills Thursday, March 6th at noon

 Eric Frost and Bill Hansen Thursday, March 6th at 1 p.m.

 Max Bichel and John Gruber Friday, March 7th at noon

 Gordon Thorne during The Roadhouse Friday, March 7th

 Sky Blue Trio and the Orange Girl starting at 3 on Saturday, March 8th

 Har-di-Har starting at 4 on Saturday, March 8th

 Amy and Andy Schmidt starting at 5 on Saturday, March 8th

 Derek Smith and Erik Lastine of Whurl starting at 6 on Saturday, March 8th

 The Curry Family Band during Classic Country Sunday, March 9th starting at 6 p.m.


Special Programming and events:

Yummy ice cream social Saturday from 6-8 pm. PLEASE STOP BY!!
Special Celtic music program Sunday from 10 - noon
Special “Shining Examples of women artists” edition of Women in Music
Special "Spring Forward" themed Swing Session on Sunday


Tune in:

90.7 FM North Shore * 90.1 FM Grand Portage * 89.1 FM Gunflint Trail

Call in: 387-1070; 1-800-473-9847

Pledge Online

Stop by: 1712 West Highway 61 in Grand Marais

Deadline nearing for comments on proposed copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 7:07pm

Following up on three public meetings hosted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in January on the potential environmental impact of a proposed copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota, the non-profit Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness (NMW) hosted its own public meeting in Grand Marais on Wednesday, February 19, 2014.

Jerritt Johnston, coordinator for Sustainable Ely and administrator for NMW welcomed about 30 people to the Cook County Senior Center. Jane Reyer, a former attorney for the National Wildlife Federation, (NWF) who lived in Cook County from 1998 to 2006, gave a presentation on highlights of the 2, 200-page supplemental draft environmental impact statement (SDEIS). The information she shared can be found on the NMW website at (

The deadline for comments is March 13, 2014.  Anyone wishing to comment should write to: Lisa Fay, EIS Project Manager, MN DNR Division of Ecological and Water Resources, Environmental Review Unit, 500 Lafayette Road, Box 25, St. Paul MN 55155-4025 or email:

Tofte continues to consider senior housing at Birch Grove

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 7:06pm

After several years of dogged planning it looks like housing for seniors may finally be built in Tofte.

Dick Grabko and Gary Lamppa of Community Connections came before the Tofte town board on February 13, 2014 and informed the supervisors that the Iron Range Resources Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) had awarded the township a grant of $230,000. The money will be used to put in infrastructure for a planned 12-unit senior housing project expected to cost $1.9 million to develop.

Originally the township was hoping to receive $350,000 from the IRRRB but due to a shortfall in the IRRRB’s budget for this grant cycle, it was pared down. Grabko said the township could reapply for the remaining $120,000 in the IRRRB’s next grant cycle.

The township plans on renting housing units at market rates and will finance the rest of the project through general obligation abatement bonds with a 20-year repayment plan. Currently township supervisors have been working with Dynamic Homes on the design of houses. To get a better idea of what might be built in Tofte, township supervisors toured Mill Stream Village in St. Joseph, Minnesota, looking at the layout of those senior living and assisted living houses.

Senior housing options will allow older residents a chance to live in their home town when they are unable to take care of their house, said Supervisor Paul James.

“We are trying to get the cost of the houses down as low as possible and yet maintain quality,” said James.

Senior housing will be on the agenda at the township annual meeting on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.

”We will have a presentation with preliminary designs and we hope costs for the public at our annual meeting,” James said.

A representative from Dynamic Homes should be at the annual meeting to answer questions, said James.

Commissioners pass motion in opposition to gypsy moth quarantine for Cook and Lake counties

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 7:04pm

The Cook County commissioners room was during the Tuesday, February 25 county board meeting as about 35 community members gathered to learn more about a proposed Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) quarantine of Cook and Lake counties in the effort to slow the spread of the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar dispar).

 Lucia Hunt, gypsy moth unit supervisor and Alan Sommerfeld, senior communications officer for the MDA, gave the presentation, which many North Shore residents have heard before, describing the impact of the gypsy moth as a nuisance pest and landscape defoliator. Hunt said that currently, 800,000 acres are deforested nationwide by the pests.

Four loggers and two timber industry representatives and one resort owner spoke after the MDA presentation. Several noted that 800,000 acres were deforested nationwide by the advancement of the gypsy moth. One logger, Victor Bohnen of Grand Marais said that seems relatively small, considering the potential economic hardship to Cook County.

County commissioners seemed sympathetic to the logging industry representatives. Commissioner Bruce Martinson said it seems that the “cat seems to be out of the bag” and there is no stopping the gypsy moths.

Commissioner Garry Gamble said he had talked to some noted entomologists about gypsy moths and had been told that the pests would never ravage Cook and Lake counties, basically because the climate is not suitable for them. Gamble also noted that gypsy moth outbreaks are associated with the presence of oak forests and Cook and Lake county forests consist of 0 percent oak and the Superior National Forest’s 2004 Forest Plan projected that the forest would remain that way for 100 years.

Gamble presented a potential resolution stating the county’s opposition to the proposed quarantine listing numerous other reasons. The board passed the resolution unanimously.