Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Anishinaabe Way: Al Hunter

Sat, 05/26/2012 - 1:32pm

Al Hunter is a citizen of the Anishinaabe Nation within Treaty 3 and a proud member of the Caribou Clan. His poetry has been widely published in journals and anthologies. This selection, "The Diet" is from his third book, "Beautiful Razor: Love Poems & Other Lies," which will be released this year by Kegadonce Press.

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Weekend News Roundup for May 26

Sat, 05/26/2012 - 10:02am

Each weekend WTIP news produces a round up of the news stories they’ve been following this week. Campfire burning restrictions have been lifted, PolyMet is behind schedule, Soudan Mine Park tours are back, mineral leases will be revisited next week, the DNR announces details of the up-coming wolf hunt and there are cutworms in the area…all in this week’s news.


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Starting a business from scratch is the focus of the next Business Luncheon

Sat, 05/26/2012 - 9:55am

Amber Pratt and Shawn Perich, owners of Northern Wilds Media, 
Inc., will speak to the May Business Networking Luncheon May 30 at 
Chez Jude. Their topic is Starting your own business from scratch: How 
Northern Wilds Media came to be.
The pair launched Northern Wilds magazine in 2004 as a quarterly 
intended to provide an extra revenue stream for Pratt, who had a 
graphic design business, and Perich, a freelance outdoor writer.
Northern Wilds proved to be a success and led the two to more business 
opportunities. In 2007, they combined their individual enterprises and 
incorporated as Northern Wilds Media.
With the assistance of the Northeast Entrepreneur Fund's Greenstone 
program, they developed a business plan. They struggled through the 
inevitable tribulations along the way, including a prolonged, deep 
recession and other factors outside their control. Now they oversee a 
business “empire” that created several jobs for others in the 
community and includes the bimonthly Northern Wilds, monthly North 
Shore Highway 61 and other printed products.
Pratt and Perich will talk about their experiences and offer lessons 
hard-learned including building business relationships, incorporation, 
learning to be a manager, working with a partner, and what you don't 
know can hurt you.
The presentation will begin at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 30, at Chez 
Jude, 411 W. Highway 61 in Grand Marais. The talk will be followed by 
lunch and discussion.
To register call Cook County Higher Education at 387-3411 or e-mail
  by Monday, May 28. Cost is $15, payable at the door.

Tofte gets increase in 1 percent funding for improvements at Birch Grove

Sat, 05/26/2012 - 9:52am

After receiving new cost estimates that were about $300,000 
more than expected, the Tofte Town Board looked at things to cut from 
the long hoped-for improvements at the Birch Grove Community Center on
May 10. The county had granted $700,000 from the 1% infrastructure and 
recreation sales tax.
The town board talked about things such as eliminating a covered 
picnic pavilion, building the warming house on a floating slab instead 
of on foundation walls with footings, not installing in-floor heat and 
Commissioner Bruce Martinson suggested that the town ask the county 
board for an increase of $250,000.
And Tofte did, at the county board meeting on Tuesday, May 15, Tofte 
Supervisor D.C. Olsen addressed some of the cuts the Tofte board had 
discussed, saying they did not like the thought of having no roof over 
the picnic area. He also said the township has wanted to make 
improvements that were as maintenance-free as possible, “What we save 
now we’ll pay for later,” he said.
Olsen and Tom Wacholz of ORB Management asked the county board for an 
extra $250,000, but Commissioner Sue Hakes said she thought they 
should keep 100 AMP service and fiberglass dasher boards in the 
design.  She made a motion, seconded by Bruce Martinson, to grant an 
extra $270,000 for the project.  It passed unanimously, with 
Commissioner Jim Johnson absent.
The next Tofte town meeting is Thursday, June 14 at the Tofte Town Hall.

New look for Grand Marais PUC bills

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 4:19pm

Your May PUC bill is going to be due on the 26th, but it’s 
going to look different, so don’t throw it away!  Grand Marais Public 
Utilities Commission (PUC) Utility Administrative Specialist Jan Smith
said, “My biggest fear is that some people are going to throw their 
first bill away because it’s coming in an envelope.”
The new format will give customers more information in a clearer 
format and explain things that they would otherwise be asking the PUC 
to help them understand, such as the fact that each customer is 
charged a basic rate for water, sewer, and electric service, with 
usage charges added on top of that.  It will indicate most recent and 
upcoming meter reading dates and indicate in red ink how much extra 
the bill would be if it were paid after the 26th of the month.
The new bill will have a bar graph showing individual electric usage 
over the last 12 months.  This will be helpful, for example, in seeing 
how much usage has been fluctuating from season to season.
The new bill will also have room for messages, such as notifications 
regarding energy efficient appliance rebates or CFL light bulb 
giveaways.  Smith said they also plan to let customers know when 
community events such as the Grand Marais Arts Festival or the Dragon 
Boat Festival are coming up.
The new bill will arrive in an envelope on 8½x11-inch paper.  The cost 
“will be a little higher,” according to Smith, because they will 
need to stuff the envelopes and envelopes cost more to mail than 
postcards.  She hopes they will start bar coding the envelopes, which 

County supports family visitation center

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 4:09pm

Children need to feel safe and be comfortable when visiting 
with a noncustodial parent or being transferred from one parent to 
another.  Finding an environment for that to take place is proving to 
be difficult for families along the North Shore.
On April 15, 2012, Wendy Hansen of Cook County’s guardian ad litem 
office requested funding from the county board for the North Shore 
Visitation Center (NSVC), an initiative begun in 2008 to provide 
supervised visitation and child exchanges for children of separated or
divorced parents.
The program was started with a grant from the Northland Foundation, 
but funding was not ongoing.  Fifteen different families representing 
23 different children have been served over the last 3½ years, and all 
but two were referred by the court.  Judge Michael Cuzzo has relied on 
the program in family court proceedings, but it ran out of money this 
spring and had to suspend services.
“Although supervised visitation is court-ordered,” said a request 
for county funding from the North Shore Visitation Center, “it is, 
unfortunately, an unfunded service so our community struggles to pay 
for this valuable service.
“The nearest visitation center to Grand Marais is 100 miles away in 
Duluth and 146 miles from Grand Portage Reservation, creating a great 
need for a supervised site on the North Shore.”
A second location was established at Birch Grove Community Center in 
Tofte, and last fall, Grand Portage Reservation requested the service 
and offered a space to provide it.  A group of professionals from Lake