Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Gypsy moth program at Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center April 12

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 2:17pm

The North Shore of Lake Superior is one of the top tourist destinations in Minnesota, and is renowned for its scenery and outdoor recreational opportunities. Due in part to the high traffic in and out of the region, invasive species management and control are important for reducing the spread of invasive species.

Cook and Lake counties currently have large and established populations of gypsy moths, which have prompted the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to develop a quarantine restricting the movement of wood in and out of the counties.

Angelique Edgerton, from the Cook County Invasives Team, will cover identification and background information on gypsy moths, as well as some information on what is being done to manage gypsy moth populations during a presentation at 10 a.m. April 12.

Shawn and Dave Howe, local small business owners, will discuss their work to open a kiln that produces USDA-approved firewood that is gypsy moth-free and can be sold and transported across quarantine boundaries.

Following the talk, there will be an opportunity to take a trip to Lutsen to tour the kiln and facilities, and learn more about what is involved in making USDA-approved firewood.

For more information about Sugarloaf Cove, call (218) 525-0001.

Fond du Lac to spear walleyes in Cook County

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 11:45am

The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has declared 13 lakes in Northeastern Minnesota where its band members will spear walleyes this spring.

Two of the lakes are in St. Louis County, three in Lake County and eight in Cook County.  The lakes in Cook County are Elbow, Tom, Ball Club, Cascade, Pike, Tait, Caribou and Four Mile.

The Duluth News Tribune reports that walleye quotas for each lake differ, with the highest harvest set at 304 on Tait Lake in Cook County.
This marks the first time the Fond du Lac Band, or any band, has formally speared walleyes on lakes in Northeastern Minnesota under treaty rights. The lakes are part of the 1854 ceded territory, where the Fond du Lac, Bois Forte and Grand Portage bands’ rights to hunt, fish and gather are guaranteed under an 1854 treaty.

The Bois Forte and Grand Portage bands reportedly will not spear walleyes in the 1854 treaty area. About 70 of the Fond du Lac Band’s 4,200 members have signed up to spear walleyes in the 1854 ceded territory this spring.

When band members begin spearing depends on the progress of spring. In most years, the window of spearing opportunity would be from about the third week of April to the first week of May. The band has agreed not to be spearing during opening weekend of the Minnesota fishing season, May 10-11.


Check Out the Fingerstyle Masters on Saturday, April 12

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 9:28am

There is still room available in the guitar workshops taking place this weekend as part of the Fingerstle Masters Weekend. Anyone interested in learning fingerstyle guitar techniques is encouraged to attend.

Two workshops led by national fingerstyle champions Eric Lugosch and Phil Heywood will be offered Saturday, April 12th from 9:30 – 3:00 p.m. Musicians of all levels are welcome, from beginner to advanced, and participants may attend one or both of the workshops. Pre-registration and more information is available from Gordon Thorne at: or by phone at 218-353-7308.

The workshops will be followed by a concert at 7:30 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door.

It all takes place at Bluefin Bay in Tofte this Saturday, April 12. All proceeds will benefit WTIP North Shore Community Radio. More information is available here.

Spring weather on tap for the week

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 11:17am

Just when we need it the most, spring weather will show up this week. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Stewart..

Attached file

Community members training to join local fire departments

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 11:02am
Firefighter training

A number of community members are training to become firefighters on local volunteer fire departments, joining the hundreds of other volunteers working in the county to keep their friends and neighbors safe. For several months now, they have been studying, attending meetings and undergoing rigorous training to become qualified to respond to fires and other emergencies.

Participating in the current Firefighter I and II courses, administered by Advanced Minnesota are Cody Johnson, Delton Lutz, Brandon Houglum and Paulina Backstrom of the Maple Hill Fire Department; Lee Jahnke, Tyler Norman, and Craig Horak of Tofte; and Corey Belt and Rob Wells of Grand Marais.

They must attend about 40 classes to complete about 140 hours of training learning about incident command safety, fire behavior, building construction, interior search and rescue, vehicle extrication, hose techniques, vehicle fires, ventilation and more. And before becoming bonafide firefighters, the students must participate in a live structure fire exercise.

Gypsy moth quarantine for Cook and Lake counties to begin April 30

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 10:52am

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will impose Minnesota’s first-ever gypsy moth quarantine in Cook and Lake counties starting April 30, 2014. Howard Hedstrom of Hedstrom Lumber Company is on the county board schedule Tuesday, April 15 at 10 a.m. to give an update on the quarantine and its impact on the 100-year old mill.

An invasive species brought to Massachusetts in 1869, gypsy moths have no natural enemies in the United States. The MDA has sprayed and trapped gypsy moths since 2006 in both counties, but the leaf eater’s population has steadily grown.

Last year more than 71,000 gypsy moths were trapped statewide, with more than 90 percent of that number coming from Lake and Cook County. That trapping tally led the state to conclude that its efforts to slow the spread of the moths was failing, so quarantine was proposed.

Gypsy moth larvae—caterpillars—are voracious leaf eaters. Stressed trees can die when defoliated and the caterpillars weaken healthy trees.

The quarantine will mean that loggers, sawmills and nurseries will have to sign compliance agreements with the state and inspect their products for gypsy moth larvae before shipping them out of the quarantine area. State inspectors will randomly inspect sites for compliance. Failure to comply may result in fines or penalties up to $7,500.

Despite two public meetings, one held in Cook County and one held in Lake County, where Department of Agriculture officials heard arguments against establishing a quarantine on the moths, the state decided to go ahead with its plan in a hope to slow the spread of the moths throughout the rest of the state and adjoining states.

Minnesota is now one of 20 states with gypsy moth quarantine.