Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Conservation groups pose four questions about sulfide mining

Tue, 07/23/2013 - 11:47am

In the summer of 2012, a coalition of Minnesota conservation groups calling themselves Mining Truth started a public dialogue surrounding the proposed Polymet and Twin Metals mines near Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. 

A year later, the campaign is entering its next phase, and the coalition is initiating a public debate over four questions they feel Governor Dayton and mining companies should be able to answer before allowing the mines to proceed. (Click here to hear an interview with Frank Moe of Conservation Minnesota and Aaron Klemz of Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.)  

Those questions are:

1)   Will Minnesota’s water stay safe and clean?

2)   Are there safeguards in place for when things go wrong?

3)   Will the company leave the site clean and maintenance-free?

4)   Will Minnesota’s taxpayers be protected?

Mining Truth coalition members have stated that unless Governor Dayton and the mining companies are each able to demonstrate to the people of Minnesota that the answer to these four questions is an unqualified yes, the mines should not be allowed to move forward.

Mining Truth coalition members are currently meeting with Minnesotans around the state to encourage them to sign an online petition that will urge Governor Dayton to take these questions into account when it comes to deciding on the mining proposals.  

MN bear researcher gets no reprieve from governor

Tue, 07/23/2013 - 11:47am

 ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota bear researcher remains under orders to remove radio collars from bears he's studying by the end of the month, but will be allowed to appeal.

Bear researcher Lynn Rogers sounded optimistic after a meeting with Governor Mark Dayton and Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr on Monday.

But Landwehr said afterward he does not plan to lift his decision to rescind Rogers' permit to keep tracking collars on bears in the Ely area. He says there's usually no appeal from that kind of decision, but he has decided to let Rogers present his case to an administrative law judge.

The DNR says Rogers' hand-feeding of bears makes them too accustomed to humans. The agency also says Rogers has failed to publish his research.

Rogers denies both claims. He says his research is available to all at

Debate over restoration of walkway around Cook County Tennis Courts

Mon, 07/22/2013 - 4:12pm

At the July 16 county board meeting, commissioners discussed an overlooked consequence of the parking lot being built outside the new Cook County Community YMCA – the loss of accessibility to the public tennis courts.
The driveway leading to what will be a new parking lot above the tennis courts cut into the area around the north courts, and according to the architectural drawings, would require people to step down off a curb into the roadway to go from one set of courts to the other.  This would make accessibility very difficult for people with mobility problems who play or watch tennis. There are some people in the community who play wheelchair tennis.
At the previous county board meeting, Project Manager Wade Cole of ORB Management estimated that the cost of restoring a walkway and dealing with an erosion problem that was created when the area around the north courts was excavated would be about $15,000-20,000.  This week, the estimate had increased to $20,000-25,000. 
Cole said it had gotten more involved than what was previously discussed.  After consulting with several people with stakes in the project, such as Community Center Director Diane Booth and Cook County Tennis Association members, Cole said, the design had grown to include steps leading from the east-west walkway currently between the courts down to the parking lot, in addition to a handicap-accessible sidewalk leading down from the north end of the courts.
The parking lot has been built according to the architectural drawings created by JLG Architects, but no one noticed that it would cut into the area around the courts as much as it did.  Cole said JLG told him they did not know this would be an issue.

Minnesota has largest water trail system in the U.S.

Mon, 07/22/2013 - 4:09pm

Because of their flat hulls, canoes and kayaks can navigate just about any body of water, but did you know there are trails specifically designated for these types of activities?
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources manages the first and largest water trails system in the nation, which started 50 years ago. A variety of opportunities is available, ranging from placid rivers ideal for beginners to challenging whitewater rapids to sea kayaking the North Shore of Lake Superior. In fact, there is a state water trail within an hour of most homes in Minnesota.
The state has more than 4,500 miles of routes mapped and managed for canoeing, kayaking, boating and camping. There are 33 state water trails with a network of more than 1,400 public water accesses, campsites and rest areas. Remote camping on state water trails is generally free and non-reservable. There are also 34 state parks and recreation areas on state water trails where people can reserve a campsite for a fee.
Free maps, river level reports and other trip planning information can be found on the DNR’s website at

Minnesota breeding duck population rises

Mon, 07/22/2013 - 8:01am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Despite a record late ice-out, spring waterfowl surveys show that Minnesota's breeding duck population has improved from last year.

The Department of Natural Resources estimates the state's breeding duck population at 683,000 compared with 469,000 last year. This year's estimate is 10 percent above the long-term average.

This year's Canada goose population is estimated at 250,000, considerably less than last year's 416,000. The DNR says cold temperatures and April snowfall combined with a late ice-out reduced nesting success. But DNR wildlife section chief Paul Telander says the goose population remains higher than managers want it to be.

So Minnesota will hold its first-ever August Canada goose season from August 10th through 25th in a special zone in west-central Minnesota.

North Shore Hospital offers "Peace of Mind Project"

Sun, 07/21/2013 - 12:58pm

People who want to keep better tabs on their elderly loved ones in Cook County now have an Internet tool made available through a grant-funded program called the Peace of Mind Project.  It is a partnership among Boreal Access, the North Shore Health Care Foundation, Cook County Public Health & Human Services, Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, and Cook County North Shore Hospital & Care Center.  On June 20, 2013, hospital social worker Hilja Iverson showed the hospital board the many ways a special computer program can help monitor the well-being of people in their homes.
The program involves installing computer equipment that can be linked to family members or caregivers elsewhere.  The cost is $100/month plus the cost of high-speed Internet, but a sliding fee scale is available.  It is a product of GrandCare Systems of Wisconsin, which develops technology that allows people to “age in place” by remaining in their own homes.
Available features include:
* A chime to remind a client to take his or her pills;
* Blood pressure, temperature, and weight monitoring;
* Motion detectors and door sensors that can alert family members in other locations and tell them when a front door or refrigerator door has been opened or when someone has been in the bathroom;
* Monitoring of the temperature inside a home;
* Sensors on bed mattresses that can be used to monitor restlessness or when someone has been lying down or getting up throughout the day or night;
* Skyping with family members or caregivers.
* User-friendly email;
* Brain-teasers that can track cognitive skills;
* Self-reporting of mood and physical condition (a client can answer questions about how they are feeling that day in comparison to other days, for example);
* Reports on whether and when a medication box has been opened;