Around Cook County
A weather forecast for below zero temperatures on Friday, February 1, has caused the Cook County Invite Nordic Ski Meet to be moved to 11 AM, Saturday, February 2, on the 2.5 km course at Pincushion Mountain just north of Grand Marais..
Originally scheduled for Friday, predictions of frigid weather caused the one-day postponement. Cook County Viking Nordic Coach Mark Summers said in an interview on WTIP's DayBreak Thursday morning that 4 below zero is the cutoff temperature for Nordic meets. He said that forecasters said temperatures could very well be below that cutoff at the original 10 AM, Friday race start time.
The Cook County Invite is scheduled to involve 10 teams including the Vikings, with each team bringing from 40 to 50 skiers from junior high through high school varsity. Summers said that the meet is a tune-up for skiers in their preparation for the Section 7 meet which will be held next week. He said the only team in the Section that might not attend is Grand Rapids, but that was not certain.
The Invite involves both Freestyle (skate-ski) and Classic techniques. The opening round is the Freestyle with the second, or Pursuit, round being Classic in style. The high school boys' and girls' varsities are scheduled to start the Freestyle competition at 11 AM, Saturday. The junior varsity will follow immediately with the junior high Classic race next on the schedule. The varsity boys and girls Pursuit starts at 2 PM.
Summers said that Section 7 is "arguably the best (Nordic) section in the state." He noted that Duluth East and Ely are perennial Section 7 powerhouses.
"Every school in the section has a well-establish program with talented kids," he said.
Minnesota Power announced Wednesday it will vlose ofne of three coal-fired units at its Taconite Harbor plant on the North Shore in Cook County.
The Duluth News Tribune reported Thursday morning that Minnesota Power will convert its coal-fired power plant in Hoyt Lakes to natural gas as the utility continues a move away from carbon dioxode-creating coal.
Burning coal causes smog, acid rain, global warming and toxic air emissions.
The company said it will retire one of three coal-burning units at Taconite Harbor but keep the other two units burning coal because they already have been upgraded with pollution-control devices for mercury and other emissions.
Al Rudek, vice president of strategy and planning for the utility, said no layoffs are expected at Taconite Harbor or Hoyt Lakes. He told the Duluth newspaper that the company hopes any cuts in the work force would be achieved through attrition.
The company said it would spend $15 million in 2015 to convert the 110-megawatt Laskin coal plant in Hoyt Lakes to cleaner-burning natural gas, which produces much less carbon dioxide and mercury than coal. The plant would be the first gas-fired generator for the Duluth-based utility.
And the company will add $350 million in pollution-control technology at its Boswell 4 unit in Cohasset to meet current and forthcoming pollution regulations, keeping that unit open for the foreseeable future.
The announcement noted the utility’s addition last year of more wind turbines in North Dakota, where it now generates 400 megawatts of wind energy for its northern Minnesota customers.
The moves will push Minnesota Power, which produced 95 percent of its electricity from coal less than a decade ago, to more than 20 percent from non-coal sources, a critical step in the face of expected climate-change legislation to reduce pollution from burning coal.
Grand Marais Arctic adventurer Lonnie Dupre had "a day at the office" Wednesday after returning to his base camp at 7,200 feet on Alaska's Denali.
The 51-year-old Dupre returned to the base camp after his unsuccessful third attempt to scale Denali alone in the winter. Had he made it, he would have been the first solo climber to accomplish the challenge. He reached 17,200 feet before life-threatening conditions forced him to turn back. At that point, dangerous weather and snow conditions combined with dwindling food and fuel led Dupre to turn back. Denali is 20,320 feet in altitude.
His support team at One World Endeavors reported Wednesday night that Dupre had "a day at the office if you will. Lonnie spent his first full day at basecamp collecting his thoughts, organizing gear and visiting with his neighbor Masatoshi (Kuriaki) about hundred yards away. Masatoshi, is in the process of making his seventh attempt at summiting Mount Hunter."
The team reported also reported that "weather permitting we should be able to fly into base camp in the next couple of days." The flight will take Dupre off Denali and back to the Alaska community of Talkeetna.
The Cook County/Silver Bay boys and girls Alpine Ski Teams took first and second Tuesday in the Centennial Invitational held at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.
The meet featured more than 15 other teams and about 220 skiers from the section. It is considered a pre-section meet.
The CC/SB boys beat the perennial power Hermantown by 12 points and the North Shore girls fell only a few points short of beating Hermantown. A consistent performance gave the CC/SB the strong team finishes. Both teams took enough of the finishes from number 12 to number 22 to push the boys to the win and the girls to take second.
The CC/SB boys who finished were: Will Lamb, 12th; Anders Zimmer, 13th; Logan Backstrom, 16th; Colin Berglund, 20th; Kyle Martinson, 22nd; Dexter Yoki, 52nd and Charlie Lawler, 77th.
The CC/SB girls who finished were: Megan Lehto, 12th; Morgan Wyrens Welch, 14th; Signe Larson, 16th; Ava McMillan, 17th; Madysen McKeever, 26th; Alyssa Martinson, 27th and Haley Yoki at 39th.
CC/SB travels to the Duluth Central on Thursday morning at Giants Ridge. Next Tuesday, the boys and girls head back to Giants Ridge for the Sectional meet.
It’s Snowarama time with the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino and the Grand Portage Trail Riders. The Grand Portage community is hosting the 10th annual Snowarama for Easter Seals Kids on February 1 - 2.
This 10th year of riding the great Grand Portage trails and raising money for Easter Seals Ontario is a weekend filled with fun—and prizes. In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Snowarama is offering 10 prize packages totaling $10,000, ranging from snowmobile gear, $250 in casino cash, a weekend stay at beautiful Hollow Rock Resort and more. For every $100 a rider raises, he or she gets a ticket for the drawing for one of the 10 prizes.
There are only a few more days for riders to register—if you’d like to join the ride, contact Rhonda Harrison at Easter Seals Ontario for more information at (807) 345-7622. If you would like to donate a pledge to a Snowarama rider, visit www.snowarama.org.
Easter Seals Ontario provides funding to families of kids with physical disabilities for costly equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, braces and communication devices. As children grow, most equipment must be replaced. The generous dollars contributed by thousands of supporters give children with physical disabilities the equipment they need to achieve a greater level of independence and dignity.
And you don’t have to be a participant to join in the fun. Head to Grand Portage Friday, Feb. 1 for Karaoke from 8 p.m. to midnight. On Saturday, dance the night away with the popular Twin Cities band West Side.
Despite the recent cold weather, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildlife researchers managed to fit high-tech GPS collars on 31 moose to help determine why Minnesota’s moose population continues to decline.
According to Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager, the project started last week near Grand Marais during the four-day stretch of extreme cold. He said flight safety guidelines dictate no work can be performed below 20 degrees below zero. So the team’s helicopter was grounded for most of the first three days.
Capture and ground support crews faced daytime wind chills as cold as 54 below zero on Monday, Jan. 21, and air temperatures that didn’t rise above zero until Thursday, Jan. 24.
Erika Butler, DNR wildlife veterinarian said despite the cold conditions, the team was able to collar at least five to six moose a day.
Capturing and collaring adult moose is the first phase of a multiple-year project to attempt to determine why moose are dying at unusually high rates in northeastern Minnesota. The DNR intends to put collars on 100 adult moose in the Grand Marias, Ely and Two Harbors areas.