Around Cook County
The annual chili cook-off will be held Saturday, March 24
from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. John's Catholic Church. Proceeds will
be split between the Food Shelf and a trip for students who attend The
Table, the Free Church’s youth group.
Registrations for chili teams can be found online at
grandmaraisfreechurch.org and turned in at the church. Those who don't
want to make a chili can still participate by eating; chili will be
served for a nominal donation.
There are two rounds of judging and two awards decided by a panel of
judges. The winner receives the traveling “Chili Cornucopia” trophy.
The “People’s Choice” Award winner receives a bowl courtesy of The
2011 winners were: “Stealth and The Bruce” (Trevor Delamater and Bruce
Block), first place; Yvonne Gennrich, representing Mount Rose
Community Church in Grand Portage, second place; and a third-place tie
between the U.S. Border Patrol cooks and Chelsea Lueck of Gunflint
For more information, call (218) 387-1565.
The ISD166 school board will decide on money saving school calendar changes at its April 19 meeting. The saving comes from increasing the secondary school day and shifting to a modified four-day week. Superintendent Beth Schwarz.
“We’re looking at reducing the number of days kids come into school by 15, and that would extend our day by 28 minutes. We’d be looking at an 8:07 start time, 3:30 end time.”
After taking into account regularly scheduled holidays and other factors, the first semester will see additional Fridays off for students. In the second semester, many of the days off would be Mondays. Some of the 15 fewer days would be attached to regularly scheduled breaks.
Secondary class periods would increase from 52 to 56 minutes, with three fewer days in class. State law requires 1,020 classroom hours. ISD166 currently has 1,088.
“That savings in transportation plus some of the other savings through kitchens and paraprofessionals, the bus driver costs, etc, we’re looking at an approximate $85,000 savings there.”
If approved at next month’s school board meeting, the calendar would take effect for the 2012-13 school year.
Fire danger in most of Minnesota is expected to increase rapidly in the coming week, as the snow continues to melt and winds dry the dead standing grass and brush in open areas. Because of this danger, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will place burning restrictions over much of the state starting March 26, with more areas included later.
Spring fire restrictions limit open burning until summer green-up occurs. Traditionally, most wildfires in Minnesota occur during April and May. More than 95 percent of these fires are caused by human error.
The restrictions normally last from four to six weeks until sufficient green vegetative growth occurs. The burning restrictions mean the state will not give out burning permits for burning brush or yard waste. Campfires are still allowed. Campers should watch their fire continuously and make sure it is out and cold to the touch before leaving the area.
Restrictions will affect most of central and northwestern Minnesota. Carlton and Pine counties are included, but as yet none in the Arrowhead.
In February 2012, a survey was sent out to residents within
the city limits of Grand Marais to assess housing needs in the
community. Nancy Grabko, of Community Fundraising Solutions, which
operates the housing program for the Cook County - Grand Marais
Economic Development Authority (EDA), urges anyone who received a
survey to take a few minutes to complete it and return it to the EDA.
Survey results will determine if the EDA is eligible for a new cycle
of housing rehabilitation grants. “We are asking for your help in
accomplishing this requirement,” said Grabko.
For the fourth year in a row, the EDA is applying for a Minnesota
Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Small City
Development Program (SCDP) grant. The EDA will be requesting funds for
rehabilitation of five homes and five businesses. To qualify for
funding, however, 40 percent of the houses within a 20-block area must
demonstrate a need for work on their houses and funding to do it.
Housing Administrator Nancy Grabko expects the EDA to request $335,000
in its SCDP grant application, but matches from other sources will be
used as leverage to bring the total project amount to an expected
“Over the past four years, 31 homes within Cook County have been
rehabilitated through this program and we are working hard towards
securing funding for future projects,” said Grabko.
The new funding criteria may make it difficult for small rural
communities to quality for the grant since they must demonstrate
significant need within a 20-block area. If not enough people respond
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will
begin reassessing deer population goals this spring.
From 2005 through 2007 the DNR used an extensive public input process
to establish deer population goals for all of the state's
approximately 130 deer permit areas. Now that those goal populations
have been achieved in most areas, the DNR will use a similar process
to reevaluate population goals in 23 permit areas in southwestern and
"Hunter dissatisfaction has increased as deer numbers have decreased
to meet established goals," said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife programs
manager. "In fact, hunters are even expressing disappointment in
certain areas where deer populations have increased to meet goals." As
a result, he said, the agency wants to revisit population goals in
order to strike the right balance between hunter, landowner and other
societal and resource interests.
The last time the DNR set population goals about one-half of the
state's deer hunting permit areas were slated for deer reductions.
Conversely, about 40 percent of permit areas were slated for deer
increases. Most of these areas were in the farmland country of western
and southern Minnesota. Today, nearly 70 percent of deer populations
are within goal, while 15 percent remain below goal and 18 percent are
"To a large degree we have achieved what we aimed to do," said
Merchant. "However, many Minnesota hunters are telling us they are not
seeing the number of deer they have in the past. So, we intend to
formally listen to their voices and those of others prior to setting
Are you living alone? Do you sometimes wish you had a furry
little companion but don’t have the money in your budget for
veterinary care or don’t know what you would do with a pet when you
were out of town? Never fear, a wonderful idea from Arrowhead Animal
Rescue is here!
Arrowhead Animal Rescue is now offering Cook County seniors the
opportunity to provide cats (and a few dogs) a little tender loving
care without some of the worries that come along with pet ownership.
“We get cats in that are shy, and they need a patient, quiet, and
caring home,” according to the organization’s newsletter. “We supply
all the food, litter, toys, bedding, and all vet care. All you need
to do is open your home and heart to these cats.”
If a foster care provider needs to be away from home, Arrowhead Animal
Rescue will find sitters for the pet as well.
“If it’s a gray day and someone is alone,” said Arrowhead Animal
Rescue board member Barb Dvorak, “having an animal around will boost
For more information on fostering a pet, contact Arrowhead Animal
Rescue President Gay O’Donnell at (218) 387-1781.