Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Girl Scout Troop 4077 working toward Bronze award with pajama collection

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 10:41am

For more than a year the girls in Girl Scout Troop 4077 have been brainstorming ideas for a community service project to fulfill Girl Scout Bronze Award requirements. For months the fifth-graders have been researching their idea and then putting it in action through a remarkably fun event—a pajama party. The girls did all of the planning and promotion for the event and hosted a fabulous pajama party at the Evangelical Free Church on Feb. 6. Admission to the party was a new pair of pajamas and Troop 4077 collected 67 pairs at the party.

They are only 35 pajamas away from their goal of 102 pairs—102 in in recognition of Girl Scouting’s 102nd anniversary. They will be taking the pajamas to the Damiano Center in Duluth and will be getting a tour of the building that provides services to low income and unemployed people in the community.

If you would like to help the girls reach their goal, by March 10, Bethlehem Lutheran Church has graciously agreed to serve as a drop off point for pajamas. There is a collection box in the lower level of the church.

Please contact Christine with questions at  218-370-8338 .

Lake service providers must participate in MN Department of Natural Resources aquatic invasives training

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 10:38am

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering aquatic invasive species (AIS) training to owners of lake service provider businesses so they can legally work in lakes and rivers throughout the state.

Businesses such as resorts and outfitters that rent, lease or decontaminate boats and other water-related equipment are now required to attend AIS training and acquire a permit under a state law change that took effect last July. These businesses are considered lake service providers, which means they must attend training, apply for a permit, and pay a $50 application fee every three years to comply with Minnesota law.

“Before this change, the law applied only to businesses such as marinas, dock haulers, lawn irrigators and others who install or remove equipment from state waters for hire,” said April Rust, DNR AIS training coordinator. “The law change means many more businesses will need to attend training to learn about the threat of zebra mussels and other invasive species, and how to prevent their spread."

Registering for the winter and early spring sessions will give businesses time to attend training and get a permit before ice-out. Registration deadlines are one week prior to each training. Seventeen free AIS training sessions are planned around the state. The closest session to Cook County will be in Duluth at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 525 Lake Avenue South, Suite 400 on March 4 from 1- 4 p.m. Register by February 25 for the training in Duluth.

A list the other 2014 training sessions is available at

Grand Marais Playhouse to offer "Our Town" for one weekend only

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 10:35am

Rehearsals are under way for the Grand Marais Playhouse’s next production, a community youth performance of Our Town by Thornton Wilder. “Our Town” runs for one weekend only, March 6 - 9. Thursday - Saturday, 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 adults and $5 students. Sunday, March 9 is donation day (pay what you can for your ticket).

This timeless drama of life in the mythical village of Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, has become an American classic with universal appeal. Thornton Wilder's most frequently performed play, Our Town appeared on Broadway in 1938 to wide acclaim, and won the Pulitzer Prize. From the very beginning, Our Town has been produced in amateur and professional theatres around the world.

Wilder offers a couple of chairs on a bare stage as the backdrop for an exploration of the universal human experience. The simple story of a love affair is constantly rediscovered because it asks timeless questions about the meaning of love, life and death. In the final moments of the play, the recently deceased Emily is granted the opportunity to revisit one day in her life, only to discover that she never fully appreciated all she possessed until she lost it. "Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you," she says as she takes her place among the dead.

Mark your calendar, you don’t want to miss this play with a talented intergenerational cast of local performers.

Locals take the plunge at Duluth Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics

Sun, 02/23/2014 - 3:45pm

For the third year, Bryann Bockovich of Grand Marais and her friend Linda McClellan of Elk River, MN, participated in the Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics. This year they recruited a number of friends and family members to take the chilly dip into Lake Superior with them.

Bockovich said this year’s plunge was the coldest one she has taken part in—windy and snowing. Joining Bockovich and McClellan in the cold in the Duluth harbor on Saturday, February 15 were Jodi Johnson, Brianna Houglum, Kelli Goldstein, Jenna Volkmann, Sara Gale, Bryant Norgaard, Jessica Norgaard, and Lollie Cooper.

Each Polar Plunge participant is not only required to dive into the frigid water of the Duluth harbor—through a 2-foot deep hole cut in the ice!—but they also must raise a minimum of $75 each.

The group took part in the Polar Plunge as part of the team, “Holli’s Hope,” put together by Holli’s mom, Linda McClellan. Holli is an award-winning Olympian. She recently won a gold medal in Special Olympic bowling.

And the “Holli’s Hope” team did much better than raising $75 each, they raised a total of $3,500. Congratulations to them

Library Director Linda Chappell to retire at end of March

Sun, 02/23/2014 - 3:44pm

At the Feb. 12 city council meeting, city councilors accepted, with regrets, longtime Grand Marais Public Library Director Linda Chappell’s letter of resignation. Chappell has served as director of the library since 1991, when she replaced Mary Alice Harvey.

Chappell recalled that she worked at the library in other positions since about 1977 with a two-year break in 1979 when her son was born. Her tenure dates back to the time when the library was located up the hill, where George Maruska’s accounting office is now located.

Chappell said in her letter to council that she plans to retire at the end of March.

Because her last day will be at the end of March – little more than a month away – City Administrator Mike Roth said the council should begin a search for a new director immediately. “It’s extremely unlikely we’ll have a new director in place by then [end of March],” said Roth, “but there’s a great staff there to fill in.”

City councilor and library board member Jan Sivertson said volunteered to serve on the search committee along with Mayor Larry Carlson and three members of the library board. In the meantime, Roth said the job description will be updated and the position advertised in advance of interviews which will be conducted by the search committee.

"Best in Snow" skjor race coming up March 1

Sun, 02/23/2014 - 3:42pm

Go Dog North Shore is pleased to announce the first ever “Best in Snow Skijor Race” to be held March 1 at the George Washington Pines Ski Trail outside of Grand Marais.

The “Best in Snow Skijor Race” is a fun event that celebrates our relationships with our dogs, encourages us to live active lifestyles with our dogs, utilizes local dog-friendly ski trails, promotes the sport of skijoring and fosters partnerships with local business’s, nonprofits, government agencies and individuals. 

The event will feature two timed races: a two-mile race and a four-mile race.  Each will be capped at 15 teams. Teams are limited to one dog per skier and there is a $25 entry fee required per team, per race.

The “Best in Snow Skijor Race” will be held in conjunction with the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic’s communitywide active living campaign “Move It” during the month of February. Local skijorers are encouraged to participate in “Move It” as a way to prepare for the “Best in Snow Skijor Race.”  Prizes will be awarded to the top teams in each race. 

Skijoring is a winter sport where a person on cross-country skis is pulled by a dog.

Go Dog North Shore is a new nonprofit organization based in Grand Marais that aims to promote healthy and active human and dog relationships on Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior. More information about Go Dog North Shore is available online at 

“Best in Snow Skijor Race” information, including details on registration and volunteer opportunities, is available from Cathy Quinn at  (218) 370-9494  or via email at