Around Cook County
Several local snowmobilers are once again participating in the Blackwoods Blizzard “Never Surrender” Tour, a ride to fight ALS. On Saturday, January 12 from 5 - 9 p.m., the community is invited to a “Dinner with a Purpose” at My Sister’s Place restaurant in Grand Marais. For each meal sold during that time, 50 percent of the bill will be donated to the ALS Association of Minnesota.
Kathy and Tom “2E” Bernier, Paul Bernier and Scott “Emit” Bystrom are the riders taking part in the three-day, 370-mile snowmobile ride to raise money to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease, a progressive, fatal neuromuscular disease.
ALS slowly robs the body of its ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe. The life expectancy of a person with ALS averages two to five years from the time of diagnosis.
Every 90 minutes a person in this country is diagnosed with ALS and every 90 minutes another person will lose their battle against this disease.
This crippling disease can strike anyone—sadly nearly everyone knows someone who has been affected by ALS. Presently there is no known cause of the disease though support is bringing researchers closer to an answer. In the meantime it costs an average of $200,000 a year to provide the care people with ALS need. “Help make a difference and donate today,” said Kathy Bernier.
Kathy Bernier had a family member affected with this disease and her family saw first hand what the ALS Association can do to provide the help needed to those affected by it. She said, “Any donation small or large is appreciated and needed.”
The riders’ goal is $4,000 for research, education and patient assistance and you can help by making a donation on-line at http://webmn.alsa.org/site/TR/Rides/Minnesota?px=1703381&pg=personal&fr_id=8590.
The Cook County Senior Center is making a scenic winter journey up the Gunflint Trail on Monday, January 14. The bus will leave the Cook County Senior Center at 10:30 a.m. and will return about 2 p.m. Diners will receive 20% discount off of the lunch bill, courtesy of Trail Center!
The cost is $6 for transportation, lunch at your own expense. Pick-ups and drop-offs within town are available upon request for an additional fee of $1 per person.
To sign up, please call (218) 387-2660 or email email@example.com or stop in at the Senior Center.
Cook County and the U.S. Forest Service continue to work on a possible exchange of 1,980 acres of Cook County land within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) for Forest Service parcels in other parts of the county.
On Tuesday, Jan. 8, the board discussed the possibility of trading acre for acre (which would require legislative approval) instead of by the assessed value of the land. The county has prioritized a list of Forest Service properties it is interested in, but the board discussed the difficulty of setting those priorities without knowing how each parcel would be valued when it gets assessed. The priorities can still be moved around after the appraisal, however.
No one knows how the land will be valued, because the county’s BWCAW land cannot be developed but it does include a lot of lakeshore, which in private hands would generate a lot of property tax. Similarly, how resources such as gravel on the Forest Service land will be valued remains to be seen.
A jump in Minnesota's minimum wage and making it harder to put constitutional amendments on the ballot are among Senate Democrats' top legislative priorities this session.
The Saint Paul Pioneer Press reports the bills were among the first introduced during the 2013 legislative session. On Thursday, 20 were introduced in the Senate and 54 in the state House.
One of the most watched will be the bill setting up the state health insurance exchange. The exchange is required under the 2010 federal health care overhaul.
The Senate minimum wage proposal would bump pay up to $7.50 an hour for most of Minnesota's lowest paid workers, while a House plan would raise it to $9.38 starting in August. Future increases would be automatic and tied to inflation.
The first bill introduced in the House would accelerate repayment of money owed to schools. The state still owes about $1.1 billion of the $2.7 billion borrowed from schools to help balance past budget shortfalls.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk also highlighted a bill he's offering to make it harder to put constitutional amendments on the ballot. Bakk said, "Minnesota just came off of one of the most divisive elections our state has ever seen. I hope that we never have to go through another election like that, where we have purely partisan amendments on the ballot.”
His proposal would require a three-fifths majority of the Legislature to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in hopes of having more bipartisan support before measures go to voters for approval.
The North Shore boys' hockey team took a home win Thursday night from Eveleth-Gilbert, 4-2.
And, the Cook County girls' basketball team lost a road game to Mesabi East at Aurora. It took an overtime, however, before the Vikings were defeated 67-54. The loss dropped teh girls to 5-7 for the season.
The team bus didn't get back to Grand Marais until early Friday morning due to poor driving conditions on the way back.
Friday the Vikings boys and girls travel to Silver Bay for varsity basketball action. Both games with the Mariners will be broadcast on WTIP with Norman Moe and Dick Dorr providing the play-by-play. The girls' tip-off is slated for 4:45 with the boys at 6:30.
In the North Shore hockey match, North Shore broke a two-all deadlock at the end of the second period with two points in the third for the win.
Austyn Wasko led the North Shore team with two goals while Mills Johnson and Tyler Schramm had one each.
Zach Duresky was in goal for the Mariners, He made 26 saves.
The win put North Shore at 9-4 for the season. The team plays International Falls Saturday night at Silver bay.
North Shore includes skaters from Cook and Lake counties on the roster.
Gov. Mark Dayton with the support of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association (MnUSA) has proclaimed Jan. 13-19 as Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week in Minnesota.
More than 1,000 volunteer instructors teach DNR snowmobile safety courses across the state.
For more information on the dates and locations of these courses, visit the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/vehicle/snowmobile/index.html) or call 800-366-8917.
To legally ride a snowmobile in Minnesota, residents born after Dec. 31, 1976, need a valid snowmobile safety certificate.
DNR and MnUSA also remind snowmobilers of a few basic safety tips:
DON’T DRINK – Drinking and driving can be fatal. Drinking alcohol before or during snowmobiling can impair judgment and slow reaction time. Alcohol causes body temperature to drop at a faster rate, increasing the likelihood of hypothermia.
SLOW DOWN – Speed is a contributing factor in nearly all fatal snowmobiling accidents. Drivers should proceed at a pace that will allow ample reaction time for any situation. Remember, when driving at night the DNR recommends a speed of only 40 miles an hour. Faster peeds may result in “over driving” your headlight.
BE PREPARED – When traveling, make sure to bring a first aid kit, a flashlight, waterproof matches, and a compass.
STAY ALERT – Fatigue can reduce the driver’s coordination and judgment.
ICE ADVICE – Avoid traveling across bodies of water when uncertain of ice thickness and strength of ice on lakes and ponds. Snow cover can act as a blanket and prevent safe ice from forming. Never travel in a single file when crossing bodies of water.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS – Use a full-size helmet, goggles or face shield to prevent injuries from twigs, stones, ice and flying debris. Clothing should be worn in layers and should be just snug enough so that no loose ends catch in the machine.
WATCH THE WEATHER – Rapid weather changes can produce dangerous conditions.
BRING A BUDDY – Never travel alone. Most snowmobile accidents result in some personal injury. The most dangerous situations can occur if a person is injured and alone. If snowmobilers must travel alone, they should inform someone of their destination, planned route, and return time.
REPORT ACCIDENTS – The operator of a snowmobile involved in an accident resulting in medical attention, death, or damage exceeding $500 must file an official accident report through the county sheriff’s office within 10 days.
For a copy of DNR’s 2012-2013 Minnesota Snowmobile Safety Laws, Rules, and Regulations handbook, call 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367. It’s also available on DNR’s website at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/regulations/snowmobile/index.html
Photo by David Rees - U.S. EPA. This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.