Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Sun King -- where are you?

Sat, 06/22/2013 - 9:03am

For as long as there has been a Wooden Boat Show, there has been an uproarious Solstice Pageant on the North House Folk School grounds. The pageant, organized by the Good Harbor Hill Players, celebrates the arrival of the summer and takes on a topic of local interest—sometimes provocative, sometimes pacifying—but always entertaining.

The News-Herald reached one of the primary organizers of the pageant, Grand Marais artist Betsy Bowen this week and asked what pageant goers could expect this year. Bowen laughed and said the theme of this year’s event is the North Shore’s endless winter. “I think that is something that resonates with everyone,” she said, adding, “I hope we won’t still be feeling winter’s effects the night of the show!”

Bowen and dozens of community members work doggedly in the weeks before the pageant, updating costumes and puppets from previous pageants and creating new ones at Bowen’s studio. Bowen said the audience will see some new                                                 masks and fabrics this year. The local drumming group GAMEPAJAL also practices for weeks to provide a wonderful soundtrack to the show.

Will the familiar and beloved pageant protagonist, the Sun King be back? Bowen laughed again, “Oh yes, we’ve all been hoping to see the Sun King for quite a while now!”

Tip of Trail property to be auctioned June 24

Sat, 06/22/2013 - 9:02am

Cook County will be holding a public sale of the Tip of the Trail property on Saganaga Lake on Monday, June 24 starting at 10 a.m. Cook County Auditor Braidy Powers will conduct the auction of the tax-forfeited property.

The former resort land being offered for sale is 4.61 acres and has been appraised at $350,000. That is the minimum bid that will be accepted. The assessed value of the property is $297,500 for the buildings on the site and $242,900 for the land for a  total of $537,400.

The property is zoned lakeshore residential.

The Planning & Zoning Department is in the process of finding a contractor to properly abandon three septic systems at the Tip of the Trail property. All three systems were failing and one tank cover was found to be a safety hazard.  The goal is to have the work done by the auction.  Seven other potential septic system sites have been identified on the property.

For details on the sale, contact Auditor Braidy Powers at (218) 387-3640.


Explore North House Folk School during Wooden Boat Festival

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 9:25am

The North House Folk School campus on the Grand Marais waterfront offers many opportunities to explore, dream and discover every day with classes ranging from basketry to blacksmithing, fiber arts to foods, traditional crafts to timber framing and much more. The weekend of June 21-23 has extra special offerings to those who want to throw off the bowlines to try something new. The 16th Wooden Boat Show & Summer Solstice Festival brings more boats and boat-related activities than ever before.

The campus will be buzzing with boating enthusiasts early on Friday, June 21, with boat builders and collectors hauling boats to the common area to proudly place them on display. Boats will be in place for review by noon—walk around the waterfront to see gleaming hulls and glistening brass fittings. Antique canoes and newly-crafted prams share the stage, all to be savored by boat lovers for the rest of the weekend.

Bring your appetite—on Friday there is the harborside barbecue hosted by the Grand Marais Lions Club on Saturday there is the Lake Superior Chowder Experience and on Sunday, the Steam-Bent Brunch. You’re certain to be hungry as wood-fired baking courses add tempting smells to campus all weekend.

There’s plenty to please the ear as well. In addition to the interesting sounds of boat-building hammers and blacksmith bellows, WTIP Community Radio will be on campus spinning tunes on Friday evening. The radio station will be followed by a community music circle called “Sea Shanties & Lumberjack Jam.” Friday evening ends with a dance to the ever-popular local group Over the Waterfall.

Strong winds to whip up Lake Superior

Fri, 06/21/2013 - 8:20am

The National Weather Service has issued a storm warning for the Northland waters of Lake Superior until noon Friday as powerful northeast winds in the wake of morning storms may gust to 60 knots.

Waves may quickly build to 12 to 18 feet before subsiding Friday afternoon.

Recreational boaters are advised to stay in port, or take shelter, until the winds subside.

Severed communications cable knocks WTIP off the air

Thu, 06/20/2013 - 7:16am
Just after 5 p.m., Wednesday, June 19, workers installing fiber optic cable along Highway 61 in West Grand Marais severed a communications cable.  Businesses in the vicinity lost phone and internet service for several hours.  WTIP North Shore Community Radio lost the ability to broadcast, and was off the air for nearly 12 hours.

View more news from WTIP

County discusses county administrator position with consultant

Tue, 06/18/2013 - 9:23am

On June 11, 2013, the county board passed a motion to enter into a contract (upon approval by the county attorney’s office) with Springsted, a public sector advisory firm, to help with the search process for a county administrator. 
The board had met by Skype (over the Internet) on June 7 with David Unmacht, senior vice president/director of organizational management & HR, to talk about how the process would go.
Unmacht had reviewed a job description Commissioners Bruce Martinson and Garry Gamble had compiled.  He said no one candidate would have all the qualifications they listed and that different candidates would have different strengths.  People who are good in finance, for example, are not always good in human resources (HR), he said.
Personality, management style, sensitivity to the county’s transition to having a county administrator, and understanding of local culture are all important considerations in evaluating candidates, Unmacht said.  Lots of people might be qualified, but not everyone would be a good fit.  He said he would help the county find the right fit.
Unmacht recommended that department heads be included in the process and have an opportunity to meet the candidates and give the board input.
How realistic is it that having an administrator would save the county money? Commissioner Garry Gamble asked.  Having an administrator will be like having a CEO of a company with a $17,000,000/year budget, Unmacht said.  A person in this position “should pay for him- or herself,” he said – county operations should improve when this is implemented for the first time.
Unmacht indicated that he hopes the county has a great candidate pool.  “I want the decision to be difficult,” he said.