Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Public Meeting on Flute Reed Partnership's work on the river Thursday, August 1

Tue, 07/30/2013 - 12:52pm

Big things are happening on the Flute Reed River.  With funding of about $540,000 from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), the first of four river bank stabilization projects was started in mid-July. 
A public meeting to discuss the projects and the Flute Reed Partnership’s efforts on behalf of the watershed as well as a tour of some of the project sites will take place Thursday, August 1, 2013 starting at 7 p.m. at the Hovland Town Hall.  The public is invited to come learn more about how the clay riverbanks are being stabilized. 
The Flute Reed Partnership’s annual meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Hovland Town Hall – just before the community meeting -- and all interested parties are invited to attend that meeting as well.
Construction projects funded by the grant were started last year with replacement of undersized or poorly aligned culverts on private property within the watershed. 
The work requires permits from Cook County, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Cook County Soil & Water Conservation District personnel will be supervising the construction sites.
This summer’s construction activities will temporarily impact water quality, but over the long term, the projects will help stabilize and protect both the river and Lake Superior.
Project partners include the Flute Reed Partnership, Cook County Soil & Water Conservation District, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, consultants, and local contractors.

Fisherman's Picnic starts with fabulous Grand Marais Lioness Buffet Wednesday

Tue, 07/30/2013 - 12:44pm

The Annual Grand Marais Lioness Buffet is just around the corner, from 5 – 6:30 p.m. on July 31 at St. John's Catholic Church at 10 East Fifth Street, Grand Marais.
Everyone looks forward to this Fisherman’s Picnic tradition where the best cooks in the land bring together fishcakes, ham, potato salad, baked beans, and more.
Michelle Korst is heading this all-star group with its “Many hands making the work lighter" attitude. Come hungry!
The Grand Marais Lioness Buffet Dinner is a fundraiser to support many of the wonderful activities the Lioness Club does for our community, like scholarships, and charitable projects.
Cost of the buffet for adults is $15 and children under 12 years, $7.
There will be a silent auction as well. Sally Hennessy is the "go-to-person” for donations and purchases. Items can be dropped off the night before at the lower level of the Church from 5-7 p.m. There will be art, cabin items, pontoon boat rides, baked goods and many other treasures. The bidding starts prior to the dinner at 5:00 p.m.
Hennessy said, “The Lioness Club thanks all those who give so generously of their time, talents and auction items. A true community effort!”

County board debates approval of zip line loan

Mon, 07/29/2013 - 2:11pm

After a motion to approve a county revolving fund loan for Superior Zip Lines failed for lack of a second at the county board meeting on July 23, 2013, a heated debate broke out, but it resulted in a favorable outcome for the applicant.
Hal Greenwood of the Cook County Revolving Loan Fund Committee brought a recommendation to the board for a loan of $250,000 to Matt Geretschlaeger for the construction of Superior Zip Lines, to be located just off the Gunflint Trail above Grand Marais. 
Last July, the county board approved the loan upon the recommendation of the Revolving Loan Fund Committee.  Three months later, the board approved a revised loan agreement that reflected changes in financing.  That agreement was contingent upon Geretschlaeger securing a loan of $350,000 from the Iron Range Resource and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB). 
On July 23, Geretschlaeger returned to the board for a renewal of its approval because his financing had not been finalized within six months as required by county guidelines and because it was different from what had been stipulated:  Geretschlaeger had not gotten a loan from the IRRRB, but he did get a grant of $191,000 instead.  He also got a loan of $266,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration. 
The total project cost, including the land, will be $825,000 and will be done in phases.  Geretschlaeger said he had contracts in place with fixed prices for construction.  He expects to seasonally employ up to 26 people part-time and two people full-time.
Geretschlaeger had three pieces of property he would be using as collateral for the Revolving Loan Fund loan.  The county would be in second position on Geretschlaeger’s home, valued at $535,000 last summer when the business plan was presented to the county board.  The county would be in first position on two other pieces of property valued at $46,800 and $82,400.

Bear hunt lottery winners must purchase license by August 1

Mon, 07/29/2013 - 2:09pm

Hunters selected in this year’s bear lottery must purchase their licenses by Thursday, Aug. 1, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said. Licenses not purchased by the deadline will become available first-come, first-served at noon Wednesday, Aug. 7. Youths age 10-12 can receive a free no-quota bear license until Aug. 1. No-quota licenses will be available for purchase after Aug.1 but youth younger than 13 will have to pay the full price of $44 because of an inadvertent change in state law that eliminated the 10- to 12-year-old exemption from this fee. Youths who purchase leftover licenses in regular bear permit areas also will have to pay the adult price.

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Bothersome bears in Clearwater Lake area

Mon, 07/29/2013 - 8:58am

One or more bears have been reported frequenting campsites, portages and campgrounds in the Clearwater and Caribou lakes area. They're hanging out where human food may be available.

The Gunflint Ranger District is warning visitors to be alert for signs of bear activity when travelling in this area and to be sure to store food and other attractants appropriately out of reach. Follow bear country guidelines for personal safety as well as safety for the bears.

For more information contact the Gunflint Ranger District at 387-1750. They're open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

North House a "Minnesota institution"

Sun, 07/28/2013 - 8:22am

The Minnesota State Arts Board has awarded 154 grants totaling $13,873,269 to Minnesota organizations through its operating support program and the Community Arts Schools and Conservatories program. North House Folk School was one of those grant recipients, receiving $44,405 to continue its work.

North House Executive Director Greg Wright explained that the operating support program assists schools and arts programs that are considered “Minnesota institutions.”

Wright said the Minnesota State Arts Board understands the challenges of “keeping the lights on” and the operational support grants help meet day-to-day operations.

Unlike the grant that North House received from the Minnesota State Arts Board when it expanded its Unplugged: Northern Harvest event to include MPR’s Mountain Stage, which was an “Arts Tour” grant, operating support grants can be received more than once.

According to the Minnesota Arts Board, grants awarded in the operating support program support high quality, established arts organizations that produce, present, or exhibit works of art; nonprofit organizations that provide a broad range of services to artists; and community arts schools and conservatories that make arts learning available to Minnesotans of all ages and abilities. To ensure that North House is fulfilling that mission, members of the Minnesota State Arts Board visit the Grand Marais campus several times each year.

“They are very diligent about making sure we’re doing what we are supposed to be doing,” said Wright.

The operating support grant program is funded by an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature from the State of Minnesota general fund and the arts and cultural heritage fund and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.