Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Grand Marais Lions Club raffle to help purchase vision screener

Tue, 03/22/2016 - 8:53pm

The Grand Marais Lions Club does more than host the Fisherman’s Picnic celebration each year in August. The Lions Club International motto is “We serve” and Lions Clubs across the nation and the world serve their communities in many ways. One mission adopted by Lions Club is the preservation of vision and assistance to the sight impaired. The Grand Marais Lions Club has launched an effort to ensure youth visions screenings are the best they can be. The Lions are partnering with Cook County Schools and the North Shore Health Care Foundation to purchase a Spot Vision Screener.

The Spot Vision Screener, which does not require the patient to speak or participate in the test, is especially helpful for testing very young or non-verbal students that cannot be tested with a traditional eye chart.

The cost of the Spot Vision Screener is $7,500 and the Grand Marais Lions hope to raise a third of the expense. To raise the money the Lions are conducting a raffle with three major prizes, $400 gift cards from Buck’s Hardware, Mike’s Holiday Station and Grand Marais SuperAmerica.

Tickets are $10 and only 360 tickets are being sold. Tickets are available at the American Legion, Ryden’s Border Store, Buck’s, Holiday and SuperAmerica or from a Grand Marais Lion.

The drawing will be held April 8 at the American Legion.

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This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at www.cookcountynews-herald.com.

 

Meet new ISD 166 Superintendent Bill Crandall

Tue, 03/22/2016 - 8:41am
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The Cook County School District announced recently it will share a superintendent with another North Shore school district next year. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs has this story about the new superintendent. 
 

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Taco Fundraiser Benefit for Aubid Family Tuesday

Mon, 03/21/2016 - 11:35am

A Taco Fundraiser Benefit is being held to show support for the Aubid Family as Allan Aubid undergoes medical treatment for brain and lung cancer.

Allan and his partner Anna Deschampe live and work in Grand Portage, but both are currently on extended and unpaid leave of absence from their places of employment. The community is rallying to help Allan, Anna and their children with medical, travel and living expenses and a benefit will be held at the Grand Portage Community Center on Tuesday, March 22, starting at 3 p.m.

There will be raffles and a silent auction, a bake sale and dinner—Indian Tacos and Taco in a Bag. Wild rice gathered by Al Aubid will be available for sale. Entertainment will be provided by Portage and the Stonebridge Singers will offer drum songs.

Drawings for raffles and auction will start at 6:30 p.m.

Anyone unable to attend the benefit that would like to make a donation can do so online at www.gofundme.com/fctcbk34

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This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at www.cookcountynews-herald.com.

 

Family Dance sponsored by Cooperation Station Tuesday

Mon, 03/21/2016 - 11:34am

The Cooperation Station annual Family Dance and Fundraiser is here again! The event will be held at Voyageur Brewing Company on Tuesday, March 22.

Cooperation Station invites you to join them for a fun family night out with music, dancing, and a backyard cookout featuring a silent auction and kids raffle items. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with music by Rod & Caribou from 6-8:00 p.m. Suggested donation: $5/individual or $10 with dinner and $15/family or $25 with dinner. See ya there!

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This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at www.cookcountynews-herald.com.

County seeks legislation to improve electronic waste collection

Mon, 03/21/2016 - 11:32am

Tim Nelson, planning and zoning director, came before the Cook County Commissioners on March 15 with a request to have the board send a letter to Minnesota legislators showing the county’s support for a house and senate bill that, if passed, would help the county save money on waste electronic collections. 

Currently Cook County schedules collection events twice each year, with the county absorbing administrative and transportation costs and residents paying up front disposal costs.

“It, [the bill] would be more beneficial to many of the other counties that collect, store and transfer waste electronics on a continual basis,” said Nelson, adding, “But it would save Cook County between $4,000 to $5,000 per year in waste fees we pay to haul our collections.”

According to Nelson, the bill would shift responsibility for management and disposal costs to manufactures. Originally the bill, which was passed in 2007, required manufactures to recycle waste electronics and it was intended that manufacturers pick up the cost of management, transportation and disposal, but once electronic manufacturers realized they could reach their yearly mandated collection credits in larger communities, they stopped reaching out to rural communities, explained Nelson.

Commissioner Garry Gamble said, “I know we are all aware that costs passed on to manufacturers will be passed onto purchasers, but I am for it as a mechanism to dispose of our used electronics.”

“I question whether this bill will pass this year,” said Commissioner Frank Moe, “but I am in favor of it and we can always resubmit it next year if it doesn’t pass this year.” 

Commissioners voted to support Nelson’s request and made a motion to send a letter to the legislators in support of House File 1412 and its companion bill Senate File 1427.

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A little snow, a little cooler as March moves on

Mon, 03/21/2016 - 10:33am
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A little snow with some accumulation is expected in the front part of this week. In the meantime temps will be just about what we expect for March…maybe a bit cooler. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Carol Christenson

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Cooler weather doesn't mean ice is safe

Sat, 03/19/2016 - 10:50am

With cold weather returning across much of the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding ice anglers and other recreationists not to be fooled by any remaining ice on lakes and streams.

Over the past week, public safety officials have reported more than a half-dozen ice emergencies across the state involving anglers and ATV riders breaking through thin or weak ice.

“The freeze-thaw cycle produces extremely weak ice that is dangerously deceptive in its appearance and how thick it measures,” said Debbie Munson Badini, outreach coordinator with the DNR’s boat and water safety program. “A cold snap now doesn’t change the fact that ice had already begun melting and is continuing to deteriorate rapidly.”

According to the DNR, many lakes and streams in southern and central Minnesota are already ice-free, going from ice-covered to open water over the course of a day or two. As the sun gains strength with the onset of spring, ice conditions can change dramatically within a matter of hours even when the air temperature remains cold.

“We’ve had reports of anglers falling through ice that was just fine an hour earlier. That’s how fast things can change,” Munson Badini said. “If you do choose to venture onto late season ice, use extreme caution. Use a chisel to check the strength of the ice frequently, be sure to wear a life jacket or float coat, and remember that no fish is worth the risk of losing your life.”

While no ice-related fatalities have been reported yet during the 2015-2016 season, Munson Badini said this is the time of year when people tend to let their guard down about ice safety. She emphasized the importance of warning children and spring break visitors to stay away from ice and open water unless accompanied by a responsible adult.

WTIP Weekend News Roundup for March 19

Sat, 03/19/2016 - 10:47am
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Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. Wolves – or the lack thereof – are back in the Isle Royale news. Relief for Iron Range workers inches ahead. Cliffs will reopen in Silver Bay and Bigby is back in court…all this and more in the week’s news.

 

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Grand Marais mayor joins Active Transportation Caucus

Fri, 03/18/2016 - 3:19pm

Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux has joined with 30 other mayors from Greater Minnesota and suburban communities as a member of a mayoral caucus designed to give increased visibility to the importance of safer and better transportation infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists throughout Minnesota.

Known as the Minnesota Mayor Active Transportation Caucus, the informal group was formed to help create a broader understanding of the need for and importance of investing in quality pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure such as safer street crossings and routes to school, sidewalks and bicycle lanes. The caucus was founded by the mayors of Rochester, Apple Valley and Frazee.

 The caucus will serve as an informational resource for legislators from both political parties who represent constituencies throughout Minnesota. It will also work to educate policymakers and others on the transportation safety needs that exist in Minnesota’s communities.

“I believe that the work of the Active Transportation Caucus will complement the great work already done in Grand Marais as part of the Highway 61 Redesign Project and the other programs of our Moving Matters group. I hope that Grand Marais can learn from and contribute to the caucus in a way that will effectively make our state more healthy and active," Arrowsmith DeCoux said.

City and county leaders in Minnesota have reported a backlog of $1.3 billion in projects for sidewalks, curb ramps, safer intersections, and bike routes. Better pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure is viewed as essential to helping to improve safety and health in Minnesota’s communities. In 2013, 11 percent of traffic fatalities in Minnesota involved people who were walking or bicycling and more than 1,680 pedestrians and bicyclists were injured.

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County to pursue action against property owners with failed septics

Fri, 03/18/2016 - 3:17pm

On March 8, Cook County Attorney Molly Hicken told the Board of Commissioners that her office was going to start pursuing action against people who failed to repair or replace their failing septic systems.

Hicken said there are about 90 septic systems that were known to be out of compliance in the county, and the county would start with the oldest 50 cases in its pursuit of septic compliance enforcement.

Over time the county has been notifying people whose septic systems needed repair, said Hicken, and in most cases her office doesn’t even receive a call of acknowledgement that there is a problem that needs to be resolved.

“These people have had two years to do something, and most are well beyond that deadline. We’ve done everything we can,” Hicken said.

Because her office will need more help, Hicken said she was increasing Leah Ekstrom’s hours from 35 to 40 to help with the added work.

The first letters will go out in late March or early April. “The goal isn’t punishment,” said Hicken, “It’s compliance.”

Once contacted, a person must set a deadline and meet that deadline to have their systems repaired to meet county specifications.

Commissioner Frank Moe asked if the county’s septic loan program would be available for people who so far had failed to comply, and Hicken said it would be something they could use if needed.

Should cases go to court, the county may pursue having the litigant pay court costs. However, said Hicken, no decision has been made on that point yet.

The goal of the program, said Hicken, is to have the systems fixed within the next two years.

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This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at www.cookcountynews-herald.com.

Superior Hiking Trail rerouted near Pincushion

Fri, 03/18/2016 - 10:54am
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A 700-ft. section of the Superior Hiking Trail has been rerouted near Pincushion Mountain and the Gunflint Trail. Jody Nonnemacher of the Superior Hiking Trail Association in Grand Marais brings us this update. If there are any questions about the reroute near Pincushion, contact the SHTA office at 218-834-2700 or hike@shta.org.
 

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6th Annual Fingerstyle Masters Weekend, April 8-9

Fri, 03/18/2016 - 10:19am
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WTIP North Shore Community Radio and Bluefin Bay Resort in Tofte are pleased to announce the 6th Annual Fingerstyle Masters Weekend, April 8 and 9.  For this year’s event, local musician Gordon Thorne welcomes St. Paul fingerstyle guitarist Pat Donohue, and Twin Cities fiddler Tom Schaefer. The weekend features performances both Friday and Saturday night, as well as guitar and fiddle workshops during the day Saturday.
 
The event kicks off with a free concert at 8 pm, Friday, April 8, at the Bluefin Grille, featuring Gordon and friends playing blues, swing and early Americana.  For those looking to fine tune their own musical skills, workshops will be offered starting at 10 am Saturday, April 9, and are open to musicians of all ages and skill levels.  A free youth guitar workshop will be offered with Gordon Thorne from 10 am to noon.  Also, starting Saturday at 10 am will be a fingerstyle workshop with Pat Donohue, and a fiddle workshop with Tom Schaefer – both are $50 and include lunch.  Pre-registration for the workshops is requested by contacting Gordon at 218-353-7308 or
oman4@live.com.
 
The event caps off with a concert featuring Pat Donohue at 7:30 pm Saturday, April 9 in the upper room of the Bluefin Grille. Tickets for the Saturday evening concert are $20 per person and will be available at the door, or in advance by contacting Gordon at 218-353-7308 or
oman4@live.com.  Everyone is welcome to attend any or all of the events as part of the Fingerstyle Masters Weekend. Funding for this event is supported in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, and all proceeds will benefit WTIP’s equipment replacement project. 

Nice winter weather returns for the weekend

Thu, 03/17/2016 - 10:26am
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No more snow in sight, but maybe a little rain and cooler temperatures. Still and all, a pretty nice weekend for getting out to enjoy what’s left of winter.  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Huyck.

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White nose syndrome found in bats at Soudan Underground Mine

Thu, 03/17/2016 - 10:06am

In late January several hundred bats were found dead near the main entrance of the Vermillion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) employees.

When the bats were tested by the United States Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center, it was determined they had suffered from white-nose syndrome (WNS), a disease that attacks and kills bats that have been hibernating.

An invasive fungus from Europe, WNS was discovered in New York in 2007, and since then has spread to 30 states, killing more than 5 million bats.

The disease causes fuzzy white growths on the noses and faces of the bats, and the fungus eats its way into their wings. Sick bats awaken from hibernation. It is believed they fly out into the cold and die from exposure or from starvation when no bugs can be found.

DNR employees first discovered WNS at the Soudan site in 2013, and they have kept a watchful eye for its expected return.

Minnesota has four bat species that hibernate in the winter. The most affected bats seem to be the little brown bat and the northern long-eared bat. The northern long-eared bat (NLEB) has been placed on the endangered species list as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and last year an interim rule was implemented to protect the NLEB bat from logging and construction operations.

In January 2016, the FWS finalized its rule on the northern long-eared bat, which prohibits timber harvest within 150 feet of “known, occupied maternity roost trees from June 1 to July 31” and prohibits logging within a quarter mile of a known hibernacula (winter den) year-round.  As of June 2015, the state had identified 25 known hibernacula and 163 roost trees in Minnesota. While Lake County was identified as having two roost trees and one hibernacula, Cook County was found to have neither.

Learn more about gulls at Sugarloaf Cove

Wed, 03/16/2016 - 9:57pm

You may know them as sea gulls, but did you know that there are many species of gulls and that the North Shore and Duluth are a great place to look for them?

Join gull fanatic Clinton Nienhaus at Sugarloaf Cove on March 19 at 10 a.m. to discover the amazing diversity of gulls found along the North Shore.

The North Shore is host to many species of overwintering gulls including Iceland, glaucous, Thayer’s, great black-backed, and herring gulls. But you can also find the less common lesser black-backed and ring-billed gulls or something really rare!

Iceland, glaucous, and Thayer’s gulls are high Arctic breeders and great and lesser black-backed gulls visit from the east coast. But, how do you know who is who?

Join Nienhaus as he talks about these amazing birds and gives you some great identification tips.

For more information, call Sugarloaf Cove at (218) 525-0001.

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This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at www.cookcountynews-herald.com.