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15th Annual Fingerstyle Masters Weekend starts April 10

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 4:12pm

This weekend’s 5th annual Fingerstyle Masters Weekend offers fiddle and guitar workshops, and a Saturday concert. WTIP volunteer Yvonne Mills spoke with guitarist Gordon Thorne on North Shore Morning.

The Fingerstyle Masters Weekend kicks off Friday, April 10, with an informal evening of blues, swing, and old-timey American music in the Bluefin Grille. Workshops are Saturday, April 11 from 10 a.m., and offer a variety of fingerstyle guitar and fiddle instruction.

The event caps off Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a concert featuring world-renowned guitarist Mike Dowling and friends in the upper room of the Bluefin Grille.

Everyone is welcome to attend any or all of the events as part of the Fingerstyle Masters Weekend. Pre-registration for the workshops is requested and concert tickets may be reserved by contacting Gordon Thorne at 218-353-7308 or email

All profits from the Fingerstyle Masters Weekend will be donated to WTIP North Shore Community Radio to support the station’s important Transmitter Replacement project. More information about WTIP is available at Tickets for the concert are available at the door, $15.00 per person. All profits from the Fingerstyle Masters Weekend will be donated to WTIP North Shore Community Radio to support the station’s important Transmitter Replacement project. More information about WTIP is available at" itemprop="description">

~Listen to the Story

Lutsen looks at expanding township boundaries

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 2:43pm

At the Tuesday, March 17 Lutsen Town Meeting, Supervisor Andrew Beavers said he has continued to explore the possibility of expanding Lutsen’s boundaries. He said County Auditor Braidy Powers said it is a matter of getting the people in the area to be included in the township, instead of Lutsen’s unorganized territory, to sign a petition. Auditor Powers told him it is then a matter of having the township border lines redrawn, which the county could help with.

Beavers said a “hiccup” in the petition process is that there may not be 20 or more registered voters in the area to be added to the Lutsen town borders as previously discussed, which was the Deeryard Lake area. However, he said he has heard from some residents on Cascade Beach Road who also want to be included in the township proper and the petition could include them as well. Supervisor Larry McNeally said, “It seems like there is a whole unorganized territory between Lutsen and Grand Marais that could be up for grabs.”

Fire Chief Paul Goettl noted that these property owners are already in the Lutsen fire district. “So they are paying to support the fire department already,” he said.

Supervisor Beavers said, “Yes, this would just give them the opportunity to vote in township elections.”

The board agreed to pursue the boundary change and Clerk Amity Goettl said she would ask the county’s GIS specialist Kyle Oberg if he could create some maps to give the board the chance to compare the current township boundary, the fire district boundary and the potential changes.


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


City supports North Shore Hospital grant application for expansion

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 2:41pm

At the request of the Cook County North Shore Hospital and Care Center, Grand Marais city councilors agreed March 25, 2015 to support a grant application for $350,000 from the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board in support of the hospital’s proposed $24 million expansion and renovation project.

Kimber Wraalstad, hospital administrator, explained that the council’s action is necessary because awards through the state agency’s Development Infrastructure Grant Program are made only to cities. If received, the funds would be used toward the cost of earthwork, utilities infrastructure including electrical, sewer and water services, and other exterior improvements such as asphalt and concrete work.

Wraalstad stressed that there is no financial commitment on the part of the city in submitting the grant; the city will act only as a pass-through and all of the construction will be performed and supervised by the hospital and its building contractor.

Wraalstad and hospital maintenance director Rory Smith gave an extensive presentation on the 50-year-old facility’s history and subsequent renovations. Wraalstad said serious talks about the pending project began in 2010 and were mostly sparked by a need for more space and privacy due to changing demographics and regulations governing health-care facilities. Currently there are 37 beds in the care center and 16 in the hospital.

Council voted unanimously to submit the application on behalf of the hospital with approval of a resolution. A grant agreement between the state and the city that will require the city to publicly bid the portion of the project funded by the grant and pay the contractors will also be required if the city wins the funding.

Septic installers to meet with P & Z April 8

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 5:42am

On Wednesday, April 8, septic system installers will again meet with members of the county’s Planning and Zoning department to review areas of agreement and concern over implementation of the current septic ordinance. County Planning Director Tim Nelson told WTIP he believes we have a very good and professional bunch of septic contractors who do have the very difficult task of trying to design and install affordable systems in our county under challenging physical and regulatory conditions.  He also believes that they are very close to finishing up with the ordinance language revisions, especially with regard to a couple of sticking points.

The current Cook County Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems (SSTS) Ordinance was adopted on March 11, 2014 after several  years of being worked on initially by a committee appointed by commissioners and then
continued through a special task force. The process included several public hearings, county board work session and meetings with septic contractors.

Nelson points out that when the SSTS Ordinance was published for the final public hearing before the Planning Commission, there wasn’t a single public comment submitted, and nobody attended the hearing to speak to the ordinance provisions either in favor or in opposition. He said we all  took that as a sign that people were ready to move forward. That said, unexpected issues are always anticipated with new ordinances.

Planning and Environmental Health staff have met informally with the septic contractors since early January of this year with the intent of listening to their concerns and comments, and to further explore possible ordinance amendments and improvements in customer service to make the program more efficient and equitable.

At the April 8 meeting, staff and contractors will meet to review a final set of proposed ordinance provisions that will be discussed at a public hearing with the Planning Commission on April 29. After that it goes to the County Board for adoption, prior to the start of the construction season.

Issues expected to be reviewed April 8 include revising the approach to inspections and enforcement as well as the process of “abandonment” -- or the destruction of old systems. Nelson said one of the main concerns also expressed by the installers was the desire to see improved customer service from the Environmental Health staff. He said all department staff members will be required to attend two levels of customer service training including providing exceptional customer service, and how to handle situations in ways to keep disagreements from escalating.

In recognition that septic issues are often “flash points” Nelson has met with regional Planning & Zoning Administrators, and gained support for
starting a regional group of just the septic inspectors as a means of promoting consistence throughout the region where possible, and encourage peer internal growth & development.

Nelson said, “Our goal is to build trust through very clear, reasonable
and consistent standards, and to balance our responsibility of environmental protection with the flexibility needed for our unique county topography and features.”


Happy Easter and Passover!

Sun, 04/05/2015 - 8:33am

Holiday greetings and Happy Spring from all of us at the Cook County News-Herald!

Minnesota Deer Hunter Association sponsors Forkhorn Youth Summer Camps

Sun, 04/05/2015 - 8:07am

At a time when most states are watching hunter numbers fall, Minnesota is enviably experiencing a fairly stable hunter population. Why? One reason may be the subtle but prolific Forkhorn Youth Summer Camps sponsored by Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA).

MDHA’s Forkhorn Youth Summer Camps certify youth 11-17 years of age in Firearms Safety, Bow Hunter Education and Advanced Hunter Education. Additionally, campers learn about woodsmanship, ethical hunting, wilderness survival, wildlife biology, hunting techniques and much more.

MDHA has seven environmental learning center locations across Minnesota. Facilities include the Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement in Maple Plain, Deep Portage Conservation Reserve in Hackensack, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center in Lanesboro, Kiwanis Boy Scout Camp in Marine on the St. Croix, Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center in Spicer, Laurentian Environmental learning Center in Britt, and Long Lake Conservation Center in Palisade.

The Arrowhead Chapter of Minnesota Deer Hunters Association is now accepting applications for Forkhorn Camp scholarships.  This year, the Arrowhead Chapter in Cook County will provide up to $2,625 and six scholarships for area youth.  This is made possible by several local fund raising projects throughout the year with the support of our community.

To apply with MDHA’s Arrowhead Chapter for a Forkhorn Camp scholarship, contact Orvis Lunke at (218) 370-1200 for more details and to get on the active list.


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

For more information:
Call: 218-353-7308