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News and other information from Cook County

What’s happening on the 4th?

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 4:10pm

As usual, the 4th of July in Cook County is shaping up to be very busy. There are parades and fireworks. There is a lot of music and a lot of fun throughout the weekend.

The July 4th weekend will be very busy in Cook County, with an arts festival, lots of music, fireworks and parades as well as plenty of family activities.


One of the biggest events for the 4th of July is the 34th annual Tofte Trek 10K Wilderness Run & Walk.  The muddy walk/run has a 9 a.m. start at Birch Grove Community Center.  On-site registration starts at 7:45 a.m. Kids’ races start at 9:05 a.m.

Festivities continue in Tofte at the Tofte Fire Hall and Town Park from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be music by Cook County’s Most Wanted at 11 a.m., the Cook County High School Band at noon and D’Merritt after the parade until 5 p.m.

The terrific Tofte Parade starts at 2 p.m. Before and after the parade, there are local arts and crafts, food, a beer garden, Smoothies made by the Birch Grove Community School, and lots of fun. Fireworks over the lake begin at 10 p.m.


There will be music, food, and fabulous art at the Hovland Summer Arts Festival on Friday, July 4 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday, July 5, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hovland Town Hall. 

The amazing art at the festival includes a variety of arts and crafts, lathe-turned bowls, jewelry, painting, photography, fused glass, ceramics, sculpture and stone carving, wood art and more.

There’s a great lineup of musicians as well: John and Martine Redshaw, Blueberry JAAM with Jim and Michele Miller and Andy and Amy Schmidt, Roxann Berglund and Briand Morrison, Joe and Jessi, Maria Nickolay, Pushing Chain and Pickled Beats.


Ice Cream Social Fundraiser for Chiapas, Mexico on July 4th

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 11:12am

The First Congregational Church of Grand Marais and St. John's Catholic Church have parterned together to put on an ice cream social on July 4, from 6-8 p.m at the First Congregational Church. This event will raise money for a Mayan congregation in Chiapas, Mexico.


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County sets policy to require audit for some nonprofits

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 9:58am

As he does every year, Auditor Braidy Powers presented a schedule of meetings, notifications and deadlines for planning of the 2015 county budget on Tuesday, June 24. After adopting the budget calendar and approving the budget preparation guidelines for county department heads, commissioners continued discussing a question that was unresolved during last year’s budget cycle. What sort of audit should be the prerequisite to distributing grant funds to non-mandated entities?

In October 2013, the county board approved the requirement for audits for the non-mandated entities to which it provides funding such as the Violence Prevention Center, WTIP Radio, Grand Marais Public Library, the Volunteer Attorney Program, Cook County Higher Education, Legal Aid, Birch Grove Foundation, Cook County Historical Society, North Shore Music Association, and the Cook County Council on Aging. The board agreed to require an audit for organizations receiving over $50,000 from the county.

However, Auditor Powers said just what sort of audit is required needs to be clarified as the board begins meeting with those non-mandated organizations.

In the audience to hear the discussion were Cook County Senior Center Director Bev Green and Cook County Council on Aging Treasurer Warren Anderson. The Council on Aging had sent the county board a letter, expressing dismay that their organization was “cherry picked” to have an audit completed before funding would be granted to them last year.

Green noted that the county commissioners had still not come up with a policy after nine months.

The Senior Center received $81,000 from the county in 2013 and will receive that amount again in 2014.

Grand Marais Art Colony features artist Tim Pearson at July 5 Exhibit Opening

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 2:14pm

July is a busy month for the Grand Marais Art Colony.  In addition to their annual Arts Festival, there will also be an artist exhibit starting this Saturday featuring the work of Tim Pearson.  WTIP volunteer Tracy Benson spoke with Carolyn Fritz of the Art Colony about July's events on North Shore Morning.

Painter and local artist, Tim Pearson, will be the July featured artist in the Spotlight Gallery.

Meet the Artist | July 5, 1-3pm
Exhibit open | July 5-31
120 West 3rd Avenue 

More information at available through the Grand Marais Art Colony - 218-387-2737.

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"Visit Cook County" appoints 2014-2015 board members, plans move

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 12:30pm

Visit Cook County (Cook County Visitors Bureau) has appointed its board of directors for the 2014-15 fiscal year.  The CCVB board works to ensures representation from every part of the county and oversees the marketing and promotion of all our natural wonders. 

Visit Cook County looks forward to an exciting year.  Linda Kratt, executive directive, dreams big.  "We have contracted with a marketing partner, Giant Voices from Duluth, as well as a media relations firm, LIN PR and Associates from the Metro area. The summer campaign includes complete bus wraps and the recent waterfall campaign drew much attention.  We've been featured three of the past four weekends in the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press."

The CCVB was formed in 2010 and combined the marketing efforts of the Gunflint Trail Association (GTA), Grand Marais Area Tourist Association (GMATA), Lutsen Tofte Schroeder Tourism Association (LTTA), and Grand Portage.  The administrative team and information centers in Grand Marais and Tofte support the tourism and marketing initiatives. 

Bob McCloughan will serve as board chair for 2014-15. Other executive committee members include Dave Tersteeg, Charles Skinner, Nancy Burns and Frank Vecchio.

A move on the horizon

The CCVB administrative team will soon be joining the Grand Marais Information Center team under one roof.  The final details are being finalized for purchase of the Gunflint Reality Building on Highway 61 (next to the Grand Marais Dairy Queen). 

The high visibility on Highway 61 will undoubtedly draw more visitors to the Info Center.  While the summer in Cook County is always busy (approximately 25,000 visitors during July, August and September), the highway presence will promote shoulder season visits.  

Tofte board approves Birch Grove Community School lease

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 12:28pm

On Tuesday, June 24, Tofte Township supervisors approved a one-year lease for the Birch Grove Community School at a special town board meeting.

The lease calls for the school to pay the Tofte township $37,502 to use 4,412 square feet of space in the Birch Grove Community Center building for the year 2014 - 2015.

Under terms of the agreement, the school will switch its office space with the office that currently houses the Birch Grove Foundation director.  Otherwise the school will use the classrooms it used last year and share the same common space (the gym, playground, hockey rink, tennis courts etc.) that the other three tenants now share at no additional charge.

The Birch Grove Foundation is in charge of the building and grounds while the town of Tofte owns the facility. The school is the biggest tenant in the building and a lease payment of $37,502 will go a long way towards paying the approximate $73,000 yearly operating cost for the community center


This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald