The following content was contributed by Cook County News Herald

As city levy deadline nears, council considers no increase

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 9:44am

With an end-of-the-year deadline to adopt a 2015 property tax levy looming, Grand Marais city councilors agreed Dec. 10 to leave the levy number unchanged from this year’s figure. If councilors follow up those sentiments with their official budget and levy resolution on Dec. 31, it will be the third year in a row taxpayers will be assessed a levy of $824,152.

Councilors had proposed setting the levy at $839,783–a 1.9 percent increase over this year–in September when the preliminary levy and budget were adopted. Since then, the numbers have been revised downward, resulting in a tentative $832,059 levy–a 0.96 percent increase–that came under scrutiny Dec. 10.

The proposed $8,000 reduction in the preliminary levy is the result of an anticipated increase in revenues from the Rec Park and campground.


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

County sets levy with increase of 6.67 increase

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 9:43am

Exhausted, exasperated and looking ready to surrender, the county board did some last minute number crunching and cut the final 2015 levy to 6.67 percent at its Tuesday, December 16, 2014 meeting.

Voting for the levy of $6,516,740 were Commissioners Bruce Martinson, Jan Hall and Heidi Doo-Kirk. Voting against was Garry Gamble. Commissioner Sue Hakes was absent because she was out of town.

The board has wrestled and wrangled over the budget since it received requests totaling $7,808,997 in July, a 27.8 percent increase from the 2014 levy. Over the course of the last five months the board has pared that number by $1,292,257.

Still there were last minute cuts. They came mostly from nonprofit requests and totaled $20,000. The board cut $3,000 from Birch Grove School; $1,000 for Incredible Exchange; $5,000 from Higher Education; $10,000 from the Birch Grove Foundation; and $1,000 from Soil & Water.

Commissioner Gamble said he didn’t like the process the board used, feeling it picked “winners and losers” and advocated for a more fair way to divvy out taxpayer dollars and cautioned that the board should be more prudent with the dollars on hand.


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



Audubon Christmas Bird Count is Saturday, Dec. 20

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 10:52am

Both feeder watchers and birders to walk or drive are needed for the 2014 Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) on Saturday, December 20.

Participants can cover as much or as little as they would like in the Grand Marais counting circle, which is a 7.5-mile radius circle from a point 3 miles south of the middle of Devil Track Lake.  The count circle covers Highway 61 to Lindskog Road and north, some of County Rd 60, the Gunflint Trail to the landfill road, Pine Mountain Road to the backside of Elbow Lake, Devil Track Road to Bally Creek Road, Ball Club Road to The Grade, Pike Lake Rd, and Highway 61west to Cascade Lodge, and all of the lakeshore between Lindskog Road and Cascade Lodge.

Participants can be novice to professional, since CBCs are open to birders of all skill levels.  CBC Bird Count Compiler Jeremy Ridlbauer said, “We can use both walkers and drivers as well as feeder watchers that can identify birds and can count the highest number of a single species in an area as well.

“We'll also need any species of birds that you see in the count circle, but not on the count day.  This ‘count week’ happens for the three days prior and three days after the count day of Saturday.”

For count day, participants need a guidebook, binoculars, a scope for lake birding, warm clothes, warm boots/Yak Traks, a logbook to record your observations, and a keen and quick eye to count our winter rarities!  

If you are a feeder watcher, keep you feeders full up and through count day to encourage birds to be there on that day, have various foods available in feeders and on the ground to entice as many species as possible.

While Audubon's National CBC effort began Christmas Day 1900, the first known Minnesota CBCs were conducted on Christmas Day 1905 in Minneapolis, and Red Wing. During those last 108 years, the Christmas Bird Count has been conducted uninterrupted in the state and has grown to include almost 70 census circles and involved more than 28,000 participants. Each and every year greater than 1,000 participants canvas the state to conduct the survey.

These participants have logged nearly 77,000 total hours, traveling approximately 548,000 miles. The Minnesota CBC has tallied over 8.5 million birds of 201 species.

Please contact Jeremy Ridlbauer @ or 370-0733 to notify organizers about what area you can cover or what feeder or area you'll be watching.

We'd like to contact you or have you contact us on the count day to report results.  Participants are invited to meet at 4:15 p.m. at he Blue Water Cafe on count day to compile results.


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



The following content was contributed by WTIP North Shore Community Radio

Shift in EPA funding impacts the future of the Lake Superior Binational Forum

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 12:53pm

The Lake Superior Binational Forum will be impacted by a shift in EPA funding. WTIP host Joey Detrick spoke with Lissa Radke, U.S. Coordinator of the Forum, on North Shore Morning. 

To learn more about the change in funding for the Lake Superior Binational Forum, or to submit comments regarding this change, go to:

More information about Lake Superior issues can be found on WTIP's Lake Superior Project.

(Photo courtesy of Lake Superior Binational Forum)

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Cook County YMCA celebrates its 1st birthday

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 11:43am

There are several upcoming events and new classes at the Cook County YMCA. WTIP host Joey Detrick spoke with Michaela Buchheit and Betsy Blaisdell of the Cook County YMCA on North Shore Morning.

For  more information on YMCA events and activities contact:

Betsy Blaisdell
Membership Director
Cook County Community YMCA
218-387-3386 x503
P.O. Box 787, Grand Marais, MN 55604

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Weather: Rain turning to snow with seasonal temperatures

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 10:12am

Rain turning to snow, followed by more seasonal temperatures. WTIP's Jay Andersen spoke with meteorologist Mike Stewart about this week's weather.

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