As I write this column, members of the Cook County DFL are preparing for an interesting public meeting on Saturday, January 30: Everything you wanted to know about caucuses, but were afraid to ask.
The notice of the presentation was in last week’s News-Herald and posters were up all over the county. It was hosted by the Cook County DFL, but I hope a lot of people attended, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Greens or undecided voters. No matter your political affiliation, there is a political caucus to attend and the process is similar for all.
And for many, the concept of caucuses and the part they play in our political process is a bit bewildering. I will admit that before I started working at the local newspaper, I never thought about taking part in caucuses. I had no clue what went on at a caucus and that I could—and should—take part.
Since working at the newspaper, I’ve attended enough caucuses—both Republican and Democrat—to now understand how it works and what to expect. But I still remember the first caucus I attended, a DFL caucus at the Cook County Senior Center.
I forget how long ago it was, but I do remember that Joanne Hart of Grand Portage was one of the caucus facilitators. She was lively and welcoming and made everyone feel comfortable as they signed in and then began discussion of the political topics and resolution making.
Since then I’ve attended more than a dozen caucuses and all have been interesting. It is remarkable to see long-time caucus attendees with ideas and resolutions in hand, ready to go. And it is exciting to watch first-time attendees realize that they have a voice, that they can fill out a slip of paper with an idea on how to change our government.
Often resolutions brought forward are already covered by language in the party platform. Those are quickly set aside so time can be spent discussing new ideas, possible additions or changes to the platform. Cynics may say that the political parties are entrenched in their platforms and nothing can change that. Changes to the platforms are made at national conventions, so there are some who believe resolutions made at the local level have little impact.
But if more and more citizens attend caucuses and reach consensus on an issue, momentum to make a change could grow. The resolutions introduced at precinct caucuses, if approved, get sent on to county conventions and then on to the state convention. Delegates from the state convention travel to the national convention and there they can lobby one another for modification to various parts of the party platform—its planks.
Party platforms cover issues ranging from immigration reform, health care, energy, abortion, taxes, the management of social security and more. It is true that the party platforms change little from year to year, but it has been known to happen. For example, in recent years the Democratic Party agreed that its platform should be amended to address concerns about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and to call for more citizen service through an expansion of the AmeriCorps and Peace Corps programs. The Republican Party modified its platform to seek increases in the age of eligibility for Medicare and Social Security because of increased longevity and to curtail the power of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Once the platform is set it becomes the manifesto for the candidates elected to represent us. DFL representatives adhere to the Democratic platform; GOP to the Republican platform. That somewhat explains the gridlock that affects our state and national legislatures.
Think of the power if citizens came forward with the same ideas from both parties. I know, it is unlikely on most of the tenets of the respective party platforms. However, after the last caucus, fellow reporter Brian Larsen and I compared notes. We checked off the lists of the resolutions introduced and sighed over the vast divide between the parties. Until we reached one resolution that had been offered by caucus attendees at both the Republican and the Democratic caucuses.
Citizens of both persuasions asked their party to forward a resolution to the county, then state, then national convention, asking that the people who represent us—our Congressmen, our Senators, and the President—fall under the same health care laws as the average citizen, instead of having access to a gold standard federal health plan. I like the idea. I think it is only fair that those making the laws fall under the same mandates as the rest of us.
But even more than the fact that I like the proposal, I was delighted to see consensus among participants at both caucuses. Unfortunately I haven’t seen this proposal added to either the Republican or Democratic platform yet, but I have hope. I would love to see this brought forward again and again, until our legislative representatives listen.
Even better, I would like to see citizens work together on other issues to try to bridge the gaps between political parties. It seems that our entrenched legislators can’t do it. Maybe voters can. And it all starts at the basic political unit, the precinct caucus. Mark your calendar to attend on March 1, 2016. Change could happen, but we won’t know unless we try.
Someone came to the end of the Gunflint Trail the other day with paddle in hand and ready to go into the BWCA. Unfortunately it will be a few months before there is open water so hopefully he’ll stick around.
Do you want to build a snowman? Cassidy did!
Voyageur Brewing Company to Host Anniversary Celebration Fit for an Adventurer
Grand Marais, Minnesota—Attention craft beer drinkers, outdoor adventurers, lake lovers, art lovers, and those simply wanting to enjoy a great North Shore party: Rendezbrew 2016– the first anniversary celebration of Voyageur Brewing Company ‐‐ is February 19‐20th at the Voyageur taproom in Grand Marais, Minnesota.
Voyageur Brewing Company is celebrating one year of brewing adventurous craft beers with its North Shore anniversary party complete with great beer, food, art, music and fun. And, as part of the anniversary celebration Voyageur will debut Hivernant – it’s new Imperial Stout.
Hivernant (French for “winterer “) is a signature brew created by Head Brewer, Jason Baumgarth, to celebrate Voyageur’s anniversary and the local influence of Voyageur beer. This small batch release will be bottled in 750ml wax dipped bottles featuring special artwork from local artist, Jeff Niesen.
“Craft beer is our way of expressing ourselves,” said Baumgarth. “We’re excited to share this signature beer with our customers and to invite new customers to experience our bold and adventurous craft beer at the anniversary party. We’re not just celebrating Voyageur Brewing, but all of the adventurers and voyageurs out there who love craft beer, the North Shore, and we’re excited to celebrate with the local community. The local artwork featured on the Hivernant label is an expression of that.”
Hivernant will be a taproom exclusive. Voyageur Brewing Company plans to brew an artistic Imperial Stout annually featuring labels by different artists.
“There’s no better way for us to thank our customers than by hosting an adventure right here in our taproom on the North Shore of Lake Superior,” said Cara Sporn, co‐owner and company spokesperson. “Over the course of two days, we’re inviting people to come sample our beer, tour the
taproom, dance, paint, and enjoy a host of amazing local musicians. If you haven’t had a chance to visit, this is the perfect opportunity.”
Local musicians will take the stage in Voyageur’s taproom on both Friday and Saturday. Timmy Haus will kick things off at 4 pm on Friday, Feb. 19, with Pete Kavanaugh to follow. Eric Frost and Friends will conclude the night starting at 8 pm. On Saturday, Feb. 2oth, Gene LaFond and Amy Grillo will take the stage starting at 2 pm. With Heck Yeah Holler String Band, Jim and Michelle Miller and Plucked Up String Band following.
Adding to the festivities are plenty of opportunities to score some Voyageur Brewing swag throughout the weekend, including tickets to a future Voyageur Brewing Company Paint and Brew hosted by Palette by Perfect Fit.
Voyageur Brewing Company can be found in a variety of North Shore, Duluth and Twin Cities establishments. For more on the company, its celebration and where to buy this fine brew, visit: voyageurbrewing.com.
The post Rendezbrew 2016 – Voyageur Brewing One Year Anniversary Celebration appeared first on Voyageur Brewing Company.
I wish I could say there was something good to report about moose in Minnesota but I can’t. The population continues to decline and although biologists know what is killing the majority of them there isn’t much that can be done for them that isn’t controversial.
Moose in Northern Minnesota have a few strikes against them. The change in climate can be blamed for some of their challenges. Warmer weather during the winter seasons has contributed to the deer herd moving north. When we first moved to the end of the Gunflint Trail in 1993 it was a rare occurence to see a deer. They didn’t do well in the woods due to the extremely cold temperatures, deep snow and lack of food for them. As winters got warmer the deer moved north and brought with them brain worm.
Deer can survive with brain worm but moose don’t fair as well. In their weakened state they are more likely to get attacked by other prey or die of starvation.
The moose population isn’t well nourished. Researchers have concluded on the warmer days of winter moose don’t eat as much as they need to. That combined with the shorter winters that don’t kill of the tick population also contributes to their not as strong as they should be state.
Combine that with the very healthy population of wolves and we have a clear picture of why the moose herd is declining in Minnesota.
What can be done? The deer herd on the Gunflint Trail has dropped dramatically over the past few years. For the moose that is great news but there are a few folks who want to hunt deer up here. In my opinion there are plenty of other places to hunt for deer in Minnesota and elsewhere. Is there a state where there a state there isn’t a deer hunt?
The wolf population in Northern Minnesota needs special management. Why have Fish and Wildlife Divisions in each state or a Department of Natural Resources if they aren’t allowed to manage separate from the bigger picture? We shouldn’t have to suffer because other places in the lower 48 don’t have wolves, we don’t want all of them here.
This article explains the situation better and I encourage you to read it.
Dwindling herd, survey taken every January.
CAUSES OF MOOSE MORTALITY, 2013-2016
Of 47 documented moose deaths from February 2013 to January 2016, most were from illness.PREDATION 16 Confirmed and suspected wolf kills HEALTH RELATED 15 Parasites (brainworm, winter ticks, liver flukes, other parasites) 10 Bacterial infection/ predator related 5 Undetermined health problems 1 Accident Sources: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, University of Minnesota, NCompass Technologies
It snowed off and on all day long today. It was a very wet and heavy snow and it’s the time of the year when the novelty of shoveling has worn off. My shoulders are still sore!
More snow is predicted for tomorrow and then the temperatures are expected to cool down into the single digits during the week. By next weekend the temperature forecast calls for nice winter temperatures for the long Presidents Day Weekend.
Hopefully we’ll be able to get out and enjoy the beautiful winter weather.
Lately, Andy and I have been searching for Mavis.
No, not that Mavis; Mavis Lake, located a half mile south of Round Lake and just east of Missing Link Lake. It’s a little puddle of a Boundary Waters lake that the DNR keeps stocked with brook trout. You can access Mavis from the easternmost point of Missing Link Lake via a 40 rod portage.
But what if there was a way to get into Mavis directly from Round, allowing you to bypass Missing Link altogether?
According to local old timers, back in the Leeds’ family time at Tuscarora, there used to be a portage from Round to Mavis that took off not far from the Round to Missing Link portage and cut southeast along a flowage. In fact, this portage was the preferable route into Mavis since the Missing Link to Mavis portage features a pretty steep uphill climb.
The trail’s not just a figment of locals’ imaginations. If you go onto the DNR’s LakeFinder website and look at Mavis’s fish survey, the DNR indicates that as of Autumn 2003, there was indeed a portage trail from Round Lake to Mavis.
Curiouser and curiouser.
There’s just one little problem. While 2003 isn’t exactly ancient history, it doesn’t take very long for BWCAW forest to reestablish itself and reclaim a portage path. Anyone who’s tried to bushwhack through Minnesota woods known it’s a very slow process mostly spent untangling yourself from balsam and aspen saplings. If the trail really hadn’t been used for over a decade, we also knew some of those saplings were going to be decent sized trees by now and portage’s path wasn’t going to be too obvious.
But even if the chances of success were low, we couldn’t not look for this neglected path. “Because it’s there,” as George Mallory would say.
We set out a couple weeks back, choosing to cut up the Round Lake shoreline just below the cliffs near the Missing Link portage. We waded through snow, clambered up cliffs (and occasionally slide down cliffs), had amble amounts of snow fall down our necks and while I was sure we just had to make it over the hillside to reach (or at least see) Mavis, Andy’s GPS told a different story. After a half hour crashing through brush, we’d only made it about 2/10ths of a mile away from Round Lake. We ceded defeat and turned around. At least we enjoyed some great views on a beautiful bluebird day.
But we weren’t going give up just yet. Thanks to some information that came in from a Leeds’ family member, we were able to pinpoint the starting point for the elusive Round to Mavis portage. Last Sunday afternoon, we set out again, slightly more hopeful that we’d clamp eyes on Mavis this go-round.
We found the starting point easily enough along the shoreline and we wound our way through the young forest, trying to determine if we were going through growth that wasn’t older than 12 years.
But it didn’t take long before we ran into this particular winter’s obstacle of brush bent over by the weight of a very heavy snowfall back in mid-December. The bent over brush really changes the look of the forest and it was hard to tell how to navigated around the low areas most affected by the “bend over.”
Undeterred, we pressed on. . . through waist deep snow that pushed up our pant legs and through low hanging balsam branches that tried to steal our hats. It was pretty clear we weren’t on the right path, but by the time we acknowledged that, we were closer to Mavis than to Round and it made more sense to just keep moving forward, albeit at a snail’s pace through the thick forest.
Then, at long last, in the words of William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame: “Ocian in view! Oh! the joy!”
Beautiful Mavis lake.
By the time we were back at our starting point, it was about two hours later and we’d gone a whole . . . wait for it . . . mile.
Moral of the story: It’s totally possible to make it to Mavis Lake from Round Lake. But for this winter at least, the Missing Link to Mavis portage is the best bet. We’ll leave rediscovery of the Round Lake to Mavis portage for a time when there isn’t 30 inches of snow and miles of downed brush in the woods. For the time being, Mavis remains both lost and found. Until next time . . .
Nace Hagemann took some amazing photos of this year’s Beargrease, these are just a few. Find more on his website.
It doesn’t look like I’ll be making a trek out to the ice caves near the Apostle Islands this year. It doesn’t look like many people will be walking on the Great Lakes at all this year. The mild temperatures have kept the big lakes relatively ice free. That’s a bummer for some but for others it’s a blessing.
The shipping industry is happy for the lack of ice on the Great Lakes. Not only have they been able to extend their season but also they will most likely not have a delay to start in the spring. Ice breakers will not need to forge the way for the ships unless we receive some drastically cold weather soon.
Find our more about the ice on the Great Lakes or lack there of it by reading this article.
At the monthly meeting on January 26, 2016, Arrowhead Cooperative’s Board of Directors did something they have been able to hold off for four years. The board approved a new rate schedule for all services.
The Cooperative has made every effort to maintain the rates the board set in 2012 by cutting operating expenses, sharing costs with the broadband buildout, and responsibly managing our debt. Increases in Arrowhead Cooperative’s costs, however, can no longer be absorbed and the Board made the difficult but responsible decision to increase electric rates.
The increases are not large, ranging from 2-2.5% for most rate programs, but any increase in cost affects our membership. These adjustments are necessary for the financial health of the cooperative and for our continued ability to provide safe and reliable power to our members.
The chart below lists the new and old rates for residential services.
2012-2015 RateGeneral Service (winter)
.1180General Service (June-Aug)
.0730Service Availability Charge
These rates will be in effect on the bills members receive at the beginning of March. It is our goal to pass along pricing information to our members in a timely manner. Unplanned increases due to factors such as increased purchased power costs and inflation pressures often give us less time to communicate about pricing adjustments. More information about the new rates will be available in the March newsletter and included with the bills. Arrowhead Cooperative offers a number of options to help members manage their power bills. Some of those services are automatic payment options, budget billing, and energy efficiency programs. To learn more about these please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at 800-864-3744.
MONDAY FEBRUARY 8th
City Council Chambers
5:00pm start time
Here is the reason:
It has become apparent to me that there is a desire and need in the community to discuss how the City handles certain types of retail development in our city. I have received this message through the nearly 1,000 people who have signed onto a particular petition as well as the roughly 50 people that have personally contacted me with their feelings about said development.
In response, I have called a Special Meeting of the City Council to discuss how the Council would like to deal with business development in Grand Marais that will include at least the following items:
1. Public Forum for community members to offer comments concerning their feelings.
*Let it be known that the Council will likely not respond to questions posed during this forum for need of consideration of the answers to these questions. The Council will do its best to address the questions upon drafting a plan to address the current sentiment of the community.
*As much time as necessary to hear the comments from the community will be allotted for this section of the meeting.
*Also, at the City Council meeting on Wednesday, February 10th, the Public Forum will be limited to 15 minutes of discussion on any and all issues, so if there are comments to be made during that meeting, please keep them concise or appoint a spokesperson to handle that discussion.
2. Council Discussion on Retail Development in Grand Marais.
*This section of the meeting will be for the Council to discuss among themselves the considerations brought forward by the community and the logistics that we are bound by as a Statutory City. Public comment is not appropriate at this time. Please be sure to make your public comments during the Forum.
**To be clear: This is a Special Meeting, which means that it has to be advertised 72 hours in advance, which is why Monday is the date selected. It is the soonest possible date for this meeting.
As a Special Meeting, the agenda will be set and there will not be any items added to the agenda at the meeting. To do so would be unlawful.
No action will likely be taken on any issues at the Special Meeting, but a plan will be drafted to address the issues deemed necessary by the City Council at the Wednesday, February 10th meeting.
As always, please let me know if you have any comments. If you have a comment that you would like to be considered, please come to the meeting.
It hasn’t been that cold out this winter but someone knows how to have a good time when it does get cold. Tom Grotting from Minneapolis freezes pants and places them around his neighborhood for fun. I might just have to try this sometime!
It was a big week of sled dog racing on the North Shore, and it concludes on Friday night with the premiere of a concert about the culture and history of sled dog mushing in northern Minnesota.
“Crazy Cold Beautiful: The John Beargrease Song Cycle” will be performed by the Borealis Chorale and Orchestra, directed by Bill Beckstrand, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church at 7 p.m. Friday night. A second concert will be held at the Sacred Heart Music Center, 201 West 4th St., Duluth, at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Composed by Robin Eschner, a McKnight visiting composer from Sonoma, Calif., the song cycle reflects the experiences and realities of the people who have lived and worked on the North Shore for generations. The music was inspired by the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon and by John Beargrease himself, an Ojibwe who delivered mail by dogsled and boat up and down the North Shore from 1880-1900. The Marathon, which concluded on Wednesday, celebrates his spirit and tenacity. Take Jack, Eschner’s music ensemble from California, students from Sawtooth Elementary School and the Stonebridge Singers Drum will also perform at the concert in Grand Marais.
Katy Reid of the Minneapolis StarTribune has written an excellent story about Eschner and the song cycle. To read it, click here.
There are lots of other fun things going on this weekend, too.
On Thursday night, jazz guitarist Briand Morrison will be featured on WDSE’s The Playlist. In the interview, Morrison, who is a member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, talks about his thoughts and creative processes as he composed music for the DVD about his father: “Musical Impressions: The Art of George Morrison.” The Playlist airs at 9 p.m.
And the Grand Marais Library will screen “Adam’s Apples,” a film about an ex-con who is temporarily assigned to live in a religious enclave and the shenanigans that result from his “assignment” to make an apple pie from an apple tree on the property. To see the trailor, click here.
On Saturday, the Grand Marais Art Colony will host Community Ink Day: Print Your Valentines from 1-4 p.m. It’s an all-ages event, and participants will be able to print their very own Valentines under the leadership of Jerry Riach. $5 donation.
And on Saturday night, the Grammy Award-winning Okee Dokee Brothers will perform for a family event at the Summit Chalet on Lutsen Mountains at 7 p.m.. There will be horse-drawn trolley rides, a pizza party, fireworks and more from 5:30-8:30 p.m. For more information, call 218-406-1320.
One of the most anticipated events of the winter starts next week. The Northern Fibers Retreat, sponsored by North House Folk School, the Grand Marais Art Colony and the Northwoods Fiber Guild, will feature a wide variety of classes at both locations as well as demonstrations, Lunch & Learn lectures, an art exhibit and a show-and-share. The retreat is from Feb. 10-14.
Here’s a quick run-down of some of the classes: bead embroidery, birds & botanicals quilting bee, beginning knitting, Sami knitting traditions, spinning, felted baskets, weaving, lace knitting, making a birch bark
mason jar basket, a winter natural dye workshop … the list goes on and on. There is also a workshop about printing on clay, creating cut-paper art as well as making buttons with glass, to name a few more.
There will be a number of community gatherings as well.
On Thursdays, Feb. 11
- North House will host Fireside Fibers Open Studio and Sheep Clothing: A Primer at 7 p.m. Participants can bring projects to work on, and sheep farmer Janis Reuter will offer an informal presentation on wool in all its variety.
On Friday, Feb.12
- Lunch & Learn, noon, North House Folk School: “Norwegian Wool: Treasures in a Telemark Stabbur.” Carol Colburn will talk about an international fibers project in Vinje, Telemark, Norway. Pre-registration is required for the catered lunch. Call 387-9762 to register.
- Fibers Retreat Instructors Exhibition, Grand Marais Art Colony. Opening reception, 5-7 p.m.
- Show & Share hosted by the Northwoods Fiber Guild, Grand Marais Art Colony, 7 p.m.
On Saturday, Feb.13
- Lunch & Learn, noon, North House Folk School: “Hand-carved Stamps for Printing.” Award-winning designer Jeanne McGee will demonstrate hand carving stamps for printing on fabric. Pre-registration required for the catered lunch. Call 387-9762 to register.
In Thunder Bay, the Definitely Superior Art Gallery will hold a gala opening reception for three new exhibits from 7-10 p.m.(EST) 0n Friday, Feb. 5: “Isolation/Insulation,” a collaborative exhibit of work by Scott Poluyko, Katie Lemieux and Susan Kachor Conlon; “Odeum,” an installation by boyRoland; and “Artists’ Proof,” a selection of prints from Lakehead University.
At the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, the Tamarack Wind Quintet will perform “Breaking Wind at the Gallery” at 2 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, Feb. 7. Inspired by the exhibition of “For Better or For Worse: the Comic Art of Lynn Johnston,” members of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra have created a concert of their favorite music written for cartoons, by cartoonists, or just a little silly. Free. All invited.
In Ely, the 1st annual Kick-Off for the Ely Winter Festival will be held at 7 p.m. in Whiteside Park on Friday, Feb. 5. Processions, food and the lighting of the Fire Bowl are just a few of the activities planned. The winter festival continues through Feb. 14 with an ArtWalk in downtown Ely, ski races, snow carving, dances and more. Visit elywinterfestival.com/ for information about all the events.
In Duluth, Edie Hangartner Michalski won the People’s Choice Award at the Duluth Art Institute Membership Show for her portrait of Ed Holte. For this piece, Michalski was inspired by Mary White, who paints ordinary, everyday people doing their work. Michalski realized she wanted to celebrate the fishing tradition of her family and sourced material from Brian Tofte, who owns a series of historic photos documenting the area’s fishing history.
“Ed, North Shore Fisherman” is the first in a planned series of portraits of Norwegian herring fishermen. Ed Holte fished from Wright Island in Siskiwit Bay, Isle Royale. His father-in-law was Sam Johnson, who founded Sam Johnson & Sons Fisheries, Inc., in Duluth in the early 1900s. The Annual Membership Exhibition is on view at the Depot through Feb. 21.
And John Gregor’s photography exhibit continues in the Great Hall at Tettegouche State Park. He has 70 images in the show.
There’s lots of music this week. Here’s the schedule.
Thursday, Feb. 4
- Timmy Haus, Moguls Grille & Tap Room, 3:30 p.m.
- Plucked Up String Band, Voyageur Brewing Co., 4:30 p.m.
- Joe Paulik, Poplar River Pub, 6 p.m.
- Billy Johnson, Gun Flint Tavern, 6:30 p.m.
- Bug Lite, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 5:
- Billy Johnson, Moguls Grille & Tap Room, 3;30 p.m.
- Dat Dere Jazz Quartet, Cascade Lodge Pub, 6 p.m.
- Crazy, Cold, Beautiful, John Beargrease Song Cycle Concert, Borealis Chorale and Orchestra, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 7 p.m.
- Pete Kavanaugh, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
- Reina del Cid, Gun Flint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.
- Willie Waldman Project: 20 Below Zero Tour, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 6:
- Brothers Burn Mountain, Moguls Grille, 3:15 p.m.
- Pete Kavanaugh, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7 p.m.
- Pushing Chain, Lutsen Resort, 7 p.m.
- Reina del Cid, Gun Flint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.
- Cloud Cult, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 7:
- Timmy Haus, Gun Flint Tavern, 6:30 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 8:
- Briand Morrison, Moguls Grille, 4 p.m.
- Dan Israel, Songwriter Series, Papa Charlie’s, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 9:
- Boyd Bump Blomberg, Poplar River Pub, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 10:
- Briand Morrison, Grand Marais Public Library, 6 p.m.
- Ian Alexy, Spotlight North, Papa Charlie’s, 8 p.m.
Since many people were focused on dogs and mushing this week, we thought we’d run a few photos we found.
First up is a Thomas Spence photo of two beautiful sled dogs taken during the Beargrease.
When we saw this cutie, we couldn’t resist. He probably doesn’t qualify as a sled dog, though.
Here are some of the other wildlife shots we found this week.
This snowshoe hare was caught by David Johnson. He calls it “Quite the Camo.”
Here’s another shot by David Johnson. “Such a curious little marten.”
Here’s a great shot of a common redpoll springing off a tree branch.
And here’s the weirdest photo of wild turkeys I’ve ever seen. They were having quite the fight, according to the photographer, who just happened by in the middle of it. Yikes!
And here’s an interesting shot from the DNR’s Eagle Cam in St. Paul.
On to ice and snow …
Last week, we ran a photograph that Christian Dalbec took when he was in Hawaii shooting huge waves and surfers successfully, or unsuccessfully, riding them. This week, he’s back on the North Shore and caught this adventurer.
And finally, this wonderful winter wonderland shot by Jeff Rennicke.
Enjoy your weekend, everyone!
We all know how enjoyable a hike on the Superior Hiking Trail is but did you know it is just as fun, if not more in the winter? Why don’t you find out for yourself by taking a guided hike with the SHT crew this winter?
The next one is coming up on February 13th, a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day!
February 13 Snowshoe Hike 10:00 Sucker River Trailhead to Fox Farm Pond Campsite and Back
2.4 miles total. Snowshoe through spruce-balsam forest and over the Sucker River Bridge on a gradual climb to maple forest and the Fox Farm Pond Campsite. Meet at Sucker River Trailhead. At Hwy 61 milepost 14.9, turn north (inland) on Homestead Rd (Co. Rd. 42) and go 5.75 mi. Turn left on W. Knife River Rd. and go 0.5 mi. Turn right on App Rd and go 1.5 mi to intersection with Two Harbors Rd. App Rd. changes to Fox Farm Rd (Co. Rd. 266) here. Continue straight on Fox Farm Rd. 5.3 mi to parking lot on left.
And if you love the Superior Hiking Trail then why not consider joining their board? They are looking for members so fill out an application if you’re interested and hope to see you on the Trail!
SHTA Seeking Four New Board Members
SHTA Board elections will be held in May at the Hike Fest. We are currently seeking applications of people interested in serving on the board.
We are looking for a variety of candidates with a variety of backgrounds. Some of our identified needs include:
someone with experience with integrated accounting/database/fulfillment systems to help SHTA transition to a new system;
civil engineering or bridge design background;
someone from Cook County and someone from the Duluth area.
But all applications are welcome.
How does the board do its work?
The 15 member board meets on the North Shore six times a year, each board member serves on a committee that meets prior to the regular board meeting, and board members serve three-year terms.
Please contact the SHTA office for questions and for the position description and application or download the information from our website. The application deadline is Friday, February 26th.
The Groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of winter this Groundhog’s Day and that is fine by me. There are lots of ski trails I want to ski, I need to get my snowshoes on the snow and I would really love to wet a fishing line through the ice. Besides, with the warm and mild temperatures we’ve had it doesn’t seem like we’ve had winter at all.
Well, we’re halfway thru winter and depending on what time you came outside this morning, you may or may not have seen your shadow. To be on the safe side, we should all plan on at least six more weeks of winter and hope for the best ! Inside the south Care Center addition, the sheetmetal crews are busy installing duct work and the electricians are running their receptacles and light switches.
-Property Issues (what to do prior to development)
-Next Steps (Timelines, proposals, decision points)
There was another item though, and that was a discussion of the Council Priority Timeline, which carries a lot of significance for the work that is planned for 2016 and beyond. It was brought up by Councilor Benson that we should discuss these things in a timeline focused manner so that we can start making plans for the many projects that have been brought to the Council's attention and that have been planned. Here is a short list of the projects that fit that description:
-PU Facility (2016)
-HWY 61 Reconstruction (2018)
-Municipal Parking Lot (2016?)
-Public Bathrooms (????)
-Liquor Store Renovation (????)
-DNR Boat Launch (????)
-City Hall (????)
-Dark Skies Certification (2016-2017)
-Workforce Housing Development (2016-2017)
-Ordinance Re-Codifying (????)
-Community Solar Farm (????)
-1st St. Reconstruction (????)
*I want to be very clear that I put estimated dates on these projects and did not assign a date to other projects because they are estimates or simply have not been spec-ed out and accepted by the City yet and thus do not have a viable timeframe to mention. These are all simply projects that have been discussed by the City and that got our specific attention at this particular meeting.
Taking that one step further, these timelines were being discussed in the wider scope of Comprehensive Planning, which the Council is committed to taking on this year (2016). As a result of this commitment, the Council will have a "Comprehensive Planning 101" meeting in February to get the process started and to create some specific expectations concerning what we would like to accomplish through the process. This is very exciting for me because I believe that we have a lot that we can do to create a Comprehensive Plan that reflects the desires of the residents of Grand Marais and the type of City we want to be and can be.
So that conversation mainly resulted in the Council agreeing to set a date in February specifically for Comprehensive Planning conversation and that we would begin to pull in the expertise and resources of the Moving Matters group to assist the City in this process. It was stressed a number of times, however, that Moving Matters will be supporting the City in putting together public meetings and other information gathering events, but the City Council will be driving the process at all times. With that said, now would be a good time to start thinking about what Grand Marais means to you and how you would like to participate in the Comprehensive Planning process. The more people that participate, the stronger the plan will be.
Ok, moving on to the Public Works Facility:
We started the conversation by asking what we should do with the property before we begin construction on it. There are currently a number of buildings on the property in widely varying levels of repair that the City needs to figure out what it is going to do with.
It was clear that the buildings on the South side of the property, where the construction of the facility will mainly occur, will need to be removed. There has also been interest coming in to City Hall about the buildings on the North side of the property. The Council spoke generally in favor of having a sale/silent auction in the spring (April or May) to find new homes for many of those buildings if there are community members who would be interested in moving them. This has not been finalized, but it seemed that there was strong sentiment that this would be a good way of getting rid of some of those buildings.
Another consideration was the overall appearance of the property and the fact that it is now in City control. Should we invest any staff time and resources into performing any site maintenance? This could mean taking down various unsightly landscaping elements, it could mean adding landscaping to improve the appearance from the street, etc. The Council thought that there are a few things that could be removed to improve the appearance, but largely leaned toward keeping the lawn mowed and the trimming done, but not really investing much more time into it... this is because there isn't a strong feeling as to what should happen with that front piece of the land and thus we should hold our hand on it so we don't unnecessarily spend money doing something that needs to be undone later.
That was another conversation that we had: What DO we want to do with the extra land up there? The conversation really didn't bring up any solid ideas that were unanimous, so we left that conversation in the "brainstorming" status and will return to it when we have a better idea of what we will be using of the land.
Moving on to the NEXT STEPS!
The City's architecture firm, LHB, has been contacted and gave us an estimate for about $3000 to provide us with detailed drawings of how the facility would fit on that property. This piggy-backs on the plans that LHB drew up for a previous Council that was considering building this project in the Cedar Grove Business Park. That original design came back with a $3.5 million price tag, which included almost a million dollars of "grade and fill" due to the landscape of the lots identified. It is assumed that the estimates for the new property will be significantly less than that. The Council also charged LHB with giving us options. The primary estimate they will provide us will have the full buildout of the facility, which would allow the City to store and house all of its Public Utility equipment and offices in one facility. The estimate will then offer suggestions of different items that could be removed from the plan and how much money that would save the project and its consequences. We viewed this as an ideal organization as it gives us flexibility to customize the project and keep our costs down as much as possible.
That gets us to the timeline. When can we expect these plans? When are we going to start seeing something happen up there? There is a tentative schedule for these events and although it is ambitious, I believe that it is completely do-able. Here is the tentative schedule for this project:
February - March: LHB will prepare the estimates and site design/assessment
*Decision Point #1: Council will have to choose what the facility will include and total project scope
March - April: LHB will work up a full facility design for the new site which will include architectural drawings and material lists... In essence these are the building plans for the project.
*Decision Point #2: Council will have to approve the design for the project and the building plans
May: The City will have to put together a financing plan for the project that will include monies from the capital reserve accounts of the PUC and the City as well as some borrowed money. Once this is complete the City will authorize the bidding process and the request for bids will go out.
*Decision Point #3: Council will have to decide on the financing plan that the City will be taking and will have to select a contractor from the bids received.
June - October/November: Construction of the facility will take place.
This is the plan that the City is going for. It calls for a steady movement through the project and relies on good bids from contractors, which we believe is very possible.
That was the bulk of the meeting and the items that the Council considered. If you have any questions, please let me know!
It’s February already? Where did January go? No sense looking behind and wondering where it went it’s time to look ahead and see where you are going.
Cross-country skiing? Snowmobiling? If you want to find out how the trails are then you can check out this page on the Minnesota DNR website. It shows you how much snow is in each part of the state and lists the conditions of the trails. If you are looking for specific information about Cook County then check out our local page for up to date information.
Or give us a call at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters, we’re out and about and can let you know our favorites so you can have a Happy February!
After many years of hard use and little to no maintenance I had to do some repair work on our track set-up.A call to David at
"American Track Truck"
got the project started,I have to say he's great to work with.Not only is the service and shipping well above average
but his pricing made the repair very reasonable.I had everything I needed in just a few days!Thank you for being such a great company to deal with!
"Tire and Auto Lodge"
The four turns of the front torsion bar was perfect,
that raised the 1999 Rodeo a strong 1inch
Big thanks to
Dean Berneking,The use of the heated shop with a swinging boom chain hoist, and his help, made the job an easy one. Installation is much nicer in a warm shop
Last but not least, "Cook County Towing" for their great service. They picked up the truck at Dean's and delivered it within 3 miles of our house.
Now to the next problem,With the shoulder surgery late in the fall I didn't get a chance to stage my winter equipment properly.This became painfully obvious when I needed to get my drag out to groom the road. Not only was the drag behind a pile of snow, it was behind a loaded two place snowmobile trailer that was behind the snow pile.
Here is a photo of what piss poor planning (PPP) looks like:
The thing sticking out behind the trailer is the tongue for the drag.
By this time the snow pile is rock hard, I came up with a elegant solution,ram the crap out of it with the back of my pick-up until it was soft enough to shovel.
Ramming it got me to this point.
After shoveling to find the tongue I hooked on to it with a strap and pulled the tongue right out from underneath the trailer.
Thank god Pat was there to give me that look of "What the hell were you thinking"
So now I have a heavy box of snowmobiles that I can no longer moveand the snowmobiles only unload out of the back. Someone I know described this as"screwed"That was enough damage for one day, so we decided to try again the next day.
Over night I came up with a plan, not a great one, but the only one I could think of.We started by cleaning off the top of the trailer so we could open the top, I then ran two straps, one under and the other through the trailer connecting them together in the backthen closed the trailer.
This finely worked and the trailer was free, I now had a opening to retrieve my drag,
Running straps to the drag we were able to pull it onto the driveway.
after the pull
ready to pull
That's two day of my life I'll never get back.
Here is a short video of the drag in action.
My cat Itchy had a visitor last week, normally it's the white menace (snowshoe rabbit)but this week it's a brown menace (pine marten?)
More later, thanks for reading