Member Feeds

Summary of City Council Meeting 1-14-2015

Grand Marais Mayor Blog - Sat, 01/17/2015 - 10:37am
Well, it's official!  As the second piece of business of the night on January 14th, I was sworn in as the mayor of Grand Marais.  It has been a wild ride and things are just starting to get going with this new Council.  Speaking of the new Council, the third item of business was to swear in Mr. Dave Mills and Mr. Anton Moody.

You may be wondering what the first item of business was...  It is easiest if I describe the scene:
*Since Mayor Carlson, Councilor Spry, and Councilor Lenz's terms technically expired December 31st, 2014 and Councilor Sivertson is now Commissioner Sivertson, at the beginning of the meeting there was one (1) standing Council member, Mr. Tim Kennedy.

I was not just a little nervous that this honor would go to his head as he sat down at the middle of the meeting table and called the meeting to order alone.  Following calling the meeting to order he said a word of thanks to the previous Councilors and Mayor, a very fitting way to start out the new year of meetings.

I echo Mr. Kennedy's words and thank Mr. Carlson, Mr. Spry, Mr. Lenz, and Ms. Sivertson for their time and commitment to the City of Grand Marais.  Myself and the new Council hope to build on the foundation that they have laid to serve our community's needs in the unique way that Grand Marais demands.

After these important actions were completed was the public comment period.  I was very glad to see a resident of the City bringing questions to the new Council concerning the district heating project.  At present there are still many questions pertaining to that project and in order to answer your questions, we need to know them!
*I encourage any and all of you to come and ask questions at the public comment period or contribute your thoughts.  That is what that time is there for!

Then it was time for the formalities.  At the first meeting of each year the City has to designate the acting mayor (who fills the mayor's duties in the mayor's absence), official newspaper (the periodical that will public City announcements), the City's depositories (the banks that the City uses), and official signatories (who can sign official City business).  All of these things progressed quickly with the Councilors moving, seconding, and voting on the motions to accept the proposals for each.

One last, but very important formality is how to proceed with the Council vacancy left by now-Commissioner Sivertson.  Technically the Council could have appointed someone at this meeting, but the Council, recognizing the importance of that last seat, decided to solicit for candidates from the community and make that decision with more information and interested parties.

*So, if YOU or anyone you can think of are interested in helping make Grand Marais a better place by helping add perspective and insight to the Council, I very much encourage you to send me or City Hall a letter or email explaining who you are, what your connection to the City is, and what your qualifications for the position of Council are... Now, to keep things in context, qualifications for the position of Councilor can be just about anything!

Whew!  All of that done and we were just getting started!  The Council took well over half an hour to discuss and assign the committee and board assignments.  The Council also accepted the request from the Northwoods Food Project (a group working on local food production amongst other things!) to have Council representation on their board.  Below is the list and assignments as per the end of this meeting.  *It is important to add that when the 5th Councilor is selected in the future, these assignments will definitely change.

Starting with City Boards and Commissions:

Public Utilities Board (the board that oversees conflicts between the City and PUC customers)
Mr. Mills, Mr. Arrowsmith DeCoux, Mr. Moody

Public Utilities Commission (the policy making and managing body for the City's Public Utilities)
Mr. Kennedy (incumbent)

Safety Committee (the committee that makes sure OSHA practices happen at the City)
Mr. Moody

Planning Commission (the body that governs city planning and zoning within the City)
Mr. Kennedy (incumbent)

Personnel Committee (the group that oversees hiring, discipline, and firing for City employees)
Mr. Arrowsmith DeCoux, Mr. Mills

Park Board (the policy making body that governs the Rec. Park and other City park lands)
Mr. Mills

North Shore Management Board (a regional group that makes and enacts policies pertaining to preserving and managing our valuable shoreline and Lake Superior water quality)
Mr. Arrowsmith DeCoux

Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (a regional economic development commission that supports the development of businesses and infrastructure)
Mr. Moody

Library Board (the policy making body that governs the library)
Mr. Arrowsmith DeCoux

Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (a group that implements programs and projects to support economic development in our communities)
Mr. Moody

Cook County YMCA
Mr. Mills

Moving on to the community organizations with City Liaisons:

Animal Advocates
Mr. Moody

North House Folk School
Mr. Arrowsmith DeCoux

Cook County Local Energy Project
Mr. Moody

Active Living/Safe Routes to School
Mr. Kennedy

Northwoods Food Project
Mr. Mills

*If you have any concerns pertaining to any of these groups, your City Councilors would be glad to hear your comments or questions.

You still with me?  It was definitely a busy meeting, but we are not even half way through yet!
The Council then voted on and appointed the City citizen representatives to the City boards and commissions.  Thank you very much for all of the interest from the community!  We were pleased to have so many well qualified candidates.  If you showed interest and were not selected, please stay involved!  We need continued participation throughout the City!  Pending the acceptance of their appointments, the newly appointed citizen representatives are:

Helen Muth for the Library Board

Hal Greenwood (inclumbent) for the Economic Development Authority

George Wilkes for the Public Utilities Commission

Sally Berg and Kaye Tavernier for the Park Board

Hal Greenwood (incumbent) and Michael Garry for the Planning Commission

With all of that work done we settled into the next few items on the agenda, deciding whether the City should accept grant monies that would fund the final steps of the district heating project, seeking customer contracts, bidding out expenses, and seeking financing through state bonding.
There was a lively conversation on the matter, fueled by concerns from the community that this project is going to be an economic drag on the City as well as other logistical concerns.  The Councilors discussed all of these points and finally got to the conclusion that it would be imprudent to not accept the grant monies considering that the previous City Council voted to spend $3000 of city money to pursue the grants... which were awarded as per that plan.  If the previous Council put money into this project, it wouldn't make much sense for the new Council to rewrite the purpose of that investment by not accepting the grants.

The other part of the conversation, which went long and very in depth as well, was the signing of the contract with FVB Energy, the firm that has been designing the project.  If the Council voted to accept the grant money, then the City would also have to enter into a contract with FVB Energy to pursue customer contracts, seek bids, and seek bonding... all in partnership with the City.

The conversation was very interesting, but basically came down to the fact that the City was ready to make that commitment based on all of the votes of previous Councils to support this project.  There are many conditions though.  The contract that the City will be signing is written very much in favor of the City with the City being able to suspend or terminate the contract with proper notice with no penalty.  The Councilors also stated that if the City takes on responsibility for this project, there will need to be regular updates provided to the Council at upcoming meetings, a public forum to ask and answer questions, and the consideration that the standing District Heating Committee become a City committee until this process is complete.  There are many pieces of information that need to be found during this project, some of which will dictate whether or not the project will continue to move forward.  The City has no commitment to complete the project if these factors are not satisfactorily resolved.  However, this project has been viewed as a project of regional significance by many people, including our legislators, Dave Dill and Tom Bakk, who are very interested in this project succeeding.  If you have any questions about this process or the project itself, please let me know and I will do my best to connect you to the information you need!

Almost done.  Just a few more things!

The Council moved to accept maintenance responsibility for any infrastructure built as a result of the TAP (Transportation Alternatives Program) grant money that the City is applying for as a part of the Hwy 61 Redesign project.  The grant money would fund part of any bike or pedestrian path built as a part of the redesign.  This project is not slated to begin at least until 2019, so there are a lot of uncertainties in this conversation, but in order to apply for the monies from TAP the City needed to take responsibility for the infrastructure it funded.

As a final piece of business the Council accepted a bid from CR-BPS (Building Performance Specialists) to perform an energy and asset assessment on the City Hall building.  This assessment will compliment the work being done to see how we can improve the Municipal Liquor Store as well as provide life cycle information and energy efficiency information for the City Hall building.  The resulting report will show many ways that the City can improve the performance of City Hall in order to better serve our needs, reduce costs, and increase efficiency.  This survey will be done in the upcoming months and will require additional action in the future to enact any changes suggested in the report.

OK, that's it.  We adjourned at 7:07pm relieved and very satisfied with a great working session.  In closing I encourage you all to come to meetings to participate in the public forum and see the process taking place.

As always, please contact me if you have any comments or questions about what happened at this meeting!

Categories: Member Feeds

Photos from Around the North Shore

Boundary Waters Blog - Fri, 01/16/2015 - 10:37pm

We have such amazing photographers and so many wonderful things to take pictures of in our neck of the woods.

Gail Merton Photo

Jamie Rabold photo

Paul Pluskwik

Find More of these awesome Gunflint Trail moose photos on Facebook.

Categories: Member Feeds

1.16.15 Winter wonderland on the Central Gunflint Trail

Bearskin Lodge Ski Trail Reports - Fri, 01/16/2015 - 8:13pm

Welcome to our winter wonderland.  Conditions on our ski trails continue to be excellent.  As we’ve posted previously, don’t let the low snow conditions along the North Shore concern you as you drive up here. Once you go up the hill to the Gunflint Trail, it becomes a deep snow winter.

We’re in that usual winter stage where we seem to get a little more snow each day. That’s one of the reasons we’re a great ski destination: it always seems to be snowing.   Groomers have been out regularly freshening up the trails, but otherwise nothing significant has changed — no major snowfalls, no rain or melting, just regular little additions of more snow.

Please be carefully watching for moose as you come up the trail now.  There have been a huge number of moose standing out in the road lately, seemingly challenging drivers to hit them.  That’s not a fight you will win.  Watch for their dark shadows ahead on the road if you drive up here after dark!

Moose in the road. Photo by Nace Hagemann.

A good reminder

Here are the latest snow statistics from Golden Eagle, as measured on 1/14:

New Snow Last 24 hours:  3/8”

New Snow Last 7 days:  1-3/8”

Trail Base, Staked:  7” – 8.5” average

Snow in Woods, Staked:  Low 14”   High 17”

Groomed with classic tracks:  70 K

Groomed for skating:  53.4 K

Surface Conditions:  Fresh Snow

Snowshoe trails:  Open

Total snowfall since Nov. 1:  47.63”

Comments:  Skiing is still the best it’s been all season! All trails are open, conditions are excellent, the snow is plentiful, and the wilderness is inviting, peaceful, and waiting for adventurists. Come on up and have some fun cross-country skiing; it is full-blown winter on the Gunflint Trail!

Please contact Bearskin Lodge (1-800-338-4170) or Golden Eagle Lodge (1-800-346-2203) for specific conditions and grooming information on each trail or route. Central Gunflint Ski Pass required.

Categories: Member Feeds

Putting Christmas away

Unorganized Territory - Fri, 01/16/2015 - 12:07pm

The gingerbread houses made by my grandkids are long gone, but there are still traces of the holiday around my house!

Once again I’m struggling with putting Christmas away. It seems as if every year something gets left behind when the Christmas decoration boxes get put away. One year it was an Advent calendar; another year my Santa and reindeer salt shaker. It’s always something.

I was aware of this as I put away decorations this year. I was proud of myself that I had started the search and store mission before New Year’s Eve. I boxed up my Christmas village from the bay window, my crèche and the Holy Family, and our tiny Christmas tree. I packed up my Christmas pins and earrings into their pretty red and gold boxes. I found all the gift bags, rolls of wrapping paper, ribbons and put them in the under-the-bed storage box until next year.

It always takes a while to get all my seasonal linens and clothing washed and put away. I have a nice collection of about a dozen Christmas hand towels and dish towels and a couple of table cloths. They end up in the laundry basket over the holiday.

Over the years I also acquired a great assortment of holiday attire, enough that I have an all new wardrobe for a few weeks in December. I have five nice Christmas tops, a couple of sweaters, a couple of festive sweatshirts and a couple of Christmas vests. I also have nine pair of holiday socks. It takes a long time and many loads of laundry before they are all paired up and put away.

So I thought I was doing quite well when I filled up the red-topped Rubbermaid tub that holds all these Christmas clothing items. I had thoroughly swept the entire house and hidden away all signs of the holiday. Operation Christmas over was accomplished.

But, as usual, I was wrong. It took me a few days to notice what was left out this year. It is really ridiculous that I missed it, since it is front and center in my kitchen. I noticed yesterday that my dishwasher was still adorned with the magnet Christmas tree with its cheery gum drop decorations and gingerbread people. Operation Christmas over—failed.

I haven’t taken the flat Christmas tree down yet. Maybe if I leave it in a place of honor on the dishwasher, I’ll fulfill my wish that Christmas could continue. I’m always a little sad when the holidays are over.

I’m not looking forward to the day that the Harbor Park Christmas tree in downtown Grand Marais comes down or when we take down the wreath outside the News-Herald office. Both looked exceptionally lovely today with a dusting of snow. I’m not ready for the stark gray skies and frigid cold weather without the twinkling of Christmas lights.

If my little magnet tree can make the magic last a little longer, it can stay. Operation Christmas continues!

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
Calvin Coolidge

Categories: Member Feeds

Where are We in January 2015?

Unorganized Territory - Fri, 01/16/2015 - 11:58am

Although we thought the December 2014 WHERE ARE WE photo would be really easy, it was not. We only had a handful of guesses and only one correct guess. Only Sue Abrahamsen of Grand Marais knew that our December photo was taken of the Christmas wreath hanging outside the door of the Cook County News-Herald  office. Congratulations, Sue. Now we can take the wreath down!

Try your luck! Take a look at the January photo, which was taken by Kristi Silence of Grand Marais. If you think you know where Kristi was when she took the picture, give us your answer.

You don’t have to be the first to reply. The location will be announced next month and a winner will be drawn from all the correct answers.

Whoever is drawn will win a free one-year subscription to the Cook County News-Herald (a $30 value). Good luck!

Return answer by mail, e-mail or fax to: Cook County News-Herald, PO Box 757, Grand Marais MN 55604; email to; or fax to 218-387-9500

Answer to the January WHERE ARE WE? must be received by February 17, 2015.


Categories: Member Feeds


Gunflint Lodge - Fri, 01/16/2015 - 5:34am
Greetings from Tobago!  We made it down here last Saturday.  We left for the Minneapolis Airport at 3:30 in the morning.  Our first flight left for Miami at 5:30.  Then we spent 6 hours in the Miami Airport.  That airport is more like a shopping mall but I am not very good at malls.  Finally we took off for Port Au Spain, Trinidad.  Things were VERY slow going through customs and we got to our hotel at 1:00 a.m.  The next morning we took a short flight over to Tobago.  The car rental was easily accomplished and we were on our way -- driving  with the British system on the wrong side of the road.

Our house is lovely.  On the top story is combination living room and dining room with a full kitchen.  The porch overlooks the pool and the sea.  Our bedroom is also upstairs.  The whole upstairs opens up to the breeze and the sound of the waves.  I took a picture with this iPad and will try to attach it but we are into a learning experience with all this.

The first several days were rainy and we just were lazy.  Afternoon naps and early nights brought us back up to speed.  The last few days we have been driving all over the island.  One day we bought fresh dolphin or mahi mahi.  Bruce as quite insulted when the seller wanted to charge is $8.00US to fillet it.  Naturally Bruce had brought his own fillet knife to do the job.  It was a wonderful meal.

Tomorrow our friends the Feeneys join us for the next two weeks.  Stayed turned for the next installment

I can't get the picture on but Patty will help when she gets here.
Categories: Member Feeds

A Review of 2014: from Great Places to Highway 61

Moving Matters - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 2:32pm

Cook County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Jim Boyd, and Local Artist, Betsy Bowen, at Como Oil & Propane’s 2014 Great Place

Looking back over this past year, 2014 has brought a lot of firsts for the Moving Matters project and our communities. Two of these firsts (and most popular on our website) were the Great Place Race and the start of the Highway 61 Redesign (Highway 61 Revisited).

In 2015, the Great Place Race will be reborn as the Great Place Project. This joint initiative with the Cook County Chamber of Commerce will continue to give small grants to spur the creation of more great places in Cook County and Grand Portage. Stay tuned for the 2015 Great Place Project application! Wondering what Great Places were created in 2014? Check them out here.

The Highway 61 Revisited process will continue in the new year, with the third public meeting on Tuesday, February 24th. Our community has come out in full force for these conversations about this vital corridor through Grand Marais. To complement this process, a Health Impact Assessment is also underway looking at the potential health impacts of this project on our community.

Check out the top posts and pages of 2014:
Highway 61 Revisited
The Great Place Race
Kick-off of Highway 61 Revisited: Share your input today!
Active Living Policy
Highway 61 Revisited: Help Redesign Highway 61
Pop-up Sidewalk with the City of Grand Marais

What do you want to see in 2015?

Categories: Member Feeds

Gunflint Trail Weekend Forecast- Great Weather & Fishing

Boundary Waters Blog - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 11:45am

I’m predicting this is going to be a busy weekend on the Gunflint Trail. First of all we have snow unlike many parts of the state right now. People can cross-country ski on exceptionally groomed trails, snowmobile through the woods or across frozen lakes, snowshoe into the great white north and this weekend they can fish for lake trout, all on the Gunflint Trail. The weather forecast is calling for some moderate temperatures in the high 20′s so it would be a perfect weekend for winter camping.  It’s a winter wonderland up here so take advantage of it and plan a visit to Voyageur soon.

Categories: Member Feeds

Grand Marais Ole Opry, Dessa this weekend

North Shore Art Scene - Wed, 01/14/2015 - 11:59pm

Alison Gimpel took this beautiful shot at Stoney Point recently. She calls it “Ice Wall.” It’ came third in National Geographic’s Daily Dozen contest earlier this week.

We can look forward to another weekend of outstanding music, and, perhaps, an opportunity to don our time-traveling suits on Saturday so we can see three shows: the North Shore Music Association presents the Grand Marais Grand Ole Opry at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts,  Dessa performs at Papa Charlie’s, and Michael Monroe  presents a Log Cabin Concert.

The Grand Marais Ole Opry is a classic country show featuring local and regional musicians playing tunes made famous by artists such as Hank Williams Sr., Patsy Cline, Roy Acuff, and Johnny & June Carter Cash.  Emceed by WTIP’s “Classic Country” host Carl Solander, the evening’s lineup features the groups Singleton Street (Delano, Minn.), Cook County’s Most Wanted, Bursheim & DeCoux, and Matt & Kent Anderson.

Singleton Street performs at the ACA on Saturday.

• Singleton Street plays old-time country, Americana, and bluegrass music with tight harmonies, energetic arrangements, and a warm, dynamic stage presence.  Sherri and Chuck Leyda and Jimmy Newkirk have been performing murder ballads, love songs, and highway songs of regret throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin for over a decade.

• Cook County’s Most Wanted plays alternative country, classic country, country rock, and classic rock with excellent musicianship and vocals. Rod Dockan – acoustic guitar and vocals. Carah Thomas – mountain dulcimer and vocals. Al Oikari – keyboards, lap steel, and harmony vocals. Gary Croft – electric guitar and vocals. Steve Johnson – pedal steel, electric guitar, and vocals. Dale Smith – bass.

• Myron Bursheim was the frontman for nationally touring band Robby Lynn and the Teens from 1958-62. He continues to share his musical talent by playing guitar and singing at areas churches and the Cook County Care Center.  While singing together in their church choir, Myron and Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux discovered their common interest in Everly Brothers harmonies.

• Matt and Kent Anderson studied classical music at young ages and have carried on a tradition of singing and playing the piano and fiddle for years–around the living rooms of their homes and the campfire of their cabin on the Gunflint Trail–entertaining small and large audiences of guests.

Michael Monroe is known throughout the Midwest for his Log Cabin Concerts, performed at his log cabin home in rural Grand Marais. Monroe blends his award-winning music on rich vocals, handmade guitars, and bamboo/crystal flutes in an unforgettable performance. A reception is held at 7 p.m. The music starts at 8 p.m. For reservations, call 387-2919.

Dessa performs at Papa Charlie’s on Saturday.

Dessa, of Doomtree, returns to Papa Charlie’s on Saturday night for another night of outstanding music. Transcending what we know as rap, Dessa’s heartfelt and poignant poetry comes through with ferocious melodies when she’s on the mic. As a musician and writer, she’s been compared to Joni Mitchell, but this spoken word artist can pack hundreds of words into a single track while her a cappella arrangements are delicate and expressive, full of old world harmonies. The music starts at 9:30 p.m.

There’s other great music this weekend, too. See the schedule below for details.

This fused glass window installation by Sharon and Steve Frykman is in the Twin Cities.

In art news, The Frykman Art Studio with Sharon and Steve Frykman will be featured on WDSE’s The Playlist at 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15.

Tune in to  PBS Channel 8 to learn more about Sharon and Steve and all that they do. The program can also be viewed online after it is broadcast.

To view this and other Playlist features, click here.

Painting by Catherine Hearding.

Liminal Space, an exhibit by multi-media artist Lynn Speaker, continues at the Grand Marais Art Colony through Feb. 1.

Workshops offered at the Art Colony this month include “The Colors of Winter” with nationally recognized watercolorist Catherine Hearding. The workshop is Jan. 26-30.

Also, a workshop entitled “Skillbuilding — A Potter’s Workplace” begins Jan. 27 and runs through March 17.

And registration is still open for Megan Mitchell’s two classes, “Print on Clay” (Feb. 14) and “Paper Clay” (Feb. 15.)

For more information on these and other workshops, call the Art Colony at 387-2737 or visit their website at

North House Folk School and the Art Colony are hosting the Northern Fibers Retreat Feb. 11-15 with lots of classes and community gatherings. For more info, see

 Betsy Bowen created a series of hand-colored woodcuts for a poster for the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, which starts next weekend.

This is the final weekend for two exhibits at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery: the “North Now 2014 Northern Ontario Juried Exhibit” and “Mitakuye Oyatsin: All My Relations.”  The new Permanent Collection exhibit opens Jan. 23 and the Lakehead University Annual Juried Exhibition opens Jan. 30.

Here’s the music schedule for this weekend:

Thursday, Jan. 15:

  • Eric Frost & Bill Hansen, Poplar River Pub, Lutsen Resort, 6 p.m.
  • Rod & Carah Boo, American Legion, 7 p.m.
  • Joe Paulik, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
  • Dance Party with DJ Beavstar, Papa Charlie’s, 9 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 16:

  • Timmy Haus, Moguls Grille, 4 p.m.
  • Michael Monroe, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
  • Timmy Haus, Papa Charlie’s, 9 p.m.
  • The Wrong Omar, Gun Flint Tavern, 9 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 17:

  • Al Oikari and Rod Dockan, Papa Charlie’s, 3:15 p.m.
  • Jim & Michelle Miller, Moguls Grille, 4 p.m.
  • Eric Frost, Papa Charlie’s, 6:45 p.m.
  • Boyd “Bump” Blomberg, Lutsen Resort, 7 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne and Jim Ohlschmidt, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7 p.m.
  • Grand Marais Ole Opry, Arrowhead Center for the Arts, 7:30 p.m.
  • Michael Monroe Log Cabin Concert, rural Grand Marais, 7 p.m. 387-2919.
  • Free Fallin — Tom Petty Tribute Band, Grand Portage Lodge & Casino, 9 p.m.
  • The Wrong Omar, Gun Flint Tavern, 9 p.m.
  • Dessa, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 18:

  • A Classical Evening with Sam Black and Clare Chopp, Bluefin Grille, 6 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 19:

  • Shane Martin, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
  • Songwriter Series, Haley Bonar, Papa Charlie’s, 8 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 20:

  • Pete Kavanaugh,  Poplar River Pub, 6 p.m.
  • Open Mic Night with Bump Blomberg, Papa Charlie’s, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 21:

  • Open Mic Night, Gun Flint Tavern, 6 p.m.
  • Spotlight North, Aurora Baer, Papa Charlie’s, 8 p.m.

Bitterly cold weather and high winds is an ice photographer’s dream on the North Shore, and we found lots of dramatic images this week.

But let’s start out with a plein air painter who doesn’t mind getting out in sub-zero temps and painting sea fog on Lake Superior. This beauty is by Neil Sherman.

“Break Wall Beacon at -8″ by Neil Sherman.


High winds from the right direction mean high waves crashing on the shores of Lake Superior. Sierra Parsons took this stunning image.

Photo by Sierra Parsons.

The waves were cresting over the breakwall the other day, and Christian Dalbec caught this moment.

Photo by Christian Dalbec.

Waves and freezing temps created this icy wonderland in Two Harbors photographed by Jennifer Los Braun.

Photo by Jennifer Los Braun.


Ice creates  fantastical shapes in this photo by David Johnson.

Photo by David Johnson.

And Gail Merton really captured the peace and beauty of an ice scape in this shot.

Photo by Gail Merton.

Mark Tessier titles this one “Cooold.”

Photo by Mark Tessier.

Jamie Rabold calls this one “Sprayed.”

Photo by Jamie Rabold.

John Gregor took this wonderous shot at Corundum Point at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.

Photo by John Gregor.


Jamie Rabold captured this outstanding image at Stoney Point the other day.

Photo by Jamie Rabold.

Bryan Hansel calls this photo “Winter Light.”

Photo by Bryan Hansel.

Here’s an interesting shot by David Grinstead. He calls it “Beach in Winter.”

Photo by David Ginstead.

And last, but not least, here’s a totally  iconic photo of winter in Minnesota. Paul Pluskwik calls this “A Winter Walk.”

Photo by Paul Pluskwik.

Have a good weekend, everyone!






Categories: Member Feeds

Solo Summit of Mt. McKinley

Boundary Waters Blog - Wed, 01/14/2015 - 4:14pm

If at first you don’t succeed then try, try and try again. This year was Grand Marais resident Lonnie Dupre’s fourth attempt to summit Mt. McKinley solo in January. No one else had this claim to fame until Lonnie accomplished this feat on Sunday.   Mt. McKinley is also known by its Athabascan name Denali which means “The Great One.”  It is indeed a great one, the tallest peak in North America at 20,237 feet.

In January Denali is a formidable creature. With freezing cold temperatures, unforgiving winds and very little daylight it is a place not many people would want to be. But for Lonnie it was possibly about the need to be there and his desire to reach the peak and accomplish his goal.  Planning, persistence and possibly some stubborness along with the cooperation of Mother Nature, helped Lonnie make it to the summit. They usually say the 3rd time is the charm but for Lonnie, it was the 4th time.

Lonnie hoped to be picked up at Basecamp today by helicopter and be brought to Talkeetna. For more information you can check out his website.


Congratulations Lonnie!


Categories: Member Feeds

Heralding in the new year at Chik-Wauk

Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center Blog - Wed, 01/14/2015 - 11:07am

For many of us, the new year means change . . . or at least resolutions to change!

At Chik-Wauk, the new year is a pretty static time. The museum is buttoned up for the off-season and the staff is quietly plugging away at archival projects and other behind the scenes work.

But in 2015, the new year does bring about changes in the Gunflint Trail Historical Society membership rates.

Our membership rates are now:

  • Individual*: $30
  • Couple*: $50
  • Business: $100
  • Supporting: $100+
  • Lifetime: $1000+

*Also covers your children ages 18 and under.

Why the increases? Our membership rates have been basically unchanged since the Gunflint Trail Historical Society was formed in 2005. Ten years in, the GTHS Board of Trustees feels an increase in rates is a reasonable way to increase revenue for future projects at Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center, including a number of buildings that will start to go up this summer.

Your membership is truly an investment in the Gunflint Trail Historical Society and Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center and ensures quality exhibits, facilities, and historic preservation. It means the world to us that in 10 years, we’ve able to amass 1000+ member supporters! Thank you for your endorsement of the work we do and for helping Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center grow and thrive.

If you’d like to join or renew, you can do so easily with our online payment server. We can’t do our work without your support. Thank you, thank you!

Please note, our admission rates for the 2015 remain the same: $3 for aduluts, $2 for children ages 5-18, and free for kids under 5 and GTHS members.

Categories: Member Feeds

Cook County Minnesota Sunsets

Boundary Waters Blog - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 3:12pm

We are lucky to live in such a beautiful county with so many gorgeous backdrops for sunsets.  My favorite backdrop is from the end of the Gunflint Trail, specifically Voyageur Canoe Outfitters. Thanks for taking the photo Tony and Hannah.

Gunflint Trail Sunset

But these photos taken in Grand Marais, Minnesota by photographer David Johnson are quite lovely too.


Categories: Member Feeds

Looking like a newspaper

Unorganized Territory - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 1:21pm

The Cook County News-Herald is a member of the Minnesota Newspaper Association (MNA). We receive many benefits from our affiliation with MNA—legal guidance, training opportunities and perhaps the most valuable, the opportunity to network with writers, publishers and editors from other newspapers.

We interact not only with folks from MNA, but from across the country through our involvement with the Better Newspaper Contest. Newspaper people from other states serve as judges in the Minnesota Better Newspaper Contest. In years past, our Minnesota papers have been evaluated by news folks from Maryland, Missouri and Iowa.

As a writer at an MNA newspaper, I recently had the privilege of being a judge in the Iowa Better Newspaper Contest. It was an interesting and rewarding experience. Rewarding because I was returning the favor for those newspaper folks that served as judges for the Minnesota Better Newspaper Contest. And delightfully rewarding when I received a $10 gift certificate for Barnes & Noble in the mail in return for my efforts.

It was not an easy task. None of the newspapers I received to review were immediately eliminated. My assignment was to select the top three newspapers in categories such as Breaking News, School Coverage and Editorial Page. I was able to complete the rating on-line, rating the papers from 1-10 with 10 being the best. There were no papers that received less than 8 in my opinion. I was able to narrow the 8 – 20 newspapers in each category to about five issues with a 10 rating.

From there it became a matter of style over substance. The editorial content was excellent, so I was forced to look at how well things were laid out. Were the page jumps broken appropriately? Were there “widows or orphans” in paragraphs and columns? Were the photographs appropriate? After an excruciating process I was able to select a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finisher.

As I evaluated the papers, it was interesting to see the different newspaper header styles, editorial policies, photo layouts and more. Many of the ideas were things I wouldn’t mind seeing in the Cook County News- Herald. Others however, made me think, “Why?”

One of the things that was consistent in the Iowa newspapers was busyness. Nearly every paper had multiple teasers on the headers of all sections with a couple of photos and text of all sizes and colors. There were sidebars with weather and calendar of event items.

To me it is distracting to have all that information crammed into a space with little white space. In discussion with my coworkers, it appears there is consensus on this. When we were talking about this in the office, I blamed the clutter on Sesame Street.

I remember watching my sister and younger friends watching the educational program as it rapidly flashed out “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine…ten!” followed by the letter of the day, the word of the week and the color of the minute. Although I enjoyed the puppetry, I recall thinking that this frantic pace was distracting.

Now that frenetic pace has become standard for just about everything around us. We can’t just watch television, we have to have images advertising the next show popping up in the corner or a banner scrolling news across the bottom. We can’t just see ads in a newspaper or a sales flyer, ads are now on bathroom stall doors or painted on the floor of big box stores. It seems that we can’t concentrate on just one thing anymore and the front page of many newspapers seems to reflect that.

News-Herald writer Brian Larsen called it the USA Today syndrome and I have to agree. With the debut of the newspaper that attempts to cover the entire United States in its pages came the idea of snippets of news splashed across the front page.

I don’t care for it and the Iowa newspapers that ended up in my top three reflect that. Of the five fabulous papers that I had to narrow down to 1st, 2nd and 3rd, I selected the ones that had the most white space; the least cluttered pages. I had the opportunity to write comments, to give feedback on why I made my choices. On each of the top three, I complimented the writers and layout folks on allowing some breathing room for readers.

It makes me wonder if the Cook County News Herald will ever win an award in the Minnesota Better Newspaper Contest. We buck the trend of jamming photos or inserting text in every inch of the paper. We like the open space around our Howard Sivertson News-Herald bears. It not only gives our printer space to add an address for the papers being mailed, it gives a reader’s eyes a break.

The Cook County News-Herald is 123 years old. There is a grand tradition of being a newspaper, of looking like a newspaper. As an independently owned, local newspaper we don’t have to jump on the USA Today track.

We get notes from subscribers far and wide every day that tell us they love “our little paper.” Readers stop by the office to say they appreciate our coverage of local events and they enjoy the use of the Sivertson bears in our layout. That means more to us than any newspaper award.

Thanks readers!


Perfection is achieved, not when there
is nothing more to add, but when
there is nothing left to take away.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Categories: Member Feeds

Opening Date for Voyageur Brewing Company

Voyageur Brewing - Tue, 01/13/2015 - 12:19pm

We wish we could tell you the special date we will open Voyageur Brewing Company.  We’re super excited to open our doors and begin this adventure in Grand Marais, Minnesota.  When we started this endeavor we planned for there to be delays, setbacks and issues but we certainly didn’t plan for as long of a delay as we experienced with the licensing process.

We applied for our TTB from the Federal Government back at the beginning of July 2014. At that time the average amount of days it took the government to process an application was 90 days. We thought there might be a delay but we didn’t think that delay would be double their estimated time of completion. Finally after over 180 days we have our TTB and are able to apply for our State License.

Once we have the State License in hand we’ll be able to brew our beer!

And once we have our beer we’ll be ready to open.  Our brewery equipment is all in place, our brewer has delicious beer recipes,  and the taproom is very close to being completely finished. We have people hired to be a part of the Beer Crew and serve our guests and we’re really looking forward to opening.

We’ll let you know our opening date as soon as we know it and until then keep up to date and stay informed!



Categories: Member Feeds

In-between Time

Boundary Waters Blog - Mon, 01/12/2015 - 10:25pm

Silver Bay, Minnesota is a nice town. There’s a grocery store, a couple of gas stations, a pizza place, a bar, a restaurant, a flower shop, a bowling alley with irregular hours and of course the hockey rink. There’s more to it than that but in all reality, not too much more.  When there’s a hockey game at 9:30am and not another one until 3:00pm your options of where to hang out are limited.

Where did we go in-between games? Where any normal family would go, the rest area.  It isn’t just a rest area it’s a big rest area and the headquarters to the Tettegouche State Park. There’s a little interpretive area, a gift shop and a beautiful fireplace with comfortable seating around it. While the kids and dads relaxed in front of the fire my sister and I went for a little hike.

I’ve hiked to Shovel Point in the past but I have never done it in the winter. There wasn’t enough snow for snowshoes so our winter boots took us the 1.5 mile round trip just fine. The air was brisk but the sun was warm so we were quite comfortable as we walked.

The Silver Bay area has a lot of outdoor recreational opportunities. There are many hiking trails including the Superior Hiking Trail and there are inland lakes to enjoy as well.  In the summer the paved bike trail is a treat and Split Rock Lighthouse is just a stone’s throw away.  It really is a nice place and anywhere you can enjoy Lake Superior or time with your sister is a good place to spend those in-between times.

Minnesota State Parks

Categories: Member Feeds

1/10/15 - Longtime Sawbill paddler, Mary Bart, sent along this little note a few days ago.

Sawbill Newsletter - Sat, 01/10/2015 - 9:31am

1/10/15 - Longtime Sawbill paddler, Mary Bart, sent along this little note a few days ago. - Bill

Hiya Bill,

I don't know if you had a part in this or not, but son Chris & his brothers got me this framed 3-D topographical map of Sawbill Lake for Christmas, and blew my mind away with it. Boy, is it COOL! It's got water depths, and campsites marked on it - we can see where we've been, and it's just so neat! Chris got one too (or his wife got it for him, I don't know which) of Cherokee Lake, and we've been comparing depths, sizes of the lakes, campsites we've been to etc - the very first trip we took our kids on when Chris was 9 or 10 years old was to Cherokee, so it's a special lake to him. Come to think of it, MY very first trip up there was also to Cherokee! I thought I was gonna die on the 180 portage, but one of the other adults kept assuring me that there was really a BAR at the end of the last portage and I could get a beer there. I believed him. Anyway, we are both enjoying our cool maps of lakes we love!

And I am in the preliminary planning stages of putting together another ladies trip up there this coming summer - I think we can pull it off! We'll see.

Hope you're keeping warm and dry.

Categories: Member Feeds

Day 3 – The Wonderful World of BIRCH!

Sivertson Gallery - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 10:16am

Birch MANIA!!!


Day three of Sivertson Gallery’s 12 Days of Christmas is an ode to our favorite North Shore tree, the birch!

Since we love birch SO MUCH here in the Northwoods, perhaps it is time to take a cue from our friends in Northern Europe. In this region of the world, as well as Russia & China, birch sap is sometimes used in the manufacture of wine and beer.


However, if you’re feeling less ambitious and would rather simply sip out … read more

The post Day 3 – The Wonderful World of BIRCH! appeared first on Sivertson Blog.

Categories: Member Feeds

Day 2 – Lake Superior Sparkles

Sivertson Gallery - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 12:44am

There are few displays of color that affect me the same was as staring at the big open water of Superior early in the morning, but a beautiful gemstone that sparkles and shines is right up there! There is something absolutely memorizing about a rich piece of Opal. Similar to a cleansing dip in the big lake, the opal is said to bring its water energy to enhance self-esteem and sense of self-worth to the wearer. And don’t even get me started on Monica’s choice in Labradorite, with its purples, greys and … read more

The post Day 2 – Lake Superior Sparkles appeared first on Sivertson Blog.

Categories: Member Feeds

Day 1 – Howard Sivertson Giclees!!!

Sivertson Gallery - Sun, 12/07/2014 - 9:48am

Welcome to Day ONE of Sivertson Gallery’s 12 Days of Christmas!

We could not have kicked off this journey with anyone other than the one who started it all, our painter in the bright red suspenders – Howard Sivertson! Howard’s work has captivated the joy & beauty of the North Shore for many, many years. Through watercolor, oil and his unparalleled storytelling, Howard is able to transport you to a world long ago. Whether it be to the home of an early pioneer on the North Shore, the canoe … read more

The post Day 1 – Howard Sivertson Giclees!!! appeared first on Sivertson Blog.

Categories: Member Feeds

“Early”Winter at Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B

Poplar Creek Courier - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 12:47pm
November 20, 2014- This morning the temperature dipped below zero (-1) for the first time this fall. About 4-5" of snow on the ground. Yesterday Poplar Lake was frozen over. Winter is arriving earlier then we have had in a few years.
Categories: Member Feeds