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Commissioners schedule ATV ordinance public hearing

Wed, 07/15/2015 - 6:38am

At their July 14 meeting, Cook County commissioners reviewed proposed changes to the Cook County ATV ordinance. The changes, if adopted, will permit Class 1 ATVs to travel legally on the Gunflint Trail from Pine Mountain Road (FR 154) to South Brute Road (FR 325) and from Lima Grade Road (FR 315) to the Old Gunflint Trail (CR 92). The justification for the change is to provide a connection between two sections of the existing ATV trail network.

While ATV advocates and numerous Gunflint Trail businesses see this as a low-impact way to increase the area’s appeal to recreational ATV use, opponents argue it will degrade the Trail’s character as a National Scenic Byway and negatively impact the experience of the many visitors who travel the highway.

A public hearing is now set for July 28 at 10 a.m. during the regularly scheduled county board meeting.

In other business, the board unanimously approved a proposal by Commissioner Garry Gamble to establish an upper limit for 2016 discretionary funding in the amount of 4% of the previous year county tax levy. The percentage is based on discretionary funding as a percentage of the levy in years 2005 through 2015.

While voting in support of the proposal as an experiment for the coming year, Commissioner Jan Sivertson expressed her concern that it might restrict the ability of the county to respond in cases of exceptional financial need.


Three Cook County beaches receive "no water contact" advisories

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 1:49pm

Several Cook County beaches received “no water contact” advisories after testing yesterday, July 13. Water samples collected at Old Shore Road beach and the Grand Marais downtown beach in downtown Grand Marais and the Schroeder Town Park beach had bacteria levels that indicate possible fecal contamination. The water at the beach will be tested again today.

The beaches will be retested today, July 14.

Other beaches that received advisories on July 13 include Agate Bay and Burlington Bay in Two Harbors and Sky Harbor parking lot beach in Duluth.

Beach monitoring is conducted at the following beaches in Cook County:  Chicago Bay boat launch in Hovland; Paradise Beach, Kadunce Creek, Durfee Creek in Colvill; Old Shore Road, Harbor Park in Grand Marais, Recreation Park campground in Grand Marais, Cutface Creek Wayside Rest; Temperance River State Park, Schroeder Town Park and Sugarloaf Cove Beach in Schroeder. At press time, all had “water contact acceptable” ratings.

A number of factors, such as dog, geese and other wildlife feces, dirty diapers, failing septic systems and sewer line breaks and overflows, can contribute to higher levels of illness-causing bacteria.

The Minnesota Lake Superior Beach Monitoring Program offers the following tips to minimize risks associated with potential water contamination. Its website recommends waiting 24 hours before going swimming after a heavy rainfall and showering after swimming or recreating at the beach. It also advises that beach goers do not swallow water and that they try to keep face and head out of the water. If possible, the website says to wear earplugs and goggles. Finally, it advises people with weakened immune systems not to swim.

Anyone who becomes ill after contacting beach water is asked to contact the Minnesota Department of Health at (877) 366-3455.

Annual Gunflint Trail Canoe Races set for July 15

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 12:56pm

The Gunflint Trail Canoe Races are an annual fundraiser for the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department. WTIP volunteer Julie Carlson spoke with Bruce Kerfoot about the 2015 Gunflint Trail Canoe Races on North Shore Morning. 

The Gunflint Trail Canoe Races are Wednesday, July 15, from 4 to 7:30 pm on the Gunflint Lodge waterfront.  All proceeds benefit the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department.

Gunflint Lodge Waterfront
143 S. Gunflint Lake
Grand Marais, MN 55604

For more information contact:
Julie Henricksson, the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races Committee at 218-388-2246


School District 166 gets Q-Comp program update

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 12:35pm

At the June 18, 2015 school board meeting, Principal Gwen Carman, who serves as the quality oversight chair of the Q-Comp Program at School District 166 gave an update on how the Q-Comp Program worked in 2014-2015.

Carman explained that Q-Comp stands for Quality Compensation Program. It is a voluntary program, she said, but the school does receive funding from the state by taking part. The purpose, she said, is to increase teacher knowledge and skills to improve student learning.

Teachers receive Q-Comp pay for meeting specific goals. Teachers receive $400 if their school meets the schoolwide goals.

Participating teachers have their own individual goals as well. Carman said 38 out of 43 teaches met the goals set. Carman said this was despite “increased rigor” and a goal of 80 percent proficiency set on specified math skills, for 80 percent of targeted students.

Teachers receive an additional $500 Q-Comp reimbursement for meeting individual classroom goals.

For the schoolwide goals, Sawtooth Elementary and Cook County Middle School met the Q-Comp goals that had been set and teachers received Q-Comp schoolwide pay.

Cook County High School did not meet its schoolwide goal. Carman said the high school was very close but said data was skewed because five of the 27 students who did not meet their growth goal were above their grade level scores in the fall, and continued that way into spring. Carman said if those students were taken out of the pool, 71.8 percent (56 of 78) students would have met their growth goal.

The high school teachers did not receive the $400 compensation associated with schoolwide goal achievement, but those that met the individual classroom goals earned $500.

"I Love You, You're Perfect! Now Change!" opens July 17 at Arrowhead Center for the Arts

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 12:21pm

"I Love You, You're Perfect! Now Change!" is a musical production opening Friday, July 17, at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts. WTIP volunteer Julie Carlson spoke with Mark Abrahamson, Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux, Jackson Nickolay, Karina Roth and Kay Costello on North Shore Morning. 
The Grand Marais Playhouse presents the 2015 Summer Theater Festival opening this weekend.  "I Love You, You're Perfect! Now Change!" plays in repertory with "Moon Over Buffalo" from July 16 through August 9. More information is available from Sue at 387-1284, extension 2, or from the Grand Marais Playhouse website.


Memorial Blood Center "Fishing for Donors" at local blood drives

Mon, 07/13/2015 - 4:55pm

During the summer months when blood supplies are often low, donors are needed more than ever to help save and sustain lives in our community.

Memorial Blood Centers will offer donors during the month of July an opportunity to win a Freshwater Fishing Adventure including a three-night stay with airfare for two. Donors will also receive a “Fishing for Donors” T-shirt between June 27 and July 11.

On the North Shore, blood drives will be held in Tofte from 2 to 6 p.m. July 21; the Grand Marais Senior Center from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 22; and Grand Portage Health Services from 9 a.m. to noon on July 23.

While walk-in donors are always welcome, appointments are preferred. To sign up for the Blood Drive in Tofte, call Polly Erickson at 663-7398. In Grand Marais, Arrowhead Pharmacy is sponsoring the blood drive, so call the pharmacy at 387-1133. And in Grand Portage the person to contact to schedule an appointment to donate blood is Vivian Carlson at 475-2235.

Memorial Blood Centers has been saving lives for over 65 years as an independent nonprofit supplying life-saving blood to area hospitals and other partners throughout the U.S. Operating 11 donor centers and conducting hundreds of blood drives each month, Memorial Blood Centers also provides comprehensive testing and expert technical services as a national leader in transfusion medicine.


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