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News and other information from Cook County

EDA continues strategizing to create workforce housing

Fri, 07/10/2015 - 2:16pm

Housing was once again the top agenda item for the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) in June.

At the June 9, 2015 meeting, EDA Board Member Anton Moody gave an update on the work of the Workforce Housing Committee. Moody said the housing committee—Moody, Scott Harrison, Heidi Doo-Kirk, Abby Tofte and consultant Randy Lasky of Northspan has been meeting every Thursday morning to review and strategize about the results of housing study completed by the consulting companies Northspan and Community Partners Research, Inc. A critical part of the study was a demographic study of housing needs in the county, projecting numbers out to 2019.

Moody said he would like to see the EDA/housing committee start with a small project. Moody told the EDA board, “I’d like us to start with something do-able. It would be great if we did something that filled up right away and we had to do it again in a year.”

Board Member Mark Sandbo agreed and reminded the board of other projects—the Sawtooth Cottages housing development in 2008 above the Cedar Grove Business Park and more recently, an Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) 21-unit housing proposal for EDA lots 1 and 2.

Sandbo said, “We start things but never finish. I’m happy with something smaller. I think 21 units is pie-in-the-sky. Let’s do something with four units—let’s get something done.”

EDA Board Member Scott Harrison said they should be “at the table” with contractors by September 2015. By that time he said the housing committee should have the necessary information on financing, utilities, etc.

To hear the latest report from the housing committee, anyone interested can attend the next Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) meeting on Tuesday, July 14 at 4 p.m. at the Grand Marais City Council chambers.

Meet Jeff Cadwell

Fri, 07/10/2015 - 8:43am

Jeff Cadwell is the new Cook County Administrator. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Jeff on “Daybreak.”


View more news from WTIP

Minnesota Power to idle Tac Harbor plant in 2016

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 11:44am

Minnesota Power, a division of ALLETE, Inc. today laid out the next steps in its Energy Forward plan, which will reduce carbon emissions, increase the use of renewable resources and add natural gas to meet customer electric service needs "in a balanced, reliable and cost-effective way over the next 15 years and beyond."

One of the next steps include the economic idling of the company’s Taconite Harbor Energy Center in the fall of 2016 and ceasing coal operations of Units 1 and 2 in Schroeder in 2020.

As part of the transition and taking advantage of trends in lower cost replacement energy supplies from wholesale markets, MP will idle Taconite Harbor in the fall of 2016. According to MP, idling the plant rather than close it completely in the near-term “will give the company more flexibility during a period of time when considerable change is occurring in energy supply and policy.”

If necessary and with appropriate notice, the idled units can be restarted and produce electric power to maintain grid reliability. The company also plans to further reduce emissions and continue operating two smaller units at its largest generating station, the Boswell Energy Center.

In a statement, MP Vice President of Strategy and Planning Al Rudeck said, “We will assist the 42 Taconite Harbor employees in finding new positions within the company. We will also work with the North Shore community through this transition, exploring future options for the plant that may include refueling, re-missioning or retirement. There is valuable port, rail and other associated infrastructure at the facility site that may catalyze future economic development and business growth opportunities.”

Minnesota Power provides electric service within a 26,000 square-mile area in northeastern Minnesota for 144,000 customers, 16 municipalities and large industrial customers.


Gypsy Jazz Guitarist Sam Miltich with Sky Blue Jazz Quartet at Arrowhead Center for the Arts Saturday

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 11:09am

With their recent five-year jazz history project, "A Century of Jazz," Grand Marais's Sky Blue Jazz Ensemble has carried out its mission to serve as ambassadors of jazz music and history in rural Minnesota communities, particularly on the North Shore.

It's therefore with great excitement that virtuoso Sam Miltich of Grand Rapids will collaborate in a concert and dance at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. July 11 at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts. The entire repertoire will be previously recorded gypsy jazz tunes by Miltich, chosen for their listening and dancing appeal. The band will play on a thrust stage adjacent to the dance floor, with seating for at least 200 in the concert hall.

Miltich is a jazz guitarist born and raised in the woods of northern Minnesota. He is a musician by profession and plays regularly in the Upper Midwest, as a soloist and with his band, the Clearwater Hot Club. In addition to gypsy swing and traditional jazz, his musical interests include Brazilian choro, French musette, Eastern European tamburitza, and other forms of traditional folk music. Miltich’s recent musical collaborators have included mandolin virtuoso Peter Ostroushko, Twin Cities saxophonist Dave Karr, jazz and classical guitarist Joan Griffith, and Dutch jazz violinist Tim Kliphuis.

Members of the Sky Blue Jazz Quartet are Mike Debevec, music direction and piano; Erik Hahn, saxophone; Mike Roth, bass; and Brett Jones, percussion. Together, these four bring decades of experience and excellence as jazz musicians into their performances. They have been performing, recording, and teaching jazz together for the past six years.

Call the Arrowhead Center for the Arts at (218)  387-1284 for ticket information and availability.


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

Nice weather for Art Festival weekend

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 10:35am

Warm, warmer, warmest so far this year. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Carol Christenson about beautiful weather for the weekend…and smoke smell and hazy skies.



Water advisory for Grand Marais Campground beach is lifted

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 11:30am

The Cook County beach that received a “no water contact” advisory was retested yesterday and the advisory has been lifted. Water samples collected at the Grand Marais Campground beach on July 6 indicated possible fecal contamination. The water at the beach will be tested again on July 7.

Also receiving an advisory on July 6 was Burlington Bay in Two Harbors and that advisory was also removed today.

An advisory issued on July 7 for Agate Bay Beach in Two Harbors remains in place. That beach will be retested on July 8.

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.