Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Audubon Christmas Bird Count is Saturday, Dec. 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SplinterTones on stage at Papa Charlie's Saturday

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 10:50am

SplinterTones, the high-octane seven-piece dance band based in Grand Marais, will be swinging onto the Papa Charlie stage on Saturday, December 20. 

Noted for their vibrant vocal harmonies, colorful stage presence and  strong

rhythmic grooves, SplinterTones are known for crowding the dance floor with legions of  enthusiastic dancers.  

Truly a band with something for everyone, SplinterTones play swing, zydeco,  mambo, celtic, polka, rock, and original tunes in a unique and unmistakable style. So lace up your dancing shoes, come on out and shake a tailfeather.

The SplinterTones are: Max Bichel - Fiddle, Liz Sivertson - Saxophone, Leah Thomas - Accordion, John Gruber - Guitar, Holly Harwig -percussion, Jeff DeShaw - Bass, Rick Brandenburg - drums.


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

Schroeder township now on-line

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 3:07pm

It’s not finished; in fact it’s a work in progress.  “But it’s up and running,” said Schroeder Supervisor Tina McKeever, of the the township’s new website.

McKeever made the exciting announcement at the town board’s December 9 meeting.

Last month the supervisors hired Lavona Czaplicki to help them design and get the long- planned site up and going.

McKeever and Town Clerk Doug Schwecke have been adding pictures and information to the site, but, as she noted, “We need to add a lot more information about the township and we need to get more pictures that represent Schroeder onto the site.”

The website can be viewed online at


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

National Park Service sees positive results in ballast water testing

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 3:06pm

The National Park Service continues its efforts to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Invasive species such as the zebra mussel have caused extensive damage to natural resources and cost millions of dollars in eradication and control efforts. Ballast water discharges from ships (water used for ship stability) is a primary pathway for introduction of invasive species. The NPS and its partners have conducted significant research into ballast water treatment technology, most recently this summer at Isle Royale National Park.

Results are in from the summer testing of two freshwater ballast treatment systems on the NPS ship Ranger III. The NPS tested a manually operated rapid response treatment process that used chlorine and a neutralizer and a fully automated permanent treatment system using filtration and ultraviolet (UV) technology. The shipboard status tests were conducted in September 2014 and the final report was recently released. Both systems passed United States federal and international standards for two out of three requirements: discharge of living zooplankton and indicator bacteria.

The systems did not meet the standards for phytoplankton, which remain some of the toughest organisms to kill. Since the numbers of live phytoplankton collected exceeded the standard, the test facility conducted a viability analysis. After giving the organisms optimum conditions for growth and reproduction it was determined they were not viable (not capable of reproduction) after undergoing either of the treatments.

More information on results and criteria will be posted on the Isle Royale website,

Weather: Rain turning to snow with seasonal temperatures

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

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

Listen to the Story

Artists wanted for Illumination: Igniting Imagination exhibit

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 10:47pm

For the fifth year, Spirit of the Wilderness is putting together a show to encourage artists to examine the overlap between creativity and spirituality.  Illumination: Igniting Imagination will open on March 13 and run through March 29 at the Johnson Heritage Post. 

Medieval artists illuminated manuscripts we still admire in museums and art history books.  Scribes (who could have just copied away day after day) allowed their imaginations to be ignited.  They made visual illuminations of scripture, brining the text to life. 

This kind of illumination, when an artist allows his or her vision to be ignited by work in another form, has fired artists down the centuries—as a painter reflects on a sculpture or a piece of music, or when a poet responds to a stained glass window or a piece of pottery.  These are “illuminating” each other’s work, and by doing so, creating something bigger than the original. 

For our 2015 Entry Points to the Creative art show, we invite artists to engage this theme.  Begin thinking about the idea of illumination and how it is expressed in your media.  Choose a “significant passage” to illuminate—that passage may be word or sunset or rocks along the shore.  Imagine illuminating northern lights!  Or, particularly with this theme, you may want to consider working with another artist, perhaps across media or genre. 

Anyone with questions is asked to please contact Lee Stewart (387 2983), Bonnie Gay Hedstrom (387-2538), or Mary Ellen Ashcroft (387-1536).  Students are asked to contact Mary MacDonald at Cook County High School.


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