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News and other information from Cook County

Botany and photography workshops offered on Isle Royale

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 1:52pm

Workshops in botany and photography are offered starting in June on Isle Royale. WTIP volunteer Joey Detrick spoke with instructor and botanist, Janet Marr, along with Kristine Bradof, Executive Director of Isle Royale & Keweenaw Parks Association, on North Shore Morning.

Photography workshops: June 12-17 and October 2-4
Botany workshop: September 8-13

More information available at Isle Royale & Keweenaw Parks Association, or contact Kristine Bradof at 906-482-7860, email


James and the Giant Peach opens April 17

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 10:14am

The Grand Marais Playhouse is proud to present James and the Giant Peach, the tale of a magical peach! An imprisoned boy! Insect friends! An incredible journey! This amazing adventure of James Henry Trotter will fulfill the fantasy of anyone who has ever dreamed of escape.

Roald Dahl's story comes hilariously to life in this delightful dramatization that reveals the wickedness of some, the goodness of others, and the indecision encountered by many when they are faced with crises. You will see James (as he cleverly gets the Peach out of danger), the wise Old-Green-Grasshopper and the pessimistic Earthworm.

Cast includes: Anna Ahonen, Sylvia Berka, Grace Blomberg, Amy Carpenter, Elsa Garry, Ella Hedstrom, Liv Hedstrom, Robin Henrikson, Shaelyn Hingos, Luke Johnson, Savanna Merritt Olivia Nesgoda-Works, Amery Oberg, Hazel Oberholtzer, Katie Peck, Louise Ramberg, Aurora Schelmeske, Sarah Sivinski, Izy Sparks, Abbey Stoddard, Rio Tersteeg, Kylie Viren, Charlet Waver, Hailey Weile, and Dominic Wilson.

This Richard R. George adaptation is directed by Sue Hennessy.

Shows are at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts April 17-18 at 7 p.m., April 19 at 2 p.m. April 24-25 at 7 p.m. and April 26 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 adults and $5 students. Advance tickets are available on-line at The box office opens one hour before each performance.


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

E.R. Perry Signs & Engraving nominated for Joel Labovitz Entrepreneurial Success Award

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 10:13am

A local sign company with a national footprint is in line for a regional entrepreneurial award, and win or lose, business owner Elizabeth “Betsy” Perry said, “I feel like it’s an honor just to be nominated.”

E.R. Perry Signs & Engraving is one of 44 Northeast Minnesota companies selected to compete for one of five Joel Labovitz Entrepreneurial Success Awards given out by the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Center for Economic Development and the Small Business Development Center for Northeast Minnesota.

Fifteen companies are contending with E.R. Perry Signs for the top spot in the “Mature Entrepreneur” category.

E.R. Perry Signs has been in operation since 1995 and although they still make signs for local businesses, their primary business is online. The company specializes in engraved plastic tags.

Their clients include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and many corporations.

Award recipients will be announced at a luncheon and awards ceremony on April 22 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center Harbor side Ballroom.

Win or lose, said Betsy, “It is nice to be recognized for our efforts and success.”


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

Lake service provider training at Schaap Community Center on April 30

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 1:11pm

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will offer lake service provider training at the Schaap Community Center on the Gunflint Trail on April 30 from 1 - 4 p.m.

The training is being given in an effort to help stop the spread of invasive species. Minnesota laws require lake service providers to attend a training session and obtain a permit prior to working in state waters. Lake service providers are persons or entities that install, repair, decontaminate, lease, rent or remove water-related equipment in or from public waters for compensation.

This training is for commercial lake service providers such as dock and lift companies, marinas, resorts, boat hauling and storage companies, outfitters and irrigators – not the public.

A separate online education program is also being worked on for the public and may or may not include a new AIS trailer decal requirement.

"Preventing the spread of invasive species is everyone's responsibility," said Richard Rezanka, DNR invasive species specialist. "Lake service providers can play a critical role in the prevention effort because they frequently move from one lake to another. They can also be some of the first to alert us to a potential problem."

Before a permit is issued, a lake service provider must apply, pay the application fee, attend a training session and pass a written exam. The permit is valid for three years and service providers must have the permit in their possession while providing services. Employees working under the supervision of a permitted lake service provider only need to complete a free, online lake service provider employee training course.

Thirty additional trainings will be offered statewide through May.

For more information on lake service provider training, permits and scheduled training sessions throughout the state, visit the DNR lake service provider website at

"Hot Potato Topics" offers informal discussion about raising adolescents, April 30

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 11:04am

The Sawtooth Mountain Clinic is hosting a “Hot Potato” discussion group in addition to a hot potato bar on Thursday, April 30.
WTIP volunteer Sherrie Lindskog spoke with Amy Marie Schmidt of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic on North Shore Morning.


HOT POTATO TOPICS: Informal discussions about raising our kids led by Dr. Sandra Stover & Dr. Jennifer Delfs.
If you have a question or topic you would like to see discussed, please email before April 25th.
Sawtooth Mountain Clinic Lower Level Classroom
5:30 PM, April 30th, 2015
There will be a hot potato bar with all the fixin's before the discussion begins.


Ravens are starting to build their nests

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 9:19am

Chel Anderson is a North Shore naturalist. She lives here in Cook County and joins us periodically to talk about phenology or what’s going on in the woods right now. Welcome, Chel.

Anderson: Hi!

Well, Chel, I saw one fly overhead about two weeks ago: a raven with a stick in its mouth. It must be courting and nesting time.

Anderson: Indeed it is. Ravens, too, are getting in the act. Another one of those birds that gets an early start on the mating and nesting season. Gosh, who doesn’t love ravens?

They are an amazing, amazing bird.

Anderson: They really are, and, you know, throughout the course of the year I’m always marveling at their various antics, their incredible abilities, though, as fliers is one of the things that’s easiest to admire and be amazed by. But, it seems like during the courting and mating time is when their exuberance as fliers and their skills as fliers are really being shown off to the max. So, it’s a great time of year to really be paying close attention to opportunities to watch that, where the pairs will fly wing-on-wing in tandem and they’re doing barrel rolls and they’re doing flips and they’re flying upside down and just, incredible, incredible acrobatics in the air. Ravens mate for life; for as long as they live, I guess. If a pair has both partners still on the scene in a given winter, then their territories kind of become a little bit looser. They’re not doing as much enforcing of boundaries of territories during the winter, but starting in late winter they’re going to start enforcing the territories around their nests, which often are sites that they use repeatedly. They may have more than one. It could be in a big tree, could be on a cliff ledge, multiple sites and they’re going to be doing a lot of pair bonding around those nest sites, bringing sticks, bringing material of different kinds. Not just sticks, bones, you know, have been found in raven nests, soft materials, even, scraps of wool, plastic, colorful things.

These are pretty big nests.

Anderson: Yes, they are, even when they’re built from scratch. The initial nest is big, and then if they’re used year after year they become quite massive as, you know, each succeeding year the adults are adding a little bit of material to the nest. So, yes, they can become quite large, and that’s where the pair will be focusing their attention in terms of courtship and eventually the eggs will be laid in late winter. Two to four eggs isn’t uncommon, large eggs, and their seems to be quite a bit of variability in terms of how adults act around the nests. Some nests are really in secluded places and the adults seem very secretive and it’s really kind of amazing to discover them. But, others seem to build their nests in really obvious places and are real carefree around their nests in terms of people observing them. So, there’s really a wide range it seems of approaches to where to nest in terms of people’s habitations and how to act around the nest. But, if you happen to have one nest in your neighborhood or come upon one and have a chance to observe the birds around their nests it’s really interesting, of course, to watch how they incubate the eggs and feed their nestlings. It’s very interesting and fun.

Do crows act a lot like ravens?

Anderson: Yeah, although crows are much more social in flocks. They spend a lot more time in flocks. Ravens definitely gather up together and do things together, but not with the same kind of enthusiasm on an ongoing basis as crows do. They gather together when it’s useful to be together and for the sake of sharing and taking advantage of other food that other ravens have found to scavenge. But, generally, they’re more likely to spend time just as a pair or as single birds, versus crows which seem to be much happier mingling as groups more often than not.

There’s a lot of native spirituality around ravens, and I can imagine why. But, I think that this is one amazing bird that’s always fascinated me. I’m glad I live in an area that has so many of them.

Anderson: Yes, I know. We’re really fortunate to have them close by and not something that it takes a lot of effort to go and just observe, to be able to enjoy them regularly pretty much wherever we are in the county.

So, this time of year, it seems to be as long as there is snow on the ground and while they’re doing their mating and this sort of thing, that’s when we get to see the air shows. This is the time to look up.

Anderson: This is really the time to look up and pay attention, because you’re more than likely to see some pretty amazing acrobatics up there.

It’s amazing to see with those flips.

Anderson: Yeah!

I don’t know, why do they do that?

Anderson: Well, I don’t know, but I can’t help but anthropomorphize about it. They just seem to really enjoy flying. As do others, you know, they’re not the only birds that I sometimes interpret that kind of activity that way. But, they really just do seem to love to fly. You seem them out in the most horrific weather just playing in the wind and just seemingly enjoying their capacity to use their abilities to carve out space in the air and go places.

Besides being extremely bright.

Anderson: Oh my gosh, yes. Maybe that goes with intelligence, that playfulness. They are among the most intelligent.

Chel Anderson, botanist and plant ecologist. Thanks for helping us understand ravens in love.

Anderson: You’re welcome.

Photo courtesy of Sergey Yeliseev via Flickr.

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