Around Cook County
Melting winter snowfall won’t do much to alleviate the extremely dry soil conditions across Minnesota, even if some areas experience spring flooding, according to the state climatologist.
Roughly 70 percent of Minnesota is in extreme drought or severe drought. All of the snow that has fallen over the winter by and large remains on top of the landscape, a landscape that is largely frozen.
Cook County along the Canadian border is considered abnormally dry, the rest of the county is in a moderate drought condition.
The National Weather Service, which produces flood outlooks, has called for a high risk of flooding in the southern reaches of the Red River Valley.
Come see James Wedgwood and his amazing comic ventriloquism at 6 p.m. March 8 at the Grand Marais Public Library.
Like a one-man variety show, James makes virtually everything talk, from wooden “associates” to purses, bottles, and even audience members – yes, they open their mouths and James provides the surprising words! A game show, singing (without moving his lips) and much more are all part of the fun. With outrageous characters and hilarious audience participation, this is a performance unlike any other and one you will not want to miss.
The show is free and appropriate for all ages, and is funded with money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
The future of the Tofte Post Office – and other small offices like it – is uncertain. At the February 14, 2013 Tofte Township Board meeting, former postmaster Skip Lamb expressed concern over how the U.S. Postal Service might try to trim its budget and asked the Tofte board for help.
“I don’t want anybody not to get their mail,” Lamb said. The ability to receive goods, services, and supplies like medicine through the mail is crucial for isolated communities, he said.
Starting in March, the post office will only be open six hours a day instead of eight. “I would like to see Tofte take a stand on it,” Lamb said, “because I think legislatively there are still a lot of things pending. It would be nice if you would see what you could do to help the situation out.”
“I think you’re right, Skip. I think we need to be proactive,” said Board Chair Paul James. “This is a national crisis that they can’t keep the post office open.” He said that with so much communication being done by email these days, it’s no wonder the post office is having problems.
U.S. Senator Al Franken is in support of keeping rural postal services intact, Lamb said. County Commissioner Bruce Martinson said U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar often brings her family to stay at Bluefin and thought she would be supportive of keeping services at the Tofte Post Office.
If Lutsen had to pick between having a post office either in Tofte or Schroeder, and if Schroeder had to pick between having a post office either in Tofte or Lutsen, Supervisor Jim King said, they would probably pick Tofte. “When you’re the center of the universe,” he said, “there are certain obligations that you just have to put up with!”
“Isn’t that Grand Marais?” James said.
Grand Portage Ojibwe elder Billy Blackwell will share his knowledge of local history and co-host the event with Cook County Historical Society Director Carrie McHugh.
(Click here to hear an interview with Billy Blackwell and Carrie McHugh.)
This two hour event will feature a panel of guest speakers, including Tim Cochrane on the Early History of the Region, Victor Aubid on Ojibwe Migrations, Milt Powell on Saganaga Lake and Blackstone, Alta McQuatters on the Lutsen Area & White Sky, Sue Kerfoot will share Gunflint Lake Stories, Chester Lindskog on A Changing County, and Gene Erickson with Fantastic Facts & Figures.
There will also be a display of historically-themed original art by: Alice Powell, Jan Attridge, David Hahn, and Heidi Sobanja.
The event will last about 2 hours and snacks will be served afterwards. More information is available from Historical Society director Carrie McHugh at 387-2883, or by email - firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Photo courtesy the Minnesota Historical Society)
On March 7, the community is invited to dance the night away at the North House Folk School to the eclectic electric, polka, zydeco, and rock sounds of The Splinters. A potluck dinner will be held from 6-7 p.m., followed by the dance from 7 to 9 p.m. The event is a celebration, reunion and fundraiser for the Explorer’s Club summer youth program in Grand Marais.
The Explorer’s Club is a summer youth program where school-age children spend their summers exploring the outdoors in Cook County. As a sister program to Cooperation Station Daycare, Explorer’s Club began in 2006 and has had over 100 children participate over the years. An “Explorer’s Club summer” includes tramping up streams and rivers, paddle boarding and surfing on Superior, archaeological digs at county historical sites, laughter, peanut butter sandwiches, and good friends.
Splinters’ accordion and vocalist Leah Thomas has achieved near-cult status with Cook County kids through her longtime role as Explorer’s Club director. Thomas says, “I look forward to this reunion with Explorer’s Club friends, families and staff, as well as all Cook County families. It will be great to dance and play together.”
A raffle of local items from businesses and individuals will also be part of this event. Buy a few tickets, put them in the jar for the item you want, and take your chances.
For more information, contact Gwen Danfelt at 387-1324.