Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Lodging tax revenues for December continue to improve

Tue, 02/05/2013 - 9:32am
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Lodging tax revenues for the final month of 2012 were up compared to December of last year county-wide. According to the latest report from the Cook County Auditor-Treasurer’s office, the year-to-date totals were up 4.9 percent across the board for reporting tourism organizations.

Lutsen-Tofte revenues were up 3.1 percent from last December. Grand Marais revenues were up 9.1 percent from this time last year. The Gunflint Trail revenues for December were up 7.3 percent.

The Auditor’s office emphasizes that not all businesses report taxes at the same time each year and revenues are an “apples-to-apples comparison.” That means only businesses which reported lodging tax revenues both in December of this year and last year are included in the monthly accounting.

Nopolas lead Silver Bay girls to basketball win

Tue, 02/05/2013 - 4:11am
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Alicia Nopola and Brandi Nopola each scored more than 20 points to lead the Silver Bay Mariner girls to a 74-30 win over the Fond du Lac Ojibwe on Monday night.

In the boys’ game at Silver Bay, Fond du Lac Ojibwe took an 87-46 win from the Mariners.

On their way to the win, the Mariners jumped to a 35-15 lead and held off the Ogichida 39-18 in the second half.

Alicia Nopola led all scorers in the game with 29 while Brandi Nopola had 22. Tara Dow was the other Mariner in double-figures with 14. Other scorers for Silver Bay included Rosie Sauerborn with three with Kayla Maleski, Aubrey Thun and Erika Ernest hitting two each.

Janessa Martineau led the Ogichida with 13 points.

The win upped the Mariners to 2-13 for the season.

In the boys’ game, Davonte Williamson and Trevontae Brown scored 27 and 26 each to lead the Ogichida to their 87-46 victory. Fond du Lac held a 44-27 lead after the first half before outscoring Silver Bay 43-19 in the second for the win.

Kyle Blood led the Mariners with 23 while Mark Harris had 12. Other scorers fro Silver Bay included Eben Fischer with six while Spencer Tiboni and Michael Fischer each scored two.

The loss dropped the Mariner boys to 0-13 for the season.

The Mariner girls travel to Aurora to meet the Mesabi East Giants on Tuesday night. Both the boys and girls host the Wrenshall Wrens on Friday night, February 8.

Father-Daughter Dance at North House Thursday

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 3:54pm

For the fourth year, Cook County Girl Scouts are hosting a Father-Daughter Dance, giving young ladies and their fathers (or other special adult family members or friends), the chance to dress up and have a delightful evening together. The dance will be Thursday, Feb. 7 at North House Folk School from 6 – 8 p.m.
The evening will include live music by Critter Du Jour. A keepsake photo by local photographer Bruce Johnson, snacks and beverages are included in the cost of the dance, which is $20 per couple. The price is the same for one daughter or more!

County appoints Abby Tofte to EDA board

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 1:33pm

On January 29, the county board interviewed two people interested in serving on the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) board, Andrew Warren and Abby Tofte. 
Warren has been managing East Bay Suites and recently was named general manager of Caribou Highlands (both of which belong to Odyssey Resorts).  He has significant experience in nonprofit fundraising and construction.  Tofte is young and identified herself as one of many tourist industry employees who want to be able to stay in Cook County but struggle to find affordable housing. 
Both talked about the value of the tourist industry to Cook County’s economy, and both strongly supported the installation of broadband infrastructure throughout the county because it will expand career options and make the county more attractive to visitors and potential residents.
Commissioner Sue Hakes said people in the lodging industry were already on the board and recommended Tofte because of the “diversity” she would bring.  Because of her difficulty finding affordable housing, Hakes said, Tofte has been “living the problem.”
Commissioners Heidi Doo-Kirk and Jan Hall agreed that the EDA was heavy on business and resort owners at this point.  Hall said she believed having a non-managerial employee on the EDA was important.
Commissioner Bruce Martinson pointed out that Warren had a lot of experience and thought he might better represent the interests of the West End because he works for Caribou Highlands.  Garry Gamble said he thought Warren would bring skills that would serve the current needs of the EDA.
It was a really hard decision, but the board unanimously passed a motion naming Tofte to the EDA but also encouraging Warren to apply for the next opening on the board.

Tough choices ahead to keep Community Center budget in line

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 1:28pm

At the last county board meeting on January 29, commissioners were informed that bids for the next phase of construction of the Cook County Family YMCA have come in higher than budget. Wade Cole and Mark Kragenbring of ORB Management and Dan Miller of JLG Architects talked to the county board about how $1,959,426 worth of amenities could be cut out of the project.
Wade Cole said he felt good about the level of competition in the more than 20 bids, which included bids for masonry, carpentry, roofing, flooring, painting, aquatics, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, and fire protection, among other things.  At Cole’s request, the board authorized re-bidding the precast concrete portion of the work to reflect a design change that would lower the cost of the exterior panels without lowering the quality.
Cole said a lot of the overage was related to the outdoor amenities, such as the softball field.  Commissioner Bruce Martinson said that the cost of the softball field was originally expected to be $250,000 but is now projected at $900,000.
The Community Center Steering Committee had met on January 25 to talk about potential cuts.  They discussed options for reducing costs such as not building a soccer field or reconstructing the older tennis courts as planned.  The committee looked at reducing the vestibule area in the community center, reducing window and door sizes and not installing bleachers in the gym.  They believe other savings would be realized from costs not being as high as the amount budgeted, such as for furniture, fixtures, and equipment. 

Lonnie Dupre talks about coming off the mountain

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 12:32pm

Lonnie Dupre is back in Talkeetna Alaska after a third attempt to summit Denali  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Lonnie Monday 4:30am Alaska time.

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Ely wins CC Invitational; CC takes boys Denfeld Invitational, girls second

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 3:48am
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The Ely Timberwolves took both the boys and girls team titles in the Cook County Invitational Saturday at Pincushion Trails system in Grand Marais.

Ely’s boys beat the rest of the pack with 379 points. They  edged Duluth East who finished second with 374.

Mesabi East junior Sam Johnson won the 10.9-kilometer boys pursuit raise in a split second over 34 minutes.

In the girls race, the Ely girls took the top spot with 383 again just edging top-ranked Duluth East’s 381.

Ely senior Amy Bianco won thte girls 10.9-ilombeter pursuit in 37 minutes and 44 seconds. Bianco’s eighth-grade sister Erin was second at 40 minutes and four seconds.

No information was available Monday morning on how Cook County and other teams finished.

The Cook County/Silver Bay boys Alpine Ski Team won the Duluth Denfeld invitational at Mont Du Lac on Friday. The Viking girls finished second.

CC/SB won the boys meet with 105 points while Virginia Area finished second at 99. Hibbing was third with 75.

Anders Zimmer and Luke Fenwick finished fourth and fifth for CC/SB. Zimmer finished with a time of 1:03:22 while Fenwick came in at 1:04:74.

In the girls event, Duluth East won with 134 points followed by Cook County/Silver Bay with 29 and Virginia Area in third at 88.5

Morgan Weyrens finished third for CC/SB in the meet with a time of 1:10:82.

In boys hockey, the North Shore Storm traveled to Kittson Central in Hallock and took home a 4-0 loss.

Zach Duresky was in goal for the Storm and had 37 saves. The loss dropped the Storm to 10-9-1 for the year. The Storm includs players from Cook and Lake counties.

The Silver Bay Area girls hockey team finished the regular season at 7-17-1 with a win and a loss in the final two games on the schedule.

Kieran Scannell nominated for national Presidential Scholars Program

Sat, 02/02/2013 - 12:50pm
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Kieran Scannell of Grand Marais, a senior at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, has been named one of more than 3,000 candidates in the 2013 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

Kieran is the son of Lynn Swanson and Tim Scannell of Grand Marais. Scannell was also a Cook County Viking athlete before transferring to Phillips Exeter. This year, he was a co-captain of the cross country team and was selected as the "most valuable player" on the Phillips Exeter team.

The candidates for the Presidential Scholars Program have been selected from nearly 3.4 million students expected to graduate from U.S. high schools in the year 2013. Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, now in its 49th year, is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors. Scholars are selected on the basis of superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character and involvement in community and school activities.
 

Over 3,000 candidates were selected for their exceptional performance on either the College Board SAT
or the ACT Assessment.  In addition, each Chief State School Officer  was invited to nominate
three male and three female candidates, based on their outstanding scholarship, residing in the CSSO’s
jurisdiction. Further consideration is based on students’ essays, self-assessments, descriptions of
activities, school recommendations, and school transcripts. A distinguished panel of educators will
review these submissions and select 500 semifinalists in early April.
 

Weekend News Roundup for February 2

Sat, 02/02/2013 - 10:02am

Each weekend WTIP news produces a round up of the news stories they’ve been following this week. Lonnie Dupre is forced to abandon his assault on Denali, The DNR begins GPS collaring moose while one county resident mounts a petition to stop the fall hunt. The deer harvest was down and some post office windows will soon start shorter hours…all in this week’s news.

Program: 

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Dupre back in Talkeetna after month on Denali

Sat, 02/02/2013 - 9:02am
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Cook County Arctic adventurer Lonnie Dupre has been airlifted off Denali and is back in Talkeetna, Alaska.

He was picked up near his base camp on Friday by his One World Expeditions support team. He made his third solo attempt to reach the 20,320-foot summit of North America's highest peak. He was stopped by dangerous weather and snow conditions that combined to force him back down from 17,200 feet. He returned to his base camp and awaited his flight back to Talkeetna.

OWE released a short statement Friday night: "Lonnie returns home after spending one month on Denali. We, the support team, are very excited to have Lonnie back and look forward to begin our work on our upcoming documentary Cold Love.

In the next few days we’ll be going over and cataloging footage from the mountain, stay tuned!"

In an interview on the OWE website, Dupre noted he's "getting older and it's a little harder to stay alive when you';re 50 to 51."

He also said, "The mountain's always there , I'm alive and things are good. You  never know, maybe four or five years down the road, I'll give it another try when I'm a little wiser....It's always going to be there."

The interview in which Dupre outlines the issues that he had to deal with, along with the daily reports and photos from the expedition are available at www.oneworldendeavors.com.

News Tribune reports explosives found in barrels pulled from Lake Superior

Sat, 02/02/2013 - 8:45am

The Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa says it found still-active explosives in barrels of military waste retrieved this summer from Lake Superior.

The Duluth News Tribune published the report about the barrels in its Saturday edition.

The information was included in a preliminary report released Friday on the band’s effort to find, raise and test the contents of barrels that were dumped in Lake Superior a half-century ago. The report confirms the band raised 25 barrels, far short of the 70 the project had called for. And while there were active explosives in the barrels, the band said there was nothing considered an immediate human health or environmental concern.

The News Tribune  reported that 25 barrels were recovered between July 30 and Aug. 13, the band said Friday, and included either parts from cluster bombs or a composite of incinerated metal, which is exactly what was found during the last search-and-recovery in the 1990s.

“Preliminary data results show no immediate cause for concern regarding the safety of water and fish consumption,” the band noted Friday.

But this time, the band said in the report, they also found still-active explosives in the small devices called “ejection cup assemblies” apparently used as part of the technology to spread the small, grenade-like cluster bombs apart in mid-air as they fell to the ground.

Explosives experts on board conducted tests in the ejection cup assemblies and identified an active ejection charge composed of M5 propellant. Each of 22 barrels contained between 600 and 700 ejection cup assemblies, the report notes.

Comments sought on possible changes to border lake fishing regulations

Fri, 02/01/2013 - 7:24pm

Interested citizens have until Monday, Feb. 11, to comment on Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) considerations to bring border water angling regulations in-line with the state’s inland regulations. Lakes along the Ontario border that could be affected by the change in regulations include Basswood, Crooked, Lac La Croix, Iron, Loon, Knife, Ottertrack, Gunflint and others. 

 The DNR is considering extending the inland regulation of one walleye more than 20 inches to all Ontario border waters that currently don’t have special regulations. The move is aimed at standardizing regulations for all border water lakes to eliminate situations where border lakes are left less protected than inland waters.

Cook County RidgeRiders invites all to the 4th annual Fun Run Feb. 2

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 10:04am

The Cook County Ridge Riders snowmobile club is hosting its 4th annual Fun Run on Saturday, February 2 and hopes to have as big—or bigger—turnout then they had last year.
“Last year we raised close to $6,000 and had 150 riders,” said one of the Fun Run organizers, Andrea Everson.
Registration is between 8-10 a.m. at Devil Track Landing or Hungry Jack Lodge and the entry fee is $20. Entrants can start at either the Devil Track Landing or at Hungry Jack Lodge, said Everson, and travel up or down the trail and end the day at Devil Track Landing.
Participants don’t need to snowmobile, said Everson. “You can travel by car, snowmobile, or, in one instance, one fellow even came in a plane. You can travel anyway you like. And if you want to just come to the party at night, just show up. It doesn’t matter if you participate in the ride.”
Along the way riders will collect a poker card from the businesses they will visit. The first card will be handed out at the Landing, followed by stops at Trail Center Lodge, Windigo Lodge, Gunflint Lodge, Gunflint Pines and Hungry Jack Lodge. The best five cards will be used for your poker hand and the best hand—and worst hand—will win a prize. All hands must be turned in by 5 p.m. at the Landing.
Besides having a good time, riders will be helping to pay for snowmobile trail maintenance and a $250 scholarship that will be given to a Cook County High School graduating senior. Prizes include snowmobile jackets, helmets, and sweatshirts, said Everson.
All told, snowmobilers will cover about 100 miles on trails.
“We are hoping that riders follow the rules and ride safely and responsibly,” Everson said, adding, “and have a great time.”

Celebrate the art of winter!

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 10:02am

The Grand Marais Art Colony invites you to celebrate winter, art and creativity with them this weekend. Starting on Friday, Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. there will be an opening reception at the Art Colony. Winter Arts Festival plein air paintings and photography will be on display. If you miss the reception, you can see the winter works until February 24.
On Saturday, February 2, you are encouraged to tour snow carvings at various locations around Cook County. Take a self guided tour of the snow carvings created as part of the Winter Arts Festival located at: Bearskin Lodge, Grand Marais Art Colony, Harbor Park, Caribou Highlands, Eagle Ridge at Lutsen Mountains, and Bluefin Bay Resort in Tofte.
The carvings on display until February 10—weather permitting.
On Saturday, February 2 from 1 – 4 p.m., community members are invited to gather for Community Ink Day. Participants will be able to print their own valentine. Come into the Art Colony's print studio to learn a new artistic process called monoprinting. All materials and instruction are provided. All ages are welcome. The cost is $5 per person
Also on Saturday, February 2 at 6 p.m., consider taking in Hot Art for Cold Nights at Sivertson Gallery. The gallery kicks off its Fireside Chat series with a Winter Plein Air themed talk.
For more information about these events, contact the Grand Marais Art Colony at (218) 387-2737.
Enjoy the art of winter!

Cook County Invite Nordic Ski Meet moved to Saturday morning

Thu, 01/31/2013 - 9:06am
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A weather forecast  for below zero temperatures on Friday, February 1, has caused the Cook County Invite Nordic Ski Meet to be moved to 11 AM, Saturday, February 2, on the 2.5 km course at Pincushion Mountain just north of Grand Marais..

Originally scheduled for Friday,  predictions of frigid weather caused the one-day postponement. Cook County Viking Nordic Coach Mark Summers said in an interview on WTIP's DayBreak Thursday morning that 4 below zero is the cutoff temperature for Nordic meets. He said that forecasters said temperatures could very well be below that cutoff at the original 10 AM, Friday race start time.

The Cook County Invite is scheduled to involve 10 teams including the Vikings, with each team bringing from 40 to 50 skiers from junior high through high school varsity. Summers said that the meet is a tune-up for skiers in their preparation for the Section 7 meet which will be held next week. He said the only team in the Section that might not attend is Grand Rapids, but that was not certain.

The Invite involves both Freestyle (skate-ski) and Classic techniques. The opening round is the Freestyle with the second, or Pursuit, round being Classic in style. The high school boys' and girls' varsities are scheduled to start the Freestyle competition at 11 AM, Saturday. The junior varsity will follow immediately with the junior high Classic race next on the schedule. The varsity boys and girls Pursuit starts at 2 PM.

Summers said that Section 7 is "arguably the best (Nordic) section in the state." He noted that Duluth East and Ely are perennial Section 7 powerhouses.

"Every school in the section has a well-establish program with talented kids," he said.