Around Cook County
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 - email@example.com.
(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.
Friends and family of Isabella ski trail groomer Mike Maki have organized a fundraiser to help defray medical costs as Mike undergoes treatment for cancer. Six bands will be playing from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 9 at the National Forest Lodge in Isabella. The line-up includes Bump Blomberg, The Splinters, Gordon Thorne, Joey Kenig and Eli Bissonett, Carol Booth and Jim Ganahl, Sofacoustic, Guilty Pleasures, and Sofa King.
Dress for the weather, bands will be outside under a tent. There will be live auctions between sets, cross country skiing, lakeside sauna and much more.
For more details visit: http://www.nationalforestlodge.com/mikebenefit.htm
E.A.T.S. 2013 (Enriching Academics Through Sustenance) will be held 6 - 8 p.m., Thursday, March 14 at the high school to supports the Cook County School District 166 Education Foundation. Over $72,000 in grants have been awarded since 2002 for projects and activities that provide extraordinary educational opportunities for students. Enjoy samples from 12-plus restaurants and food vendors, entertainment and support ISD 166.
Legislation was introduced yesterday to reinstate a five-year moratorium on recreational wolf hunting and trapping. The House bill is a companion to one already in the Senate.
The bill calls for a five-year wait before another wolf hunting season can be proposed, and only for population management purposes after other options are explored.
Also, members of Congress are asking federal officials not to revoke protections for the gray wolf in sections of the lower 48 states where the predator remains on the endangered species list.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering whether to drop the wolf from the endangered list in areas where none are known to exist.
A letter to the agency sent Tuesday by 52 U.S. House members says legal protections should remain because the wolf could continue expanding its territory elsewhere, benefiting the environment.
Local birder and guide Erik Bruhnke will talk about birds that migrate and live along the North Shore at 10 a.m. March 9 at Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center.
The North Shore is renowned as a great place to see thousands of hawks in the fall. But did you know that there are also thousands of smaller birds moving through our woods in the spring and summer? Erik will introduce you to his favorites and tell you the best places and times to see the most birds this spring. He will also throw in stories about the owl irruption this February, and have some of his many photos on display.
This program is free and open to the public.
Sugar Loaf Cove Nature Center is located lakeside off Highway 61 at mile 73.3.
For more information call (218) 525-0001 or visit www.sugarloafnorthshore.org
Two bids came in for plowing the 10.5 miles of the newly created Irish Creek Subordinate Government Service District (SGSD). The area covers portions of roads west of the Arrowhead Trail in Hovland. One of the bids did not provide enough of the required information. The other bid was from LaBoda Grading, which proposed plowing before noon every time at least two inches of snow fell for a fee of $550—a cost of $52.38 per mile.
Commissioner Sue Hakes asked Highway Engineer David Betts and Maintenance Supervisor Russell Klegstad if they thought the price was reasonable. Betts said they had thought the cost might be closer to $350 or $400 but that was without having someone scope out the route in person. The Highway Department budgeted for 12 snowfalls costing $300 each between the start of the contract and the end of this winter. Statistics are kept over the course of time so that when bids for already established SGSDs are received each fall for the upcoming winter, the department has some idea how to budget.
In a separate interview, Engineer Betts explained that contractors’ snowplowing costs can vary significantly from one road to the next. Contractors do figure in the amount of time and fuel that getting to the site will require. But even if distance wasn’t a factor, the width and condition of a road affect the time and cost to plow it. Some Subordinate Government Service District snowplow routes routinely get a lot more snow than others, so when it’s time to plow, some contractors have a lot more to plow. Some roads have fewer convenient places to put the snow and require bigger equipment to handle the job.
“The market always tells you what the right cost is,” Engineer Betts said.
The Cook County boys basketball team begins Section 7A, Subsection 1 tournament play on Thursday at Esko.
The Vikings, ranked number 5 at 13 and 7, face number 4 Fond du Lac Ojibwe (16 and 7) at 6 p.m. WTIP will broadcast the game beginning with the pre-game show at 5:45 p.m.
Number 10 Silver Bay faces number 7 Carlton Tuesday.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) invites
comments through March 20 on a permit that regulates construction
stormwater throughout the state.
Under the federal Clean Water Act and Minnesota law, the MPCA oversees
a program to manage stormwater runoff from construction activities.
These activities include clearing, excavating and grading that disturb
more than one acre of soil. The purpose of the state program is to
protect water resources from pollutants, particularly sediment, as
well as nutrients, oil, chemicals and litter carried with runoff. In
addition, the program strives to prevent this runoff from flooding
streams and lakes and damaging habitat for fish and wildlife.
The MPCA issues a general permit that requires controls for
construction stormwater runoff. When construction site owners and
operators apply for coverage under the general permit, they agree to
comply with the conditions set in the permit.
The current permit expires Aug. 1, 2013. Because federal rules have
changed since the last permit was issued in 2008, the MPCA must update
the general permit to comply with these rules. Based on research and
experience, the federal government continues to make changes to ensure
that adequate best management practices are in place. While the
primary changes concern federal rules, the changes also include
reorganization of the permit language. The draft permit includes
clarifications and minor language changes to make the permit more
concise, to delete duplicate or unneeded language, and to make the
permit more readable and easier to understand.
In addition, the MPCA will require that permit applications be
Arrowhead Electric Cooperative, Inc. will once again be holding
elections for seats on the co-op board this summer. Three director
positions are open for election and there are candidates for two of
the board seats.
This year the three-year term of District 3, District 6 and District 7
will have elections at the 2013 annual meeting scheduled to be held
Saturday, June 8 at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts at Cook County
High School in Grand Marais.
District 3 serves the Gunflint Trail area. Forrest Parson is the
incumbent director and will not be seeking re-election.
District 6 serves the Lutsen area. Scott Harrison is the incumbent
director and is seeking re-election.
District 7 serves the Schroeder - Tofte area. Tom Spence is the
incumbent director and is seeking re-election.
The Arrowhead Electric board of directors is responsible for hiring a
general manager, approving policy revisions, approving rates,
reviewing and approving operating budgets and work plans and approving
various loans and contracts.
Arrowhead’s monthly board meetings are held the last Thursday of each
month beginning at 9 a.m. with the exception of November and December
due to the holiday season. Board members are reimbursed $350 for
meeting attendance. Board members who attend meetings related to the
cooperative’s Broadband project receive an additional payment of
$175. If both electric and Broadband meetings are held the same day,
the reimbursement is $500.
Members living in Districts 3, 6, and 7 who are interested in being
considered for nomination or if you know a member whom you believe
Abby Hawkinson scored 35 points, including all 11 of her team’s points in overtime, in McGregor’s 64-57 victory over Cook County in a Section 7A high school girls basketball quarterfinal Saturday night at Lincoln Middle School in Hibbing.
The Vikings took a 25-20 halftime lead over the top-seeded Mercuries who had a record of 25 and 3 before Hawkinson led them back with 15 second-half points to force overtime at 53-all.
Maikayla Collins added 15 points for McGregor, which advances to Wednesday’s semifinals against North Woods.
Theresa Morrin scored 23 points to lead Cook County who went into the with an 11 and 15 record.
Leah Utities scored 7, including a 3-pointer, Lily Gruber-Schultz had 11, as did Breana Peterson. Kaitlynn Linnell had 5.
Local photographer, David R. Johnson of Grand Marais, whose
photos have graced the pages of the Cook County News-Herald numerous
times has won honorable mention in the Nature category in the 18th
annual Lake Superior Photo Contest, announced in the February/March
2013 issue of Lake Superior Magazine.
Johnson won honors for his Hazelnut Bear. His photo of a large black
bear was one of 1,284 images entered into the contest from
photographers in 138 different cities, in 18 states, one U.S.
territory (Guam) and Canada.
Mary Amerman of Duluth won the grand prize with a photo of the water-
smoothed rocks of Duluth’s Brighton Beach.
All of the winning photos, as well as finalists, can be seen in a
slideshow at the Lake Superior Magazine website: http://www.lakesuperior.com/articles/photocontest12/
The deadline for the 19th annual Lake Superior Photo Contest is
October 16, 2013. Read the rules and learn how to enter at the Lake
Superior Magazine website as well.
Johnson also received recognition for one of his Northern Light
photos. His was one of 13 photos selected to grace the 2013 WDIO TV
Storm Team Calendar. Sue Holt, graphic supervisor at WDIO-TV,
congratulated the winners saying, “There were many ‘oohs and
ahhs’ as we went through the judging process of nearly 2,000
With fresh snow on the ground and crews busy grooming trails for cross-
country skiing at Minnesota state parks and recreation areas, the
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds visitors about
winter trail rules and etiquette.
On groomed trails, with or without a set of tracks, remember: Pets are
not permitted on ski trails; hiking and snowshoeing is allowed
anywhere in Minnesota state parks, except on the ski trails and trails
posted “closed” for the winter; winter mountain biking is only
allowed on trails designated for that purpose; all skiers age 16 and
older must carry a current, signed Minnesota Ski Pass with them when
skiing in Minnesota state parks.
Ski passes can be purchased three ways: Daily ski passes ($6) are sold
at park offices where staff is available; self-registration for one-
season ($20) and three-season ($55) ski passes is available at most
Minnesota state parks; ski passes can be purchased using Minnesota’s
electronic license system, available at nearly 1,500 locations around
To find a location, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/licenses/agents.html or
call the DNR Information Center between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday
through Friday at 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367.