Around Cook County
There is a significant winter storm headed our way beginning Sunday afternoon. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with meteorologist Carol Christenson about a lot of snow and blowing winds.
Leah Utities cut loose for 22 points as the Cook County Vikings beat Duluth Marshall Thursday night, 65-46, in a game played at the high school gym in Grand Marais.
The Vikings hit 28 field goals while holding Marshall to only 18 to take thewin. Marshall held a nine to five edge in the free-throws-made column.
Joining Utities in double-figure scoring were Theresa Morrin with 16 and Breana Peterson with 13. Suzy Burton scored eight and Kaitlynn Linnell added six for the Vikes. Utities and Morrin each had two three-pointers apiece.
Mary Baumgartner led Marshall with 12 points.
In girls hockey, the Silver Bay Area girls team ended its season Thursday night with a 4-0 loss at Proctor-Hermantown in the quarterfinals of the Section 7A hockey playoffs.
And, the season ended for the Cook County High School Nordic Ski Teams as no Vikings qualified for State in the Section 7 meet at Giants Ridge.
In regular season boys hockey, the North Shore Storm overwhelmed Moose Lake Area 8-2 on the Storm's home ice. Both the SBA and Storm teams include skaters from Cook and Lake counties.
The Silver Bay Area girls came into last night's Section 7A game at the eighth seed. Proctor-Hermantown is seeded number one. In taking the win, Proctor-Hermantown scored once each in the first and second period, adding two goals in the third for the win.
Cassie Swanson was in the net for the Mariners and made 29 saves.
The top-ranked Duluth East girls won their third straight Section 7 Nordic ski title on Thursday. East is also the two-time defending state champion. East took the 10.5K girls' meet with 384 points followed by Ely at 377. The Viking girls finished 10th with 132.
The Ely Timberwolves won the boys' 10.5K meet with 384 points followed by Duluth East wtih 371. The Vikings finished ninth with 221 points.
The Elders at the Grand Portage Elderly Nutrition Program are staying busy. There continues to be strong participation in weekly water aerobics, chair exercise and Wisdom Steps programs. These programs are especially important as the weather makes it hard to get outdoors. ENP Director Patty Winchell-Dahl said, “When we keep moving, we have less pain from arthritis, stay strong and are less likely to fall. Keeping active makes us healthier and can contribute to a positive, happier outlook on life.”
Anyone interested in participating with Wisdom Steps, please call Carol Hackett at (218) 475-2655. All types of exercise count towards your goal for Wisdom Steps not just walking. The program is open to adults 50 years of age and older.
The ENP has many opportunities to volunteer. Currently ENP is in need of Elders to listen to the grade school children read twice a week. Anyone with some time, please call Patty at the ENP at 457-2655 or 475-2002.
A recently completed aerial survey of moose in northeastern Minnesota indicates the rate of population decline has accelerated dramatically.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced Wednesday that the northeast population declined 35 percent from last year. Since 2010, the moose population has declined 52 percent.
In response to the survey results, the DNR will not open a 2013 state moose hunting season or consider opening future seasons unless the population recovers.
“The state’s moose population has been in decline for years but never at the precipitous rate documented this winter,” said Tom Landwehr, DNR commissioner. “This is further and definitive evidence the population is not healthy. It reaffirms the conservation community’s need to better understand why this iconic species of the north is disappearing from our state.”
Landwehr stressed the state’s limited hunts are not the cause of the population decline. “Yet taking this action is reasonable and responsible in light of latest data and an uncertain future,” he said
Based on the aerial survey conducted in January, the new population estimate is 2,760 animals, down from 4,230 in 2012. The population estimate was as high as 8,840 as recently as 2006.
“It’s now prudent to control every source of mortality we can as we seek to understand causes of population decline,’’ said Landwehr.
Starting in January, wildlife researchers began fitting 100 moose in northeastern Minnesota with GPS tracking and data collection collars. This multi-year research project will investigate the causes of adult moose mortality, calf mortality, calf survival, moose use of existing habitat and habitat quality.
To date, 92 collars have been placed on moose in the Grand Marais, Ely and Two Harbors areas.
An encore presentation of the high school one-act comedy We're Not Making This Play Up As We Go - Honest by Bradley Walton will be given Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts.
The cast includes Cy Fortunato, Luke Fenwick, Mikala Schliep, Sam Kern, Sam Deschampe, Seleine Morowitz, Emily Terrill, Melanie Stoddard and Michaela Peterson. Stage manager is Julia Larsen; director is Sue Hennessy.
Admission price? Bring two useable items for the food shelf or $3.
The local AARP tax aide volunteers have been training every Tuesday in January and February. They also attended a mandatory IRS “webinar” on Wednesday, January 23.
All of this training is necessary, explained Pam McDougall, one of the number crunchers at the webinar. “There are always a lot of changes—and we expect even more this year.”
At their Tuesday sessions, the volunteers review tax exercises, update tax prep computers and prepare for the 2012 tax law tests. It seems like a lot of hard work for volunteers, but another volunteer, Chuck Flickinger said, “We enjoy it. It is rewarding to help people through the process.”
The local AARP TaxAides will once again be helping members of the community with their federal and state income taxes, and property tax refunds—free of charge.
People are helped on a first-come first-serve basis. Once tax aides have gotten the information and tax documents, they can tell you when your tax return will be ready, so that you can leave and come back later if you wish.
A TaxAide will check your return for accuracy, after which you will receive a printed copy of your return, which will be e-filed to the government, with your refund arriving in one to four weeks depending upon your choice of direct deposit or mail.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced today the moose population in Northeastern Minnesota has dropped 35 percent from last year. The agency said it will not hold a season this fall or consider opening future seasons unless the population recovers.
District 3A Rep. David Dill said he fully supports the DNR action, and called the population drop “precipitous.” WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Dill moments after the season announcement was made.
Six members of the Cook County/Silver Bay Boys Alpine Ski Team qualified for the State Meet after the team took second in the Section 7 Meet Tuesday at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.
The State Meet will be held Wednesday, February 13 at Giants Ridge.
Hermantown took first in the Section 7meet and CC/SB finished right behind them.
Anders Zimmer took the top spot for CC/SB by finishing eighth overall in 1:17.04. He was the only North Shore skier in the top 10.
Also qualifying for CC/SB were Will Lamb in 20th with a time of 1:19.47, Luke Fenwick in 22nd at 1:19.51, Logan Backstrom in 30th at 1:21.59, Kyle Martinson in 47th at 1:26.71. Collin Berglund did not finish the course.
The CC/SB girls team finished out of the running for the State Meet. Duluth East and Mounds View finished first and second in the Section 7 girls competition.
It’s not too late to register for “Keep it Moving in February,” where teams and individuals are challenged to just keep moving. If you've participated in the past, continue to use your existing username and password.
We've gone around Lake Superior more than 13 times in the spring! That is more than 16,000 miles of moving our bodies as a community. Let's see how many times we can do the Circle Tour in February.
Move It website features include: Track your individual and team miles of winter activities (indoor or outdoor); compare your progress this winter to your friends and neighbors; track your minutes of activity and watch your thermometer rise as you move toward the recommended weekly activity goal; an online calendar of active (indoor and outdoor) events in Cook County; and a link to the Volks Ski page to log your kilometers skied on Cook County's ski trails www.Volksski.com
All registered participants are eligible for moving to better health and state of mind, bragging rights, and for several gift certificates for fabulous prizes. Register online at www.sawtoothmountainclinic.org by clicking on the "Move It" icon.
Move It is sponsored by the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic with planning and support from Cook County Public Health and Human Services, Cook County Visitors Bureau, Birch Grove Foundation, Grand Marais Safe Routes to School, Superior North Outdoor Center,
and the Cook County Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP).
“I’m delighted to be here in Cook County on Lake Superior in the Gunflint District of the Superior National Forest,” new U.S. Forest Service Gunflint District Ranger Nancy Larson said as she introduced herself to the county board on January 22. She wondered what issues the board might be interested in discussing with her.
Commissioner Sue Hakes suggested that Larson might want to become familiar with issues related to the South Fowl snowmobile trail and to meet the members of the Arrowhead Coalition for Multiple Use (ACMU). “I feel like I’m on track a little bit,” Larson said, “because I know a little about both of those issues.”
Commissioner Bruce Martinson mentioned the potential trades of Forest Service land for state and county land in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Larson said she was glad to be here at this point in the process, “where the rubber meets the road.” She will be reviewing comments they have received on these potential trades with Forest Supervisor Brenda Halter.
Martinson said numerous people have told him the Forest Service’s new maps of the Travel Management Plan are very difficult to read. Larson said she has heard the same thing and has discussed this with her colleagues. The format of the map was prescribed by the Washington office, she said. “We have absolutely no delegated authority to change it.” If someone put a readable map together, she said, they would be happy to make it available.
The ATV Club is trying to address this but has no money to make a map, Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk said.
The purpose of a map is to be useful, Commissioner Garry Gamble pointed out. If the Forest Service had invited focus groups to provide feedback on the format of the maps, they would have realized it was not useful to the public.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.