Around Cook County
Cook County Planning & Zoning is tackling some tough questions about what constitutes a building. Should fabric-covered hoops set into the ground require a building permit? What about an RV or cargo trailer that sits on a property and is only used for storage? The Cook County Planning Commission pondered these questions at their monthly meeting on December 19.
Planning & Zoning Director Tim Nelson said his department has been seeing more and more hoop structures as time goes by. Some have dirt floors while others have cement floors. Some are temporary and unobtrusive; others are situated outside setback limits near roads and waterways.
The weather looks like it will warm up for a few days, snow a little and then turn a little colder. Nothing too extreme along the way. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with meteorologist Mike Stewart.
As Cook County Council on Aging rang in the New Year, the council also expressed its deepest appreciation to three departing board members. Board Chair Karen Kritta Saethre, Board Secretary Diane Parker and Member-at-Large Diane Booth.
The board welcomed two new board members Geri Jensen and Joan Hall. The board also would welcomed three current members to the executive board. Pat Zankman is our new treasurer and Dawn Byholm is our new secretary. Warren Anderson is once again chairman and Bill Shaffer has been re-elected by popular demand as our vice chairman. Congratulations to all on your newly elected positions.
Don't miss out on a great eight-week beginner clay class that includes 24-hour studio access throughout the entire class.
"Beginning with Clay" will be presented by Melissa Wickwire Jan. 8 through Feb. 26 (eight Tuesdays) from 6 to 8 p.m. There is a $190 tuition, plus a $30 supply fee.
Three mushers, including two from the North Shore, finished the Grand Portage to Hungry Jack leg of the Gichigami Sled Dog Race in under four hours on Sunday.
This is the first year for the Gichigami and it is being run in three legs. The mushers left the Mineral Center trailhead in a staggered start after 9 AM, Sunday headed for Hungry Jack and the Gunflint Trail.
Ross Fraboni of Two Harbors covered the 51 miles in 3:55 . Right behind him in finishing times were Frank Moe of Hovland and Ryan Redington of Wasilla, AK in 3:56. The fastest teams were running about 13 miles per hour over a trail that was less than ideal.
Keith Aili of Ray finished the first leg in 4:06 followed by Bruce Langmaid of Kearny, ON, Nathan Schroeder of Chisholm and Erin Redington of Wasilla, AK who ran the course in 4:08.
Ryan Anderson of Ray and Will Kornmuller of Willow, AK finished the Grand Portage to Hungry Jack leg in 4:11 followed by Michael Bestgen of St. Cloud and Vern Schroeder of Warba in 4:13. Ariane Jasmin of Clam Gulch, AK finished in 4:14.
Coming in at 4:20 and 4:21 respectively were Tofte's Rita Wehseler and Clam Gulch, AK's James Wheeler while Kevin Malkowski of Outing finished in 4:24.
Rounding out the finishers were Amanda Vogel of Ray in 4:31, Blake Freking of Finland in 4:39 and Colleen Wallin of Two Harbors in 4:54.
Bill Wehseler of Tofte was scratched from the race.
The mushers, volunteers and race fans were scheduled for an outdoor barbecue at Trail Center on the Gunflint Trail Sunday night.
The 59-mile second leg of the race starts Monday morning at 9 o'clock after breakfast at Windigo Lodge. The mushers and teams will travel from Windigo Lodge to Devil Track Landing for the longest of the three-stages. A spaghetti feed will celebrate the end of the second leg at American Legion Post 413 in Grand Marais.
The boys and girls hockey teams on the North Shore have been successful in their most-recent two games.
On Saturday night, the Silver Bay Area girls defeated Lake of the Woods, 7-0. The win followed up a Mariner victory over LOTW on Friday night, 6-0.
In boys hockey, North Shore defeated Greenway-Nashwauk-Keewatin 2-0 Saturday after stopping Ely-Northeast Range 11-0 on Thursday.
The wins brought the Mariners to 6 and 12 for the season, including a record of 5-5 in the last 10 matches. The boys are 8-4 for the season. Silver Bay Area and North Shore each feature skaters from Cook and Lake counties.
Brooke McMillen led the Mariners on Saturday night with a hat trick as her team took the seven-goal victory. The other goals came from Hannah Johnson, who scored twice, with one goal each hit notched by Katelyn DeRosier and Kristina Thums. In the goal, Sara Carman had six saves compared to 70 saves by LOTW’s Emily Ney.
On Friday night, Cora Carter and Anna Carman had two goals each to lead the Mariners to the 6-0 win. McMillan and Rebecca Dilley scored one each for the win. In the net, Cassie Swanson had 10 saves for SBA while Ney made for LOTW.
SBA hosts Proctor-Hermantown on Tuesday night, January 8 before traveling to Moose Lake Area for a game Friday night, January 11. North Shore hosts Eveleth-Gilbert on Thursday night and International Falls on Saturday.
Tomorrow, January 6, Minnesota’s newest stage-style sled dog race, the Gichigami Express begins in Grand Portage! The three-day race travels from Grand Portage, along the Gunflint Trail to Grand Marais and back to Grand Portage on January 6-8, 2013. The community is happy to welcome a field of 20 mushing teams to compete in the inaugural race.
U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken today joined U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin in a friendly wager on Saturday's NFL playoff game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers. The Wisconsin senators wagered a case of Wisconsin craft beer against a case of local Minnesota beer from the Minnesota senators.
“It’s not often we have the chance to beat Green Bay two weekends in a row,” Klobuchar said. “There will be no better way to wash down the sweet taste of victory than with an ice cold Wisconsin beer from my friends across the border.”
Colin Everson scored 23 points to lead the Cook County Vikings to a 65-55 home victory over the Cromwell Cardinals Friday night in Grand Marais.
The Viking girls won their second game in a row by stopping the Cardinals 51-39 led by 14 points from Lily Gruber-Schulz.
In other North Shore high school basketball play, Silver Bay dropped a pair of games to Moose Lake-Willow River.
The Viking boys took a 36-28 lead at the half and outscored the Cardinals 29-26 in the second for the win.
In addition to Everson’s 23, Justin Goldstein had 15 while Kale Boomer had 11. Rounding out the Vikings’ scoring were Lars Scannell with eight and Jonny Jacobsen with four while Rory Bakke and Peter Warren added two each.
Austin Pfisthner had 17 for Cromwell.
The Vikings are 6-2 for the season and play Friday night, January 11 at Silver Bay in a game that will be broadcast on WTIP.
The Viking girls upped their record to 5-6 with their win over the Cardinals.
Cook County held a 30 to 20 halftime lead before holding off Cromwell 21-19 in the second to take the 11-point win.
Gruber-Schulz’s 14 led the Vikes followed by Breana Peterson’s 12 and eight from Teresa Morrin. Other Vikings on the scoreboard were Kaitlynn Linnell with seven, Jamie Sjogren with six and Leah Utities with four.
Christina Stenson led Cromwell with 13.
The now 5-6 Vikings travel to Mesabi East for a game Thursday night, January 10. On Friday, they join the boys at Silver Bay and their game will be broadcast on WTIP.
The Silver Bay Mariner girls lost a 67-38 road game at Moose Lake-Willow River.
The Rebels took a first-half lead of 35-32 before taking the second half 32-19 for the win.
Alicia Nopola scored 26 to lead the Mariners. Tara Dow added 10 and Kayla Maleski scored two. Nopola also had a three-point basket.
Cook County property taxpayers can expect some increases in their 2013 property taxes, but they won’t see an increase in the hospital levy. On December 20, 2012, the hospital board voted to keep it at $800,000 for another year.
“My hope had been to decrease it,” said North Shore Hospital & Care Center Administrator Kimber Wraalstad. Given financial projections for next year, she was not comfortable recommending that the levy be decreased but thought they could handle keeping it the same.
Board member Tom Spence pointed out that they expect to go to the taxpayers for a lot of money in facility renovations in the next several years. He said he wanted taxpayers to see that the hospital was trying to do the right thing with their money.
Administrator Wraalstad said she was disappointed to see a projected loss of $200,000 when working on the new year’s budget. The loss could be greater with potential federal funding cuts of over $200,000 and up to $400,000 that could go toward building renovation if the board decides to pursue it.
The hospital ended 2012 in the black for the first time since 2008. Wraalstad told the board it was due to a reduction in care center beds, a change in funding structure called Equitable Cost-Sharing for Publicly Owned Nursing Facilities, an increase in swing bed volume, the ability to do MRIs, and the addition of occupational therapy.
The Grand Marais city council’s last meeting of the year was also the shortest. Councilors met for about 10 minutes on Dec. 26 to put the final stamp of approval on the city’s 2013 budget and levy. As adopted, the levy for next year is $824,152.44, which is a 1.12 percent property tax levy increase.
The action concludes the lengthy budget process, which began in late summer with meetings between council and the city’s department heads. In September, council set a preliminary levy of $866,552.44, which would have represented a 6.3 percent increase over the prior year. City administrators worked since then to reduce that increase.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources is launching a moose research project in northeastern Minnesota to determine why the state's population of the animal is declining.
DNR officials will hold a St. Paul news conference today to unveil what they're calling a first-of-its-kind project. They'll employ GPS and other technology to help track the animals.
As of last March, Minnesota's moose population was estimated at 4,230 — a 14 percent decline from the previous year's estimate, and less than half what it was in 2006. Wildlife managers have said reasons could include parasites, diseases and warmer weather.
They have said hunting is not to blame, and the DNR allowed a short moose hunting season last fall. The agency has not yet revealed if it will allow a moose hunt this year.
Fifteen points by Kaitlynn Lynnell and 14 by Teresa Morrin led the Cook County Viking girls’ basketball team to a 51-47 victory last night at South Ridge.
The 4-6 Vikings host the Cromwell Cardinals at 4:45 PM, Friday (today). The boys’ team will tip off their game with Cromwell at 6:30.
Norman Moe and Dick Dorr will be on hand to bring you the play-by-play on WTIP starting around 4:30 with the pre-game discussion. The games also will be videostreamed on www.wtip.org and www.boreal.org.
Last night at South Ridge’s home court in Culver, the Vikings held a 26-25 halftime lead before being outscored by the Panthers 27-25 in the second. The first half margin gave Cook County what the Vikes needed to take the win.
Other scorers for Cook County were Breana Peterson with eight points while Lily Gruber Schulz and Essence Haines hit six each. Leah Utities rounded out the Viking scoring with two.
Leading the Panthers in double figures were Mikayla Olesiak with 18 and Krystal Karppinen with 10. Olesiak nailed three three-point baskets and Karppinen had two.
The School District 166 school board deliberated at length before deciding where to set the levy at its last meeting of the year on December 20. Any tax increases would be hard for residents, Deb White said to her colleagues on the school board.
As enrollment continues to decline over the next couple of years, Superintendent Beth Schwarz said, the district will need to continue reducing expenditures.
One bright note, according to outgoing school board member Terry Collins, is that the construction of a new community center on the west wing of the complex will save the school the cost of dealing with issues related to the age of that end of the building, and the wood chip silo was taken down at no cost to the school as part of the project.
Collins, who did not run for re-election and will be off the school board in January, recommended that in reducing spending, they avoid “veering wildly” from new initiatives –such as early childhood programming—before they’ve had a chance to mature.
The board had the option of adding $91 per student to the levy to help continue Q-comp projects. This amount, about $42,000, was included in the preliminary budget. Q-comp is a state-initiated program that brings money into the district for quality improvement measures such as bringing math activities into all areas of the curriculum to improve standardized test scores, which is the district’s focus this year.
The board voted unanimously to set the 2013 levy at $1,335,286, which includes the Q-comp allowance. The 2013 levy will be 7 percent more than school taxes payable in 2012.