Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Moose researchers report five deaths in first month of study

Fri, 03/08/2013 - 12:16pm

So far five of the 111 radio-collared moose have died in the 
first month of an intensive six-year study being conducted by wildlife 
specialists to determine what is causing the high moose mortality rate 
in Northeastern Minnesota.
“To date we have had five mortalities,” said Erika Butler, D.V.M. 
Wildlife Veterinarian of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 
(DNR), which is working with a number of partners on the project.
But of these mortalities, Butler said, “Four of these are considered 
capture-related as they occurred within two weeks of capture. This is 
a mortality rate of 3.6 percent, which is within the expected range, 
especially given the poor condition of many of these animals. “The 
fifth was actually outside our window for capture-related mortalities 
and was a wolf kill,” Butler said.
Although moose have been radio-collared in the past, these new collars 
are outfitted with GPS tracking devises and will send researchers six 
locations of each moose each day, as well as the ambient outside air 
temperature. If a moose doesn’t move for six hours researchers will 
text its location every 30 minutes for the next six hours so DNR staff 
can track the animal.
The goal is to locate moose that have died within 24 hours so they can 
be brought back and studied to determine what caused their death. If 
the moose is too big or too far away to retrieve a necropsy will be 
conducted in the field.
While moose have all but disappeared in northwestern Minnesota, 
northeastern Minnesota has been the last stand for these magnificent 
creatures in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Back to the '80s with Mush for a Cure

Thu, 03/07/2013 - 10:58pm

It’s time to paint the town red…no pink!...again. The 2013 
Mush for a Cure will be held Friday and Saturday, March 8-9 on the 
Gunflint Trail. Shake your cabin fever and come out for fun at this 
amazing fundraiser for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
There will be delicious pasta and dancing at Windigo Lodge on Friday 
night. The theme is back to the 80s, so find those parachute pants or 
leggings, pouf up your hair and get ready to party like a pop star—in 
pink, of course!
Part of the hilarity will be The Bald, The Brave and The Beautiful 
event. Three Cook County businessmen have put their heads on the line. 
There is a competition to see which man can raise the most money to 
fight breast cancer. If enough money is raised, all three will have 
their head shaved—in front of the partying crowd. Taking part in the 
crazy spring fever event is Bruce Kerfoot of Gunflint Lodge who is in 
the lead at this time with $1,550 in donations. Forrest Parson o
Hungry Jack is close behind with $1,485 and Scott Harrison of Lutsen 
Resort was not far behind with $1,055 in pledges.
If you’d like to push the men over the line to baldness, consider 
donating today. You can do it quickly and easily on-line at www.mushforacure.com
  - click on “Donate” and look for the name of whom you want to see 
shaved.
Or you can select your favorite musher to donate to. At press time, 
MFAC has already raised almost $20,000. Organizers are hoping to top 

Melting snowpack won’t help drought; spring floods predicted

Thu, 03/07/2013 - 11:18am

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.

Ventriloquist to perform at library March 8

Thu, 03/07/2013 - 11:05am

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.

Tofte proactive in protecting its Post Office

Thu, 03/07/2013 - 11:03am

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.

Historical Society storytelling event Saturday at ACA

Wed, 03/06/2013 - 4:03pm
Hungry Jack Lodge 1937 - photo by William F. Roleff
The Cook County Historical Society is presenting "Stories You’ve Never Heard & Good Ones to Hear Again," Saturday, March 9th at 3:00 p.m. at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts in Grand Marias.
 
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 - history@boreal.org.

(Photo courtesy the Minnesota Historical Society)

Sen. Franken discusses the Violence Against Women Act

Wed, 03/06/2013 - 12:35pm

Congress has passed and the President is set to sign the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Senator Al Franken about the bill and one he has authored on mental health services in schools.

Attached file
View more news from WTIP

Dance to Splinters to help Explorer's Club

Wed, 03/06/2013 - 12:04pm

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.

Benefit for Mike Maki features music all day at National Forest Lodge in Isabella

Wed, 03/06/2013 - 12:03pm

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

Get your tickets now for E.A.T.S.

Wed, 03/06/2013 - 12:01pm

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.

Wolf hunt moratorium legislation introduced

Wed, 03/06/2013 - 7:32am
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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.

Learn about North Shore birds at Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center

Tue, 03/05/2013 - 11:48am

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

LaBoda Grading awarded Irish Creek plowing contract

Tue, 03/05/2013 - 11:46am

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.

Boys start tourney play

Mon, 03/04/2013 - 1:15pm

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.
 

MPCA seeks comments on stormwater permit planning

Mon, 03/04/2013 - 12:49pm

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