Around Cook County
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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!
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.
Minnesota Power announced Wednesday it will vlose ofne of three coal-fired units at its Taconite Harbor plant on the North Shore in Cook County.
The Duluth News Tribune reported Thursday morning that Minnesota Power will convert its coal-fired power plant in Hoyt Lakes to natural gas as the utility continues a move away from carbon dioxode-creating coal.
Burning coal causes smog, acid rain, global warming and toxic air emissions.
The company said it will retire one of three coal-burning units at Taconite Harbor but keep the other two units burning coal because they already have been upgraded with pollution-control devices for mercury and other emissions.
Al Rudek, vice president of strategy and planning for the utility, said no layoffs are expected at Taconite Harbor or Hoyt Lakes. He told the Duluth newspaper that the company hopes any cuts in the work force would be achieved through attrition.
The company said it would spend $15 million in 2015 to convert the 110-megawatt Laskin coal plant in Hoyt Lakes to cleaner-burning natural gas, which produces much less carbon dioxide and mercury than coal. The plant would be the first gas-fired generator for the Duluth-based utility.
And the company will add $350 million in pollution-control technology at its Boswell 4 unit in Cohasset to meet current and forthcoming pollution regulations, keeping that unit open for the foreseeable future.
The announcement noted the utility’s addition last year of more wind turbines in North Dakota, where it now generates 400 megawatts of wind energy for its northern Minnesota customers.
The moves will push Minnesota Power, which produced 95 percent of its electricity from coal less than a decade ago, to more than 20 percent from non-coal sources, a critical step in the face of expected climate-change legislation to reduce pollution from burning coal.
Grand Marais Arctic adventurer Lonnie Dupre had "a day at the office" Wednesday after returning to his base camp at 7,200 feet on Alaska's Denali.
The 51-year-old Dupre returned to the base camp after his unsuccessful third attempt to scale Denali alone in the winter. Had he made it, he would have been the first solo climber to accomplish the challenge. He reached 17,200 feet before life-threatening conditions forced him to turn back. At that point, dangerous weather and snow conditions combined with dwindling food and fuel led Dupre to turn back. Denali is 20,320 feet in altitude.
His support team at One World Endeavors reported Wednesday night that Dupre had "a day at the office if you will. Lonnie spent his first full day at basecamp collecting his thoughts, organizing gear and visiting with his neighbor Masatoshi (Kuriaki) about hundred yards away. Masatoshi, is in the process of making his seventh attempt at summiting Mount Hunter."
The team reported also reported that "weather permitting we should be able to fly into base camp in the next couple of days." The flight will take Dupre off Denali and back to the Alaska community of Talkeetna.
The Cook County/Silver Bay boys and girls Alpine Ski Teams took first and second Tuesday in the Centennial Invitational held at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.
The meet featured more than 15 other teams and about 220 skiers from the section. It is considered a pre-section meet.
The CC/SB boys beat the perennial power Hermantown by 12 points and the North Shore girls fell only a few points short of beating Hermantown. A consistent performance gave the CC/SB the strong team finishes. Both teams took enough of the finishes from number 12 to number 22 to push the boys to the win and the girls to take second.
The CC/SB boys who finished were: Will Lamb, 12th; Anders Zimmer, 13th; Logan Backstrom, 16th; Colin Berglund, 20th; Kyle Martinson, 22nd; Dexter Yoki, 52nd and Charlie Lawler, 77th.
The CC/SB girls who finished were: Megan Lehto, 12th; Morgan Wyrens Welch, 14th; Signe Larson, 16th; Ava McMillan, 17th; Madysen McKeever, 26th; Alyssa Martinson, 27th and Haley Yoki at 39th.
CC/SB travels to the Duluth Central on Thursday morning at Giants Ridge. Next Tuesday, the boys and girls head back to Giants Ridge for the Sectional meet.