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News and other information from Cook County

Cook County Local Energy Project to present "Step 2" report on district heating project

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 11:31am

Mark Spurr, of FVB Energy, Inc., will conduct a presentation covering the Step 2 Report – Grand Marais District Heating Project at 1 p.m. Aug. 19 at the Cook County courthouse.

This is the final report on the biomass-fuelled, district heat system which has been considered for portions of Grand Marais.

The presentation is outside of the normally scheduled commissioners’ meeting. A quorum of commissioners may be present, but no decisions will be made.

The Grand Marais City Council and the Grand Marais PUC may also be in attendance. Grand Marais residents and any interested members of the community are encouraged to attend.

The report presents the design, construction, operation and costs of the proposed facility, including a business plan and recommendations on options for moving forward.

The overall project, funded by the Cook County Board of Commissioners with 1 percent recreation and infrastructure sales tax revenue, has consisted of two steps.

According to Gary Atwood of the Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP), the work of Step 1 demonstrated that district heating in Grand Marais had sound economic potential based on estimates of construction and operating costs.

In an announcement of the presentation, Atwood wrote, “The county board and City of Grand Marais elected to move forward with Step 2 which included a schematic design and layout of the facility, detailed site surveys, design of the piping distribution system, and a final business plan incorporating bids for construction and contractual agreements with future customers.”

The Step 2 Report and additional background studies can be reviewed at the Grand Marais Public Library.

Learn about Haiti at Hovland presentation Tuesday

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 11:29am

For several years Trinity has shared a partnership with the congregations of Bonne Nouelle (Good News) Episcopal in the village of Bigonet, Haiti and St. James Episcopal in Minneapolis. A lot has been learned, and the learning expanded this March when Kathi Johnson, Pastor Kris Garey, both of Hovland and Ruth Anne Olson, a part-time Hovland resident, joined other St. James members to visit Bigonet. 

What an adventure! Many people would ask ahead of time, “what are you going to do?”  The answer, “spend time with people” seemed inadequate, but became true as the group met open arms and homes and learned from people whose lives are exceedingly difficult. 

One specific part of the visit was bringing fabric for the newly initiated “sewing and tailoring” vocational class established by the school in Bigonet.  Many people from Hovland, Cook County and the Twin Cities gave fabric and sewing items.

The partnership expanded—an example is the quilters of Bethlehem Lutheran in Grand Marais offered fabric, then the congregation helped with funding for the school in Haiti.  More lives working together. 

You can see photos, art objects from Haiti, and hear some of the adventure stories that accompany such a trip at a presentation at Trinity, 4957 E. Highway 61 on Tuesday August 19, 7 p.m.   

Weekend News Roundup for August 16

Sat, 08/16/2014 - 9:07am

Each week the WTIP news department puts together a roundup of the weeks top news stories. Local elections, the Duluth Post Office drama, Great Lakes shipments and synthetic drugs…all this and more in this week’s news.


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Ray Berglund Wayside Rest dedicated

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 11:12am

The family of Ray Berglund, a St. Paul businessman who cared passionately about conservation, has been keeping his memory alive at the state wayside named after him on Lake Superior’s North Shore. Over the years, donations from the R.R.W. and Florence Berglund Family Foundation have funded several improvements to the 54-acre site, but restroom facilities remained an unmet need, until this summer.

On July 31, 2014, representatives of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Berglund Family Foundation celebrated the opening of a new building that includes public restrooms and information for travelers.

“The site is well-used by cyclists, anglers and other visitors, but neither the DNR nor MnDOT [Department of Transportation] had funding for restrooms at this location,” said Mark Kovacovich, DNR Parks and Trails Division district supervisor. “The Berglund Family Foundation’s donation is helping us provide these much-needed facilities and will be a welcomed amenity for people who use this site.”

The Ray Berglund State Wayside is located at the mouth of the Onion River on Highway 61, just north of Tofte. Following Berglund’s death in 1948, friends contributed to a fund for the purchase of the land, which was deeded to the state in 1949 and established as a state wayside by the Minnesota Legislature in 1951.

In 2009, the Minnesota Department of Transportation reconstructed Highway 61 in the Onion River area, which included redesigning and rebuilding the wayside’s parking area and constructing a section of the Gitchi-Gami State Trail–a paved bicycle trail –through the wayside.

Previous improvements at the wayside included a stairway to connect the parking lot to the wayside, overlooks of Lake Superior and trail upgrades that were funded by the foundation and the Lake Superior Coastal Resource Program.

"The On-Time Circus" traveling puppet show comes to Grand Marais August 16

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 8:11am

The On-Time Circus is a traveling puppet show that will be performing this Saturday in Grand Marais. WTIP volunteer Mark Abrahamson spoke with puppet artist Margo McCreary on North Shore Morning.


Saturday, August 16th, at 4pm at Rec Park Pavillion in Grand Marais -- Ms. Tock, Jack the Dog and Jessamine the Diva Chicken are featured in The On-Time Circus!

Ms. Tock has set out with her feisty dog, a flock of talented chickens, and tagalong mice in her quirky little trailer assembled from pieces of her past! Together they have a circus to perform. This is not just any circus; this circus is On-Time! Ms. Tock studied time with her beloved Grandfather Clock, and now even Grandfather Clock has a timely circus act! There is just one catch, and that has the fate of he On-Time Circus up in the air!

The On-Time Circus is up to the minute fun for family audiences.

(Photo by Bruce Silcox)


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Rosie Flores to rock the Arrowhead Center for the Arts on August 16

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 1:40pm

The North Shore Music Association will present musician Rosie Flores at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 16 at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts.

Flores blends rockabilly, honky tonk, jazz, and western swing along with traditional influences from her Tex-Mex heritage. She lives in Austin, Texas, where in 2006, Aug. 31 was declared "Rosie Flores Day" by the Austin City Council, and where she was inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

Flores’ top-notch guitar playing is always revelatory—there are few out there who play with the mix of virtuosity and wild energy that she does. Since her career began in the late ’70s with her rockabilly punk band the Screamin' Sirens, Flores has been crafting a pioneering career in the roots underground. She was an integral part of the L.A. New Traditionalist scene that gave rise to Dwight Yoakam and Los Lobos. She’s recorded with West Coast roots icon Ray Campi, swing masters Asleep at the Wheel, rockabilly riot icon Janis Martin, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Wanda Jackson. 
Flores has toured as a member of Asleep at the Wheel, and with Wanda Jackson on a coast-to-coast North American tour. She has appeared on Austin City Limits and Late Night with Conan O'Brien. She is the first female Latina artist ever to appear on the Billboard Top 20 country charts. At her Grand Marais event, she will perform with her full backing band.

For more information, call the Music Association at (218) 387-1272.