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News and other information from Cook County

EDA settles with engineering firm regarding now defunct Sawtooth Cottages project

Sat, 07/13/2013 - 10:10am

The Cook County - Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) has finally reached a financial settlement with an engineering firm for work that had been done by that company for the Sawtooth Cottages housing project that never happened.

In 2008, after many months of considering a residential subdivision with some affordable housing units adjacent to its Cedar Grove Business Park in Grand Marais, the EDA halted its work with the Northern Communities Land Trust on the project. At that time, EDA board members expressed concerns about the small size of the proposed footprints of the homes and about how the economic downturn would affect potential buyers when they attempted to obtain mortgages. In September 2008, EDA board members regretfully passed a unanimous motion to not proceed.

However, before deciding to discontinue the housing project, the EDA had contracted with Short, Elliot, Hendrickson (SEH) of Duluth to create engineering plans for the proposed 13-lot development. In August 2008, after bids were let and came in much higher than anticipated, stakeholders in the Sawtooth Cottages project met and discussed downsizing the project. Bonding options, tax-increment financing, and reducing the number of donated lots were discussed. SEH said it could reduce its fees to draft a new proposal with decreased lot sizes and clustered homes, which would save on infrastructure expenses.

Weekend News Roundup for July 13

Sat, 07/13/2013 - 9:17am

Each week the WTIP news staff puts together a roundup of the news over the past five days. Mineral rights are challenged. Wisconsin legislators want armed guards removed from mining test sites. The DNR is satisfied with the status of wolves in the state and a fuel spill reaches Lake Superior…all in this week’s news.


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Cornerstone Community Church hosts The Faithful Men Quartet Sunday

Fri, 07/12/2013 - 2:03pm

Cornerstone Community Church is hosting The Faithful Men Quartet in concert on Sunday, July 14 at 10:30 a.m. at the church at 1 Cedar Grove Lane in Grand Marais. Following the concert, Cornerstone is offering a picnic for concert-goers. The event is free and all are welcome.
On their website, The Faithful Men Quartet is described as a group of four Christian men and two women who enjoy using the musical gifts that God has given them. Based in Wyoming, Minnesota, the four men are Todd Rockensock, Rich Jansma, David Engen, and Tim Steinhouse. The group’s pianist is Linda Engen. Chris Jansma is the group’s sound technician.
The group states, “It is our prayer that God will use us and that churches and believers will be strengthened and blessed through the message of the songs.”
The Faithful Men sing a wide variety of gospel, southern gospel and traditional songs. They have just completed their seventh album, Day by Day. Samples of their music can be found online at

Gunflint Canoe Races to be held Wednesday, July 17

Fri, 07/12/2013 - 2:02pm

The Gunflint Canoe Races will be July 17 at the Gunflint Lodge waterfront and the proceeds from this uproarious event will be donated to the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department.  The fire department and community center building project is near completion but dollars will be needed for maintenance of the new buildings and equipment.
The canoe races begin at 4 p.m. The event features an over 100-item raffle of donated items at $3 a ticket; canoe raffle of Wenonah Spirit 11 Royalex canoe donated by Wenonah Canoe Company (on display at Trail Center three weekends before the races), $5 a ticket; a silent auction with handmade and donated items; kids’ events.
Food service starts at 4:30 p.m. and the canoe races begin at 6 p.m. with the long distance race, followed by many age and gender races with gunnel pumping as the finale.  Race registration is at the waterfront. 
The evening is hosted by the Gunflint - Seagull-Saganaga Property Owners Associations. Canoe race chairs are Jim and Margit Jamieson of Gunflint Lake. Call Julie Henricksson at (218) 388-2246 for information.

Smoke from Canadian wildfires may cause haze in Minnesota

Fri, 07/12/2013 - 1:59pm

Air pollution monitors across Minnesota are measuring elevated levels of fine particle pollution this week. Satellite imagery indicates that the elevated fine particle levels are likely the result of transported Canadian wildfire smoke, which is blanketing much of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is not issuing an air 07-12-13 quality advisory at this time; today’s air quality forecast for the Twin Cities and Rochester is 87 AQI, which is considered moderate air quality. However, even moderate air quality may cause health effects in individuals who are very sensitive to air pollution. Hazy skies are expected to persist throughout the day today and there may be isolated areas of dense smoke.
Winds are expected to shift to southerly, and these winds may transport additional wildfire smoke into Minnesota from fires in the Central Plains. Air pollution levels are expected to remain elevated through Friday, July 12.
The Grand Portage “Haze Cam,” which measures air quality in Grand Portage recorded a moderate amount of haze in the Arrowhead. Up to the minute air quality information can be seen on-line at:
When air pollution levels are high, the MPCA recommends that persons in areas where the smell of smoke or visible haze is present take precautions to reduce exposure. When smoke is present, individuals are encouraged to remain indoors and reduce activity levels. Those with pre-existing cardiovascular or respiratory problems, such as asthma, are particularly susceptible to increases in air pollution as are the elderly and children.

Guards at mining site ready for the worst

Fri, 07/12/2013 - 7:27am

Guards at the Gogebic Taconite mine site in Iron County, WI, need assault rifles and military garb because they must be ready for the worst, says the Arizona-based owner of the security company that has drawn heavy criticism for its presence.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Bulletproof Securities president Tom Parrella said in an interview the high-powered rifles are justified because of online postings by mine opponents that appear to be death threats and by “strange and threatening behavior” by a few others.

“We don’t put our people out in harm’s way without giving them the best of the best in terms the tools they need,” Parrella said. “There is absolutely no apology on the part of our company for sending our professionals out there with the tools they need.”

His comments came as a video surfaced of masked protesters’ profanity-laden verbal attacks on mine workers. The video also shows protesters walking around a drill site and confronting a worker with a camera and taking it from her after a struggle.

A Stevens Point  woman faces a charge of robbery by force and three misdemeanors for allegedly wrestling a camera from a mine worker on June 11.

The state’s business lobby, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, pointed to the video in a statement calling for closing public access to the site. The land owner currently receives tax breaks in exchange for leaving the land open for recreation.

Parella said “radical” protesters have posted death threats on a Facebook page and guards have seen people “sneaking” through the woods several times a day.