Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Minn. wins grant to reduce fish mercury exposure

Fri, 10/05/2012 - 6:02am

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota has won a federal grant to reduce mercury exposure for women and children living along Lake Superior's north shore.

The U.S. Environmental Protect Agency has awarded the Minnesota Department of Health a $1.4 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant.

The Grand Portage Chippewa Tribe and the Sawtooth Mountain Clinics in Grand Portage and Grand Marais will participate in the project.

Excessive blood mercury levels have been documented in infants in the Lake Superior area. The money will be used to improve health screening and develop more effective fish consumption advisories.

EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman says mercury contamination leaves many Great Lakes fish unsafe to eat. Hedman says the project will help women make choices to minimize their exposure to mercury but maximize the health benefits of eating fish.

Two public meetings sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Health are scheduled for women of childbearing age who eat locally caught fish. On Monday, Oct. 8, a “guided discussion” will be held in Grand Portage at the log community building beginning at 5 p.m. The following evening, Tuesday, Oct. 9, a similar discussion will be held in Grand Marais at the First Congregational Church, also beginning at 5 p.m.

Benefit event to celebrate, restore George Morrison painting "Dawn and Sea"

Thu, 10/04/2012 - 10:27am

The George Morrison painting donated to Cook County High School in 1952 is currently valued at $30,000 and will soon take to the road in a tour lasting through May 2015.  It needs a little facelift before it’s ready to go, however, and a little help paying for that facelift.
The Minnesota Museum of American Art will be including the painting, entitled Dawn and Sea, in a national tour and has volunteered to pay half the $3,500 needed for restoration of the painting.
Cook County Schools, the Grand Marais Playhouse, the North Shore Music Association, the Cook County Historical Society, Cook County Community Education, and the Grand Marais Art Colony have teamed up to support a benefit concert at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts (ACA) in Grand Marais on Saturday, October 6 to raise the rest of the money needed to restore Dawn and Sea.
Morrison (1919-2000) was born in Chippewa City, grew up in Grand Portage, graduated from Grand Marais High School in 1938, and went on to become a renowned artist.
A special guest at the concert will be Keith Secola, an award-winning Ojibwe musician originally from the Iron Range who performs music in a genre he calls Native Americana.  His website describes him as a folk & blues rocker who sings and plays Native flute and guitar. Some people remember Secola from his two appearances at the Grand Portage Lodge & Casino during Rendezvous Days.
Also performing at the ACA on October 6 will be George Morrison’s son Briand Morrison on the guitar with singer Roxann Berglund; Grand Portage drum group the Stone Bridge Singers; blues musician Pete Kavanaugh, and storyteller Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux, all of Cook County.  Minnesota Museum of American Art Director Kristin Makholm will appear onstage as well.

No objection at Schroeder Town Meeting for cell phone tower proposal at Taconite Harbor

Thu, 10/04/2012 - 10:25am

While the Cook County Planning & Zoning Department had received five letters objecting to a proposed cell tower in Tofte, it had received no objections to the one proposed for Schroeder as of the September 11 Schroeder Township Board meeting. 
AT&T is planning to put up the Schroeder tower, which would be located on Minnesota Power/Allete property above Highway 61 in Taconite Harbor.  It would allow other companies to locate equipment on its tower, such as Verizon Wireless, which is trying to put up a tower in Tofte.
The Cook County Planning Commission will consider a request for the Schroeder tower site at its October 10 meeting, which starts at 5 p.m.
County Commissioner Bruce Martinson told the Schroeder board that the towers are being planned to share the best reception possible.
Planning & Zoning has on file a letter of support from the Schroeder board for the proposed tower in Taconite Harbor.

Voter ID author gets specific on mail ballot implementation

Thu, 10/04/2012 - 10:17am

The voter ID amendment has been hotly debated on both sides of the political spectrum. One reason is because so many details are not included in the bill’s wording. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, the bill’s author, and found that she has many thoughts on how the amendment would be implemented.

Attached file

EPA to fund Lake Superior mercury study -- babies at risk

Thu, 10/04/2012 - 6:47am

The federal government will investigate why infants born around Lake Superior have sometimes unhealthy levels of mercury in their blood, especially those along Minnesota's north shore.

The StarTribune yesterday reported the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce a $1.4 million grant to the Minnesota Department of Health to study mercury exposure among tribal communities and recreational anglers, both of whom rely on fish in their diet. Details will be announced this afternoon.

The research project follows a 2011 study that found one in 10 babies along Minnesota's North Shore are born with unhealthy levels of mercury in their bodies. The analysis of blood from 1,465 infants from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, was the first to prove that babies, who are most susceptible to the toxin, carried sometimes very high concentrations of it.

Those in Minnesota were more likely to have higher levels than their counterparts in Wisconsin and Michigan, most likely because their mothers ate more fish, the primary source of mercury in people. The toxin comes from coal fired plants around the world, and is deposited from air pollution. Over time, it accumulates in the bodies of fish.

Babies born in the summer months, when local fish consumption is highest, had more mercury than those born in winter, state officials said.

The EPA has established a health standard for women of childbearing age and infants of 5.8 millionths of a gram per liter of blood. Anything above that is considered unhealthy, though would not necessarily result in neurological problems.

North Shore Health Care Golf Tournament is Oct. 7

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 2:04pm

The 17th Annual North Shore Health Care Golf Tournament to benefit health care in Cook County is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 7, when the fall colors are at their peak.
Come and play at one of Minnesota’s most scenic golf courses, Superior National at Lutsen.  Set between the Sawtooth Mountains and Lake Superior, Superior National’s 27 holes always provide beautiful scenery and challenging tournament golf.  The format will be a four-person team scramble.  Following the event there will be a 19th hole reception, sponsored each year by Lutsen Resort. 
All of the proceeds from this tournament go to the North Shore Health Care Foundation to be used as the primary funding source for the grants given by the foundation, all of which benefit health care for everyone who lives, works and visits in Cook County.
Golfer registrations are still being accepted at  You do not need to have a full foursome to register and the registration fee includes breakfast, lunch and entrance to the 19th hole reception.