Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Leaves begin to change color in Minnesota

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 9:17am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The leaves are just beginning to change color in Minnesota.

The Department of Natural Resources has started updating its fall color reports and maps at noon every Thursday. The reports include percentage of color change, peak color projections, flowers and grasses in bloom, and three parks considered "hot picks" of the week.

The DNR also offers fall colors "to go" on a mobile website designed for smart phones and tablets.

DNR forest health specialist Jana Albers says the fall colors are arriving right on schedule in northern Minnesota, and they're making their way south. She says splashes of color are everywhere.

Staffers at Minnesota's state parks and trails have planned a variety of family-oriented special programs and events to coincide with their projected peak color times.

Something for everyone at Radio Waves Music Festival this weekend!

Thu, 09/06/2012 - 2:56pm

It’s Radio Waves Music Festival time! This Saturday and Sunday, September 8 – 9 at Sweetheart’s Bluff at the Grand Marais Recreation Park campground, WTIP Community Radio will offer two days of music by local and regional artists.
In addition to the fabulous music, there will be fantastic food and children’s activities. Tickets are only $5 per day, available at the gate.
Radio Waves is offered in partnership with the North Shore Music Association.
Come on out and dance the weekend away!
See the complete lineup of music on the WTIP website at

Fall brings fire concerns

Thu, 09/06/2012 - 12:28pm

Cook County has been fortunate so far that recent lightning storms have not started fires as they have on the western section of Superior National Forest, where there are numerous small fires at this time.
There was a fire in Cook County, at Greenwood Lake on Friday, August 31. Cook County Law Enforcement received a report of a fire on a “small island on the northwest corner” of Greenwood Lake at 2:39 p.m. 
The Gunflint Trail Fire Department and the U.S. Forest Service all made it to the scene at 3:32 p.m. U.S. Forest Service Fire Management Officer (FMO) Patty Johnson said by the time fire crews reached the island it was “pretty much burned out.”
The island is about ¼ acre in size. The Forest Service continues to monitor the fire site from the air and with a ground crew.
As people head to the lakes and woods this fall, fire managers urge them to use caution by keeping campfires small—no more than three feet high by three feet across. People are advised to clear vegetation from around campfires, keep water available, attend the fire at all times, and make certain the fire is cold to the touch before leaving.
Better yet, said Johnson, don’t have a fire at all. “If it’s a hot windy day, just don’t have a fire,” she advised.
Fire conditions change quickly and fire restrictions are in place in some parts of the state. For more information and maps, and to check fire conditions, visit

Cook County Senior Center heading to Gunflint Lodge for Towering Pines Canopy Tour

Thu, 09/06/2012 - 11:24am

Coming up for the Cook County Senior Center is an exciting Gunflint Lodge lunch and Towering Pines Canopy Tour extravaganza trip on Wednesday, September 19. Roundtrip transportation plus the 2½ hour Canopy Tour is $70 per person (tax included).  This is a huge savings—the Canopy Tour alone with tax is approximately $85.
Senior Center Assistant Director Kristen Anderson said seniors can come along even if they prefer to read a book, play cards or just relax on the deck while the adventurous souls take the canopy tour. The cost for just roundtrip transportation is only $14.
For more information or to register for this upcoming trip, stop in or call the Senior Center at (218) 387-2660.

Lightning starts more fires in BWCAW

Thu, 09/06/2012 - 6:12am

Lightning has touched off more wildfires in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Superior National Forest spokeswoman Becca Manlove says a small storm rolled through on Tuesday night. She says the storm didn't bring much rain but it did bring lightning.

The Associated Press reports the lightning ignited five fires in the BWCAW. Manlove says those small fire are now the targets of "suppression efforts."

Meanwhile, a wildfire continues to burn northwest of Ely. Authorities had estimated the blaze had covered 40 acres, but that has been adjusted to 50 acres based on GPS data.

Manlove says that fire is about 40 percent contained, with 18 firefighters on the scene. The cause of that blaze isn't known.

None of the fires has threatened buildings or people.

With small fires popping up in the Boundary Waters and tinder-dry conditions posing a potential hazard, campfires are being restricted and more than a half dozen lakes and part of a well-known hiking trail have been closed.

The Duluth News-Tribune reports firefighters began evacuating campers from Ensign Lake, which has more than 20 campsites, and nearby smaller lakes late Tuesday. Portages leading into the area were also closed. Officials also closed part of the 24-mile Snowbank Lake Hiking Trail from the trailhead to Boot Lake.

Until more rain dampens the fire hazard, campfires in the entire Boundary Waters will only be allowed from 7 p.m. to midnight.

Inspirational author Connie Lounsbury to speak at Lutsen Lutheran Church Sept. 7

Wed, 09/05/2012 - 9:34am

The Lutsen Evangelical Lutheran Church is hosting inspirational speaker and author Connie Lounsbury as she shares How God Speaks to Ordinary People on Friday, September 7 from 2 – 4 p.m.
Lounsbury has received several prestigious writing awards, including the 1998 Guideposts Writers Contest and a first place award in the inspirational category of the 2001 Writer’s Digest writing competition.
She has written several books. Reaching Past The Wire, A Nurse at Abu Ghraib was written in collaboration with Deanna Germain, an Army Reserve nurse. This 2007 book published by Borealis Books, was nominated for the Minnesota Book Award.
Lounsbury published Thrift Store Shoes in 2012, which reviewers describe as a memoir that encourages a closer relationship with God. She is working on her fifth book Eyes of Hope: Caring for Orphans and Widows in Africa.
Lutsen Lutheran Church will serve refreshments and invites people from all churches, as well as those without a church home to join them for Lounsbury’s talk.