Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Steelworkers at two Minn. mines prepare to strike

Wed, 08/29/2012 - 10:17am

HIBBING, Minn. (AP) — Steelworkers at two Iron Range taconite mines say they're prepared to strike as soon as Saturday.

The labor contracts at Hibbing Taconite and United Taconite expire at midnight Friday. Negotiations between union leaders and officials of Cliffs Natural Resources have been ongoing in Pittsburgh since early August.

The Hibbing Tribune reports that Cliffs officials plan to keep the mines operating If a strike happens. Cliffs spokeswoman Sandy Karnowski says temporary replacement workers are on stand-by for both Hibbing Taconite and United Taconite.

Nearly 1,100 steelworkers between the two mines are covered by the expiring contract. The agreement was reached on that pact just hours before the deadline four years ago.

Wade Bexell, treasurer of United Steelworkers Local 2705, says they're getting prepared for whatever comes.

Ramp, lane closures scheduled on Interstate 35 in Duluth Aug. 30-31

Wed, 08/29/2012 - 5:32am

Motorists on Interstate 35 near 27th Avenue West in Duluth will encounter lane and ramp closures on Thursday, Aug. 30, and Friday, Aug. 31, while crews smooth the pavement by grinding-off bumps.

On Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. the southbound right-turn lane on the I-35/Ore Dock Bridge located south of 27th Avenue West will close.

On Thursday late-afternoon or Friday the ramp from southbound I-35 to southbound I-535 will close for several hours as will the ramp from northbound I-35 to southbound I-535.

Cook County sees increased revenue from sales and lodging tax

Tue, 08/28/2012 - 2:52pm

Cook County’s 1 percent recreation and infrastructure sales tax has now been collected for two years.  Revenues from July 2011 to June 2012 were $1,172,630.17, a 5.8 percent increase over the year before.
As of June 30, Cook County’s year-to-date lodging tax revenue saw an increase of 3.8 percent over the year-to-date revenue at the end of last June.
Lutsen-Tofte Tourism Association revenue was up 1.4 percent, Gunflint Trail Tourism Association revenue was up 6.2 percent, and Grand Marais Area Tourism Association revenue was up 11.8 percent.
The Ely area saw an increase of 6.1 percent over the first six months of 2011.

Locals shine at area speedway

Tue, 08/28/2012 - 2:50pm

Every Sunday since May, Esten Nelson and Craig Horak, both of Grand Marais, have been racing at one of three venues: Proctor Speedway, AMSOIL Raceway in Superior or ABC Raceway in Ashland.
And at Proctor Speedway on August 19, Esten Nelson racing in car No. 77, came out on top in the Pure Stock point series. For winning Nelson received a trophy, a nice racing jacket, and a check—he doesn’t how much the check is for yet though.
Horak had one of his best nights of the season, steadily working his way to the front and taking first place in his 26H Station Wagon.
The cars are equipped with 305 V8 engines. The track at Proctor is a 3/8ths of a mile long, banked, oval dirt track. Racers get up to 65 miles an hour on the straight-aways.
At Superior’s AMSOIL track, “We hit about 75 miles an hour on the straight-aways,” Horak said.

Ruffed grouse numbers stay stable

Tue, 08/28/2012 - 9:25am

Ruffed grouse hunter numbers have remained unchanged for two years at 93,000. The familiar northland bird remains Minnesota’s most popular small game species according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Last year’s grouse harvest was 401,000 birds – down slightly from the 10-year peak of 465,000 achieved in 2010 – but still one of the three highest annual harvests in those ten years.

Grouse populations tend to fluctuate in 10-year cycles and this cycle’s decline has already started. This year’s season opens September 15. Minnesota has better grouse hunting than almost any other state.

State Supreme Court rejects challenge to photo ID amendment

Mon, 08/27/2012 - 2:52pm

     ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Supreme Court has rejected
a legal challenge to a proposed constitutional amendment that would
require voters to show photo ID at the polls.

The high court on Monday rejected a lawsuit from left-leaning
groups who argued that lawmakers had failed to give voters the full
scope of the changes that would result from the amendment.

The ruling means the voter ID amendment will remain on the ballot.

In a separate decision, the court also threw out ballot titles
written by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie for the photo ID
amendment and another amendment to ban gay marriage. Republicans
had argued that Ritchie overstepped his authority and was trying to
influence voters to reject both amendments.