Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Sawtooth Mountain Challenge bike race road permit approved

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 11:17am

Approving the special event permit for the Sawtooth Challenge Mountain Bike Race to be held September 2 was not controversial, but whether to honor the request of Tim Kennedy of the Superior Cycling Association to waive the $100 fee provoked some discussion among the county board at the July 24 board meeting.
“I think you should give some consideration to waiving that fee,” said Kennedy, also a Grand Marais city councilor.  Cook County’s nonprofits are trying to create events that benefit the community, he said.
Highway Engineer Betts said the Highway Department deals with 10-12 events a year that involve use of county roads.  They have been waiving the fee for one of them—Mush for a Cure—because it is a charitable event, raising money for the fight against breast cancer.  “Our roads aren’t parks.  They’re roads,” he said.  “Where do we draw the line?”  The Democratic and Republican parties are nonprofits, too, he said.  Would they want to waive the fee if one of those parties wanted to hold a rally on Wisconsin Street?
The people who sponsor these events do it because they like those kinds of activities and/or they get residual business profits from them, said Commissioner Fritz Sobanja.
The city doesn’t charge a fee for events like this, Kennedy said.  He asked the board to consider discussing its policy with the community organizations that sponsor such events.
These events cost the county money, Commissioner Jim Johnson said.  “…Charging a fee makes that point,” he said.  “Philosophically, I can see both sides. …It’s a philosophical issue.”

Join WTIP for a fun evening August 23rd to support “A Home of Our Own”

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 9:16am

WTIP Community Radio is presenting an evening of culture and fun at a beautiful, historic fish house on the shore of Lake Superior, adjacent to Butterwort Cliffs near Cascade River State Park. The fundraising event will feature music by Gordon Thorne and a presentation by naturalist Chel Anderson (heard on WTIP as the Northwoods Naturalist). Drinks and appetizers will be served.

The event will take place from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 23rd. Tickets are $100 each or more if you can. All proceeds will support WTIP’s “Home of Our Own” capital campaign.

Please call the station for more information: 218-387-1070 or e-mail: 

Primary will be held Tuesday, August 14

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 7:02am

A three-way Democratic congressional contest in the 8th Congressional District has brought attention in our area to tomorrow’s primary.

Jeff Anderson, Taryl Clark and Rick Nolan are competing for the opportunity to represent the DFL against Eighth District Republican Congressman Chip Craavack. Nolan is the DFL endorsee in the race.

In Cook County, District 4 is holding a primary to select two candidates to replace retiring Commissioner Jim Johnson. Vying for the November election ballot are Gail Anderson, Rick Austin and Heidi Doo-Kirk. The top two vote-getters will move on to November.

There will be three candidates on the ballot for the District 2 commissioner’s seat now held by Fritz Sobanja. Kelly Swearingen did pull out of the race, but not in time to get her name off the ballot. Sobanja is on tomorrow’s District 2 primary ballot as is Garry Gamble.

Also on the Cook County ballot are three Republican challengers and two Independence Party candidates vying for the US Senate seat now held by Amy Klobuchar. She is unchallenged on the Democratic side of the ticket as is Cravaack for his congressional seat. There also are two Supreme Court seats that have three candidates attempting to make the cut to two for the November election.

Voters in the City of Grand Marais precincts will go to the polls to vote. Those people in District 2, Precinct 5, or, Grand Marais East, will vote at the Cook County Courthouse, Commissioners' Room. Voters in District 3, Precinct 6, Grand Marais West, will vote at the Cook County Community Center

The polls for these precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Highway 1 detour to continue to mid-October

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 4:02am

DULUTH, Minn. — MnDOT officials say the Highway 1 detour south of Ely, originally scheduled to be lifted August 15, will continue until mid-October. 
This is the second time the detour timeline has been extended due to the challenging terrain, equipment breakdowns and additional rock discovered in the project area, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
“The people who attended the meeting were very disappointed,” said Derek Fredrickson, MnDOT project engineer. “We know this project is causing people problems and we’ll continue to do everything we can to reopen Highway 1 as soon as possible.”
The Highway 1 project manager from KGM Contractors said there are about 30 pieces of heavy equipment on the project and their employees are working overtime. 
Detour route
Highway 1 will be closed between Forest Road 424/New Tomahawk Road and just north of Forest Road 553. Motorists are required to follow the posted detour.

For additional information about the project:

View more news from WTIP

History of Rendezvous Days continues August 10 - 12

Fri, 08/10/2012 - 3:57pm

The first Rendezvous of native Ojibwe, voyageurs, fur trade 
agents and company partners at Grand Portage was over 200 years ago. 
However, according to the Cook County News-Herald archives, the 
current version of Rendezvous Days—a mixture of activities at the 
historic fur depot and a traditional powwow, as well as more modern 
competitions—began just 50 years ago.  That tradition continues on 
Friday – Sunday, August 10 – 12.
A July 26, 1962 News-Herald article titled Grand Portage ‘All Set’ For 
First Rendezvous Days describes a two-day weekend event. The article 
notes that there will be voyageurs, traditional dancing, a bagpipe 
band from Canada, speakers, canoe racing and more.
Although there is some doubt about exactly when Rendezvous Days began—
some say Rendezvous has always taken place, just not as formally as it 
does now. But no matter when Rendezvous Days began, it has grown to 
one of the North Shore’s premiere events with something for everyone.
Visitors and tribal members are invited to the Grand Portage Powwow to 
see the dignified flag raising, grand entries and ceremonial dancing. 
There is delicious food for sale, such as Indian Tacos, Strawberry 
Shortcake, and more. Check out the beautiful crafts for sale and visit 
the Veterans Tent. And take a chance at the raffle with its $1,500 
grand prize.
At the Grand Portage National Monument, visitors can walk through 
history at the stockade and the encampment just outside the gate. 
There is lots to do—catch the 18th Century Puppets show; watch the 
Rugged and Dainty Voyageur Contests; listen—or join in—during the 18th 

EPA announces Ashland Superfund site clean-up

Fri, 08/10/2012 - 6:47am

WASHINGTON – Northern States Power Co. will begin cleanup of the Ashland/Northern States Power Lakefront Superfund Site in northwestern Wisconsin under a settlement with the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency.

According to the EPA, the 40-acre site is located on the shore of Chequamegon Bay in Lake Superior. It was used for various industrial purposes for more than a century. The EPA said that use resulted resulting in the release of volatile organic compounds, such as benzene, and semivolatile organic compounds, such as naphthalene.
Under the agreement, filed this week with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin in Madison, Northern States Power will design, construct and implement the cleanup plan for the on-land portion of the site. The on-land cleanup is expected to cost approximately $40 million. The federal government will also require additional cleanup of sediments in Chequamegon Bay. The EPA said it expects that Northern States Power and any other responsible parties will perform the rest of the cleanup. That work is not part of the agreement filed with the Court.
The agreement also requires Northern States Power to transfer approximately 990 acres of land along the Iron River to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and 400 acres within the reservation of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Indians to the Bad River tribe. These parcels are worth about $1.9 million. They will be preserved by the state and the Bad River tribe to enhance natural resources in the area that have
been harmed by pollution from the site, such as fisheries in Chequamegon Bay and its rivers.

In addition, the state of Wisconsin will transfer 114 acres of land to the Red Cliff Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. That land will also be managed to preserve natural resources.

For more than a century, the Ashland site has been home to various industrial uses, including sawmills, railroads, and a city wastewater treatment plant. The EPA says the primary source of pollution at the site was the manufactured gas plant operated by Northern States Power’s predecessor company between 1885 and 1947. The EPA says pollution from the manufactured gas plant contaminated both the on-land portion of the site and the sediment in the bay.