Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

North Shore Dragon Boat Festival starts tonight with parade and music

Fri, 07/27/2012 - 12:03pm

Although the action on the water during the North Shore Dragon Boat Festival is wonderful, there is also a lot of fun on dry land. On Friday night, July 27 there is a raucous parade and opening ceremony followed by music on the waterfront.
The participants in the Dragon Boat Festival gather in the Grand Marais Municipal Parking Lot (next to the Senior Center) for the “Parade of Teams.” The simple parade that started the first year as just a march of teams behind the Dragon Festival dragon, has turned in to an outlandish competition to see which Dragon Boat team can be the wildest, craziest, most fun-loving team. The parade starts at 7 p.m.
In the past the parade has included a party bus of paddlers, “His Royal Highness Bob Baker” of Team Gunflint, sled dogs with the Cook County Dog Mushers, and some wild women “on the edge.”
The outrageous parade travels just a few blocks, to Harbor Park, for the always-entertaining “Wake the Dragon” ceremony with a community notable—Mayor Larry “Bear” Carlson will return to perform the dragon-awakening honors.
After the ceremony, everyone is invited to stick around for The Splinters, the popular local dance band that performs an upbeat mix of music, ranging from zydeco and electric polka to Tex Mex and Celtic rock.
Dragon Boat racing kicks off at 9 a.m. Head to the waterfront to watch the action. And listen to the racing paddle-to-paddle on WTIP radio at 90.7 Grand Marais; 90.1 Grand Portage; or 91.7 
Gunflint Trail.
There is much more fun throughout the weekend, visit for the latest information.

Fisherman's PIcnic permits approved by city for Aug. 2 - 5 event

Fri, 07/27/2012 - 12:01pm

Grand Marais city councilors gave approval for a number of permits for this year’s Fisherman’s Picnic at their July 11 meeting. The annual event will be held Aug. 2-5.
Andrew Smith and Al Taenzer of the Lions Club, which sponsors the event, appeared first with their application for a street and sidewalk permit. There was some discussion about the number and location of Dumpsters, vendors’ responsibility for disposing of their trash, and closing of streets. Smith said that possibly another Dumpster could be added in the parking lot near city hall and placement of the trash bins would be done with accessibility for those who empty them in mind (there were some problems with getting to the receptacles last year). With Smith’s assurances of making the minor adjustments, council approved the permit for the 83rd Fisherman’s Picnic.
Council also approved a permit application presented by Scott Puch of the American Legion to allow beer sales and a bingo tent in the Legion parking lot during Fisherman’s Picnic. Puch said the event will be done in accordance with established safety and security precautions, which have worked out well in previous years. Those precautions include matching T-shirts for staff, wristbands for those who have approval to be in the tent, separate entrances for the bingo tent and bar, and security staff at each entrance.
Puch said nothing has been changed or added, and asked that minors accompanied by adults be allowed to stay in the tent and play bingo until midnight on the condition that they stay in the tent only, and out of the bar. “A lot of kids play bingo, and like to stay late,” Puch said. Councilors said they had no problem with that.

Magic Show at the Library Friday, July 27

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 9:36pm

The Grand Marais Public Library invites you to be inspired 
and amazed by magician Star Michaelina at 1 p.m. Friday, July 27.
Star Michaelina presents The Magic of Dreaming Big, an interactive, 
comedy magic show for children of all ages. This fun-filled show 
features books that help everyone learn what can be accomplished by 
following your dreams.
Iron Range native Star Michaelina followed her dreams to become a 
professional magician. With a background in mime, juggling, dance and 
circus skills, Star's lighthearted programs have won accolades from 
libraries, troop leaders, and the Guthrie Theater.
Admission to the event is free thanks to sponsorship by the Arrowhead 
Library System Kids Stuff Program and the local library.
For more information about Star, visit

Grand Marais settles pool standoff

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 11:46am

The long-standing dispute between the City of Grand Marais and Burbach Aquatics has been settled. Due to outstanding contract obligations between the city and its former swimming pool architects, Grand Marais was unable to enter into pool discussions with the county’s Community Center Steering Committee. According to Mayor Larry Carlson, that standoff is over.

“It’s a done deal. We can now talk about it. I think some people might be a little bit upset on the final resolution of this problem, but the city through their attorneys have agreed to pay Burbach Aquatics $57,500 and now everything is done and gone away and we can talk about anything we want to.”

Carlson noted that a much larger settlement had been initially suggested by Burbach, but the City’s attorneys think the final figure closely resembles what the cost would have been had the matter gone to court.

Now that legalities have been settled, the city and county can continue the discussion.

“Well, now we’re going to have to decide what we want to do with respect to the pool that’s online there for the community center.”

But Carlson expressed caution and some concerns about assuming the city-county cooperation on the pool is a foregone conclusion. The municipal pool is a losing proposition and the city with some county financial assistance, underwrites the loss.

“I know there’s a lot of people that are considering that if the city is going to commit to that, it in fact amounts to double taxation. We pay taxes as county residents and pay another tax because we’re city residents for what is essentially a county program. So that’s going to be a concern.”

Carlson admits there’s considerable discussion ahead before final decisions are made, but he’s philosophical about it.

“Ahhh, that’s why we have government.”

Gov. appeals denial of flood aid for homeowners

Thu, 07/26/2012 - 8:05am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Governor Mark Dayton is appealing the Federal Emergency Management Agency's denial of a request for federal aid to help northeastern Minnesota homeowners recover from last month's floods.
Dayton said Wednesday that the denial was wrong and he is "deeply disappointed."

The governor directed the state's top Homeland Security and Emergency Management official to appeal the decision immediately.

FEMA denied the state's request for individual assistance, saying the damage was "not of such severity and magnitude" to qualify. The denial does not affect a federal disaster request for help repairing more than $100 million in damage to roads and other public infrastructure.

In a joint statement, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and U.S. Representative Chip Cravaack say they support Dayton's appeal.


"The Beaux Strategem" delights dress rehearsal audience

Wed, 07/25/2012 - 11:16am

On July 26, the Grand Marais Playhouse will open The Beaux Stratagem by George Farquhar, adapted by Thorton Wilder and Ken Ludwig. If the laughter of the cast during rehearsals and the preview audience at dress rehearsals is any indication, this show is going to be phenomenal!
The play takes place in 1707 with fantastic costumes orchestrated by Sharon Eliasen and Emma Bradley. Help is still needed completing and fitting some of the costumes so if you are interested in helping sew, please call the Playhouse office at (218)387-1284 ext. 2. We could really use your help.
The story is about two young men who go gallivanting around the countryside, one playing the master, the other the servant, then switching roles in the next town, all in hopes of meeting women and using their money to continue their escapades. But the plan doesn’t quite work out when they both fall in love. Of course, there are obstacles to overcome to be together with their loves and the audience will laugh until they cry watching the antics of the young men and women and the oddball characters that surround them.
The cast includes Jackson Nickolay and David Warren as the two gentlemen; Sarah Warren and Sarah O’Phelan as the young women. The other players are Will Brandenburg, Kim Carlsted-Gillis, Jeff Fenwick, Katrina Axtell, Jordyn Kirk, Mike DeBevec, Maria Nickolay, Aaron Carlson, Tina Krauz, and Yvonne Block.
The show runs July 26 - 29 and Aug. 5 – 8, Thursday - Saturdays at 7 p.m., Sunday July 29 at 2 p.m. and Aug. 8 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $17 adults and $7 students.
For information about the Grand Marais Playhouse, visit