Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Norwegian photojournalists seek stories

Mon, 06/25/2012 - 9:40am

“Brown cheese for stories!”  That’s what Norwegian 
photojournalists Kristian Balsrod, Anton Ligaarden, and Katinka Hustad 
will be offering to Cook County residents of Norwegian heritage – or 
locals with good Sven & Ole jokes.
The three University of Oslo students arrived in Cook County on June 
12 for a four-week stay during which they will start filming a 
documentary intended to find out how much Norwegian culture remains 
alive in descendants of the 50 percent of the Norwegian population 
that emigrated to the United States several generations ago.  Indeed, 
the population of Norwegian-Americans – close to five million – is 
about as large as the current population of Norway.  They also hope to 
get a sense for whether Norwegian heritage will still mean something 
to Norwegian-Americans 50 years from now.
“Norwegians have no idea how they’ve gone out and made a mark on 
the world,” said Balsrod, who with his colleagues stopped by the Cook 
County News-Herald office seeking help in finding Norwegian-Americans 
for their project. They are hoping to interview people of all ages.
Balsrod, Ligaarden, and Hustad started the project three years ago.  
The final product will be a new form of documentary Balsrod calls an 
“interactive web documentary.”  Offered on the Internet, it will 
include educational links and opportunities for people to leave 
comments and get in touch with each other.  They also hope to use the 
project to teach young Norwegians about their own emigration history.
The researchers plan to return for two weeks in December and then 
again next spring.

EDA and engineering firm in legal conflict

Mon, 06/25/2012 - 9:37am

The Tuesday, June 12 meeting of the Cook County – Grand 
Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) was the last for Director 
Matt Geretschlaeger and it started with a closed session to discuss 
potential litigation. The EDA’s attorney Baiers Heeren said it was 
his opinion that the meeting could be closed in accordance with 
Minnesota Open Meeting law to discuss a summons received by the EDA 
from Short, Elliot, Hendrickson, Inc. (SEH).
When the meeting reconvened, a unanimous motion passed to authorize 
Heeren to submit the potential litigation to the League of Minnesota 
Cities for review. The EDA board said the matter could not be 
discussed further at this time.
In 2006, the EDA became embroiled in a dispute with the Minnesota 
Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), KGM Contractors Inc. and Short, 
Elliot, Hendrickson (SEH) over alleged construction violations at the 
Cedar Grove Business Park.
In August 2010, Director Geretschlaeger reported that the dispute had 
been settled. He said the MPCA had released the EDA from all 
complaints and confirmed that the business park was in compliance with
MPCA regulations. At that time, Geretschlaeger told the board that KGM 
Construction paid the MPCA fines, which according to a letter from 
Lisa Thorvig of the MPCA totaled $40,000. KGM also completed projects 
totaling $80,000 and paid $14,000 of the EDA’s legal fees from 
environmental attorney Kenneth Podpeskar of Minneapolis. SEH was also 
to pay a share of the attorney’s fees.
The EDA board would not confirm whether or not the potential 
litigation is a continuation of that matter. However at the May 8 EDA 

Interstate 35 and ore dock bridges temporarily affected

Mon, 06/25/2012 - 8:17am

DULUTH, Minn. —Interstate 35, just south of Duluth will close temporarily for emergency road repairs, Tuesday, June 26, from 5:30 a.m. to approximately 8:30 a.m. The closed area will be from the southbound I-35 on-ramp at Highway 61 to Scanlon.

Highway 61 and Highway 45 will be used as an alternate route.

The emergency road patching repairs are needed as a result of the torrential rain associated with the June 19 storm that passed through northeastern Minnesota.

Traffic on the Ore Dock Bridges, located south of 27th Avenue West in Duluth, will be restricted to a single lane in each direction until Tuesday, June 26 to complete a bridge painting project.


Search ends for plane missing in NE Minn.

Mon, 06/25/2012 - 8:04am

The Air Force and Civil Air Patrol are suspending the search for a Twin Cities pilot and his plane that went missing two weeks ago over northeastern Minnesota.

Mike Bratlie of Lakeville left a South St. Paul airport in his Piper PA-31 Navajo on June 8 bound for Duluth. He made his last radar contact in the Silver Bay area, and since then search crews on the ground, from the air and on Lake Superior looked in vain for evidence of a crash.

Civil Air Patrol spokesman, Lt. Col. Paul Hertel, says Saturday the search is ending after 13 days without success. He says searchers covered over 2,000 square miles and that likely crash areas were searched multiple times.

Improvements and events at Father Baraga Cross

Mon, 06/25/2012 - 12:10am

Schroeder resident Jim Norvell told the Schroeder Town Board that the 
park landscape design was nearly completed at the June 12 town 
meeting. The next step is to get the plants, set a date and recruit 
planters, said Norvell, who added that he will need help transporting 
mulch and water and suggested buying lunch for the workers.
Due to an injury to Kyle Martinson, the Eagle Scout project he was 
working on will be on hold until he heals. Martinson and other scouts 
will cut brush and eliminate the Tansey weeds after he has recuperated
“The goal is to have the plantings in and the Eagle Scout project 
completed by the 5th of August,” said Norvell.
Bishop Sirba will rededicate the Father Baraga memorial site on August
5. The last time the site was dedicated was 1932 when the ceremony was 
performed Bishop Welch, then the Bishop of the Diocese of Duluth. 
Norvell said Bishop Sirba would like to publicly thank the community 
for their help and support. Rededication will be held at 3 p.m., said 
On September 15 a birthday commemoration for Father Baraga’s birth 
will be held at the cross. Yul Yost, a Father Baraga historian from 
Roseville, Minnesota, will host the event. The time will be determined 
at a later date.

Retro Rock Revue at Grand Portage Lodge starts June 29

Mon, 06/25/2012 - 12:08am

Clear your schedule to celebrate two days of the very best of 
’70s, ’80s and ’90s rock at Grand Portage Lodge & Casino’s 2nd
annual Retro Rock Revue Festival, Friday, June 29 and Saturday, June 30.
On June 29, rock out under the big tent on Lake Superior’s shore with 
Thunder Bay’s The Hoolies, playing classic rock from 5 p.m. to 8:30 
p.m., and followed at 9 p.m. by Kiss tribute Kiss Army. With identical 
makeup, outrageous outfits, classic instruments and top-notch 
musicianship, Kiss Army rules.
On Saturday, June 30, get down to the smooth sounds of Boogie 
Wonderland, Minnesota’s number one ’70s disco dance band at 2 p.m. 
Then, turn up the rock with Led Zeppelin tribute, the Zep Show, from 6 
p.m. to 9 p.m. when headliners Smash Mouth take to the stage with 
their very own brand of ’60s-influenced garage band pop.
Since being formed in 1994, Smash Mouth has sold more than 10 million 
albums worldwide. Along with their number one hits—Walkin' on the Sun 
and All Star—they have consistently impacted radio with other 
recognizable hits like Then the Morning Comes, Can't Get Enough Of You 
Baby, and a cover of The Monkees classic I'm a Believer, which was 
prominently featured on the Shrek soundtrack. Having long since 
established itself as the ultimate true-to-life California party-band 
the vibe surrounding Smash Mouth is indeed—at its core—about having 
Famous Dave’s Legendary Pit Bar-B-Q will also be on hand all weekend.
Tickets are available at the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino front desk 
or by calling 1-800-543-1384. This is an all-ages event, but those 16