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News and other information from Cook County

Weekend News Roundup for June 23

Sat, 06/23/2012 - 10:32am

Each weekend WTIP news produces a round up of the news stories they’ve been following this week. Invasive species, a hunting bill that could affect the BWCA, Chippewa tribe funds passed the House, cell towers OK’s at Ely and of course flood damage in the Arrowhead…all in this week’s news.


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North House Folk School Wooden Boat Show kicks off Friday

Fri, 06/22/2012 - 1:56pm

The 15th North House Folk School Wooden Boat Show gets underway today, Friday, June 22 This event, to many will be the unveiling of the new look of the waterfront campus—the outdoor student commons.
The combination of paving stones and pavement, of etched cement and stone make a more user-friendly walking and working surface while retaining the charm of the folk school. Sturdy benches and wooden planters with flowers, perfect for an outdoor classroom session, surround the compass in the middle of the commons.
The circle seating area is all moveable, says North House Director Greg Wright, so never fear, there will be space for all the wooden boats and the Summer Solstice Pageant. There are also anchors hidden on the commons for the big tent that is raised for the Unplugged/Mountain Stage event in September.
“The goal of the commons is to have maximum flexibility,” said Wright. “We have to have a space that does a lot of things, because the folk school does a lot of things!”
Stop by on June 22 – 24 and see the changes. But plan to spend some time there, because as Director Wright said, there is a lot going on! Check out the beautiful boats, sample chowder or barbecue on the bay, sign up for a workshop, enjoy the music and puppets at the Summer Solstice Pageant, watch the many crafters offering demonstrations, or just sit and watch the water.
There is something for everyone at North House!

"Magical Mystery Tour" with Senior Center on Monday, June 25

Fri, 06/22/2012 - 1:54pm

The Grand Marais Senior Center is hosting a “Magical Mystery Tour” on Monday, June 25.  Are you adventurous, or enjoy surprises and love having fun? Then, you are invited to join the senior center for a Mystery Tour. Can you guess where the tour is going? Enter the senior center contest to win a free trip including your lunch. You must correctly guess three of four or five mystery stops.

Clue 1: The trip is less than 90 miles roundtrip.

Receive your second clue when you register and pay for the trip. This trip will include at least four mystery stops including a lunch stop. Cost is only $5 per person for transportation from the Senior Center. Lunch is at your own cost, ($5-$10 should be sufficient).

This trip is funded in part by the Scott Hawkins Fund of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.

Health officials address health concerns in wake of flooding in NE Minn.

Fri, 06/22/2012 - 11:32am

From the Minnesota Department of Health: Minnesota residents in parts of northeastern Minnesota hit by flooding can take steps to safeguard their health, state health officials said.

“People living in flooded areas are undergoing significant challenges right now,” said Aggie Leitheiser, Assistant Commissioner of Health. “By taking certain precautions, they can protect themselves from flood–related illness or injury. Knowing what can and can’t hurt them is important.”

Here are some things to consider if you’re in a flooded area:

Well contamination:

People should assume their private well is contaminated if the well casing was under water. Well water should not be used for drinking or cooking until the well and distribution system are flushed out, disinfected and tested for contamination. Meanwhile, they should use bottled water for drinking and cooking.

If flood water came within 50 feet of the well, but the well was not under water, you may still want to have your water tested as a precaution. However, you do not need to disinfect your well before having it tested.

CO poisoning:

Never use generators, grills, or other gasoline-, propane-, or charcoal-burning devices indoors – inside your home, garage, or carport, or near doors, windows, or vents. These items produce carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that kills more than 500 Americans each year.

To keep children safe:

  • Don't let them play in or near floodwater or in areas that have flooded recently.
  • Wash your child's hands frequently with clean water, especially before meals.
  • Discard any soft toys that may be contaminated with sewage. Young children may put these items into their mouths.
  • Disinfect other toys that may be contaminated by washing them with a solution of two teaspoons bleach in one gallon of water.

Food safety guidelines:

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. Refrigerators will keep food cold for about four hours when left unopened.
  • A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
  • If the food stored in the refrigerator has been held above 41 degrees F for more than four hours, throw it away.
  • If food stored in the freezer has thawed but is still below 41 F, it can be refrozen. Although the quality of the food may be compromised, it should remain safe to eat.
  • Commercially canned foods in good condition are safe if you remove the labels. Wash sealed cans with warm water and detergent, and then disinfect them using a solution of one tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of clean water. Re–label the cans so you know what is inside. Destroy canned goods if the can surface is badly rusted or pitted, swollen or leaking, or badly creased or dented at the rims or seams.
  • Rigid plastic containers without a screw top are safe if they have not been damaged, the container has not been submerged in water or other liquids, any soil on the container can be removed, and the closure has no soil, rust or dents.
  • Foods that are packaged in paper, boxes, containers with screw-top lids, or other non-water-proof pages are not safe if they have come in contact with flood water. Throw them away.

“When it comes to food safety during a flood, always remember one basic rule,” Leitheiser said. “If in doubt, throw it out.”

Other tips – and myths – that people should be aware of:

Floodwater may be contaminated, but it is unlikely that simple skin contact — even with raw sewage — will make you sick. Generally, you must swallow floodwater, or something that’s been contaminated with floodwater, to get sick. Wash your hands with clean water before you eat, drink or put anything in your mouth.

There is currently no reason to believe that area residents face an increased risk of a disease outbreak. However, state and local public health officials are monitoring carefully for any cases of infectious illness that might be connected with the flooding to ensure that they respond quickly in the event of an outbreak.

Public health officials routinely recommend getting a tetanus shot every 10 years. The flooding is not a reason to get one right now or to get shots for typhoid, polio or any other vaccine–preventable disease. However, people who get puncture wounds should talk to their physicians if they have not had a tetanus shot within the last five years, no matter where or how they got hurt.

For more flood–related information, visit the MDH website.

Additional information is also posted on the Cook County web site.

For Local Cook County Questions, Mon. – Fri., 8-4 call Cook County Environmental Health at 218-387-3630 or Mitch Everson, Environmental Health Specialist, at 218-387-3632.

USFS releases forest road flood survey

Fri, 06/22/2012 - 6:12am

Heavy rains over the past two days affected portions of the Superior National Forest, primarily roads and some recreation sites on the Laurentian Ranger District in the southern portion of the Forest. 

Only minor washouts with some shallow water across a few of the main roads were reported on the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts.   

Roads and facilities on the Kawishiwi and LaCroix Ranger Districts in the northern portion of the Forest were not affected by flooding.

Forest managers urge all visitors to use caution driving Forest Roads and to be aware that crews may not have been able to assess and sign all affected roads.  Also, as a result of saturated soils, trees may begin to fall over unexpectedly.

It's National Pollinator Week

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 6:02pm

June 18-24 is National Pollinator Week. Not sure what that means? Well, one out of every third bite of food we consume comes from plants that depend on bees and other pollinators.  But pollinators in trouble, and populations are declining. Five years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of the final week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has now grown to be an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.  Laurie Davies Adams is the executive director of Pollinator Partnership. She spoke with WTIP volunteer Veronica Weadock.

To learn more about the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign visit or visit the Pollinator Partnership website at

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