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News and other information from Cook County

County approves $2.4 million Superior National Golf Course loan

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 12:02pm

At the October 21 board meeting, the Cook County commissioners put their stamp of approval on a number of documents aimed at improving the Superior National at Lutsen Golf Course with a $2.4 million loan.

The process began with a positive report from Bruce Kimmel of Ehlers and Associates, the county’s bond counsel. Kimmel announced the sale results of the Series 2014A General Obligation Tax Abatement Bonds. The bids were received just prior to the Tuesday morning board meeting. Kimmel said the winning bid of the three submitted was for a 3.12 percent true interest rate, which is 1.99 percent better than what was projected. That translates into about a $164,000 annual bond service fee, a savings of about $3,000 per year compared with the original estimate, said Kimmel.

“This is an excellent rate for the county, and it is fixed,” Kimmel said. “It’s definitely a positive.”

The financing plan calls for net revenues of the Superior National at Lutsen Golf Course to pay debt service on the bonds, and the 2 percent lodging tax to be available only if those funds are insufficient.

After some discussion, the board approved and signed off on three resolutions setting the bonding process in motion.

The improvement plans for Superior National include the acquisition of four acres of land, and renovation of 18 of the existing holes (nine holes on the Canyon Course and nine holes on the River Course).

Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Committee seeks public input

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 4:48pm

What makes the Gunflint Trail special, and how should it be preserved and maintained? WTIP volunteer Tracy Benson spoke with Nancy Seaton of the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Committee on North Shore Morning.


The Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Committee is working on an update of the Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan.  The purpose of the update will be to acknowledge changes that have occurred since the 2008 plan such as the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway’s designation as a National Scenic Byway and also to evaluate the progress of goals and strategies identified in the previous plan.

Public input is being requested through participation in the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Survey, which asks participants for their input on aspects of the Corridor Management Plan, specifically what they feel are the strengths, weakness, and opportunities of the Gunflint Trail.  The survey will be distributed to members of the Gunflint Trail community and will also be made available at  The survey will be open through October 23rd.

For further information on the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Survey, please contact Ryan Miller, Associate Planner at (218) 529-7552 or


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Ghosts and goblins are invited to the Birch Grove Community School Halloween Carnival October 26

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 3:02pm

Once again the Birch Grove Community School is hosting a day of Halloween fun for all ages. Everyone is invited to Birch Grove in Tofte on Sunday, October 26 from 2 - 4 p.m.

There will be kids’ games, bingo, and an always popular cake walk. Bring your little ghosts and goblins for lunch and stay to decorate some Halloween cookies.

Wear a costume or come as you are. Birch Grove School Director Diane Blanchette said, “Everyone is welcome!”

Learn about 'Life on the Ground in Palestine' - October 25

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 8:38am

Joyce and Peter Fergus-Moore will be guest lecturers at Cook County Higher Education with ‘On the Ground in Palestine:  An Eyewitness Account of Life Under Occupation.’  The talk starts at 2pm Saturday, October 25th.  WTIP volunteer Mary Manning spoke with Joyce and Peter about their experiences on North Shore Morning.


Living and working with Palestinians under military occupation, Joyce and Peter Fergus-Moore monitored checkpoints, witnessed demonstrations, visited villages and spoke with both Palestinians and Israeli peace activists. They saw why and how Palestinians are forced to live under difficult conditions, and how an occupied people refuse to surrender.

The lectures are held at Cook County Higher Education’s North Shore campus, located at 300 West 3rd Street in Grand Marais.

For more information please contact Cook County Higher Education at 387-3411 or or and

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Human Trafficking Awareness event: October 24

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 12:15pm

Awareness is one of the first steps in addressing the problem of human trafficking. WTIP volunteer Marnie McMillan spoke with Inger Andress of the Evangelical Free Church on North Shore Morning. 

The Church is hosting a Human Trafficking Community Awareness event Friday October 24th from 6:30 to 8:30pm.  The Church is located at 120 E 5th St in Grand Marais.  More information at 387-1565.

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Frank Gillis Blues, Jazz & Boogie Show October 24-25

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 10:44am

Many years ago the old church building that now houses the Betsy Bowen Studio was the scene of some fabulous concerts with Frank Gillis and the Doc Evans Dixieland Band. Frank’s son Chris is reviving the tradition with two nights of performances that are a reunion of sorts for the talented musicians taking part.

Chris Gillis invites everyone to the Frank Gillis Blues, Jazz & Boogie Show at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, October 24-25 at What’s Upstairs at Betsy Bowen Studio

Reached by phone at home in St. Paul, Gillis said the concert has been dubbed the Fall 2014 Festival Reunion, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the concerts his father conducted during Fisherman’s Picnic from 1957 until 1999. Chris said his dad and Grand Marais Art Colony founder Bernie Quick worked together to bring all sorts of music to Grand Marais, from jazz to classical. Early performances were in the high school gym.

The concert will reunite brothers Bob and Tom Andrews who played base and drum respectively with Frank, and later Chris. It is a reunion for the brothers as well, as they are both very busy with their musical careers. Bob Andrews plays with The Medicine Show and Tom Andrews drums with the Barbary Coast Jazz Band, spending most of the winter in Florida. They have joined forces very little since they performed in the 1960s-‘70s with Frank Gillis in the Bill Price & the New Yorkers.

The concert at What’s Upstairs will feature some of Frank Gillis’s favorite tunes such as Waltz for Debbie.