Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Community members training to join local fire departments

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 11:02am
Firefighter training

A number of community members are training to become firefighters on local volunteer fire departments, joining the hundreds of other volunteers working in the county to keep their friends and neighbors safe. For several months now, they have been studying, attending meetings and undergoing rigorous training to become qualified to respond to fires and other emergencies.

Participating in the current Firefighter I and II courses, administered by Advanced Minnesota are Cody Johnson, Delton Lutz, Brandon Houglum and Paulina Backstrom of the Maple Hill Fire Department; Lee Jahnke, Tyler Norman, and Craig Horak of Tofte; and Corey Belt and Rob Wells of Grand Marais.

They must attend about 40 classes to complete about 140 hours of training learning about incident command safety, fire behavior, building construction, interior search and rescue, vehicle extrication, hose techniques, vehicle fires, ventilation and more. And before becoming bonafide firefighters, the students must participate in a live structure fire exercise.

Gypsy moth quarantine for Cook and Lake counties to begin April 30

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 10:52am

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will impose Minnesota’s first-ever gypsy moth quarantine in Cook and Lake counties starting April 30, 2014. Howard Hedstrom of Hedstrom Lumber Company is on the county board schedule Tuesday, April 15 at 10 a.m. to give an update on the quarantine and its impact on the 100-year old mill.

An invasive species brought to Massachusetts in 1869, gypsy moths have no natural enemies in the United States. The MDA has sprayed and trapped gypsy moths since 2006 in both counties, but the leaf eater’s population has steadily grown.

Last year more than 71,000 gypsy moths were trapped statewide, with more than 90 percent of that number coming from Lake and Cook County. That trapping tally led the state to conclude that its efforts to slow the spread of the moths was failing, so quarantine was proposed.

Gypsy moth larvae—caterpillars—are voracious leaf eaters. Stressed trees can die when defoliated and the caterpillars weaken healthy trees.

The quarantine will mean that loggers, sawmills and nurseries will have to sign compliance agreements with the state and inspect their products for gypsy moth larvae before shipping them out of the quarantine area. State inspectors will randomly inspect sites for compliance. Failure to comply may result in fines or penalties up to $7,500.

Despite two public meetings, one held in Cook County and one held in Lake County, where Department of Agriculture officials heard arguments against establishing a quarantine on the moths, the state decided to go ahead with its plan in a hope to slow the spread of the moths throughout the rest of the state and adjoining states.

Minnesota is now one of 20 states with gypsy moth quarantine.

Four entrepreneurs from Grand Marais are Labovitz nominees

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 8:43am

The UMD Center for Economic Development has announced the 42 nominees for the 22nd annual Joel Labovitz Entrepreneurial Success Awards program, recognizing entrepreneurs and business owners from throughout the Twin Ports and Northeastern Minnesota. Four nominees are from Grand Marais.

The recipients will be announced at the Labo Awards luncheon on Wednesday, April 23, at the DECC.

In the award category of Micro Entrepreneur, Fika Coffee and Joshua Lindstrom, of Grand Marais is among the finalists. In the Emerging Entrepreneurs category, Joy Enterprises’ The Garage and Threads — Jill Terrill, Grand Marais. In the Mature Entrepreneur category, two long-time Grand Marais businesses are among finalists: Beth’s Fudge & Gifts and Birchbark Books and Gifts – Beth Kennedy and Sivertson Gallery – Jan Sivertson.

Comments welcome on possible changes to Grand Marais boat launch and marina

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 3:00pm

Once again the Grand Marais harbor is drawing a lot of interest. The city of Grand Marais and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources have been working together to plan some improvements to city’s public boat access in the southwest corner of the recreation park next to the dog pound, as well as the possible reclamation to wetland of about an acre of land in that area.

Among other things, a first draft of the boat launch area shows the current 100-foot long rubble mound break wall extended to the left another 105 feet. Plans also call for the parking lot to be extended and paved and a small removable dock that is compliant with the American with Disabilities Act for canoeists and kayakers near the pavilion.

The improvements were discussed at the park board’s April 1 meeting, which was held at Grand Marais City Hall.

The park board reviewed more than 40 written comments from the public and hosted the public meeting on April 1to hear more. Eight people came to listen or to voice concerns or questions about the concepts seen on the city’s webpage. 

Park Manager Dave Tersteeg said he welcomes comments from the public. The draft plan can be seen at and on Facebook. Tersteeg will share comments he receives with the DNR and present them at the park board’s May 6, 2014 meeting where, hopefully, either Larry Killien or Joe Russell of DNR Trails and Waterways Division (or both) can attend to further answer the public’s questions and concerns.

New realtors to market EDA's Cedar Grove Business Park

Sun, 04/06/2014 - 2:58pm
The view at Cedar Grove Business Park

John and Sandra McHugh of Red Pine Realty appeared before the Cook County – Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) to talk about becoming the realtors handling sales at the Cedar Grove Business Park. They asked questions about how the EDA had marketed the business park and offered suggestions on what they could do to help the EDA sell lots. John McHugh noted that it is currently hard to find information on lots for sale.

Sandra McHugh said, “With us, you’d have the power of the Red Pine Realty brand behind you.”

“And there are two of us,” added John McHugh, “So someone would always be available.”

It was agreed that board members Mark Sandbo and Abby Tofte and Consultant Pat Campanaro would meet with the McHughs to work out the details on the realtor contract.

The next meeting of the EDA is Tuesday, April 8 at 4 p.m. at the Grand Marais City Council Chambers.

STOP training to be offered in Hovland April 12

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 11:00am

Have you ever wondered how to help your local fire department and First Responders, but don’t know how? The Hovland Fire Department and Safety Team Operational Patrol (STOP) team is offering a training opportunity that could help you become part of the emergency services team as a traffic control incident manager.

Keck Melby of the Hovland Fire Department and coordinator of the department’s STOP team said his department has seen firsthand how effective traffic control protects all responders and victims. Melby said, “First Responders could use your help to make sure everyone gets home safe.”

Melby said it is especially important to establish STOP teams in other areas of Cook County and encourages community members to join the Hovland Fire Department for the day to complete the training to become a traffic control incident manager and certified Minnesota flagger.

Attendees do not need prior experience as firefighters, First Responders or with law enforcement, but that experience does not disqualify them. The training is available to anyone who would like to help their local department or First Responders. It is based on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard for Traffic Control Incident Management Professional Qualifications.

The training will start at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 12 at the Hovland Town Hall with classroom and desktop exercises, followed by a practice roadside scene. Lunch will be provided, as well as a barbecue at the end of the day.

For more information or to sign-up for the training, call (218) 475-2766.