Around Cook County
Just days after the Minnesota Legislature approved a plan to trade state land in the Boundary Waters for federal land outside the wilderness, U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack has introduced the deal in Congress.
The Duluth News-tribune reports Cravaack introduced the bill Tuesday. It would order the U.S. Forest Service to trade for about 86,000 acres of state land locked inside the 1.1 million-acre federal Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
In exchange, the state would get a similar amount of Superior National Forest land outside the wilderness -- acres that could then be mined, logged and otherwise managed for state revenue, primarily to stock the state's public school trust fund.
The bill would direct the U.S. secretary of agriculture, who oversees the Forest Service, to conclude the exchange within one year.
Supporters say the proposal will end a decades-long dispute over what to do with the state land tied up inside the BWCA since the current wilderness boundaries were adopted in 1978. They say newly acquired federal lands outside the BWCA now can be transferred to the state, which will allow mining and logging.
Opponents say that's exactly the problem -- that the exchange drastically would reduce the overall size of the Superior National Forest outside the wilderness -- opening potentially sensitive lands to less-strict state regulations for mining and logging. Critics say the deal is being rushed to promote mining in areas near Ely that would transfer from federal to state control.
At the April Tofte meeting, Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) Housing Coordinator Nancy Grabko presented a proposal from Robert Bremer of Bremer Properties to build a 12-18-unit senior housing development near Birch Grove Community Center. The proposal says that Bremer has developed numerous properties in southeastern Minnesota and that he is planning to relocate to the North Shore.
Nancy Grabko said Dick Grabko, her husband, would be the project manager.
Tofte Supervisor Paul James expressed excitement at this prospect. “We’ve been working on this project as a board for years,” he said.
The township was awarded a $29,000 grant from the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation for an engineering study of the property the housing development would sit on.
Two representatives from Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA), Leah Hall and Barb Ackerson, talked about how AEOA could help low income seniors access this kind of facility.
The board passed a motion authorizing Nancy Grabko to set up a meeting with Bremer Properties.
The next meeting of the Tofte town board is Thursday, May 10 at 7 p.m. at the town hall.
“We are thrilled to announce the arrival of two gray wolf pups, a male and a female, to the International Wolf Center flagship exhibit in Ely,” said the center’s executive director, Mary Ortiz. "This is a unique opportunity to educate the public about a controversial and charismatic creature at a time when the wolf has been delisted in the Midwest and much is at stake for wolves around the world," said Ortiz.
The International Wolf Center will hold a free public pup presentation and viewing May 25 at 7 p.m. at the center’s exhibit in Ely. “Seeing these pups up close and learning about their behavior is an incredible experience for anyone, but kids seem to connect with the pups in a very special way. It’s a beautiful thing to see,” explained education director Jerritt Johnston. “This is the start of a year-long focus on wolf pup education through daily programs, and interactive videoconferencing presentations and our new live Web cam. But I’d have to say nothing beats seeing them in person.”
A wonderful tradition continues on Tuesday, June 12 at Satellite’s Restaurant in Schroeder. A family-friendly dinner of Marion’s Famous Fishcakes will be served to benefit the Birch Grove Foundation.
Call to reserve your seating now: on the half hour from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Don’t miss these award winning fishcakes and fixings. The cost is $13.95 adults and $6.95 for 10 years old and younger.
To make a reservation or for more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (218) 663-7977 for more information.
Cook County Higher Education is currently accepting applications for the Wes Hedstrom Scholarship Fund, which was created in honor of longtime resident Wes Hedstrom for Cook County residents who are enrolled or in the process of enrolling in a distance degree program.
Financial awards are determined by the Cook County Higher Education Scholarship Committee and awarded until funds are exhausted. The scholarship deadline for summer and fall semester courses is May 15.
For more information and to pick up an application contact Cook County Higher Education at 387-3411 or stop by the office at 300 W. 3rd St. in Grand Marais. Applications are also available online at www.northshorecampus.org.
Conifers around Cook County are looking stressed. Year-long drought conditions are the probable cause. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with U of M Extension Director Diane Booth about dying trees and what landowners should and should not do about it.
After Tuesday's interview, Booth sent on some additional information.
"I just heard back from Mike Albers, DNR Forest Specialist, who forwarded some e-mails to me from the Canadians who are seeing similar trees...stressed trees going into winter with inadequate moisture.
"They feel another condition affecting the trees would be the March warm-up to 70 degrees where trees started to transpire, were not able to get water to their needles from their root systems because the ground was still frozen, so as a result needles became desiccated. As long as the new buds on the trees are healthy and remain healthy, the trees will probably recover with adequate rainfall. This is the ‘winter burn’ on some of the trees."