Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

"Taste of Home" columnist Sandy Holthaus heading to Tanzania, Africa

Thu, 04/26/2012 - 11:13am

Last winter, the News-Herald’s "Taste of Home" columnist, Sandy Holthaus agreed to take part in a mission trip with St. John’s Lutheran Church in Annandale, Minnesota. The former Schroeder resident is on the final countdown for her adventure. In just six weeks the mission group will be landing in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, Africa.
The church group will be bringing medical supplies and altar cloths to the Matamba school and parish. Holthaus and the other members of the mission trip are collecting and packing batteries, duct tape, toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, cheater reading glasses, pencils with sharpeners, pens, Neosporin, Advil, Tylenol, prenatal vitamins and multivitamins. They are also accepting cash donations to purchase children’s shoes once they reach Africa.
During the group’s 19-day stay, they will also be providing prenatal education and hygiene training.
Anyone who would like to make a donation to Holthaus’s mission trip may do so by sending a contribution to: Sandy Holthaus, 4196 Rhoades Ave NW, South Haven MN 55381. For more information, contact Holthaus at or call (320) 236-5604.

MPCA votes to reduce BWCAW haze

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 11:02am

ST. PAUL — Complex rules aimed at reducing haze over Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness were approved Tuesday by the citizen’s board of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The board, which oversees the agency, unanimously voted to send the rules to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval.

The rules are part of an EPA effort to improve visibility in national parks and wilderness areas. The haze over Voyageurs and the BWCAW comes mostly from nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide from Minnesota’s coal-fired power plants and taconite plants. That haze also drifts over Isle Royale National Park in Michigan.

The rules approved Tuesday were looser than the state agency’s staff originally proposed. They were eased after Cliffs Natural Resources officials said the Hibbing Taconite and United Taconite plants would have trouble complying with proposed nitrogen oxide limits. The board deferred a vote at last month’s meeting to give staff members more time to work with the company.

The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, urged the board to reject the rules, saying they don’t make enough progress toward the goals of cleaning up the air over national parks and wilderness areas or protecting the health of all Minnesotans.

The National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service also have said that the plan won’t cut haze enough.

"Little Women" loved by the audience at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 10:16am

The audience loved the tale of Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth—the “Little Women” in the Grand Marais Playhouse production which debuted Thursday, April 19 at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts.
New for the 2012 season, the Grand Marais Playhouse is adding a new Food Shelf Friday performance. On the First Friday performance of each Playhouse production, audience members can receive a buy one get one free ticket at the box office by bringing a bag of groceries (containing five items or more) of useable food shelf items to the performance or making a donation of $10 or more to the food shelf at the box office.
The cast of nine for Little Women includes a mother/daughter/ granddaughter trio that makes this production a even more special. Janet Healy (Aunt March), her daughter Amy Henrikson (Marmee) and her granddaughter Linnea Henrikson (Amy) perform together in this wonderful story about family. The rest of the cast includes Mara MacDonnell (Jo), Cailin Carpenter (Meg), Sarah Larsen (Beth), Diane Stoddard (Hannah), Adrianna Berglund (Sally Mae), and Yvonne Block (Aunt Carol).
High School Senior Maria Nickolay directs this production. It is the first student-directed production in many years for the Playhouse. Assisting Maria as stage manager is Brenna Hay and Emma Bradley leads the costuming crew, creating the look of the Civil War era.
"Little Women" runs April  26 – 29, Thursday – Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts. Tickets are $10 adults and $5 students 18 and under.

Library Friends membership drive under way

Wed, 04/25/2012 - 10:11am

The Library Friends of Cook County is conducting its annual membership drive this month.
County residents and others interested in supporting the mission of the Library Friends and current members are encouraged to submit a membership form to the Grand Marais Library or mail it to Library Friends of Cook County, P.O. Box 1234, Grand Marais, MN 55604. 
Current members have been mailed the annual newsletter and membership form. 
For interested persons wishing to join, the newsletter and membership form can be obtained at the Grand Marais Library.  Membership begins at $15 for an individual or $20 for a family membership. Additional levels of support are also available, in addition to opportunities to volunteer. Members
are entitled to shop at the “Members Only” night of the August used book sale which is the major fund-raising event of the Library Friends.
The Library Friends of Cook County is an all-volunteer, nonprofit service organization which supports the Grand Marais Public Library and the Cook County School libraries (Birch Grove, Great Expectations, ISD 166 and Oshki Ogimaag).  The mission of Library Friends relies on the yearly support  of members and others both financially and as volunteers.  
In addition to contributing to the Cook County libraries, monies have been designated for the Grand Marais Public Library expansion project.  Additional activities include Internet book sales, the annual used book sale and supporting special events and programs.

"Pets for Vets" benefit dinner at Harbor Light Wednesday

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 2:47pm

There will be a “Pets for Vets” benefit dinner at the Harbor Light Co. Supper Club on Wednesday, April 25 from 5 – 8 p.m.
Pets for Vets is a group of American Legion and First Congregational Church members fundraising for America’s Vet Dogs to provide veterans with special needs dogs. Each special need dog costs up to $20,000.
The benefit dinner is from 5 - 8 p.m. with live music entertainment donated by some of our great local musicians from 5 – 9 p.m.  Eric Frost will start it off from 5 – 6 p.m., followed by Amanda Hand, Brett Berka, Gina Macy and more.
Dinner is $10 a plate, and will be a pasta buffet with choice of our homemade alfredo or marinara sauce; choice of chicken, Italian sausage or veggies; salad, breadstick and dessert bar.  $4 of every plate will be donated to the Pets for Vets group.
Donation jars will also be set up for those who do not wish to eat, but want to come and support this great cause.

Taconite Harbor Energy Center receives Patriot Award

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 10:25am

Mike Ross of Lutsen, an instrument/lab/environmental specialist at the Minnesota Power Taconite Harbor Energy Center, is also a retired U.S. Army Sergeant First Class. His last deployment with the U.S. Army Reserves was far from the North Shore in the desert of Afghanistan. He was away from his job in Schroeder from August 2010 to October 2011. On Wednesday, April 4, Ross expressed his appreciation to the co-workers who supported him and his family while he was away.
At the start of a safety meeting, Ross presented Taconite Harbor Managing Superintendent Dave Rannetsberger with a certificate from the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Ross said the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve division supports National Guard and reserve troops, working to protect the rights of soldiers, in matters such as job retention and employment. He said the organization also recognizes the companies that treat their military employees well. And, he said, Minnesota Power is such a company. Minnesota Power CEO Al Hodnik was also on hand for the presentation.
The “Patriotic Employer” award was presented to David Rannetsberger and Minnesota Power. The award was inscribed, “For contributing to national security and protecting liberty and freedom by supporting employee participation in America’s National Guard and Reserve Force.”
Ross said thank you to Rannetsberger and the rest of the 47-employees at Taconite Harbor for their support. “This is for all of you,” he said.
Ross also presented Rannetsberger with a triangle-folded flag in an attractive wooden display case. He explained that the flag had flown over his base, Camp Dwyer. “The flag was in honor of Minnesota Power and Taconite Harbor. It was flown for you guys,” said Ross.