Around Cook County
The city of Grand Marais is going to become a little more fun. Randy Sjogren, the new owner of the mini golf course on Highway 61 on the west side of town, is going to have Nigerian dwarf goats, chickens, turkeys, and pheasants for people to see while they golf. The new business is called Putt n Pets.
On June 25, 2013, the county board approved a conditional use permit (CUP) allowing the animals on the 1.89-acre parcel.
In order to avoid liability risks, this will not be a petting zoo. Customers will be separated from the animals by physical barriers.
The CUP was first approved by the Cook County Planning Commission after a hearing on June 12. A report of the meeting by Planning & Zoning Administrator Bill Lane stated that Mr. Sjogren “indicated the intent of the business was to ‘keep it mini,’ feeling that ‘animals are a good way to bring people together.’” In the application, Sjogren stated that Nigerian dwarf goats “are very small [and] friendly, and their playful antics are a delight to all.” He is planning to construct a goat bridge to give the goats the opportunity “to climb and show off their antics.”
Forty-four letters of notification were sent to adjacent property owners in regard to the CUP request. Several neighbors including former owner Tom Crosby expressed support and none objected.
Healthy living conditions for the animals in a natural setting of trees and shrubs will be provided in accordance with USDA regulations, and in the wintertime they will live either at Randy and Carolyn Sjogren’s home in Farmington, where they have kept animals for many years, or at the home of son and daughter-in-law Aaron and Terri Sjogren outside of Grand Marais.
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Civil War researcher, Wayne Jorgenson, will discuss his book Every Man Did His Duty: Pictures and Stories of the Men of the First Minnesota at the Cross River Heritage Center, Saturday, July 6 at 1:30.
Just 5 days after the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, Mr. Jorgenson will show pictures of the men of the First Minnesota and tell stories of their lives. The First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry was the first volunteer regiment to offer service to President Lincoln after the fall of Ft. Sumter. Their sacrifice at the Battle of Gettysburg helped save the union from defeat. This battle was the turning point in the Civil War.
Two Cook County locations are named after men in the First Minnesota. Col. William Colville, who commanded the First Minnesota at the Battle of Gettysburg, later homesteaded north of Grand Marais. The creek adjacent to Colville's homestead was named Durfee Creek after Judge George Durfee who had served under Colville at Gettysburg.
The Cook County courthouse commissioners’ room was full of Hovland property owners on June 25, 2013 at a public hearing before the county board to discuss dissolving the Irish Creek Winter Maintenance Subordinate Governmental Service District (SGSD) authorized by the county board last November.
Property owners along Tom Lake, Irish Creek, Brumbaugh, Wilderness Shores and Powers Lake roads west of the Arrowhead Trail had requested that the county establish the district so that costs for snowplowing 10.5 miles of road could be shared among those who would benefit from it.
A couple of property owners, Jon Muhich and Rich Wojcik, had been plowing the road but financial contributions from people in the neighborhood were not covering their expenses.
After the county board authorized the SGSD, objections from its opponents led to a decision to hold this hearing.
Virginia Johnson, who along with her husband, C. Duane Johnson, owns property along the route but only uses it in the summertime, opposed the establishment of the SGSD. She maintained that the families who use the road in the winter should share the cost of plowing it and not involve the county.
“There should have been a lot more names on the plowing list in the first place,” Mr. Johnson said. Only those who own property on or who have driveways leading to the SGSD snowplowing route were charged for services starting in late winter when the SGSD went into effect.
The Johnsons’ son Rusty estimated that about 150 property owners use the road to access their property and said to be fair, they should all share the cost of plowing.
Mrs. Johnson pointed out that half the people who signed a petition asking for the SGSD last fall had previously signed a document saying they would not ask the county to provide services such as snowplowing.
Michaela Peterson of Hovland is preparing for the journey of a lifetime. At summer’s end she will be embarking on a nine-month service trip to Uganda, Africa. Michaela will be working with the charity in poverty-stricken areas.
Michaela is a member of the Cook County High School Class of 2013 and unlike many of her friends, she is not sure just what she wants to do in the future. She is considering a career in theater or journalism, but she is not ready for college.
Instead of taking a road trip with friends, Michaela decided she wanted to travel and somehow make a difference in the world. She did her research and found the United Planet, a nonprofit that “strives to create a world in which all people understand, respect, and support one another.” The mission of United Planet is to build “a community beyond borders.”
Michaela is certainly going beyond her childhood boundary of rural Hovland. Her mother, Kari Peterson, noted that it was a bit unnerving to see her daughter undergoing malaria and yellow fever immunizations. But Michaela is determined, tackling the first hurdle—raising over $7,000 for the journey.
She has done well, reaching out to friends and family and the broader community, explaining why she wants to participate in this nine-month quest. At press time, she has about $3,000 to go, with a deadline looming.