Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

County to create new access to Maple Hill gravel pit

Fri, 03/29/2013 - 11:41am

Despite objections from some members of the public, the county board has decided to purchase a piece of property adjacent to the southeast side of the county’s gravel pit by the Maple Hill Cemetery.  County Highway Engineer David Betts and Maintenance Supervisor Russell Klegstad requested the purchase in order to create an access to the gravel pit that would be shorter, quieter for nearby residents, and safer because of the hill the pit is on.

The highway department has repaired a breach in a berm at the bottom of the pit and plans to create storm water retention ponds to keep sediment from entering a nearby stream and neighboring properties.

The pit is one of the county’s richest sources of clay, which is used as a binder on gravel roads, and has been used for about 30 years.  Engineer Betts estimated the pit could continue supplying clay at the rate the county has been using it for another 100-250 years.

MnDOT announces 2013 state road construction program

Thu, 03/28/2013 - 10:17am

ST PAUL, Minn.— More than 300 construction projects scheduled for 2013 are designed to improve highways, bridges and other state transportation infrastructure.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation announced today $1.1 billion will be spent on the state transportation system this year.

The construction program includes work on 87 projects in the Twin Cities and 193 projects in Greater Minnesota. An additional 57 projects statewide will improve safety at railroad crossings, repair seawalls and docks, make improvements on runways and terminals at regional airports, and improve transit centers.

On Hwy 61, reconstruction of the rest area at Tettegouche State Park headquarters continues, and five and a half miles will be reconstructed at Little Marais. Center rumble strips will be installed at Silver Creek Tunnel and other various resurfacing projects will take place on the roadway.

Community members invited to Annual Community Crosswalk on Good Friday

Thu, 03/28/2013 - 10:04am

Community members are invited to take part in the Annual Community Crosswalk procession and Good Friday Service on Friday, March 29. The Crosswalk will begin at St. John’s Catholic Church in Grand Marais at 6 p.m. The procession will travel from church to church, offering prayers for each congregation, as well as those up the Gunflint Trail, on the east and the west ends of the county. Walkers may join the procession at a church along the way.
A Community Good Friday Service will follow the walk at the Grand Marais Evangelical Free Church starting at 7 p.m. Spirit of the Wilderness will lead the service and Rev. Mark Ditmanson of Bethlehem Lutheran Church will speak.

Additional Good Friday Services in Cook County:
Bethlehem Lutheran Church
Mid-afternoon Tenabrae Service 3:30 p.m.

First Congregational – United Church of Christ
Open for prayer 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Lutsen Lutheran Church
Good Friday Worship 7 p.m.

Trinity Lutheran Church
Good Friday Service 6:30 p.m.

St. John’s Catholic Church
Good Friday Morning Prayer 9 a.m.m
Confessions 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Celebration of the Lord’s Passion 3:30 p.m.

Zoar Lutheran Church
Good Friday Service 7 p.m.

"A celebration of a dog's life" at Betsy Bowen Studio Friday, March 29

Thu, 03/28/2013 - 10:02am

The community is invited to a unique gathering at Betsy Bowen’s Studio in Grand Marais on Friday, March 29, from 6 - 10 p.m. —a celebration of a dog’s life. Friends are hosting the celebration and benefit in remembrance of Pony, the sled dog of Frank and Sherrie Moe of Moetown Kennels, who was killed when Moe’s dog team was struck by a truck at a road crossing during the UP 200 sled dog race on February 17, 2013.
In addition to remembering Pony, a dog described by Frank Moe as “a superstar” who was always pulling, the event will be a fundraiser to help the Moes with veterinary bills. In addition to losing Pony, several of Moe’s dogs suffered serious injuries. Cowboy and Boo were most seriously injured, requiring emergency surgery, but the entire team suffered some injury.
Frank Moe went on to enter the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon on March 10 and ran a competitive race until leaving the Finland checkpoint. Unfortunately, Frank said, the dogs were not yet 100 percent.
“Late in the night on Tuesday the dogs kept stopping, looking back at me with those tired pleading eyes. Well I knew that I'd asked enough of them. It was time to go home,” Moe wrote in a Facebook post to friends.
Frank brought home a tired but happy team. Frank said he and Sherrie were very proud of what they did accomplish during the season. They are looking forward to next year. He said they are already signed up for the Copper Dog in Calumet, Michigan next year and plan to do the Gichigami Express here in Cook County again. They may travel to the Stage Stop in Wyoming next year as well.

Grand Marais Playhouse seeking "Church Basement Ladies"

Wed, 03/27/2013 - 11:11am

The Grand Marais Playhouse will be holding auditions for the musical Church Basement Ladies on Monday, April 1 at 6:30 p.m. at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts.  The cast includes five women and one man and an organist. Rehearsals will be Sunday evenings through April then alternately Monday - Thursday with Moon Over Buffalo through May and June. This year the Playhouse will rotate the musical with the comedy from July 18 - August 11.
Scripts for upcoming plays are available at the Grand Marais Public Library for short term check-out. A CD of the musical is also available.

County okays partnership to purchase Bill Bally Blacksmith Shop building

Wed, 03/27/2013 - 11:10am

After a great deal of discussion over the past two weeks regarding potential liability issues, the county board agreed on March 12, 2013 to enter into a partnership with the Cook County Historical Society for the purchase of the Bill Bally Blacksmith Shop.  The historical society needed a fiscal partner in order to apply for a grant from the Minnesota Historical Society that would fund the purchase. 
A review of the property was conducted by an environmental consulting firm after the board expressed concerns about potential liability for any environmental contaminants that might be found on the property.  Planning & Zoning Director Tim Nelson said that as long as the property is not altered, nothing would trigger further investigation.
The board passed two motions:  one to enter into a purchase agreement with the historical society and the seller, the estate of Karen Holte, and the other to enter into a management agreement with the Cook County Historical Society, with the understanding that the county will transfer ownership of the property to the historical society after five years when the partnership requirements of the grant have been fulfilled.
The sellers will be removing the waste oil containers currently on the property and will have the well inside the blacksmith shop capped.
The closing date will be August 1, 2014 or before, which gives the historical society time to procure the hoped-for grant.