Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Tofte welcomes new District Ranger Kurt Steele

Sat, 09/28/2013 - 8:25am

The U.S. Forest Service Tofte District welcomed Kurt Steele as the new district ranger in early September.

Steele brings a broad background in natural resource management.  He graduated with a bachelor's degree from Oregon State University in natural resources with an option in forest ecosystems. He also double minored in forest management, and fisheries and wildlife. 

Later, Steele successfully completed the National Advanced Silvicultural Program to become a fully certified silviculturist. During that program he studied at Michigan Tech, Northern Arizona University, University of Tennessee, and Oregon State University.

Steele has held positions on several national forests across the country.  He started his Forest Service career as a temporary employee with the fire management program on the Umatilla National Forest in eastern Oregon. 

His next duty station was on the Rouge-Siskiyou National Forest in southwest Oregon. Steele then accepted a forester position on the Willamette National Forest in western Oregon.  His last duty station prior to coming to the Tofte Ranger District was in Georgia on the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest where he served as a silviculturist. 

Steele has continued to participate in fire operations where he has established a number of qualifications including Incident Commander Type 4. 

 Kurt and his wife, Melissa, come to Cook County with their two pets, Trigger, a yellow lab, and Oconee, a kitten. Melissa has already begun her new job as a teacher in the local school system.  They look forward to becoming part of the community. 

MN Sea Grant presentation: Climate Change impacts on recreation and tourism

Fri, 09/27/2013 - 4:02pm

Minnesota Sea Grant is hosting the final  segment in a three-part speaker series on Climate Change, Thursday, September 26 at the Harbor House Grille in Grand Marais, starting at 7:30 p.m. (Click on link to WTIP below to hear an interview with Sea Grant Climate Change Extension Educator Hilarie Sorensen.)
The featured speaker is Dr. Robert Richardson from Michigan State University.  Dr. Richardson will be speaking about climate change impacts on tourism and recreation and implications for the North Shore.  

Dr.  Richardson is an Associate Professor of Sustainable Development at Michigan State University. He is an applied economist with interests in the study of environment and development, particularly the contribution of ecosystem services and natural resources to socioeconomic well-being. He holds a PhD in agricultural and resource economics from Colorado State University. His teaching, research, and outreach program focuses mainly on sustainability and development. His research has included assessments of the role of environmental resources in development, vulnerability to climate change, and tradeoffs in decision making about natural resource management. 

Harbor House Grill, is located at 411 Highway 61 in Grand Marais.   Food and drinks will be available for purchase.  


Insurance, finances and remodeling under discussion at the Cook County North Shore Hospital & Care Center board meeting

Fri, 09/27/2013 - 1:02pm

Blue Cross/Blue Shield, MN Sure, county budget cuts, and remodeling:  all under discussion at the recent hospital and care center board meeting.  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Administrator Kimber Wraalstad recently on Daybreak.   


Attached file

Mining Truth: educating Minnesotans about sulfide mining

Fri, 09/27/2013 - 10:02am

In the summer of 2012, a coalition of Minnesota conservation groups calling themselves Mining Truth started a public dialogue surrounding the proposed Polymet and Twin Metals mines near Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. 
     The coalition is continuing a public debate over four questions they feel Governor Dayton and mining companies should be able to answer before allowing the mines to proceed. (Click on link to WTIP below to hear an interview with Aaron Klemz of Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.)  

Those questions are:

1)   Will Minnesota’s water stay safe and clean?

2)   Are there safeguards in place for when things go wrong?

3)   Will the company leave the site clean and maintenance-free?

4)   Will Minnesota’s taxpayers be protected?

Bethlehem Lutheran Church hosts annual Harvest Dinner Friday, Sept. 27

Thu, 09/26/2013 - 1:06pm

Bethlehem Lutheran of Grand Marais is hosting its annual Harvest Dinner in support of Zion Lutheran of Finland. The church was destroyed by fire this spring and proceeds from the dinner will be dedicated to their building fund. A special offering basket will be available for additional contributions to Zion Lutheran.
The meal will be served from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27. The traditional menu will include fishcakes, baked ham, parsley buttered potatoes, garden vegetables, beet pickles and rye bread. The church is handicap-accessible but take-home dinners can be requested at the ticket table or by calling Bethlehem at (218) 387-2227 Monday through Thursday and reserving a dinner. Ticket prices are $12 for adults and $5 for children.
This is a great opportunity to enjoy a traditional meal and support the work of Bethlehem Lutheran Church Women and the need of Zion Lutheran of Finland. We will not have financial support from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans this year, so your attendance and gifts will be much appreciated by both congregations.

Biomass Energy Options report released

Thu, 09/26/2013 - 1:05pm

Dovetail Partners, which has been working with the Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP) over the last couple of years to study the feasibility of biomass energy projects in Cook County, has published a report on its findings.  The study also included biomass feasibility in the city of Ely.
The study investigated biomass energy options, impacts and trade-offs for the two communities.
The final report, Community-Driven Biomass Energy Opportunities: A Northern Minnesota Case Study, describes the interest of the two communities in using timber harvest residuals, sub-merchantable timber, and waste wood to heat homes, businesses, and government buildings in either stand-alone or district energy systems.
The case studies provide insight into developing and implementing bioenergy facilities and address the topics of wood supply, technological options, financial feasibility, emissions, environmental impacts, and supply chain opportunities and hurdles. Several alternatives were investigated that can aid other communities interested in bioenergy facilities.
Project funding was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR), the Cook County Board of Commissioners, and the USFS Wood Education and Resource Center. The Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund is a permanent fund constitutionally established by the citizens of Minnesota to assist in the protection, conservation, preservation, and enhancement of the state’s air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources.