Around Cook County
Kurt Steele is the new District Ranger for the Tofte District. Steele brings a broad background in natural resource management, including forest ecosystems, fisheries and wildlife, fire operations and silviculture.
He has held positions on several national forests in Oregon and Georgia prior to coming to the Tofte Ranger District.
Steele and his wife, Melissa, a teacher, have already been in the area for some time. His official start date is Monday, September 9th.
WTIP’s Kelly Schoenfelder attended last night’s GO Team meeting at St. John's Catholic Church in Grand Marais. She reports just over 40 people turned out for the second of four public meetings. The gathering was an opportunity for members of the GO Team to present their draft economic vision for the future of Cook County, as well as collect input and garner support for the initiative from community members.
(Click on the "Attached File" below to read the economic vision draft.)
Jim Boyd of the Cook County GO Team, along with Randy Lasky of the Northspan Group and Josh Bergstad of the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission, presented a summary of the information they gathered from community members on the state of the economy in Cook County.
The information was based both on answers from over 40 community members in interviews conducted by the GO Team, as well as responses from over 400 residents on an online survey.
Bergstad highlighted some of the economic challenges facing the community, including a graying population, lack of affordable housing, and a dependency on tourism. Lasky presented the draft economic vision prepared by the GO Team and explained some of their potential solutions, including an increase in the county population to 6500 over the next 12 years and the creation of a collaborative marketing plan to strengthen the tourism sector.
While the comments from the attendees were mostly positive, there was some concern expressed about the viability of the plan, lack of buy-in from local government, and whether it can actually create solutions for the struggles and sacrifices of young families trying to make it in the community.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) asks hunters participating in Minnesota’s bear season, which opened Sept. 1, to avoid shooting radio-collared research bears.
The bears are marked with large colorful ear tags or colorful streamers. DNR researchers are monitoring about 30 radio-collared black bears, most of them in northwestern Minnesota, especially near Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area and the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge. Additional radio-collared bears reside in and around the Chippewa National Forest, Camp Ripley, Cloquet Forestry Station and Voyageurs National Park. Bear research also is being conducted between Ely and Tower near the Eagles Nest chain of lakes in northern St. Louis County.
“Hunters near these areas should be especially vigilant for these valuable research bears,” said Dave Garshelis, DNR bear research biologist. “These animals provide long term data on reproduction and habitat use that is invaluable for bear management across the state. We’re asking that if hunters see ear tags or a collar on a bear, they refrain from shooting it,” Garshelis said.
DNR officials recognize that a hunter may not be able to see a radio collar or ear tags in some situations. For this reason, taking a bear with a radio collar is legal unless the bear is accompanied by a researcher who has identified the bear to the hunter as a research animal.
Photos of some collared research bears are available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/bear. Any hunters who shoot collared bears should call the DNR Wildlife Research Office in Grand Rapids at 218-327-4146 or 218-327-4133.
Bear season ends October 13.
Camp Ripley Military Reservation hosted a number of Civil Air Patrol cadets on June 23 - June 30, 2013. Kaylee Cronberg, 16, of Grand Marais, was among the 105 cadets from statewide Civil Air Patrol Squadrons who graduated from this year’s Minnesota Wing Encampment on June 30, 2013.
The Civil Air Patrol’s Cadet Program is designed to provide youth from 6th grade through age 20 with a safe, encouraging environment in which to learn, mature, and explore opportunities that help them reach their potential as adults. At the encampment, cadets participate in a structured program through group and individual activities. They take part in challenging physical training and must pass a Cadet Physical Fitness Test (CPFT).
Cadets must also pass a written exam that tests them on knowledge of CAP standard operating procedures (SOP). They attend classes on a variety of topics, including aerospace education, leadership, and moral and ethical values.
Kaylee, who works at World’s Best Donuts, is the daughter of Tyson and Mindy Cronberg of Grand Marais. Kaylee continues her involvement with Civil Air Patrol and attends monthly meetings with the Duluth Civil Air Patrol squadron every Thursday night. She plans to eventually earn her pilot’s license.
Civil Air Patrol, the official U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, is a civilian, volunteer, nonprofit, service organization. The unpaid members perform more than 85 percent of inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. Volunteers also take a leading role in aerospace education and conduct one of America’s finest youth programs through CAP Cadet Programs. For more information about Civil Air Patrol, visit www.mncap.org.
Join WTIP Community Radio for the 6th Annual Radio Waves Music Festival September 6th to 8th. It features live music throughout the day, a dance floor, children’s activities, and on-site food vendors. It’s a rain or shine event under a big-top tent in the Grand Marais Recreation Area. Check out the music line-up and details.
Cook County has seen a lot of staff turnover in recent months. This may be good news for people seeking certain types of jobs but difficult for some departments to keep up with.
Public Health & Human Services is one such department. Director Sue Futterer reported to the county board on August 27 that Child Support Officer Michael Garry had resigned after being recruited for a job with better pay. He had been in the position for less than six months. “County wages are not competitive with other businesses in Cook County right now,” Futterer said, “and that’s one of the reasons we’re losing staff.”