Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

DNR announces fishing closures to protect spawning walleye

Thu, 04/04/2013 - 9:44am

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced this week that there will be several fishing closures in Cook County during the beginning of the 2013 fishing season to protect concentrations of spawning walleye. Closures on Minnesota-Ontario waters are made in cooperation with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and affect both sides of the border.
The following closures took effect April 1:
* Sea Gull River from Sea Gull Lake through Gull Lake to Saganaga Lake approximately 1/3 mile north of the narrows, closed through May 24.
* Saganaga Falls on the Minnesota‑Ontario border where the Granite River enters Saganaga Lake, closed through May 31.
* Maligne River (also known as Northern Light Rapids) on the Ontario side of Saganaga Lake, closed through May 31.
* Channel between Little Gunflint and Little North Lakes on the Minnesota‑Ontario border, closed through May 31.
* Cross River (inlet to Gunflint Lake) from the Gunflint Trail to Gunflint Lake, closed through May 24.
The following areas will be closed to fishing from May 11 through May 24:
* Tait River from White Pine Lake to the Forest Road 340 crossing, including a portion of White Pine Lake.
* Junco Creek from the first log dam above County Road 57 downstream to Devil Track Lake, and including a portion of Devil Track Lake near the river mouth.
Closures apply to fishing only; travel is permitted through these areas. All closed areas will be posted.
The closures are intended to protect concentrations of walleye that may be vulnerable to over-harvest in what is expected to be a year with relatively late ice-out and delayed spawning.  Questions can be directed to the DNR fisheries office in Grand Marais at 218-387-3056, or to the Grand Marais area fisheries supervisor, Steve Persons at

Superior levels drop below average

Thu, 04/04/2013 - 5:48am

Lake Superior dropped two inches in March, a month it usually drops only a half-inch. The Duluth News Tribune reports the International Lake Superior Board of Control made the announcement late Tuesday.

The lake now sits 13 inches below the long-term average for April 1 and 3 inches below the level at this time last year.

The board said water supply to the entire Lake Superior basin was down from usual, even though snowfall in some areas was up.

Lake Superior will begin its annual, seasonal increase in April as ice and snow melt and rains become more frequent. The lake will rise into September and then begin to fall again.

Lakes Michigan and Huron, meanwhile, rose an inch in March, a month the lakes usually rise 2 inches. That’s not good news for shipping and boating interests worried about low water levels, as the lakes now are 27 inches below their long-term average and 15 inches lower than April 1, 2012.

Northland News Center reports Maude Barlow, national Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and chair of Food and Water Watch's board is embarking on a seven-city speaking tour in Canada and the United States in an effort to protect the Great Lakes.

She will be touring regions of the Great Lakes to talk about threats such as low lake levels, pollution, over-extraction, climate change and invasive species. The tour kicks off today in Duluth.


Beekeeping course offered in Prior Lake this spring

Wed, 04/03/2013 - 6:12pm

A 15-week experiential, intensive beekeeping course will be offered this spring and summer by staff from Wozupi, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s organic garden, orchard, honey, maple syrup, and organic egg producing enterprise. Open to the public, this course will be held Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon from April through October. The course will cover all phases of beekeeping, including extracting and bottling honey.
The course is designed for those interested in gaining guided, hands-on experience for a season without investing heavily in the initial startup costs. Many backyard beekeepers quit due to lack of experience and know-how after investing in expensive equipment and beekeeping supplies.
Students will be able to learn and observe 20 hives in the tribe’s teaching apiary, while managing their own personal hive with guidance and support from trained SMSC beekeeper Victoria Ranua. Students will provide their own personal gear (veil, hive tool, honey bottles, etc.) while the instructor will provide bees, hives, and honey extracting equipment.
“This is a hands-on course for those who are ready to become successful beekeepers in the backyard or beyond. Participants will manage their own hive with guidance, and we will also have in depth discussions on a number of topics,” said Ranua.
Topics covered in this course will include how to package a new hive; how to split a wintered hive; spring management techniques, disease management, and wintering a hive; and managing honey and extracting/bottling techniques.
The course costs $585 with an additional $50-$200 for supplies, based on participant’s equipment preferences.
The Wozupi Cabin in Prior Lake will host the class on these dates: April 13, 20, and 27; May 4 and 18; June 1, 15, and 29; July 13 and 27; Aug. 10 and 24; Sept. 7 and 28; and Oct. 19. Wozupi is owned and operated by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.

3rd Annual Fingerstyle Masters Weekend

Wed, 04/03/2013 - 10:56am
"Lost Jim" Ohlschmidt

Don’t miss the 3rd annual Fingerstyle Masters Weekend featuring artist Jim Ohlschmidt. April 12 - 13 at Bluefin Bay Resort in Tofte, MN.

Friday, April 12 - Gordon Thorne & Jim will play a couple of informal sets beginning @ 8 pm

Saturday, April 13 - Fingerstyle Guitar Workshops: 
• 10 am - Gordon Thorne will present  "Fundamentals of the Form: Getting Started"
• 11 am - Jim Ohlschmidt will present  "John Hurt's Country Blues Guitar"
• lunch break
• 1:30 pm  - Jim Ohlschmidt will present  "Nashville Thumbstyle: a look at  players such as Merle Travis, Jerry Reed and Chet Atkins"
• 7:30 pm - Evening Concert featuring Gordon Thorne and Jim Ohlschmidt. 

The workshop fee is $50 for all workshops and lunch. To register contact Gordon at or 218-353-7308 

The concert tickets are $15, available at the door or can be reserved by calling Bluefin @ 218- 663-6200 or Gordon @ 218-353-7308

All proceeds from this event will benefit WTIP Community Radio.  Click here to hear an interview with musician and concert organizer Gordon Thorne.


Art Colony offers classes in clay this spring

Tue, 04/02/2013 - 9:36am

There are two evening classes to choose from in the clay studio at the Grand Marais Art Colony this spring.
Beginning Clay with Joan Farnam will be held April 4 through May 9 (six Thursdays) from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuition is $115, plus a $25 supply fee.
The class is designed for students with some previous clay experience and beginners alike who will explore all things stoneware. Learn how to make bowls, mugs, vases, and more in this class focused on wheel-throwing. Explore glazing techniques and elements of functional pottery. This class includes 24-hour access to the clay studio during the session.
Beyond Centering: Intermediate Clay by Melissa Wickwire runs from April 23 through May 28 (six Tuesdays) from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuition is $150, plus a $30 supply fee.
Students ready to explore pottery and clay sculpture at an intermediate level will enjoy this class. Basic forms and techniques will be reviewed and experimentation with sculptural elements and creative surface design will be encouraged. Class time will include demonstrations and guided, independent work time, and a variety of relevant artwork will be presented. Bring ideas of specific projects you’d like to create or just practice and explore. This class includes 24-hour access to the clay studio during the session.
Call now to register:  (218) 387-2737 or e-mail

AARP Driver Safety courses offered

Tue, 04/02/2013 - 9:35am

The Grand Marais Senior Center is once again offering local drivers the opportunity to brush up on their skills and save money by participating in upcoming safety classes.
AARP Driver Safety Beginning Class (eight-hour) will be offered Saturday, April 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cook County Community Center, Grand Marais. The schedule includes hourly breaks and an hour for lunch. The fee is $12 for AARP members; $14 for non-members. To register, call Pam McDougall at (218) 663-7068.
The four-hour refresher class will also be offered at the Community Center in Grand Marais.
Participants will meet on Monday, April 8 from 5 to 9 p.m. Registration fee for AARP members is $12; non-members, $14.
For more information on the drivers’ safety classes, call Pam at 663-7068 or Bill at 387-3167.
The refresher course will also be offered in Tofte at Birch Grove Center on Wednesday, May 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. A senior lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. for $5. AARP members will be charged $12; non-members, $14. Call Pam at (218) 663-7068 to sign up.
Minnesota drivers aged 55+ will receive a 10 percent auto insurance discount by taking part in one of these approved eight-hour driver safety class. Drivers maintain the discount by taking a four-hour refresher class every three years.
It’s also possible to take the safety courses online. See for all the details.