Grand Marais

Folk school pursues plans to buy fish house, expand

Leaders of the North House Folk School in Grand Marais weren’t looking to expand this year. But after joking for years with owners of the neighboring Dockside Fish Market that they would one day buy each other out, the quip is becoming a reality.

The 20-year-old school, which teaches topics ranging from boat-making to photography, signed a purchase agreement to buy the harborside property, including three buildings, for upward of $1 million after Dockside owners came to them with a serious offer to sell, said the school’s executive director, Greg Wright. The school recently received a $200,000 grant from the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board for a down payment.

Wright said school leaders hope to contract with a restaurateur and angler to keep the businesses running: “What would the Grand Marais harbor be without a fisherman and a fish market?”

Pam Louwagie

Bemidji

Council tables talk about dressing Paul Bunyan

The Bemidji City Council will continue its discussions on whether to allow its historic Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues to be dressed up for occasional promotional events.

The issue arose recently when organizers supporting the city for a Hockey Day Minnesota celebration briefly adorned the Paul Bunyan statue with a Minnesota Wild hockey jersey. The promotion prompted the city to revisit a 2014 ordinance that prohibited putting various items on the statues, which have stood on the shores of Lake Bemidji since 1937 and have become a focus of identity and a tourist attraction for Bemidji.

“Our photo opportunity was done late at night to preserve the surprise announcement and to ensure that it would not disrupt any visitors to Paul Bunyan Park, not to defy city policy,” organizers of the Hockey Day Bemidji Volunteer Organizing Committee said in a statement. “The jersey was up for a matter of minutes. It was not left up for display. We are sorry for any misunderstanding regarding our efforts to publicize the event. That certainly was not our intent.”

The issue was discussed at a work session last week, but the council took no action on the ordinance.

Mark Brunswick

St. Peter

Gustavus ready to break ground on project

Gustavus Adolphus College will break ground this month on a $70 million expansion and renovation of its Nobel Hall of Science, the college has announced.

The project will nearly double the building’s footprint to 177,000 square feet. Nobel Hall houses the departments of biology, chemistry, geography and geology along with interdisciplinary programs in biochemistry/molecular biology and environmental studies.

The project also will connect Nobel Hall with Schaefer Fine Arts Center, creating a laboratory theater and providing a tangible example of the importance of interdisciplinary studies. It’s expected to be finished by the beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year.

JOHN REINAN