The Tower News

Since June 4, 1900 - News About the Greatest People in the World - Our Own!

 P.O. Box 447, Tower, MN 55790


  Phone: 218-753-7777

 Fax: 218-753-7778

June 14, 2019






 Chaos and Grit

Silent and Live Auctions announced for Midsummer Gala and Benefit

The Lake Vermilion Cultural Center (LVCC) committees and volunteers are busy getting ready for the annual Midsummer Gala and Benefit to be held on Saturday, June 22, at the Herb Lamppa Civic Center in Tower. There will be an elegant dinner, a musical program and both silent and live auctions. The theme this year is "An American Songbook."
The live and silent auctions promise to once again be an exciting part of the event. New this year in the streamlined live auction will be a Zamboni ride, along with tickets to a Minnesota Wild hockey game. There also will be weeklong trips to beautiful Lake Placid in upstate New York and a warm weather beach vacation in Delray Beach, Florida. Another exciting offering in the auction will be a three-night stay on a 44' houseboat from Lake Vermilion Houseboats.
The silent auction will include a huge selection of amazing baskets offering a variety of items that range from family activities to fishing, home decor, party and picnics, art, holiday celebrations and services, products and goods from local businesses. There also will be golf for four at the Wilderness, a pontoon dinner cruise, date night in Ely with opera tickets and much, much more.
Tickets are going fast for this gala event. Those who would like to register may call 218-753-4100. Reservations also may be made online at The deadline for making reservations is this Saturday, June 15.

Fortune Bay to host Wild Rice Hotdish Eating Championship

Fortune Bay already has hosted two MLE (Major League Eating) Indian Taco Eating Contests, but things will get even more interesting later this month as the first annual MLE Wild Rice Hotdish Eating Championship takes place.
The No. 5-ranked competitive eater in the world, Darron Breeden from Orange, Virginia and other top-ranked eaters will gather at Fortune Bay on Saturday, June 22, to seek the title and a $2,500 cash prize.
The competition will take place at 3:00 p.m. at Fortune Bay's Lakeside Tent. There is no charge to attend this event.
"We are excited to welcome the top competitive eaters in the nation for this historic eating contest for this distinct wild rice dish," said Fortune Bay's Sammy Richter. "This event continues a series of exciting events for guests of the Fortune Bay Resort Casino."
The inaugural event will take place over eight minutes of sanctioned competition time.
"We are thrilled to announce the first-ever Wild Rice Hotdish-Eating Championship, on top of Fortune Bay Resort's Indian Taco-Eating Championship," said Richard Shea, president of Major League Eating. "There will be a dramatic showdown between Breeden and Sudo in the fight for this new title. "Breeden will face fierce competition. Other top-ranked MLE competitors include the #7-ranked Miki Sudo from Las Vegas, Nevada, #23-ranked Eric "Badlands" Booker from Selden, New York, #36-ranked Darrien Thomas from Ontario, Canada and #38-ranked Matthew Raible from Edwards, Illinois.
Fortune Bay Resort Casino's IT Director Alex Cook will participate in the event. Cook also participated in the 2018 MLE Indian Taco Eating contest this past November. Fortune Bay's other representative will be Senior Technology Specialist Paul Shryer.
The winner of the Wild Rice Hotdish-Eating Championship will receive $2,500.00, with the second through sixth place finishers receiving $1,250, $650, $350, $200 and $100, respectively.
"We encourage everyone to come out to watch this inaugural event," said Mr. Richter. "It should be pretty intense."

'We're Coming, We're Coming Back'


The headline statement for this story was uttered by Jimmy Zupancich last Friday in a telephone interview about the future of the Zup's Food Market rebuilding. The store was a mainstay for Cook and the area, but it burned down the night of Nov. 12, 2018. This was a major economic hit to the Cook area. Residents had to change their shopping routines, going to Pelican Bay in Orr, Zup's in Tower or to Virginia. This has affected local businesses and residents.
Matt Zupancich, one of the owners and the manager of the Cook store, said he wanted to rebuild it fast and had an early goal, but there were hangups. The Fire Marshal had to make a final report for the insurance companies and it gave a clear report on the fire. Then the City of Cook applied for a grant from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board of $350,000 for the infrastructure and this meant the IRRRB had to see the plans.
Then the Zupancich Board of Directors had to agree on the plans for a new store that would cost three times what the original store did due to rising construction costs. They wanted to virtually copy the new Babbitt store, but this all took time.
The grounds of the store were cleared and made ready for rebuilding as the community looked on, hopefully.
In the meantime, rumors were ripe in the area about what was going on, and most were false. News reports came out with false reports, too.
Well, Jimmy Zupancich was contacted at the Ely store last Friday and adamantly said, "We're coming, we're coming back." The board had approved the plans, and though the store may not be as large as they wanted, it will still be a big upgrade of the former store. The former store had insurance for a store built 20 years ago, but with the rise in construction costs they had to reduce the size a little. Jimmy noted they had made the final payment on the original store two months before it burned down.
Cook Mayor Harold Johnston informed this writer that the IRRR Board had given final approval for the $350,000 infrastructure grant at their meeting last Thursday night. This is a big help for the store, which at one time was estimated to cost $5 million plus.
The store is going to be rebuilt, but the board is waiting for the final blueprints to okay them. Jimmy Z. said they plan to have a groundbreaking this summer, but haven't set the date yet.
Hopefully, all the rumors that have been floating around town will fade away and when this new store is completed, it will be a monstrous addition to the Cook area.

Also In This Issue:

Special display at the old Fire Hall in Tower

Tower-Soudan Historical Society hard at work on restoration.

Those Were the Days!