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News and other information from Cook County

Varsity Knowledge Bowl team competing well

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 2:33pm

Knowledge Bowl competition continues—the Cook County High School varsity team is now competing. The team had its first competition at the beginning of January and the team of Jerod Spry, Sean MacDonell and Linnea Gesch came in 1st out of 23 teams and the team of Jenny Neuwirth, Libby Zafft and Marin Hay came in 8th place.

The next competition is on January 28 in Mountain Iron.

Congratulations and good luck to the Knowledge Bowl team! 


This local news is provided by Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at

Minnesota tightens walleye rules for 3 popular BWCAW lakes

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 10:15am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Authorities are tightening walleye regulations for three lakes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area but loosening them for another popular northern Minnesota lake.

The Department of Natural Resources announced the changes Monday as part of special regulations for nearly three dozen waters statewide that take effect March 1.

For Saganaga, Sea Gull and Gull lakes in Cook County, walleyes must be at least 17 inches long and the bag limit will be three instead of six. The change is meant to protect small walleyes in those lakes, which all lie partly in the BWCAW.

Fish managers have been concerned for several years about low numbers of young walleye seen in these lakes, and the possibility that without some protection, those low numbers would result in even lower numbers of adult fish, with further reductions in spawning success. Effects of this regulation will be studied for the next 10 years, and will be reviewed with the public in 2024.

But the DNR will relax size restrictions to give anglers more chances to keep walleyes from Lake Winnibigoshish. The protected slot there will be 18 to 23 inches, compared with the previous 17- to-26 inch slot.

Changed and new special and experimental regulations will be posted at public accesses on affected lakes and become effective March 1


County begins search for new county administrator

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 1:52pm

Cook County Commissioners once again tackled the difficult question of how to proceed regarding a county administrator, turning to a consultant for assistance at the January 20 board meeting.

The board reviewed a potential job description for a new county administrator, one with fewer human resources (HR) duties. Auditor Braidy Powers explained that consultant David Unmacht of Springsted advised that typically county administrators are not involved in the day-to-day HR activities.

However, commissioners noted that HR needs must still be met and there was discussion of how to do that.

Commissioner Garry Gamble said he is comfortable hiring Springsted to assist in hiring an administrator. He said the biggest risk in not working with the consultant was not having the talented pool of applicants that Springsted has on file.

Commissioner Frank Moe asked how helpful Springsted had been in the previous hiring. Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk said very helpful. She pointed out that there were 28 applicants in the last hiring process. Gamble noted that Unmacht was familiar with many candidates and gave recommendations that helped narrow the field.

Commissioners spent some time with Springsted’s Unmacht on the phone, asking what he thought it would cost the county to have him recruit, screen and assist with interviews. He said it could cost about $5,000, but would likely not go over $10,000. He said a typical search costs about $15,000.

Unmacht suggested the county make its decision one step at a time. He suggested hiring his firm to recruit county administrator applicants at an expense not to exceed $3,000. Unmacht said, “Then, when we have applicants, we can decide if you want to proceed.” 

Moe noted that one of the primary concerns he has heard from his east end constituents is spending—in particular spending on consultants.

Grand Marais City Council to accept grants for more work toward district heating project

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 1:49pm

On Wednesday, January 14, the new Grand Marais City Council voted to accept two grants of $50,000 each that will be used to fund the next steps of a proposed district heating project.

Arvis Thompson attended the meeting to express some concerns she had with the project and asked several questions, as did council members. Most of the questions centered on what kind of commitment (financial or otherwise) the city would be getting itself into once the funds are accepted, and the risk involved to the taxpayers.

Councilor Tim Kennedy, who is knowledgeable with the proposal through his work as the city’s liaison with the Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP), said the portions of the project to be funded with the grants (which includes seeking customer contracts, bidding out expenses and seeking financing through state bonding or other sources) are necessary to make a determination of whether the city has a project.

Kennedy said, “We need to know if we have the customers out there to support paying for this proposal. If we do, then we move on.”

The timeline calls for signed contracts to be procured by mid-March.

City Administrator Mike Roth said that if there are any misgivings once the next phase gets under way the city can suspend it at any time.


This local news is provided by Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at

The Playlist to record local bands at Papa Charlie's Jan. 27

Sun, 01/25/2015 - 8:17pm

The PlayList will visit Papa Charlie’s in Lutsen to record some of Cook County’s finest musicians on Jan. 27.

The public is invited to attend for a night of original tunes and be part of the live TV audience. The event begins at 8 p.m. with Eric Frost, followed by Pushing Chain at 9 p.m. and SplinterTones at 10 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.

The bands will be featured in upcoming episodes of The PlayList, broadcast Thursday nights at 9 p.m. on PBS’s WDSE-TV in Duluth. Check the schedule at


This local news is provided by Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at

Grand Marais City Council starts new year in need of council member

Sun, 01/25/2015 - 8:04pm

Councilor Tim Kennedy – the lone hold-over from the Grand Marais City Council’s previous board – opened the January 14 council meeting. He sat alone at the council table until new members Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux, David Mills and Anton Moody took the oath of office.

It was an interesting process, first City Administrator Mike Roth administered the oath to Arrowsmith DeCoux and then the new mayor administered the oath of office to Mills and Moody.

The meeting continued with Tim Kennedy unanimously chosen to retain his position as acting mayor, a designation that allows Kennedy to fulfill the mayor’s duties in the absence of Arrowsmith DeCoux.

As the county did at its first meeting of the year, the council divvied up board and commission appointments, such as the library board, public utilities, North House Folk School, library board, YMCA board, safety committee, Animal Advocates and the Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP) and numerous others.

Arrowsmith DeCoux noted that once a fifth member of the city council is chosen, some of the assignments will likely be re-visited and revised to include the new councilor. Councilors were asked to be on the look-out for interested candidates, with an eye toward making an appointment at the Jan. 28 meeting. The appointee will serve for two years, filling the unexpired term of Jan Sivertson, who was elected last fall to serve as a Cook County commissioner. Arrowsmith DeCoux urged anybody interested in the position to contact him or call City Hall and put in an application.


This local news is provided by Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at