Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Craig Hansen selected as superintendent of Grand Portage National Monument

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 2:53pm

Staff report

Craig Hansen, a 14-year veteran of the National Park Service, has been selected as the new superintendent of Grand Portage National Monument. He is currently superintendent of Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site in Stanton, North Dakota. Hansen begins his new assignment March 19, 2017.

Ask A Trooper

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 2:31pm

By Sgt. Neil Dickenson of the Minnesota State Patrol

Question: What should I do about my neighbor who snow blows the snow from his driveway into the street? I do not know who to report this to. This morning I nearly had an accident sliding down our street.

WTIP shares the latest law enforcement report

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 9:47pm

Cook County Law Enforcement Report
The following is a record of calls made to the Cook County Law Enforcement Center in the last week. These are the initial calls made to law enforcement dispatchers. 




Dupre abandons attempt to climb Mount Hunter

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 4:22pm


After enduring several days of high winds, poor snow conditions, and brutal cold, Grand Marais adventurer Lonnie Dupre abandoned his attempt to become the first person to climb Mount Hunter in Alaska's Denali Park unaided and alone.

 Dupre was flown to Kahiltna glacier at the base of Mount Hunter on January 5 but unfortunately, couldn't begin his climb until high winds decreased.

On January 7 Dupre set across the glacier at the base of the mountain on skis, encountering large chunks of ice that encumbered his progress. When the terrain got too steep to ski, Dupre switched to making his way on foot with poles. Walking was difficult. The snow was waist deep, but Dupre couldn't plow through the snow because it had a thick crust. Making little progress and realizing he would have to camp among the ice falls, Dupre returned to his camp and relocated further north, seeking out a route with a steeper pitch. 

The next day Dupre sought an alternate way up the mountain but had to turn back.  According to his blog he climbed some steep, technical pitches, but did not have sufficient protection from falling rocks to continue. On his way down, Dupre broke through a bergschrund (a crevasse created where the glacier meets the mountain). With both feet dangling into the void, Dupre arrested the fall at shoulder level.

"With great effort and time, he managed to get himself and his backpack out of the crevasse. He was pretty shaken up," wrote his publicist, Stevie Anna Plummer. 

After enduring several days of brutal cold and high winds, Dupre started back for his landing strip.

At 14,573 feet Mount Hunter isn't exceptionally tall for mountaineers, but due to its steep pitch, nasty cold, high winds and often severe snow conditions, it is considered North America's most challenging 14,000-foot mountain to climb.

Warmer weather is on the way

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 12:27pm

It’ll be cold into the weekend but it’ll soon start to warm up and the next week will be much warmer and very pleasant weather. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Carol Christenson.


Obituary for Don Roberts

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 11:43am


Don Roberts 73, of Grand Marais, died after a courageous battle with cancer, Wednesday, January 11, 2017, in North Shore Health in Grand Marais.

He was born December 7, 1943, to Donald and Patricia (Brown) Roberts in Duluth.  Don grew up on the East coast and Alaska. He graduated from Holy Cross High School in Delaware.  He enlisted in the Navy after graduation and served 32 years including two tours in Vietnam, where he was wounded twice and received two Purple Hearts.  Don obtained the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer 1st Class before retiring in 1993.  He was a member of the VFW and the American Legion Post #413, Ridge Rider Snowmobile Club, Minnesota Deer Hunter’s Association, ATV Club, Ruffed Grouse Society, Ducks Unlimited, and the NRA.  Don enjoyed hunting, fishing, being outdoors, Fox News, and watching the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Twins, and most of all time with his family.

Don was preceded in death by his parents; and a brother, Richard.

He is survived by his wife, Kelly of Grand Marais, children, Troy of Hermantown, Natalie (Tobias) Odipo of Kenya, Krista Roberts of Fargo, North Dakota; brother, Dan (Judy) Roberts of Dover, Delaware; step-brother, Jack Blackwell of Idaho; and Billy Blackwell of Grand Portage; step-sister, Mary (George) Harrelson of Grand Portage; and step-mother Jean Roberts of Grand Marais; five grandchildren, Alec and Sofia of Illinois, Kirralee, Latisha, and Katelyn of Kenya; and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be from 1 p.m. until the 2 p.m.  Memorial Service will be Tuesday, January 17, 2017, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Grand Marais. Burial will be in Poplar Grove Cemetery at a later date.  To sign the online guestbook please visit

Action at the 2017 Gunflint Mail Run

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 4:39pm

January 7th marked the 6th Annual Gunflint Mail Run since it's revival in 2012. Starting and ending at Trail Center on Poplar Lake up the Gunflint Trail, WTIP's Will Moore was able to catch up with some of the competitors mid-race, as well as talk to many of the folks who made the race a success once again.


Parking restrictions set on Gunflint Trail for Beargrease

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 4:05pm

Parking during the upcoming John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon was a topic discussed this week by the Cook County Commissioners. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs reports on this story. 


In a follow-up interview WTIP conducted with Sarah Hamilton, who is the owner of Trailcenter and very involved with a variety of events in the mid-Trail area, including the dog sled races, Hamilton disputed many of the claims that were made by Commissioner Doo-Kirk.

Hamilton says mirrors are not dinged on numerous cars every year during the Mail Run or Beargrease. Hamilton also says there were no sled dog teams on the road on the day Doo-Kirk claimed there were. Furthermore, Hamilton says she has asked the county for road signs notifying traffic of an event ahead during the race and was denied by the highway department on that request.

Hamilton praised the efforts of more than 100 volunteers covering road crossings during dog sled races, including more than 20 at Trailcenter working traffic control on the Gunflint Trail.

Hamilton acknowledges that traffic congestion could well be an inconvenience to some during the race. However, she says overall the events run extremely smooth and have for many years. 

For more information on the upcoming Beargrease, click here. 

Listen to the story here:


Car crashes into Clearview shopping center in Lutsen

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 4:46pm

A vehicle crashed into the front of the Clearview shopping complex in Lutsen on Saturday, January 7.

Betty King, 75, of Tofte, attempted to pull into a parking space at Clearview in her 2006 Saab SUV and was unable to stop. The car broke through the wooden railing on the pedestrian walkway at the front of the store and came to a stop against the masonry wall, breaking one window at the Clearview General Store.

King’s vehicle received damage to the front end. King also sideswiped another vehicle parked at Clearview, a 2011 Nissan van driven by Heath Ekstrom, 44, of Lutsen.

Lutsen First Responders were paged, but were cancelled as there were no injuries.

King told Cook County Law Enforcement that her brakes did not work. The parking lot was icy. No citation was issued.

Gail Thompson of Clearview General Store said the only damage to the general store was the railing that has already been repaired and the window. She said the crash did knock merchandise off of shelves, but there was only minor damage. 

Submitted photo

Community says goodbye to local bank President Mike LaVigne

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 12:06pm

After serving as president of the Grand Marais State Bank for the past 33 years, Mike LaVigne is retiring at the end of January.

WTIP's Joe Friedrichs shares this feature on LaVigne and his tenure with the bank. 


Grand Marais PUC hires consultant for solar project planning

Mon, 01/09/2017 - 5:28pm

The Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission is researching alternative energy options such as solar power. Toward that end, at the last PUC meeting on Wednesday, January 4, the commission agreed to hire the consulting firm of Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) to analyze the costs and benefits of solar energy production in Grand Marais.
The firm will conduct an analysis for a variety of projects and return to the PUC with a report in March 2017.
Rhonda Silence finds out more in this interview with George Wilkes, PUC board member. 


Norpine Fat Bike Classic spins good times through the cold

Mon, 01/09/2017 - 4:18pm

The Norpine fat tire bike race took place in Cook County on Jan. 7. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs has this report from the event. 

For complete race results, click here. 



Once through the snow and cold cycle, the weather warms up

Mon, 01/09/2017 - 10:28am

We can expect more snow, anywhere from a couple of inches to a half foot. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with meteorologist Carol Christenson about snow and cold with a warm-up at the end of the tunnel.


Weekend News Roundup for January 7, 2017

Sat, 01/07/2017 - 11:17am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. Commissioner Moe resigns. The County Board has new leadership, shipping traffic increases and herring fishery decreases…all this and more in the week’s news.


Tofte District Ranger Kurt Steele leaving for Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 5:49pm

U.S. Forest Service Tofte District Ranger Kurt Steele has served in the Superior National Forest for just over three years. He has received a promotion and will be leaving Minnesota to accept a position in the Nez Perce - Clearwater National Forest in Idaho. 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence speaks with Steele about his time here in Cook County and his new adventure. 


January 2, 2017
8:25 a.m. W Hwy 61, Lutsen Caller states her 84-year-old husband is having a hard time breathing. 
10:53 a.m. W Hwy 61, Lutsen Traffic stop, warning given.
11:00 a.m.  Law Enforcement Center  Party requests a callback. 
12:15 p.m. Hovland  Party hit a deer near here. No injuries. Just wanted a report for insurance. 
1:35 p.m. Eliza Rd, Grand Portage Caller states his car slid into his brother’s last night in his driveway. Wanted a police report for insurance reasons. 
1:40 p.m. Schroeder  Caller hit a deer around this location. No injuries. Just wanted a report in case her insurance asks for it. No deputy needed. 
2:40 p.m. North Shore Health Party needs a ride from hospital back to Lutsen.
2:37 p.m. Grand Marais  Caller reporting snowmobiles running up and down Broadway 
2:57 p.m. Lindskog Road, Grand Marais  Deputy slipped off the roadway near this address due to icy conditions and damaged the front of his squad.
3:27 p.m. Grand Marais  Caller reports a man screaming and yelling on County Road 7. Party was yelling for their missing dog
3:41 p.m. County Road 6, Grand Marais Truck pulling trailer slid backwards into snowbank. 
4:23 p.m. Gunflint Trail Caller states a black pickup is in the ditch near here. Three females in the vehicle, no injuries 
5:53  p.m. Hovland  Picked up a deer off highway. Party will pick up tag tomorrow.
9:49 p.m. Superior National Golf Course Man walking on Highway 61 with no reflective clothing and wearing dark clothes.
10:39 p.m. Grand Portage  Unwanted person in house.  
11:13 p.m. Grand Marais  Medical call for a diabetic patient.  
January 3
1:28 a.m. N. Broadway/E. Wisconsin, Grand Marais Stop sign gone from this corner. City to place temporary sign to prevent traffic accidents. 
7:58 a.m. Shoe Lake Rd, Hovland A pickup with a snowmobile on a trailer parked at the Carrot Lake parking lot. It's been there since Friday and caller thinks it's a bit odd. 
8:02 a.m. Cook County High School  Safe routes to school patrol.
8:20 a.m. Grand Marais   73-year-old man may have had a stroke, needs medical transport to hospital 
8:46 a.m. Linnell Road, Grand Marais Truck parked in the road near this location. Plow truck driver doesn't think he can get around it.
11:10 a.m. Law Enforcement Center  911 hangup from 911 only phone.
12:55 p.m. Schroeder  Passerby reporting a deer hit by car near this location. Deer needs to be dispatched.
2:08 p.m. Grand Portage  Caller states that party was seen dragging party by the hair on New Year’s Eve. 
2:41 p.m. Law Enforcement Center  Permit to purchase firearm application.
5:19 p.m. Law Enforcement Center  Deputy call back requested. 
10:17 p.m. East Highway 61  Run away dog - strawberry blonde huskey mix with a blue collar. Leash was attached. Answers to "Shawnee." 
10:39 p.m. East Highway 61  Semi with emergency flashers on. 
January 4
8:24 a.m. Upper Rd, Grand Portage Traffic stop, warning given.
9:24 a.m. Law Enforcement Center  911 hang up – Cook County rang back and spoke to front desk. Unaware of any problems but will check and let Cook County know. 
9:41 a.m. County Road 7, Grand Marais Residence check.
10:05 a.m. Gunflint Trail  83-year-old female fell outside, not sure if injured but needs lift assist.
11:01 a.m. Grand Portage  Attempt to pick up parties with Cook County warrant.
11:10 a.m. Law Enforcement Center  Deputy call back requested. 
11:24 a.m. Law Enforcement Center  Permit to carry application received.
11:31 a.m. East Highway 61, Grand Portage Traffic stop, warning given.
12:28 p.m. Cc Sheriffs Office, 2gm  Deputy assisted with fingerprinting party.
12:48 p.m. East Highway 61, Grand Portage  Traffic stop, warning given.
1:04 p.m. Gunflint Trail  83-year-old female has fallen.
1:09 p.m. East Highway 61, Grand Portage Traffic stop, citation issued.
2:40 p.m. Ski Hill Road, Lutsen 911 hang up from cell phone. Cook County rang back and left voicemail. Coordinates put it approximately at a location on the Ski Hill Road.
4:43 p.m. Gunflint Trail  83-year-old female has fallen again.
5:22 p.m. Law Enforcement Center  Deputy call back requested. 
6:15 p.m. Gunflint Trail  Vehicle with flashers on located on a curve in the road. 
January 5
8:03 a.m. Cook County High School School patrol.
8:26 a.m. Cook County Courthouse Child protection meeting.
8:34 a.m. Law Enforcement Center  Deputy call back requested. 
9:42 a.m. Grand Portage  Papers served.
10:14 a.m. Law Enforcement Center  Urine analysis on 2 females.
10:30 a.m. Grand Marais Rec. Park  Walk through.
11:07 a.m. Grand Portage Lodge  Walk through.
11:18 a.m. Law Enforcement Center  Deputy assisted with urine analysis.
11:48 a.m. Grand Portage Lodge Checking with surveillance.
12:20 p.m. Grand Portage   Attempt to pick up on Cook County warrant.
1:02 p.m. East Highway 61 Traffic stop, warning given.
2:57 p.m. West Highway 61  911 complaint on icy road conditions at the Rock Cut.
3:19 p.m. West Highway 61, Schroeder Traffic stop, warning given.
4:50 p.m. Temperance River State Park Bluefin Bay Resort had phone call from a guest out on the Superior Hiking Trail between Temperance River and Carlton Peak. The guest is part of a group of 5 hikers.  Caller is in the front breaking the trail. Three of the group have fallen at least 10 minutes behind him and it is getting dark.
5:59 p.m. West Highway 61  Traffic stop, warning given.
6:54 p.m. Co Rd 7, Grand Marais Run away dog - brown and white boxer type dog - call if found. 
7:38 p.m.  Tofte Attempt to pick up party on warrant.
January 6
9:19 a.m. West Highway 61, Lutsen 911 hang up from Lutsen Resort. Cook County rang back to desk who were trying to get info about the call as well.
10:34 a.m. Law Enforcement Center  Permit to purchase app weapon received.
2:05 p.m.. Ski Hill Rd, Lutsen Picking up a .357 hand gun and delivering to Law Enforcement Center. 
4:23 p.m. Gunflint Trail  Car slid into the ditch. No injuries. White Toyota corolla 
7:29 p.m. East Highway 61, Grand Portage  Papers served.
7:35 p.m. East Highway 61, Grand Portage  Papers served.
7:41 p.m. Grand Portage  Papers served.
8:03 p.m. Birch Cliff Drive, Tofte  Traffic stop, warning given.
9:40 p.m. Papa Charlies, Lutsen Walk through
10:17 p.m. West Highway 61, Schroeder  Traffic stop, citation issued
10:18 p.m. Lutsen Resort employee housing, Party complaining about the noise at the east building.
January 7
1:37 a.m. Grand Portage  Party would like a deputy to come to this location. He feels his life is being threatened. Man arrested on 2 misdemeanor warrants.
2:54 a.m. Law Enforcement Center  Party called to see if anyone had reported a sustained power outage. They had a report of a blip on the power grid.
9:00 a.m. Law Enforcement Center  Turned in a box of old and new ammunition, variety of calibers. 
9:22 a.m. Trail Center Out on foot for dog sled race.
9:24 a.m. W Hwy 61/Temperance Rd, Schroeder  Injured deer upper ditch 100 feet south of Temperance River Road.
10:44 a.m. Grand Marais  Unwanted, drunk person. Arrest for disorderly conduct.
12:43 p.m. Clearview General Store, Lutsen  Older female drove vehicle into the Clearview Store.
1:06 p.m. Ward Lake Rd, Lutsen  Two-vehicle head on at this location, no injuries.
1:24 p.m. W Hwy 61/Temperance Rd, Schroeder  Saw vehicle hit deer, deer injured in upper ditch. 
1:51 p.m. Co Rd 7, Grand Marais  General tamper alarm. 
2:22 p.m. Caribou Trail, Lutsen  Trees hanging down over the road causing vehicle to go to the opposite side of road to get around between Holly Lake/Tait Lake access roads. 
2:34 p.m.  Highway 61, Lutsen Hit deer by Arrowhead Cooperative in Lutsen. Need report for insurance. 
3:01 p.m. Eagle Ridge, Lutsen  Vehicle parked blocking 4 other vehicles so closely that if tow is attempted it would damage other vehicles.
3:16 p.m. Rollins Ridge Road, Lutsen  Possible power outage.
6:03 p.m. Grace Drive, Grand Marais Traffic stop, warning given.
6:04 p.m. East Hwy 61/Grace Dr, Grand Marais Out with snowmobiles on Grace Drive.
7:55 p.m. Bow Lake Rd, Gunflint Trail Camper was in sauna - went outside and passed out 15- yeo female passed out after being in sauna. 
9:06 p.m. Bay Rd, Grand Portage Traffic stop, warning given
9:15 p.m. Bay Rd, Grand Portage Party was looking for her husband who went snowmobiling around the village, hasn't been able to find him 
January 8
9:10 a.m. West Highway 61, Lutsen Traffic stop, warning given.
9:29 a.m. West Highway 61, Tofte Traffic stop, warning given.
10:20 a.m. West Highway 61 Traffic stop, warning given.
10:28 a.m. West Highway 61 Traffic stop, warning given.
10:46 a.m. West Highway 61, Lutsen Traffic stop, citation issued.
11:59 a.m. West Highway 61 Traffic stop, citation issued.
12:28 p.m. Grand Marais  92 year-old needs transport to hospital, in pain. 
1:49 p.m. East Highway 61, Hovland Traffic stop, warning given.
2:08 p.m. N Broadway, Grand Marais  Foot patrol.
2:43 p.m.  Cascade River State Park  Park manager calling: someone has been staying in the park overnight the last few nights - always coming in after the park has closed and then leaves before workers come back in the morning.
3:11 p.m. West Highway 61, Lutsen Traffic stop, citation issued.
5:19 p.m. West Highway 61, Tofte Deer was just hit on 61 in front of his driveway. The deer is dead and the person that hit it doesn't want it, wondering if he can have it.
7:32 p.m. Law Enforcement Center  Permit to purchase firearm application received.
7:58 p.m. Grand Marais  Party threatening caller.