Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Grand Marais couple not seriously injured in rollover

Tue, 01/03/2017 - 12:20pm

A Grand Marais couple involved in a rollover crash near the Lafayette Tunnel on Highway 61 on Monday, January 2 were not seriously injured

John “Augo” Smith was driving south north of Two Harbors when he lost control on black ice and his pickup rolled twice, landing on its side. Smith was wearing his seatbelt and he suffered no apparent injury.

His passenger Darleen Irving was also wearing her seatbelt. She was transported to Lakeview Hospital in Two Harbors for treatment of injuries primarily due to the seatbelt restraint.

Smith, back home in Grand Marais, said they were both shaken and a little sore, but have no broken bones or serious injury.
In addition to the human occupants of the vehicle, there were four small dogs, all of which also escaped unscathed, said Smith.

The pickup, a 2004 Ford Ranger, was totaled. 

Photo courtesy of "Minnesota Mom" on Weather Underground

Preliminary investigation shows cause of snowmobile accident was terrain conditions

Sun, 01/01/2017 - 2:54pm

The preliminary investigation into yesterday's fatal snowmobile accident which claimed the life of Wayne Gunnar Anderson, 22, of Grand Marais, shows conditions beneath the snow impacted the skis on the two riders’ snowmobiles, causing them both to be thrown from their respective snowmobiles. The two riders were traveling along the ditch of County Road 8 north of Grand Marais where they encountered some deep crevices in the snow from a creek-bed and were ejected from their snowmobiles.
Although a pathology autopsy report is pending, to confirm the cause of death for Anderson, medical professionals believe that he suffered a broken neck upon impact as evidence of impact-related spinal trauma was present. Anderson was subsequently struck by the secondary snowmobile, but there were no additional blunt trauma injuries noted. Alcohol was not a factor in the accident. 
This investigation is ongoing and further details will be released by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office when they are available. 
"Our hearts are with the family and friends of the accident victims and a grieving community during is difficult time," said Sheriff Pat Eliasen. 

Snowmobile accident claims life of local man

Sun, 01/01/2017 - 12:21am

 A snowmobile accident involving two men which resulted in one fatality was reported to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 5:30 pm, this evening. 

Wayne Gunnar Anderson, age 22, of Grand Marais was snowmobiling with a friend when he was separated from his machine and subsequently struck by the machine of the other rider on County Road 8 just north of Grand Marais. 

When medical personnel and Cook County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived on scene, CPR was initiated and continued while Anderson was transported by Cook County Ambulance to North Shore Health in Grand Marais. Due to the severity of the injuries life saving measures were unsuccessful and Anderson passed away at North Shore Health. 

The investigation is ongoing and further details will be released by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office when they are available. 

"Our hearts are with the family and friends of Mr. Anderson and the other rider at this difficult time", said Sheriff Pat Eliasen. 

Phone outage over, service restored countywide

Sat, 12/31/2016 - 12:41pm

At 7:03 a.m. today, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office announced that phone service, including 911, across Cook County has been restored and fiber optic cable was successfully repaired.

“We are very pleased that the fiber was able to be repaired overnight and 911, and all phone service, is up and running across the County,” said Sheriff Pat Eliasen. “We had deputies stationed at six locations throughout the County as well as emergency personnel staffing all Fire Halls for citizens in the event of an emergency while 911 service was down.

“Fortunately, this ended up being a precautionary measure and none of these dedicated professionals had to be used nor did any issues arise during the outage. I commend them and our dispatch team for their dedication to public safety and their community and extend my thanks to everyone involved throughout the night,” said Sheriff Eliasen.

Weekend News Roundup for December 31

Sat, 12/31/2016 - 11:31am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. The County Board sets non-mandated cuts. The Gov. says Twin Metals is not dead yet. U.S. Steel reopens Keetac plant…all this and more in the week’s news.



CCHS Alpine ski coach gives a report

Fri, 12/30/2016 - 3:43pm

The Cook County High School Alpine ski season is full swing. The Cook County varsity team has had several meets, one at Giants Ridge in Biwabik and another against a Thunder Bay school at Lutsen Mountains. 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence talked to Alpine Ski Coach Charles Lamb about the start of the season. 

Photos by Jenny Lamb


American Legion Post 413 Auxiliary kicks off charitable gambling

Thu, 12/29/2016 - 4:53pm

The mission of the American Legion Post 413 Auxiliary is to serve our nation's veterans and the community. To help fulfill its mission, the Auxiliary in Grand Marais is embarking on a new method of fundraising -- charitable gambling.

Starting on January 1, 2017, the Auxiliary will be offering pulltabs at Grandma Ray's in Grand Marais. 

Rhonda Silence learns more in this interview. 


2016 set to exit in a flurry of flurries

Thu, 12/29/2016 - 12:13pm

It looks like we might be digging out again before celebrating New Years. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Dean Packingham about another snow blast to take us out of 2016.


Christmas Bird Count in Cook County

Wed, 12/28/2016 - 3:15pm

The  Audubon Christmas Bird Count tradition continued in Cook County on Sunday, December 18. Jeremy Ridlbauer, compiler of results for the Christmas Bird Count visited WTIP with a report on this year’s count.

Here are the preliminary results in order of abundance from Sunday and during the count week:

Black-capped Chickadee
Pine Grosbeak
Cedar Waxwing
American Goldfinch
Purple Finch
Common Raven
American Robin
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Downy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
Common Redpoll
Herring Gull
American Crow
Common Goldeneye
European Starling
Pine Siskin
House Sparrow
Rock Pigeon
Hairy Woodpecker
Evening Grosbeak
Bald Eagle
Pileated Woodpecker
Long-tailed Duck
White-winged Crossbill
Dark-eyed Junco
Gray Jay
Ruffed Grouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
American Tree Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Canada Goose
Northern Shrike
Rough-legged Hawk
White-throated Sparrow
Bohemian Waxwing
Fox Sparrow
Harris' Sparrow
Hermit Thrush
Red-breasted Merganser
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-winged Blackbird
Song Sparrow
Unknown Buteo
Varied Thrush
Red Crossbill (seen on count week only so far)
The first known Minnesota CBCs were conducted on Christmas Day 1905 in Minneapolis and Red Wing. During those last 109 years, the Christmas Bird Count has been conducted uninterrupted in the state and has grown to include almost 70 census circles and involved more than 28,000 participants. Each and every year more than 1,000 participants canvass the state to conduct the survey.
Anyone who would like more information about the Audubon Christmas Bird Count may call Ridlbauer at (218) 370-0733.


Break-in at local business on Christmas Day

Wed, 12/28/2016 - 10:35am

There was a break-in at a local business on Christmas Day.

The break-in was at Oddz & Endz, a non-profit business that sells used and repurposed furniture and household items. Proceeds from the sale of items is returned to the community via grants to other nonprofits. The business on the west end of Grand Marais was founded in June 2014 and has become a thriving operation.

Someone broke a window to enter the building and apparently exited from the front door.

The culprits took not only money, but a donation jar and cash box containing the store stamp and bank information.

EvaLyn Carlson of Oddz & Endz told WTIP they are still assessing the store to see if anything else was taken.
Carlson said Oddz & Ends is open as usual.

Anyone with any information about the break-in is encouraged to call Cook County Law Enforcement at 218-387-3030. 

Changes coming to

Tue, 12/27/2016 - 12:30pm

Andy Butter

Grand Marais State Bank President retiring after 33 years

Tue, 12/27/2016 - 12:17pm

On Monday, December 19 the Grand Marais State Bank Board of Directors announced the retirement of President Mike LaVigne, effective January 27, 2017, after 33 years of service.

Sheriff talks about News Years and walking safely at night

Tue, 12/27/2016 - 10:07am

Law enforcement is looking forward to a safe and sober New Years. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Sheriff Pat Eliasen about responsible partying and staying visible when out walking these dark winter nights.


Weather settles down as New Year approaches

Mon, 12/26/2016 - 10:49am

The wet, snowy and windy Christmas storm came and went, leaving colder temperatures but no more snow. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Dean Packingham about a smoother transition to the New Year.


Think twice before going out on the ice

Sat, 12/24/2016 - 6:38pm

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding Northlanders to think twice before going out on the ice.

According to recreation safety specialists with the DNR, ice that formed quickly during the recent sub-zero temperatures is now thawing and refreezing, which leads to extremely weak ice that is dangerously deceptive 
In a statement this afternoon, Lisa Dugan, DNR recreation safety outreach coordinator said, “There are many variables to consider, including whether a waterbody has a current or run-off, the freeze-thaw cycle, and snow cover. Rivers have been especially problematic, as water levels have continued to drop even after surface ice formed, creating dangerous air pockets under the ice.” 

Conservation officers across the state are reporting vehicles, snowmobiles and ATVs going through the ice on lakes where ice may be relatively thick in one area, with as little as 4-5 inches nearby.  

Conservation Officer Lisa Kruse said, “No ice should ever be considered 100 percent safe, and checking ice thickness every 150 feet is imperative when on inconsistent early ice.”
For ice safety tips and thickness guidelines are available at: