Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Viennese ensemble to perform at Arrowhead Center for the Arts Saturday

Wed, 03/30/2016 - 5:26pm

The North Shore Music Association will host international award-winning Viennese string ensemble the Minetti Quartett at 7:30 p.m. April 2 at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts in Grand Marais. This event, one of only two Midwestern stops on their tour, follows the group’s “Great Performers” concert at New York’s Lincoln Center.

Founded in 2003, the young and enormously talented Minetti Quartet has gained great international accolades—winning first prize at the international Rimbotti String Quartet competition in Florence, the Haydn Prize at the International Haydn Competition in Vienna, the top award at the International Schubert Competition in Graz, and the Grosser Gradus ad Parnassum Prize.

Named "Rising Star” by the European Concert Hall Organization, the group has made debuts at London’s Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Palau de la Música in Barcelona, the Konserthuset in Stockholm, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the Cologne Philharmonie, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the Salzburg Mozarteum, and Vienna’s Konzerthaus and Musikverein.

They have been a featured guest at leading chamber music festivals, including the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, Aix-en-Provence, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and the Kuhmo Festival in Finland. They have made extensive concert tours through North, Central, and South America, Australia, Japan, and China. They have also been active as performers and tutors at the "Sonoro" chamber music festivals in Mexico, Kuhmo, and Madrid.
During recent seasons, the Minetti Quartett has toured extensively in the United States, with major appearances in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.

For more information about the event, contact Kate at the Music Association, (218) 387-1272.


Spring clean up scheduled for Gunflint Horse Arena and Dog Park April 2

Wed, 03/30/2016 - 5:21pm

Over the winter, members of the local horse community and Go Dog North Shore met to discuss shared use of the Gunflint Horse Arena and Dog Park in Grand Marais. Although it is a long-range goal of Go Dog North Shore to have its own separate space for a dog park, for now, the groups will share the space with the understanding that dog owners who use the park will provide clean up. Toward that end, Go Dog North Shore is hosting a spring clean up at the Gunflint Horse Arena and Dog Park on Saturday, April 2 from 10 a.m. until noon.  

Volunteers are asked to bring their own work gloves and shovel if possible.  

Cathy Quinn of Go Dog North Shore reminds dog owners that members of the horse community have invested a lot of time and money into the horse arena so they take a lot of pride in the space. “As they should!” she said.

Quinn said that the park has proven to be a very important resource for dog owners too over the last few years.  “It's a great space for people to exercise their dogs off leash safe from traffic and predators.  It has also become a valuable resource for folks visiting the county who like to travel with their pets,” she said.

As word spreads about the availability of the park, it continues to get more and more use, especially from July into September. Quinn said unfortunately that led to an unacceptable amount of dog waste left in the park.  

“This was particularly frustrating to members of the horse community who recently invested more time and money into improving the arena footing,” said Quinn.

The park is equipped with a waste bag station and garbage can and visitors are asked to clean up after their dogs. However, it doesn’t always happen.

Bald eagle nest crashes down near Grand Marais

Wed, 03/30/2016 - 7:45am

A bald eagle nest that sat high on a birch tree between Highway 61 and Lake Superior near Grand Marais blew down recently. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs brings us this story.


Learn more about the county's assessment process

Tue, 03/29/2016 - 2:05pm

If you have questions about how the county’s assessment process works or what takes place at the annual Local Board of Appeal and Equalization (LBAE) meeting, you can attend one of three meetings hosted by Cook County Assessor Betty Schultz and Assistant County Assessor Todd Smith.

Schultz said she and Smith will give a general overview of the assessment process, which is required by the Assessor’s Office, and they will teach people how to read assessment notices that will be sent out soon.

A meeting for residents of Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail living within the 55604 zip code will be held at the Cook County Courthouse, Commissioners Room at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30.

Residents of Schroeder, Tofte, and Lutsen will meet at the Lutsen Townhall at 6 p.m. on April 4 while residents of Hovland and eastern Cook County will assemble at 6 p.m. at the Hovland Town Hall on Wednesday, April 6.

“This meeting will not be held to discuss current property tax notifications or valuations,” said Schultz. “Those meetings will be held in April, as Open Book Meetings in the Assessor’s office, or at the Local Boards of Appeal and Equalization meetings. Those scheduled meeting dates can be found on your yellow valuation notice.”


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

Annual Fingerstyle Masters Weekend--workshops and concerts offered

Mon, 03/28/2016 - 1:25pm

WTIP North Shore Community Radio and Bluefin Bay Resort in Tofte are pleased to announce the 6th Annual Fingerstyle Masters Weekend, April 8 and 9.  For this year’s event, local musician Gordon Thorne welcomes St. Paul fingerstyle guitarist Pat Donohue and Twin Cities’ fiddler Tom Schaefer. The weekend features performances both Friday and Saturday night, as well as guitar and fiddle workshops during the day Saturday.

The event kicks off with a free concert at 8 p.m., Friday, April 8, at the Bluefin Grille, featuring Gordon and friends playing blues, swing and early Americana.  For those looking to fine tune their own musical skills, workshops will be offered starting at 10 am Saturday, April 9, and are open to musicians of all ages and skill levels.  A free youth guitar workshop will be offered with Gordon Thorne from 10 a.m. to noon.  Also starting at 10 a.m. are a fingerstyle workshop with Pat Donohue and a fiddle workshop with Tom Schaefer – both are $50 and include lunch.  Pre-registration for the workshops is requested by contacting Gordon at 218-353-7308 or

The event caps off with a concert featuring Pat Donohue at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 9 in the upper room of the Bluefin Grille. Tickets for the Saturday evening concert are $20 per person and will be available at the door, or in advance by contacting Gordon at 218-353-7308 or  Everyone is welcome to attend any or all of the events as part of the Fingerstyle Masters Weekend.  Funding for this event is supported in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, and all proceeds will benefit WTIP’s equipment replacement project.  More information is available at


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

Cook County/Grand Marais EDA considers Mary Somnis for next director

Mon, 03/28/2016 - 12:35pm

At the February meeting of the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA), the board agreed to proceed with hiring an EDA director, something the authority has been without since the previous director resigned in January 2011. The members of the committee assigned to review applications and interview candidates has made its selection. A final decision will be made by the EDA board at its April 12 board meeting, but it appears the next EDA director will be former Tofte resident Mary Somnis.

Small Business Development Representative (SBDC) Pat Campanaro, who has been providing administrative services for the EDA, told the Cook County News-Herald that the EDA subcommittee had conducted interviews with two candidates. EDA committee members were Mark Sandbo, Howard Hedstrom and Carol Mork.

Reached by phone on March 22, Hedstrom said he was confident the full board would approve hiring Somnis, who has long-time ties to the community.

Somnis has been working at the IRRRB for almost 20 years, as the regional tourism director, community development representative and as a member of the IRRRB development team. She played a role in regional initiatives such as the IRRRB’s film production incentive grant program, the Wild North Golf Alliance, the North Shore and Superior National Forest Scenic Byways Councils and other economic development marketing projects.

Hedstrom said it is hoped that Somnis can start as EDA director in mid-May. Contacted by phone, Somnis said her last day with the IRRRB is May 3. She acknowledging that her appointment still has to be confirmed by the full EDA board, but added, “I’m confident that I can be of great service to the EDA and can help it fulfill its missions and goals.”


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