Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Cold weather rule information available

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 9:37am

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Cold Weather Rule protects residential customers who will have difficulty paying their heating bills from October 15 through April 15 from having their service turned off. The Cold Weather Rule impacts all utility customers, of the Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and Arrowhead Electric Cooperative (AEC).

Cold weather rule notices will be included in upcoming utility bills. Customers who qualify for Cold Weather Rule protection must agree to pay 10 percent of their monthly income to avoid disconnection.  This 10 percent must be prorated between energy providers. If a customer uses propane or fuel oil, the city or electric cooperative would only receive 30 percent of the 10 percent.

Customers who have demonstrated an inability to pay on forms provided and who make reasonable payments cannot be disconnected. Also, all payment agreements must consider a customer’s financial circumstance and any extenuating circumstances of the household.

If a Grand Marais PUC customer wishes to be considered for the program, they should contact Grand Marais City Hall and present information to PUC Secretary Jan Smith to set up monthly payments for the winter months. If you are in some doubt about whether you qualify, please call the city at 218-387-1848 and ask for Smith.

Arrowhead Electric Cooperative customers who might not be able to pay their full electric bill are encouraged to make a payment arrangement with Arrowhead and stay current with their payments. To set up a payment plan, contact Arrowhead Cooperative at (800) 864-3744 before the due date of your bill.

“If you are income eligible, you must also apply for AEOA Assistance,” said Sandy Petty, employee of AEC.

And said Petty, “There is no guarantee how much money AEOA has, so if you think you need assistance, the sooner the better,” Petty said.

Budget talks begin and a transportation sales tax nears board action

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 9:10am

The county board begins budget talks, which will last through year’s end. Also, the board will act soon on a proposed half-percent sales tax for county transportation needs. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with District One Commissioner Frank Moe.


A tenacious macro algae is spreading through the state

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 8:35am

Zebra mussels have managed to find their way into Northwest Minnesota lakes and a new threat is posed with the advance of a macro algae, starry stonewort. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator Amanda Weberg.


The cost of restoring clean water vs. basic preservation efforts

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 6:15am

This is the fifth and final segment in WTIP’s series focusing on clean and sustainable water along Lake Superior’s North Shore. This piece describes the concept of preservation vs. restoration as it pertains to clean water in the region. 


Name change for Cook County Planning and Zoning

Tue, 08/23/2016 - 10:23am

As directed at the August 9 county board meeting, Planning and Zoning Director Tim Nelson returned to the board to the costs associated with a name change for the Planning and Zoning department. The proposal changes the department name to the Land Services Department, to better reflect the work done by that department, especially because a Land Services Commissioner is being added to that department.

Nelson told the board that existing stationary would still be used because Planning and Zoning will continue to be a subsection of the Land Services Department, as would Environmental Health. In fact, Nelson said, those departments already have different letterheads.

The cost to change is lessened by the fact that the departments use a computer letterhead template and print business cards themselves as needed. The only printing cost for the county would be for envelopes.

Nelson gave an estimate of $100 to $500 to update stationary and to change the signage at the front foyer and department door. He added there may be some staff time involved in these changes and some time in the Information Services department while changing the website information.

The county board approved the change and Commissioner Gamble said the process to get to this point was well reasoned.


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



Learn about "Minnesota Gold" at Grand Marais Library

Tue, 08/23/2016 - 10:21am

Minnesotans have long been known for their humble nature and work ethic, and as such have long taken great pride in their athletics.

Minnesota Gold features compelling stories told by 57 Minnesota athletes participating in the Olympics, World Championships, and World Cups from 1948 – 2014. As they pursued their dreams and persevered to compete in the greatest international competitions, these diverse athletes represented their state with dignity and brought pride to sports fans in all regions of Minnesota. With the arrival of the 2016 Olympics, interest in Minnesota’s historical role in the games is enthusiastic. 

Author Patrick “Packy” Mader will present an engaging and unique program focusing on the athletes and his book at the Grand Marais Public Library at 6 p.m. Aug. 24. He will share the memorable conversations he had with these remarkable men and women who honored their sport, their state, and their country on the world stage over the last seven decades.

 For more information contact the library at (218) 387-1140.


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

Warm but sometimes wet weather for the week

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 8:49am

This week we’ll see alternating weather systems – warm, wet, warm, wet, etc.  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Carol Christenson.


County continues to discuss sales-tax increase to benefit highway department

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 6:29am

The Cook County Board of Commissioners continue to discuss implementing a half-cent sales tax increase that would generate funds for the local highway department. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs has an update on this ongoing story. 


WTIP Weekend News Roundup for August 20

Sat, 08/20/2016 - 9:38am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. The transportation tax hearing turns into a Pike Lake Road protest. A local artist makes the 50 over 50 list and the county board votes to back off placing moose on endangered list…all this and more in the week’s news.


Gitchi-Gami Trail Association bike ride this weekend

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 11:04am

The 16th Annual Gitchi-Gami Trail Association (GGTA) North Shore Bike Ride will take place on Saturday, Aug. 20, with 28-mile, 37-mile, and 55-mile route options.

The recreational ride will once again begin and end in Gooseberry Falls State Park on scenic Hwy. 61. As an added attraction to this year’s ride, Beaver Bay, the "hub" of all three rides, is celebrating its first annual “Rhythm & Roots Festival” that weekend. GGTA riders can enjoy music, history presentations, street sales, food, and fun events planned for the celebration.

 All three routes begin on the longest continuous section of the GGST – 14 miles from Gooseberry through historic Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, to the rest stop at the new Beaver Bay trailhead. The 28-mile route is entirely on the GGST, from Gooseberry to Beaver Bay and back again. Because it is an “out-and-back” ride, bikers can turn around at any point to return to the starting point.

 The 37-mile option adds a loop on county roads north from Beaver Bay and into Silver Bay, returning on the trail between Silver Bay and the West Road in Beaver Bay. This route incorporates over a half-mile on gravel road (the West Road).

 The 55-mile option follows the GGST to Beaver Bay and adds a challenging loop north and east on county roads and state highways, returning through Silver Bay to Beaver Bay. Both of the longer loops return to Gooseberry on the GGST.

 The “Rhythm & Roots Festival” commemorates the 160th anniversary of the founding of the city of Beaver Bay – the oldest permanent settlement on the North Shore. “The GGTA is pleased to join in this celebration on the day of the annual ride, in recognition of the role Beaver Bay has played in the short history of the GGST,” said Bill Blank, president of the GGTA.

Family and friends of Grand Marais resident make journey to Hudson Bay more meaningful

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 10:27am

The Journey 4 Renewal Team featuring Grand Marais resident Tessa Larson completed their canoe journey from Seagull Lake to Hudson Bay this summer.

WTIP's Joe Friedrichs has this story about who helped make the trip possible, and some of the people the four young women met along the way. 


Rain on and off, then sun...but it feels like fall

Thu, 08/18/2016 - 9:52am

We’ll be experiencing some on and off rain until Sunday. Afterwards the sun returns for a few days, but the temps will be cooler. It’s beginning to sound a lot like fall.  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Carol Christenson.


Harpeth Rising to appear at Arrowhead Center for the Arts August 20

Wed, 08/17/2016 - 10:27am

The North Shore Music Association will present Harpeth Rising at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts.

There are no harps played in the band Harpeth Rising. The female trio — named for the Harpeth River in middle Tennessee — could be described as “modern progressive bluegrass” or “chamberfolk,” but these titles only touch on their unique sound.

These three classically trained musicians produce original music that’s intricately arranged, lyrically rooted in the singer/songwriter tradition, wrapped in three-part vocal harmonies reminiscent of both Appalachia and Medieval Europe, and evocative of the gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt and the “dawg music” of David Grisman. Building from the tonal depth of the cello, layered with shimmering violin and strikingly natural banjo, they create a sound that’s at once familiar and impossible to categorize.

The three musicians hold classical performance degrees from some of the most venerated schools in the world: Indiana University, Oberlin, and Eastman School of Music. But their classical background is only one dimension of this trio’s powerful musical voice. Hailing from vastly different parts of North America, each member of Harpeth Rising brings different influences to the core sound.

Maria Di Meglio, cello, was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. and grew up learning Eastern European folk songs alongside classical repertoire. Michelle Younger of Charlottesville, Virginia comes by her modern spin on old-time infused banjo as a descendent of Cole Younger, a member of the James-Younger Gang whose bandit career ended at an 1876 attempted bank robbery in Northfield, Minn. Jordana Greenberg, violin, studied classical music by day at Indiana University and spent her nights learning the folk tunes and classic rocks songs that her family plays at their annual post-Passover jam sessions.

Filing deadline for city, hospital school board is today

Tue, 08/16/2016 - 2:45pm

The filing deadline for citizens who wish to run for the Grand Marais City Council, the North Shore Health hospital board or the School District 166 school board have just until 5 p.m. today, August 16 to do so.

In the city of Grand Marais, the mayor and two council seats will be on the ballot. Incumbents are Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux and councilors Tracy Benson and Tim Kennedy. Councilors Kennedy and Benson have filed for re-election.

After the August 10 city council meeting, Mayor Arrowsmith DeCoux told the News-Herald that he does intend to run for re-election. However, he has not yet officially filed.

City council terms are for four years and the mayor’s seat is for two years.

The cost to file to run for city council is $2 and applicants may file at Grand Marais City Hall until 5 p.m.

School District 166 board seats to be on the General Election ballot are currently held by Terry Collins and Sissy Lunde.

Collins represents District 2, which is the Croftville and Grand Marais East area. Collins previously told the Cook County News-Herald he would not be running A candidate has come forward. Carrie Jensen of Grand Marais has filed to run for the District 2 School Board seat.

Lunde represents District 4, which is the Gunflint Trail and Maple Hill areas. Lunde has filed for re-election.

School board terms are for 4 years. The cost to file to run for school board is $2 and candidates may file at the Cook County Auditor's Office until 5 p.m. today.

Two positions on the North Shore Health hospital board are up for election this fall. District 2, which is currently held by Justin Mueller, and District 4, held by incumbent Kay Olson. Both have filed to run again.

Hospital board terms are for 4 years. The cost to file is $2 and candidates may file at the Auditor’s Office until 5 p.m. today.

The General Election will be November 8, 2016.

Veteran informational meeting at Cook County Senior Center tomorrow

Tue, 08/16/2016 - 2:43pm

On Wednesday, August 17, veterans are welcome to come down to the Cook County Senior Center for a Meet and Greet. The following will be present to share new information and answer questions:

Pat Strand        Cook County Veteran Service Officer

Clarence Everson         Tribal Veteran Service Officer

Vince Sando     Lake County Veteran Service Officer

Trent Dilkes    Hospital Service Coordinator/St. Cloud

Toni Thorstad and Mike Lacsamana    MN Assistance Council for Veterans




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