Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Grand Portage wildlife researchers discuss 2016 moose study

Mon, 06/06/2016 - 8:40am

Dr. Seth Moore is Director of Biology and Environment with the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Tiffany Wolf is a wildlife epidemiologist with the University of Minnesota. They make up part of the team researching moose on the Grand Portage Reservation. 

This interview between Moore, Wolf and WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs looks at the most recent work done studying moose on the Grand Portage reservation. 


Council reviews quote for public utilities garage

Sun, 06/05/2016 - 3:24pm

The Grand Marais City Council received a quote from Morton Buildings for the public utilities garage on May 25, proposing a rough budget of $1.5-$1.7 million. The total was a little less than the cost originally put forward by the project’s architect, LHB, which was $1.85 million.

 “If you want, what I will do is get back with LHB and start getting some firmer cost estimates from them about doing the design work for those streets, water and sewer and about doing the architectural work for the structure,” City Administrator Mike Roth said to the council.

He added, “It is time for us to move forward on the path I think of either getting our architects working on a detailed design or going on to some other kind of design and build process.”

Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux said he was comfortable moving forward with LHB. The next step will be for Roth to bring in some firmer quotes for the council to sign off on.


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


Tofte gets legislative assistance to become housing authority for housing project

Sun, 06/05/2016 - 3:23pm

With the Minnesota Legislature’s recent passage of the Economic Omnibus Jobs and Development Budget bill, Birch Grove Village is closer to becoming a reality.

Folded into that bill was language that gives the township of Tofte special housing authority powers over the housing that will be built behind the Birch Grove Community Center.

Tofte township supervisors held a special meeting on Tuesday, May 31 and passed a resolution accepting the special housing authority powers granted to them by the legislature. That resolution will now be sent to the Minnesota Secretary of State to sign so they can restart the estimated $1.9 million project.

Before the project was put on hold last year while legislative issues were worked out, the township contracted with Dynamic Homes to build 12 twin patio homes with the goal to have them ready to rent in late fall of 2015.

Once built, the homes will be 900-square feet and renters can choose between a two-bedroom, one-bath unit or a one bedroom, one bath wheelchair accessible home. Plans call for the houses to come with new appliances: washer/dryer and dishwasher and a gas furnace. There will be parking, garages and a storage area.

There will be an exercise area for pets and people and the Birch Grove Community Center and Community School will just be a short walk away.

One thing that will change as the project moves forward is the tagline “The most livable place at 55+ stay healthy, get around & enjoy life.”

At the request of the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority, the board agreed to open the housing up for everyone and ended its push to make it available for seniors 55+ only.

WTIP Weekend News Roundup for June 4

Sat, 06/04/2016 - 10:39am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. Gypsy moth spraying begins. Taconite plants reopen. Audit looks at deer management in the state. Dollar General calls it quits and Minnesota moose may go on the endangered list…all this and more in the week’s news.


Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center open with new exhibits

Fri, 06/03/2016 - 12:53pm

Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center is now open for the 2016 season, with some new exhibits added for its seventh summer.

Inside the Nature Center building are six different stations to give information to visitors about the nature that is found along the Gunflint Trail. Stop in to meet the Nature Center’s program director, Jacqueline Mallinson.

The temporary exhibit this summer is called "Heard but not Seen,” and features two parts – both about birds.

"Heard but not Seen" focuses on eight different species of the birds singing in the forest surrounding Chik-Wauk. Each bird is pictured in the panel manufactured by Split Rock Studios. Several ways to learn each bird song is included, a mnemonic and a song recording. This exhibit is designed to move to the Nature Center in 2017.

The second part is contained in the cabinet which faces out the window toward the bay. The window view includes the floating loon nest platform. The cabinet contains samples of the manufactured platform, a loon nest replica, and of course, information about loons. Visitors will also be able to listen to different loon calls.

Chik-Wauk Museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; the Nature Center is open between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily. The center, located at 28 Moose Pond Drive, is the first and only museum representing the history of the Gunflint Trail.

For more information call the center at (218) 388-9915.


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

School board opts for two measures on November ballot

Fri, 06/03/2016 - 11:21am

The Cook County School board will have two measures on the November ballot for Cook County voters to decide on funding ISD 166.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs has this report. 


Watch for emergency vehicles

Thu, 06/02/2016 - 3:57pm

After a recent emergency call, a member of the Cook County Ambulance expressed frustration to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office about the number of vehicles that did not pull over when the ambulance was returning to North Shore Hospital with lights and sirens. Asked about this, Sheriff Pat Eliasen said no action was taken other than making the incident a matter of record, but he asked drivers to watch for emergency vehicles.

However, Sheriff Eliasen said he would like add a “gentle reminder” to drivers to watch for the ambulance, fire trucks or law enforcement vehicles. Eliasen said, “Due to increased summer traffic motorists need to be aware of emergency vehicles and pull over to the safest part of the roadway when they meet or when they are overtaken by emergency vehicles.”

Minnesota State Patrol spokesperson Sgt. Neil Dickenson added, “Remain stopped until all emergency vehicles have passed.”


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

The North Shore's ginger...bread man

Thu, 06/02/2016 - 2:58pm

Local baker Caleb Mattison visited the WTIP’s station recently to share his thoughts on sourdough, the Saturday Market in Grand Marais and where the name for his business came from. 


Wet weekend ahead

Thu, 06/02/2016 - 10:18am

If you plan to put in your garden this weekend, you’ll have to dodge the raindrops. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Carol Christenson about a soggy few days ahead.


Tick Talk with Amy Marie Schmidt

Wed, 06/01/2016 - 10:25am

Summertime is tick time and we have two varieties here. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with nurse Amy Marie Schmidt about wood ticks and deer ticks.


DNR conducts lake and stream surveys

Wed, 06/01/2016 - 10:00am

Fisheries staff from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Grand Marais area office will conduct surveys and assessments on several Cook County lakes and streams during the next few months.

Fisheries surveys are performed on a regular basis to monitor changes in fish populations and to determine if management strategies have been effective. Survey methods and frequencies vary based on the types of information needed for ongoing management evaluations in individual lakes and streams.

June 6 - Continue Brule River, survey Talus, Missing Link and Ram lakes.

June 13 - Recapture Splake in Thrasher Lake, continue Brule River, survey John Lake

June 20 - Survey Crooked, Owl and South lakes.

June 27 - Survey Olga, Moore, Hand, Iron, and Little Iron lakes.

These survey plans are tentative. Lakes and streams may be added or dropped and timing may change. Questions and general information about area lakes and streams can be addressed to the DNR’s Grand Marais area fisheries office at 1356 Highway 61 E., Grand Marais, MN 55604. Questions also can be submitted by calling 218-387-6021 (note new number) or emailing


Non-compete clause could keep Dollar General out of Silver Bay

Wed, 06/01/2016 - 7:30am

Dollar General made a request of Silver Bay city officials to include a non-compete clause with regard to a potential store along Highway 61. The Silver Bay City Council voted not to include the clause and the future of the Dollar General in Silver Bay is now in question.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs has this report. 


Dr. Seth Moore: Cook County's vanished woodland caribou

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 3:12pm

Dr. Seth Moore is Director of Biology and Environment with the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. 

The Grand Portage Reservation is located in the extreme northeast corner of Minnesota, on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Cook County. Bordered on the north by Canada, on the south and east by Lake Superior and on the west by Grand Portage State Forest, the reservation encompasses an historic fur trade site on scenic Grand Portage Bay.

The band engages in fisheries and wildlife research projects throughout the year, working with moose, wolves, fish, deer, grouse, and environmental issues. Dr. Moore appears regularly on WTIP North Shore Community Radio, talking about the band's current and ongoing natural resource projects, as well as other environmental and health related issues. 

In this segment, Dr. Moore talks about the woodland caribou - an animal that once roamed parts of Cook County.

(Photo by Just a Prairie Boy on Flickr)


Deadline to file for county elections is today

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 10:52am

The filing period for a number of local government boards opened May 17 and closes today at 5 p.m., May 31, 2016. Although there are a number of seats on the ballots, as of 10:45 a.m., only a handful candidates had filed—the incumbent members of Cook County Soil and Water and the two incumbent county commissioners Heidi Doo-Kirk and Garry Gamble and a challenger, Myron Bursheim.

Gamble represents Commissioner District 2 known as east Grand Marais. Bursheim has filed to run for that district. 

Doo-Kirk represents District 4, which includes Maple Hill and the Gunflint Trail.

The Soil & Water Conservation District has three supervisor seats up for election, currently held by Donald Goodell (District 1); Joan Farnam Morrison (District 3); and Jerry Hiniker (District 5). All three   incumbents have filed for re-election. No one has filed in opposition.

Asked if citizens can choose not to file for election and run a write-in campaign, County Auditor Braidy Powers, who oversees elections, said that is not an option.

Powers told the News-Herald that write-ins are not counted in a primary election. Powers said, “There aren’t even spaces printed on the ballots and no oval to fill in.  If anyone writes a name on a primary ballot in any open space the ballot is considered rejected.”

If multiple candidates do file for any of the county seats, they will face off in a primary election on August 9, 2016. General elections will take place on November 8, 2016.

The candidate filing fee for county commissioner is $50. For Soil & Water Conservation Districts, the filing fee is $20.

For information on how to file for office, contact Cook County Auditor Braidy Powers at (218) 387-3640 or email

Care Partners receives funding for support of the elderly

Tue, 05/31/2016 - 10:33am

Care Partners of Cook County, now in its second year as an independent nonprofit organization, has received multiple grants to carry out its work of supporting those who are aging, have serious illness, or are at end-of-life in Cook County.

Funding includes $10,000 from the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation, $8,000 from the North Shore Health Care Foundation, $3,500 from Operation Round-Up, and $2,500 from the Cook County Community Fund of the Duluth Superior Area Foundation. Funds will support general operating needs as well as a new Chore Services program and volunteer recruitment for the Senior Rides program.

Care Partners Board President Jayne Johnson said, “This is a critical year in establishing and stabilizing Care Partners of Cook County as an independent nonprofit in the community.”

Care Partners has provided services to seniors since 2010 as a program of the North Shore Health Care Foundation, in collaboration with the North Shore Hospital and Care Center, and Sawtooth Mountain Clinic. However, in July 2015, the organization was incorporated as an independent nonprofit and received its 501(c)(3) status.

“It’s an important time to provide stronger support for programs and services,” Johnson said. “Staff did an excellent job of maintaining program services and development during our transition, but need more support this year to sustain their efforts.”

A key initiative for Care Partners this year is a new Chore Service program. Executive Director Kay Grindland said, “The county’s In-Home Support Service provides chore services for regular clients. Our goal is to meet the need for short term assistance by recruiting volunteers, volunteer groups like churches and youth groups, and local vendors.”

Toward that end, Kelly Holtzman has been hired as a Chore Coordinator and is busy recruiting volunteers.