Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Volunteer opportunities available at local fire departments

Mon, 09/07/2015 - 9:57am

Local volunteers are needed:  Those willing to walk into burning buildings and those not willing also.  There are many roles to fill in our local fire departments.  WTIP volunteer Randy Eastlund spoke with Fire Chief’s Association representative Paul McFarlane on North Shore Morning. 

For more information contact Paul at 387-9404.  The Colvill Fire Hall is open to interested visitors on Sundays from noon to 3 pm. 


DNR fisheries continue lake and stream surveys

Sat, 09/05/2015 - 11:34am

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.

The following lakes will be assessed in September:

* September 7 – survey Morris, Birch, Gadwall and Vale Lakes.

* September 14 – survey Gabimichigami and Margaret lakes.

* September 21 – survey Thrush and Unnamed (near Tom) lakes.

* September 28 – survey Tomato and Thompson lakes

These survey plans are tentative. Lakes and streams may be added or dropped and timing may change. Questions 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 218-387-3056 or emailing

Final reports on 2015 surveys will be available in the spring of 2016, but preliminary results for many lakes should be available in the fall of 2015. Final lake survey results will be available online at or from the Grand Marais area fisheries office. Contact the office if interested in stream survey results or preliminary lake survey results.

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. Large lakes with heavy use are surveyed more frequently than small, remote lakes. Stocked lakes are also sampled more often to better assess stocking success. Large trout streams are surveyed more frequently than small trout streams or warm-water streams. Most streams are surveyed using backpack electrofishing gear, while most lakes are surveyed using gill nets and trap nets.

WTIP Weekend News Roundup for September 5

Sat, 09/05/2015 - 10:46am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. Cook County Schools Superintendent resigns, Indian groups address pipeline issues and the Wisconsin governor talks about a northern border wall…all this and more in the week’s news.


Deer hunters must apply for antlerless permits by Sept. 10

Fri, 09/04/2015 - 12:41pm

Firearms and muzzleloader hunters who want to harvest antlerless deer this hunting season are reminded they must purchase their license and apply for an antlerless permit by Sept. 10, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

Antlerless deer permits are issued by lottery in designated permit areas. Some areas that have not been in the lottery classification in recent years are in that classification this year, primarily as a result of new deer population goals.

“Hunters should review the hunting and trapping regulation book now,” said Leslie McInenly, big game program leader with the DNR. “The lottery applies to over half of the state permit areas this year, and it’s important to start planning for the season.”

Hunters who want to participate in special firearm deer hunts also need to apply for permits that are issued by lottery, and the application deadline is Sept. 10. More information on deer permit areas and special hunts is in the DNR hunting regulations handbook, found online at


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

Superintendent Beth Schwarz to leave ISD 166 at end of the year

Fri, 09/04/2015 - 9:53am

Beth Schwarz, superintendent of Cook County Schools announced at a September 3, 2015 work session of the ISD 166 School Board her intention to not seek a renewal of her contract. Her current agreement will end in June 2016.

Schwarz read from a prepared statement. ‘I feel a responsibility to provide the board with information, help the board process all the information from multiple sources, and make recommendations to the board. This can be fun and exciting, but it can also be extremely difficult and challenging. At times, recommendations can be unpopular or uncomfortable. Right now, I believe Principal Carman’s departure has helped create a unique opportunity not just to save payroll dollars, but to rethink our administrative structure. It is within this context that I am expressing my intention to not seek a renewal of my contract.’

President of the Cook County Education Association, Mitch Dorr, who said the large group of teachers present at the work session was in solidarity, presented some "hard truths" to the board. "We have serious trust issues between our staff and Superintendent Schwarz. Our teachers feel uncomfortable or vulnerable when speaking to our superintendent in one-on-one situations. Our elementary staff in no way wants Superintendent Schwarz in there as their direct administrator or someone charged with evaluating their performance in the classroom."

Superintendent Schwarz resigns her ISD166 position

Fri, 09/04/2015 - 9:45am

ISD166 Superintendent Beth Schwarz Thursday told the Cook County School Board she will not seek a renewal of her current contract, but will remain in her position until the end of the academic year. Her resignation will be effective June 30, 2016.

In an interview with WTIP, Schwarz gave several reasons for her decision. She said the recent resignation of elementary principal Gwen Carman opens up the opportunity for revisions in the administrative structure of the district. She said not having a personal stake in administrative restructuring, will help expedite the process.

Schwarz admits to being something of a lightning rod in the community and feels her future presence in the role of Superintendent may impede the adoption of an operating levy this fall. She said if the levy does not pass, the district may face a minimum of $400,000 in budget reductions, with which she and the school, board would have to begin dealing.

According to Schwarz, the district is facing some deficiencies as well as opportunities in Special Education. She intends to concentrate over the next year on district-wide oversight and restructuring of the Special Ed. program.

Grades 6-12 Principal Adam Nelson will assume the K-12 position as well as high school special education. In addition to continuing her responsibilities as superintendent, Schwarz will cover Early Childhood and Elementary Special Ed.