Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Girl Scouts offer a celebration for Dads and Daughters

Sat, 02/27/2016 - 11:56am

Girl Scout Troop 4110, assisted by other some other scouts and leaders, is hosting the annual Father Daughter Dance on Tuesday, March 1 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. at the Oddz & Endz building (formerly the Howl’n Wolf).

The dance floor will be cleared for dancing to the live music by the Cook County Community Band and there will be treats made by Rebecca Thompson. Keepsake photos will be taken.

Girls can attend with their father or another significant adult (grandfather, uncle, brother -- or even mom!) The cost is $25 per adult and girl (or girls, if someone has more than one daughter!) Open to all ages and the entire community.


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

Fishing licenses expire Monday, Feb. 29

Sat, 02/27/2016 - 11:50am

Minnesota fishing, hunting and trapping licenses for 2015 expire Monday, Feb. 29, but licenses for 2016 are now available wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold.

2016 fishing licenses become effective Tuesday, March 1. 
New licenses are required for 2015 hunting and fishing seasons that continue past Monday, Feb. 29.

Anglers who purchased the new three-year individual angling license in 2013 when it first became available must renew their license this year.

Anglers can help maintain and enhance Minnesota’s famed walleye fishing by adding the $5 walleye stamp validation to their licenses. The stamp is not required to fish for or keep walleye.

Ice shelter permits for 2015 remain effective through Saturday, April 30.


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

WTIP Weekend News Roundup for February 27

Sat, 02/27/2016 - 11:27am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. Mining issues were again in the news this week. Rapid transit plans were expanded upon for the Duluth to Metro run. County unemployment drops and the commissioners weigh in on Dollar General stores…all this and more in the week’s news.


"Portage" to perform at the North Shore Care Center on February 27

Fri, 02/26/2016 - 4:01pm

The band Portage will play their classic country music at the North Shore Care Center on February 27 at 6:30 p.m. Families, friends, and community members are always welcome to join in the fun.

Additional live music in February featured Myron Bursheim on Sundays, Al Fuller on Tuesdays, Susan Scherer on Wednesdays, and occasionally Harris Mills on Fridays.  Activities Director Belinda Hudler said, “We thank everyone who contributes their musical talent at the Care Center. It lifts our spirits, and brings joy to all of us during these long months of winter.”

For more information about volunteering or about any of the activities going on, please contact the Activity Department at 218-387-3518 or visit the website: There are volunteer opportunities for all ages at the North Shore Care Center. 


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

Elders invited to get-together at Grand Portage Museum Feb. 28

Fri, 02/26/2016 - 3:58pm

Participants in the Grand Portage Elder Nutrition Program (ENP) are excited about an upcoming afternoon get-together at the Grand Portage Museum on Sunday, February 28, 2016.  This event is hosted by the museum Director MaryAnn Gagnon and the ENP.

All Elders will have the opportunity to have their pictures and slides scanned while they visit, share memories, nibble on deserts and view the donation from the Wojtysiak family.

The event will start at 1:00 p.m. Call Patty Winchell Dahl at ENP for transportation at 218-475-2655.

Winchell Dahl said, “This will be a fun event for all. Hope to see you all there!”


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

Lutsen Fire Chief Paul Goettl resigns

Thu, 02/25/2016 - 11:59am

Following the clerk and treasurer’s report at the Lutsen town meeting on February 16, Lutsen Fire Chief Paul Goettl announced that he was resigning his position as fire chief.

Goettl read from a letter he had prepared. “This has been and continues to be a tough decision for me. The position requires a great deal of time, devotion, and passion, all of which has slipped away from me.”

Goettl will continue to serve as a firefighter and said he hopes that his prior experience will be a valuable resource for the new fire chief. Goettl also reported that, following his resignation, Supervisor Larry McNeally was elected fire chief.

After Goettl’s report, Lutsen Clerk Sharon Hexum-Platzer read a letter from a firefighter, Stephen Gray, who had been absent from the fire department’s meeting. He and another firefighter had been attending a state-required training at that time and, as a result, were unable to vote on both the new fire chief and the other officers who were elected.

Gray said the department as a whole should vote for the next chief and expressed concern regarding having to choose either to attend the required training or go to the meeting where new officers are being elected.

After some discussion by the town board, it was agreed that the rules and regulations had been observed at the fire department’s meeting. Supervisor Andrew Beavers acknowledged that the situation for the two absent firefighters was frustrating, but he reiterated that the rules had been followed and there were no grounds for a revote.

Beavers added that the discussion gives the opportunity to review the rules and regulations for the Lutsen Fire Department, suggesting that the board revisit the rules for proxy voting.

McNeally will assume his position as the new fire chief the second Monday of April.

County supports "Safe and Secure Courthouse Initiative"

Thu, 02/25/2016 - 11:51am

County Attorney Molly Hicken asked the county board to support funding the “Safe and Secure Courthouse Initiative,” which has been brought forward by the Statewide Courthouse Security Workgroup. Hicken is a member of this workgroup. She explained that the group is asking the legislature to fund the initiative, which would provide $20 million to help improve courthouse safety and security across the state.

At the February 16 county board meeting, Hicken said there are still security improvements or updates that could be made to the Cook County courthouse. She said she didn’t think any of the current commissioners were seated at the time of the December 11 courthouse shooting, but said, “It certainly doesn’t feel that long ago for those of us who were involved in it…It’s a real situation. We are under threat, especially those of us who work upstairs, but certainly in other offices in the courthouse. There is just an increase in violent acts against government workers in general.”

Commissioners agreed to advocate for this legislation at their upcoming Association for Minnesota Counties meeting. Commissioner Jan Sivertson added that she would like to see any funding received used not just for equipment, but also for any necessary training.


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

Good weekend to get out and play in the snow

Thu, 02/25/2016 - 11:27am

Looks like a pretty nice weekend for skiers and snowmobilers and the rest of Cook County winter lovers. Comfortable temperatures and a little measurable snow. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Huyck.


Super Tuesday, March 1 is caucus night

Thu, 02/25/2016 - 10:17am

Minnesota's caucus night is coming Tuesday, March 1st. Preference polls taken at caucuses will have a direct role in determining how each party allocates state delegates to the national conventions this summer. Minnesota will be part of the Super Tuesday slate of caucuses and primaries in 14 states.

It's important to remember that these are party-run caucuses, and not primaries, where you can vote absentee or vote early or show up at your normal polling place, vote and then leave.

Also because of the timing of the conventions, no presidential candidates will appear on the state’s August 9 primary. The only opportunity you have to cast a ballot for president – prior to the General Election – will be at your caucus…unless you are chosen as a delegate to your party’s convention.

In Cook County, the Democrats will have four caucus locations. They all open at 6:30 pm.  For those living in Grand Portage Precinct 1, Hovland Precinct 2 and Colvill Precinct 3, the location is the Hovland Town Hall.

For residents of Croftville Precinct 4, Grand Marais East Precinct 5, Grand Marais West Precinct 6 and Cascade Precinct 7, the location is the
Arrowhead Center for the Arts.

The Schaap Community Center at Mid- Gunflint Trail is the location for
Gunflint Trail Precinct 8 and Birch Grove Community Center is the site for residents of Pike Lake Precinct 9, Lutsen Precinct 10 and Schroeder Precinct 12.

For the Republicans, there is one caucus location for all precincts, at the Cook County Community Center log building. Start time is 6 p.m.

Generally caucus agendas include introduction of resolutions, delegate selections and a preferential presidential vote. For Democrats the presidential vote is not winner take all. For the GOP, for the first time this year, the results will be binding on delegates to the national convention.


Join the celebration as Eleanor Waha receives "Stars Among Us" award

Wed, 02/24/2016 - 3:54pm

Eleanor Waha of Grand Marais is known by just about everyone in Cook County. She volunteers for a number of community organizations such as Bethlehem Lutheran Church, the Cook County Historical Society and the Cook County North Shore Care Center. Her efforts are appreciated by all, but the Care Center did something about it, nominating Waha for a “Stars Among Us” award, which is offered by Leading Age Minnesota. Eleanor’s nomination easily met the criteria for the award and she was chosen to be the 2016 Volunteer of the Year.

The award honors volunteers whose commitment and dedication enhance the quality of life for seniors and their communities, which Eleanor does in many ways.

To celebrate Eleanor’s selection as a Leading Age Minnesota “Volunteer of the Year,” the North Shore Care Center is hosting a reception in the Care Center dining room on Thursday, February 25 from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

All are welcome.


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

EDA considering director candidates

Wed, 02/24/2016 - 3:52pm

The Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) has been without a director since January 1, 2011 when Matt Geretschlaeger submitted his resignation. The EDA has considered hiring another director every year at budget time and has even advertised to fill the position, without success. At the January 2016 EDA meeting the board asked Small Business Development Representative (SBDC) Pat Campanaro, who has been providing administrative services for the EDA, to once again post the job. At the February 9 EDA meeting, Campanaro reported that she had received several inquiries.

After discussion, the EDA agreed to hold interviews with two candidates on Monday, February 22. EDA board members Mark Sandbo, Howard Hedstrom and Carol Mork will conduct the interviews. Campanaro will send the applicants’ resumes them in advance of the interviews.

Campanaro said she would set up the interviews so that hopefully the EDA could make a decision on a director candidate, “to replace me,” she said.

EDA Board Member Anton Moody said, “I don’t think that is possible.”

The salary for the position, which the EDA posted as “up to ¾ time,” will be commensurate with experience.

The full EDA board will hear the results of the scheduled interviews at the next EDA meeting on Tuesday, March 8.


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

County discusses Dollar General, retail development

Wed, 02/24/2016 - 8:39am

The topic of a Dollar General store near Grand Marais reached the Cook County Commissoners during a public meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 23. WTIP's Joe Friedrichs has this report. 


County approves LED sign at Lockport General Store

Tue, 02/23/2016 - 2:56pm

The county sign ordinance was on the commissioners’ agenda on Tuesday, February 16.

Although the county is in the midst of updating its sign ordinance to address internally-lit and LED-illuminated signs, the county heard a recommendation from the Cook County Planning Commission on a conditional use permit for such a sign at Lockport General Store in Lutsen.

County Zoning Administrator Bill Lane brought forward the request for a conditional use permit (CUP) from Deb Niemisto and Nan Bradley of Lockport for a sign with internal illumination.

Lane said the Cook County Planning Commission recommended approval of the CUP, in part because a CUP had been granted to another Lutsen business, Clearview General Store in 2014. Lane said that CUP “kind of set the precedent” for others.

He explained that Niemisto and Bradley recently underwent a change of gas distributors, from Spur to Calumet, warranting a sign update. The new sign would be a freestanding sign in the same place as the previous one at Lockport. The existing lamps would be changed to LED lighting and a wireless price changer with a digital display would replace the current price board that must be changed by hand.

In their request, the Lockport owners wrote that they will continue with their philosophy of having a small footprint and would be sensitive to the use of light. Lane said unlike the Buck’s Hardware sign in Grand Marais, the Lockport sign would not have a scrolling marquee. And the sign would only be lit from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., when Lockport was open.

Commissioners asked about the status of the county sign ordinance revision and Lane said the committee was nearly finished with its work.

Artists invited to take part in "A Sense of Wonder" exhibit

Tue, 02/23/2016 - 2:26pm

Spirit of the Wilderness Episcopal Church invites artists to participate in our seventh annual art show which will be held at the Johnson Heritage Post March 4-28. This year’s topic is A Sense of Wonder: Expressing this Place.  The opening presentation on March 4 will be given by Chel Anderson, author of recently published book North Shore: A Natural History of Minnesota’s Superior Coast, from 6-7 p.m. on this topic.

We invite artists to consider how they are shaped by the context we call home.  Many artists are drawn to Cook County; some who wouldn’t have called themselves artists begin to create art when they’re here. This show offers a chance to ponder how you as an artist have been formed by the landscape, atmosphere, light, seasons, and community along the North Shore.

This year, not only will high school art students submit work, but younger students will also be encouraged by their art teachers and others to respond to the topic. 

Here are some questions to spark your artistic juices:

How would your artistic expression be different if you lived somewhere else? 

How is your spirituality (and your artistic expression) rooted in this particular place?

How does this specific context nurture your creative spirit? 

There is a limit of two pieces per artist, and we particularly request that you submit works that are for sale. Artists need to submit work with title, price and artist statement to the Johnson Heritage Post by March 1. 

Anyone with questions is asked to contact Bonnie Gay Hedstrom at 218-387 2538 or Ellen Stubbs at 218-663-7298. Students are asked to contact Mary MacDonald at the high school. 


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

Meet the host of National Native News: Antonia Gonzalez

Tue, 02/23/2016 - 9:49am

If you're a frequent listener to WTIP, you’ve probably heard the voice of Antonia Gonzalez, the host of National Native News, which is a regular news segment played on the station. We have some contacts in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is where Antonia lives. We asked our associates there if we could get to know Antonia a little better. Guest producer Peter Rice has this story.