Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Former Grand Marais resident shares details of Wheel of Fortune experience

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 12:31pm

WTIP's Joe Friedrichs spoke with Ahna Schulte about her recent appereance on the popular game show Wheel of Fortune. 
Ahna is a former Grand Marais resident and 2008 graduate from Cook County High School. 


Everything one needs to know about portage trails, campfires and the Fishing Opener

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 12:31pm

It is the Fishing Opener this weekend in Minnesota, which likely means increased traffic in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and throughout the Superior National Forest. WTIP's Joe Friedrichs spoke with Kristina Reichenbach, the public affairs office for the Superior National Forest, about traveling and camping in the area at this time of year. 


New video conference centers and office aim to expand Cook County communications

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 8:26am

A collection of video-conferencing centers and a new office space in downtown Grand Marais have been created to further expand communications in the region. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Bob Pranis from the local Broadband Committee about the developments. 


DNR fire official talks conditions, etiquette as Fishing Opener approaches

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 1:48pm

Warm and dry conditions to start the month of May have officials from a variety of government agencies, in addition to outdoor enthusiasts, on high alert with regard to fire danger in northeastern Minnesota. WTIP's Joe Friedrichs spoke with staff from the DNR about the fire season and etiquette related to campfires and recreating outdoors at this time of year. 


For the opener: rain, wind and...snow!

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 10:53am

Finally rain, and more on the way for the opening fishing weekend, and with it a little wind, a little snow is possible. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Stewart.


Dancing Bear Cafe to open this weekend at Big Bear Lodge

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 10:08am

Andy and Ida DeLisi, co-owners of Big Bear Lodge have joined forces with Chef John Barton and will be opening the Dancing Bear Café, Friday, May 13, right before the fishing opener.

John Barton had been working at Trail Center when he teamed up with Andy to start the Dancing Bear Café.

Over the winter, the DeLisis and John had been working to refurbish the commercial kitchen that was still part of the lodge from its days as Old Northwoods. They also set up a small dining room, seating on a screened porch, and will have tables outside overlooking Poplar Lake.

The café’s chefs, John and Ida, and official taste-tester, Andy, are eager to ensure the quality of the food they serve as well.

“We all feel very strongly about getting good ingredients. I’m taking the time to really research the farms we are getting products from,” said John. “And we know where it’s coming from. We know the family, we know a lot of the farms we’ve chosen to go with.”

In the future, Andy, Ida, and John are hoping to grow a lot of the food near the lodge, and possibly raise chickens as well. However, they are starting small and easing into it one step at a time.

“Our ideas are there,” Andy said. “From the lodge standpoint, now we have a really cool café and excellent food to offer our guests who are staying here.”

In addition to their regular menu, which will include, among other things, homemade bacon, turkey, and some fantastic duck burgers, the café will also have a barbeque day every other Wednesday from July 20 to the end of August featuring some great food along with local musicians.

For more information about Big Bear Lodge and their newest addition, the Dancing Bear Café, you can visit their website at


Cook County High School Band heading to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 10:06am

On Thursday, May 12, the Cook County High School Band will depart for its tour to Cleveland, Ohio, where the band will be performing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

The 59-member band, under the direction of Kerri Bilben, has had a very busy and exciting year that started off with a trip to the Minnesota State Volleyball Tournament where they helped cheer on and support the CCHS volleyball team.

The CCHS band recently earned “Excellent” ratings at the Section 7 State Band festival at UMD while the Saxophone Ensemble and the Clarinet Quartet earned “Superior” ratings.

After summers performing in the Tofte 4th of July parade, the Bay Days parade in Silver Bay, and the Grand Marais Fisherman’s Picnic parade, along with countless other fundraisers including Donkey Basketball, and a Sven and Ole's pizza feed the band has raised well over the $35,000 needed to cover the cost of the five-day trip to Cleveland.  

While in Cleveland band members will receive a clinic at Cleveland State University, visit the Great Lakes Science Museum, the Hard Rock Cafe, perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, attend the Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians baseball game, and spend time at Cedar Point Amusement Park and in Wisconsin Dells.

The band will conclude its whirlwind tour with two concerts back at CCHS on Tuesday, May 17: one at 2:30 for the school and then the annual Spring Concert and Senior Show at 7 p.m. This year's theme is "Name That Tune.” Come ready to test your musical knowledge for a chance to win a great prize. 

Ahna Schulte on "Wheel of Fortune" Thursday, May 12

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 1:28pm

Ahna Schulte, a former Grand Marais resident, the daughter of Craig and Lynn Schulte of Grand Marais, will be appearing on Wheel of Fortune on Thursday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m. on KJBR, channel 6. Ahna got to find out what Vanna White and Pat Sajak are like, what it takes to get on the show, and what it’s like to spin the wheel.

As for how successful she was at Wheel of Fortune, Ahna said to the News-Herald, “I can’t tell anyone. I guess people are going to have to watch to see.”


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

Grand Marais Lions Club welcomes new members

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 1:25pm

On Tuesday night, April 26, the Grand Marais Lions Club was happy to welcome two new members. Lion President Bob Spry lead the induction of Mike Ryden and Adam Nelson. Spry reminded the club members of the proud history of the Grand Marais Lions as they celebrate their 35th year anniversary of serving the community.

The new members also become members of Lions Club International, which is the largest service club in the world. As new Lions, Ryden and Nelson pledged to continue in the Lions service.

Anyone interested in joining the fabulous club and organization is encouraged to contact any Lion member to visit a meeting to check it out.

Spry said, “We serve but we also have fun and enjoy ‘roaring.’”


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


Cook County officials seek to remove boys from Mesabi Academy after reports of abuse, maltreatment

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 1:20pm

A recent and ongoing investigative series from American Public Media into the Mesabi Academy, which is a juvenile corrections facility on the Iron Range, has brought a string of reaction and emotion to the region and beyond. In this piece, WTIP's Joe Friedrichs take a look at the impact of this story as it relates to Cook County.

Click here to listen to production by American Public Media regarding the Mesabi Academy. 


Drones, private airplanes not a welcome sight near wildfires

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 9:15am

Over the last few days, there have been at least two intrusions in northern Minnesota involving the invasion of restricted airspace from people attempting to get near wildfires – one was a private airplane, the second an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) also known as a drone. WTIP's Joe Friedrichs reports on this story. 


Presentation to focus on hazardous barrels found in Lake Superior

Tue, 05/10/2016 - 12:17pm

The public is invited to attend a presentation on Wednesday, May 11 at the Grand Marais Public Library by Frank Koehn, a spokesman for a federally funded project to investigate barrels containing hazardous material that were dumped in Lake Superior some 60 years ago. WTIP's Joe Friedrichs spoke with Koehn about the upcoming presentation. 


Burglary at Grand Marais Pharmacy involves prescription drug theft

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 3:54pm

The Cook County Sheriff’s Department is looking for a suspect or suspects involved with a burglary at the Grand Marais pharmacy that occurred on Friday night, May 6. Anyone with information can call the sheriff’s department at (218) 387-3030. 


Emergency Services Conference recognizes emergency providers

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 12:52pm

In addition to all the training for emergency service workers at the Emergency Services Conference, there is a tradition of recognizing some of the hard-working people in our midst. At the Saturday night ES Conference dinner, Cook County Emergency Management Director Jim Wiinanen was pleased to announce the recipients of two awards in 2016.

The Dolly Johnson Friend of Emergency Services Award, named after the late Dolly Johnson, a beloved law enforcement dispatcher, often goes to a civilian who has aided Cook County emergency services in some way. This year though, the award went to a man who was recognized for his cooperative efforts across various emergency entities in the county.

Paul McFarlane and Tom Thompson of the Colvill Fire Department nominated Phil Bonin of Schroeder for the award. They noted his long tenure as Schroeder Fire Chief and his recent appointment as co-director of the Tofte/Schroeder EMS Squad.

Jim Morrison, the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department chief and Laura Popkes GTVFD ambulance director, along with Dr. Jenny Delfs, GTVFD medical director, nominated Kelly Dahl as the 2016 Outstanding Emergency Services Provider.

They noted that Dahl goes “above and beyond” the call of duty. In addition to being an emergency room RN and EMT, Dahl is a certified wilderness First Responder instructor. She was commended for giving Gunflint responders a realistic training experience, in part because of her skills in simulating injuries through moulage.

Dr. Delfs added kudos for Dahl’s work in improving EMS services, through training, writing grants and more. “My role of medical director would be much more difficult without her paddling with me…she’s the gal in the back of the canoe. It has been a fun trip,” wrote Delfs.


Artwork for the hospital

Mon, 05/09/2016 - 12:48pm

When the North Shore Hospital remodel/rehab is done, the hospital walls will be adorned with artwork because of a project spearheaded by Board Member Tom Spence.

“The art will be original paintings, photography or sculpture,” said Spence to the board, which several months ago gave him permission to pursue this project.

“The works of art should celebrate and reflect one or more aspects of the cultural, historical, geographical or community attributes of Cook County,” Spence said. “The selected art will be placed in areas of high profile to be observed and enjoyed by visitors, patients, residents and employees.”

Artists will submit a body of work that will be reviewed by the Johnson Heritage Post selection committee which will then recommend the artwork to a committee that will be formed by the North Shore Health, said Spence, adding, “The North Shore Hospital committee reserves the right to decline any recommended piece of art.”

Selected works will be displayed for 12 months with an identification plaque that will be purchased by North Shore Health for the artist. After six months the artwork can be offered for sale. Should a piece sell, the artist will receive all of the money. “Neither NSH nor Johnson Heritage Post will charge or receive a commission on the sale of art work,” said Spence. “The money will be all theirs.”

While it is the intention to rotate art every year, Spence said if the artist removes a piece before the year ends, the artist must give 30 days notice. Also, after 12 months, the artwork may remain on display by mutual agreement between the NSH and artist. 

Spence mentioned he had talked to the Grand Marais Art Colony and told them about the project, and hoped they would spread the word to the artists connected to them.