Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

One Act Play "Foiled by the Innocent Maid" to be performed January 28

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 4:54pm

The Cook County High School One Act is well into rehearsal. The play this year is a melodrama called Foiled by the Innocent Maid. The play is directed by Sue Hennessy with the cast of Erica Marxen, Andy Kern, Finn Garry, Linnea Henrikson, Amelia Roth and Lucy Callender.

The play will be presented to the community on January 28 at 7 p.m. Come boo the villain and cheer for the hero and heroine. The play goes to competition against seven other schools on January 30 in Two Harbors.

Following the high school performance there will be a meeting for anyone interested in participating in the 2016 Summer Repertory. One musical and one comedy will be selected based on interest at this meeting. One possibility for the musical is Into The Woods by Stephan Sondheim. This would require a large cast of both men and women with experience singing as well as a host of musicians! Can we do it? Are you willing? Rehearsals would begin in March. Performances would be Mid-July – Mid August. 

Got questions? Contact the Grand Marais Playhouse at 218-387-1284 or email


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

Sheriff talks ATVs and Beargrease road safety

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 11:20am

The yearly ATV road incident report was presented to the county board this week. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen about ATV complaints and caution on the back roads during the Beargrease.


10 questions with Lily Gruber-Schulz

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 9:35am

Earlier this month, Cook County Viking basketball player Lily Gruber-Schulz topped the 1,000-point milestone for her high-school career. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs caught up with her recently to talk about the achievement and her athletic career with the Vikings. 


Arrowhead Transit seeks customer feedback on Duluth trips

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 1:05pm

Arrowhead Transit is proposing to start low-fare weekly round trips to Duluth beginning in February, regardless of how many passengers it has.

This service would replace the existing twice-monthly Duluth trips that only go if at least five riders have made reservations.
In Duluth, the new weekly service will make a stop at the new Duluth Transportation Center (DTC) where riders can connect with Duluth Transit Authority buses. The DTC also Includes a Jefferson Lines bus station, and the Skyline Shuttle to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport departs from the DECC, across I-35 via skyway.

It is hoped that the new weekly service will not only be more convenient for residents along the North Shore, but also that it might be a transportation option for tourists and other visitors, for students coming and going to school, for workers who need to get back and forth to Duluth, and for people who have errands, shopping and medical appointments in Duluth.

In order to gauge demand for this proposed new service and to ensure it is structured to best meet the needs of Cook County residents, Arrowhead Transit requests answers to these questions:

What day of the week would be the best day for Arrowhead Transit to schedule this new service? The trips will no longer bounce around. If Tuesday is chosen, the bus will run on Tuesday of every week.

What time of day would be the best start time from Grand Marais?

What time of day would be the optimum time to leave Duluth for the return trip up the shore?

Arrowhead Transit is eager to hear from resort owners and others in the tourism industry. Transit officials very much want to know how this new weekly service might be structured to provide a reasonable low-cost transportation alternative for tourists coming to Cook County and for the resort workers who help take care of those tourists.

"Dick Parker Outstanding Volunteer Award" given to volunteer Rick Johnson for Gunflint Mail Run work

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 1:04pm

In addition to awards for mushers at the close of the 2016 Gunflint Mail Run, a new award was initiated, the “Dick Parker Outstanding Volunteer Award.” Gunflint Mail Run Co-directors Sarah Hamilton and Jack Stone devised the award to honor a volunteer who puts his or her heart into seeing that the race took place—just as Dick Parker of Grand Marais has done for many years. The inaugural award was presented to Rick Johnson of Grand Marais.

According to Stone, Johnson received, a racing bib and poster signed by al of the mushers and “a firm handshake and hearty slap on the back.”

Dick Parker was not at the Gunflint Mail Run this year because of health issues and he was greatly missed, but everyone was delighted at this award in his honor and there was consensus that Trail Boss Rick Johnson was the perfect recipient of this first award.


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

Weather: Drizzle, snow, drizzle again

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 11:27am

The weather will continue to be mild for this time of year, however we’ll experience some freezing drizzle before and after a couple inches of snow. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Carol Christenson.


Local swim team hosts meet in Grand Marais

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 9:08am

The Cook County Northerns swim team hosted a home meet at the local YMCA on Saturday, Jan. 23. More than 100 people participated in the event. Among them was WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs, who gives us this report. 

See above attachment for complete results from Saturday's event.


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Former Sawtooth Elementary Principal Gwen Carman accepts superintendent position at Carlton

Sun, 01/24/2016 - 2:34pm

Former Cook County Schools - ISD166 Sawtooth Elementary Principal Gwen Carman has accepted the position of superintendent for Carlton Independent School District 93. Carman received a six-month interim contract to finish the school year and then it becomes a three-year contract after that.

Carman came before the Cook County School Board on August 20, 2015, and announced she was resigning her position with the school district. Carman was a teacher for 15 years, then served nine years as a principal for the district. Her decision to leave was met with sadness by many of the staff, teachers, students and community members.

In an interview with Brian Larsen, Carman said, “I am very proud of what I accomplished in Cook County.“I do miss the teachers, staff, students and parents there. They will always have a special place in my heart.”


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

Grand Marais parking lot flooding a perpetual problem

Sun, 01/24/2016 - 2:32pm

The first meeting of the new year brought an old problem back to the Grand Marais City Council agenda – the question of how to stop frequent flooding of the municipal parking lot on South Broadway.

The topic was brought to the forefront by Jim Boyd, executive director of the Cook County Chamber of Commerce, who presented a letter expressing the organization’s concerns and offer to help at council’s Jan. 13 meeting. Boyd said he was asking council to commit to finding out how the problem can be fixed and at what cost, not “whether” it can be fixed.

The parking lot in question fronts the current Whole Foods Co-op and Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply buildings, and was paved, striped and landscaped during the city’s downtown streetscape improvement project in 2005. Before that, it was a gravel lot.

Although the area has historically experienced flooding following heavy rains due to its low elevation and proximity to a holding pond behind the adjacent businesses, the occurrences of high water are happening more frequently in recent years mainly because of more storms and increased stormwater runoff from the highway and places above it.

To date the only official action taken has been to install a few small “Flood Zone” signs around the perimeter of the lot.

Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux said the project is already on the city’s to-do list and he has spoken with staff at the county’s Soil & Water Department, who said they will help find engineers to look into the situation and possibly do the work.

City Administrator Mike Roth said that seems like the right path to go down first, because there will be no cost to the city. However, he warned that a mitigation project of any consequence will likely come with a high price tag.

WTIP Weekend News Roundup for January 23, 2016

Sat, 01/23/2016 - 11:42am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. There’s a significant retirement pending at the county, a shared superintendent is possible, Congress again tries delisting wolves and the courts keep haze reduction over the wilderness on track…all this and more in the week’s news.


Nice winter weather ahead

Thu, 01/21/2016 - 12:31pm

Warmer weather this weekend. Should be a good time to get out and enjoy the winter. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Carol Christenson.


Townships have candidates for upcoming elections

Thu, 01/21/2016 - 11:53am

Although township elections are not held until March, the time for citizens interested in running for a town board seat ended January 12, 2016. Unlike some years when the townships have struggled to find citizens interested in serving, there are candidates for each position up for election, and in Tofte there is a race between two candidates for supervisor.

In Lutsen, the supervisor seat currently held by Tim Goettl is on the ballot. Goettl did not file for re-election. However, a citizen did submit her name to be placed on the ballot. Rae Piepho filed to run for supervisor.

In November, Sharon Hexum Platzer was appointed by the town board to serve as clerk, to fill the unexpired term of Amity Goettl. Goettl submitted her resignation in November. Hexum Platzer has filed to run for the town clerk position.

Tofte is the only township that will have two names on the ballot. Incumbent Supervisor Jim King has filed to run once again. Sarah Somnis is also running for the seat.

The clerk position is currently held by Barb Gervais and she filed to run for re-election.

Tofte has an additional spot on the ballot for a one-year term for treasurer. Erin Huggins was unable to serve as treasurer after being elected in 2015 and Nancy Iverson has been filling that role.  Iverson has filed to serve the unexpired term. 

There are no contested races in Schroeder. Incumbent Supervisor Tina McKeever has filed for re-election as has Clerk Doug Schwecke.

However, Schwecke told the News-Herald, “Write-ins are welcome!”



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

SplinterTones invite all to dance at the Community Center log building

Thu, 01/21/2016 - 4:38am

SplinterTones, a six-piece band based in Grand Marais, will perform at 7 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Cook County Community Center log building.

The ensemble plays a blend of hep and snappy tunes in a unique and unmistakable style. Noted for their vibrant vocal harmonies, colorful stage presence and strong rhythmic grooves, SplinterTones crowd the dance floor with legions of enthusiastic dancers.

The group performs at music festivals, wedding dances, town halls, clubs, parties and celebrations throughout the region. Its members include Max Bichel, fiddle/vocals; Liz Sivertson, saxophone/vocals; Leah Thomas, accordion/vocals; John Gruber, guitar/vocals; Jeff DeShaw, bass; and Rick Brandenburg, drums.

SplinterTones are on Facebook and YouTube. An archived television performance is available on The PlayList,  WDSE TV, Duluth.

Borealis Chorale and Orchestra to perform "Crazy Cold Beautiful" - February 5&6

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 2:58pm

The Borealis Chorale and Orchestra will be performing a musical work inspired by the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. WTIP volunteer Sherrie Lindskog spoke with director, Bill Beckstrand, in this interview.
There will be two performances of Crazy Cold Beautiful: Friday, February 5, from 7 to 8 pm at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Grand Marais, and February 6 from 4 to 6 pm at the Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth.

(Photo courtesy of Markus Jobstl on Flickr)


Cook County health and human services director to retire

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 10:18am

During a meeting of the Cook County Commissioners on Tuesday, Jan. 19, Cook County Public Health and Human Services Director Sue Futterer announced she plans to retire in July.

Futterer made the announcement public during a joint meeting of the Humans Services Board and the commissioners. Her last day of work with the county is slated for July 8. She told county staff of her plans to retire earlier Tuesday morning.

“It’s been a very difficult decision and one I’ve been thinking about for a long time,” Futterer said during Tuesday’s meeting.

Futterer said she has been talking with County Administrator Jeff Cadwell about future plans for the Public Health and Human Services Department, including her retirement. Futterer said during the last round of establishing the county budget she explained to Cadwell her intentions to retire in 2016.

Although the commissioners appeared saddened by the news, Commissioner Frank Moe jokingly made a motion not to accept Futterer’s retirement plans. Commissioner Jan Sivertson followed suit, making a motion to “clone” Futterer so her services and experience can continue to beneficial for Cook County.

Futterer said she will help the county transition while a new director for human services is found. Cadwell told Futterer he plans to post the job opening soon, as the directors for health and human services in both Lake and St. Louis counties also plan to retire this year.

“People have gone through change and change is good, new leadership is good, and everybody will be fine,” Futterer said.