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News and other information from Cook County

Canvass Board meets Monday, District 1 tie to be decided

Thu, 11/06/2014 - 9:56am

On Monday, November 10, at 9 a.m. the Cook County Canvass Board will meet in the Commissioners Room at the courthouse to canvass the results of Tuesday’s election.

If the board certifies the apparent tie in the District One election, Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers will decide the winner by lot and the loser will be immediately notified that he or she may request a publicly-funded recount.

If the recount is called for, the Canvass Board will adjourn and the Auditor’s staff will recount the ballots. The Canvass Board will reconvene by 3 p.m. in the same location at the courthouse. If the recount confirms the tie, then the winner of the decision by lot will be the election winner. If a recount results in more votes for either candidate, that candidate will be the winner in District One as certified by the Canvass Board.

Cook County Election Canvass Board to certify election and oversee "draw" in Commissioner District 1

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 12:40pm

Normally when the Cook County Election Canvass Board meets to certify election results, it is a routine event. This year there will be a bit more excitement as the Canvass Board will also witness the draw to determine the winner in the District 1 county commissioner race—Kristin DeArruda Wharton or Frank Moe.

The two District 1 candidates ended the Tuesday, November 4 election evening in a tie, with 246 votes each. Either of the candidates may request a recount, to be paid for by the county, but first a winner must be determined.

Newly re-elected County Auditor Braidy Powers had to do some research about just how to proceed. State statute required the canvass board to meet to confirm the election results and also required the auditor to conduct a “draw” to determine the winner. State Statute was not clear which came first, so Powers told the Cook County News-Herald that the county would do the two activities at the same meeting.

Powers is the government official who convenes the canvass board and he is working on gathering that board, which consists of two commissioners or their designees; the mayor of the largest city in the county or a designee; the court administrator, and the auditor. The meeting has not yet been scheduled.

Auditor Powers told the News-Herald that there is a device in the court administrator’s office that will be used as the tie-breaker. Once a winner has been determined, one of the candidates can then request a recount of the votes.

If the count is unchanged, the candidate who won the “draw” will be the next county commissioner for District 1.

Veterans stories requested for Minnesota Military Family Tribute

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 12:34pm

The Cook County Veterans Service Office is seeking stories from military veterans and family members for inclusion in the Minnesota Military Family Tribute – a first-of-its-kind project that will be dedicated next June at the state capitol.

The tribute will consist of three components: Gold Star Table, Thank You Military and Veteran Walkway, and Story Stones. Veterans Service Offices throughout the state have been asked to assist in the creation of the Story Stones. Eighty-seven stones will be arranged as part of the tribute, one representing each county.

Excerpts from correspondence sent between military members and their families will be etched onto the stones, providing a window into the lives of military veterans and their sacrifices.

Submissions may be from any time period from the Civil War to the present, and need not be from a time of conflict. Submissions may be a letter, telegram, e-mail, or even a video, which will be transcribed to written word. While only a small portion of submissions will be etched onto the stone, the stories will depict the lives of our military families.

For more information, contact Pat Strand, Cook County Veterans Service officer, at (218) 387-3639. Submissions are due no later than Nov. 14.

Community invited to Broadband Commission meeting on services needed

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 12:33pm

A community meeting on Broadband access issues is being held on Thursday November 6 from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at the Cook County Courthouse.  Numerous Cook County residents are awaiting the completion of the fiber optic broadband system being developed by Arrowhead Electric Coop.  However, even with the advent of connectivity to a residence there are some people who need access to facilities such as an office space, a conference room or a video conferencing site for example.

If you are:

* a resident who needs a place to work with good internet connectivity either on occasion or full time,

* an entrepreneur who wants an interactive work site or if you are

* a seasonal person who would like to work remotely so you can spend more time in Cook County away from the office, we would like to hear from you.

* Or anyone else!

The Cook County Broadband Commission needs your input and participation.  Our directive from the County Commissioners is to maximize the positive impact that the new optical fiber network has on the Cook County community.  To that end we are exploring the possibility of such ideas as establishing co-working spaces, new business development and broadband access sites for the community. We want to be certain that there is sufficient interest before we proceed in a particular direction.

Join us for a meeting at the Cook County Courthouse on November 6 from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

We will gather information on your needs and desires regarding office space, broadband access sites, and co-working facilities. 

Please contact Bob Pranis at 218-387-2358 if you have any questions or email

Election 2014 over -- almost

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 2:35am

There was much anticipation in several races in Cook County leading up to the November 4, 2014 election. And unfortunately, in the Commissioner District 1 race, the suspense continues as the two candidates in that district ended election evening in a tie.

Kristin DeArruda Wharton and Frank Moe each garnered 246 votes, finishing in a tie with 49.90 percent of the vote each. There was one write-in vote cast in District 1. Contacted by phone at the courthouse as remaining votes were tallied, Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers said a recount is not automatic. However, Powers said he expected one or both of the candidates to request a recount, which will likely be completed on Wednesday, November 5.

In Commissioner District 5, challenger Ginny Storlie of Lutsen received 5 more votes than incumbent Bruce Martinson of Schroeder. The final tally was 303 votes, or 49.92 percent for Storlie to Martinson’s 298, or 49.09 percent. That race had 6 write-in votes.

Rounding out the Commissioner races, in District 3, Grand Marais City Councilor Jan Sivertson ran unopposed for county commissioner and she tallied 263 votes. There were 25 write-in votes cast in District 3.

In the countywide race for Sheriff, Deputy Patrick S. Eliasen earned 1,529 or 53.44 percent of the vote to defeat Interim Sheriff Leif Lunde with 1,324 votes, or 46.28 percent.

For the position of Grand Marais Mayor, incumbent Larry “Bear” Carlson got 211 write-in votes. An additional write-in vote for Bear Carlson would be added to Carlson’s total, Auditor Powers told the Cook County News-Herald.

However, that does not change the outcome of the mayoral election. Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux received 58 percent of the votes with a total of 345 votes, defeating Carlson and the other candidate, Lawrence V. Scully who received 42 votes.

Local races settled on election night -- for the most part

Wed, 11/05/2014 - 1:39am

The turnout for Tuesday’s off-year election was once again a healthy one in Cook County with over 2,590 voters casting ballots.

In the contested District One commissioner race, Kristin DeArruda Wharton and Frank Moe ended up tied at 246 to 246 with one write-in – each receiving 49.90% of the vote.  According to Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, the first step is for one or both of the candidates to request a recount, which will likely be conducted today.

In District Five, Ginny Storlie prevailed over Bruce Martinson  303 votes to 298.

In District Three, city councilor Jan Sivertson ran unopposed for county commissioner and totaled 263 votes.

In the race for Sheriff, Deputy Pat Eliasen defeated Interim Sheriff Leif Lunde 1,529 to 1,324 or 53.44% to 46.28%.

For Grand Marais Mayor, Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux out polled Lawrence Scully with 58% of the vote, 345 to 42. Current Mayor Larry Carlson got 212 write-in votes.

For Grand Marais City Council, four candidates vied for two open seats. The top vote getters were Dave Mills with 304 votes and Anton Moody with 280 votes. Vance Benedix had 195 votes and Reid Dusheck had 183.

For District Three ISD166 school board, two write-in candidates faced off with Chris Goettl winning 104 votes to Jeff Kern’s 69. Jeanne Anderson ran unopposed in the school’s District Five and received 476 votes. Deb White ran unopposed in District One and received 388 votes.

Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers and County Recorder Dusty Nelms ran unopposed and were reelected. Assistant County Attorney Molly Hicken ran unopposed for the top prosecutor slot and received 2,435 votes.

In Minnesota House District 3A incumbent Rep. David Dill overcame challenger Eric Johnson. Gov. Mark Dayton won over Jeff Johnson and Sen. Al Franken defeated challenger Mike McFadden.