Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk attends training on transgender issues

Wed, 11/30/2016 - 11:10am

Cook County Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk serves on the Association of Minnesota Counties “Futures Task Force,” which addresses leadership issues across the state. A recent task force meeting focused on transgender issues and how county government could be impacted. 
Rhonda Silence spoke with Commissioner Doo-Kirk about what she learned. Doo-Kirk also noted that there are numerous sources of support. Some programs that are available for those with transgender questions are listed below:

Trans Lifeline

Center for Sexual Health
University of Minnesota

Rainbow Health Initiative
(612) 206-3180

Human Development Center
1807 West Highway 61
Grand Marais

Sawtooth Mountain Clinic
513 5th Avenue West
Grand Marais



County Board reverses course on review committee regarding county adminstrator

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 12:27pm

One week after it voted in favor of forming an advisory committee to review comments made by and the conduct of the county administrator, the Board of Cook County Commissioners voted Tuesday, Nov. 29 to rescind on forming the committee before it ever met.

On Nov. 22 the board voted 3-2 in favor of forming a special committee to determine if comments made during a public meeting by County Administrator Jeff Cadwell should result in disciplinary action. The review committee was to consist of Cook County Human Resources Director Judy Hill, County Attorney Molly Hicken and Commissioners Garry Gamble and Ginny Storlie. The three votes in favor of forming the committee came from Gamble, Storlie and Commissioner Frank Moe.

During the Nov. 29 meeting, Commissioner Storlie changed her stance and voted to rescind, which essentially means to cancel, forming the committee.

Commissioner Storlie did not state specifically why she voted to rescind the committee, though last week she did say publicly that Cadwell’s comments about county staff needed to be addressed.

During the public comment period of Tuesday’s meeting, seven local residents spoke to the county board in favor of the work Cadwell is doing in his role as county administrator. Among those who spoke were Howard Hedstrom and Mary Somnis from the local Economic Development Authority, Jim Boyd from the local Chamber of Commerce, Linda Kratt from Visit Cook County and Charles Skinner from Lutsen Mountains. All of these individuals were invited to speak on behalf of Cadwell at the encouragement of Commissioner Jan Sivertson. In an email sent on Nov. 26, Sivertson invited all of the aforementioned individuals to speak duing Tuesday’s meeting on behalf of Cadwell. Siverston originally voted against forming the review committee and subsequently made the motion on Nov. 29 to rescind having the committee after it was approved by the board one week prior.  


Rain continues into mid-week

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 7:47am

Had it been snow instead of rain, imagine what that would look like!  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Bill Leatham about continued rain, slowly turning to snow and colder temperatures.



Buck's Big Buck contest winners

Mon, 11/28/2016 - 6:02pm

There is little doubt that the champion deer hunter in northeastern Minnesota this fall is Devyn Deschampe.

Winterer's Gathering gathers plenty of winter lovers

Mon, 11/28/2016 - 6:00pm

Winterer's Gathering gathers plenty of winter folks

Staff report

Hansen to sing in the St. Olaf Chistmas Festival concert

Mon, 11/28/2016 - 5:56pm

Staff report

Lisa Kerr is the new Cook County Land Commissioner/Parks and Trails Director

Mon, 11/28/2016 - 5:54pm

Brian Larsen

Forest Service explores options with cabin near Brule Lake

Mon, 11/28/2016 - 2:19pm

The U.S. Forest Service is exploring potential uses for a federally owned cabin near Brule Lake. One option involves opening the cabin to volunteers who clear nearby hiking trail. WTIP's Joe Friedrichs find out more in this interview with the founder of the Boundary Waters Advisory Committee. 



Polar explorer Will Steger talks about Upper Manitou Forest Preserve

Fri, 11/25/2016 - 2:40pm

At the beginning of November, The Nature Conservancy purchased 240 acres of old growth forest near the George H. Crosby Manitou State Park from Polar explorer Will Steger.
Jim Manolis, the Conservancy’s forest conservation program director in Minnesota, was impressed when he first saw the property. “I’ve visited a lot of old growth around the state. We don’t have much and this is some of the best.”
For more information about the Upper Manitou Forest Preserve, visit
WTIP’s Rhonda Silence talked to Steger about parting with the property. 


Free Park Friday returns to the North Shore on Nov. 25

Thu, 11/24/2016 - 7:12am

Rather than spending the day after Thanksgiving shopping indoors, Minnesotans are once again being encouraged to spend their Black Friday (Nov. 25) outside enjoying the state’s natural beauty.

For the second year in row, the entry fee at all Minnesota state parks and recreation areas will be waived on Black Friday, now dubbed “Free Park Friday.” This includes all state parks along the North Shore. 

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith announced Free Park Friday in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources following the success of last year’s initiative. Smith wants to “encourage all Minnesotans to include outdoor activity as part of their family festivities over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend."

WTIP's Joe Friedrichs spoke with staff from Gooseberry Falls State Park to learn more about Free Park Friday. 


WTIP shares the latest law enforcement report

Wed, 11/23/2016 - 11:04pm

Cook County Law Enforcement Report
The following reports are a record of calls made to the Cook County Law Enforcement Center in the last week. These are the initial calls made to law enforcement dispatchers. 


Special committee forms to review administrator's comments regarding county staff

Tue, 11/22/2016 - 4:46pm

A special committee was formed during a meeting of the Cook County Commissioners on Tuesday, Nov. 22, to determine if comments made during a public meeting by County Administrator Jeff Cadwell should result in disciplinary action.

The review committee will consist of Cook County Human Resources Director Judy Hill, County Attorney Molly Hicken and Commissioners Garry Gamble and Ginny Storlie.

The statements from Cadwell that are under question were made during a discussion between the board and representatives of the Cook County Employee Association in a regular commissioners' meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 15. Cadwell made additional comments about the CCEA and county policies during a break of the Nov. 15 meeting that were recorded and are now public on Youtube, Good Measure Media and the Cook County website.

A motion to form a review committee was made by Commissioner Frank Moe. It passed on a 3-2 vote, with Commissioners Heidi Doo-Kirk and Jan Sivertson voting against reviewing the comments Cadwell made in a public setting and meeting.

Commissioner Moe said the comments were necessary to be reviewed by a specially-formed committee. Likewise, Commissioner Garry Gamble said reviewing the comments from Cadwell could be a healthy process.

There is no exact timeline for when the committee will review Cadwell’s comments, though the board did state it would like to move quickly on the matter. The board did not state specifically what potential outcomes could unfold with regard to the county administrator’s position and Cadwell’s comments. 

Listen below to hear audio from the Nov. 15 and Nov. 22 meetings of the Cook County Commissioners.  


View more news from WTIP

Cougar or bobcat? DNR talks northern Minnesota sighting

Tue, 11/22/2016 - 9:46am

A young Minnesota hunter reported his encounter with two mountain lions fighting earlier this month near the Iron Range. Though after some investigation on the scene using a cardboard cutout of a mountain lion, it turns out it might not have been a cougar sighting at all, according to state wildlife officials. WTIP's Joe Friedrichs spoke with the DNR to find out more. 


Plans continue for off-road vehicle trail across northern Minnesota

Mon, 11/21/2016 - 12:48pm

If you like to ride on backcountry roads, a new off-road vehicle trail stretching across northern Minnesota could be of interest. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs reports on the proposed trail. 


Local kids attend National Native Youth Summit

Sun, 11/20/2016 - 2:19pm

By Andy Butter

November 14, 2016
2:36 a.m. West Hwy 61, Tofte  Fire alarm, false alarm.
2:38 a.m. West Hwy 61, Tofte  Burglary alarm at Bluefin Bay. Motion activation in the dining room, gift shop and lobby. False alarm.
6:07 a.m. Law Enforcement Center  Picking up two prisoners from Lake County Jail for court.
7:29 a.m. Lutsen  Safe routes to school. Following West End bus looking for stop arm violations.
8:10 a.m. Grand Marais  Traffic stop, warning given.
9:31 a.m. Trout Lake Road, Grand Marais  Male possible broken back 
10:14 a.m. Grand Portage Lodge  Would like a to talk to deputy.
10:20 a.m. Law Enforcement Cntr.  Bring inmate to court.
10:21 a.m. Law Enforcement Cntr.  Party received a letter stating that he owes back child support. States it is not him.
10:37 a.m. North Shore Health  Ford pickup parked on the road with tires past the white line. Parking violation issued.
10:40 a.m. Grand Marais  A gray SUV drove by a house and dropped an ipod out the window where kids were playing. 
11:44 a.m. Tofte  911 hang up. Talked with employee who stated it was a misdial. 
1:10 p.m. Law Enforcement Cntr.  Permit to carry renewal received.
2:00 p.m. Grand Marais  Party being harassed. Would like an officer to drive by around 8 p.m. when store closes.
7:42 p.m. Grand Marais Compliance check.
7:49 p.m. Grand Marais Compliance check.
9:24 p.m. West Highway 61 Traffic stop, citation issued.
10:16 p.m. Grand Portage  45 year old male vomiting since this morning. 
November 15
2:51 a.m. Hovland  87-year-old woman fell a little bit ago and is in extreme pain. 
7:29 a.m. Lutsen  Safe routes to school - following bus #8 to school.
07:43 a.m. Law Enforcement Cntr.  Received a permit to purchase application. 
9:37 a.m. Tofte  White car swerving across the center line. No plate given.
9:56 a.m. Grand Portage  Traffic stop, warning given.
9:58 a.m. Cook County Courthouse  Duress alarm. 
10:27 a.m. Ski Hill Road, Lutsen  White car turning up Ski Hill Road with a possible drunk driver.
12:11 a.m. Schroeder  Traffic stop, warning given.
12:18 p.m. Taconite Harbor  Business check.
12:19 p.m. Law Enforcement Cntr.  Received application for permit to carry.
12:49 p.m. Law Enforcement Cntr.  Transport 3 inmates to court. 
2:10 p.m. Grand Marais  Papers served.
2:24 p.m. East Highway 61 Traffic stop, citation issued.
2:59 p.m. Grand Marais  Papers served.
3:22 p.m. Grand Portage  Reporting that he hit a deer.
4:37 p.m. Grand Marais  Papers served.
4:42 p.m. West Highway 51  KIA sports wagon heading east out of town with a 2-year-old in the back seat not buckled in. 
5:07 p.m. Dairy Queen, Grand Marais  Found black and white lab puppy near this location. 
5:33 p.m. Law Enforcement Cntr.  Papers served.
6:42 p.m. Law Enforcement Cntr.  911 hangup. Call doesn't go through on call back. Sounded like a wrong number.
7:33 p.m. Grand Marais Compliance check. 
8:11 p.m. West Highway 61  Traffic stop, warning given.
November 16
7:00 a.m. Law Enforcement Cntr.  Transport three prisoners to Lake County for housing. 
7:44 a.m. Grand Portage  School patrol.
7:54 a.m. Cook County High School School patrol.
10:10 a.m. Cook County High School 3-legged dog running around on the playground. Not bothering anyone at this time but concerned. 
11:13 a.m. Grand Portage  Party numb and dizzy. 
12:20 p.m. Cook County High School Would like a call a back from deputy.
12:30 p.m. Grand Portage COPD patient needs some oxygen.
12:41 p.m. Great Expectations School  D.A.R.E. class
2:16 p.m. Grand Portage  Traffic stop, warning given.
2:44 p.m. West Highway 61 911 hang up from near this address. 
2:47 p.m. Grand Portage  School patrol.
3:06 p.m. West Highway 61  Driving report on white semi with a big P on it. 
3:10 p.m. Law Enforcement Cntr. Permit to carry application.
3:15 p.m. Cook County High School Extra school patrol.
3:25 p.m. Cook County High School School patrol.
4:44 p.m. East Highway 61 Traffic stop, warning given.
6:11 p.m. Tofte  Traffic stop, citation issued.
9:31 p.m. Grand Marais Party is locked out and cold. 
11:21 p.m. Grand Marais  Yellow lab missing, maybe about 1/2 hour now. Is wearing a collar but no tags. Answers to "Sancho." 
November 17
6:42 a.m. Law Enforcement Cntr. Transporting prisoner to Carlton County jail 
7:48 a.m. Grand Portage  School patrol.
7:50 a.m. Cook County High School  School patrol.
10:25 a.m. Taconite Harbor  Business check.
11:15 a.m. Gunflint Trail  Papers served.
12:19 p.m. East Highway 61  Reporting deer car accident.
2:08 p.m. West Highway 61 Traffic stop, warning given.
3:31 p.m. West Highway 61 Storage locker broken into not sure what all was taken. 
6:57 p.m. Schroeder  Large dark pickup truck having a hard time staying on the road, crossing fog line repeatedly. Truck turned off highway onto Cramer Road.
7:32 p.m. Grand Marais  Reported Sancho missing again. She's out of town and her daughters should be looking for him now 
7:59 p.m. Law Enforcement Cntr. Drug investigation. 
9:06 p.m. Gunflint Trail  Volvo wagon is going to be parked on the Gunflint Trail in this location until morning. Got a flat tire but lug nuts will not come off. Tow cannot come for it tonight, will get it in the morning. Is parked way off the road on the west side shoulder. Left phone number to be reached if any issues with it 
9:13 p.m. Tofte  Residential fire alarm, false alarm. 
November 18
8:03 a.m. Cook County High School  School patrol.
9:00 a.m. Gunflint Trail  Papers served.
9:45 a.m. Cook County courthouse  Would like a call back. 
11:45 a.m. Hovland  Report of possible harassment.
12:00 p.m. South of the Border,
Grand Marais 
Someone ran into their smoking stand and hit the building. 
12:46 p.m. East Highway 61  Off road on lake side. No injuries. 
1:15 p.m. Schroeder  Vehicle in ditch. 
1:15 p.m. Tofte  Caller reporting that she is in the ditch near “Smokey’s Grave.” No injuries. Tow coming, will call if lights are needed.  
1:49 p.m. Grand Marais Motors Yellow golden retriever, older dog, running loose. Brought into the shop. 
2:52 p.m. Grand Marais  Removing tree from road way.
3:28 p.m. Grand Marais  Tree blocking the road at this location. 
3:30 p.m. Law Enforcement Cntr. Party unable to move vehicle in slush. 
3:32 p.m. Gunflint Trail  Out with van having problems getting up the hill.
3:48 p.m. North House Folk School  Reporting tree fell on car damaging car and blocking the highway.
4:13 p.m. North House Folk School  Reporting pickup truck hit by tree in this area. 
4:30 p.m. West Highway 61  Caller reported large tree blocking all of West Highway 61 near this location.
4:45 p.m. Arrowhead Trail, Hovland  Out removing a tree at this location.
4:49 p.m. Arrowhead Trail, Hovland Removing tree from this location. 
4:56 p.m. County Road 60, Grand Marais  Reporting tree blocking all of County Road 60 on the east end of the road. 
5:16 p.m. Manitoo Trail, Hovland  Tree down on east Highway 61 at this location blocking the westbound lane of the highway.
5:20 p.m. Caspers Hill, Grand Marais  Power just went out. 
5:21 p.m. Hovland  Reported a Happy Times bus passed him in a no passing zone, almost hitting him and forcing him to the shoulder almost the ditch. 
5:35 p.m. Putt & Pets Mini Golf  Tree blocking the westbound lane.
6:13 p.m. Devil Track, Grand Marais  Vehicle in the ditch heading south just a little bit from this location. 
6:17 p.m. Gunflint Trail  Reporting roadway very icing heading up the hill.
6:20 p.m. East Highway 61  Tree on line and power out in the whole area. 
6:26 p.m. Grand Marais  Reporting Newfoundland dog outside barking. Worried about welfare of dog. 
7:16 p.m. Old Shore Road, Grand Marais  Power just went out. Party heard a loud pop outside when the power went out.
7:38 p.m. Grand Marais  Out of power about 10 minutes ago. 
7:39 p.m. Lutsen  Vehicle can’t get up Caribou Trail, very icy.
7:42 p.m. Grand Marais  Power just went out but neighbors is still on. 
8:19 p.m. Devil Track Road, Grand Marais  Power outage. 
8:25 p.m. Tofte  Vehicle having issues in icy conditions.
8:28 p.m. Grand Marais  Tree blocking road and vehicle in the ditch. 
8:31 p.m. Hall Road, Lutsen Tree blocking the highway at this location. 
8:39 p.m. Lutsen  Tree blocking the highway west of this location. 
8:42 p.m. Kelly’s Hill, Grand Marais  Power just went out.
9:01 p.m. Lutsen  Vehicle in the ditch.
9:05 p.m. East Highway 61 Power lines on fire back of this address. 
9:16 p.m. Grand Marais  Tree on line smoking. 
9:28 p.m. Birchwood Apartments, Grand Marais  Heard possibly a transformer blow behind this area. 
9:41 p.m. County Road 14, Grand Marais  Reporting tree down to the east of this location partially blocking road 
9:49 p.m. Hovland  Power outage in area.
9:54 p.m. West 5th Street, Grand Marais Tree hanging on electrical line at driveway. 
10:21 p.m. Old Ski Hill Road, Grand Marais  Tree down blocking the road at this address.
November 19
12:20 a.m. Hovland  Tree leaning out over west bound lane of Highway 61 in this area. MnDOT advised. 
5:37 a.m. County Road 7, Grand Marais 911 hang up from cell phone – heard muffled talking before disconnecting. GPS shows phone in area. Cook County rang back 3 times, finally reached someone who said it was a misdial. 
5:49 a.m. East Highway 61 Power never came back on.
9:09 a.m. East Highway 61 Has power however line is just hanging on outside of the house. 
9:29 a.m. Lindskog Road, Grand Marais  Removing a tree that is partially blocking the road. 
9:39 a.m. Lindskog Road, Grand Marais  Clearing tree in road. 
9:43 a.m. Tofte  Powerline hanging very low over Sawbill Trail near this area. 
9:58 a.m. Morgan Road, Grand Marais  Power outage for 10 hours. Stated there is a tree on the powerline and another wire on the ground possible phone line. 
10:06 a.m. County Road 60, Grand Marais Clearing a tree on the road. 
10:09 a.m. County Road 60, Grand Marais  2 large trees in road near this location. 
11:21 a.m. Gunflint Trail  Driving report - black Toyota Tacoma truck. 
11:29 a.m. Lutsen  Vehicle w/ flashers on. 
1:41 p.m. County Road 60 No power outage, just big tree on power line. 
2:32 p.m. Devilfish Overlook  Party states the Devilfish tower is out of power.
3:16 p.m. Cliffs Erie, Schroeder  Party sent pictures of a group of 4 caught on their camera. It appears to be 4 males in black coats, issued 5 citations for trespassing.
3:37 p.m. Gene’s Foods, Grand Marais  Reporting party states a female is accosting his customers. 
4:59 p.m. Schroeder  Traffic stop, advised.
7:18 p.m. Grand Marais  Traffic stop, warning given.
8:21 p.m. Lutsen Ski Hill  Foot patrol.
10:21 p.m. Grand Portage Lodge Foot patrol.
November 20
7:37 a.m. East Highway 61, Grand Marais  Power line is dangling and it got pulled away from the house. She does have power. 
11:00 a.m. East Highway 61 Traffic stop, citation issued.
11:34 a.m. County Road 6, Grand Marais VW station wagon that rolled over. No tracks and no one in it. 
11:45 a.m. East Highway 61 Traffic stop, citation issued.
1:14 p.m. Grand Portage  Traffic stop, citation issued.
2:41 p.m. Upper Road, Grand Portage  Traffic stop, arrested party on Carlton County warrant
3:17 p.m. Grand Marais  Party states 7th Ave East is glare ice and needs sand. Grand Marais street department notified and will respond. 
3:40 p.m. Grand Portage  Traffic stop, citation issued.
4:00 p.m. Gunflint Trail  911 call from 911 only phone. Sounds like a pocket dial.
4:54 p.m. Chicago Bay Road, Hovland  A gray Toyota pickup parked in a poor location just off of Highway 61 on Chicago Bay Road. 
5:49 p.m. Richey Lake Road, Schroeder  Traffic stop, warning given
7:08 p.m. Law Enforcement Cntr. Rp states they will be using a drone to use for film footage around downtown tomorrow. All necessary permits have been filed. 
8:42 p.m. County Road 7, Grand Marais  Rp states deer in the road near this location that needs to be dispatched. 
9:04 p.m. East Highway 61 Traffic stop, clear
9:05 p.m. East Highway 61 Traffic stop, warning given
9:43 p.m. Old Shore Road, Grand Marais  Rp states seeing a younger male who looked like he had been assaulted and wasn't dressed for the weather. He was walking eastbound on old shore road, arrested dennis boldenow for 2nd degree dwi
10:37 p.m. Tofte  Business check
10:53 p.m. Taconite Harbor  Business check