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News and other information from Cook County

Bodies recovered from Lake Superior

Wed, 12/24/2014 - 9:26am

On Tuesday at approximately 3:03 p.m. the Cook County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a 40 year old male falling into Lake Superior near Bluefin Bay Resort in Tofte, MN.  A 66 year old male who was attempting to pull the person out of the water was also pulled into Lake Superior by a large wave. 

At approximately 3:29 p.m. the first victim was removed from the water.  He was transported to Cook County North Shore Hospital where he later died.  He has been identified as Evan Alexander Johnson, age 40, of Menomonie Wisconsin. 

At approxiately 10:03 p.m. the second victim was recovered from the water, already deceased.  He has been identified as Wayne Louis Hoffman, age 66, of Spring Green Wisconsin.

The following agencies assisted with the search efforts: Cook County Sheriff’s Office, County Search and Rescue, Cook County Ambulance, Tofte Rescue Squad, Tofte Fire Department, Lutsen Fire Department, Grand Marais Fire Department, Minnesota State Patrol, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the United States Coast Guard, and the Canadian Coast Guard.


One man dead, another missing after being washed into Lake Superior near Tofte

Tue, 12/23/2014 - 10:17pm

At approximately 3:03 p.m. on Tuesday, December 23, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office received a report that a person was in the water of Lake Superior near Bluefin Bay Resort in Tofte. A 66-year-old man who attempted to pull the person to safety was pulled into the lake by a large wave and is still missing.

The first person in the water was pulled from the lake and transported by Cook County Ambulance to North Shore Hospital. Although CPR had been started by rescuers, the 40-year-old man was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The U.S. Coast Guard crew from Duluth is currently attempting to recover the missing man with assistance from the Canadian Coast Guard iwith a C-130 plane.

Also assisting in the operation are the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Cook County Search & Rescue, Cook County Ambulance, Tofte Rescue Squad, the Tofte, Lutsen, and Grand Marais fire departments, and the Minnesota State Patrol. 

Attempts were made to bring in U.S. Coast Guard and Minnesota State Patrol helicopters, but due to icing conditions, they were unable to fly.

Waves were reported to be between 4-6 feet in the area at the time of the incident.

Names of the people involved are being withheld pending notification of family members.


This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald ~



Former County Board Secretary Simonen to return to county on as-needed basis

Tue, 12/23/2014 - 12:53pm

With the passing of Cook County Administrator Jay Kieft, the county board decided on Tuesday, December 16 to hire former County Board Secretary and Human Resource Manager Janet Simonen for a period of no more than six months while a search is conducted to find a replacement for Kieft.

Simonen will work on as on-needed basis and be paid an hourly rate reflective of a D61 Step 15 pay rate—the same classification and step she received before her retirement—said Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers who has had some discussion with Simonen about the possibility of her coming back to help the county board.


This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald ~

Grand Portage men participate in emergency response invasive species training

Tue, 12/23/2014 - 12:51pm

Two members of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s emergency response crew traveled to San Francisco Bay in California to participate in testing new rapid response tools for combatting invasive species.

The trials are being conducted on the California Maritime Academy training ship Golden Bear, a U.S. Coast Guard ballast treatment system test facility. The trials will provide efficacy results of a portable ballast water treatment system (BWTS) that is designed to reduce live aquatic invasive species in ballast tanks.

Ballast water discharges from ships (water used for ship stability in the absence of cargo) are a primary pathway for introduction of invasive species. U.S. federal regulations require installation of permanent BWTS, but full compliance for all ships entering U.S. waters will take years to complete. The mobile BWTS being tested in California could serve as an interim solution and into the future as a contingency measure to address mechanical failures. Such failures are likely since new treatment technologies are operating in difficult operating environments on a wide variety of ships

The Grand Portage Band has worked cooperatively with the National Park Service since 2008, first in planning for response to the threat of the fish disease Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) and most recently providing a crew to support rapid response ballast treatment trials in California.

While the two Grand Portage emergency crewmembers, Cory Hahn and Chris Skildum, have deployed to many natural disasters together, this trip is focused on preventing a disaster in the future, rather than responding to a current emergency.

Hahn commented, “I saw this as both a learning opportunity and a chance to help band members protect an important resource—their fisheries. Last time we were in California was fighting fires, so this is a welcome change of pace.”

Cook County approves levy increase for Economic Development Authority

Tue, 12/23/2014 - 12:50pm

Small Business Development Center Representative Pat Campanaro and Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) Chair Mark Sandbo came before the county board on Tuesday, December 16, requesting approval of an EDA operational levy of $163,550, an increase of $13,550 over 2014.

Campanaro said the additional money would be used to hire an administrative assistant at $30,000 per year and would be put towards the EDA’s housing program, which aims to find ways to make more affordable housing available in the county.

Commissioner Garry Gamble said he supported the EDA but asked the EDA to look for ways to partner with other entities in an effort to not only save money but to learn to work together and form stronger bonds within the community. He suggested the county grant $70,000 of the $163,550 request.

“Excuse me,” said Campanaro. “Did I hear you say that you supported the EDA? Then why are suggesting this cutback?”

Sandbo pointed out that the EDA board has transformed and operated in an efficient and wise manner the last couple of years. He said he understood why the board was reluctant to give money to them based on their history, but the current board should be supported.

Commissioner Doo-Kirk made a motion of support with Martinson and Hall voting with her while Gamble voted against the request.


This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald ~

Tettegouche offers introductory ice fishing program: December 27

Tue, 12/23/2014 - 10:22am

Ice fishing, anyone?  There’s an introductory program this Saturday at Tettegouche State Park.  WTIP host Mark Abrahamson spoke with naturalist Kurt Mead on North Shore Morning. 

No fishing license is needed to participate in the Saturday program. 


Tettegouche State Park will be offering a free Intro to Ice Fishing program on December 27th , from 9 to 4. Whether you are new to the sport or would just like to fish for northerns on one of the most beautiful lakes in the state, take the almost two mile hike back in to rustic Mic Mac Lake and join the fun. The old Tettegouche Camp Lodge will be warmed up and hot beverages will be available all day long. Cribbage boards will be waiting for you to play a quick game while you have a cup of coffee.

Bring equipment if you've got it or loaner equipment will be waiting for you when you arrive. Kids get to make a simple yet effective tip-up that they can take home!

Call the Tettegouche State Park naturalist at 218 353.8809 for more information or on the Tettegouche website.

(Photo by Tim T. on Flickr)

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