Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Thursday was bill introduction day at Legislature

Fri, 01/11/2013 - 10:24am

A jump in Minnesota's minimum wage and making it harder to put constitutional amendments on the ballot are among Senate Democrats' top legislative priorities this session.

The Saint Paul Pioneer Press reports the bills were among the first introduced during the 2013 legislative session. On Thursday, 20 were introduced in the Senate and 54 in the state House.

One of the most watched will be the bill setting up the state health insurance exchange. The exchange is required under the 2010 federal health care overhaul.

The Senate minimum wage proposal would bump pay up to $7.50 an hour for most of Minnesota's lowest paid workers, while a House plan would raise it to $9.38 starting in August. Future increases would be automatic and tied to inflation.

The first bill introduced in the House would accelerate repayment of money owed to schools. The state still owes about $1.1 billion of the $2.7 billion borrowed from schools to help balance past budget shortfalls.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk also highlighted a bill he's offering to make it harder to put constitutional amendments on the ballot. Bakk said, "Minnesota just came off of one of the most divisive elections our state has ever seen. I hope that we never have to go through another election like that, where we have purely partisan amendments on the ballot.”

His proposal would require a three-fifths majority of the Legislature to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in hopes of having more bipartisan support before measures go to voters for approval.


North Shore wins hockey; Vikings girls lose in basketball OT

Fri, 01/11/2013 - 6:17am

The North Shore boys' hockey team took a home win Thursday night from Eveleth-Gilbert, 4-2.

And, the Cook County girls' basketball team lost a road game to Mesabi East at Aurora. It took an overtime, however, before the Vikings were defeated 67-54. The loss dropped teh girls to 5-7 for the season.

The team bus didn't get back to Grand Marais until early Friday morning due to poor driving conditions on the way back.

Friday the Vikings boys and girls travel to Silver Bay for varsity basketball action. Both games with the Mariners will be broadcast on WTIP with Norman Moe and Dick Dorr providing the play-by-play. The girls' tip-off is slated for 4:45 with the boys at 6:30.

In the North Shore hockey match, North Shore broke a two-all deadlock at the end of the second period with two points in the third for the win.

Austyn Wasko led the North Shore team with two goals while Mills Johnson and Tyler Schramm had one each.

Zach Duresky was in goal for the Mariners, He made 26 saves.

The win put North Shore at 9-4 for the season. The team plays International Falls Saturday night at Silver bay.

North Shore includes skaters from Cook and Lake counties on the roster.

Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week is Jan. 13-19

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 3:01pm

Gov. Mark Dayton with the support of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association (MnUSA) has proclaimed Jan. 13-19 as Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week in Minnesota.

More than 1,000 volunteer instructors teach DNR snowmobile safety courses across the state.
For more information on the dates and locations of these courses, visit the DNR website at ( or call 800-366-8917.

To legally ride a snowmobile in Minnesota, residents born after Dec. 31, 1976, need a valid snowmobile safety certificate.
DNR and MnUSA also remind snowmobilers of a few basic safety tips:

DON’T DRINK – Drinking and driving can be fatal. Drinking alcohol before or during snowmobiling can impair judgment and slow reaction time. Alcohol causes body temperature to drop at a faster rate, increasing the likelihood of hypothermia. 
SLOW DOWN – Speed is a contributing factor in nearly all fatal snowmobiling accidents. Drivers should proceed at a pace that will allow ample reaction time for any situation. Remember, when driving at night the DNR recommends a speed of only 40 miles an hour. Faster peeds may result in “over driving” your headlight.
BE PREPARED – When traveling, make sure to bring a first aid kit, a flashlight, waterproof matches, and a compass.
STAY ALERT – Fatigue can reduce the driver’s coordination and judgment.
ICE ADVICE – Avoid traveling across bodies of water when uncertain of ice thickness and strength of ice on lakes and ponds. Snow cover can act as a blanket and prevent safe ice from forming. Never travel in a single file when crossing bodies of water.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS – Use a full-size helmet, goggles or face shield to prevent injuries from twigs, stones, ice and flying debris. Clothing should be worn in layers and should be just snug enough so that no loose ends catch in the machine.
WATCH THE WEATHER – Rapid weather changes can produce dangerous conditions.
BRING A BUDDY – Never travel alone. Most snowmobile accidents result in some personal injury. The most dangerous situations can occur if a person is injured and alone. If snowmobilers must travel alone, they should inform someone of their destination, planned route, and return time.
REPORT ACCIDENTS – The operator of a snowmobile involved in an accident resulting in medical attention, death, or damage exceeding $500 must file an official accident report through the county sheriff’s office within 10 days.

For a copy of DNR’s 2012-2013 Minnesota Snowmobile Safety Laws, Rules, and Regulations handbook, call 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367. It’s also available on DNR’s website at

Photo by David Rees - U.S. EPA.  This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code. offers Boundary Waters photo contest

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 11:43am

The, which bills itself as the “Social Network of the BWCA,” is offering photographers the chance to share their favorite Boundary Waters scenes—and the possibility of receiving a prize.
There are three contests starting now, each featuring a different aspect of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). The first is the Gunflint Trail photo contest, which can be found at:
This contest is looking for pictures depicting the Gunflint side of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, as well as photos of the town of Grand Marais and its area resorts.
The photos can include any photographs from any season of the year.
A second contest is a Winter Photography contest, intended to encourage the sharing of our wonderful winters. Photos could be winter landscapes, wildlife, snowshoeing, winter camping, cross country skiing, ice fishing, dog sledding, etc. Sorry, snowmobile photos will not qualify.
The contest winner will receive a copy of White Woods, Quiet Trails by Andrew Slade.
Find details on the BWCA-Quetico Winter Photography Contest at
Finally, BWCABoard is looking for entries in its Hiking Photo Contest. The theme of this contest is the hiking trails of the BWCAW. The contest can include pictures depicting the trails and trail vistas in and surrounding the BWCAW. Your photos can be from any season of the year. The December 2012 winner received a Yellowstone River Trading Hiking Stick, courtesy of Gunflint Lodge. Look for more wonderful prizes in the coming year.
So get out and enjoy winter with your camera—you could be a winner! Winning photos may also be featured on websites and in area newspapers.

Learn to play bridge at Senior Center

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 11:41am

Learn to play Rubber Bridge this winter! The Cook County Senior Center will be hosting a beginners’ Party Bridge Group.You will receive instruction and guidance as you improve your skills and knowledge of the game. Gather on Fridays,  January 11 -  February 1 at 12:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Bridge instructors will be Warren Anderson, Don Dittus and Pat Zankman. Everyone is welcome to attend and best of all it is free entertainment! To sign up, please call (218) 387-2660 or email or stop in at the Senior Center.

Human trafficking at highest point

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 7:46am

Human sex trafficking is on the increase and is a multi-billion dollar industry. WTIP’s Roger Linehan spoke with Lucy Perpich of the Cook County Violence Prevention Center.

Attached file
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Deep snow makes Denali climb tough Wednesday for Dupre

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 7:27am

In the latest report from Alaska's Denali, Lonnie Dupre had a good 10 hours of sleep during his first night on the mountain, but had a difficult climb Wednesday..

Dupre's website reports he pressed on his climb Wednesday for six hours until 4:30 PM. He reported deep snow, calm conditions and temperatures of 5 below zero F. He is making his third solo attempt to reach the summit of the highest peak in North America during winter. He would be the first to accomplish the solo feat.

Due to the deep snow, Wednesday was a tough day. The website reports Dupre is in good spirits and is looking forward to more progress on Thursday.

At the time of the Wednesday night report, Dupre was was at 7400 feet, half a mile from the 7800 foot camp where he is planning on breaing for lunch Thursday and pushing on until dark.

Wednesday's menu consisted of granola and coffee for breakfast, a protein bar and chocolate for lunch followed by mac and cheese with a side of chocolate for dinner.

Dupre's expedition can be followed  at .


Sen. Franken talks about guns and mental health

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 1:46pm

Guns in school, better mental health programs and reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Minnesota’s US Senator Al Franken.

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Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race wraps up with Musher Banquet at Grand Portage Lodge

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 1:23pm

The Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race wrapped up last night, January 8 with a fabulous banquet at the Grand Portage Lodge & Casino. The top 15 racers received their share of the purse and had the opportunity to share stories of the trail. Congratulations to Ross Framboni of Two Harbors, who had the fastest time in the stage race. As he accepted his check for $6,500, Framboni thanked his competitors, all the volunteers and race organizers. “Thanks for putting on a great race,” he said.

Child development course offered at Higher Ed

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 1:07pm

All children are born eager to explore their world and master their development.  Join Higher Ed as we review the theories of child development, the importance of developmentally appropriate practice, the developmental milestones of the first five years of life, including brain development and factors that can influence child growth and development.
Participants will examine the function and importance of play in the lives of young children as well as highlight how observation and assessment of children is important for early childhood educators parents.
The courses will be offered Thursdays, Jan. 10 and 17, and Saturday, Jan. 19, from 8 a.m. to noon at Cook County Higher Education. There is a $40 fee.  Contact Patty at for registration information.

State encouraging residents to test homes for radon

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 10:01am

ST. PAUL (AP) - Governor Mark Dayton has declared this "Radon Action Month" in Minnesota, and the state is encouraging residents to get their homes tested.

(Click on the link to WTIP below  to hear an interview with Andrew Gilbert, Radon Outreach Program Coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Health.)
More than 40 percent of Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon, an odorless, colorless but radioactive gas.  The Minnesota Department of Health says one person in the U.S. dies from radon-related lung cancer every 25 minutes.  It's the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, but health officials say the risk is largely preventable.
Over 40 local public health agencies around the state have partnered with the Health Department to make over 8,000 radon test kits available to residents at low or no cost.
Over 1,000 Minnesota homeowners every year install radon reduction systems, but that's a small percentage of the homes that should have them.

More information about low cost radon test kits can be found online at, or by calling the Minnesota Department of Health at 1-800-798-9050.

Attached file
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SBA loses girls' hockey match to P-H

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 6:07am

The Proctor-Hermantown girls' hockey team visited Silver Bay Tuesday night and left with a 4-0 shut-out of the Mariners.

The visitors scored once in the first period and three times in the third to take the win.

Scoring for P-H were Reilly Fawcett, who hit the net twice, Abby Halverson and Justina Lindberg.

Cassie Swanson was in the net for Silver Bay Area team. She had 25 saves. Kylie Hommerding had 17 saves for the visitors.

Silver Bay Area is made up of skaters from Cook and Lake counties. The Mariners are 6-13 after the loss, but they've gone 5-5 in the past 10 games.

Silver Bay Area travels to Moose Lake Area's home ice on Friday night for their next match. The Rebels escaped the Mariners when they last met on December 13 in Silver Bay. Moose Lake Area took a 3-2 win that night.

Lonnie Dupre is on Denali

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 5:05am


Cook County mountain climber and Arctic explorer Lonnie Dupre is on Denali.


KTUU-TV in Alaska and Dupre's website One World Endeavors report Dupre is into his third attempt to become the first person to reach the summit of the highest peak in North America solo in January.


After weather delays over the weekend, Dupre was finally able to fly to Kahiltna Glacier Tuesday. The glacier rests at the base of the mountain.


"We got the go ahead from our pilot, Paul Roderick, this morning to be at the airport by noon. By 1:30pm we had landed on Kahiltna Glacier where Lonnie buried a cache of supplies at basecamp at 7200ft," his website reported. "About half an hour later Lonnie finished getting ready and began making his way towards the mountain. We said our goodbyes and wished him a safe journey!"


Ross Fraboni of Two Harbors takes top overall finish in Gichigami Express

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 4:36pm

Ross Fraboni of Two Harbors and his team won all three stages of the inaugural Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race and mushed his way to the top prize Tuesday.

Fraboni totaled 12:07 for all three stages of the race when he crossed the finish line in Mineral Center Tuesday afternoon. He and the team ran the final stage in 3:28:30 to take home the first place finisher's price of $6500.

Ryan Redington of Wasilla, AK stayed in second place throughout the day finishing the third stage in 3:28:32, just two seconds behind Fraboni on the final stage. Redington ran the complete course in 12:10 and received the $4500 second-place purse.

The Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa underwrote the $25,000 total in finisher prizes. The purses will be distributed at the 6 PM Awards Banquet at the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino.

Keith  Aili of Ray maintained the third place post he captured Monday and finished the third leg in 3:33. The finish gave him an overall time of 12:27 for the race. Aili took home the third place $3500.

Will Kornmuller of Willow, AK moved up on Tuesday to fourth, finishing the third leg in 3:35 for a total time of 12:37. He received $2000 for his finish.

Also improving his position Tuesday was Ryan Anderson of Ray who finished in 3:33. When added to the first two stages, Anderson came in fifth with an overall time of 12:42. He and his team take $1750 home with them.

Erin Redington of Wasilla, AK finished sixth in the overall standings with a 3:41 third leg and overall 12:47 finish. She captured $1500 for her finish. She was followed by Hovland's Frank Moe whose seventh place finish was only a minute behind  Erin Redington at 12:48. Moe ran the third stage in 3:53 to earn $1000 for his finish.

MN AAA predicts gas prices will be lower in 2013 than 2012

Tue, 01/08/2013 - 11:56am

BURNSVILLE, MN– Minnesota AAA says gasoline prices this year will be less expensive than in 2012 as a result of increased domestic oil production and lower demand.