Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Ontario fire causes smoke over Upper Gunflint Trail

Wed, 09/12/2012 - 5:35pm

The US Forest Service reported at 5:25 PM, Wednesday, that the fire burning within a quarter mile of the northern shore of Knife Lake near Emerald Lake in Ontario is causing smoke again in the upper Gunflint Trail area. 

The East zone duty officer flew the fire today and confirmed that again the additional smoke is caused by this fire. The USFS will continue to monitor the fire daily during its regular detection flights, the USFS reported in a media memo..

During an afternoon detection flight Wednesday, a small fire was spotted between Peterson Lake and Horn Lake on the southern edge of the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness near Baker Lake entry point.  This fire is approximately one quarter of an acre in size.  The Forest Service will be actively suppressing this fire with aircraft. 

MNDoT to repair Hwy. 61 from Lester River to Two Harbors

Wed, 09/12/2012 - 4:45pm


DULUTH, Minn. —Motorists traveling on Highway 61 between the Lester River Bridge in Duluth and Two Harbors may encounter single-lane restrictions until Nov. 16 as crews complete repairs related to the June 19–20 flood.


One lane will remain open in each direction at the work sites as MNDoT does the repairs..


More than 40 locations will be repaired including areas near the Big Sucker River, Knife River, French River, Talmadge River and Schmidt Creek.


Work at these locations includes drainage repairs, grading, shoulder work and debris removal. Most of the projects will be completed sequentially.


For updated travel information on all Minnesota roads, call 511 or visit

Hovland, Tofte, Finland post offices to see reduced retail window hours

Wed, 09/12/2012 - 11:02am

Many small rural post offices will see their window hours cut to as few as four per day by the first of the year.

WTIP has learned that facilities in Hovland and Finland will see retail window reductions to four hours per day. Tofte will have its hours reduced to six per day. Peter Nowacki of the Postal Service regional office in Minneapolis said, “Keep in mind that the changes will not impact access to PO boxes, mail collections or delivery of mail, only the retail window.”

Nowacki said all affected customers will receive a letter explaining the changes and the time and place of a community meeting. They will also receive a survey to gauge the community's preferences as to how they want their services delivered.

Nowacki was unable to say when the notifications would be sent or give  dates for the meetings at this time. He did say that any changes would go into effect a month or two after the community meeting is held an all public input is evaluated.

According to Sen. Al Franken’s office, last year, 117 post offices were scheduled to be closed in Minnesota. That decision was eventually reversed by the Postmaster General. A range of options were designed to meet customer needs – one was limiting service hours.

The new strategy was announced by the Postal Service in May as “a framework to achieve significant cost savings as part of the plan to return the organization to financial stability.”

Other options suggested by the postal service are three existing alternatives. They include service by either rural carrier or highway contract route; contracting with a local business to create a “Village Post Office;” or by offering service from a nearby Post Office.

A voluntary early retirement incentive for the nation’s more than 21,000 non-executive postmasters was also announced.

Maple Hill Community Fire Department gathers for annual meeting tonight

Wed, 09/12/2012 - 10:31am

The Maple Hill Community Fire Department is holding its annual meeting on Wednesday, September 12 at the firehall at 1392 Gunflint Trail at 6 p.m. Maple Hill residents are invited to come show their support for the Maple Hill Community Fire Department. All Maple Hill/Devil Track residents are encouraged to attend.

Plein Air Competition under way--Quick Paint event on Thursday

Wed, 09/12/2012 - 10:30am

A very interesting part of the Grand Marais Art Colony’s 10th annual plein air competition and exhibition is the Quick Paint set for Sept. 13, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Artist Point. Artists are given 90 minutes to complete a painting. Kjersti Vick of the Art Colony said, “With a shotgun start and the North Shore’s ever-changing weather, it is a spectacle to watch!”
Artwork created during the plein air competition will be on display Sept. 14 - 30 at the Grand Marais Art Colony.
For a detailed schedule of events and more information about Plein Air Grand Marais contact the Grand Marais Art Colony at (218) 387-2737.

Quetico fire brings smoke to Gunflint Trail

Wed, 09/12/2012 - 6:27am

There is a small fire burning within one quarter mile of the northern shore of Knife Lake near Emerald Lake in Quetico Provincial Park.  

The U.S. Forest Service has had aircraft fly over the area  and confirms that is what's causing the smoke in the upper Gunflint trail area. 

Patty Johnson, the Gunflint District Zone Fire Officer, spoke with Canadian officials and they have confirmed that they are monitoring the blaze fire but not actively suppressing it at this time.

The Forest Service will continue to monitor the fire daily during regular detection flights.