Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Sobanja and Gamble, Doo-Kirk and Austin, Nolan and Cravaack to face each other in November

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 4:47am

Rick Nolan has won the DFL’s three-way primary race to face Eighth District Congressman Chip Cravaack who faced no primary opposition.
On his way to winning the primary, the party-endorsed Nolan also captured Cook County by a strong margin.
In Cook County races, two candidates each were selected by voters to run in November for the District 2 and District 4 commissioner seats.
As of 9:30 the morning after the polls closed, 45 percent of Cook County voters turned out for the primary with 1,548 votes being cast. The website showed there are 3,474 voters in the County. The Gunflint and Maple Hill precincts had the highest percentages with 62 and 61 respectively.
Incumbent County Commissioner Fritz Sobanja was the top vote-getter in District 2 with 99 votes or 50 percent of the 195 votes cast. Garry Gamble also will be on the November 6 ballot after getting 76 votes, or 38 percent of the total. Kelly Swearingen received 20 votes even though she pulled out of the race early on, but not in time to take her name off the ballot.
Heidi Doo-Kirk received 217 votes, or 46 percent, of the votes in District 4 to move on to the November 6 ballot. She is joined by Rick Austin who got 160 votes, or 34 percent. Gail Anderson finished out of the running with 93 votes or 19 percent.
In the Eighth District Congressional race, Nolan turned in a strong performance to beat a highly financed Clark and Ely native Anderson.  
The Associated Press reports this morning that with 99 percent of the precincts reported, Nolan received 38 percent of the vote with 20,851. Clark got 17,542 for 32  percent while Anderson received 15,972 for 29 percent.

USDA offers free conservation services to Cook County landowners

Tue, 08/14/2012 - 2:32pm
The Natural Resources Conservation Service, or NRCS, (an agency with the USDA) is looking to work with individuals on private or tribal lands in Cook County to help implement their mission of “Helping People Help the Land.”  This means that for no charge or obligation a conservationist from the Duluth Field Office along with the landowner or land manager will walk the property and discuss long range goals. During this time, the conservationist will collect information and can provide recommendations on how to improve your land for the following:

  • timber production
  • overall forest health
  • wildlife habitat
  • native pollinators
  • soil health
  • season extension for crop production
  • elimination of invasive upland plants

 Once the information is collected from the property and the owner/manager, the conservationist will compile it and present it in the form of a conservation plan.  If the landowner would like to implement any of those recommendations there is financial assistance through the Farm Bill that can help. 
The Duluth NRCS Field Office is very committed in assisting Cook County landowners in getting conservation on the ground; they just need your help knowing where the conservation is needed.
If you would like a free, no-obligation sight visit, call the NRCS Duluth Field Office at 218-720-5209 ext. 3.  Also, feel free to contact Cook County Soil and Water Conservation District with any questions at 218 387-3649.

Don't feed the bears!

Tue, 08/14/2012 - 10:30am
Bear on the Gunflint Trail

Nuisance bears—bruins that wander into people’s yards, getting into garbage cans, knocking down bird feeders and munching apples from trees—are not that unusual in Cook County. However, this year there seems to be an increase in bear encounters right inside the city of Grand Marais. Cook County Law Enforcement received several “bear problem” calls from the Grand Marais Rec. Park campground and one from Harbor Light Supper Club last week.
The first incident was at about 1 a.m. on Friday, August 3 on a tent camping site near Sweetheart’s Bluff. According to Grand Marais Recreation Park Manager Dave Tersteeg, a camper reported that a bear ripped the side of her tent, reached in and grabbed a bag of cookies.
A few hours later, at 10:30 p.m., another camper called about a bear tipping over garbage cans and going through coolers. Tersteeg said that was also in the primitive camping area, where there are trashcans instead of Dumpsters. “We haven’t had any problems with bear getting in our Dumpsters,” said Tersteeg, adding, “Yet. We hope that doesn’t happen.”
Since then there have been other late night visitors to the campground, this time a mother and cub. Coolers that had been left out have been tipped over and chewed on, said Tersteeg.
Tersteeg said the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had been contacted and is monitoring the situation. He said cautionary signs have been posted throughout the campground. The signs warn of bear activity in the park and advise: Keep a clean campsite. Do not leave food out overnight. Keep food in car or trailer.
Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Darin Fagerman has made several trips through the campground, sharing the same advice—keep a clean campsite and keep food inside vehicles.

Lunch for senior citizens at Birch Grove on Wednesdays

Tue, 08/14/2012 - 10:27am

There is always a lot happening at the Birch Grove Community Center. One popular offering is a community lunch.  Barb Merritt continues to serve delicious meals for local senior citizens every Wednesday. 

Community Center Director Patty Nordahl said all are welcome. “If you are not a regular, just give us a call at 663-7977 and let us know you are coming so we are sure to have enough,” said Nordahl.

Political campaign signs not allowed on highway rights of way

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 11:28am

DULUTH, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds everyone that placement of campaign signs and other unauthorized objects within state highway rights of way is prohibited under MN State Statute 160.27.

MnDOT campaign signs may not be placed on private property outside of the right of way limits without landowner consent.

Highway rights of way include the driving lanes, inside and outside shoulders, ditches and sight corners at intersections.

MnDOT crews will remove any unlawfully placed signs and impound them at one of its local maintenance truck stations.

Violation of the law is a misdemeanor. Civil penalties also may apply if the placement of such material contributes to a motor vehicle crash and injures a person or damages a motor vehicle that runs off the road.In addition, the Minnesota Outdoor Advertising Control Act (MN State Statute 173.15) prohibits erecting advertising devices on public utility poles, trees and shrubs, and painting or drawing on rocks or natural features.

Beth Petrowske of the Duluth MnDOT office says the agency administers these laws "in a fair and impartial manner. Political campaign signs are treated in the same way as any other signs wrongly placed on state highway property by businesses, churches, private citizens or charitable groups."

For information regarding the proper placement of campaign signs or where to find signs that have been removed, contact the local MnDOT office at 218-725-2800. See also


Election filing deadline is tomorrow for hospital board, School District 166 and Grand Marais City Council

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 11:21am

The election filing period for the North Shore Hospital, School District 166 and the Grand Marais City Council races ends tomorrow, August 14. There are still some open slots on the ballot for the November 6, 2012. Citizens interested in serving on the School District 166 school board, the Cook County North Shore Hospital Board or the Grand Marais City Council should file now!
The Cook County North Shore Hospital board has two members whose terms are coming up for re-election and both incumbents have filed for re-election. They are Kay Olson in District 4 (the Maple Hill/Gunflint Trail district) and Justin Mueller in District 2 (the east Grand Marais district).
The fee to file for the hospital board is $2.
School District 166 also has two board seats up for election. Currently serving in those positions is Leonard Sobanja, District 4 and Terry Collins, District 2. Both men have said they will not run. No one has filed yet for the District 2 seat, but Lorrinda “Sissy” Lunde has filed to run in the District 4 race.
The filing fee is $2 for school board as well.
In the City of Grand Marais, up for election are the mayor’s seat and two council positions. The incumbents are Mayor Larry “Bear” Carlson and Councilors Tim Kennedy and Jan Sivertson. Incumbent Mayor Carlson has filed to run for re-election. Councilor Kennedy has filed again, but Councilor Sivertson has not filed yet.
Anyone interested in running for office can file at Grand Marais City Hall. The filing fee is also $2.
For more information about the election, visit the Minnesota Secretary of State website at or contact Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers at (218) 387-