Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

WTIP Opioid program elicits tip, leads to arrest

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 2:43pm

As a result of WTIP’s recent Third Thursday program on opioid abuse, a tip was received and an arrest was made of someone importing fentanyl into the county. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Sheriff Pat Eliasen.

Update: Chief Deputy Will Sandstrom from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office said the department was contacted regarding the use and distribution of fentanyl at several resorts located inside of Cook County.

After following up on tips from the public, two people were detained in connection with a controlled substance delivered to a local resort in the mail. Jeremy Jeska was charged with a controlled substance violation and was booked into the Cook County jail. The package that was intercepted by law enforcement contained a vial of liquid that matched a vial located in Jeska’s pocket when he was arrested.

At the time of arrest, Jeska was in possession of liquid fentanyl, and powdered cocaine. 


High insurance costs drive county levy higher

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 11:18am

Cook County Commissioners were busy on Tuesday, September 20, and highlighting their meeting was a 4-1 vote to renew the county’s health plan with the Northeast Service Cooperative Pool, a 19.1 percent increase over last year’s plan.

It was an increase that left some commissioners shaken.

“This is 4.5 percent of our county’s levy,” said Commissioner Garry Gamble. “Some counties are levying at that.”

The increase is a $300,000 hike. Total cost of the plan is $1,869,276. The county has 26 single plans and 84 family plans.

Gamble asked Cadwell is he had enough time to look at other options before the commissioners set the final levy at the end of the year, but Cadwell said the insurance plan had to be submitted by October 15. He also said it would take his department months to properly research and present health plan options for the county board to examine.

Commissioner Frank Moe said he thought the increase in cost was “too dramatic” and he moved to not approve the plan. His motion died of a lack of a second.

“I understand where Commissioner Moe is coming from,” said Gamble, “But if we do nothing we are abdicating our responsibility.”

With that a motion was made, seconded and approved with a no vote from Moe to pass the 19.1 percent increase in health insurance.

The board can renegotiate with the employees’ union for health plans in 2018, and Cadwell said he would have a variety of options for the board and the union to consider before it was time to set the 2018 budget.


This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at


Progressing through autumn: a little rain a little sun

Mon, 09/26/2016 - 10:03am

Once we get through a couple of rainy days, the weather should clear up nicely after Wednesday through the weekend.  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Stewart.


Photos from Year in the Wilderness and a message to WTIP listeners from Dave Freeman

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 3:25pm

To conclude their year spent entirely within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Dave and Amy Freeman paddled out to some 100 friends, fellow adventurers, activists and curious people on Friday, Sept. 23 on the Kawisihiwi River south of Ely. An even larger crowd waited back on the mainland.

The large flotilla left in kayaks, canoes and a collection of boats from River Point Resort and Outfitting Company located on Birch Lake. Joining Dave and Amy in their canoe was their loyal companion, a sled dog named Tank.

All the photographs in this collection were taken during the exit party held at River Point in honor of the Freemans and during the flotilla event.

The Freemans paddled some 2,000 miles and visited an estimated 500 lakes and rivers during the past year. They traveled by canoe, skis, snowshoes and dog team, in addition to walking countless rods on portage trails.

Dave and Amy dedicated their year in the wilderness in support of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters’ efforts to protect the region from proposed copper-nickel mines in the BWCAW watershed.

And while the Year in the Wilderness is now complete, Dave and Amy continue on. The couple will travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with lawmakers on Monday, Sept. 26.

Below is an audio message from Dave Freeman to listeners and supporters of WTIP and the weekly podcasts the Freemans provided this station during their Year in the Wilderness. 


Rally for the Cure raises thousands for research

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 8:05am

From the top of their heads to the bottoms of their feet, most of the 64 ladies who took part in the 9th annual Rally for the Cure golf tournament at Superior National at Lutsen on a warm, sunny Sunday, September 18 day were outfitted entirely in pink. Pink. Pink, and more pink.

At tournament’s end, they had enthusiastically raised $3,700 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Rally for the Cure is a grassroots organization that works to spread awareness about breast cancer and early detection in support of the Susan G. Komen Foundation through organized golf, tennis and dining events.

“We had ladies from Dryden, Thunder Bay, Duluth, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Brainerd, Silver Bay and of course Cook County play,” said Superior National Professional Golf Association (PGA) pro Heath Ekstrom, who is the chief ambassador and organizer of the tournament. 

The event started the night before with a social hour hosted by Ekstrom’s wife Leah, with about 40 women attending.

Prizes were given for best costume, best decorated cart, best theme, raffles, and those who paid for mulligans had that money donated to the Rally for a Cure fund, said Ekstrom.

“At various times ladies would stop and talk about people they know who have been affected by breast cancer,” said Ekstrom, who said the day has added meaning to him because he lost his grandmother to breast cancer.

“It was a great day, but our numbers were down a bit this year. We have had a high of 89 golfers one year. I have put out a challenge to our local ladies to recruit more golfers for next year’s Rally which will be held on September 17,” Ekstrom said, who added he would seek more sponsors for the tournament.


This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper

School District 166 looks at special education services

Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:59am

One of the agenda items for the School District 166 September 15 school board meeting was a review of the district’s 2016-2017 goals. One of the goals was to better define the district’s relationship with the Northland Learning Center, the regional cooperative that provides special education services to ISD 166.

The school board took steps toward that goal during the meeting with a report from Reggie Engebritson, executive director of the Northland Learning Center (NLC).

Board members asked questions about special education staffing decisions.  They also asked how students in need of special education are identified.

Engebritson explained that the first step is at ISD 166. She said if a teacher sees a student struggling with academics or behavior, he or she can share those concerns with the ISD 166 Child Study Team (CST). Engebritson said the team gives the teacher recommendations for “pre-referral interventions.” The teacher follows the recommendations and brings data back to the team and that information goes to NLC.

Within 30 days, an evaluation is done, said Engebritson, and then the school, parents and special education specialists have a meeting to develop an individual education plan—an IEP.

Engebritson said she hopes that answers the question sometimes asked, which is “Why does it takes so long to get children special education services.”

Another goal set by the school board is to ensure that the school district IEP team includes representation from the Grand Portage community, which will be done, said Superintendent Dr. Bill Crandall.


This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper



Fond du Lac Band to conduct moose hunt in northeastern Minnesota starting Sept. 24

Fri, 09/23/2016 - 10:21am

The State of Minnesota suspended its Minnesota moose hunt indefinitely in 2013 after the January 2013 survey showed a moose population decline of 35 percent. The survey estimated the moose population at 2,760 animals, down from 4,230 in 2012 and far below the 8,840 counted in 2006.

The 1854 Treaty Authority, which manages off-reservation hunting, fishing and gathering rights for the Grand Portage and Boise Forte Bands, followed suit and cancelled moose hunts on off-reservation (ceded) lands. The Fond du Lac Band also halted its harvest on ceded land.

However, Fond du Lac Band has decided to once again conduct a moose hunt on ceded land. Fond du Lac Band held a lottery for band members to hunt in the 1854 ceded territory, offering 50 bull moose permits. The season will run from September 24 to December 31, or until 25 bulls have been taken.

Hunters are required to register their moose within 24 hours of harvest. Hunters will be given 48-hours notice of the season’s closing if 25 moose are harvested before December 31.

The area open to hunting, the ceded territory, includes portions of St. Louis County and nearly all of Lake and Cook counties as well as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It excludes developed areas such as the towns of Silver Bay, Beaver Bay and Grand Marais.

The Cook County News-Herald reached Dr. Seth Moore, director of biology and environment for the Grand Portage Band and asked if Grand Portage was also going to have a moose hunt in 2016. Moore said a decision had not been made yet.

Moore said if a subsistence hunt for moose is held, the 1854 Treaty Authority sets the season and allocates permits for the Boise Forte and Grand Portage. Moore said the average harvest when hunts have been conducted in the past has been “about 10 animals for each band, for a total of about 20 animals.”

Board chair of Cooperation Station discusses status of daycare options in Cook County

Fri, 09/23/2016 - 7:29am

The Cook County YMCA is in the process of taking over Cooperation Station, a local daycare provider. We spoke with Cooperation Station Board Chair Betsy Jorgenson about what this means for that organization and other local daycare providers. 


Schroeder considers use of Minnesota Power maintenance building

Thu, 09/22/2016 - 12:18pm

With Minnesota Power’s Taconite Harbor Energy Center coal-fired power plant scheduled to be idled on September 26, there is a lot going on at the plant, General Manager David Rannetsberger said to Schroeder supervisors at their September 13 meeting.

One of those items is what to do with the maintenance building located across Highway 61 on the hill.  Rannetsberger presented a rough draft of a lease proposal for the building for supervisors to consider.

With the power plant on the lake closing, West End firefighters lose a valuable place to fill their pumper trucks. However, there is a 6,000-gallon water tank in the maintenance garage that firefighters could use, said Rannetsberger.

When asked the lease cost, Rannetsberger replied, “I was thinking about $250 per month, plus some snowplowing. If you lease the building we would want you to keep the lower road plowed as part of the agreement.”

Another part of that agreement would include Schroeder paying to heat the building while Minnesota Power would pay for the electricity.

Supervisor Roger “Bill” McKeever asked if Schroeder could switch propane companies because the township’s current provider is cheaper than the one who fills the tank for Minnesota Power. Rannetsberger said that option could be explored. He also said if the building was kept at 40 F or so it wouldn’t cost much to keep it heated.

“If we [Minnesota Power] want the building back we would give Schroeder 60 days notice,” he said.

Supervisor Bruce Martinson said the board would need the firefighters’ blessing before they pursued a lease, but early indications are that the building might be of good use to the township.

An afternoon up the Sawbill Trail with the Rainbow Family

Thu, 09/22/2016 - 11:06am

A regional gathering of the Rainbow family took place on national forest land from Sept. 9 to 22. The gathering was held in a remote setting near the Sawbill Trail and Temperance River. It featured about 60 people coming and going, with some participants staying for the entire two weeks. 

WTIP's Joe Friedrichs paid a visit to the camp and has this report. 


County Board prepares for vote on sales-tax increase

Wed, 09/21/2016 - 2:08pm

During a 90-minute afternoon session of their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20, the Cook County Commissioners fine tuned a draft resolution regarding the implementation of a sales tax increase. The a half-cent sales tax would help fund the local highway department. 

After much discussion on the topic of using the generated funds to build or improve facilities for the highway department, it appears facilities will not appear on an initial list that the tax revenue can be spent on. However, the board made it very clear during the public meeting that facilities will likely be discussed as a possible option for the funds at some point in the future. If facilities for the highway department will be constructed by sales tax funds, a public hearing will be held prior to any such action.

A final vote on the resolution is expected during the board’s next meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 27. 


Author Peter Geye shares inspiration for latest novel at Grand Marais Library Sept. 23

Wed, 09/21/2016 - 12:30pm

Wintering, Peter Geye’s third novel set on the shores of Lake Superior, will be the topic of a Sept. 23 presentation at the Grand Marais Public Library.

Listeners will follow a father and son’s epic journey into the forbidding wilds of the Boundary Waters as the stories unfold – beginning when a now-demented and elderly Harry escapes his sickbed and vanishes into the woods, instantly changing the Eide family, and many other lives, forever.

He’d done this once before, some 30 years earlier in 1963, fleeing a crumbling marriage and bringing along Gus, his 18-year-old son, pitching a voyage into the wilderness as an adventure, one to last the winter, one to re-enact the ancient voyageur’s journeys of discovery.

It's certainly a season that Gus has never forgotten. And now, with his father pronounced dead, Gus relates their adventures of that season – the waterfalls and big winds, the endless paddling and portaging, the fantastical maps duplicated by Harry and relied on too much, and the sense of not being alone.

Together, Gus and Berit Lovig (who’d spent much of her life waiting for Harry to find her) fill in the stories of Harry’s life, and of the life of the town of Gunflint.

This presentation begins at 6 p.m. and will include slides of the sources that inspired and informed the writing of this novel, including images of the maps that play a central role in the story, and in the exploration of this territory.

Geye received his MFA degree from the University of New Orleans and his PhD from Western Michigan University. He was born and raised in Minnesota and continues to live here with his wife and three children. He is the author of the award winning novels Safe from The Sea and The Lighthouse Road.

 For more information, contact the library at (218) 387-1140.


Ann Reed to perform at Arrowhead Center for the Arts Sept. 24

Wed, 09/21/2016 - 12:28pm

Beloved Minnesota singer/songwriter Ann Reed will perform at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24.

Reed is one of the few female guitarists who primarily play the 12-string guitar. Reed, a lifelong Minnesotan, began teaching herself to play at age 12 and has been a performer for her entire adult life. Growing up, she was influenced by artists including the Kingston Trio, early Joni Mitchell, Cream, Buffalo Springfield, the Beatles, and Pete Seeger — plus the writers and singers of her parents' era: Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Ella Fitzgerald, and Rosemary Clooney.

A touring musician for over 30 years, Reed has covered Canada and the U.S. from coast to coast, performing at theaters and clubs. She’s also played numerous festivals, including Bumbershoot, Winnipeg, Black Mountain, and the National Women's Music Festival. She’s appeared on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion, ABC's Good Morning America, NPR's Morning Edition, and countless radio stations across the U.S.  In 2007 she wrote and performed Heroes: A Celebration of Women Who Changed History and Changed Our Lives, a theatrical presentation produced by Minnesota Public Radio. In a departure from her usual repertoire, she has developed a musical tribute (with Denise Tabet) called Nothing but Class: The Songs of Dorothy Fields, honoring the first woman to be inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame.

For tickets or more information, contact the North Shore Music Association (event sponsor) at (218) 387-1272.


This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at

LSProject: The Hovland plane crash

Tue, 09/20/2016 - 12:30pm

A Cessna 185 disappeared in the fall of 1971, and no trace of the plane or its three occupants was found until nearly 12 years later.

In this edition of The Lake Superior Project, we hear the story of the Hovland plane crash from Orvis Lunke - one of the four DNR forestry workers who discovered the remains of the plane in a remote section of forest, just inland from Lake Superior. 

(View slideshow for photos of the plaque and the crash site)


Events planned to commemorate International Day of Peace, Sept. 21

Tue, 09/20/2016 - 11:27am

September 21 has been designated as the International Day of Peace and the day is being commemorated with two events.

Kathleen Sullivan of Grand Marais explains that dedicating September 21 as a day of peace was created with a resolution from the United Nations in 2001. Citizens around the world are called to gather to promote the ideal of peace in our communities, countries and the world.

Sullivan has organized a “Gather for Peace” event on Wednesday evening, September 21 at 7 p.m. at the Grand Marais Rec Park in Grand Marais.

Sullivan said, “We will sing, share ideas, listen to some readings. Join us.”

Trinity Lutheran Church in Hovland is also holding a gathering, an Offering of Music and Prayers featuring music by Jon Romer of Cass Lake and Bill Beckstrand of Hovland. The program will include Native American flute with Romer, piano with Beckstrand, and violin with Erika Ternes.

The program will feature traditional Native American pieces, spirituals and old-time hymns.

Romer, who received graduate and undergraduate degrees in music education, choral music and choral literature at Gustavus Adolphus College and at the University of Iowa, has spent much of his career integrating Native American music into the contemporary multicultural classroom.

Beckstrand, local composer and musician, widely known for his vocal and instrumental compositions, worked with Romer in the past and suggested that they perform together for this special gathering.

The Offering of Music and Prayers will be at 7 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hovland

Trinity Lutheran Church Pastor Kris Garey said, “We join others around the world who pray for peace.”


This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at