Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Grand Portage elections next week

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 8:13am

The Grand Portage Business committee elections are Tuesday April 1st. Polls open at 8am and close at 8pm.

There are three candidates for the 4-year term of Secretary/Treasurer: April McCormick (Clearwater-Day), Dana Logan and Dennis B. Morrison.

Candidates for Committeeperson – 1, a 4-year term include Amber Porter, Ricky Parent, Toby Stephens, Rob Hull, Mike Keyport, Orlando “Dedo” Swader and Norma Hendrickson-Roth.

Candidates for Committeeperson – 2, also a 4-year term include William “Bill” Myers, John Morrin and Bonnie Johnson.

Getting Home Canned Goods to Market...Safely

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 7:30am

Cook County Extension is co-hosting a webinar Friday March 28th on the home preparation of canned goods for commercial sale.  If you’re thinking about selling your home canned products at a Farmer’s Market or your fabulous cranberry jelly at a local gift shop, then Friday’s webinar is for you.  North Shore Morning host Barb Rawitzer spoke with University of Minnesota Extension Food Safety Educator Deb Botzek-Linn, one of the presenters, on North Shore Morning.

The webinar will be at the Cook County Courthouse from 12:30 to 3:30pm, Friday March 28th.  More information from Diane at 387-3015.

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Mysteries of Lake Superior, from Top to Bottom

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 12:18pm

The Lake Superior Binational Forum hosts ‘the Mysteries of Lake Superior, from Top to Bottom’, Friday March 28th.  It’s a day of speakers and discussion at Barkers Island Inn, in Superior Wisconsin.  North Shore Morning host Joe Detrick learns more in this interview with the Forum's U.S. coordinator Lissa Radke.   

A schedule of presenters and more information is in the agenda.


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County board approves construction to extend sidewalk on County Road 7

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 11:57am

The Cook County commissioners’ room was packed on March 18, 2014 for the public comment period that precedes the board’s business meeting.

More than 30 people showed up to advocate for the county board approving funds that would allow a sidewalk to be built from County Road 7 from the old Gunflint Trail (5th Avenue West) to Birchwood Apartments.

The area has the 24-unit Birchwood Apartments and the 24-unit Sawtooth Ridges for seniors, as well as the care center and the hospital. It is a high traffic area for kids and seniors to walk in, especially during times before and after school.

Speaking in order were Jay Arrowsmith Decoux, who presented names of people from Sawtooth Ridges apartments in favor of building the sidewalk; Great Expectations Administrator Peter James; Sawtooth Elementary Principal Gwen Carman; Danny Garcia, caretaker at Sawtooth Ridges; Jennifer Schulz, a public health nurse who lives across the street from the hospital at the corner of the 5th Avenue and County Road 7; Kristine Bottorff, resident of Birchwood apartments; Debbie Benedict, representing the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic Board of Directors and Active Living Steering Committee (ALSC) and Moving Matters Coordinator Kristin Wharton.

 Garcia summed up everyone’s sentiments when he said, “We see a lot of folks that use that area. We see a lot of foot traffic. We’re definitely in favor of seeing the sidewalk put in.”

Wharton said the Safe Routes to School program had named this area for a sidewalk to be built as its number one priority in 2010 and that discussions for its construction had been ongoing since then with the county board, city of Grand Marais, the two schools in town, and Grand Portage. She urged the board to pass a motion calling for the construction of the sidewalk, making the area a safe and accessible place for people to walk, bike and exercise.

County Attorney's criminal sexual conduct case to continue Thursday, March 27

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 11:55am

The hearing in the fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct case of Cook County Attorney Timothy Scannell that was postponed in January 2014 will be held this week, on Thursday, March 27 at 1:15 p.m. at the St. Louis County courthouse in Duluth.

At the hearing, a contested omnibus hearing, Judge Shaun Floerke will consider if the matter will continue to trial and if so, what evidence can be used at trial.

Reached at his office on March 18, Thomas Heffelfinger, Special Prosecutor for Cook County said the attorneys in the case—Heffelfinger for the county, Joseph Tamburino of Caplan & Tamburino for Scannell—submit motions to the judge in advance of the hearing.

Tamburino filed on motion on Scannell’s behalf on February 28, 2014, arguing that the grand jury empaneled in October 22, 2013 based its indictment “upon inadmissible evidence and inaccurate law.”

Although supporting documents for the motion are not public because they pertain to a juvenile, Tamburino said in his motion, “No probable cause exists to indict the defendant, and therefore the indictment should be dismissed.”

Heffelfinger said. “Our motion is the opposite of that.”

County Attorney Scannell has been free on his own recognizance since his October 2013 indictment with the condition that he has no contact with the alleged victim or with any of the witnesses in the case.

Scannell came under public scrutiny after a Cook County family concerned about the safety and wellbeing of their then-17-year-old daughter issued a harassment restraining order against him on December 4, 2012. An investigation and the grand jury indictment followed.

Scannell first became the center of media attention on December 15, 2011 when he was shot by a defendant he had successfully convicted of criminal sexual conduct with a teenaged girl.

Taxpayers can donate to help wildlife when submitting taxes

Sun, 03/23/2014 - 10:08am

 Taxpayers can once again help the state’s many wildlife species by donating to the DNR’s wildlife checkoff fund when they submit their taxes.

Donations made to the DNR’s wildlife checkoff fund are used by the DNR to help protect and manage the state's "nongame" wildlife species, which includes more than 800 kinds of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, butterflies and selected invertebrates that are not traditionally hunted or harvested.  This also includes conservation efforts for threatened and endangered species. 

Specifically, the species that have benefited from these efforts are loons, bald eagles, trumpeter swans, peregrine falcons, eastern bluebirds, Blanding's turtles, bats, timber rattlesnakes, great blue herons and other waterbirds like egrets and grebes.  The money raised also helps acquire land and easements to protect habitat, manage prairies, forests and wetlands, create buffer zones along lakeshores, assist to private landowners and local governments with habitat management, and fund nature educational programs.

Contributions to the nongame wildlife checkoff fund can be made on the 2014 Minnesota tax form, or online at