Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

AARP Tax Aides ready to assist with tax returns

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 1:21pm

The local AARP tax aide volunteers have been training every Tuesday in January and February. They also attended a mandatory IRS “webinar” on Wednesday, January 23.

All of this training is necessary, explained Pam McDougall, one of the number crunchers at the webinar. “There are always a lot of changes—and we expect even more this year.”

At their Tuesday sessions, the volunteers review tax exercises, update tax prep computers and prepare for the 2012 tax law tests. It seems like a lot of hard work for volunteers, but another volunteer, Chuck Flickinger said, “We enjoy it. It is rewarding to help people through the process.”

The local AARP TaxAides will once again be helping members of the community with their federal and state income taxes, and property tax refunds—free of charge.

People are helped on a first-come first-serve basis. Once tax aides have gotten the information and tax documents, they can tell you when your tax return will be ready, so that you can leave and come back later if you wish.

A TaxAide will check your return for accuracy, after which you will receive a printed copy of your return, which will be e-filed to the government, with your refund arriving in one to four weeks depending upon your choice of direct deposit or mail.

Rep. Dill supports DNR season closure: "Moose is iconic."

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 1:02pm

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced today the moose population in Northeastern Minnesota has dropped 35 percent from last year. The agency said it will not hold a season this fall or consider opening future seasons unless the population recovers.

District 3A Rep. David Dill said he fully supports the DNR action, and called the population drop “precipitous.” WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Dill moments after the season announcement was made.

Attached file

Cook County/Silver Bay Boys Alpine Team qualifies for state

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 5:26am

Six members of the Cook County/Silver Bay Boys Alpine Ski Team qualified for the State Meet after the team took second in the Section 7 Meet Tuesday at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.

The State Meet will be held Wednesday, February 13 at Giants Ridge.

Hermantown took first in the Section 7meet and CC/SB finished right behind them.

Anders Zimmer took the top spot for CC/SB by finishing eighth overall in 1:17.04. He was the only North Shore skier in the top 10.

Also qualifying for CC/SB were Will Lamb in 20th with a time of 1:19.47, Luke Fenwick in 22nd at 1:19.51, Logan Backstrom in 30th at 1:21.59, Kyle Martinson in 47th at 1:26.71. Collin Berglund did not finish the course.

The CC/SB girls team finished out of the running for the State Meet. Duluth East and Mounds View finished first and second in the Section 7 girls competition.

Keep it Moving in February

Tue, 02/05/2013 - 12:23pm

It’s not too late to register for “Keep it Moving in February,” where teams and individuals are challenged to just keep moving. If you've participated in the past, continue to use your existing username and password.
We've gone around Lake Superior more than 13 times in the spring! That is more than 16,000 miles of moving our bodies as a community. Let's see how many times we can do the Circle Tour in February.
Move It website features include: Track your individual and team miles of winter activities (indoor or outdoor); compare your progress this winter to your friends and neighbors; track your minutes of activity and watch your thermometer rise as you move toward the recommended weekly activity goal; an online calendar of active (indoor and outdoor) events in Cook County; and a link to the Volks Ski page to log your kilometers skied on Cook County's ski trails
All registered participants are eligible for moving to better health and state of mind, bragging rights, and for several gift certificates for fabulous prizes. Register online at  by clicking on the "Move It" icon.
Move It is sponsored by the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic with planning and support from Cook County Public Health and Human Services, Cook County Visitors Bureau, Birch Grove Foundation, Grand Marais Safe Routes to School, Superior North Outdoor Center,
and the Cook County Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP).

New Gunflint Ranger Nancy Larson meets Cook County Board of Commissioners

Tue, 02/05/2013 - 12:20pm

“I’m delighted to be here in Cook County on Lake Superior in the Gunflint District of the Superior National Forest,” new U.S. Forest Service Gunflint District Ranger Nancy Larson said as she introduced herself to the county board on January 22.  She wondered what issues the board might be interested in discussing with her.
Commissioner Sue Hakes suggested that Larson might want to become familiar with issues related to the South Fowl snowmobile trail and to meet the members of the Arrowhead Coalition for Multiple Use (ACMU).  “I feel like I’m on track a little bit,” Larson said, “because I know a little about both of those issues.”
Commissioner Bruce Martinson mentioned the potential trades of Forest Service land for state and county land in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).  Larson said she was glad to be here at this point in the process, “where the rubber meets the road.”  She will be reviewing comments they have received on these potential trades with Forest Supervisor Brenda Halter. 
Martinson said numerous people have told him the Forest Service’s new maps of the Travel Management Plan are very difficult to read.  Larson said she has heard the same thing and has discussed this with her colleagues.  The format of the map was prescribed by the Washington office, she said.  “We have absolutely no delegated authority to change it.”  If someone put a readable map together, she said, they would be happy to make it available.
The ATV Club is trying to address this but has no money to make a map, Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk said. 
The purpose of a map is to be useful, Commissioner Garry Gamble pointed out.  If the Forest Service had invited focus groups to provide feedback on the format of the maps, they would have realized it was not useful to the public.

Lodging tax revenues for December continue to improve

Tue, 02/05/2013 - 10:32am

Lodging tax revenues for the final month of 2012 were up compared to December of last year county-wide. According to the latest report from the Cook County Auditor-Treasurer’s office, the year-to-date totals were up 4.9 percent across the board for reporting tourism organizations.

Lutsen-Tofte revenues were up 3.1 percent from last December. Grand Marais revenues were up 9.1 percent from this time last year. The Gunflint Trail revenues for December were up 7.3 percent.

The Auditor’s office emphasizes that not all businesses report taxes at the same time each year and revenues are an “apples-to-apples comparison.” That means only businesses which reported lodging tax revenues both in December of this year and last year are included in the monthly accounting.