Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

New management, new name, for waste management company

Tue, 06/18/2013 - 9:20am

A casual conversation between friends last spring turned into a partnership when Barry Pederson and Dustin Hanson joined forces to purchase Pederson Disposal from Barry’s father, Ray “Punky” Pederson. The business officially changed hands on May 1.
With a fresh start came a new name: North Shore Waste Management. 
The business currently employees five people and the company’s routes run from Cascade River to Grand Portage and to the end of the Gunflint Trail.
“Our biggest expense is fuel,” said Hanson, noting his company sends about five trucks to the Duluth landfill in the winter and seven or eight trips in the summer.
Pederson and Hanson have known each other since kindergarten, and graduated from Cook County High School in 1998. Both headed off to college, but Pederson came home a couple of years later while Hanson moved from Duluth to the Twin Cities after taking a job with Upper Lakes Foods. After ten years he moved out of that job and bought a hotel, restaurant/bar in River Falls.
“I recently sold the hotel but kept the restaurant and bar,” said Hanson, who has a house in Grand Marais and in River Falls where his wife, Heidi and two kids Jacob, age 7, and Kaya, age 10, live.
“I’ve told the kids that they are future garbage men” Hanson said with a smile.
As far as the business, Pederson said, “We are interested in trying some new things. We’re positive and looking forward to the future.”
“We will be looking for feedback from the customers,” Hanson said. “We would like to make changes that will better help the customer and the business.”

New firehall buildings dedicated on Gunflint Trail

Tue, 06/18/2013 - 8:02am
Gunflint Trail Poplar Firehall complex

The Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department held a grand opening celebration for the newly expanded and upgraded Poplar Firehall, Wednesday, June 12, 2013.  WTIP's Carah Thomas was there. (Click on link to WTIP North Shore Community Radio below to hear the report.)

The Gunflint Trail is a two-lane asphalt road originating in Grand Marais, Minnesota, and ending at Gull Lake,Minnesota. It is the only access to this major outdoor year-round wilderness recreation area.

The Fire District includes over 700 private and commercial property parcels and is surrounded by the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Superior National Forest. The main economic activity in this area is the resort and outfitting business, which attracts many overnight tourists throughout the year. Since 1992, the fire department has been responding to structure and wildland fires, medical emergencies, and search and rescue.

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"I can camp" program at Temperance River State Park on June 22

Mon, 06/17/2013 - 3:11pm

Families will learn all the skills they need to camp outdoors at a one-night “I Can Camp!” program on Saturday, June 22, at Temperance River State Park.
Experienced instructors from Conservation Corps Minnesota will teach participants basic camping and outdoor skills, including how to set up a tent, start a campfire and prepare simple and delicious meals. All camping equipment is provided (including tents, air mattresses and cook stoves). Participants just bring their own food and bedding (sleeping bags or blankets and pillows).
The “I Can Camp!” program fee is $40 for a tent that accommodates up to six people. A one-day vehicle pass will be included as part of the program fee or participants may buy a year-round Minnesota state parks permit for an additional $20.
Advance registration is required. To register, call 866-857-2757 daily between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. For more information, visit or call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
This program is part of an ongoing effort by the DNR Parks and Trails Division to connect people with the outdoors. The division also offers skill-building programs that introduce fishing, paddling, climbing and archery to beginners.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture to talk to county board about gypsy moth lumber quarantine Tuesday

Mon, 06/17/2013 - 3:06pm

On Tuesday, June 18, Lucia Hunt from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will appear before the county board at 11 a.m. with information about the proposed 2014 quarantine on lumber because of gypsy moths in Cook and Lake county.
Since 2006 the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has worked to suppress or slow the spread of gypsy moths in Cook and Lake County. Every year people are hired to trap gypsy moths and last year a record number were captured. Those results helped with the decision to call for quarantine on export of wood products from the Arrowhead region, making this the first area to be quarantined in Minnesota.
At this point the MDA is in the process of gathering information about impacts. Industry, environmental, and local governments are welcome to weigh in on the proposal either via the survey ( or through written comments sent to

City finds savings by refunding bonds

Sat, 06/15/2013 - 10:20pm

Grand Marais city councilors and Public Utilities Commission members began council’s May 29, 2013 meeting by approving the refunding of two bonds. The action is expected to save taxpayers about $300,000 over the next 17 years.

Bruce Kimmel and Nick Anhunt of Ehlers Inc., the city’s financial advisors, attended the meeting and explained the bidding process. There were three bids received for the $3.5 million General Refunding Bonds, Series 2013A, and the $1.4 million electric system revenue refunding bonds, Series 2013B. The sale of the bonds was authorized by council at its prior meeting.

Although the final bids were lower than Ehlers’ original estimates, which projected that the city would save over $700,000 by the refunding, the advisors said the action was still a profitable one worth pursuing.

“This will save money for both the city and the PUC, but just as importantly it will shorten the terms by years,” said Kimmel, noting that six years will be shaved off the payment period for the larger of the two bond sales, and one year reduced from the smaller bond payments. The bonds will now be paid off by 2030, as opposed to the most recently revised timetable of 2036 – a reduction in six years of payments from Ehlers’ original proposal, which called for payment over the next 23 years.

Weekend News Roundup for June 15

Sat, 06/15/2013 - 9:17am

Each week the WTIP news staff puts together a roundup of the news over the past five days. A vehicle rollover claims the life of a Cook County teenager, local fire crew are dispatched to Colorado fire, protesters disrupt mining test site, and another route for Hwy 61 is suggested…all in this week’s news.


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