Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Strong winds, temperatures hamper ice removal on highways across Minnesota

Fri, 04/19/2013 - 8:27am
Photo by Andrew Ciscel via

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) reports that heavy snow compaction and ice from Thursday’s extensive snowfall are making travel difficult to hazardous from the southwest corner to the northeast corner of Minnesota. Roads in the Twin Cities Metro area are in fair condition.  

MnDOT urges drivers to be patient, plan for trips to take additional time and if possible, avoid travel. Plow crews are currently working to remove the ice and compacted snow, but are inhibited by strong winds, drifting snow and cold temperatures in rural areas.

MnDOT maintenance personnel say Friday’s primary concern is the wind. Drifting snow can cover a highway again immediately after a plow has just passed. The wind may blow salt off the road, and the salt becomes less effective in colder temperatures.

Officials do not anticipate any interstate or highway closures at this time; however, motorists may encounter brief lane and road closures where crashes occur.

Crews expect road conditions to slowly improve throughout the day, as precipitation ends across the state Friday morning.


Motorists should remember to:

  • Check road conditions at or call 511; it takes time to get roads back to good driving conditions.
  • Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.
  • Stay back at least five car lengths behind the plow, far from the snow cloud. Snowplow operators will pull over when it is safe to do so to allow traffic build-up to pass.
  • Stay alert for snowplows that turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They may also travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.
  • Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions. Snowplows typically move at slower speeds.

Stone Bridge Singers bring back Basket Social

Thu, 04/18/2013 - 9:26am

The Stone Bridge Singers, the talented young drum group from Grand Portage, have been invited to drum at the “Pow-Wow for Hope,” organized by the American Indian Cancer Foundation on Saturday, May 4 in Minneapolis.
The drum group is hosting an “Old Time Basket Social Fundraiser” at the Grand Portage Community Center on Saturday, April 20from 4 – 8 p.m. to raise money for travel expenses and for their “Pow-Wow for Hope” team. Monies raised will help address the cancer burdens faced by many American Indian families throughout Indian Country.
Years ago in Grand Portage, a basket social was a common event. A basket social was a dance with decorated box lunches/dinners that are auctioned off. Someone from the audience would be the volunteer and the crowd would compete to “win” their favorite basket. Usually, the winning bidder would then eat dinner with the person who donated the basket. Eventually, the basket socials contained items other than food and became decorated quite elaborately. The winning bidder would generally take their basket of goodies home with them.
The auctioneer the April 20 event will be Garret Swader. Everyone is encouraged to come out and bid on a basket of fabulous items. There will also be a 50/50 raffle, silent auctions, food, music by “Portage” and more family fun.

Business luncheon features E.R. Perry Signs & Engraving

Thu, 04/18/2013 - 8:19am

Elizabeth Perry, owner of E.R. Perry Signs & Engraving LLC  
in Grand Marais, may be Cook County's least-known business success.
 From her shop and production facility, Perry and her employees 
prepare a wide array of printed and engraved tags, signs and other 
products for clients across the country. They sell those products 
online, primarily, and ship via UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service 
– all from Grand Marais!
Perry will tell her story and talk about how she accomplishes all of 
this at Cook County Higher Education's April Business Networking 
Luncheon. The luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m. and conclude by 1 p.m. 
on Wednesday, April 24, at The Pie Place Restaurant, 207 Wisconsin St. 
in Grand Marais.
Perry describes her talk as “a presentation by a local small cottage 
industry that brings in money from across North America utilizing the 
Internet and UPS shipping. No tourists or good weather required. A 
brief tale of the trials and tribulations of making a small job shop 
big. Elizabeth Perry will speak about her 39 years in the sign 
business and how her experience with the Internet can work for many 
small businesses located as far out as Cook County.”
To register for this presentation (formerly known as the Women’s 
Business Network Luncheon) by one of Cook County's outstanding 
business leaders, e-mail or call 
218-387-3411. Cost for the luncheon is $15.

Dancers to perform at Betsy Bowen Studio April 19 - 21

Wed, 04/17/2013 - 11:30am

Members of Lenna Stever’s dance class will be presenting three dance recitals at Betsy Bowen’s studio on April 19, 20, and 21. The performance will start at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. 
Dancers have been practicing all winter at the Grand Marais Art Colony under Stever’s direction. The show will feature ballet and jazz dancing.

Cost is $10 for adults and $5 for kids 18 and under.

"Living with Grief" program offered by Care Partners

Wed, 04/17/2013 - 11:24am

The Hospice Foundation of America's 2013 Living With Grief program, Improving Care for Veterans Facing Illness and Death, will be held April 24 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Corcoran Classroom, lower level of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic.
The presentation will help end-of-life care providers and health and human service professionals enhance their sensitivities and understanding of veterans and provide new interventions to better serve dying veterans and their families.  Attention is placed on veteran generations now aging and most likely to be seen in end-of-life care (World War II, Korea, Vietnam). The program also explores the traditions and sensitivities of grieving families and resources that can assist them.
Continuing education hours are available. No registration is required. For more information, contact Kay Grindland at Care Partners, 387-3788 or

Tornado drills part of Severe Weather Awareness Week, April 15 - 19

Wed, 04/17/2013 - 9:51am

Because severe weather can threaten the lives and property of 
Minnesotans at any time, Gov. Mark Dayton has proclaimed April 15-19 
as Severe Weather Awareness Week.
On Thursday, April 18, Cook County will join with the National Weather 
Service in statewide tornado drills at 1:45 p.m. and 6:55 p.m. Plan to 
participate with your colleagues in the afternoon and with your family 
at home in the evening.
A NOAA weather radio set to “Alert” will automatically notify you of 
tornado drills and real weather and other emergencies. They can also 
provide lights, radio and cell phone chargers during power outages, 
and can be recharged themselves by solar panels or hand cranks. Many 
models are available at retail outlets or online.
Subscribe to get free community alerts from Cook County Dispatch. This 
system, combined with other emergency alert methods, is designed to 
get emergency messages to the public quickly and effectively. This 
does not preclude you from calling 911 if you need emergency 
information; it simply provides an opportunity for the county to 
disseminate critical information if and when the need arises.
Go to click on Outbound 9-1-1 Emergency 
Notification System and provide the information requested on the form. 
As of Dec. 18, 2012 there are 5,556 land lines and 153 cell phones 
registered for this service. The Emergency Notification System will be 
tested during the tornado drill on April 18.
Residents can also build a basic home survival kit that includes food