Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Sheriff talks about Back to School and Labor Day

Tue, 08/30/2016 - 10:17am

School starts and that means heightened patrols by law enforcement in the school zone. Also it’s Labor Day weekend, the last big weekend before the leaf season starts. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Sheriff Pat Eliasen.


It's not always cooler by the lake

Tue, 08/30/2016 - 6:12am

Another week of nice late summer weather with a mix of sun and showers.  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Carol Christenson about the week ahead and why it’s not always cooler by the lake.


County lends support to single-track biking trails

Mon, 08/29/2016 - 12:05pm

Tim Kennedy, president, Superior Cycling Association (SCA), asked the county to sponsor a request by SCA to seek funds from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Program (GMRPTP).

“This request is intended to provide funding for the construction of multi-purpose mountain biking trails connecting Lutsen Mountains and the Britton Peak trailhead,” said Kennedy at the county board's August 22 meeting.

During GMRPTP’s last project evaluation, the Cook County Mountain Bike Trail System proposal was assigned a high rating, and was given a designation as a Regional Park Trail. Currently there are 15.5 miles of single-track trails at Britton Peak and at Pincushion.

As a sponsor of the grant, Kennedy said there would be no cost to the county. And, he added, SCA would continue to maintain the current trails and more if they are built. He also suggested the arrangement between the county and the SCA be strengthened through a legal document that spells out each party’s responsibilities and duties. The board agreed and County Attorney Hicken will draft the document and bring it back to the board. The board passed a motion to act as a sponsor for the grant request.


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

County begins 2017 levy discussion

Mon, 08/29/2016 - 12:03pm

County Administrator Jeff Cadwell presented preliminary 2017 county levy requests to the Cook County Board of Commissioners at the August 22 meeting. In this first draft, the proposed levy has grown 25.99 percent, an increase of $840,359.

In 2016, commissioners worked through initial requests that would have resulted in a 27.8 percent levy increase before winnowing it to an 8.5 percent levy increase over 2015.

Both Cadwell and Auditor Braidy Powers have been meeting with department heads over the past month and Cadwell said there would be no easy cuts made from those stated needs.

Commissioner Garry Gamble pointed out that from 1989 to 2017 “expenditures to revenues have nearly tripled.”

Gamble was close. In 1989 budgeted expenditures were $7,996,541 and budgeted revenues were $4,892,395. For 2017 county expenditures will be $19,7110,385 while budgeted revenues will be $10,802,290.

“We have to approve a preliminary budget by September 30,” Powers said. “It’s not going to be easy. We will need your [board] guidance and direction if we are going to go back to the departments.”

Commissioner Frank Moe worried that “We are number one or two in the state,” in the amount of levy dollars paid per person. Last year Cook County’s 8.5 percent levy was the highest in the state.

 “I don’t know anyone whose income has gone up 26 percent,” Moe said. “We need to do better.”

One question commissioners will wrestle with is, as Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk stated is, “Do we want to continue offering services at the level we have been? We need to decide the level of services we will provide.”

WTIP Weekend News Roundup for August 27

Sat, 08/27/2016 - 10:24am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. Isle Royale to increase fees, the shipping season sees heavy international traffic and the state’s wolf population remains stable…all this and more in the week’s news.


Mary Casanova book reading and signing at Drury Lane Saturday

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 11:39am

Author Mary Casanova will read from and sign copies of her two newest books, Wake Up, Island and Ice-Out at 5 p.m. Aug. 27 at Drury Lane Books (12 E. Wisconsin St.) in Grand Marais.

Mary Casanova is the author of more than 30 books for young readers, ranging from picture books, such as Utterly Otterly Night and Wake Up, Island to novels such as Moose Tracks and Frozen. Her books are on m any state reading lists and have earned the American Library Association Notable Award, Aesop Accolades from the American Folklore Society, Parents’ Choice Gold Award, Booklist Editors’ Choice, as well as two Minnesota Book Awards. She speaks frequently around the country at readings and library conferences.

As Wake Up, Island gently rouses the sleepy child, it summons a world of nature coming to life on a summer island in the magical North Woods. Conjuring the morning life around a cabin fragrant with berry pancakes, this timeless book wakens the child in every reader to the wonders of nature that greet every new day in the charmed world of a northern woodland island.

Ice-Out returns to the Prohibition-era borderland of Mary Casanova’s beloved novel Frozen, and to the characters who made it a favorite among readers of all ages. Inspired by real events in early 1920s Minnesota, it is a story of young romance against terrible odds and true grit on the border between license and responsibility, rich and poor, and right and wrong.

The author lives with her husband and dogs in a turn-of-the-century house in Ranier, Minnesota, perched on the Canadian border.

Contact Drury Lane book store at (218) 387-3370 for more information.


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

Late summer mix of warm and wet

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 10:38am

Nice late summer weather with a mix of sun and showers.  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Joe Moore.


Chair Zumba offered at Cook County Senior Center

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 10:38am

Chair Zumba is back at the Cook County Senior Center! Chris Angelo is at the Senior Center on Thursday mornings at 10:00 a.m. for a fun filled class that is offered to the public, free of charge. This latest Zumba craze uses high-tempo music and chair-based choreography to strengthen, balance and stabilize your core, and add to your cardio workout in a fun way. If you’ve always wanted to try Zumba, this is a great place to start!

For more information about Zumba or other activities at the Cook County Senior Center, you can call the Senior Center at 218-387-2660.


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

Cold weather rule information available

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 10:37am

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Cold Weather Rule protects residential customers who will have difficulty paying their heating bills from October 15 through April 15 from having their service turned off. The Cold Weather Rule impacts all utility customers, of the Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and Arrowhead Electric Cooperative (AEC).

Cold weather rule notices will be included in upcoming utility bills. Customers who qualify for Cold Weather Rule protection must agree to pay 10 percent of their monthly income to avoid disconnection.  This 10 percent must be prorated between energy providers. If a customer uses propane or fuel oil, the city or electric cooperative would only receive 30 percent of the 10 percent.

Customers who have demonstrated an inability to pay on forms provided and who make reasonable payments cannot be disconnected. Also, all payment agreements must consider a customer’s financial circumstance and any extenuating circumstances of the household.

If a Grand Marais PUC customer wishes to be considered for the program, they should contact Grand Marais City Hall and present information to PUC Secretary Jan Smith to set up monthly payments for the winter months. If you are in some doubt about whether you qualify, please call the city at 218-387-1848 and ask for Smith.

Arrowhead Electric Cooperative customers who might not be able to pay their full electric bill are encouraged to make a payment arrangement with Arrowhead and stay current with their payments. To set up a payment plan, contact Arrowhead Cooperative at (800) 864-3744 before the due date of your bill.

“If you are income eligible, you must also apply for AEOA Assistance,” said Sandy Petty, employee of AEC.

And said Petty, “There is no guarantee how much money AEOA has, so if you think you need assistance, the sooner the better,” Petty said.

Budget talks begin and a transportation sales tax nears board action

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 10:10am

The county board begins budget talks, which will last through year’s end. Also, the board will act soon on a proposed half-percent sales tax for county transportation needs. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with District One Commissioner Frank Moe.


A tenacious macro algae is spreading through the state

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 9:35am

Zebra mussels have managed to find their way into Northwest Minnesota lakes and a new threat is posed with the advance of a macro algae, starry stonewort. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator Amanda Weberg.


The cost of restoring clean water vs. basic preservation efforts

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 7:15am

This is the fifth and final segment in WTIP’s series focusing on clean and sustainable water along Lake Superior’s North Shore. This piece describes the concept of preservation vs. restoration as it pertains to clean water in the region. 


Name change for Cook County Planning and Zoning

Tue, 08/23/2016 - 11:23am

As directed at the August 9 county board meeting, Planning and Zoning Director Tim Nelson returned to the board to the costs associated with a name change for the Planning and Zoning department. The proposal changes the department name to the Land Services Department, to better reflect the work done by that department, especially because a Land Services Commissioner is being added to that department.

Nelson told the board that existing stationary would still be used because Planning and Zoning will continue to be a subsection of the Land Services Department, as would Environmental Health. In fact, Nelson said, those departments already have different letterheads.

The cost to change is lessened by the fact that the departments use a computer letterhead template and print business cards themselves as needed. The only printing cost for the county would be for envelopes.

Nelson gave an estimate of $100 to $500 to update stationary and to change the signage at the front foyer and department door. He added there may be some staff time involved in these changes and some time in the Information Services department while changing the website information.

The county board approved the change and Commissioner Gamble said the process to get to this point was well reasoned.


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



Learn about "Minnesota Gold" at Grand Marais Library

Tue, 08/23/2016 - 11:21am

Minnesotans have long been known for their humble nature and work ethic, and as such have long taken great pride in their athletics.

Minnesota Gold features compelling stories told by 57 Minnesota athletes participating in the Olympics, World Championships, and World Cups from 1948 – 2014. As they pursued their dreams and persevered to compete in the greatest international competitions, these diverse athletes represented their state with dignity and brought pride to sports fans in all regions of Minnesota. With the arrival of the 2016 Olympics, interest in Minnesota’s historical role in the games is enthusiastic. 

Author Patrick “Packy” Mader will present an engaging and unique program focusing on the athletes and his book at the Grand Marais Public Library at 6 p.m. Aug. 24. He will share the memorable conversations he had with these remarkable men and women who honored their sport, their state, and their country on the world stage over the last seven decades.

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


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

Warm but sometimes wet weather for the week

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 9:49am

This week we’ll see alternating weather systems – warm, wet, warm, wet, etc.  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Carol Christenson.