Around Cook County
Lonnie Dupre left Talkeetna, Alaska on Wednesday, January 4, flying into the Alaska Range to the base of Mount Hunter (14,573ft) to attempt its first winter solo ascent.
It’ll be a below zero weekend but starting Sunday and for the next few days, the weather will be warmer. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Carol Christenson.
The Cook County Vikings girls’ basketball team is entering the second part of the season in January. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Head Coach Kelly Senty about the season moving forward.
Winter has arrived in Minnesota. And for many that means it’s time to seek shelter inside a wood-finished room and splash water on superheated stones. There’s a particular name for this room, and WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs finds out more in this story.
People passing the Grand Marais Library may be alarmed to see the 20-foot puzzle sculpture laying on the ground. The first thought of many is that the high winds on the evening of January 3 knocked the sculpture down.
That is not the case according to Library Director Steve Harsin.
Harsin said the library’s snow removal crew noticed that the sculpture was leaning. The creator of the piece, Tom Christianson of Last Chance Gallery, came to inspect and found a small crack in the sculpture’s base.
Christianson, who has been providing ongoing maintenance of the puzzle sculpture, had already been working on a different design with improved support.
It was decided to lower the sculpture for the winter. The Grand Marais Public Utilities crew used the electrical department bucket truck to gently lower the 200-pound puzzle sculpture to the ground.
It will be raised in the spring. For now, Harsin said, “We decided to lay it down for the safety of both the sculpture and the public.”
The puzzle sculpture was erected on the library lawn on June 5 of this year.
A tragic snowmobile accident happened over New Year’s. Sheriff Pat Eliasen had a personal connection with the victim. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with the sheriff about a community that comes together in many different ways.
Cook County Commissioner Jan Sivertson will serve as the board chair for 2017, as selected by her fellow commissioners during the first board meeting of the year on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
Serving as vice chair will be Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk, who has served as board chair for the previous two years.
There was some reluctance among the four county commissioners during Tuesday’s meeting in deciding who would serve in the roles of chair and vice chair. At one point, Sivertson nominated Doo-Kirk to serve as board chair for a third consecutive year, a motion that failed for lack of support.
Moments later, Commissioner Ginny Storlie nominated herself for vice chair, a motion that also failed.
In the end, Commissioner Jan Sivertson will serve as board chair, with Doo- Kirk serving as vice chair in 2017.
The appointment of chair and vice-chair came after new commissioner for District 2, Myron Bursheim, took the oath of office. Also being sworn in by Cook County Deputy Court Administrator Kim Shepherd was Assessor Todd Smith.
A Grand Marais couple involved in a rollover crash near the Lafayette Tunnel on Highway 61 on Monday, January 2 were not seriously injured
John “Augo” Smith was driving south north of Two Harbors when he lost control on black ice and his pickup rolled twice, landing on its side. Smith was wearing his seatbelt and he suffered no apparent injury.
His passenger Darleen Irving was also wearing her seatbelt. She was transported to Lakeview Hospital in Two Harbors for treatment of injuries primarily due to the seatbelt restraint.
Smith, back home in Grand Marais, said they were both shaken and a little sore, but have no broken bones or serious injury.
In addition to the human occupants of the vehicle, there were four small dogs, all of which also escaped unscathed, said Smith.
The pickup, a 2004 Ford Ranger, was totaled.
Photo courtesy of "Minnesota Mom" on Weather Underground
The preliminary investigation into yesterday's fatal snowmobile accident which claimed the life of Wayne Gunnar Anderson, 22, of Grand Marais, shows conditions beneath the snow impacted the skis on the two riders’ snowmobiles, causing them both to be thrown from their respective snowmobiles. The two riders were traveling along the ditch of County Road 8 north of Grand Marais where they encountered some deep crevices in the snow from a creek-bed and were ejected from their snowmobiles.
Although a pathology autopsy report is pending, to confirm the cause of death for Anderson, medical professionals believe that he suffered a broken neck upon impact as evidence of impact-related spinal trauma was present. Anderson was subsequently struck by the secondary snowmobile, but there were no additional blunt trauma injuries noted. Alcohol was not a factor in the accident.
This investigation is ongoing and further details will be released by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office when they are available.
"Our hearts are with the family and friends of the accident victims and a grieving community during is difficult time," said Sheriff Pat Eliasen.
At 7:03 a.m. today, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office announced that phone service, including 911, across Cook County has been restored and fiber optic cable was successfully repaired.
“We are very pleased that the fiber was able to be repaired overnight and 911, and all phone service, is up and running across the County,” said Sheriff Pat Eliasen. “We had deputies stationed at six locations throughout the County as well as emergency personnel staffing all Fire Halls for citizens in the event of an emergency while 911 service was down.
“Fortunately, this ended up being a precautionary measure and none of these dedicated professionals had to be used nor did any issues arise during the outage. I commend them and our dispatch team for their dedication to public safety and their community and extend my thanks to everyone involved throughout the night,” said Sheriff Eliasen.
Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. The County Board sets non-mandated cuts. The Gov. says Twin Metals is not dead yet. U.S. Steel reopens Keetac plant…all this and more in the week’s news.
The Cook County High School Alpine ski season is full swing. The Cook County varsity team has had several meets, one at Giants Ridge in Biwabik and another against a Thunder Bay school at Lutsen Mountains.
WTIP's Rhonda Silence talked to Alpine Ski Coach Charles Lamb about the start of the season.
Photos by Jenny Lamb