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News and other information from Cook County

County agrees to authorize tax abatement bonds for Superior National at Lutsen

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 4:52pm

About 10 people attended the 10 a.m. public hearing in the Cook County Commissioner’s room to hear the discussion about the proposed issuance of tax abatement bonds by the county to fund $2.2 million of improvements at the Superior National at Lutsen (SNL) golf course, which is owned by the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA).

Advising the county board over the phone was Attorney Steve Overom who referred to the pre-sale report prepared by Ehlers Investment Partners. Overom reviewed the sources to be used to make the bond payments—first revenue from SNL operations; second a portion of the lodging taxes collected on the West End of the county; and finally county taxes that would be abated. Overom said lodging taxes collected would be in excess of what is needed to pay the debt, so “it is unlikely that taxpayers would be impacted.”

Overom, who has worked with other communities on golf course development, said that having an advisory committee in place is a good idea. “It doesn’t prevent problems, but it allows for a faster response time if issues do surface,” he said.

Overom also said the county is protected by the clause that allows the county to hire a management consultant, turf consultant or food and beverage consultant (at the expense of the EDA) if the county receives “serious or consistent complaints from users of the golf course.”

Commissioner Sue Hakes asked about the status of township agreements pledging the use of lodging tax funds to make bond payments, if necessary. Overom said that is a crucial piece that must be in place before the bonds could be issued. 

September's National Preparedness Month tips good for all year

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 4:51pm

Emergencies happen every day, and the more prepared we are with plans, practice and materials, the better we can handle them.

The National Ready Campaign lists four steps for emergency preparedness: Be informed; make a plan; build a kit; and get involved.

During National Preparedness Month (September), Cook County residents should visit the Cook County website at It has a CodeRED widget on the homepage. Residents are encouraged to sign up for CodeRED, which will send severe weather and other emergency messages to your landline phone (by voice), or cell phone or mobile device by text and email. The CodeRED number 866-419-5000 will appear on your caller ID. If you miss the message, dial the toll-free number to hear the message repeated as often as needed.

The process is the same for Lake County residents. They should visit and look for the CodeRED symbol.

You must register to receive CodeRED messages, but it is free and easy to do. Call the Sheriff’s Office at (218) 387-3030 for more information.



This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald

Exhibit at Johnson Heritage Post features 'Five Generations of Art'

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 3:26pm

The Johnson Heritage Post in Grand Marais will be featuring “Five Generations of Art” in a new exhibit that runs through November 2. WTIP host Janna Berka spoke with artists Nancy Daley and Jody Ouradnik on North Shore Morning.
An exhibit highlighting the work of five generations of the Smith-Daley-Ouradnik family opens Friday, October 3, and runs through November 2 at the Johnson Heritage Post in Grand Marais.  More information at 387-2314 or google ‘five generations of art grand marais’ and you’ll find their facebook page.
The following is just a short list of what each artist will be exhibiting in the gallery:
•Ralph W. Smith (posthumous display) - Sketches, pastels, & oil paintings
•Glenn S. Smith (Ralph's son, posthumous display) - "Wearable geology" - rock & semi-precious stones as jewelry
•Nancy Smith Ouradnik Daley (Glenn's daughter) - Art objects incorporating encaustic (pigmented wax) painting and handmade paper
•Jody Ouradnik (Nancy's daughter) - Fiber art, functional and fantastical
•Amy Ouradnik (Nancy's daughter) - Acrylic paintings and verre eglomise (reverse painting on glass panels backed with metal leaf)
•Madeline Burton (Amy's daughter) - Multiple mediums including alternative processes in photography, watercolor, and collage. Her work ranges in size from 5x8 in to 3x8 ft
​Johnson Heritage Post Art Gallery is open Wednesdays-Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Sundays and Mondays 1:00 -4:00 p.m.  We are closed Tuesdays and between exhibits.

Listen to the Story

North Shore Music Association features silent auction and concert by John Mark Nelson: October 4

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 2:52pm

The North Shore Music Association will be featuring a silent auction in addition to a concert by John Mark Nelson and his 4-piece band at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts. WTIP volunteer Mark Abrahamson spoke with Kate Fitzgerald of NSMA about this event on North Shore Morning. 


John Mark Nelson & NSMA's Silent Auction
Arrowhead Center for the Arts, 51 W. 5th St. Grand Marais
Saturday, October 4, 2014 – Silent Auction 6 PM, Concert 7:30 PM
Tickets for sale at door, or in advance at
Beginning at 6 PM, NSMA's Annual Silent Auction will feature an array of
unique high-quality items all generously donated by local organizations
and businesses. Proceeds from the auction will benefit NSMA's 2015
season. The auction will begin at 6 PM in the ACA lobby. Bidding will
continue at intermission, and winning bids will be announced following
the concert.
At 7:30 PM, NSMA is excited to present John Mark Nelson and his 4-piece
band at the ACA auditorium.
Minnesota Public Radio's The Current remarks, "Only 20 years old, John
Mark Nelson sings with a slow-smoked croon that belies his age, and he
fills his lyrics with sharp, detailed observations of life and love in
the Midwest. This folk-pop songwriter has racked up an impressive list
of accolades, too."
To read more about John Mark Nelson, watch videos, and listen to his
music, go to For more about his Oct. 5 ACA
performance and NSMA’s silent auction, go to

Listen to the Story

WTIP Community Radio’s “Home of Our Own” capital campaign ends

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 9:49am

WTIP North Shore Community Radio is pleased to announce that a generous donation has enabled them to pay off the remaining balance owed on their mortgage, ending their $550,000 “Home of Our Own” capital campaign.

WTIP purchased a building on the west end of Grand Marais in 2007 and converted it into studio and office space to house the local radio station.  The new building enabled them to strengthen their programming through increased independence and extra broadcast, office and preparation space; provide more local news and information reports through increased space for volunteers and an extra recording studio; increase community outreach through better visibility and space for volunteers; and house back-up equipment to ensure that WTIP’s signal remains strong in times of power outages.   

A generous donation launched WTIP’s capital campaign and was soon joined by donations from the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation, the Paul A. Schaap Foundation, and numerous other foundations and individuals. Recently, the same donor made an additional gift to WTIP that covered the remaining balance of their capital campaign. “This generous gift brings WTIP’s “Home of Our Own” capital campaign to a close,” says WTIP’s Executive Director Deb Benedict. “It enables us to now devote all of our funds to programming, services, and equipment maintenance in order to keep our service strong and serving our community of listeners. It also frees us up to focus on our next big project of replacing our aging main broadcast transmitter.”

WTIP wishes to thank everyone who supported their “Home of Our Own” capital campaign, enabling the station to grow and expand to better serve its community of listeners. “We have received tremendous support,” Benedict says. “Thank you.”

Former county attorney sentenced to 30 days jail, community service

Sun, 09/28/2014 - 1:22pm
Tim Scannell.jpg

A St. Louis County jury found Timothy Scannell guilty of two counts of 4th degree criminal sexual conduct on July 25, 2014. On Friday, September 26, Judge Shaun Floerke announced sentencing on the former Cook County Attorney. Scannell was sentenced to 30 days in jail, 300 hours of community service and 10 years of probation. He is to report for incarceration on Tuesday, September 30. He will also have to register as a sex offender for ten years.

An investigation of Scannell’s relationship with a then 17-year-old Cook County girl was launched after her family requested, and received, a restraining order against him on December 4, 2012. The girl’s parents were concerned about her safety and wellbeing. The investigation led to grand jury indictment on the two felony counts in October 2013. Scannell has been free on his own recognizance since the indictment with the condition that he has no contact with the alleged victim or with any of the witnesses in the case.

During the trial, the woman, now 19, testified that she and Scannell saw each other on numerous occasions during the summer of 2012 and that on two dates in August, they kissed and he touched her breasts, stomach and legs. She also said he suggested they have sex and she declined.

Because the age of consent in Minnesota is 16, the jury was asked to decide whether or not Scannell was in a position of authority over the girl at the time of the physical acts. After sentencing, Judge Floerke said he imposed the jail sentence in part because in Scannell's position as Cook County Attorney, he was "held to a higher standard."

After the sentencing, MPR’s Dan Kraker heard from Special Prosecutor Tom Heffelfinger. Heffelfineger said  the victim's family feels it's a fair sentence.