Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Memorial Day event at Cook County Courthouse draws large crowd

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 11:49am

An event was held at the Cook County Courthouse on Monday morning, May 30 in honor of Memorial Day. WTIP's Joe Friedrichs has this report. 


Remembering with honor today

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 10:06am

Community members are invited to gather on the Cook County courthouse lawn at 11 a.m. for a special ceremony conducted by American Legion Post 413. The American Legion Auxiliary is hosting a luncheon following the ceremony at Grandma Ray’s (formerly the American Legion). The cost is $10 for non-veterans, $5 for children under 12. Veterans are free.


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





Future of Dollar General along North Shore remains in question

Mon, 05/30/2016 - 9:29am

Where just six months ago it appeared likely there could be two Dollar General stores between Silver Bay and Grand Marais, there are now uncertainties if any will be built. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs reports on this story. 


Community invited to join Care Center residents to enjoy classic country with Portage

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 4:40pm

The band Portage will play their classic country music at the North Shore Care Center on Saturday, May 28 at 6:30 p.m. Families, friends, and community members are always welcome to join in the fun.

For more information about volunteer opportunities at North Shore Care Center or to check out the May calendar of events, please contact the Activity Department at 387-3518 or our website:


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

Election filing period for county seats closing Tuesday, May 31

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 4:38pm

The filing period for a number of local government boards opened May 17 and will close on May 31, 2016. Although there will be a number of seats on the ballots, as of Thursday, May 26, only three candidates had filed—the two incumbent county commissioners Heidi Doo-Kirk and Garry Gamble and a challenger, Myron Bursheim.

Gamble represents Commissioner District 2 known as east Grand Marais. Bursheim has filed to run for that district. 

Doo-Kirk represents District 4, which includes Maple Hill and the Gunflint Trail.

The Soil & Water Conservation District has three supervisor seats up for election, currently held by Donald Goodell (District 1); Joan Farnam Morrison (District 3); and Jerry Hiniker (District 5). As of yesterday afternoon, none of the incumbents had filed for re-election.

Asked if citizens can choose not to file for election and run a write-in campaign, County Auditor Braidy Powers, who oversees elections, said that is not an option.

Powers told the News-Herald that write-ins are not counted in a primary election. Powers said, “There aren’t even spaces printed on the ballots and no oval to fill in.  If anyone writes a name on a primary ballot in any open space the ballot is considered rejected.”

If multiple candidates do file for any of the county seats, they will face off in a primary election on August 9, 2016. General elections will take place on November 8, 2016.

The candidate filing fee for county commissioner is $50. For Soil & Water Conservation Districts, the filing fee is $20.

For information on how to file for office, contact Cook County Auditor Braidy Powers at (218) 387-3640 or email

The city of Grand Marais, School District 166 and North Shore Hospital do not have primary elections, so filing dates for those boards is later, from August 2 to August 16.

Memorial Day weekend brings chance of showers and thunderstorms

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 10:53am

Unsettled weather over the weekend with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. But looking ahead to next week, the temperatures should be above normal. WTIP volunteer LeAnn Zunker spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist, Mike Stewart, on North Shore Morning.

(Photo by Thomas Bresson via Flickr)


Some of the Chamber's priorities in bonding bill are on hold

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 10:53am

With the legislative bonding bill in limbo, some of the Cook County Chamber’s initiatives are stalled, but a few items managed to get through the session. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Judy Erickson, the Chamber’s spokesperson in St. Paul.


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WTIP Weekend News Roundup for May 28

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 9:43am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. The Iron Range waits for the Governor’s action, The U.S. Sends fire help to Canada, St. Louis County opens its roads to ATVs…all this and more in the week’s news.


Sale of Gunflint Lodge nears completion

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 1:55pm

The sale of Gunflint Lodge is likely to be complete by mid-June, according to county officials and staff at the lodge. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs reports on this story. 


Counselor puts hair on the line for Food Shelf

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 1:33pm

Cook County Schools/ISD 166 Counselor Kris Hoffman was considering a new haircut for the summer season—and decided to let Sawtooth Mountain Elementary School students determine what his new look will be. Hoffman put his head on the line in a Food Drive from now until May 27. The original goal has been met but communitiy members have upped the stakes.

Originally Hoffman promised that if Sawtooth Elementary School collected 500 canned and non-perishable items for the Cook County Food Shelf, he would shave his head on stage at the Wednesday, June 1 talent show at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts. The hair is going! Students not only met the goal, they have now collected 613 items.

The class that collects the most for the Food Shelf will also win a party, courtesy of Hoffman and his advisory council.

The ante has been upped. School faculty and community members are trying to raise 2,000 items (or cash donations) for the Food Shelf. If that goal is reached, Hoffman will not only shave his head, but will shave off his goatee and will have his shoulders waxed at a local spa!

Donations can be sent to school with students or dropped off with Hoffman at ISD 166. Items to donate should be boxed or canned food; no bags that can be punctured or food that can spoil.

Hoffman said, “Please help spread the word, I’d love to get these kids a great going-away present for the summer!”

For more information about the Cook County Food Shelf or to volunteer with the Food Shelf, contact Bill Lenz (218) 387-9860.


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



Take a Kid Fishing event on June 11

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 1:23pm

Interested in teaching your kid how to fish and enjoy the many lakes in Cook County?  Interested in introducing them to a life-long activity that can connect them with their local environment, encouraging stewardship and appreciation of one of Minnesota’s wonderful resources . . . the lake?

Then join the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Cook County Soil and Water Conservation District and the United States Forest Service for a day of fishing on June 11 at the Kimball Lake Campground from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. There will also be natural resource professionals demonstrating fly-fishing casting and tying, presenting aquatic invasive species information and more.  Space is limited so call 218-387-1750 or email for reservations no later than May 27.

What to Bring:  A child 5-12 years of age accompanied by an adult.  Make sure they are dressed to be near water – jacket, hat, sunglasses, sturdy shoes, insect repellant, and life jacket if you have one. Some life jackets and fishing rods will be available, but due to limited supply bring your own if you can.

Directions to the Campground:  Travel 12 miles north on the Gunflint Trail (CC 12), turn right on the Trout Lake Road (FR 140) and travel 2 miles to the Kimball Lake Campground entrance.  The entrance is on the right.  Parking is limited so either carpool or park along the side of the main road into the campground.

Lunch and water will be provided! 

This event is being sponsored by the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Cook County Soil and Water Conservation District, United States Forest Service, Solbakken Resort and Buck’s Hardware Hank.


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


Art therapy studio opens in Grand Marais

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 1:20pm

Local resident Belle Janicek has opened a new therapy business in Grand Marais.  WTIP's Joe Friedrichs spoke with her about the new art therapy studio located in the Cook County Higher Education building. 


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County assessor submits letter of resignation

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 12:53pm

Cook County Assessor Betty Schultz has submitted a letter of resignation to the County Board. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs reports on this story. 


Cook County High School Band returns from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 10:19am

The Cook County High School Band traveled to Cleveland last weekend for quite an adventure.  The band spent Friday morning studying with Dr. Birch Browning of Cleveland State University where they were taught many helpful techniques to improve their sound and musicianship. The band visited—and played at—the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They also attended a Twins game against the Cleveland Indians (the Twins won!), visited the Great Lakes Science Museum and Hard Rock Café and more.

They got home at 4:00 p.m. on Monday afternoon and on Tuesday, performed at a concert for hometown fans, along with the Middle School choir, 6th grade band and combined 6th, 7th and 8th grade bands.

At the end of the evening, Bilben recognized her senior band members and presented several awards. She presented the John Philips Sousa Award to three students – Sara Carman, Owen Anderson and Madison Roy. Receiving the 2016 North Shore Music Association scholarship was Isabel Wahlers. And earning the Unsung Heroes Award were Lily Gruber Schultz and Shauna Blake.


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

Community gathers to consider Cook County's arts economy

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 10:17am

Community members were invited to an “IDEA” meeting on Wednesday, May 11 at the Voyageur Brewing Company in Grand Marais. The invitation came from the Cook County Arts and Culture Economic Planning Team, which was formed following the interesting results of the study released in November 2105 which showed that the nonprofit arts and culture sector of Cook County’s economy generates over $4.6 million in total economic impact annually.

The study, Creative Minnesota: The Impact and Health of the Nonprofit Arts and Culture Sector, found that 17 nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Cook County support the equivalent of 127 full time jobs in the city, and that 78,000 people attend nonprofit arts and cultural events annually.

According to Sheila Smith, executive director of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, which conducted the study, although Cook County ranked 16th of the 17 local areas studied in size of population, the county ranked 7th in overall economic impact. Cook County ranked 3rd among the cities studied in this report, behind only Minneapolis and St. Paul, in per capita economic impact from the arts and culture, with a whopping $889 for every one of the county’s 5,176 residents.

Smith was on hand at Voyageur Brewing to deliver a first hand summary of the study and to offer encouragement to Cook County as it proceeds with its road map and strategy to develop Cook County as an arts destination.

Other speakers were Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux, County Commissioner Jan Sivertson, Visit Cook County Director Linda Kratt and others, all pledging to work together to strengthen the arts economy.

For more information about the Cook County Arts and Culture Economic Planning Team, contact Amy Demmer at (218) 387-2737 or