Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

North House welcomes new employees

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 11:22am

Staff report

Girl Scout cookie sales under way in Cook County

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 1:25pm

Cook County Girl Scouts --Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Ambassadors and Senior Scouts -- are now selling cookies on the North Shore.  Rhonda Silence learned more from some very excited Girl Scouts in this report. 

If you'd like information on Girl Scout cookies, contact Michele Silence at 218-370-9958. 


Workforce housing controversy discussed by commissioner

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 11:40am

Proposed workforce housing projects are causing a stir among some members of the public. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk.


County board gives green light to pave Pike Lake Road

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 2:42pm

The Cook County Board of Commissioners agreed during a meeting Tuesday, Feb. 14 to approve the paving and reconstruction of Pike Lake Road, also known as County Road 45. The move to approve paving the road came in conjunction with hiring LHB Engineering Consultants to the engineering work regarding the reconstruction project for Pike Lake Road.

LHB will be paid approximately $557,000 for their services as design consultants. The project will be paid for largely from the recently passed half-cent sales tax increase in Cook County, though there will likely be bonds taken out until the sales tax funds accumulate.

With regard to the engineering timeline, LHB would submit a redesign proposal sometime by the summer of 2018, as the approved contract will expire in August of that year. With regard to the physical redesign of Pike Lake Road, Cook County Highway Engineer Dave Betts has stated previously that due to the permitting and planning process it could take up to five years to begin construction. The actual costs of the physical redesign, including paving the road, could be more than $10 million. 

As stated in their project proposal, LHB will upgrade approximately 6.75 miles of County Road 45 starting at County Road 7 until the road ends near Pike Lake. Once the main thoroughfare is paved, the speed limit on Pike Lake Road will be suggested by LHB to be 55 mph.  In addition to paving the road, there will be a redesign of the approach to the Cascade River Bridge on Pike Lake Road, and the intersection with Murmur Creek Road.

In the near future, there will be a series of neighborhood open houses regarding the construction project on Pike Lake Road. 

Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk compared the Pike Lake Road project to “landing on the moon” and said improving the road is a big deal in the history of Cook County.

To hear more on this story, listen to the audio below. 


New DNR app directs Cook County residents to natural springs

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 3:24pm

A new web-based app developed by the Department of Natural Resources gives people the ability to submit reports on the location of springs in Minnesota.
The data will help researchers with important groundwater research.

Spring location and reporting is important because springs create and sustain vital ecosystems. They can indicate groundwater health and help protect against invasive species. Land stability and building integrity depend on knowing where springs are located. Trout streams and other coldwater fisheries, calcareous fens, and many streams and lakes require springs. Springs also have aesthetic and historical value that creates a special sense of place for residents and visitors.

Click here to locate or report a natural spring in Minnesota. 

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs finds out more about the new DNR app in this interview. 


Local swimmers advance to state competition

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 3:24pm

The following are Cook County swimmers who are competing at the state meet on Feb. 19 at the University of Minnesota.

  • Jack Willis: 200 free, 200 Medley relay, 200 IM, 200 free relay, 200 breaststroke
  • Shaelyn Hingos: 200 Medley relay, 200 free relay
  • Ella Hedstrom: 200 Medley relay, 200 free relay
  • Arora Schlemeske: 200 Medley relay, 50 freestyle, 100 IM, 
  • Tanner DeBoer: 200 Medley relay, 50 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 200 free relay, 100 freestyle
  • Henry DeArruda Wharton: 200 Medley relay, 200 IM, 100 backstroke, 200 free relay, 100 butterfly
  • Tristan Surbaugh: 200 Medley relay, 100 backstroke, 200 free relay, 100 breaststroke
  • Isaak Lien: 100 IM, 25 backstroke, 25 breaststroke
  • Martine Redshaw: 400 free relay
  • Liv Hedstrom: 400 free relay
  • Lexi Surbaugh: 400 free relay
  • Mary June Wharton: 400 free relay

Stay tuned to WTIP online and on the air for updates on the 2017 Minnesota State Swim Meet. 

Preparing for Valentines Day 2017

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 2:49pm

February 14 is Valentine's Day and local shops are getting ready with special treats, flowers and gifts. 

Rhonda Silence stopped by two local businesses to find out how they are preparing for this special day. 


Nordic Nature Group shares concern about climate change

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 5:29am

The Nordic Nature Group, a contingent of young naturalists, meets monthly to learn about nature and to find ways to protect the planet. Some members of the group will be speaking to the Grand Marais City Council on February 22. Rhonda Silence learns more about their upcoming presentation in this interview


Alpine ski team shines at Sections

Sun, 02/12/2017 - 10:37am

Some great skiing at Sections on Tuesday, February 7 led the Viking boys' team to defeat 21 teams. The boys claimed the Section 7 Championship and will now advance to the Minnesota State Tournament.

Coach Charles Lamb said the girls skied well, defeating 21 teams, finishing the day in third place. 

In a field of 122 girls and 119 boys, the Viking skiers did well individually also.There are three individual State qualifiers: Reilly Wahlers, Sela Backstrom and Will Lamb!


Individual results for the girls’ team:
Reilly Wahlers 4th, Sela Backstrom 13th, Halle Lamb 19th, Elsa Lunde 56th, Madysen McKeever 70th, Hanna Borson 94th.

Individual results for the boys’ team:

Will Lamb 3rd, Erik Lawler 20th, Logan Backstrom 21st, Will Surbaugh 31st, Ezra Lunde 34th, Masen McKeever 43rd.

The State Tournament is Wednesday, February 15th at Giants Ridge. Racing starts at 10:00 a.m.


View more news from WTIP

Weekend News Roundup for February 11

Sat, 02/11/2017 - 10:09am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. The Dakota Access pipeline will go ahead. There’s a plan to scrap forest police. St. Louis County votes to support wilderness area mining…all this and more in the week’s news.



Fri, 02/10/2017 - 2:05pm

Proposed bill could have Cook County Sheriff's Department patrolling the BWCAW

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 9:41am

A Congressman from Utah has proposed a bill that would change who enforces rules and regulations on national forest lands in the United States. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs reports on this story that could have an impact on enforcement of rules in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. 

Click here to read more on the proposed bill, known as the “Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act.”


WTIP shares the latest law enforcement report

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 11:13pm

The following is a record of calls made to the Cook County Law Enforcement Center from January 30 to February 5. These are the initial calls made to law enforcement dispatchers.
If you need help from Cook County Law Enforcement, dial 9-1-1. For non-emergency calls, contact the Cook County Sheriffs Office at 218-387-3030.


Grand Portage hosts Snowarama for Easter Seals Saturday

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 7:43pm

Snowarama for Easter Seals at the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino is in its 14th year. To celebrate the 14th year of Snowarama in Grand Portage, for every $100 a rider earns, he or she will have a chance in a drawing of 14 prizes, including a trip to Las Vegas! 

In addition to great prizes the event includes a day of great riding on Grand Portage trails, there is a bonfire at the Mineral Center trailhead, a complimentary dinner at the Grand Portage Community Center, and Saturday night entertainment.

And it is all for a great cause, support of Easter Seals, Ontario and the children and families it serves. Over the past 14 years, the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino Snowarama has raised over $370,000 for children and youth with physical disabilities.

Funds raised at the event help provide financial assistance for essential mobility and communication equipment and fully accessible summer camping opportunities.

Rhonda Silence finds out more about the event – and what it means to the children and families it benefits. 

For more information about Snowarama for Easter Seals, visit and click on the Thunder Bay event or email

Pictured are (L-R, standing) Grand Portage Lodge & Casino Marketing Director Frank Vecchio, Tony Swader and MaryAnn Gagnon of the Grand Portage Trail Riders Snowmobile Club. (L-R, front) Easter Seals Ontario Development Officer Rhonda Harrison, Easter Seals Ambassador Emily Pike and Easter Seals Ambassador Zachary Pylychuck.



The weekend's warming up

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 10:58am

Looks like a nice February weekend with warmer temps and maybe a dusting of snow. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Carol Christenson.


Monday, January 30, 2017
6:31 a.m.  Trail Center Vehicle speeding through Trail Center toward town. Didn’t slow to the reduced speed rate. Dog race is going on, lots of activity. Vehicle almost hit another vehicle and a person. 
7:50 a.m.  Cook County High School  Safe routes to school. 
10:16 a.m.  West Highway 61  Motorist assist.
11:42 a.m.  Lutsen Resort 911 hang up. Turned out to be a misdial. No emergency 
1:16 p.m. Cook County Law Enforcement Transporting female inmate.
3:00 p.m. Cook County Recycle Center Pick up sentence-to-serve inmate and return to jail.
3:23 p.m. Cook County High School School release. 
3:25 p.m. N. Broadway, Grand Marais  Traffic stop, warning given.
4:40 p.m. Sawbill Trail  Party coming down Sawbill Trail in logging truck, Road snow-covered and slippery. Wondering about availablity of county sanding truck. 
4:43 p.m. West Highway 61  Public assist.
5:19 p.m. Pine Mountain Ct, 2uno  Extra patrols. 
6:54 p.m. North Shore Health, 2gm  Century Link is doing some troubleshooting on the hospital phone lines.
7:15 p.m. Grand Portage  Medical help needed.
7:35 p.m. Cook County Law Enforcement Inmate visitation. 
8:45 p.m. East Highway 61 Vehicle stopped on roadside. 
8:48 p.m. West Highway 61/Ski Hill Rd. Party reported snow on the Ski Hill Rd, cannot get to Eagle Ridge.
10:35 p.m. Grand Portage, High Falls State Park  Foot patrol.
10:42 p.m. Flyby Drive, Tofte  Traffic stop, warning given.
11:25 p.m. Grand Portage Casino  Foot patrol.
Tuesday, January 31
1:07 a.m.  Greenwood Lake Rd/Gunflint Trail  Out with person walking on the side of the road. 
3:30 a.m.  Johnson's Big Dollar, Grand Marais Saw activity at store, was an employee.
7:36 a.m.  West Highway 61  Safe routes to school, stop arm enforcement. 
7:43 a.m.  Schroeder  Hit deer near this location. Needs to be dispatched. Minimum vehicle damage. 
8:13 a.m.  West Highway 61  Traffic stop, warning given.
9:37 a.m.  5th Ave West/West 5th Street, Grand Marais People having difficulty getting going after stopping, requesting salt/sand in the area.
10:11 a.m.  West 3rd Street Public assist. 
10:13 a.m.  Cramer Rd, Schroeder Civil process attempt.
10:26 a.m.  Law Enforcement Center  Would like deputy to call back. 
10:37 a.m.  West Highway 61, Schroeder Civil process attempt.
10:55 a.m.  Cramer Rd, Schroeder Civil process attempt.
11:14 a.m.  West Highway 61  Civil process attempt.
11:24 a.m.  Cook County Courthouse Bailiff duty.
11:46 a.m.  Devil Track Road, Grand Marais Reporting the sled dog crossing does not give enough warning. 
11:53 a.m.  Sawtooth Elementary DARE class, 3rd and 5th grade.
1:16 p.m. Cook County Courthouse  Bailiff duty.
1:34 p.m. Cook County Courthouse Child protection incident. 
1:36 p.m. Law Enforcement Center  Party turned self in on Cook County warrant.
1:56 p.m. South Shore Drive, Grand Marais  80-year-old needs medical help. 
3:18 p.m. Cook County High School School release (safe routes to school).
3:37 p.m. West 5th Street, Grand Marais Traffic stop, warning given.
4:09 p.m. Law Enforcement Center  Requested deputy call back.
4:59 p.m. Golden Eagle Lodge Found dog while skiing in this area today. Knows the dog owner, but owner is running the Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.
Wednesday, February 1
5:16 a.m. Mile Creek Rd, Grand Portage Commercial fire alarm, false alarm.
7:55 a.m. Cook County High School School patrol.
8:00 a.m. West Highway 61  Assist state patrol with traffic stop.
8:37 a.m. Grand Marais City Hall Vehicle parked in lot for extended time. They would like owner notified and will be towing it.
9:09 a.m. Law Enforcement Center  911 hang up on 911 only phone. 
10:03 a.m. Violence Prevention Center, Grand Marais Would like deputy to call back. 
10:14 a.m. County Road 7 Residence check.
12:01 p.m. Law Enforcement Center  Would like call back.
12:41 p.m. Law Enforcement Center  Picking up individual.
2:49 p.m. Grand Marais Found stray cat. 
3:08 p.m. Pine Mountain Court Extra patrols. 
3:11 p.m. Grand Marais Liquor Store Hold up alarm, false alarm.
3:16 p.m. 2nd Ave East, Grand Marais  Traffic stop, citation issued.
3:34 p.m. Grand Marais  Party arrested for domestic assault.
5:05 p.m. Grand Portage  Party making threats, took off running.  
8:04 p.m. Nelson Trail, Grand Marais Civil process attempt.
8:11 p.m. Nelson Trail, Grand Marais Civil process attempt.
10:05 p.m. East Highway 61 Traffic stop, warning given.
Thursday, February 2
7:55 a.m. Cook County High School School patrol. 
8:33 a.m. Grand Marais  92-year-old needs medical help.
9:28 a.m. Cook County Courthouse Child protection meeting/multi-disciplinary meeting.
10:01 a.m. Lambs Resort & Campground, Schroeder Truck and trailer with flashers on. Welfare check, all okay.
10:50 a.m. Sawtooth Mountain Clinic Mental health meeting.
12:19 p.m. Law Enforcement Center  Caller reports that someone attempted to steal money from apartment.
12:49 p.m. Law Enforcement Center  Would like you to call him 
1:31 p.m. East 5th Street, Grand Marais Traffic stop, warning given.
7:16 p.m. Grand Marais  Attempt to pick up party on warrant.
9:10 p.m. Law Enforcement Center  Public assist.
10:55 p.m. Grand Marais  Caller states a female is in his cabin trashing his property. Female arrested for domestic assault
Friday, February 3
8:20 a.m. East Highway 61, Grand Portage  Traffic stop, citation issued.
9:11 a.m. Cook County Courthouse Party requests a call back. 
9:27 a.m. Law Enforcement Center  Preliminary breath test of inmate.
9:33 a.m. East Highway 61, Grand Portage Traffic stop, warning given.
9:37 a.m. Law Enforcement Center  Taking inmates to Lake  County for court and holding. 
9:52 a.m. Grand Portage  Attempt to pick up on warrant.
10:23 a.m. Grand Marais  Unknown vehicle in reporting party’s driveway during the day when caller is at work.
10:47 a.m. Law Enforcement Center  Urinalysis for probation.
11:25 a.m. Law Enforcement Center  911 hang up from 911 phone only.
11:33 a.m. Law Enforcement Center  911 hang up from 911 only phone. 
1:43 p.m. County Rd. 56 A dozen eggs were thrown into mailbox.
2:27 p.m. Law Enforcement Center  911 hang up. Cook County tried calling back got voicemail. No sounds of distress online. Sounded like walking in background.
2:53 p.m. Grand Marais  Wants vehicle from daughter.
3:25 p.m. Law Enforcement Center  Would like deputy to call back. 
5:38 p.m. Law Enforcement Center  Would like deputy call back. 
6:18 p.m. Law Enforcement Center  911 hang up from 911 only phone.
9:52 p.m. East Highway 61 Traffic stop, warning given.
10:33 p.m. 143 Law Enforcement Center  Gunflint Trl, 2gm  911 hangup. On callback party stated her two year old daughter dialed the phone. No emergency. 
Saturday, February 4
12:00 a.m. Law Enforcement Center  911 hangup from 911 only phone.
1:09 a.m. Cook County line, Schroeder  Assisting State Patrol.
9:00 a.m. West Highway 61 Traffic stop, warning given.
9:21 a.m. Chicago Bay Rd, Hovland Question regarding a possible outage.
10:17 a.m. West Highway 61 Traffic stop, warning given.
1:12 p.m. Gunflint Trail/5 Ave West 2 vehicle accident with injuries. 
2:34 p.m. Law Enforcement Center  Vehicle roll over at scene of previous accident.
2:39 p.m. West Highway 61, Lutsen  Deer ran into vehicle, deer injured in middle of highway, west of Hansen’s.
3:06 p.m. West Highway 61, Lutsen  Vehicle hit guard rail, checking for injuries. 
4:28 p.m. Hedstrom Lumber Fire in the boiler room. 
5:09 p.m. Gunflint Trail/School House Rd Vehicle in ditch. No injuries. Transferred the call to Cook County Towing. 
9:58 p.m. West Highway 61  65-year-old having an asthma attack. 
Sunday, February 5
7:46 a.m. South Shore Drive/Meridian Rd Report of a stolen personal locator beacon going off near this location, unable to locate beacon.
4:01 p.m. Grand Portage  64-year-old female needs medical help.