Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Paddlers heading from Gunflint Trail to Hudson Bay explore value of fishing

Fri, 05/20/2016 - 12:18pm

Grand Marais resident Tessa Larson was hoping to learn a few fishing tips before her big trip from Seagull Lake all the way to Hudson Bay this summer. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs met up with Tessa to see what they could accomplish. 

To donate to Wilderness Canoe Base and to find out more on Tessa's upcoming trip, click here.  



Local Forest Service fire manager discusses prescribed burn policy

Fri, 05/20/2016 - 11:42am

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Patty Johnson, the fire management officer for the Gunflint and Tofte Ranger Districts, about why prescribed burns are orchestrated when fire danger is high in the surrounding national forest. 


Prescribed burn near Ely now classified as wildfire

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 6:49pm

A prescribed burn started by the United States Forest Service just west of Ely has escaped and is now considered a wildfire.

The fire is heading north through a dry forest toward the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The fire escaped at approximately 2 p.m. today and firefighting crews, including aerial support, are presently fighting the blaze.

This is from a press release via the Forest Service sent late Thursday afternoon:

The Superior National Forest has a prescribed fire that escaped the containment lines this afternoon at 1400. The fire escaped to the north and west of Foss Lake. We have declared the prescribed fire a wildfire and have air tankers, helicopters, and additional ground fire fighters assisting with containing the escape.
We are also initiating aerial reconnaissance of the lakes to the north and east of the Crab lake entry point. We will notify visitors of the fire moving in the area. The fire is north of highway 169, north of the far western end of the Wolf Lake Road, west of South end of Burntside Lake.

According to reports from the area, the smoke column can be seen from many miles away and a number of 911 calls came in reporting the fire.

Stay tuned to WTIP in the coming days for more information on this fire burning near Ely and the BWCAW. 

Mesabi Academy set to close in wake of allegations

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 3:19pm

Mesabi Academy announced Thursday that it will close its program located on the Iron Range and transition youth at the facility back to their placing agency by the end of June, according to a release from officials at the facility.

A recent and ongoing investigative series from American Public Media into the Mesabi Academy, which is a juvenile corrections facility located in the tiny town of Buhl, has brought a string of reaction and emotion to the region and beyond. Allegations directed toward the facility focused on abuse, some of which were sexual in nature. 

According to Cook County officials, there were at least several boys housed at the facility as of May 11. However, Sue Futterer, the director of Cook County Human Services, said her department was in the process of removing those youth prior to the announcement of Mesabi Academy closing.

The decision to close the correctional and school facility follows in the footsteps of this month’s removal of youth placed by Hennepin and Ramsey counties, and the decision by Minnesota’s Department of Corrections to halt admissions at Mesabi.

“This has been a very difficult decision, because we know the allegations made or insinuated through the media reports are not true,” the statement said. “Mesabi Academy has provided excellent care and a safe environment for the youth placed there since its founding in 1998. It's completely unfair that the exceptional work of our staff has been called into question in these reports, and that they have been characterized as having any higher priority than the safety and well-being of the kids placed at Mesabi Academy.”

To listen to a recent story on WTIP about Mesabi Academy and the allegations, click here. 

County administrator talks rights of way, School House Road issue

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 12:24pm

An issue involving road access and use along the School House Road off of the Gunflint Trail has led to discussion amongst Cook County Staff and the Board of Commissioners regarding policy for rights of ways. WTIP's Joe Friedrichs spoke with Cook County Administrator Jeff Cadwell about this topic. 


It's beginning to look a lot like Spring

Thu, 05/19/2016 - 10:39am

A beautiful spring weekend is in store, with a little rain leading into what looks like a nice week ahead. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Linda Engebretson.


Ensemble groups perform at Bethlehem Lutheran May 19

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 7:16pm

On Thursday, May 19, the Cook County High School Choir, Lake Effect and the Sutton Family Singers will present Treble Time, an evening of barbershop, folk and jass, all sung by women in three- and four-part harmony.

The Cook County High School Choir, now in its second year, has tackled a variety of repertoire this year, from Renaissance madrigals to contemporary classical music, and now barbershop and folk harmony singing.

The Sutton family has been making music together for many years. Linden, Meredith and their mother Jennifer have sung the national anthem at many a volleyball game and the trio has been featured at the Cook County Education Foundation’s fundraisers several times.

Lake Effect was formed in 2013 and features singers Amanda Hand, Barb LaVigne and Yvonne Mills, as well as Russ Viton on guitar and Ben Bryon on bass.

The performance will take place at Bethlehem Lutheran Church on Thursday, May 16, 2016 at 7 p.m. Admission is free of charge. A free-will donation at the door will help cover costs such as music purchases, concert attire and supplies.

Beaver House Family Fishing Festival in Grand Marais May 21

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 7:14pm

The iconic family-owned Beaver House in downtown Grand Marais has undergone an “extreme makeover. Visitors are invited to celebrate at the Grand Re-opening and Family Fishing Festival this Saturday, May 21

The event is hosted by the new owners of the Beaver House, Tyson Cronberg and family. 

The Beaver House Family Fishing Festival will include minnow races, kids games with prizes, scavenger hunts, a countywide fishing contest and more! 

The countywide walleye fishing contest runs from May 14 to May 21. The total weight of 6 walleye (18-inch max) will be the entry. All fish will be inspected. One weigh in per entry, with all 6 fish at once.

The prizes are $500 prize for first place; a $250 shopping spree at the Beaver House and third place wins a delightful prize, a hug from Tyson!

As many people know, founders Bill Cronberg (Tyson’s dad) and Guyal Anderson (Tyson’s uncle) opened the original beaver house. The giant walleye was created by local artist, the late Jim Korf in 1990 and 1991.  Korf made the large fish at the Beaver House; the moose at Windigo Lodge; the bar at Hungry Jack Lodge; the walleye outside of a bluegill inside Buck’s Hardware.

All are welcome to the Beaver House Family Fishing Festival!


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

Commissioner vows to bring back copper-nickel resolution for board discussion

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 11:21am

Commissioner Frank Moe vows to bring back his clean water resolution to the county board for a discussion about non-ferrous mining near the BWCAW and Lake Superior watershed. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with the commissioner about this, vulnerable adults and phone service in Hovland.



New fishing book showcases most Cook County lakes

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 9:01am

A new fishing book is available for Cook County anglers and tourists. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with the publisher of the book, Shawn Perich. 


Chik-Wauk arrives to 2016 with series of changes

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 2:23pm

There are some changes this summer to the Chik-Wauk Museum & Nature Center located near the end of the Gunflint Trail. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with staff from Chik-Wauk to find out what’s new for the museum in 2016. 


Girl Scouts celebrate a year of accomplishments at Court of Awards May 19

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 12:32pm

The Cook County Service Unit of the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Lakes and Pines is hosting its Court of Awards on Thursday, May 19. Girl Scouts from all local troops will gather at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts to celebrate another year of activity and accomplishments.

There will be displays on Girl Scout activities and a program with each troop stepping into the spotlight with a brief presentation, song or skit.

Girl Scouts are hosting a dinner for parents and friends at 5 p.m. and the program begins at 5:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome to the program to learn more about Girl Scouts and to honor our hard-working local scouts.

For more information about Girl Scouts in Cook County, contact Laura LaFavor at (218) 370-1245 or email  


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


Teach a kid to fish

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 12:29pm

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


Cook County Envirothon advances to state competition

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 12:15pm

The Cook County Envirothon is advancing to state competition.

Envirothon Coach April Wahlstrom said, “We had two young and energetic teams this year.”

The new team was Isak Terrill, Amelia Roth, Abbey Prom, Jessica MacCudden, Leif Anderson and Elsa Lunde.  Wahlstrom said, “They finished in 6th place out of 40 teams at the regional meet and gave a great solution to an invasive specie problem.”

Cook County’s experienced team finished in 3rd place behind Northeast Range and Moose Lake Willow River.  The top three teams will be going to the state meet, which will take place on May 16 at Lake Bronson State Park in Northwestern Minnesota. 

The advancing team members are Maya McHugh, Andy Kern, Linnea Henrikson, Lucy Callender and Clair Sherburne. 

Wahlstrom said, “Congratulations to this group which represent a hopeful future for our environment.”


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


Cook County Higher Education celebrates 20 years

Mon, 05/16/2016 - 11:00am

Cook County Higher Education is celebrating its 20th year of operation in 2016. The organization is hosting a celebration on Wednesday, May 18 at Voyager Brewery in Grand Marias in recognition of the anniversary. WTIP's Joe Friedrichs spoke with Cook County Higher Education Executive Director Paula Sundet Wolf about the anniversary party and the organization’s many achievements and its role in Cook County.