Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Lyle Anderson inducted into Polar League Hall of Fame

Sat, 05/14/2016 - 11:43am

 It’s been 16 years since Lyle Anderson last prowled the sidelines as head coach of the Cook County High School Viking football team, and nine years since he served as the school’s athletic director, but excellence is not soon forgotten, and for his 25 years of service to CCHS sports and his work with the Polar League, Anderson was inducted into the Polar League Hall of Fame on Wednesday, April 27.  

“I was really honored by the award,” said Anderson. “The award was given not just for coaching but for my body of work as athletic director as well.”

Celebrating the honor with Anderson were current coaches: Football Coach Mitch Dorr, Baseball Coach Arleigh Jorgenson, Softball Coach Jessie Anderson, Assistant boys’ Basketball Coach Rick Crawford, Athletic Director Pam Taylor and Lyle’s right hand man on the sidelines for many of his victories, retired Assistant Football Coach Mike Boomer. 

“My wife Shelby was also there. That meant a lot to me. I really appreciated the outpouring of support from friends and family,” said Anderson.

Athletic director’s work largely goes unrecognized to the public, but there is a lot of behind-the-scenes coordinating between conference schools on schedules, game times, showers, towels, busses, meals, etc.  

This isn’t the first award Anderson has won. In 1999, he was named Minnesota Class A State High School Football coach of the year. In 2003, he was inducted into the Minnesota Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Last year Anderson was named honorary coach for the North squad at the 42nd annual Minnesota Football Coaches All-Star game held June 27.

WTIP Weekend News Roundup for May 14

Sat, 05/14/2016 - 10:39am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. Fire news dominated the week and what appears to be a prescription drug burglary in Grand Marais…all this and more in the week’s news.



School Board and Local Indian Education Committee seek concurrance on policies

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 2:44pm

Each year the Grand Portage Local Indian Education Committee (LIEC) votes on whether or not ISD 166/Cook County Schools is in compliance with eight standards included in the district’s policy and procedures related to Indian students residing on Indian lands. The issue was discussed at the May 5, 2016 school board meeting.

The LIEC issued a letter to the district citing non-concurrence with four of the eight standards. Superintendent Beth Schwarz provided a reply that states the district holds that it is in full concurrence with six of the standards but acknowledges it is only partially concurrent with two of the eight.

Those standards have to do with the gathering of information on Indian community views and involving tribal officials and parents of Indian children in the planning of the district’s programs and activities.

In its letter to the district, the LIEC wrote, “Our Indian students need to know that their culture and community have self-worth, are valid, are valued and are important enough to be taught about not only to them but to others as well.”

In the school district response, Schwarz talked about achievement gaps and the factors involved. She said a committee formed in Feb. 2016 called the “Opportunity for Achievement Committee” is a great start on the collaboration needed to help every student in Cook County reach his or her full potential.

Grand Portage Education director Maria Burnett volunteered to present the board with surveys to be filled out anonymously by Indian students and parents to help gather data for the committee.


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



Former Grand Marais resident shares details of Wheel of Fortune experience

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 12:31pm

WTIP's Joe Friedrichs spoke with Ahna Schulte about her recent appereance on the popular game show Wheel of Fortune. 
Ahna is a former Grand Marais resident and 2008 graduate from Cook County High School. 


Everything one needs to know about portage trails, campfires and the Fishing Opener

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 12:31pm

It is the Fishing Opener this weekend in Minnesota, which likely means increased traffic in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and throughout the Superior National Forest. WTIP's Joe Friedrichs spoke with Kristina Reichenbach, the public affairs office for the Superior National Forest, about traveling and camping in the area at this time of year. 


New video conference centers and office aim to expand Cook County communications

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 8:26am

A collection of video-conferencing centers and a new office space in downtown Grand Marais have been created to further expand communications in the region. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Bob Pranis from the local Broadband Committee about the developments. 


DNR fire official talks conditions, etiquette as Fishing Opener approaches

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 1:48pm

Warm and dry conditions to start the month of May have officials from a variety of government agencies, in addition to outdoor enthusiasts, on high alert with regard to fire danger in northeastern Minnesota. WTIP's Joe Friedrichs spoke with staff from the DNR about the fire season and etiquette related to campfires and recreating outdoors at this time of year. 


For the opener: rain, wind and...snow!

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 10:53am

Finally rain, and more on the way for the opening fishing weekend, and with it a little wind, a little snow is possible. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Stewart.


Dancing Bear Cafe to open this weekend at Big Bear Lodge

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 10:08am

Andy and Ida DeLisi, co-owners of Big Bear Lodge have joined forces with Chef John Barton and will be opening the Dancing Bear Café, Friday, May 13, right before the fishing opener.

John Barton had been working at Trail Center when he teamed up with Andy to start the Dancing Bear Café.

Over the winter, the DeLisis and John had been working to refurbish the commercial kitchen that was still part of the lodge from its days as Old Northwoods. They also set up a small dining room, seating on a screened porch, and will have tables outside overlooking Poplar Lake.

The café’s chefs, John and Ida, and official taste-tester, Andy, are eager to ensure the quality of the food they serve as well.

“We all feel very strongly about getting good ingredients. I’m taking the time to really research the farms we are getting products from,” said John. “And we know where it’s coming from. We know the family, we know a lot of the farms we’ve chosen to go with.”

In the future, Andy, Ida, and John are hoping to grow a lot of the food near the lodge, and possibly raise chickens as well. However, they are starting small and easing into it one step at a time.

“Our ideas are there,” Andy said. “From the lodge standpoint, now we have a really cool café and excellent food to offer our guests who are staying here.”

In addition to their regular menu, which will include, among other things, homemade bacon, turkey, and some fantastic duck burgers, the café will also have a barbeque day every other Wednesday from July 20 to the end of August featuring some great food along with local musicians.

For more information about Big Bear Lodge and their newest addition, the Dancing Bear Café, you can visit their website at


Cook County High School Band heading to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Thu, 05/12/2016 - 10:06am

On Thursday, May 12, the Cook County High School Band will depart for its tour to Cleveland, Ohio, where the band will be performing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

The 59-member band, under the direction of Kerri Bilben, has had a very busy and exciting year that started off with a trip to the Minnesota State Volleyball Tournament where they helped cheer on and support the CCHS volleyball team.

The CCHS band recently earned “Excellent” ratings at the Section 7 State Band festival at UMD while the Saxophone Ensemble and the Clarinet Quartet earned “Superior” ratings.

After summers performing in the Tofte 4th of July parade, the Bay Days parade in Silver Bay, and the Grand Marais Fisherman’s Picnic parade, along with countless other fundraisers including Donkey Basketball, and a Sven and Ole's pizza feed the band has raised well over the $35,000 needed to cover the cost of the five-day trip to Cleveland.  

While in Cleveland band members will receive a clinic at Cleveland State University, visit the Great Lakes Science Museum, the Hard Rock Cafe, perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, attend the Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians baseball game, and spend time at Cedar Point Amusement Park and in Wisconsin Dells.

The band will conclude its whirlwind tour with two concerts back at CCHS on Tuesday, May 17: one at 2:30 for the school and then the annual Spring Concert and Senior Show at 7 p.m. This year's theme is "Name That Tune.” Come ready to test your musical knowledge for a chance to win a great prize. 

Ahna Schulte on "Wheel of Fortune" Thursday, May 12

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 1:28pm

Ahna Schulte, a former Grand Marais resident, the daughter of Craig and Lynn Schulte of Grand Marais, will be appearing on Wheel of Fortune on Thursday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m. on KJBR, channel 6. Ahna got to find out what Vanna White and Pat Sajak are like, what it takes to get on the show, and what it’s like to spin the wheel.

As for how successful she was at Wheel of Fortune, Ahna said to the News-Herald, “I can’t tell anyone. I guess people are going to have to watch to see.”


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

Grand Marais Lions Club welcomes new members

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 1:25pm

On Tuesday night, April 26, the Grand Marais Lions Club was happy to welcome two new members. Lion President Bob Spry lead the induction of Mike Ryden and Adam Nelson. Spry reminded the club members of the proud history of the Grand Marais Lions as they celebrate their 35th year anniversary of serving the community.

The new members also become members of Lions Club International, which is the largest service club in the world. As new Lions, Ryden and Nelson pledged to continue in the Lions service.

Anyone interested in joining the fabulous club and organization is encouraged to contact any Lion member to visit a meeting to check it out.

Spry said, “We serve but we also have fun and enjoy ‘roaring.’”


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


Cook County officials seek to remove boys from Mesabi Academy after reports of abuse, maltreatment

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 1:20pm

A recent and ongoing investigative series from American Public Media into the Mesabi Academy, which is a juvenile corrections facility on the Iron Range, has brought a string of reaction and emotion to the region and beyond. In this piece, WTIP's Joe Friedrichs take a look at the impact of this story as it relates to Cook County.

Click here to listen to production by American Public Media regarding the Mesabi Academy. 


Drones, private airplanes not a welcome sight near wildfires

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 9:15am

Over the last few days, there have been at least two intrusions in northern Minnesota involving the invasion of restricted airspace from people attempting to get near wildfires – one was a private airplane, the second an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) also known as a drone. WTIP's Joe Friedrichs reports on this story. 


Presentation to focus on hazardous barrels found in Lake Superior

Tue, 05/10/2016 - 12:17pm

The public is invited to attend a presentation on Wednesday, May 11 at the Grand Marais Public Library by Frank Koehn, a spokesman for a federally funded project to investigate barrels containing hazardous material that were dumped in Lake Superior some 60 years ago. WTIP's Joe Friedrichs spoke with Koehn about the upcoming presentation.