Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Boaters can get I-68 forms in Grand Marais May 7-8, May 14-15

Sat, 05/07/2016 - 4:37pm

If you plan to boat into Canadian waters and come back into the U.S., your best bet will be to obtain Form I-68 from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. Those forms will be available in Grand Marais at the Border Patrol Station on Highway 61 on May 7-8 and May 14-15 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.

While there is no requirement to get Form I-68, boaters who choose not to obtain the document must report, in person, for inspection by a CBP Officer at a port-of-entry each time they enter the United States. U.S. boaters who enter the country with aliens who don’t have a Form I-68 and without reporting for inspection may be subject to fine and/or possible seizure of the boat. Also, people traveling by boat who do not have this form and fail to present themselves for inspection are subject to arrest, possible fine, or if a non-U.S. Citizen, removal from the United States.

After an initial inspection the Form I-68 allows boaters to report their arrival into the U.S. by phone without having to appear at a port-of-entry for an in-person inspection. An initial inspection involves an interview, checking the individual in the Interagency Border Inspection System (IBIS) and possibly other law enforcement databases, completion of the form I-68, and payment of a fee.


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

Extreme fire danger in Cook County

Sat, 05/07/2016 - 4:36pm

For most of the state—including Cook County—the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has posted its fire danger rating as “Extreme,” meaning the fire situation for most of the state is “explosive.”

Under these conditions, the state will not allow open burning of brush and yard debris. Burning restrictions occur in the spring when the snow melts, and fuels like dry grass and leaves are exposed to dry winds and increased fire potential. Restrictions remain in place until sufficient green up, usually four to six weeks during April or May.

Residents can find the latest burning restrictions at or contact the local DNR forestry office to obtain current information on fire danger and burning restrictions.

The National Weather Service has issued its own notice. A “Red Flag Warning” is in effect for much of North-Central to Northeast Minnesota due to very dry and windy conditions.

The fire conditions are very similar to that at the start of the 2007 Ham Lake wildfire, which burned 75,000 acres and approximately 138 structures, began with a small campfire.


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


WTIP Weekend News Roundup for May 7

Sat, 05/07/2016 - 10:53am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. The move to strip down IRRRB continued for another week, Lake Superior levels are down, and unemployment in the region is up…all this and more in the week’s news.



Fires in Canada, near Iron Range town bring smoke to Cook County

Fri, 05/06/2016 - 7:45pm

Smoke lingering in Cook County Friday evening is the result of wildfires burning in Canada and a series of fires near Hoyt Lakes, which is a small town on the Iron Range approximately 110 miles from Grand Marais. 

The USDA Forest Service says eight to ten fires started along railroad tracks in the Skibo Road area east of Hoyt Lakes at around 3 p.m. The fire is believed to have grown to about 100 acres.

Authorities say several structures are threatened and evacuations are underway in the Skibo Junction area. An exact number of people being evacuated was not immediately available.

"The last report was that some of the fires had grown together," Forest Service public information officer Tim Engrav reported in a news release at 6:30 p.m.

Fire danger is extreme across northern Minnesota. High temperatures, low humidity, and high winds are making firefighting difficult. Multiple ground crews and aircraft are fighting the fire, and contending with gusty northwest winds and haze drifting into the area from Canadian wildfires.

View more news from WTIP

Folk school trend finds welcoming home in North Shore region

Fri, 05/06/2016 - 12:10pm

A new folk school opening this month in Duluth has followed suit with the trend of folk schools arriving to northeastern Minnesota. WTIP's Joe Friedrichs has this report on folks schools along the North Shore and surrounding area. 


Coordinating economic development is WTIP First Thursday topic

Fri, 05/06/2016 - 6:20am

Recent surveys show most Cook County residents are in favor of economic development, as long as it keeps the local flavor and doesn't do damage to the character of the place. Obviously these criteria mean different things to different people.

Join WTIP’s Jay Andersen for First Thursday Community Conversation. We’ll bring together in the studio representatives from the city, county, Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Authority to exchange perspectives on growing our community while retaining our character.

What is sustainable economic development? What does it mean to the county board and its agencies? What does it mean to the City of Grand Marais. Are they even talking to one another?

“First Thursday Community Conversation – sustainable economic development.” Only on WTIP North Shore Community Radio.



Household model coming for care center

Thu, 05/05/2016 - 9:19pm

With work going full steam ahead on the care center, North Shore Health Administrator Kimber Wraalstad told the hospital board of directors that employees have been receiving training on how to transitioning to providing care and service to the residents in a new way, using what is called the “household model.”

To that end a pilot group from the care center travelled to three care centers in Northeastern Minnesota on April 20-22 to see how this model works in a practical application.

Wraalstad said Lutsen Resort loaned its 15- passenger van for the trip which took them employees to Neilson Place in Bemidji; Good Samaritan Society in International Falls and the Senior Living Center in Warroad. In that group were Emily Arnold, Nursing Assistant (N.A.); Lisa Bloomquist, Activities; Dawn Dosey, N.A.; Sarah Groth, Housekeeper; Erik Pignolet, N.A.; Kristi Silence, LPN; Kelly Twiest, Nursing Assistant/Medication Aide/Rehab Aide; Helena Blake, department head; and Amy James, RN and the project leader.

“The pilot group members have created a list of questions they have about the change process, how specific situations work, experiences that were positive and areas that were not successful,” said Wraalstad. “As we begin to move into the new space, we will have the opportunity to practice various ideas, knowing that more change is to come.”


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


Local election filing period opens Mid-May

Thu, 05/05/2016 - 9:15pm

The acrimonious presidential election is getting most of the media attention of late, however there are some important local election dates to be aware of that are coming soon. Candidate filing periods for a number of local government boards will be open May 17 – May 31, 2016.

In Cook County, citizens will be voting for two county board seats, in the districts currently represented by Garry Gamble (District 2) and Heidi Doo-Kirk (District 4).

The Soil & Water Conservation District will see three supervisor seats up for election, currently held by Donald Goodell (District 1); Joan Farnam Morrison (District 3); and Jerry Hiniker (District 5).

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.

The North Shore Hospital Board will be seeking candidates in District 2 and 4, currently held by Justin Mueller and Kay Olson respectively.

In the city of Grand Marais, the mayor and two council seats will be on the ballot. Incumbents are Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux and councilors Tracy Benson and Tim Kennedy.

School District 166 board seats on the next ballot are held by Terry Collins (District 2) and Sissy Lunde (District 4).

Primary elections are held August 9, 2016. General elections will take place on November 8, 2016.

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


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




New restaurant set to open on Middle Gunflint Trail

Thu, 05/05/2016 - 12:17pm

A new restaurant is set to open on the shores of Poplar Lake up the Gunflint Trail. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs has this story on the Dancing Bear Café. 

To view the Dancing Bear Cafe menu, click here. 

For more information on Big Bear Lodge and Cabins, click here. 


Warm weather prompts fire danger

Thu, 05/05/2016 - 10:32am

May is starting out dry and warm with elevated fire danger. But the weekend may see some rain, even thunderstorms. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Linda Ingebretson.


Local conservation officers prepare for fishing opener

Thu, 05/05/2016 - 8:12am

The Minnesota Fishing Opener is Saturday, May 14. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs speaks with DNR Conservation Officer Darin Fagerman about the upcoming season. 


Fond du Lac biologist describes spear fishing on Cook County lakes

Wed, 05/04/2016 - 11:49am

During the first week of May, spear fishing was conducted by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Cook County under the guidance of Fond du Lac game wardens, biologists and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources staff. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs has this story.


Spear fishing may happen at five Cook County Lakes

Tue, 05/03/2016 - 10:50am

Invoking  its 1854 Treaty rights, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has announced plans to spearfish in five Cook County lakes this spring.

Now that the ice is out, the Fond du Lac Band has said its members may take fish with spears from Brule, Cascade, Crescent, Sea Gull and Tom Lakes.

Last year Pike, Caribou, Tait, and Four Mile lakes saw a harvest of 190 walleyes for a total of 223.4 pounds.

The 2014 season was cancelled because of late ice out.

Fond du Lac Fisheries Biologist Brian Borkholder said, “The Band has committed to not spear after the evening of May 7. We will not be there after the State fishing opener."

That is, if it takes place at all. Borkholder said he was not sure if there was interest in traveling to the Cook County lakes.

If spearing is conducted it is done under the guidance of Fond du Lac game wardens, biologists and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources staff (DNR).


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

News program at noon featured weekdays on WTIP

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 1:46pm

Looking for the latest in North Shore news, weather and information? Listen to the "News at Noon" program Monday through Friday on WTIP to keep informed. 

Created in response to a survey of WTIP listeners, the News at Noon includes 
up-to-the minute weather, North Shore happenings in local news, sports and 
entertainment, as well as a variety of features from WTIP staff and 

The News at Noon, weekdays on WTIP, 90.7 FM.

Comments accepted on Lake Superior Fisheries plan until May 8

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 10:50am

About 25 people came out for the April 19 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) open house to preview the latest version of the Fisheries Management Plan for the Minnesota Waters of Lake Superior.

The process began with a public conference in December 2014, and was followed by a series of seven advisory group meetings. Nearly 30 citizens worked with Minnesota DNR Fisheries Management to develop a plan spanning the years of 2016 to 2025.

The advisory group included representatives from interested groups such as the Arrowhead Fly Fishers, Izaak Walton League, Kamloops Advocates, Save Lake Superior Association, Trout Unlimited, Western Lake Superior Trollers and more. There were commercial harvesters, tribal and watershed interests, and others.

North Shore advisory group participants were Kerrie Berg of Cook County Soil & Water Conservation District; George Wilkes, representing Cook County tourism; Steve Ford, an independent angler; E.J. Isaac, representing the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; Captain Darren Peck, North Shore Charter Captain; and Harley Toftey for North Shore Fish Processors.

The 130-page plan gives a comprehensive history of fishing in Lake Superior and data on a variety of fish population as well as data on the effects of climate change, invasive species, fish habitat, water quality and long-range goals fisheries goals.

The plan will be finalized this summer It is available for review on the DNR website. The public can comment on the plan until May 8. Comments may be submitted at:


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