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News and other information from Cook County

Wood, Winds and Strings at Poplar Lake Fire Hall on August 9

Tue, 08/04/2015 - 11:58am

Plan a drive up the Gunflint Trail on Sunday afternoon, August 9, to enjoy music performed by local and guest musicians.  The Wood, Winds and Strings concert, a blend of contemporary and early music, will be held at the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department Station on Poplar Lake (Station 1) with a reception following, in the adjacent Schaap Community Center.  The concert starts at 4:00 p.m.

Featured this year is music by Bill Beckstrand, local composer and musician, who is widely known for his vocal and instrumental compositions.  His works are now performed throughout the country. You will also hear other delightful vocal and instrumental pieces, as well as music transcribed by Paul Jacobson for small chamber music ensembles.

This is an event for the whole family.  Tickets are $20/adult, $5/child ages 5-18.  Because of limited seating, tickets should be purchased in advance by contacting Susan Scherer ( or call 218-388-9494 to reserve seats.  

The concert is a benefit for the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department and the Gunflint Trail Historical Society.


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

County makes changes to ATV ordinance

Tue, 08/04/2015 - 11:56am

Following a packed public hearing held in the Cook County Commissioner’s room on July 28, commissioners voted 4-1 to allow Class 1 all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to be driven on approximately four miles of the Gunflint Trail.

Voting for the amended ATV ordinance were Commissioners Frank Moe, Heidi Doo-Kirk, Garry Gamble and Ginny Storlie with Jan Sivertson voting against the change to the 2009 ATV ordinance.

Commissioners listened to about two dozen people—with each speaker given two minutes to state his or her case—and then debated the decision themselves in the public hearing that lasted almost two hours. 

The ordinance change allows ATVs on the shoulder and far right side of the road from the Gunflint Trail intersection with Pine Mountain Road to South Brule and then again from the Gunflint Trail intersection with Lima Grade to the east end of County Road 92. The area where Class 1 ATVs will now be driven on the Gunflint Trail will be posted to warn motorists of possible ATV traffic.

There is one caveat—the ordinance will be reviewed in a year. At that time commissioners will decide whether to revoke the right to ride on these sections; whether to keep the ordinance and continue to review it annually; or make the change permanent. The county board, working in conjunction with Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen, is going to work on establishing some sort of criteria for this evaluation.

Because the ordinance passed, ATVs can now be driven on the two sections of the Gunflint Trail, however, Cook County attorney Molly Hicken advised, “For your own safety, we highly recommend ATV users wait to use these parts of the Gunflint Trail until signage is posted by the county.”


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

'Rendezvous Days' and Powwow at Grand Portage National Monument, August 7-9

Mon, 08/03/2015 - 3:14pm

There will be a recreation of an 18th century voyageur Rendezvous at Grand Portage National Monument this weekend. WTIP volunteer Mark Abrahamson spoke with Park Ranger Karl Koster on North Shore Morning. 

More information on Rendezvous Days and Powwow is available 475-0123 or on the National Park Service website.



Congratulations Cook County citizens of the year!

Mon, 08/03/2015 - 12:25pm

Congratulations to the 2015 Cook County Citizens of the Year, Bernie and Milly Gestel of Grand Marais. Congratulations also to Cook County Senior Citizen of the Year Walt Mianowski. The well-deserved awards were presented by Lion Rosemary Lamson on stage at Harbor Park on Saturday, August 1. The honorees were treated to a ride in a convertible in the Fisherman's Picnic parade on Sunday.


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

School District 166 board to vote on referendum election format Tuesday

Mon, 08/03/2015 - 12:21pm

The proposed Operating Referendum that is being scheduled for voter consideration in November was a main topic of conversation at the July 23, 2015 meeting of the Cook County School Board. The current operating levy for the 2016-2017 school year is set to expire in December 2015. The expiration of the levy means an approximate $400,000 drop in school revenue. The proposed referendum would replace the expiring levy with approximately $600,000 in revenue.

From now until the November vote there is opportunity for anyone to ask questions about the upcoming Operating Referendum at any regular school board meeting. A segment has been added to the community comment section of the agenda for this discussion and the superintendent and board members will be allowed to answer questions during this part of the meetings.

Superintendent Beth Schwarz listed several items the added funds may contribute to the school district, including early childhood programming, small class sizes for kindergarten through grade 2, special education, dropout prevention, a balance of college preparatory and vocational classes, as well as erasing all financial barriers among students by the elimination of all student fees for all activities such as athletics, band and robotics.

Schwarz met with Cook County Auditor Brady Powers concerning the different election possibilities that exist for the upcoming referendum. As the only item on the ballot the school must bear the entire cost of the election and also has full control on the manner and details of the election.

Possible polling places, hours and whether or not to conduct an all mail in ballot election were discussed. The school board must pass a resolution explaining the election format by August 5. The board agreed to change their regularly scheduled August 6 meeting to Tuesday, August 4 for adoption of the resolution.


Rainfall below normal and dry is still in the forecast

Mon, 08/03/2015 - 10:34am

The weather promises to remain dry, in fact rainfall this summer is 4 inches below average. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Carol Christenson.