Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Beginning cross country ski lessons offered at Britton Peak Feb. 5 and Feb. 12

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 2:48pm

Greg Fangel and Liz Wagner of Tofte have offered to teach beginning cross country ski lessons this winter. The first class was January 29 and there will be classes on February 5 and 12th at 1 p.m. Participants will meet at the Britton Peak Trailhead (three miles up the Sawbill Trail from Highway 61) at 1:00 p.m.

The course will cover classical style (not skating). Fangel and Wagner, longtime cross country skiers who have traveled the world cross country skiing for fun and enjoyment, will cover basic technique, uphill and downhill technique, and skiing for fun. They were trained by Twin Cities area cross county ski coaches.

Cross country ski equipment rental is available at W.E. Connect/Birch Grove Community Center in Tofte for $5 per person. Pre-registration and ski rental is required prior to the start of the lessons. To register or for more information, contact Brenda Melin, program director at W.E. Connect by calling 218-663-7977 or email


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

Schouweiler wins second John Beargrease Mid-distance race

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 2:22pm

There is a great deal of excitement around this year’s John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon because the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Grand Portage Lodge are again major sponsors of the race—and because this year the race returns to its roots, making the trek to Grand Portage. The race started in Two Harbors on Sunday, January 31 and is currently making its way inland along the North Shore, with the Mid-Distance race finishing on Poplar Lake at Trail Center and the Marathon traveling all the way to Grand Portage’s Mineral Center trailhead, turning around and going back to Two Harbors.

The winner of the Mid-distance race is Martha Schouweiler who reached the finish at Trail Center this morning, February 1, at 6:27:09, claiming her second Mid-distance championship. She was followed by Frank Moe of Hovland at 7:25:04 and Dusty Klaven of Gheen/Togo, Minnesota in at 7:52:52. Klaven was the winner of the 2016 Gunflint Mail Run’s 9-dog race. Alex LaPlante of Esko came in just seconds later at 7:56:08 and fifth was Leanne Bergen of Sioux Lookout, Ontario at 8:03:17. Bergen was the winner of the 2015 Gunflint Mail Run.

To see all the results and to follow the Marathon racers as they head to Grand Portage, visit the website at To follow the race via GPS, visit

Mushing fans can also catch the action at the checkpoint off the Sawbill Trail, at Trail Center and in Grand Portage and at a number of road crossings and checkpoints on the route.

Live updates from 2016 Beargrease sled race

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 12:58pm

Photos by Joe Friedrichs from the 2016 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. Images taken on Feb. 1 at Trailcenter Restaurant along the Gunflint Trail.

To follow the race live, click here.

Top five finishers in the mid-distance run:

  1. Martha Schouweiler (19 hours, 29 minutes)
  2. Frank Moe (20 hours, 32 minutes)
  3. Dusty Klaven (21 hours)
  4. Alex LaPlante (21 hours, 1 minute)
  5. Leanne Bergen (21 hours, 5 minutes)


A Cooler Week Ahead

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 11:13am

After an end-of-January thaw, more seasonal temperatures return. North Shore Morning host Mark Abrahamson talks with National Weather Service meteorologist Carol Christenson.


Community group to form to support Arrowhead Center for the Arts

Sun, 01/31/2016 - 11:20pm

Community member Doug Sanders, speaking on behalf of former school board member Mary Sanders who was home ill, opened the community comments portion of the January 21 meeting of the Cook County Schools – ISD 166 school board. He gave a brief report on a meeting of interested parties who want to see the continuation of programing at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts (ACA). 

Over a dozen community members gathered at the Sanders home on January 17 to discuss ideas to aid in keeping the ACA operating in light of looming budget cuts.  

According to Sanders, an unofficial board operated the center when it first opened in 1998 and handled such things as paying the salary of the ACA manager. When the board disbanded in 2002, community education assumed the manager’s $19,000 per year contract. The school board budgets the total annual cost of the operation at $75,000. 

The creation of the ACA was mainly funded through a grant from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board. Current tenants of the arts center space are the Grand Marais Playhouse which pays $10,000 per year and the North Shore Music Association with a rent of $140 per month. Other groups originally involved in funding the center eventually withdrew their support. 

There is consideration of reviving the ACA board for the purpose of pursuing other grant possibilities to assist with the cost. Those interested in attending future meetings to discuss this should contact Mary Sanders. 

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



WTIP Weekend News Roundup for January 30, 2016

Sat, 01/30/2016 - 11:27am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. Cook County adopts a new land use plan and still hasn’t gotten rid of its garage-sized culverts. Big animals like elk and moose are in the news and the steel business is still in a slump…all this and more in the week’s news.


Dollar General coming to Grand Marais?

Fri, 01/29/2016 - 8:57pm

A rumor that began circulating last summer appears to be coming true. Dollar General, the nation’s largest retail chain (by number of stores) is looking at building on property zoned for retail sales adjacent to the former Harbor Light Restaurant in Grand Marais.

Richard J. Knight, an attorney living in Appleton, Wisconsin registered the DGI-Grand Marais LLC trademark name on December 7, 2015.

Additionally, the land next to Harbor Light has been has been surveyed to see if a 7,000- to 10,000-square foot store would fit.

To date however, Dollar General or Richard Knight has not applied for a building permit for the property. Grand Marais City Administrator Mike Roth said he has talked with representatives of the company but hasn’t heard back from them.

A move to Grand Marais would appear to follow the company’s plan. Dollar General is opening a store in Silver Bay near AmericInn and planning another store in Floodwood.  It also has locations in Ely, Aurora, Duluth, across the Iron Range and throughout Minnesota.

With national retail sales of $18 to $19 billion, Dollar General is a giant in the bargain retail market, selling a range of household goods, beauty products, groceries, over-the-counter medicines and more. As of October 30, 2015, Dollar General operated 12,396 stores in 43 states, a growth of 900 stores (and three more states) over what it had January 1, 2015.

Neither Richard Knight nor officials from Dollar General returned phone calls to respond to News-Herald questions at press time.

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


The goals of a North Shore hockey captain

Fri, 01/29/2016 - 8:39am

The season is winding down for the North Shore Storm girls’ hockey team this year. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs has this story about the team’s captain, Madison Roy.


Mayor discusses city's timeline for Tomteboda property

Fri, 01/29/2016 - 7:30am

The City of Grand Marais could move a bulk of its facilities and build new garages for city equipment at the top of the hill near WTIP by the end of 2016. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Mayor Jay Arrowsmith-Decoux about the city’s timeline for such a project. 


MNsure open enrollment period ends Sunday

Thu, 01/28/2016 - 12:16pm

The open enrollment period for MNsure under the Affordable Care Act ends on Sunday.  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Sawtooth Mountain Clinic’s Rachelle Christianson who serves as the program’s navigator.


Local biomass heating plant faces uncertain future

Thu, 01/28/2016 - 11:42am

A long-proposed biomass plant in Grand Marais appears as though it won’t happen anytime soon. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs reports on this story. 



A below zero dip, then more snow and mild weather

Thu, 01/28/2016 - 11:42am

A few more snowfalls coming this weekend and a below zero dip, then back to mild weather. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Carol Christenson.


Winter photography class offered at Sugarloaf Cove

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 8:29pm

Winter can be a great time for outdoor photography, especially if you know the key tricks for getting impressive images in snowy Minnesota!

Join landscape photographer Chris Sandberg at Sugarloaf Cove for a class on winter photography at 10 a.m. Jan. 30. Sandberg has been shooting at the Cove and along the North Shore for the last 13 years, and has taught adult learners for over 20 years. Photographers of all skill levels are welcome at the class. 

The class will explore composition, lighting, scene selection, overcoming winter issues, equipment, and new software to advance your photo skills, with techniques that you can use all year long.

For more information call (218) 525-0001.


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

Top topic for January EDA meeting is housing

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 8:27pm

The primary topic of the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) January meeting was housing, as the Work Force Housing Committee gave an update on its progress toward finding potential properties on which to develop workforce housing.

The Work Force Housing Committee—Harrison, Doo-Kirk and Moody—had several meetings with One Roof Community Housing, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is “to provide housing services and building and sustaining affordable homes and healthy neighborhoods using the community land trust model.”

What the EDA is working to develop is different than what One Roof has done in the past—the nonprofit works to provide housing for families at 80 percent of the adjusted median income while the EDA is trying to build homes for those that are at 120 percent of the adjusted median income. Anton Moody said services for the people at the 80 percent level are eligible for Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) programs.

“AEOA is filling that role,” said Moody. He noted the EDA wants to provide market rate—workforce housing—that will enable professionals like teachers, nurses or government workers to find a home to buy.

It was agreed that although their focus is a bit different, One Roof Community Housing could still help the EDA as it proceeds with its housing initiatives. A unanimous motion passed to endorse One Roof as the EDA’s partner on its workforce housing project.

Scott Harrison said still using funds from its Northland Foundation grant, the housing subcommittee has made progress in the study of two potential properties, one near Arrowhead Cooperative in Lutsen and the other west of Homestead Housing in Grand Marais.

LSProject: The John Beargrease Sled Dog Race

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 10:03am

The 2016 John Beargrease Sled Dog Race will start on January 31. Born in 1858, John Beargrease, was the son of an Anishinaabe chief. He delivered mail between Two Harbors and Grand Marais, following a challenging route that paralleled Lake Superior. In this edition of The Lake Superior Project, Curtis Gagnon and Doug Seim talk about the beginnings of the sled dog race that commemorates John Beargrease.

Photos courtesy of Curtis Gagnon.