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News and other information from Cook County

County to research assistance for trail cleanup

Sat, 01/09/2016 - 5:08pm

When it came time for the agenda item “Commissioner Concerns” at the Tuesday, January 5, 2016 county board meeting, West End Commissioner Ginny Storlie said she had a concern about the condition of area snowmobile and ski trails and its potential impact on the county’s economy.

Storlie said she had been contacted by Sharon Platzer of the Lutsen Trailbreakers Snowmobile Club who described the situation. Because of the unusual winter weather, snow- and ice-laden trees and brush were blocking area trails, not just in Lutsen, but all over the county.

Workers from snowmobile and ski clubs were working hard to get trails open, but finances are being strained by the unexpected expense of cleanup, said Storlie.

“This affects tourism in our county,” said Storlie. “This affects cross country skiing, dog sledding and snowmobiling.”

County Board Chair Heidi Doo-Kirk agreed the situation was dire. She said the Cook County snowmobile club and groups like the Banadad Trail Association need help with trail clearing.

Commissioner Frank Moe, a musher who will be racing his sled dogs on Gunflint Trail area trails this weekend in the Gunflint Mail Run, said everyone who is involved in winter sports has been working to get the trails open. Moe suggested contacting Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks& Trails Supervisor Joe Russell, who may know if funding is available for emergency trail maintenance.

Commissioners agreed to reach out to the DNR, as well as state legislators, to see if any funding is available to help those involved in the cleanup. Commissioner Garry Gamble said the legislature is sometimes more receptive to providing funding for short-term solutions than long-term commitments.

WTIP Weekend News Roundup for January 9, 2016

Sat, 01/09/2016 - 10:56am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. County board reaches out for trail clearing assistance. The Governor seeks special session. Minnesota posts large boating accident death toll…all this and more in the week’s news.


Head up the Gunflint Trail to catch the sled dog action this weekend.

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 2:01pm

The Gunflint Mail Run is this weekend, January 9-10. The 100-mile, 12-dog race starts at Trail Center on 8 a.m. on Saturday and the 8-dog team starts at 9 a.m. Teams will be arriving back at Trail Center in mid- to late afternoon. They will be resting at Trail Center and then heading out for the second course of the race.

Trail Center will be “sled dog central” for the weekend. Of course, as organizers stress, times are approximate. For more information about the event or to bid on items in the Gunflint Mail Run online auction, visit

Gunflint Mail Run organizers were delighted to share the news of who won the ATV that was raffled to raise money for the prize purse for the Mail Run. Congratulations to Orvis Lunke of Colvill, who is the proud owner of a brand new Can-Am ATV!


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

Industrial Arts teacher cuts ties with ISD 166

Fri, 01/08/2016 - 1:53pm

The Cook County Schools – ISD 166 board was met with a shocking request for resignation by Peter Johnson at their January 5, 2016 board meeting. Johnson, the industrial arts teacher heading up classes in the newly expanded, state of the art, industrial technology center at ISD 166, tendered his resignation earlier that same day with the intention of the very next day being his last with the district.

Johnson had accepted a position beginning January 11 with the industrial arts department at Lake Superior College (LSC) in Duluth. LSC ironically is a partner with Cook County School District to offer college credit to local students for some of the courses they take while still in high school. Board Chair Jeanne Anderson stated that it would have been nice to have some collaboration with LSC in the matter. As of the meeting time no one from LSC had returned a phone call to ISD 166.

The instructor had been with the local district since August 2014 and was present for the ground breaking of the new one million dollar, 2100 square foot facility less than a year ago. He indicated at that time the expansion was one of the main reasons he chose to come to the district.

Board Member Sissy Lunde felt that Johnson was pulling the rug out from under the students in industrial arts and said she is “incredibly disappointed right at this moment.” With budget cuts looming, Board Member Terry Collins said this raises the question of discontinuing industrial arts for a semester and saving the associated costs.

Superintendent Beth Schwarz reported that the district’s attorney had advised not to accept Johnson’s resignation and hold him to his contract through the end of the school year. She said the attorney counseled that at a minimum Johnson should be required to complete the semester which ends January 22. The district could choose to sue for breach of contract if they so desired.

County Highway Department Advisory Committee members named

Thu, 01/07/2016 - 1:55pm

County Engineer David Betts was at the January 5 special meeting of the Cook County commissioners as the board named citizens to serve on the newly formed County Highway Advisory Committee. County representatives on the committee are Betts and County Administrator Jeff Cadwell, along with County Board Liaison Ginny Storlie. 

Citizens on the committee are Bobby Deschampe, representing Grand Portage; Charlie LaBoda representing commissioner District 1; Peter Harris in District 2; Bruce Strand in District 4; and Stanley Tull in District 5. Myron Bursheim, of Hovland and Grand Marais, was appointed as an at-large committee member.

The District 3 position is open and Betts said he had heard from someone who was interested in serving, but they had not yet confirmed.

The board discussed expectations for the committee and Betts said, “I’m looking forward to good, positive discussion.”


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

Sub zero lows are coming

Thu, 01/07/2016 - 10:35am

Colder weather coming to stay around for a week or so. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Carol Christenson.