Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Two Harbors branch of North Shore Federal Credit Union to open in June

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 12:39pm

County residents who have made a trip to Duluth in recent months have likely noticed the construction under way at the first stoplight in Two Harbors at the site of the former BP gas station. North Shore Federal Credit Union (NSFCU) members may also have noticed that this new building will be a branch of their financial institution.

The News-Herald reached NSFCU Manager Mark Summers last week just after he had completed a tour of new building. Summers said the Two Harbors location should be open in early June.

He said the interior of the building is nearly finished, but the opening will wait until the parking lot is finished. It needs to be blacktopped and curb and gutter installed. Summers said the work has to wait for the road bans to go off for paving.

Once open the new location will offer all the services of the branches in Grand Portage, Grand Marais, Lutsen and Silver Bay, perhaps with more focus on commercial products because of the growing economy of Two Harbors.

And when pressed for an opening date, Summers said an opening celebration has tentatively been set for June 22. And will there be a party? He said, “You bet.”


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

Climatologist talks ice-out forecast for Gunflint Trail lakes

Mon, 04/25/2016 - 12:53pm

What roles do rain and wind play in removing ice from lakes in Cook County? WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs speaks with Pete Boulay of the Minnesota Climatology Office to find out. 


Cold and wet will change to cool and sunny

Mon, 04/25/2016 - 11:43am

The cold, wet weather should slowly morph into cool and sunny as the week progresses. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Mike Stewart.


County board approves summer maintenance and calcium chloride

Sun, 04/24/2016 - 7:56pm

At the last meeting in April, the county board approved summer maintenance contracts for special service districts. Contracts were awarded to the following low bidders: Mike Rose Excavating for Evergreen Road; LaBoda Grading, Inc. for Voyageur’s Point and Mile-O-Pine; Edwin E. Thoreson, Inc. for Rosebush Hill and West Rosebush Lane.

In another transportation related matter, Highway Engineer David Betts was given authorization to solicit bids for approximately 144,000 gallons of 38 percent calcium chloride solution liquid. Calcium chloride is used to keep the dust down on gravel roads. 


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

Citizens sought for state Environmental Justice Advisory Group

Sun, 04/24/2016 - 7:47pm

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Commissioner John Linc Stine has announced his plan to form an Environmental Justice Advisory Group to study matters related to environmental justice. The group will provide input and recommendations about ways to incorporate the principles of environmental justice into the agency’s work and will consist of up to 12 members serving two-year terms.

“It's far too easy to talk about remedying the disproportionate impacts of past pollution and preventing future harms,” said Stine. “We must put our words into action, and this advisory group is one of many steps we’re taking to fully integrate environmental justice into our programs." 

MPCA’s Environmental Justice Framework, released in December 2015, outlines goals and strategies to ensure that all Minnesotans benefit equally from environmental protection. Forming the Environmental Justice Advisory Group is one step intended to increase engagement between the public and the agency.

MPCA will be hosting two information sessions in the Twin Cities metro area to provide more background on the group’s scope, function, and goals before the May 16 application deadline. The Environmental Justice Advisory Group charter and application materials can be found on MPCA’s website. Contact Environmental Justice Coordinator Ned Brooks at or call 651-757-2557 with any questions.


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

County board approves permit for Le Grand du Nord

Sat, 04/23/2016 - 10:19pm

County Highway Engineer David Betts came before the county board on April 12 with a special event permit application for the 2016 Le Grand du Nord to be held May 28.

“This event will consist of two separate [bicycle] races, a 100-mile route and a 50-mile route,” said Betts.

Because the routes use county roads, Betts’ staff and the Sheriff’s Office staff will make sure intersections are monitored to help with safety.

Both races start on Broadway Avenue in downtown Grand Marais. The event coordinator, Jeremy Kershaw of Heck of the North Productions LLC, in Duluth, requested use of Croftville Road, Lindskog Road, North Road, Arrowhead Trail, Gunflint Trail, Devil Track Road, and County Roads 6, 7 and 48. The race will finish at the Cook County Community YMCA.

Betts said an estimated 200 riders are anticipated. When questions arose about event safety, Betts said Kershaw had run other biking events in St. Louis and Lake counties with success.


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


Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission selects scholarship winners

Sat, 04/23/2016 - 10:15pm

After carefully reading the four high school senior essays submitted to the Grand Marais PUC essay contest on April 6, the three Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission (PUC) board members, Karl Hansen, Tim Kennedy and George Wilkes, agreed that Bethany Derscheid’s essay was the best.

Derscheid will receive $500 for her well-crafted piece that explained why the Grand Marais PUC’s service to the public is important to people’s lives. As the winner of the local contest Derscheid will move on to compete in the regional contest.

Lily Gruber-Schulz placed second and will be awarded $300 while  Madison Roy placed third and will receive $200.


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


WTIP Weekend News Roundup for April 23

Sat, 04/23/2016 - 10:47am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. The Interior Secretary warns about development near the wilderness. County Board members get information disclosure request and wolves are in trouble on Isle Royale…all this and more in the week’s news.


Townships Association again offers scholarships

Fri, 04/22/2016 - 4:57pm

The Minnesota Association of Townships (MAT) will again offer a township scholarship program for Minnesota high school juniors. Up to six $1,000 scholarships will be awarded.

The Minnesota Association of Townships Scholarship Program is designed to heighten awareness among young people about Minnesota's grassroots township government. The program encourages every high school in the state of Minnesota to offer this opportunity for juniors to participate in this scholarship program.

To enter, students must complete an application form and submit it along with a written essay discussing this year's topic, which is: Throughout its history the United States has adopted policies which took advantage of major technological advances that led to prosperity as a nation. In the 19th century it was the development of canals and a national railroad system. In the 20th century it was rural electrification and the national highway system. Today, high speed broadband Internet access is as vital as phones, electricity and roads. Those without this access, particularly people in rural areas, are left stranded on the wrong side of the digital divide. Describe ways in which broadband Internet access improves the lives of rural residents. What challenges exist in providing broadband Internet in rural areas? And what policies should governments at all levels, (federal, state, and local) adopt to ensure that regardless of geographic location all Americans have equal access to broadband Internet?

Essays must be between 450 and 500 words, and must be typed with double spacing. Applicants should not name themselves, their school, their town or city, or their local officials in the essay.

Young artists encouraged to apply for Eric Thomas Emerging Artist Award

Fri, 04/22/2016 - 4:28pm

The Grand Marais Art Colony and Leah Thomas are pleased to announce the second year of the Eric Thomas Emerging Artist Award, in memory of Leah’s brother Eric (1956 - 2013). This annual scholarship provides full tuition and cost of materials for a young Cook County artist to attend a Grand Marais Art Colony class of their choice.

Cook County high school students who are completing their sophomore or junior year, or in the equivalent home school program, are eligible to apply.  The winning scholarship recipient will demonstrate clear artistic interest, originality, and motivation.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for students to experience art-making from a new art instructor in a situation other than high school. Students can take something totally new to them or improve on skills already acquired.  Last year’s recipient, Isabel Wahlers, had the opportunity to strengthen her drawing skills by taking the class Drawing Through History with instructor Jeff Niesen,” said high school Art Teacher Mary MacDonald.

Applications are now available and must be submitted by April 23.  More information and applications are available from the Art Colony or Mary MacDonald. The scholarship will be presented at the spring ISD 166 award ceremony.

In addition to this new scholarship, the Art Colony offers youth and financial need-based scholarships available so that everyone in Cook County has the opportunity to access artistic education.

Contributions may be made to this scholarship fund by contacting the Art Colony at 218-387-2737 or


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

Local youths lead group picking up trash on Lake Superior shores

Fri, 04/22/2016 - 1:14pm

Earth Day is on April 22 this year, and in recognition of that a group led by local youths in the community went out to pick up trash on the shores of Lake Superior in Grand Marais. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs has this story about the trash pickup. 


Bear hunt applications available until May 6

Thu, 04/21/2016 - 11:54am

Applications for Minnesota bear hunting licenses are being accepted now through May 6 wherever Minnesota hunting and fishing license are sold, online at and by telephone at 888-665-4236.

A total of 3,850 licenses are available in 13 permit areas. Bear licenses cost $44 for residents and $230 for nonresidents, and there is a $5 application fee. The season is open from Thursday, Sept. 1, through Sunday, Oct. 16.

Notification to lottery winners will be made by June 16. The deadline to purchase licenses awarded by lottery will be Monday, Aug. 1. Any remaining unpurchased licenses will be available over the counter starting at noon on Friday, Aug. 5.

An unlimited number of bear licenses will be sold over-the-counter for no-quota areas in east-central and far northwestern Minnesota. No-quota licenses are valid only in a no-quota area. Hunters with a no-quota license can harvest one bear.

Bear license numbers in the quota area have increased from 3,700 last year to 3,850 this year. The increase is the result of increasing permits in areas 45 and 51 where managers have been having increasing bear conflicts. Increasing permits may help address some of those bear conflict issues. In all other areas, bear permit numbers have remained about the same for the last three years in an effort to allow bear population numbers to gradually increase.

Complete information on the fall bear hunt is available on the DNR website at



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


School District 166 offers Industrial Tech tours

Thu, 04/21/2016 - 11:51am

Community members who are curious about what the new Industrial Technology area at Cook County Schools - ISD 166 are encouraged to contact the school to take a look at the spacious new space.

The ground was broken for the new shop area on June 1, 2015 and an open house was held on November 20, 2015 to introduce the new Industrial Tech area to the public. Acting Industrial Arts Instructor Mitch Dorr would like more community members to see the state-of-the-art Industrial Tech capabilities at Cook County Schools.

The expanded space includes garage doors that allow students to being in project vehicles. There are welding booths, grinders, a rebar cutter and more. There is a wide array of woodworking tools. There is a completely separate area for computer design and 3-D printers.

Dorr or his students are available to give tours. If you would like to explore the new Industrial Arts center, contact Dorr at (218) 387-2273.


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

Sen. Tom Bakk: input to the county board on mining resolution was non-threatening

Thu, 04/21/2016 - 9:51am

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk is embroiled in a controversy over a mining resolution discussed and not acted upon by the county board.  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with the District 3 Senator about political solidarity in the Arrowhead as well as what’s left to accomplish in the four weeks remaining of the session in St. Paul.



"What's Left" exhibit at Hibbing Community College through April 29

Thu, 04/21/2016 - 12:59am

Hibbing Community College is proud to present the exhibition What’s Left: Lives Touched by Suicide for the month of April.  This multimedia exhibit intends to create a proactive community dialogue about suicide and mental illness with a goal of reducing the stigma surrounding them.  The exhibit is in the main entrance of the “C” building at the college until April 29.  Admission is free. 

Suicide and mental illness are major health problems that affect everyone. The topic is often viewed as taboo, and family members left behind can feel stigmatized and unable to talk openly about their experience and grief. What’s Left provides a space for participating artists and the broader community to reflect on the impact of suicide and mental illness and explore the use of artistic expression in the process of grieving, healing, and expressing hope.

The project originated with Grand Rapids, Minnesota, resident John Bauer who lost his daughter Megan—a resident of Cook County for a short time—to suicide in 2013. Bauer’s experience in the aftermath of his family’s tragedy is what sparked the idea for an art exhibit as a way to encourage community conversation.

“Whether on the phone or on the street, most people just didn’t know what to say to me,” said Bauer.  “How could they if they haven’t been through something so horrific? To develop a vocabulary for talking about suicide, we have to be able to talk about mental illness as well. Not in whispers or disrespectful laughter. We need a culture shift where we all take responsibility for addressing the stigma associated with suicide and mental illness. That burden should not be on me and my family alone, nor should it fall to other families who have come before or after us.”