Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Arrowhead Transit begins Tuesday Duluth trip

Tue, 02/09/2016 - 12:56pm

Beginning today, Tuesday, Feb. 9, an Arrowhead Transit bus will leave Grand Marais at 8 a.m. every Tuesday and arrive in Duluth by 11 a.m.

First stops in Duluth can be at the medical facilities on the east side, followed by a stop at the new Duluth Transportation Center. From there the bus can go on to the Miller Hill Mall. 
The bus will return from Duluth at 3 p.m. 
Reservations are necessary no later than noon on Monday. Call 800-862-0175, option 8. Bus fare from Grand Marais to Duluth is $10 one way; Silver Bay to Duluth, $5 one way; and Two Harbors to Duluth, $2.50 one way.
All pick-ups and stops are contingent on rider requests. Except for Grand Marais and Silver Bay, all passenger pickups need to be along Highway 61. In Grand Marais, pick-ups will begin in town at 7:30 a.m.
Fares are paid by passengers when they get on the bus.

For more information, contact Larry Rodgers at (218) 735-6815.


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

Large turnout at special council meeting on Dollar General

Tue, 02/09/2016 - 10:18am

Monday night the city council held a listening session for people interested in the projected Dollar General store development in Grand Marais.  On “Daybreak” Jay Andersen spoke WTIP reporter Joe Friedrichs who was at the meeting.


Grand Marais Playhouse youth auditions for "Little Red Robin Hood" today!

Tue, 02/09/2016 - 12:59am

This year’s community youth production will be Little Red Robin Hood, however it will be a bit of a “fractured fairy tale,” as is evident in this synopsis: The play takes a hilarious detour through Robin Hood’s Nottingham and Sherwood Forest, courtesy of writers Flip Kobler and Cindy Marcus, who have developed multiple scripts for Disney. They have come up with a fresh, hysterical twist on characters we all know.

Auditions will be held today, February 9 at 3:30 p.m. for folks grade 3 to adult. Over 25 roles are available.

Rehearsals will be after school Monday - Thursday except for the weeks of March 14 -18 and March 28 – April 1. Performances are April 15- 17 and 22-24. For more information, come to auditions on February 10.



Proposed zipline property back on the market

Mon, 02/08/2016 - 1:53pm

A developer had high hopes when the ground was broken for a commercial recreational project on the Sawtooth Mountain ridge overlooking Grand Marais in August 2013. Matt Geretschlaeger of Grand Marais expected his Superior Zipline Adventures project to be off the ground by spring of 2014. Construction, including excavation of the hillside got under way, however, funding fell through and the project was eventually dropped in June 2014. The property has sat idle since then—until last week when the 21.40-acre property showed up for sale, listed by a commercial realtor in Minneapolis for $399,000.

The property, currently listed at $399,000 by Minneapolis commercial realtor Jeffrey Meehan, can be seen on the KellerWilliams Realty website as well as on Craig’s List.

Geretschlaeger purchased the property from the City of Grand Marais on April 25, 2012 (after an appraisal by Ramsland & Vigen, Inc. of Duluth) for $75,000.

Although the City of Grand Marais does not have any right of first purchase, there are some issues to be worked out before the lot can be developed namely wetland permit issues, said Grand Marais City Administrator Mike Roth.

Roth said the original conditional use permit was issued based on a specific location for the zipline tower and building. Somehow during construction these structures were erected in a wetland. Roth said the structures were removed. However, if a purchaser wanted to build a zipline and wanted to move the structures, he or she would have to reapply for another conditional use permit. Roth said, “Any deviations would require a new public process.”

And if the developer wanted to follow Geretschlaeger’s plan, he or she would have to address the wetland issue.

County board okays replacement equipment for highway department

Mon, 02/08/2016 - 1:52pm

County Highway Engineer David Betts came before the county board on Tuesday, January 26 with four equipment replacement requests. He presented price information for three vehicles and one trailer, obtained from the state bidding website.

Commissioners reviewed the requests for a 2016 GMC Sierra 2500 crew cab pickup, to replace a ¾-ton Chevrolet pickup at a cost of $38,573.72; a 2016 GMC Sierra 2500 crew cab pickup, to replace a Chevrolet 1500 regular cab pickup for $38,573.72; a 2016 GMC Sierra 3500 crew cab pickup with flatbed at 45,065.02 to replace a 1-ton crew cab diesel pickup and a 2016 Towmaster trailer to replace a 1981 Hercules 15-ton trailer.

Betts said the replacements are in the county budget and that although one of the pickups was $75.34 over budget, the other was $148 less than anticipated. The Towmaster trailer is $756.25 over budget, for a total amount over-budget of $683.59.

Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk asked Betts where he would find that amount in his budget. Betts said the highway department would “make it up somewhere,” for example the budget could be adjusted by the purchase of fewer yards of gravel.

The purchase of the replacement vehicles was approved with a unanimous motion. The old trucks will be auctioned off on the state online auction, said Betts.


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

Colder weather coming all week long, but no more snow

Mon, 02/08/2016 - 11:00am

The snow will be tapering off, but replaced by dry, cold weather. Expect single and double digit below zero temps through the week. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Carol Christenson.



Portage trails also impacted by heavy, wet snow

Mon, 02/08/2016 - 7:30am

A mix of winter weather made a big impact on local trail systems earlier this winter. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs speaks with the Forest Service about how the winter weather will impact portage trails once the canoe season starts later this year. 


City Council to accept public comment on Dollar General Feb. 8

Sun, 02/07/2016 - 11:34am

Located at 100 Mission Road, Goodlettsville, Tennessee, Dollar General’s apparent move to Grand Marais is generating quite a bit of conversation in the community, with some in favor, and many against the move of a large discount business into a small community.

Speaking on behalf of the corporation on Feb. 3, Dan McDonald, who is in charge of the possible move to Grand Marais, said, “We haven’t made any decisions yet. This project is in the ‘due diligence’ phase for us. We are still interested in the site, it looks like it will work for us, but want to make sure it meets all of the criteria before we give it the green light.”

Should the company decide to build, McDonald said it would be a 9,000-square foot freestanding building with approximately 7,300-square feet of floor space.

At a special meeting of the Grand Marais Planning Commission on February 3, Tim Kennedy said concerns brought up at that planning meeting would be forwarded to the city council, which is holding a special meeting on Monday, Feb. 8 at 5 p.m. to discuss the implications of Dollar General’s possible move to Grand Marais.

The public is invited to attend and give their input.  This current discussion will also be the starting point for reviewing the city’s building ordinances, Kennedy said.


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



Cook County Ambulance needs EMTs

Sun, 02/07/2016 - 11:30am

An emergency medical technician (EMT) course is beginning soon and the Cook County Ambulance service encourages anyone interested in becoming an EMT—and member of the ambulance squad—to take the training. The News-Herald spoke recently with Ambulance Director Steve DuChien who said the need for more EMTs is great.

With just six paid staffers and 11 volunteers, Cook County Ambulance is stretched pretty thin. Especially considering the ambulance service covers the City of Grand Marais, and the townships of Lutsen, Tofte and part of Schroeder, as well as making ambulance runs to Duluth hospitals when needed—sometimes two or three times a day.

DuChien said in addition to needing more EMTs, the hospital is looking for a paramedic to work “casual,” to fill in if the two paramedics on staff are not available. DuChien said it is difficult to find someone who can work as a ‘casual’ paramedic. He said, “We are hoping that there might be a retired paramedic in the county who might be interested.” EMTs on the ambulance squad are considered volunteers, however they do receive a stipend for their service.  While on call, EMTs receive an hourly rate. If EMTs are paged to a local call, they receive a flat rate. They also received a flat rate for patient transfers to Duluth, which typically take 5-6 hours. Ambulance workers also have a life insurance benefit.

The reward for serving on the ambulance is much more than monetary, however, said DuChien. He said, “It’s giving something back to the community, to our quality of life. What would the community be with out pre-hospital care? It would be like back in the 1920s when people died from injuries they shouldn’t have died from.”

Get moving in February!

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 2:37pm

Sawtooth Mountain Clinic will once again sponsor “Move It in February,” beginning with a free day at the Cook County YMCA on Feb. 7.

Participants will register and log in their activity, with a virtual destination of Chena, Alaska.

Other events for the month-long promotion include a series of workshops and classes, which are viewable at, or by calling (218) 387-2330, ext. 150.

Moving Matters, a project of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, is supported by the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.



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

WTIP Weekend News Roundup for February 6

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 11:48am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. Governor Dayton quits trying for a special session, highway fatality go up, there’s a new ice breaker planned for the Great Lakes and a proposed Dollar General store galvanizes Grand Marais…all this and more in the week’s news.


Cook County Ridge Riders Fun Run is tomorrow, February 6

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 3:30pm

For the seventh year of the Cook County Ridge Riders Fun Run, the snowmobile club is changing things up a bit.  With the closing of the Landing on Devil Track, the Fun Run will now start and end at the Ridge Riders’ Clubhouse on South Shore Drive on Devil Track Lake. All are invited to join in the festivities February 6.

Ridge Riders members have been working hard to get trails cleared, so now it is time to have some fun at the Fun Run. The event starts with a poker run up the Gunflint Trail. To collect poker hand cards, riders hit the trails and stop and get stamped at the following stops, Hungry Jack Lodge, Trail Center Lodge, Windigo Lodge, Gunflint Lodge and Gunflint Pines. The event starts at 9:00 a.m. and all riders need to be back by 5:30 p.m.

Back at the Clubhouse, there will be raffles and the famous balloon pop game. One of the Fun Run organizers Andrea Everson said there are once again numerous great prizes. Everson added, “We would like to thank all the businesses that donate as we know that they all get asked for donations all the time,” said Everson.

There will also be music and great food catered by Rebecca Thompson of Alyce's. Thompson will have her famous squealer sandwiches and much more.  

“This is our biggest fundraiser and we hope it helps with businesses by getting more people from out of town coming to stay at hotels to eat at restaurants and even shop at the stores in town and of course, get gas at the gas stations.

“We look forward to seeing everyone on Feb 7th. Look for the signs to the Clubhouse and additional parking at the old Cook County airport runway,” said Everson.

Check out the Ridge Rider’s Facebook page for more information or email:


Viking girls take Alpine Section 7 championship

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 3:24pm

The Cook County/Silver Bay Alpine Vikings traveled to the Section 7 Championship Ski Meet on Tuesday, February 2.  Twenty-two teams and 242 racers from the Northland and North Twin Cities Metro including Stillwater make up section 7.  Two teams and approximately 15 individuals of each gender were competing to advance to the State Ski Meet.

Coach Charles Lamb said both our boys’ and girls’ teams were underdogs to advance to State, but in every sport anything is possible at a big game.  The only way our teams could advance is if each of our four fastest scorers of the six-member section team threw down his or her fastest possible run and didn’t fall.  Our teams are not as deep as the bigger schools, so our fastest kids needed to come through in a big way and hopefully more of our competition would crash than our racers.  

The stage was set with near perfect weather conditions and temps in the low 20s and clear skies for the first run, turning overcast for the second run. Both race hills were in excellent shape from an early evening groom and a nice frosty night to set up. 

It was an exciting day of racing and at the end of the day, the Viking girls were crowned Section 7 champs and will go on to State. Congratulations to Sela Backstrom, Madysen McKeever, Haley Yoki, Morgan Welch, Reilly Wahlers and Alyssa Martinson.

Individual skiers also earned spots on the slate of racers at the upcoming State competition: Alyssa Martinson, Sela Backstrom and Reilly Wahlers are also going to state as is Logan Backstrom.

Best of luck to all of them on February 10 at Giants Ridge!


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

Local musher talks 2016 Beargrease

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 8:25am

Local musher Erin Altemus had another strong performance in this year’s John Beargrease Sled Dog Race full marathon. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Erin the day after the race. 


Public reminded to be aware of wolves up Gunflint Trail

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 8:25am

A number of reports have come in already this year involving wolf encounters with people up the Gunflint Trail. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs reports on this story.