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News and other information from Cook County

Northwoods Volunteer Connections seeks volunteers for portage repair project

Sun, 06/26/2016 - 6:57pm

The Northwoods Volunteer Connection is seeking volunteers to help with a  portage repair project in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness July 13-17.

Space is still available, but is limited to six volunteers for this project.

Food and most of the equipment needed will be provided.

Participants will help restore a popular Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness portage (Lizz to Caribou Portage) by installing log and rock water bars and check dams, and by reshaping soil, planting rocks and logs. These projects will reduce erosion and create a more sustainable tread.

Volunteers will travel by canoe to Caribou Lake to camp and will commute by canoe to the work site daily. The cost to participate is $50 per adult, $25 for students.

Interested? Contact Laurel at (218) 663-8606 or to register.


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

Trinity Lutheran Church fundraising for new roof

Sat, 06/25/2016 - 11:42am

Trinity Lutheran Church in Hovland is a handcrafted place of worship and an historic landmark.

The building was completed in 1949. Now a significant undertaking to replace the roof with cedar shakes and additional insulation has begun.

At the same time Trinity is looking toward the future and what additional mission they have in our county and beyond.  As you drive along Highway 61 through Hovland you can see the work in progress being done by Smith Construction of Cook County. 

Trinity will have fundraisers this summer and fall.  The first is a freewill offering breakfast on Sunday, June 26 at the church (4957 E. Highway 61) 9:45 - 11:00 a.m. (Egg-bake, French-toast, sausage gravy with biscuits, sweets).  

Also during the annual Hovland Arts Festival (10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Saturday July 2 and Sunday 3) Trinity will serve lunch (pulled pork sandwiches, potato salad, baked beans, brats, hot dogs, dessert). 


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

WTIP Weekend News Roundup for June 25

Sat, 06/25/2016 - 10:53am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. Severe weather claims the life of a camper. The Twin Metals lease issues continues. The Governor supports Great Lakes diversion and boaters have a new carbon monoxide rule…all this and more in the week’s news.


Spectators invited to watch the Lutsen 99er action

Fri, 06/24/2016 - 3:13pm

Cook County residents and visitors will have a chance to watch some of the best mountain bike racers in the country when they compete in the Lutsen 99er on Saturday, June 25.

This will also be a chance to cheer for your friends or neighbors in one of the four races.  Riders from near and far will roll up to the starting line at Lutsen Mountains and compete in either the 19er, 39er, 69er, or 99er. 

“We have some well-known pros like Jorden Wakeley from Grayling, Michigan, and Jeff Hall from Farmington, Minnesota,” said Peter Spencer, race director. “But the majority of our participants are recreational bikers. And with our Sunday kids’ events for children 5-13, we attract hundreds of kids and their families.

“Spectators are more than welcome,” adds Spencer.  “We’d love to see them at the beginning and end of the race, and at some of the viewing spots along the way. They are also welcome to celebrate with us at Papa Charlie’s on Lutsen Mountain after an awards ceremony outside Papa Charlie’s at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 25.  Music will be provided by the Minneapolis foot-stomping band 4ontheFloor.

How popular has the mountain biking event become? Mountain bikers have voted the Lutsen 99er the best mountain bike race in Minnesota for 2016.

The 99er is run on trails, forest roads, and some county roads. Riders have 11 hours to complete the grueling ride to receive an official time.                                                             

"Portage" to perform at the North Shore Care Center on June 25

Fri, 06/24/2016 - 3:11pm

The band Portage will play their classic country music at the North Shore Care Center on June 25 at 6:30 p.m. Families, friends, and community members are always welcome to join in the fun.

Additional live music in June features Myron Bursheim on Sundays, Al Fuller on Mondays, Susan Scherer on Wednesdays, and occasionally Harris Mills.

For more information about volunteer opportunities at North Shore Health Care Center or to check out the June calendar of events, visit our website: or call the Activity Department at 387-3518.


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

North Shore Winery set to open in July

Thu, 06/23/2016 - 11:07am

A new winery in Lutsen is set to open its doors in July. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs visited the North Shore Winery, which is the official name of the business, to tour the facility and speak with its owners. (Audio available below from Joe's visit to the winery)

North Shore Winery Owners Chuck and Kim Corliss will open their doors on Friday, July 1. A grand opening celebration will be held Saturday, July 16 and Sunday, July 17.  The winery will offer wine and hard cider for tastings and purchase along with artisan cheese and meat products.

The grand opening event includes music, food, and tastings. Beverages will be available for purchase for tastings or by the glass and carafe. Bottles of wine and cider will also be available for purchase.

The winery project began in 2012 when the couple purchased property on Ski Hill Road in Lutsen. The winery manufacturing facility and tasting room were completed in 2015. Wine production began last fall, and there will be 5 red wines, 4 white wines, and two ciders bottled and available by opening day.

The winery and tasting room at North Shore Winery is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The tasting room will offer a flight of tastings along with carafe, glass and bottle purchases of wine and hard cider.



Severe storms could return to the area later this weekend

Thu, 06/23/2016 - 10:33am

Nice summer weather through Saturday afternoon, then a storm could roll in that sounds a little like the severe weather we experienced last Sunday. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Stewart, who is hoping their forecast does not come true.


Public invited to Firewise demonstration day on June 24

Wed, 06/22/2016 - 8:16pm

Interested in learning how to protect your home and neighborhood against wildfire?

A free Firewise demonstration day will be held June 24 at two locations in Cook County. The presenter will be Jeffery Jackson, NE Region Firewise specialist.

The first demonstration will begin at 10 a.m. at 40 Moose Ridge Road (off Gunflint Trail on Poplar Lake). At 2:30 p.m., the presentation will be given at Lockport Marketplace in Lutsen. The free one-hour demonstrations are designed to help homeowners reduce risk to their property.

For more information contact Todd Armbruster, Cook County Firewise coordinator, at (218) 235-0899.


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

Camp Menogyn director discusses incident on Duncan Lake where camper died in storm

Wed, 06/22/2016 - 11:49am

On June 19 a man was killed in a severe storm while camping on Duncan Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Staff from YMCA Camp Menogyn assisted in rescuing people who were camped on Duncan. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke the director of Camp Menogyn about the incident on Sunday night. 


Discussion of new Border Patrol station in Grand Marais finding momentum

Wed, 06/22/2016 - 10:39am

There are discussions being held by local elected officials, others around the state and perhaps beyond regarding a new Border Patrol station in Grand Marais. WTIP's Joe Friedrichs had a conversation with Matt Curran, the patrol agent in charge of the local Grand Marais Border Patrol Station, about a possible new facility and his monthly Thursday morning coffee with the PAIC. 


Tuesday night means Trivia at Grandma Ray's

Tue, 06/21/2016 - 3:09pm

On Tuesday night in Grand Marais friends and family gather at Grandma Ray’s (formerly the American Legion) for a Trivia Contest hosted by “Big B” and his sidekick Kristi.

The trivia competition is open to all. Join the fun at 7 p.m. at Grandma Ray’s on 1st Avenue in Grand Marais.

To make this lively event a bit more interesting, the Cook County News-Herald has agreed to publish the weekly "winners" when they are available.

Grandma Ray’s June 14 Trivia Night top teams and their prizes are:

1st        The Legion      $50     

2nd       Better Than Nothin’   $25  

3rd        Table 8            $10

4th        Danger Zone   T-shirt

Last     Bobblehead     a Butterfingers candy bar

Congratulations and good luck!


Two students received Eric Thomas Emerging Artist Award

Tue, 06/21/2016 - 3:04pm

The Eric Thomas Emerging Artist Award, an annual scholarship, was developed by the Grand Marais Art Colony and Leah Thomas in memory of Leah’s brother, Eric Thomas (1956-2013). Two awards were presented at the Cook County High School Awards Program on May 23.

Presenting the award, Leah Thomas said, “Congratulations to Cassie Burkett and Samantha Scalise, recipients of the 2016 Eric Thomas Emerging Artist Award. Cassie and Samantha each receive a scholarship to the Grand Marais Art Colony to further their artistic journey.”

The scholarship provides full tuition and cost of materials for a young Cook County artist finishing his or her sophomore or junior year (or equivalent home school program) to attend a Grand Marais Art Colony class of their choice. The winning scholarship recipient—or recipients—must demonstrate clear artistic interest, originality, and motivation.

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

Cook County news reporter honored at Grandma's Marathon

Tue, 06/21/2016 - 7:50am

Grandma’s Marathon took place Saturday, June 18 along the North Shore. Local news reporter Brian Larsen, one of the founders of Grandma’s, received an award this year to honor his dedication to the race over the years.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Brian about his history with Grandma’s marathon. 


Man killed on Duncan Lake is brother of Minnesota Congressman

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 2:01pm

On Sunday night, June 19, a number of intense storms moved through northeastern Minnesota. According to Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen, one person died and another was critically injured on Duncan Lake during Sunday night’s storm. Duncan Lake is a popular lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness located near West Bearskin Lake.

Four males were camping on the lake — two 43-year-old men and juveniles ages 14 and 11. Craig Anthony Walz, 43, of Rochester, was killed during the incident. One of the juvenile males was injured when a mature white pine snapped due to high winds in the storm. The body of Walz was recovered early Monday morning and transported to North Shore Health in Grand Marias for coroner review. 

Craig Walz, who was killed on Duncan Lake in last night’s storm, is the brother of Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz. Craig Walz was a high school chemistry, calculus and geometry teacher at St. Charles High School located in southeastern Minnesota.

During a separate incident during Sunday night’s storm, another male camper in the BWCAW was injured on Clove Lake when a tree feel on his campsite. The male was evacuated from Clove Lake and transported to the Cook County Northshore Hospital by ambulance. Clove Lake is located near the Granite River and Gunflint Lake. 

Rochester man killed in June 19 storm

Mon, 06/20/2016 - 1:21pm

A brief, but severe storm passed though Cook County on Sunday, June 19, leaving downed trees and power lines in its wake. The storm also resulted in a fatality and injuries to campers at two different Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) sites.

Cook County Law Enforcement received back-to-back emergency calls. The first at 10:24 p.m. reported that a tree had fallen on a man camping on Clove Lake, injuring his “upper body.” A medical helicopter was requested and plans were made for it to land at the Seagull Guard Station to meet emergency responders who would bring the man out of the wilderness.

The U.S. Forest Service, Gunflint Ambulance, Gunflint Fire Department and First Responders and Gunflint Search and Rescue responded and as they got under way, another call came in to Cook County Law Enforcement, reporting that help was needed at Duncan Lake. At 10:25, the reporting party said there was a deceased person and a severely injured person on the northwest side of Duncan Lake.

The medical helicopter was diverted from landing at the Seagull Guard Station to respond to this incident. The injured party from Clove Lake was taken by Gunflint Ambulance to North Shore Health.

Cook County Ambulance and Cook County Search and Rescue were paged to assist with the second call.

Responders learned that four people were at the campsite, two adult males and two juvenile males, when the storm’s high winds snapped a mature white pine off at the trunk, killing Craig Anthony Walz, 43, of Rochester, Minnesota.

The tree also struck and injured one of the juvenile males. Camp Menogyn and the uninjured campers assisted in transporting the juvenile out of the wilderness to the Cook County Ambulance.

The patient was transported to North Shore Health and then flown by medical helicopter to a Duluth hospital.