Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Rainy Saturday, Sunny Sunday

Thu, 10/13/2016 - 10:06am

Time to rake the leaves before a rainy Saturday. Then we’re expecting a sunny Sunday.  North Shore Morning host LeAnn Zunker spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Carol Christenson. 


Commissioners discuss review process for county administrator

Wed, 10/12/2016 - 10:48am

The Cook County Board of Commissioners continue to define how administrative government functions on the local level. During a meeting Tuesday, Oct. 11, Commissioner Frank Moe made a motion to essentially continue discussing County Administrator Jeff Cadwell’s performance as a sanction of his annual review. Cadwell was hired by the county in May 2015.

There appears to be uncertainty among the county board as to whose evaluations should be considered regarding the performance of the county administrator. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs has more on this story. 


North Shore Winery to host event Oct. 15

Tue, 10/11/2016 - 10:20am

It’s been a busy summer at North Shore Winery, as WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs reports in this feature about the new business.

In addition, North Shore Winery is hosting an event known as ‘Harvest Fest’ on Oct. 15. The public is invited to join winemaker, Chuck Corliss, and his assistant, Karl Klinker, as they demonstrate how North Shore Winery ferments and processes wines after receiving grapes. Guests will be able to step into the barrel room during the hours NSW are open that day to get a personal tour of the operation including an opportunity to see each piece of equipment used in the process.

The schedule of events includes:
Saturday, October 15

  • 11 a.m.-7 p.m. – Tasting Room Open
  • Noon-7 p.m. – BBQ by Double D’s
  • 4-6 p.m. – Music by Gordon Thorne

 The winery and tasting room, located on Ski Hill Road in Lutsen, Minn., is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. through October 24. The tasting room offers a flight of tastings for a fee along with carafe, glass, and bottle purchases of wine and hard cider. The tasting room also offers a selection of Minnesota crafted cheeses and cured meats to enjoy while visiting the winery.


Weekend News Roundup for October 8

Sat, 10/08/2016 - 9:24am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. Missing ATVer finds his way back. Missing anglers found in Lake Superior search. Magnetation ready for bankruptcy. Disaster aid for July storms given by state…all this and more in the week’s news.


Grand Marais State Bank donates to Cook County Food Shelf

Fri, 10/07/2016 - 3:05pm

On Tuesday, October 4, the Cook County Food Shelf received a generous check of $1,000 from the Grand Marais State Bank. Presenting the gift to Food Shelf volunteer coordinator Gwen Lenz was Bank President Mike LaVigne

In giving thanks, Lenz said, "We distribute food to 125 families each month, and we are not supported by the state or city or any government whatsoever. We are supported entirely by gifts from individuals and from businesses that have a strong sense of community, so we appreciate this gift.”

"This donation is part of the way we are celebrating the bank's 100th anniversary," LaVigne said.

This gift wasn't the only money the bank gave out during its recent festivities. A drawing was held, and the following people each won $100: Marsha Hansen, Grace Floe, Jana Berka, Jim Larsen, Val Groth, Carol Miller, Stan Nelson Jr., Paul Smith, Linda Walker, Aaron Davies, Elizabeth Martinez and Ashley Ross.

"It should be noted that Stan Nelson Jr. donated his winning check to the food shelf," said LaVigne.

Currently, the food shelf, which is located in the basement of the First Congregational Church in Grand Marais at 300 West Second Street, is well stocked, said Lenz.

"But with winter coming on people's heating bills go up and they have less money for food, and that's when we can use more donations," she added.

The food shelf could always use some more help, Lenz said. More volunteers are needed to assist with packing bags and boxes, and picking up groceries or helping with the distribution of food, she said, adding, "We will be happy to train anyone who wants to help out."

In addition to distributing food, the food shelf also serves as a NAPS program for elders and a WIC small bag distribution site.

Cook County to recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day Oct. 10

Fri, 10/07/2016 - 10:06am

Cook County will officially recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday, Oct. 10. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs has this story on what lead to the decision. 


Fond du Lac Band moose hunt continues in northeastern Minnesota

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 10:13am

Cook County Law Enforcement received a concerned call in the early morning hours on Monday, September 26 reporting a truck and trailer in Grand Marais transporting two dead moose. There was no need for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office to become involved; the moose were harvested as part of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa moose hunt which began on Saturday, September 26.

The hunt will continue until December 31, or until 28 moose are taken. According to the Fond du Lac Band website, as of Monday, October 3, 18 bull moose had been harvested by hunters exercising their rights under the Treaty of 1854.

The area open to hunting, the ceded territory, includes portions of St. Louis County and nearly all of Lake and Cook counties as well as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It excludes developed areas such as the towns of Silver Bay, Beaver Bay and Grand Marais.

On its website, the Fond du Lac Band explains it made the decision to reinstate the moose harvest on ceded lands “after careful consideration of biological data indicating the moose herd has stabilized in recent years at around 4,000 animals, and taking into account the traditions and cultural practices of the band.”



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


Rain, wind and maybe snow in the forecast

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 10:13am

The weather will turn wetter and cooler and stay that way through Saturday. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Bill Leatham.



EDA endorses Cook County Arts & Culture Economy plan

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 10:09am

Grand Marais Art Colony Executive Director Amy Demmer, chair of the Cook County Arts & Culture Economy Planning Team, came before the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) on September 19 to ask for the EDA’s help in leveraging creativity. 

Demmer was referring to a McKnight Foundation capacity building grant was used to develop a plan titled Leveraging Creativity: the Cook County Cultural Plan.

Demmer said the arts economy planning team was holding a final retreat on October 25 and at that time would adopt the plan. She said it is now time to implement the plan and asked for the EDA’s assistance.

The arts economy planning group asked that EDA Director Mary Somnis be allowed to schedule meetings, act as chair at meetings and provide other logistics. Demmer said it the assistance would likely be no more than 15 hours a month.

Somnis said she felt this was an appropriate task for the EDA director, noting that some tenets of the plan are things that the EDA is already involved in, such as marketing the community and developing public and private partnerships. In fact, Somnis said, one of the goals of the plan calls for “affordable housing options for low-to-mid-income residents, including artists” which perfectly parallels the EDA’s housing initiatives.

The EDA board agreed to lend the director’s time to facilitating the arts economy plan.


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

Emerald Ash Borer crawls closer to the North Shore

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 8:28am

The invasive insect Emerald Ash Borer continues its spread across northeastern Minnesota. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with staff from the Department of Agriculture about what this means for residents of, and visitors to the North Shore. 


City Council to consider changes to public comment period

Wed, 10/05/2016 - 12:21pm

Due to a number of schedule conflicts, Grand Marais city councilors held their second meeting of the month a day earlier than usual, convening at 9 a.m. Sept. 27 in City Hall.

After the usual time for public comments, there was a short discussion among councilors about the open forum policy and what should–or shouldn’t–be allowed during the citizen’s allotted five minutes.

Councilor Tracy Benson said the citizens have five minutes “to say whatever…and we don’t have to react.” She suggested that persons with zoning concerns should visit the office and speak with Roth before coming to the council meeting.

Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux disagreed, saying he didn’t want to change the nature of the open forum. “It’s important to say what they want and communicate with the council,” he said, noting that council could then help by directing citizens to the appropriate person or department to address their problems. “People should have the opportunity to air their grievances, but there is some responsibility that goes with it,” said the mayor in reference to recent incidents of false accusations, insults and disrespect shown to councilors and city staff at public meetings.

There were no decisions made about revising the open forum policy, but the mayor said it is a topic that may be revisited at a future meeting.


Todd Smith takes oath of office as Cook County Assessor

Wed, 10/05/2016 - 12:20pm

Todd Smith, who has been working in the Cook County Assessors Office since March 2015 took the oath of office to become the new Cook County Assessor on September 27.

Court Administrator Kim Shepherd administered the oath.

The board thanked Smith for his work to date as assistant Assessor. Smith had to obtain his Accredited Minnesota Assessor (AMA) credentialing, before being appointed. He will have two years to obtain his Senior Accredited Minnesota Assessor (SAMA) from the time of the appointment.

Commissioner Gamble added, “Thanks for going back to school on our behalf.”

Smith grinned and said, “There will be more of that!”


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

Cook County Whole Foods Co-op turns 40

Tue, 10/04/2016 - 11:02am

The Cook County Whole Foods Co-Op turns 40 this week. An event will take place at the Co-op in downtown Grand Marais to celebrate the birthday of the local grocer in Grand Marais. The event is from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs has this feature on the local grocery.


Grand Marais Planning & Zoning to consider non-conforming use ordinance Wednesday

Tue, 10/04/2016 - 9:39am

Grand Marais Planning and Zoning will consider changes to the city’s ordinance regarding non-conforming use within the city at the Planning Commission Meeting on October 5 at 4 p.m. at Grand Marais City Hall.

The possible need for ordinance changes were brought forward by a seemingly simple request for an amendment to the zoning map of the City of Grand Marais. The request for came from Steve Surbaugh and Mike Larson of Cascade Vacation Rentals who are interested in purchasing the Norshor building at the intersection of First Avenue and First Street in Grand Marais from Bob Spry. The building, the long ago Johnson’s Grocery Store, has commercial space on the lower level and an apartment upstairs.

The request led to lengthy discussion at meetings of the Grand Marais Planning Commission and City Council and finally to a possible ordinance change.


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

Buildings to be moved from former Tomteboda/Gateway Resort site

Tue, 10/04/2016 - 9:37am

The former Tomteboda Resort/Gateway Lodge property now belongs to the City of Grand Marais and it will eventually be the site of the city’s public works facility. The property is being cleared by citizens taking the city up on the offer to purchase structures at bargain basement prices with the understanding that they be moved to other locations.

At the September 14 city council meeting, City Administrator Mike Roth told the council that the city had received a purchase offer from Gary and Ann Jorgenson of Grand Marais for the building that served as an information center/restaurant for Gateway Lodge. Roth noted that the city hadn’t decided whether or not it wanted to keep the building to repurpose in some way.

Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux said if the council entertained the offer of $1,000 for the building, it would be moved for them. Councilor Tracy Benson pointed out that the city purchased the site for the land. “We don’t want to be in the property management business,” she said.

Benson made a motion, seconded by Councilor Anton Moody to sell the building to the Jorgensons. Roth said the family would be moving the building to their property east of Grand Marais to be converted to a residence.


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