Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Memorial Day weekend brings chance of showers and thunderstorms

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 10:53am

Unsettled weather over the weekend with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. But looking ahead to next week, the temperatures should be above normal. WTIP volunteer LeAnn Zunker spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist, Mike Stewart, on North Shore Morning.

(Photo by Thomas Bresson via Flickr)


Some of the Chamber's priorities in bonding bill are on hold

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 10:53am

With the legislative bonding bill in limbo, some of the Cook County Chamber’s initiatives are stalled, but a few items managed to get through the session. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Judy Erickson, the Chamber’s spokesperson in St. Paul.


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WTIP Weekend News Roundup for May 28

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 9:43am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. The Iron Range waits for the Governor’s action, The U.S. Sends fire help to Canada, St. Louis County opens its roads to ATVs…all this and more in the week’s news.


Sale of Gunflint Lodge nears completion

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 1:55pm

The sale of Gunflint Lodge is likely to be complete by mid-June, according to county officials and staff at the lodge. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs reports on this story. 


Counselor puts hair on the line for Food Shelf

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 1:33pm

Cook County Schools/ISD 166 Counselor Kris Hoffman was considering a new haircut for the summer season—and decided to let Sawtooth Mountain Elementary School students determine what his new look will be. Hoffman put his head on the line in a Food Drive from now until May 27. The original goal has been met but communitiy members have upped the stakes.

Originally Hoffman promised that if Sawtooth Elementary School collected 500 canned and non-perishable items for the Cook County Food Shelf, he would shave his head on stage at the Wednesday, June 1 talent show at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts. The hair is going! Students not only met the goal, they have now collected 613 items.

The class that collects the most for the Food Shelf will also win a party, courtesy of Hoffman and his advisory council.

The ante has been upped. School faculty and community members are trying to raise 2,000 items (or cash donations) for the Food Shelf. If that goal is reached, Hoffman will not only shave his head, but will shave off his goatee and will have his shoulders waxed at a local spa!

Donations can be sent to school with students or dropped off with Hoffman at ISD 166. Items to donate should be boxed or canned food; no bags that can be punctured or food that can spoil.

Hoffman said, “Please help spread the word, I’d love to get these kids a great going-away present for the summer!”

For more information about the Cook County Food Shelf or to volunteer with the Food Shelf, contact Bill Lenz (218) 387-9860.


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



Take a Kid Fishing event on June 11

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 1:23pm

Interested in teaching your kid how to fish and enjoy the many lakes in Cook County?  Interested in introducing them to a life-long activity that can connect them with their local environment, encouraging stewardship and appreciation of one of Minnesota’s wonderful resources . . . the lake?

Then join the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Cook County Soil and Water Conservation District and the United States Forest Service for a day of fishing on June 11 at the Kimball Lake Campground from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. There will also be natural resource professionals demonstrating fly-fishing casting and tying, presenting aquatic invasive species information and more.  Space is limited so call 218-387-1750 or email for reservations no later than May 27.

What to Bring:  A child 5-12 years of age accompanied by an adult.  Make sure they are dressed to be near water – jacket, hat, sunglasses, sturdy shoes, insect repellant, and life jacket if you have one. Some life jackets and fishing rods will be available, but due to limited supply bring your own if you can.

Directions to the Campground:  Travel 12 miles north on the Gunflint Trail (CC 12), turn right on the Trout Lake Road (FR 140) and travel 2 miles to the Kimball Lake Campground entrance.  The entrance is on the right.  Parking is limited so either carpool or park along the side of the main road into the campground.

Lunch and water will be provided! 

This event is being sponsored by the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Cook County Soil and Water Conservation District, United States Forest Service, Solbakken Resort and Buck’s Hardware Hank.


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


Art therapy studio opens in Grand Marais

Thu, 05/26/2016 - 1:20pm

Local resident Belle Janicek has opened a new therapy business in Grand Marais.  WTIP's Joe Friedrichs spoke with her about the new art therapy studio located in the Cook County Higher Education building. 


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County assessor submits letter of resignation

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 12:53pm

Cook County Assessor Betty Schultz has submitted a letter of resignation to the County Board. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs reports on this story. 


Cook County High School Band returns from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 10:19am

The Cook County High School Band traveled to Cleveland last weekend for quite an adventure.  The band spent Friday morning studying with Dr. Birch Browning of Cleveland State University where they were taught many helpful techniques to improve their sound and musicianship. The band visited—and played at—the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They also attended a Twins game against the Cleveland Indians (the Twins won!), visited the Great Lakes Science Museum and Hard Rock Café and more.

They got home at 4:00 p.m. on Monday afternoon and on Tuesday, performed at a concert for hometown fans, along with the Middle School choir, 6th grade band and combined 6th, 7th and 8th grade bands.

At the end of the evening, Bilben recognized her senior band members and presented several awards. She presented the John Philips Sousa Award to three students – Sara Carman, Owen Anderson and Madison Roy. Receiving the 2016 North Shore Music Association scholarship was Isabel Wahlers. And earning the Unsung Heroes Award were Lily Gruber Schultz and Shauna Blake.


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

Community gathers to consider Cook County's arts economy

Wed, 05/25/2016 - 10:17am

Community members were invited to an “IDEA” meeting on Wednesday, May 11 at the Voyageur Brewing Company in Grand Marais. The invitation came from the Cook County Arts and Culture Economic Planning Team, which was formed following the interesting results of the study released in November 2105 which showed that the nonprofit arts and culture sector of Cook County’s economy generates over $4.6 million in total economic impact annually.

The study, Creative Minnesota: The Impact and Health of the Nonprofit Arts and Culture Sector, found that 17 nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Cook County support the equivalent of 127 full time jobs in the city, and that 78,000 people attend nonprofit arts and cultural events annually.

According to Sheila Smith, executive director of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, which conducted the study, although Cook County ranked 16th of the 17 local areas studied in size of population, the county ranked 7th in overall economic impact. Cook County ranked 3rd among the cities studied in this report, behind only Minneapolis and St. Paul, in per capita economic impact from the arts and culture, with a whopping $889 for every one of the county’s 5,176 residents.

Smith was on hand at Voyageur Brewing to deliver a first hand summary of the study and to offer encouragement to Cook County as it proceeds with its road map and strategy to develop Cook County as an arts destination.

Other speakers were Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux, County Commissioner Jan Sivertson, Visit Cook County Director Linda Kratt and others, all pledging to work together to strengthen the arts economy.

For more information about the Cook County Arts and Culture Economic Planning Team, contact Amy Demmer at (218) 387-2737 or


North Shore Care Center hosts brunch for volunteers

Tue, 05/24/2016 - 11:44pm

The annual Volunteer Appreciation Brunch at the North Shore Care Center will be held on Wednesday, May 25 at 10:00 a.m. The residents and staff want to acknowledge our many volunteers who shared their time and talents with us in 2015. Activities Director Belinda Hudler said, “Our volunteers are truly our greatest natural resource—enriching the lives of our residents, and keeping them connected to the community. Thanks for all that you do!”

For more information about volunteer opportunities at North Shore Care Center or to check out the May calendar of events, please contact the Activity Department at 387-3518 or our website:


This news is brought to you by the Cook County News-Herald, the community newspaper for 125 years. Find the News-Herald at


Sue Dittus makes the big jump on her 80th

Tue, 05/24/2016 - 11:50am

On May 20th Grand Marais resident Sue Dittus turned 80. To celebrate, she jumped from an airplane at 5,000 feet.  Wtip's Jay Andersen spoke with Sue on "Daybreak."


Invasive species likely to impact future of North Shore watersheds

Mon, 05/23/2016 - 12:32pm

This is the second in a five-part series that focuses on clean and sustainable water along Lake Superior’s North Shore. The story describes the role invasive species might play in shaping the future of the Lake Superior North Watershed.


Booster Club and Dairy Queen host Blizzard Blow-Out

Mon, 05/23/2016 - 10:42am

The Grand Marais Dairy Queen is joining forces with the Cook County Booster Club to support Cook County athletics. On May 24, the day of the last Cook County Vikings’ home baseball game, the Dairy Queen will be hosting the Booster Club Blizzard Blow-Out. From 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. the proceeds from every Blizzard sold will benefit the Booster Club.

The proceeds of every Blizzard sold, mini, small or large; fudge-filled Royal or traditional, will go toward Cook County High School athletic programs.

Almost 150 athletes participate in Viking sports at all levels, according to Athletic Director Pam Taylor, and the school can only provide about $350 per sport each year. The Booster Club raises around $20,000 annually to supplement that.

In the past, the Booster Club has funded things like baseball bats and practice balls, track and field shots and spikes, tournament busses, a movie camera for the basketball and football teams, lots of protective gear and helmets and more.

In addition to a delicious treat and the good feeling of supporting the community’s student athletes, members of the Cook County Booster Club will be on hand to talk to anyone interested in becoming part of the Booster Club team. Volunteers are needed in a variety of roles to keep the Booster Club going. Whether it’s taking a few stints in the concession stand at games or serving on the board, there are many opportunities. The Booster Club invites everyone to come learn how they could help.

If you would like more information about the Booster Club but are unable to make it to the Blizzard Blow-Out, contact Board Member Debbie Bakke at


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

"Polar plunge" off the Hovland dock postponed

Mon, 05/23/2016 - 10:40am

MaeAnna LaFavor is going on a trip to visit Trinity Lutheran Church’s partner congregation of the Bonne Nouvelle (Good News) Church in Bigonet, Haiti in June, and in an effort to raise money, a youth group fundraiser was planned for tomorrow, May 25. However, due to weather concerns, the event has been postponed to Wednesday, June 1. 

The “Polar Plunge” will begin at 4 p.m. with a bonfire and hot dog roast at the Hovland Dock on Chicago Bay Road. The jumping will begin a little after 5:15 p.m.

The rules are pretty simple: Everyone who jumps wears a life jacket (bring one if you can, but we’ll some of various sizes); there will be a ladder from the dock into the Lake Superior for everyone to climb out easily (and quickly!); we send the jumpers off one or two at a time (some folks like to jump two or three times, and you can do that after everyone has had a turn); and everyone under 18 who jumps needs a release signed by their parents.

There will be a tent set up for changing into dry clothes, a bonfire for warming up by; hot dogs for roasting along with marshmallows, veggies and apples, pop and water. A member of the local EMT team will be on hand.

A free-will offering of money will be collected in order to help MaeAnna with her travel expenses, and photos of the event will be sent to the ministry partners in Haiti so they can share in the fun.

For more information, contact Pastor Kris Garey at (218) 475-2439.


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