Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Local biomass heating plant faces uncertain future

Thu, 01/28/2016 - 11:42am

A long-proposed biomass plant in Grand Marais appears as though it won’t happen anytime soon. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs reports on this story. 



A below zero dip, then more snow and mild weather

Thu, 01/28/2016 - 11:42am

A few more snowfalls coming this weekend and a below zero dip, then back to mild weather. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Carol Christenson.


Winter photography class offered at Sugarloaf Cove

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 8:29pm

Winter can be a great time for outdoor photography, especially if you know the key tricks for getting impressive images in snowy Minnesota!

Join landscape photographer Chris Sandberg at Sugarloaf Cove for a class on winter photography at 10 a.m. Jan. 30. Sandberg has been shooting at the Cove and along the North Shore for the last 13 years, and has taught adult learners for over 20 years. Photographers of all skill levels are welcome at the class. 

The class will explore composition, lighting, scene selection, overcoming winter issues, equipment, and new software to advance your photo skills, with techniques that you can use all year long.

For more information call (218) 525-0001.


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

Top topic for January EDA meeting is housing

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 8:27pm

The primary topic of the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) January meeting was housing, as the Work Force Housing Committee gave an update on its progress toward finding potential properties on which to develop workforce housing.

The Work Force Housing Committee—Harrison, Doo-Kirk and Moody—had several meetings with One Roof Community Housing, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is “to provide housing services and building and sustaining affordable homes and healthy neighborhoods using the community land trust model.”

What the EDA is working to develop is different than what One Roof has done in the past—the nonprofit works to provide housing for families at 80 percent of the adjusted median income while the EDA is trying to build homes for those that are at 120 percent of the adjusted median income. Anton Moody said services for the people at the 80 percent level are eligible for Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) programs.

“AEOA is filling that role,” said Moody. He noted the EDA wants to provide market rate—workforce housing—that will enable professionals like teachers, nurses or government workers to find a home to buy.

It was agreed that although their focus is a bit different, One Roof Community Housing could still help the EDA as it proceeds with its housing initiatives. A unanimous motion passed to endorse One Roof as the EDA’s partner on its workforce housing project.

Scott Harrison said still using funds from its Northland Foundation grant, the housing subcommittee has made progress in the study of two potential properties, one near Arrowhead Cooperative in Lutsen and the other west of Homestead Housing in Grand Marais.

LSProject: The John Beargrease Sled Dog Race

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 10:03am

The 2016 John Beargrease Sled Dog Race will start on January 31. Born in 1858, John Beargrease, was the son of an Anishinaabe chief. He delivered mail between Two Harbors and Grand Marais, following a challenging route that paralleled Lake Superior. In this edition of The Lake Superior Project, Curtis Gagnon and Doug Seim talk about the beginnings of the sled dog race that commemorates John Beargrease.

Photos courtesy of Curtis Gagnon.


Mushers prepare for upcoming Beargrease race

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 8:53am

There are many factors that go into a successful run in the John Beargrease Sled Dog Race. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs talks with area mushers about how they stay focused and what they are looking forward to in this year’s race. 


1st & 2nd invites community to celebration of payouts to nonprofits

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 4:57pm

The little second-hand store in the Cobblestone Building off Highway 61 in Grand Marais isn’t just a fun place to bargain hunt. Since 2007, 1st and 2nd Thrift Store has also been raising money for nonprofit organizations in Cook County.

In 2015, the store raised an impressive $73,084, which will be distributed at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, January 27 at the Cook County Senior Center. All Thrift Store volunteers and representatives of the benefitting organizations are invited to the payout party.

1st and 2nd Thrift Store is a volunteer-run organization. The volunteers accept donations, sort and clean them, and sell them in the store at 211 Highway 61 in Grand Marais. Each volunteer designates a Cook County non-profit organization when he or she signs in to work. Volunteers are repaid for their time at the end of each year with a donation to the non-profit organization they have designated. This year 78 volunteers have worked 4,568 hours in support of 50 nonprofit organizations.

The store sells clothing and accessories, household goods, linens, and a wide variety of other goods. Often unusual and valuable items can be found there, such as original art or a skunk fur coat with a note attached saying, “Do not get wet!” Some shoppers stop by regularly to see what new items are available.

1st and 2nd winter manager Gerry Grant issued the invitation to the January 27 event saying, “1st and 2nd Thrift Store is successful because everyone wins: the volunteers who turn their time into financial contributions; the organizations who receive their support; the donors who know their unneeded items will benefit Cook County; and the shoppers who buy quality items at reasonable prices.”

Anyone interested in volunteering at 1st and 2nd Thrift Store should contact the thrift store at (218) 387-1826.


One Act Play "Foiled by the Innocent Maid" to be performed January 28

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 4:54pm

The Cook County High School One Act is well into rehearsal. The play this year is a melodrama called Foiled by the Innocent Maid. The play is directed by Sue Hennessy with the cast of Erica Marxen, Andy Kern, Finn Garry, Linnea Henrikson, Amelia Roth and Lucy Callender.

The play will be presented to the community on January 28 at 7 p.m. Come boo the villain and cheer for the hero and heroine. The play goes to competition against seven other schools on January 30 in Two Harbors.

Following the high school performance there will be a meeting for anyone interested in participating in the 2016 Summer Repertory. One musical and one comedy will be selected based on interest at this meeting. One possibility for the musical is Into The Woods by Stephan Sondheim. This would require a large cast of both men and women with experience singing as well as a host of musicians! Can we do it? Are you willing? Rehearsals would begin in March. Performances would be Mid-July – Mid August. 

Got questions? Contact the Grand Marais Playhouse at 218-387-1284 or email


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

Sheriff talks ATVs and Beargrease road safety

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 11:20am

The yearly ATV road incident report was presented to the county board this week. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen about ATV complaints and caution on the back roads during the Beargrease.


10 questions with Lily Gruber-Schulz

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 9:35am

Earlier this month, Cook County Viking basketball player Lily Gruber-Schulz topped the 1,000-point milestone for her high-school career. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs caught up with her recently to talk about the achievement and her athletic career with the Vikings. 


Arrowhead Transit seeks customer feedback on Duluth trips

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 1:05pm

Arrowhead Transit is proposing to start low-fare weekly round trips to Duluth beginning in February, regardless of how many passengers it has.

This service would replace the existing twice-monthly Duluth trips that only go if at least five riders have made reservations.
In Duluth, the new weekly service will make a stop at the new Duluth Transportation Center (DTC) where riders can connect with Duluth Transit Authority buses. The DTC also Includes a Jefferson Lines bus station, and the Skyline Shuttle to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport departs from the DECC, across I-35 via skyway.

It is hoped that the new weekly service will not only be more convenient for residents along the North Shore, but also that it might be a transportation option for tourists and other visitors, for students coming and going to school, for workers who need to get back and forth to Duluth, and for people who have errands, shopping and medical appointments in Duluth.

In order to gauge demand for this proposed new service and to ensure it is structured to best meet the needs of Cook County residents, Arrowhead Transit requests answers to these questions:

What day of the week would be the best day for Arrowhead Transit to schedule this new service? The trips will no longer bounce around. If Tuesday is chosen, the bus will run on Tuesday of every week.

What time of day would be the best start time from Grand Marais?

What time of day would be the optimum time to leave Duluth for the return trip up the shore?

Arrowhead Transit is eager to hear from resort owners and others in the tourism industry. Transit officials very much want to know how this new weekly service might be structured to provide a reasonable low-cost transportation alternative for tourists coming to Cook County and for the resort workers who help take care of those tourists.

"Dick Parker Outstanding Volunteer Award" given to volunteer Rick Johnson for Gunflint Mail Run work

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 1:04pm

In addition to awards for mushers at the close of the 2016 Gunflint Mail Run, a new award was initiated, the “Dick Parker Outstanding Volunteer Award.” Gunflint Mail Run Co-directors Sarah Hamilton and Jack Stone devised the award to honor a volunteer who puts his or her heart into seeing that the race took place—just as Dick Parker of Grand Marais has done for many years. The inaugural award was presented to Rick Johnson of Grand Marais.

According to Stone, Johnson received, a racing bib and poster signed by al of the mushers and “a firm handshake and hearty slap on the back.”

Dick Parker was not at the Gunflint Mail Run this year because of health issues and he was greatly missed, but everyone was delighted at this award in his honor and there was consensus that Trail Boss Rick Johnson was the perfect recipient of this first award.


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

Weather: Drizzle, snow, drizzle again

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 11:27am

The weather will continue to be mild for this time of year, however we’ll experience some freezing drizzle before and after a couple inches of snow. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Carol Christenson.


Local swim team hosts meet in Grand Marais

Mon, 01/25/2016 - 9:08am

The Cook County Northerns swim team hosted a home meet at the local YMCA on Saturday, Jan. 23. More than 100 people participated in the event. Among them was WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs, who gives us this report. 

See above attachment for complete results from Saturday's event.


Listen to the Story

Former Sawtooth Elementary Principal Gwen Carman accepts superintendent position at Carlton

Sun, 01/24/2016 - 2:34pm

Former Cook County Schools - ISD166 Sawtooth Elementary Principal Gwen Carman has accepted the position of superintendent for Carlton Independent School District 93. Carman received a six-month interim contract to finish the school year and then it becomes a three-year contract after that.

Carman came before the Cook County School Board on August 20, 2015, and announced she was resigning her position with the school district. Carman was a teacher for 15 years, then served nine years as a principal for the district. Her decision to leave was met with sadness by many of the staff, teachers, students and community members.

In an interview with Brian Larsen, Carman said, “I am very proud of what I accomplished in Cook County.“I do miss the teachers, staff, students and parents there. They will always have a special place in my heart.”


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