Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Progress on the Gitchi-Gami State Trail

Tue, 06/11/2013 - 4:17pm

Construction in progress, but plenty of miles open on the Gitchi Gami State Trail.  WTIP volunteerRandy Eastlund learns more in this interview with Kevin Johnson of DNR Parks and Trails.

{click above to listen}

photo courtesy of the Gitchi-Gami Trail Association

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Temperance River State Park to host camping basics program on June 22

Tue, 06/11/2013 - 2:37pm

Families will learn all the skills they need to camp outdoors at a one-night “I Can Camp!” program on Saturday, June 22, at Temperance River State Park on the north shore of Lake Superior near Schroeder, Minn.

Experienced instructors from Conservation Corps Minnesota will teach participants basic camping and outdoor skills, including how to set up a tent, start a campfire and prepare simple and delicious meals. All camping equipment is provided (including tents, air mattresses and cook stoves). Participants just bring their own food and bedding (sleeping bags or blankets and pillows).

The “I Can Camp!” program fee is $40 for a tent that accommodates up to six people. A one-day vehicle pass will be included as part of the program fee or participants may buy a year-round Minnesota state parks permit for an additional $20.
Advance registration is required. To register, call 866-857-2757 (toll free) daily between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. For more information, visit or call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 (or 888-646-6367 toll free) between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
This program is part of an ongoing effort by the DNR Parks and Trails Division to connect people with the outdoors. The division also offers skill-building programs that introduce fishing, paddling, climbing and archery to beginners.

Funding for this I Can Camp! program is from the Parks and Trails Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the three-eighths percent sales tax revenue that may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.

Why did the turtle cross the road?

Tue, 06/11/2013 - 12:35pm

Turtles are now crossing roads to reach nests, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking people to leave turtles alone as they cross roads to reach nesting areas.

Each year at this time, many female turtles move from lakes, ponds, wetlands, rivers and streams to nesting areas, where they deposit their eggs in self-excavated nests. 
Unfortunately, many nesting areas are separated from the turtles’ wintering areas by roads they cross as they make their way to nests.  

“Many turtles and other species are killed on Minnesota roads each year, especially during the nesting season,” said Carol Hall, DNR herpetologist. 

People can help reduce turtle road death in these ways:
• Allow unassisted road crossings. When turtles can safely cross roads unaided due to a lack of oncoming traffic, allow them to do so. Observe from a distance and avoid rapid movements. Doing otherwise may cause turtles to change direction, stop, or seek shelter within their shells.
• Avoid excessive handling. Excessive handling can disrupt normal behavior. Prolonged examination of turtles should be limited to only one or two turtles of each species.
• Maintain travel direction.  Always move turtles in the same direction they were traveling when encountered. Turtles should always be moved across roadways in as direct a line as possible.
• People who see a turtle or other animal on the road should slow down and safely drive around it. Many people want to help turtles cross the road but the best approach is to let the turtle cross on its own. There are nine turtle species in the state, some of which are protected.

Healthcare Foundation announces 2nd Quarter grant awards

Tue, 06/11/2013 - 10:47am

The North Shore Healthcare Foundation has announced the recipients in its latest round of grants to local healthcare providers. 
Foundation director Karl Hansen says grants totaling $18,136.00 dollars will go to 8 local organizations, including the hospital and clinic, three local fire departments, ISD 166, and WTIP Community Radio. 

Monthly birthday party at the North Shore Care Center June 12

Mon, 06/10/2013 - 2:16pm

The month of June is National Gardening Month, Men’s Month, Dairy Month—and the first day of summer!  Lots of outdoor activities are planned at the North Shore Care Center for June like planting flowers and vegetables, picnics, and outings to Harbor Park and the Senior Center.
The monthly birthday party will be celebrated on June 12 to honor Janet Morgan, Donny Schulte, and Donna Willett. Cake and ice cream will be served at 3 p.m. along with piano music by Doug Sanders.
For more information please contact the Activity Department at 218.387.3518 or go to our website:

100 years later, shipwreck found in Lake Superior

Mon, 06/10/2013 - 9:04am

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Nearly 100 years after the Henry B. Smith freighter went down in Lake Superior during a November storm, a group of shipwreck hunters believes it has found the ship — largely intact.

The Duluth News Tribune reports the group found the wreck last month in about 535 feet of water off the shore of Marquette, Michigan. The group of hunters from Minnesota and Wisconsin say they haven't seen the name of the ship on the wreck yet, but all signs indicate it's the Smith.

Jerry Eliason of Cloquet says it's one of the most significant finds of his shipwreck-hunting career.

The Henry B. Smith had not been seen since it and its crew of 25 accidentally sailed into the Great Lakes Storm of 1913.


Jerry Eliasen will join the hosts of WTIP's "The Roadhouse" on Friday, June 14 at 5:50 p.m. to share more about the find.


Fire destroys five Bluefin Bay Resort condos

Sun, 06/09/2013 - 12:26am

A call came in to Cook County Law Enforcement at 12:32 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, reporting flames visible from the roof of Bluefin Bay Resort condo unit. Fire departments from Tofte, Schroeder, Lutsen, Grand Marais, Maple Hill, Gunflint Trail, Colvill, Hovland, plus Finland and Silver Bay Fire Departments from Lake County, all responded for mutual aid assistance with the fire.
Five condominium units were involved in the fire but no damage estimates have yet been made. There are no reported injuries.
The fire is considered out at this time and most of the departments have been released from the scene. The scene is still under fire department control. The State Fire Marshall’s office has been contacted and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Weekend News Roundup for June 8

Sat, 06/08/2013 - 10:17am

Each week the WTIP news staff puts together a roundup of the news over the past five days. A Boundary Waters death, a rare bear attack, more completed bike trails, mining samples start and a lot of salt and discovery of a mysterious wreck…all in this week’s news.


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Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center open for fourth season

Sat, 06/08/2013 - 1:07am

This year only, museum visitors can enjoy a special exhibit about the Boostrom family of Clearwater Lake, the first pioneer family of the Gunflint Trail. Charlie Boostrom first came to northern Minnesota in 1909 and started Clearwater Lodge in 1915 with his wife, Petra. The exhibit features stories from Charlie and Petra’s 10 children and a number of family artifacts. The exhibit runs through Oct. 20.

Chik-Wauk and the Gunflint Trail Historical Society will present a number of special events and a series of naturalist programs during the summer months.  A schedule for the full season calendar of events is available at or call (218) 388-9915.

Housed in the former Chik-Wauk Lodge, Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center opened in 2010. The museum presents the cultural and natural history of the Gunflint Trail through dioramas, video displays, and family friendly interactive exhibits. Seven nature trails, including two ADA accessible paths, crisscross the museum’s 50 acres. Grounds are dog-friendly and feature several picnicking spots.

Open daily, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.,  until Sunday, Oct. 20 during the 2013 season. Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center is located 55 miles up the Gunflint Trail (Cook County Highway 12). The Gunflint Trail Historical Society oversees operations at Chik-Wauk.



Adopt-a-Boat at North House

Thu, 06/06/2013 - 1:42pm

This summer, North House Folk School launches a new wooden boat adoption program specifically designed for local summer residents.
The school is looking for water-loving folks who want to lavish some TLC on a small wooden boat this spring, summer and fall. The reward? Countless placid evenings, halcyon mornings, and the occasional calm afternoon spent rowing around the Grand Marais harbor during the fleeting summer months. Consider this a summer fling; your commitment doesn't extend past the first snowflakes of fall. You'll be left with only sweet harbor memories of your boat, and none of the winter boat blues.
Boat Friends (BFs) agree to do some maintenance on a wooden boat in the spring and fall, and in return, are welcome to use the boat in the harbor throughout the summer (in accordance with water safety practices).
Call 387-9762 for more information, or stop by North House to fill out an application.

Minnesota stormwater manual available in new format

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 8:59pm

Cities and developers that need to control urban stormwater to prevent pollution of lakes and streams have a new tool available: the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has launched a wiki version of the Minnesota Stormwater Manual.
The previous manual – at 850 pages and 25 megabytes online – offered a wealth of information, but was cumbersome to use. Thanks to Clean Water Legacy Act funding and a design team from public agencies and private firms, the manual is now available in a web-based format that can be rapidly updated with new developments.
The newly reformatted manual, which is built with the same software as Wikipedia, allows users to collaborate with each other and quickly locate the most recent stormwater information, offering a powerful tool for those who need to comply with stormwater regulations.
The new wiki manual can be accessed by visiting and searching for “Minnesota Stormwater Manual.”

DNR seeking volunteers to monitor loons

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 8:58pm

Volunteers can help Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biologists discover the major cause of death of the common loon by collecting dead loon specimens for testing. This statewide study to find answers about loon mortality is being conducted by the DNR’s nongame wildlife program.
“Small studies have been conducted in the past, but they were limited to looking for high mercury concentrations,” said Kevin Woizschke, DNR nongame wildlife specialist and loon watcher coordinator. “This new statewide effort will help answer the big question of what kills our loons. Minnesota’s loon population is about 12,000 birds and the numbers appear stable, but there are still questions about loon mortality.” 
The nongame program is asking for help in collecting loons that recently died with no signs of decomposition or obvious predator trauma. Visibly rotten loons should not be collected.  To collect a specimen for testing, use disposable gloves to put the dead loon in a plastic bag. To reduce disease risk, try to avoid bare-handed contact when handling dead animals. If gloves are not available, turn a plastic shopping bag inside out and scoop up the specimen with the bag.  Place the specimen in a freezer as soon as possible. If a freezer is not available place the specimen in a cooler, surrounded by ice. It is important to deliver the specimen as soon as possible to a local DNR office.  All loons need to be labeled with the name of the county, lake, nearest town where it was found, along with person’s name, address and telephone number.
For more information or to locate the nearest DNR officer, call DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or toll-free at 888-646-6367.

Historical Society offering Saturday walking tours

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 4:32pm


The Cook County Historical Society is offering two guided walking tours of Grand Marais harbor through the summer.  

The tours were created by Harbor Friends, with funding from Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program, and adapted with permission by the Cook County Historical Society for use in their present programming.  

Two tours will be offered - a Lighthouse Point Guided Tour at 11:30 a.m., followed by a West Beach Guided Tour at 1:00 p.m.  More information from the Historical Society at 387-2883.
(Click on AM Community Calendar link below to hear an interview with tour guide Molly Hoffman)

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View more news from WTIP6

New segment of Gitchi-Gami State Trail opens

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 9:12am

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Gitchi-Gami Trail Association held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Silver Bay yesterday to celebrate the official opening of a new, 2.3-mile paved segment of the Gitchi-Gami State Trail on the North Shore of Lake Superior. 

From the Rukavina Arena in Silver Bay, the new trail segment runs south across Northshore Mining property and continues to the east end of West Road in Beaver Bay. Continuing south, bicyclists and other trail users can follow the gravel West Road for a half mile to connect with the longest paved section of the trail, the 14.6-mile segment from Beaver Bay to Gooseberry Falls State Park.

More than 28 miles of the trail are complete in six segments. The Lutsen Phase 1 segment, to be completed in 2013, will add another 1.1 paved miles to the trail.

When complete, the trail will extend 86 miles from Two Harbors to Grand Marais.

New principal selected for ISD 166

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 3:51pm

Twenty-seven community members and school representatives spent Saturday, May 18, 2013 interviewing five candidates out of a field of 16 for the Cook County High School 6th-12th grade principal position that is being reinstated next school year.  By Monday, May 20, ISD 166 Superintendent Beth Schwarz announced on the school’s facebook page that Adam Nelson, a social studies teacher at Red Wing High School, had been offered and conditionally accepted the job.
In a special meeting on Thursday, May 30, the board voted to hire Nelson on a one-year probationary contract at a salary of $78,000 plus benefits.  His duty year will be 210 days (the equivalent of 42 weeks) with up to 15 paid-time-off days for sickness and/or other approved uses.  He will be moving here with his wife and baby girl and will start working full-time in August.