Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

DNR seeks public input on possible Minnesota-Canada border water regulation changes

Fri, 01/11/2013 - 2:12pm

Interested citizens have until Monday, Feb. 11, to comment on Minnesota Department of Natural Resources considerations to bring border water angling regulations in-line with the state’s inland regulations.

Lakes along the Ontario border that could be affected by the change in regulations include Basswood, Crooked, Lac La Croix, Iron, Loon, Knife, Ottertrack, Gunflint and others. 

The DNR is considering extending the inland regulation of one walleye more than 20 inches to all Ontario border waters that currently don’t have special regulations. The move is aimed at standardizing regulations for all border water lakes to eliminate situations where border lakes are left less protected than inland waters.

Currently, the inland regulation for walleye is a six fish limit, only one of which can be more than 20 inches. Some fish populations along the border are left without such protection.

“Lakes like Saganaga or Rainy are already protected by special regulations that only allowed one large fish over a certain size,” said Edie Evarts, Tower area fisheries supervisor. “Other border lakes don’t have that restriction.”

“With the late closure of the season, spawning fish can be vulnerable in certain years,” Evarts said. “Border regulations currently don’t restrict the size of the fish you can take in your six fish limit. Under Canadian border regulations, anglers can keep a limit of big, mature fish.”   

DNR is seeking initial public comments on these ideas until Feb. 11, so that those comments can be considered as fisheries staff develops a recommendation.

Comments, questions and requests for more information should be directed to Linda Erickson-Eastwood at 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020,, or by calling 651-259-5206.

"Dinner with a Purpose" at My Sister's Place to benefit the ALS Association of Minnesota

Fri, 01/11/2013 - 12:24pm

Several local snowmobilers are once again participating in the Blackwoods Blizzard “Never Surrender” Tour, a ride to fight ALS. On Saturday, January 12 from 5 - 9 p.m., the community is invited to a “Dinner with a Purpose” at My Sister’s Place restaurant in Grand Marais.  For each meal sold during that time, 50 percent of the bill will be donated to the ALS Association of Minnesota.
Kathy and Tom “2E” Bernier, Paul Bernier and Scott “Emit” Bystrom are the riders taking part in the three-day, 370-mile snowmobile ride to raise money to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease, a progressive, fatal neuromuscular disease.
ALS slowly robs the body of its ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe. The life expectancy of a person with ALS averages two to five years from the time of diagnosis.
Every 90 minutes a person in this country is diagnosed with ALS and every 90 minutes another person will lose their battle against this disease.
This crippling disease can strike anyone—sadly nearly everyone knows someone who has been affected by ALS. Presently there is no known cause of the disease though support is bringing researchers closer to an answer. In the meantime it costs an average of $200,000 a year to provide the care people with ALS need. “Help make a difference and donate today,” said Kathy Bernier.
Kathy Bernier had a family member affected with this disease and her family saw first hand what the ALS Association can do to provide the help needed to those affected by it. She said, “Any donation small or large is appreciated and needed.”
The riders’ goal is $4,000 for research, education and patient assistance and you can help by making a donation on-line at

Join the Senior Center for a trip up the Gunflint Trail January 14

Fri, 01/11/2013 - 12:21pm

The Cook County Senior Center is making a scenic winter journey up the Gunflint Trail on Monday, January 14. The bus will leave the Cook County Senior Center at 10:30 a.m. and will return about 2 p.m. Diners will receive 20% discount off of the lunch bill, courtesy of Trail Center!
The cost is $6 for transportation, lunch at your own expense. Pick-ups and drop-offs within town are available upon request for an additional fee of $1 per person.
To sign up, please call (218) 387-2660 or email or stop in at the Senior Center.

Cook County and Forest Service continue to work on BWCAW land exchange

Fri, 01/11/2013 - 12:20pm

Cook County and the U.S. Forest Service continue to work on a possible exchange of 1,980 acres of Cook County land within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) for Forest Service parcels in other parts of the county. 
On Tuesday, Jan. 8, the board discussed the possibility of trading acre for acre (which would require legislative approval) instead of by the assessed value of the land.  The county has prioritized a list of Forest Service properties it is interested in, but the board discussed the difficulty of setting those priorities without knowing how each parcel would be valued when it gets assessed.  The priorities can still be moved around after the appraisal, however.
No one knows how the land will be valued, because the county’s BWCAW land cannot be developed but it does include a lot of lakeshore, which in private hands would generate a lot of property tax.  Similarly, how resources such as gravel on the Forest Service land will be valued remains to be seen.

Thursday was bill introduction day at Legislature

Fri, 01/11/2013 - 10:24am

A jump in Minnesota's minimum wage and making it harder to put constitutional amendments on the ballot are among Senate Democrats' top legislative priorities this session.

The Saint Paul Pioneer Press reports the bills were among the first introduced during the 2013 legislative session. On Thursday, 20 were introduced in the Senate and 54 in the state House.

One of the most watched will be the bill setting up the state health insurance exchange. The exchange is required under the 2010 federal health care overhaul.

The Senate minimum wage proposal would bump pay up to $7.50 an hour for most of Minnesota's lowest paid workers, while a House plan would raise it to $9.38 starting in August. Future increases would be automatic and tied to inflation.

The first bill introduced in the House would accelerate repayment of money owed to schools. The state still owes about $1.1 billion of the $2.7 billion borrowed from schools to help balance past budget shortfalls.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk also highlighted a bill he's offering to make it harder to put constitutional amendments on the ballot. Bakk said, "Minnesota just came off of one of the most divisive elections our state has ever seen. I hope that we never have to go through another election like that, where we have purely partisan amendments on the ballot.”

His proposal would require a three-fifths majority of the Legislature to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in hopes of having more bipartisan support before measures go to voters for approval.


North Shore wins hockey; Vikings girls lose in basketball OT

Fri, 01/11/2013 - 6:17am

The North Shore boys' hockey team took a home win Thursday night from Eveleth-Gilbert, 4-2.

And, the Cook County girls' basketball team lost a road game to Mesabi East at Aurora. It took an overtime, however, before the Vikings were defeated 67-54. The loss dropped teh girls to 5-7 for the season.

The team bus didn't get back to Grand Marais until early Friday morning due to poor driving conditions on the way back.

Friday the Vikings boys and girls travel to Silver Bay for varsity basketball action. Both games with the Mariners will be broadcast on WTIP with Norman Moe and Dick Dorr providing the play-by-play. The girls' tip-off is slated for 4:45 with the boys at 6:30.

In the North Shore hockey match, North Shore broke a two-all deadlock at the end of the second period with two points in the third for the win.

Austyn Wasko led the North Shore team with two goals while Mills Johnson and Tyler Schramm had one each.

Zach Duresky was in goal for the Mariners, He made 26 saves.

The win put North Shore at 9-4 for the season. The team plays International Falls Saturday night at Silver bay.

North Shore includes skaters from Cook and Lake counties on the roster.

Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week is Jan. 13-19

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 3:01pm

Gov. Mark Dayton with the support of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association (MnUSA) has proclaimed Jan. 13-19 as Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week in Minnesota.

More than 1,000 volunteer instructors teach DNR snowmobile safety courses across the state.
For more information on the dates and locations of these courses, visit the DNR website at ( or call 800-366-8917.

To legally ride a snowmobile in Minnesota, residents born after Dec. 31, 1976, need a valid snowmobile safety certificate.
DNR and MnUSA also remind snowmobilers of a few basic safety tips:

DON’T DRINK – Drinking and driving can be fatal. Drinking alcohol before or during snowmobiling can impair judgment and slow reaction time. Alcohol causes body temperature to drop at a faster rate, increasing the likelihood of hypothermia. 
SLOW DOWN – Speed is a contributing factor in nearly all fatal snowmobiling accidents. Drivers should proceed at a pace that will allow ample reaction time for any situation. Remember, when driving at night the DNR recommends a speed of only 40 miles an hour. Faster peeds may result in “over driving” your headlight.
BE PREPARED – When traveling, make sure to bring a first aid kit, a flashlight, waterproof matches, and a compass.
STAY ALERT – Fatigue can reduce the driver’s coordination and judgment.
ICE ADVICE – Avoid traveling across bodies of water when uncertain of ice thickness and strength of ice on lakes and ponds. Snow cover can act as a blanket and prevent safe ice from forming. Never travel in a single file when crossing bodies of water.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS – Use a full-size helmet, goggles or face shield to prevent injuries from twigs, stones, ice and flying debris. Clothing should be worn in layers and should be just snug enough so that no loose ends catch in the machine.
WATCH THE WEATHER – Rapid weather changes can produce dangerous conditions.
BRING A BUDDY – Never travel alone. Most snowmobile accidents result in some personal injury. The most dangerous situations can occur if a person is injured and alone. If snowmobilers must travel alone, they should inform someone of their destination, planned route, and return time.
REPORT ACCIDENTS – The operator of a snowmobile involved in an accident resulting in medical attention, death, or damage exceeding $500 must file an official accident report through the county sheriff’s office within 10 days.

For a copy of DNR’s 2012-2013 Minnesota Snowmobile Safety Laws, Rules, and Regulations handbook, call 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367. It’s also available on DNR’s website at

Photo by David Rees - U.S. EPA.  This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code. offers Boundary Waters photo contest

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 11:43am

The, which bills itself as the “Social Network of the BWCA,” is offering photographers the chance to share their favorite Boundary Waters scenes—and the possibility of receiving a prize.
There are three contests starting now, each featuring a different aspect of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). The first is the Gunflint Trail photo contest, which can be found at:
This contest is looking for pictures depicting the Gunflint side of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, as well as photos of the town of Grand Marais and its area resorts.
The photos can include any photographs from any season of the year.
A second contest is a Winter Photography contest, intended to encourage the sharing of our wonderful winters. Photos could be winter landscapes, wildlife, snowshoeing, winter camping, cross country skiing, ice fishing, dog sledding, etc. Sorry, snowmobile photos will not qualify.
The contest winner will receive a copy of White Woods, Quiet Trails by Andrew Slade.
Find details on the BWCA-Quetico Winter Photography Contest at
Finally, BWCABoard is looking for entries in its Hiking Photo Contest. The theme of this contest is the hiking trails of the BWCAW. The contest can include pictures depicting the trails and trail vistas in and surrounding the BWCAW. Your photos can be from any season of the year. The December 2012 winner received a Yellowstone River Trading Hiking Stick, courtesy of Gunflint Lodge. Look for more wonderful prizes in the coming year.
So get out and enjoy winter with your camera—you could be a winner! Winning photos may also be featured on websites and in area newspapers.

Learn to play bridge at Senior Center

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 11:41am

Learn to play Rubber Bridge this winter! The Cook County Senior Center will be hosting a beginners’ Party Bridge Group.You will receive instruction and guidance as you improve your skills and knowledge of the game. Gather on Fridays,  January 11 -  February 1 at 12:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Bridge instructors will be Warren Anderson, Don Dittus and Pat Zankman. Everyone is welcome to attend and best of all it is free entertainment! To sign up, please call (218) 387-2660 or email or stop in at the Senior Center.

Human trafficking at highest point

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 7:46am

Human sex trafficking is on the increase and is a multi-billion dollar industry. WTIP’s Roger Linehan spoke with Lucy Perpich of the Cook County Violence Prevention Center.

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Deep snow makes Denali climb tough Wednesday for Dupre

Thu, 01/10/2013 - 7:27am

In the latest report from Alaska's Denali, Lonnie Dupre had a good 10 hours of sleep during his first night on the mountain, but had a difficult climb Wednesday..

Dupre's website reports he pressed on his climb Wednesday for six hours until 4:30 PM. He reported deep snow, calm conditions and temperatures of 5 below zero F. He is making his third solo attempt to reach the summit of the highest peak in North America during winter. He would be the first to accomplish the solo feat.

Due to the deep snow, Wednesday was a tough day. The website reports Dupre is in good spirits and is looking forward to more progress on Thursday.

At the time of the Wednesday night report, Dupre was was at 7400 feet, half a mile from the 7800 foot camp where he is planning on breaing for lunch Thursday and pushing on until dark.

Wednesday's menu consisted of granola and coffee for breakfast, a protein bar and chocolate for lunch followed by mac and cheese with a side of chocolate for dinner.

Dupre's expedition can be followed  at .


Sen. Franken talks about guns and mental health

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 1:46pm

Guns in school, better mental health programs and reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Minnesota’s US Senator Al Franken.

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Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race wraps up with Musher Banquet at Grand Portage Lodge

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 1:23pm

The Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race wrapped up last night, January 8 with a fabulous banquet at the Grand Portage Lodge & Casino. The top 15 racers received their share of the purse and had the opportunity to share stories of the trail. Congratulations to Ross Framboni of Two Harbors, who had the fastest time in the stage race. As he accepted his check for $6,500, Framboni thanked his competitors, all the volunteers and race organizers. “Thanks for putting on a great race,” he said.

Child development course offered at Higher Ed

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 1:07pm

All children are born eager to explore their world and master their development.  Join Higher Ed as we review the theories of child development, the importance of developmentally appropriate practice, the developmental milestones of the first five years of life, including brain development and factors that can influence child growth and development.
Participants will examine the function and importance of play in the lives of young children as well as highlight how observation and assessment of children is important for early childhood educators parents.
The courses will be offered Thursdays, Jan. 10 and 17, and Saturday, Jan. 19, from 8 a.m. to noon at Cook County Higher Education. There is a $40 fee.  Contact Patty at for registration information.

State encouraging residents to test homes for radon

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 10:01am

ST. PAUL (AP) - Governor Mark Dayton has declared this "Radon Action Month" in Minnesota, and the state is encouraging residents to get their homes tested.

(Click on the link to WTIP below  to hear an interview with Andrew Gilbert, Radon Outreach Program Coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Health.)
More than 40 percent of Minnesota homes have dangerous levels of radon, an odorless, colorless but radioactive gas.  The Minnesota Department of Health says one person in the U.S. dies from radon-related lung cancer every 25 minutes.  It's the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, but health officials say the risk is largely preventable.
Over 40 local public health agencies around the state have partnered with the Health Department to make over 8,000 radon test kits available to residents at low or no cost.
Over 1,000 Minnesota homeowners every year install radon reduction systems, but that's a small percentage of the homes that should have them.

More information about low cost radon test kits can be found online at, or by calling the Minnesota Department of Health at 1-800-798-9050.

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