Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Minnesota State Patrol increasing patrols during Thanksgiving holiday travel

Wed, 11/21/2012 - 4:53pm

The Minnesota State Patrol will enhance enforcement effort during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period to combat one the deadliest times on the roads. Captain Steve Stromback of the Duluth District State Patrol headquarters said, “Thanksgiving is traditionally one of our busiest times of the year so we have planned a district-wide saturation for the beginning of the travel concerns on Wednesday, November 21.” 

According to the Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety crash report records, there have been at least 30 fatalities and at least 1,773 injuries from crashes in Minnesota on Thanksgiving weekends from 2006 - 2011.

Stromback said, “We have seen a significant increase in the number of fatalities across the state this year so it is even more important that we are highly visible and active during this high travel time. Currently about 27 more people have lost their lives this year than last year at this same time. Speed and lack of seatbelt use continue to be factors in many of these crashes so we will concentrate on those offenses just before the holiday.” 

Hegg racing to the top of Master runners

Wed, 11/21/2012 - 11:40am

About the time most of us will be reaching for our second (or third) helping of Thanksgiving vittles, Chris Hegg will be crossing the finish line of a 10K (6.2 miles) race and then will wait to see if he made it into the top five of his 60-64 age group in Minnesota for the 2012 year.
If he does, it will be an admirable feat gained through grit, determination and a lot of dedication to a sport that doesn’t always offer much recognition.
Always a strong runner, as he aged Hegg noticed he was getting closer and closer to the top competitive runners in the state.
“We all get slower as we age. I just happen to get a little less slower then some of these guys that were way out of my league when we were younger,” Hegg said with a smile.
Hegg said, “I returned to running in 1990, 30 pounds overweight, at age 38. I gradually got to be reasonably competitive in local races, and developed my basic training philosophy and strategies.
“Coming into 2012, I had my weight down to my high school weight of 170, was injury free, and moved into the 60-64 age group. I talked to Jarrow [formerly Bill] Wahman of Austin Jarrow in Duluth, who sponsors the Northwood’s Minnesota team. I joined their team, and he mentioned the Minnesota Runner of the Year program.
“There are about 120 total certified races at 12 different distances, two-thirds of them 5Ks. If you make the cut-off times you are on the list. About 200 guys in my age group are on the list.
“You can score in up to five different distances, 10 points for the best time, 9 for 2nd. …Prior to this year, I had only made the lists a couple of times, and only scored in the mile.”

New staff at Cook County Public Health & Human Services

Wed, 11/21/2012 - 11:38am

The Cook County Public Health & Human Services Department has announced the hiring of two new social workers.  Jared Scheel will be the children’s mental health case manager, replacing Hilja Iverson, and Beth (Tidwell) Faraone will be the child protection/child welfare case manager, replacing Kristine Swanson.

Find your favorite Christmas sweater for Grand Marais Chamber celebration

Tue, 11/20/2012 - 11:12am

It's beginning to look like Christmas as businesses in downtown Grand Marais start decking the halls for the Grand Marais Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade. The parade to be held on Friday, November 23 will have the theme "Oh Ole Night," a celebration of Grand Marais' Scandinavian heritage. 

The event kicks off with the parade at 5 p.m. There will also be an UFF DA! Christmas Sweater Contest--bring out that old favorite and show it off! After the parade there will be visits with Santa, and cookies and apple cider at Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply.

Cash prizes will be given for Best Scandinavian Theme, Cutest Kids or Animals, and Best Holiday Spirit. And of course, the most UFF Da sweater also takes honors.  

Will it be fun? You bet! And it's a great way to start your holiday season. 

Concerns about Birch Grove Community Center tennis court

Tue, 11/20/2012 - 11:02am

Commissioner Martinson reported that the new asphalt tennis court at the Birch Grove Community Center was designed improperly. 
Cook County Tennis Association board member Rod Wannebo explained that U.S. Tennis Association standards allow tennis courts to be sloped on a plane but do not allow slopes between the net and the baseline.  The court at Birch Grove slopes down from the net to both baselines.
The previous Birch Grove court, built many years ago, “was built completely wrong because nobody would listen to our advice,” Wannebo said.  This time, he provided the architectural firm, The Meyers Group, with a book on proper tennis court design.  At the event celebrating the completion of the outdoor improvements at Birch Grove, Wannebo noticed something was wrong with the court.
According to Wannebo, Tim Meyers of The Meyers Group argued that they were “just building a recreational court.”  Wannebo said, “There is no such terminology in the tennis world.
“…We think this is a ridiculous expenditure of county money to build such a court,” Wannebo said.  “I just don’t understand how an architectural firm could design such a court. …When you hire a designer to design something, he ought to follow the specifications.”
Both Commissioner Martinson and Tofte Township Supervisor Alan “D.C.” Olsen have talked to ORB, hired to oversee the project, and ORB has talked to The Myers Group.  Martinson said ORB would be coming up with a plan of action. 
“That’s why architects have E&O [error and omission] insurance,” said Commissioner Jim Johnson.
Most of the funding for the new outdoor amenities at Birch Grove came from the county’s 1 percent recreation and infrastructure sales tax.

New Ranger named for Gunflint District

Tue, 11/20/2012 - 10:47am

The Superior National Forest announced that Nancy S. Larson will be the new district ranger for the Gunflint Ranger District in Grand Marais.

Larson – who starts her new job Dec. 3 -- will oversee management of the 173,000 acres of the Forest  in Cook County. She served most recently the Chippewa National Forest, Cass Lake area.

Prior to that, she served for nearly five years in the Cook area as LaCroix District Ranger also in the Superior National Forest.

Larson’s career in public service spans 26 years with nearly 23 of them working for the U.S. Forest Service on forests from West Virginia to California.

Larson earned a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Mich.

She has worked in a variety of resource positions with the Forest Service including soil scientist, recreation and wilderness program manager, forest partnership coordinator, planner, deputy district ranger and district ranger.