Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Weekend News Roundup for August 30

Sat, 08/30/2014 - 9:12am

Each week the WTIP news department puts together a roundup of the weeks top news stories. Missing boaters found, a wolf advisory made for pet owners, more money for the Great Lakes…all this and more in this week’s news.


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DNR concerned about increase in wolf encounters in Grand Marais

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 2:12pm

Living with the chance of wolf encounters is nothing new to Cook County residents. However, in recent weeks an apparent increase in the number of incidents involving pets and livestock has caused the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to establish one “wolf control zone” and to consider setting up another.

DNR Conservation Officer Darin Fagerman said a wolf control zone was established on the west end of County Road 7 in Grand Marais after a calf was attacked at the farm owned by Nelda Westerlind and her family.

Reached by phone, Roger Westerlind confirmed the attack on the calf. It was a small animal that had been rejected by its mother and had been bottle-fed by the family. The calf was not killed but suffered bite injuries.

CO Fagerman said a wolf control zone was established and a predator control specialist came in to trap the animal (or animals.) Fagerman said one wolf was trapped and killed. He said it was an old, weak-looking, male. He said he suspected that it was not able to hunt well and was looking for easy prey.

Westerlind said it was not the only wolf hanging around the cows. As they observed the trapped wolf, another was seen crossing County Road 7 near the farm.

Fagerman said he has heard numerous reports of wolf sightings from Grand Marais residents near the hospital on the old Gunflint Trail and on 8th Avenue. He has also heard of a number of dogs disappearing or being killed.

He shared the circumstances of one such incident. A woman was walking her two dogs through the woods near her house on 7th Avenue East (one road over from the law enforcement center) during the day, as she did frequently, when one dog, a whippet mix, dashed ahead of her. She heard a sound and as she neared and saw a wolf attacking the dog. The wolf and dog separated and both ran off into the woods. The whippet mix never returned home, so it is assumed it was killed.

County struggles to stretch remaining 1 percent sales tax funds

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 2:11pm

The county board had serious discussion with Community Center Director Diane Booth regarding what to do with the yet-uncommitted funds from the 1 percent sales and infrastructure tax on August 19, but ended up tabling the matter because it was still waiting for the final tally of expenditures from ORB Management, the county’s general contractor on the Grand Marais Library,  the community center/Cook County YMCA, and other projects. On Tuesday, August 26, County Auditor Braidy Powers informed the board that the uncommitted funds are not $347,000 as previously believed, but only $95,491.81, with an additional $50,000 set aside for a warming house at the hockey rink, for a total of $145,491.81.

Leading up to this discussion, Community Center Director Diane Booth had suggested allocating the remaining 1 percent funds to the three projects that were outlined in 2010 to receive those funds. Booth said the projects were the ice rink warming house at the Cook County Community Center; the tennis courts between Cook County High School and the community center; and another ball field. Booth suggested allocating half of the remaining funds for tennis court reconstruction and half to construct a new warming house/outdoor rec building. In her request, Booth said grants are being written to support both projects and suggested that any leftover 1 percent funds be allocated for a new ball field.

Commissioner Garry Gamble noted that the board, absent Commissioners Sue Hakes and Jan Hall, had previously agreed that the funds would be divided 50/50 between the hockey association and tennis association.

Learn about 'Cartooning in the Digital Age' - September 4

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 12:49pm

The Grand Marais Public Library will be hosting cartoonist Bill Barnes on Thursday, September 4th.  WTIP volunteer Mark Abrahamson spoke with Bill on North Shore Morning.
‘Cartooning in the Digital Age’

Thursday, 9/4/14, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
On his 13 month family road trip around the United States Bill Barnes will share his writing, drawing and publishing expertise with us!
Making comic strips might just be the funnest job in the world, and thanks to the Internet it's easier than ever to put your work in front of potential readers. In this two-hour program, veteran cartoonist Bill Barnes (Unshelved, Not Invented Here) will show you how to make comic strips, publish them on the web, and maybe make some money too!

The first hour, The Basics of Cartooning, is a fast and fun workshop for middle schoolers through adult, covering every step in creating a comic strip: creating memorable characters, writing dialog, lettering, pencilling, inking, and coloring.

The second hour, The Technology and Business of Cartooning, is oriented towards mature teens and adults. Bill describes how he uses computers to create and publish comic strips to the Internet, and describes how he makes money doing it.

Join us for either or both hours to hone your skills or just enjoy the journey of a published cartoonist!
Patsy Ingebrigtsen
Juvenile & Reference Librarian
Grand Marais Public Library

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Industrial Arts Expansion delayed until 2015

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 10:56am

At the August 7 school board meeting, the school board learned that the industrial arts remodeling project is going to be delayed. The architect is concerned that bids this late in the building season will be artificially high and more competitive bids could be obtained by waiting until January. It is now hoped that building will begin by next summer and possibly before the end of the next school year.

Students who are enrolled in industrial arts classes will spend some time on computers and will have enough other temporary working space. There will be some new wood working equipment although the anticipated metal working equipment would be too large for the current space. Principal Adam Nelson will begin to order some of the equipment.

The school board participated in a walking tour of the area to be remodeled at the school board meeting on August 21, 2014.

City approves signs on "Safe Routes to School" streets

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 10:54am

Maren Webb, coordinator of the Moving Matters program, led off the Grand Marais City Council proceedings on Wednesday, August 13 with a request to put yard signs in the city boulevards and rights of way near the school campus or along those streets designated as “Safe Routes to School.” The signs are approximately the size and shape of common political signs, and bear the message “Slow Down & Smile…Kids on the Move.” They will be in place for about a month, beginning with the start of the school year, Webb said.

In particular, the signs will be placed along First Avenue West, County Road 7 and other streets with high pedestrian and bicycle traffic going to and from the schools. Webb said the initiative with Moving Matters and other local groups is designed as a community service project to promote safety and raise awareness of children and other pedestrians.

There was some discussion about the legality of allowing the signs to be placed outside of the guidelines established by state ordinance or other statute that apply to political signs. However, City Administrator Mike Roth said the city can grant exemptions for groups or organizations, and it was up to council to decide what was appropriate. “It’s not the same as with political signs,” Roth said.

Council granted Moving Matters’ request to place the signs on city property where needed, and Webb said she will contact those property owners along the routes where placement is desired on private property. “We’re not going to just put them up,” Webb said. “We will talk with the homeowners.”