Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Lonnie moves to over 15,000 feet on Denali

Fri, 01/25/2013 - 7:38am

Despite whiteout conditions Lonnie was able to reach 15,200 feet from 14,200 yesterday. There he left a backpack with everything he will need for his 17,200 foot camp and beyond. Because of the whiteout he marked his path with wands on ascent, because he had to return to 14,200 foot camp before making the final push to 17,200.

The forecast for today is still 50/50 for traveling. The temperature with windchill is projected to be -45F.

As the month winds down, Lonnie Dupre is in position to make the assault on the summit of Alaska's Mount McKinley.

The Grand Marais adventurer is making his third attempt to become the first person to climb the 20,320-foot peak -- North America's highest mountain -- solo in January.

The 17,200 foot camp is the last before he attempts the summit.

Community center bids come in over budget

Thu, 01/24/2013 - 4:08pm

At the Tuesday, January 22 county board meeting, Commissioner Sue Hakes reported that bids were in for the next phase of construction on the Cook County Family YMCA.  She said the bids came in over budget and the Community Center Steering Committee would be meeting to discuss revising the plans to stay within budget.
The steering committee meeting is scheduled for Friday, January 25 starting at 8:00 a.m. and scheduled until 2:00 p.m. at the Cook County Community Center. 

The meeting agenda calls for looking at the construction costs of all phases and considering changes and reductions in construction to meet the budget for the project.

“I’m not going to beat around the bush,” Hakes said.  “I think we’re going to have to make some tough decisions on Friday.”

DNR seeks comments on area lake and stream management plans

Thu, 01/24/2013 - 3:25pm

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fisheries division is continually monitoring and strategizing how best to manage the lakes and streams under its care. Part of the effort includes gathering public comment on the lakes and streams being evaluated. Citizens interested in learning about or commenting on DNR strategies for managing Grand Marais area lakes and streams have until Feb. 15, 2013, to ask questions or submit comments.
“Management plans describe the past, present and desired future conditions of the waters,” said Steve Persons, Grand Marais area fisheries supervisor. “The plans identify specific management activities planned for that lake or stream in the next five to 20 years.”
Every year, DNR fisheries staff prepares or revises individual lake and stream management plans for several waters in each management area. In the Grand Marais area, plans for the following lakes and streams will be reviewed:
* Bogus - managed for splake, reviewing stocking success and need for stocking adjustments.
* Little Cascade - managed for northern pike (special regulation), reviewing assessment needs to evaluate regulation.
* Daniels - managed for lake trout and smallmouth bass, reviewing status of lake trout population and assessment and stocking needs.
* Dawkins - managed for northern pike, no new management activity proposed.
* Holly - managed for northern pike and walleye, reviewing need for continued walleye stocking.
* Jack - managed for northern pike, no new management activity proposed.
* Loon - managed for lake trout, northern pike, and smallmouth bass, reviewing status of populations and assessment needs.
* Lost - privately managed, updating plan to reflect loss of public access.
* Mit - managed for walleye, reviewing need for continued stocking.

Feds now involved in county sexual abuse case; Omnibus Hearing continued to March 5

Thu, 01/24/2013 - 6:20am

The Omnibus Hearing for a 36-year-old man facing a number of charges alleging sexual conduct with young girls has been continued to March 5

Assistant Cook County Attorney Molly Hicken and defense attorney John Lind agreed to the continuance Wednesday afternoon for Joel Ray Allard of Grand Portage. During the 10-minute hearing before Sixth District Judge Michael Cuzzo, it was disclosed that the US Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are also investigating charges against Allard.

After the hearing, Hicken said that Allard is the only subject of her office’s investigation.

Hicken told the court that federal law enforcement is now involved in the case which her office began investigating last year. She said the FBI’s investigating agent believes a federal grand jury will vote an indictment for Allard within the next few weeks. A federal indictment would take precedence in the case although Hicken said the state could continue its case once the federal case is resolved.

The assistant county attorney requested that Allard remain in county custody unless the federal system gets involved. She also asked that the Omnibus Hearing be continued for six weeks to give federal officials the time to act.

Under questioning from defense attorney Lind, Allard said he understood the involvement of federal authorities. Lind said he expected the federal case to have “quite rapid” movement. 

Lind also said that his client was waiving his request for a speedy hearing. He said that if Cook County intends to actively prosecute the case that the proper discovery process continue with evidence to be made available by the county attorney. Cuzzo asked Hicken to continue with the discovery process as necessary and she agreed.

Dupre plans to move further up Denali Thursday

Thu, 01/24/2013 - 5:42am
Dupre Map_012413.jpg

If the weather permits Thursday, Grand Marais explorer Lonnie Dupre plans to begin moving his supplies another 2,000 feet up Denali.

Dupre is on his solo third attempt to reach the summit of Alaska’s Denali. He would be the first person to do so. The peak is North America’s highest.

His crew at One World Endeavors reports that Wednesday was “a rest day for Lonnie at the 14,200 foot camp. He must acclimate (to the altitude) before continuing on.”

Dupre spent Wednesday charging electronic gear and organizing for when he begins ferrying his gear up to 16,200 feet. The plan would be for him to move supplies today and return to his camp at 14,200 feet to sleep.

The route from 14,200 to 16,200 feet surmounts the mountain’s West Buttress. The Duluth News Tribune reports the route presents the steepest climbing along West Buttress route — an 800-foot, 40-to-55 degree snow and ice face known as the Headwall. From 16,200 to the 17,200-foot camp, the route follows just below a ridge line and includes several steep and exposed sections.

The News Tribune says Dupre hopes to move to his high camp at 17,200 feet on Friday. That would be his last camp before reaching the summit.

In addition to the grueling climb, Dupre also is working on a 20-minute documentary film called “Cold Love.” The film will call attention to climate change.

Dupre's expedition may be followed at


Flu is still with us, but the vaccine is here

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 12:02pm

The respiratory flu is still around, but the vaccines are all available. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with nurse Teresa Borak about what’s available for which patients.

Attached file

EPA’s 2011 Toxics Release Inventory shows increase in Great Lakes Basin pollution

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 12:02pm

Toxic releases into surface waters in the Great Lakes Basin increased by 12 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s annual Toxics Release Inventory report published this month. Nationwide, toxic surface water discharges decreased by 3 percent.

“This is a significant increase in toxic releases to our waters – and an indication that the Great Lakes region is lagging behind other parts of the country,” said Susan Hedman, EPA Region 5 Administrator and Great Lakes National Program Manager. “EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory is a valuable tool to help target areas for improvement and we will use this new information to work with municipalities, agricultural producers and manufacturers in the Great Lakes Basin to improve water quality.”

Nitrates and pesticides from municipal wastewater treatment plants and agriculture account for most of the toxic surface water discharges to the Great Lakes Basin. Nitrates were also discharged by primary metals facilities, such as iron and steel mills and smelters, and food and beverage manufacturers.

Grand Marais woman to take part in Polar Plunge

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 12:00pm

Last year when Bryann Bockovich of Grand Marais got a call from her friend Linda McClellan, asking her to take part in a fundraiser event to benefit the Special Olympics Minnesota, she said yes. When her friend told her the event was a Polar Bear Plunge in the Duluth harbor on February 2012, Bockovich still said yes. She not only dived into frigid Lake Superior, she and several other Cook County women raised $1,500 to take part in the event.
Bockovich is taking the plunge once again on February 16, 2013. Bockovich said, “I have committed to grin and ‘bear’ it for the athletes of Special Olympics Minnesota by participating in the St. Cloud Polar Bear Plunge.”
Although she is pleased to fundraise for Special Olympics Minnesota, which serves 7,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities, Bockovich has a particular young lady in mind, Linda McClellan’s daughter Holli. Holli is a medal-winning member of a Special Olympic bowling team.
After diving into the freezing water last year, Bockovich was asked if she would do it again. She replied,  “Yes! I did it for Holli and yes, we are going to do it again. We love to have more people come join us!”
If you would like to join Bockovich in the plunge, contact her at (218) 370-9551. If you don’t want to brave the icy water, you can support her on-line at
To learn more about the Polar Plunge, visit to find out all the chilly details.

Lonnie Dupre reaches 14,200 feet on Denali

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 6:47am

Grand Marais explorer Lonnie Dupre’s website reported Wednesday morning that after “another wonderful day on Denali,” he arrived at his camp at 14,200 feet  early Tuesdayevening.

Dupre is attempting to become the first solo climber to scale Denali in the winter.

One World Endeavors reported Dupre had a good rest after Monday’s long day of climbing. After arriving at the new camp, he immediately got to work on building his “deluxe” snow cave. The cave is large enough to hold most of his gear.

Tuesday night’s menu for today’s dinner included potatoes and peas.

Dupre’s adventure can be followed at

Nominees sought for business awards

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 1:11pm

 Celebrate entrepreneurial leadership and successes in the Twin Ports and Minnesota's Northeast Region by recognizing entrepreneurs who have followed their dreams and taken on inordinate risks to forge ahead meeting the challenges of today's economic reality.
In its 21st year of celebrating entrepreneurial excellence, the UMD Center for Economic Development has issued the call for nominations. A business may be nominated for an award by a customer, client, employee, vendor or a private citizen who wants to recognize a business owner. Business people and organizations from throughout the region are encouraged to participate in the nomination process by completing the online nomination form. Nominations are due by March 1.
"Take the time to nominate a deserving business. This is an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments and recognize those individuals who have taken risks that have created an economic impact and employment opportunities in our region," said Elaine Hansen, director of the UMD Center for Economic Development.
Award recipients will be announced at the 21st Annual Joel Labovitz Entrepreneurial Success Awards Luncheon, the regional celebration of The U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Small Business Week. The luncheon will be April 24 at the DECC.
Previous Cook County businesses to receive awards are Trail Center Lodge, owned by Sarah Hamilton, receiving the award in the “gazelle/enterprise” category in 2003, and Dockside Fish Market, owned by Harley and Shele Toftey, receiving the award in the “established entrepreneur” category in 2010.
To nominate a business/entrepreneur visit

Sign-up now for Winter Arts Festival Retreat

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 1:07pm

The Grand Marais Art Colony invites photographers and painters to the Winter Arts Festival
Retreat - Jan. 26 - Feb 1, 2013. The festival includes an exhibit at the Art Colony from Feb. 1 - 24.
Art Colony Executive Director Amy Demmer issued the invitation. She said, “Join other photographers and painters on a northern retreat to capture the glory of winter in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Get your creative juices flowing as you are inspired by the serene winter landscape and community of artists.”
Participants in the winter retreat will stay at Camp Menogyn ($40/night which includes three hot meals each day as well as unlimited coffee and tea) for as many days as fits your schedule.
Activities are up to the participant—skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, sauna, ping-pong, art critique are all optional. Days are generally spent taking pictures or painting; evenings around the wood stove playing games and connecting with other artists.
The retreat culminates in an exhibit of artwork at the Grand Marais Art Colony in February.
For more information, contact the Art Colony at (218) 387-2737 or e-mail:
Another component of the festival is a snow carving symposium, contact the Art Colony for information about that as well.

American Legion gets reprieve

Mon, 01/21/2013 - 9:26pm

At the beginning of January, it looked as if American Legion Post 413 might be shutting the doors of its lounge in downtown Grand Marais after 28 years of operation. A letter from the Post House Committee, which oversees legion operations, went out to the Sons of the American Legion and the Legion Auxiliary on January 1, announcing that the committee had decided to list the building and its contents for sale. However, contacted this week, Post Commander Don Wilson said the lounge had received a reprieve.
 In the January 1 letter, the committee said the legion was no longer financially able to sustain continued operations.
 In a phone conversation this week, Commander Wilson said since the letter was issued, the committee has been “exploring possibilities” to keep the lounge open. Wilson said, the committee will continue operations while enacting some cost-cutting measures. “This is kind of our fiscal cliff,” said Commander Wilson.
 Wilson noted that like many other local businesses, winter is the most difficult time to stay afloat. The legion, which used to be open on Sunday and Monday, began closing on those days last fall.

Hospital board discusses care center and future plans

Mon, 01/21/2013 - 1:17pm

The hospital board met last week in special session. They’ve decided to look ahead to changes in their facility and program improvements. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with hospital administrator Kimber Wraalstad about keeping the care center viable..

Attached file

Artist Initiative Grants go to Michael Monroe, Jo Wood

Sun, 01/20/2013 - 10:23pm

For decades, musician Michael Monroe has performed on  stages large and small; on the North Shore, the East Coast and beyond. But one of his favorite venues is right here in Cook County  at the home he shares with his life and business partner, Deb Mueller.
 For several years, Monroe and Mueller have opened their home on Pike Lake Road in Grand Marais for log cabin concerts. Thanks to an Artist Initiative Grant announced last week, those intimate evenings 
 of music will be showcased in a new DVD, Michael Monroe Live at the Log Cabin Concert.
 Michael Monroe is one of 171 Minnesota artists to receive the grant funding which is intended to support artists working in the discipline of dance, media arts, music, photography, poetry, prose,  theater and visual arts. Monroe will receive $10,000 to produce a  log cabin concert DVD, weaving together the music and memories of 
 five live concerts.
 More information about the log cabin concert series and about Michael Monroe’s music may be found at, by e-mailing or by calling (218) 387-2919.

Vikings' boys, girls lose two games; Storm loses one

Sun, 01/20/2013 - 6:15pm

The Cook County Vikings had a rough weekend, dropping boys' and girls' games to Ely and Moose Lake-Willow River.

The North Shore Storm boys' hockey team also lost Saturday night in Two Harbors.

The  Vikings travelled to Ely for a pair of games on Saturday afternoon after hosting Moose Lake-Willow River on Friday night.

The girls dropped to 5-11 for the season as the Ely Timberwolves took a 47-38 win. That followed a 59-42 loss at home Friday night against the Rebels.

The boys lost to Ely 47-31 Saturday afternoon. On Friday night, Moose Lake-Willow  River took a 57-47 win from Cook County. The Vikings are now 7-4 for the season.

The Vikings host Northeast Range on Thursday night for both boys' and girls' games. On Friday night, both crews travel to Carlton where they face the Bulldogs. The Friday night games will be broadcast on WTIP starting at 4:45.

In boys' hockey, the North Shore Storm fell to 10-7 for the season as Greenway-Nashwauk-Keewatin won 5-3 on the Storm's ice in Two Harbors.

The Storm, made up of players from Cook and Lake counties, travel to Eveleth-Gilbert on Tuesday night.