Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Questions about the election? Visit "My Ballot" on-line

Wed, 10/31/2012 - 10:14pm

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie announced the launch of a new online tool to assist voters to become better acquainted with the candidates and questions they will see on their Nov. 6 General Election ballot.
The initiative named “My Ballot” not only allows users to view a list of what will be on their ballot, but also provides links to other sites allowing voters to access information about the candidates and ballot questions. The site is located at:

The webpage features a comprehensive list of all candidates and questions appearing on individuals’ ballots for the General Election; links to candidate websites as provided by the candidates; a link to sample ballots; links to other online tools to assist voters including Polling Place Finder, Absentee Ballot Lookup and Voter Registration Lookup; and explanations of candidate order as listed on the ballot.

Watch out for little ghosts and goblins!

Wed, 10/31/2012 - 10:47am

The Cook County News-Herald reminds everyone to watch out for excited youngsters out and about today for the Halloween tradition of trick-or-treating. 

Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone!

Community outcry over vandalism of signs

Wed, 10/31/2012 - 10:44am

Nearly every election season there is a feud of sorts over signs. Political signs pop up on people’s driveways and along road rights-of-way—and are promptly knocked down or carried off. There are letters to the editor and calls to Law Enforcement. However, this year the campaign against campaign signs took an ugly turn. Sometime during the night of Saturday, October 20, someone took a can of black spray paint and defaced several Obama signs, marking them with three capital letters—KKK—the symbol of the Ku Klux Klan.
The individual responsible for the hateful message would possibly be surprised at the vehement response to his or her handiwork. The Cook County News-Herald has been inundated with phone calls and e-mails reporting the incident and asking that this matter receive the attention it deserves.
Sign owners are obviously disappointed to see the damage to the sign, but at least one person is not taking the sign down. They are leaving it up so everyone can see the deliberate and angry message left by someone in the community.
For anyone have forgotten the criminal/terrorist history of the KKK, the News-Herald offers a reminder of some of the heinous activity the group has been involved with such as forcing a young man to jump to his death from a bridge on the Alabama River in 1957 or the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL in 1963.
The list goes on and on.
Community members hope the individuals will be found out and face the legal consequences of their action. Anyone who has information about the vandalism is encouraged to call Cook County Law Enforcement at (218) 387-3030.

Tribal lands will be off limits to MN wolf hunters

Wed, 10/31/2012 - 6:52am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Tribal lands will be off limits to wolf hunters when Minnesota's wolf season opens Saturday.

All of Minnesota's Chippewa bands have banned wolf hunting and trapping on tribal lands. The affected reservations include Red Lake, White Earth, Bois Forte, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Fond du Lac and Mille Lacs.

The Department of Natural Resources points out most reservation boundaries in Minnesota encompass a mix of tribal, public and private lands. So anyone hunting wolves within a reservation boundary needs to ensure they're on public or private land that's open for hunting. Tribes will enforce the ban on land they own or that's in federal trust status.

Not all tribal lands are posted. The DNR says best source for information is county plat maps, available at county courthouses.

Blood donors wanted for November Memorial Blood Center visit

Tue, 10/30/2012 - 9:17pm

Cook County residents are encouraged to help save lives by 
donating blood, and there will be two opportunities to do so next 
month. In addition, giving a donation of blood will mean a donation to 
the Second Harvest food shelf program. For every donation, a pound of 
food will be donated to Second Harvest.
Over the past four years, by matching each pint of blood received at 
Memorial Blood Centers during the month of November with a pound of 
food given to Second Harvest, the campaign has helped to save as many 
as 10,000 lives and stocked area food shelves with more than 82,000 
pounds of food.
The bloodmobile will be at the Evangelical Free Church parking lot in 
Grand Marais from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 13. Call Doug or Karen Gale 
at (218) 387-3179 to sign up to be a donor before Nov. 8.
A blood drive will also be held in the West End on Nov. 12, from 2:30 
to 5:30 p.m. at Zoar Church in Tofte. Contact Polly Erickson at (218) 
663-7398 to sign up.
Donors who participate can also enter to win 1 of 10 premium Minnesota 
Vikings tickets to the Minnesota vs. Green Bay game on December 30, 

County, city and EDA discuss Cedar Grove Business Park bond payments

Tue, 10/30/2012 - 9:15pm

On Monday, October 22, members of the entities that support 
the Cook County - Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) 
and its board members gathered to discuss the future of the authority. 
For nearly two hours city councilors, county commissioners and EDA 
board members discussed and debated the EDA budget, the housing 
program, the Cedar Grove Business Park bonds, the EDA director 
position and the mission and role of the EDA.
The group attempted to tackle the EDA’s mission statement. EDA Board 
Chair Mark Sandbo read the existing mission statement. City Councilor 
Tim Kennedy asked how current the mission statement is. EDA Board 
Member Scott Harrison said that was a good question. He said it needed 
to be reviewed and revised.
Talk turned to the Cedar Grove Business Park and the difficulty in 
selling lots and thereby making infrastructure bond payments. Harrison 
said that under the current contractual agreement with the city on the 
bonds, the EDA’s “hands are tied.” He said without the ability to 
negotiate lot prices, the EDA cannot market and sell the lots.
Sandbo said the EDA has an “ethical obligation” to sell the lots to 
repay the city, but noted that is just not happening.
Commissioner Sue Hakes expressed frustration that the EDA has come to 
the county seeking an increase in its levy without a consistent budget 
or a plan with some strategies to sell lots and create jobs. “I want 
to see an updated mission statement and a business plan. If you came 
to us with a plan, I’d go for it,” said Hakes.
Harrison said that the EDA was waiting for a countywide economic study