Around Cook County
Cook County’s courthouse is 100 years old, and a number of festivities are planned for Sept. 21.
The “Celebration of a Century” includes courthouse tours at 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Participants should meet in the lobby. At 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., sixth-grade history students will perform re-enactments in the court room. And throughout the day, visitors can view displays including old photos and other artifacts.
At 4 p.m., a time capsule will be buried. What will be included? Stop by and find out!
Music, games and food are also on the agenda from 4 to 6 p.m. on the courthouse lawn.
A bit of history occurred on Wednesday, September 5, 2012 as the Fresnel lens in the Grand Marais lighthouse was removed. The U.S. Coast Guard decided to upgrade the beacon to a modern, solar-powered, light. Fortunately for lighthouse fans and history buffs, the antique lens did not go far. With the help of a lampist—a person specially trained in maintaining lighthouse lenses—the lens was moved to the Cook County Historical Society museum building on Broadway Avenue.
Lampist Kurt Fosburg of Marquette, Michigan, oversaw the removal and delivery of the Fresnel lens to the museum, with help from historical society board member Duane Ege. There was a gathering of interested tourists to watch them get the lens out of the lighthouse and over the breakwall paths and stairs and across the rocky point.
The lens is approximately 22 inches tall and 18 inches in diameter and weighs about 120 – 150 pounds. It is a 5th order light, the second from the smallest of lighthouse lenses.
The lens, which is just “on loan” from the U.S. Coast Guard will be carefully installed and maintained in accordance with U.S. Coast Guard requirements at the museum.
As the old lens was carried to its new home at the museum, Coast Guard personnel worked to install the new light, which EM2 Zalvidar described as a “four-tier VLB-44 (2.5) degree lantern with intensity st at 2280 candela.” The new light is “solarized” using two 35-watt solar panels, one 20-watt solar panel and three 100 amp/hour Sunlyte batteries.
EM2 Zalvidar assured mariners and lighthouse enthusiasts that the characteristics of the light would remain the same. It will still flash on and off through the dark of night, illuminating a new chapter in the history of the Grand Marais lighthouse.
Changes to the fog signal
A public defender was appointed and two criminal cases were continued on Wednesday, Sept. 19 for a 36-year-old Grand Portage man.
Two counts of felony criminal sexual predatory conduct, two counts of felony criminal sexual conduct, two counts of felony false imprisonment and two counts of gross misdemeanor criminal sexual conduct have been filed aginst Joel Ray Allard. He is also charged with one count of furnishing alcohol to a person under 21. One case involves an 11-year-old girl and the other involves a nine-year-old girl.
He made his first appearance in Cook County District Court before Judge Michael Cuzzo on Monday, Sept. 17. The judge set bail at $100,000, or $50,000 per case, which he continued during Wednesday’s hearing.
During the latest hearing, public defender John Lind was appointed to represent Allard. Lind indicated he and Allard had not been able to meet prior to court so the Rule 8 was not held on Wednesday. Lind told the court he needs to receive the discovery evidence from the county attorney’s office to prepare for the Rule 8. A Rule 8 hearing is a second appearance in felony and gross misdemeanor cases.
Assistant County Attorney Molly Hicken told the court that her office has yet to transcribe the dozen interviews that have been done so far. She said there are “mass quantities of computer equipment” that are undergoing analysis by two agencies. She said that analysis could take two to three months.
In setting the Oct. 9 date for the Rule 8 hearing, Judge Cuzzo asked Hicken to provide a report then on a time-line for when the discovery evidence would be available.
Allard will be held in the Aitkin County Jail awaiting the Oct. 9 hearing.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Two groups have filed a lawsuit to try to block the opening of Minnesota's wolf hunting and trapping seasons this fall.
(Click here to hear a WTIP North Shore Community Radio interview, recorded Tuesday, September 18, with a representative of The Center for Biological Diversity.)