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News and other information from Cook County

Local Energy Project successful in second request for county funding

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 10:45am

George Wilkes of the Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP) started the discussion at the county board meeting on Tuesday, March 25 by saying, “I hope you’re giving out points today for persistence this morning.” Wilkes was back to make a second appeal for funding to support a part-time coordinator for CCLEP.

At the March 11 county board meeting, Wilkes and Virginia Danfelt of CCLEP asked for $4,000, which the county contributed to CCLEP last year. That request was denied and Commissioner Sue Hakes made a motion to contribute $2,000 instead. That motion also failed. The board said the donation was not budgeted for and it wouldn’t be fair to other non-mandated organizations who have been instructed to plan for a 5 percent reduction.

At the latest meeting, Wilkes said CCLEP acknowledges its mistake in not following proper budget procedure. He said CCLEP is now on the county’s non-mandated funding request list for 2015 and he said the organization would now follow the proper procedure for the 2015 budgeting cycle. In light of that, Wilkes said CCLEP had modified its request from $4,000 to $3,000.

Wilkes noted that the Grand Marais City Council had approved a contribution of $2,000 toward funding the CCLEP coordinator on March 12.

Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk made a motion to deny the request for the same reasons as stated at the previous meeting and Commissioner Garry Gamble seconded.

After significant discussion, the motion to deny failed and Commissioner Sue Hakes, stating that CCLEP is most closely affiliated with biomass, but actually offers a “wealth of other activities.”

Hakes said she would actually like to contribute $3,000, but because the city contributed $2,000, she made a motion to do the same. That motion passed, with Martinson, Hall and Hakes voting in favor and Doo-Kirk and Gamble in opposition.


Weekend News Roundup for March 29

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 8:36am

Each week the WTIP news team puts together a roundup of the week's news. The county attorney sexual conduct case progresses, lakers ply the local waters and wetlands receive greater protection…all in this week’s news.


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"Portage" to play at Care Center today, March 29

Sun, 03/30/2014 - 11:36am

The award winning band Portage will return to the North Shore Care Center for a country music dance the last Saturday of the month on March 29 at 6:30 p.m. Families, friends, and community members are welcome to attend.

There are volunteer opportunities for all ages at North Shore Care Center. For more information about activity programs or volunteer opportunities, please contact the Activity Department at (218) 387-3518 or visit the website:  

Mapping Mystery at the Johnson Heritage Post

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 11:17am

Spirit of the Wilderness Episcopal Church hosts an annual spring show focusing on the overlap between creativity and spirituality.  This year’s show, ‘Mapping Mystery’ opens  Friday March 28th at the Johnson Heritage Post in Grand Marais.  North Shore Morning host Joe Detrick finds out more in this interview with Reverend Mary Ellen Ashcroft.

The opening reception, Friday March 28th at 5pm, includes a presentation entitled "Frontiers and Borderlands: Navigating the Creative Process," by Ruth Pszwaro.

The exhibit ‘Mapping Mystery’ is at the Johnson Heritage Post March 28th through April 13th, open Wednesday through Saturday 10am to 4pm; and Sundays and Mondays from 1 to 4pm.  More information at 387-2314.



North Shore Morning

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Scannell attorney wants indictment dismissed

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 7:33am

The lawyer for Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell asked a judge Thursday to dismiss a grand jury indictment charging the county’s top prosecutor with two counts of criminal sexual conduct regarding his involvement with a teenage girl.

The Duluth News Tribune reports Joe Tamburino argued that the special prosecutor in the case erred in grand jury proceedings and said that evidence does not support that Scannell’s physical relationship with a 17-year-old girl was illegal.

But special prosecutor Thomas Heffelfinger disputed those contentions, arguing that proper procedures were followed and that jurors correctly found probable cause to incident Scannell on the two felony counts.

Attorneys made it clear at the hearing that the case boils down to whether Scannell, now 48, was in a “position of authority” over the girl at the time of sexual contact.

Tamburino characterized Scannell as a family friend and a former sports coach of the girl. But he said any position of authority he had over the girl ended months before the two times in August 2012 when they allegedly engaged in sexual contact.

Heffelfinger rebutted Tamburino’s assertions that Scannell was no longer an authority figure in the girl’s life. He said Scannell had known her since she was in third grade. He was her soccer and tennis coach, taught her guitar lessons, helped her with her homework and gave her advice on college planning, all in addition to his role as county attorney.

Judge Shaun Floerke took the defense’s motion for dismissal under advisement. He said he will issue a ruling by April 11.

Presque Isle on Spring Break?

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 11:59am

Tug and icebreaker activity has been visible off shore in the Grand Marais area.  WTIP’s Debbie Benedict spoke with Jim Sharrow of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority who talks about why there's been increased activity the last few days. 

(Photo by Robert Grubbs)

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