Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Lunch for senior citizens at Birch Grove on Wednesdays

Tue, 08/14/2012 - 10:27am

There is always a lot happening at the Birch Grove Community Center. One popular offering is a community lunch.  Barb Merritt continues to serve delicious meals for local senior citizens every Wednesday. 

Community Center Director Patty Nordahl said all are welcome. “If you are not a regular, just give us a call at 663-7977 and let us know you are coming so we are sure to have enough,” said Nordahl.

Political campaign signs not allowed on highway rights of way

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 11:28am

DULUTH, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds everyone that placement of campaign signs and other unauthorized objects within state highway rights of way is prohibited under MN State Statute 160.27.

MnDOT campaign signs may not be placed on private property outside of the right of way limits without landowner consent.

Highway rights of way include the driving lanes, inside and outside shoulders, ditches and sight corners at intersections.

MnDOT crews will remove any unlawfully placed signs and impound them at one of its local maintenance truck stations.

Violation of the law is a misdemeanor. Civil penalties also may apply if the placement of such material contributes to a motor vehicle crash and injures a person or damages a motor vehicle that runs off the road.In addition, the Minnesota Outdoor Advertising Control Act (MN State Statute 173.15) prohibits erecting advertising devices on public utility poles, trees and shrubs, and painting or drawing on rocks or natural features.

Beth Petrowske of the Duluth MnDOT office says the agency administers these laws "in a fair and impartial manner. Political campaign signs are treated in the same way as any other signs wrongly placed on state highway property by businesses, churches, private citizens or charitable groups."

For information regarding the proper placement of campaign signs or where to find signs that have been removed, contact the local MnDOT office at 218-725-2800. See also


Election filing deadline is tomorrow for hospital board, School District 166 and Grand Marais City Council

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 11:21am

The election filing period for the North Shore Hospital, School District 166 and the Grand Marais City Council races ends tomorrow, August 14. There are still some open slots on the ballot for the November 6, 2012. Citizens interested in serving on the School District 166 school board, the Cook County North Shore Hospital Board or the Grand Marais City Council should file now!
The Cook County North Shore Hospital board has two members whose terms are coming up for re-election and both incumbents have filed for re-election. They are Kay Olson in District 4 (the Maple Hill/Gunflint Trail district) and Justin Mueller in District 2 (the east Grand Marais district).
The fee to file for the hospital board is $2.
School District 166 also has two board seats up for election. Currently serving in those positions is Leonard Sobanja, District 4 and Terry Collins, District 2. Both men have said they will not run. No one has filed yet for the District 2 seat, but Lorrinda “Sissy” Lunde has filed to run in the District 4 race.
The filing fee is $2 for school board as well.
In the City of Grand Marais, up for election are the mayor’s seat and two council positions. The incumbents are Mayor Larry “Bear” Carlson and Councilors Tim Kennedy and Jan Sivertson. Incumbent Mayor Carlson has filed to run for re-election. Councilor Kennedy has filed again, but Councilor Sivertson has not filed yet.
Anyone interested in running for office can file at Grand Marais City Hall. The filing fee is also $2.
For more information about the election, visit the Minnesota Secretary of State website at or contact Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers at (218) 387-

Sawtooth Mountain Challenge bike race road permit approved

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 11:17am

Approving the special event permit for the Sawtooth Challenge Mountain Bike Race to be held September 2 was not controversial, but whether to honor the request of Tim Kennedy of the Superior Cycling Association to waive the $100 fee provoked some discussion among the county board at the July 24 board meeting.
“I think you should give some consideration to waiving that fee,” said Kennedy, also a Grand Marais city councilor.  Cook County’s nonprofits are trying to create events that benefit the community, he said.
Highway Engineer Betts said the Highway Department deals with 10-12 events a year that involve use of county roads.  They have been waiving the fee for one of them—Mush for a Cure—because it is a charitable event, raising money for the fight against breast cancer.  “Our roads aren’t parks.  They’re roads,” he said.  “Where do we draw the line?”  The Democratic and Republican parties are nonprofits, too, he said.  Would they want to waive the fee if one of those parties wanted to hold a rally on Wisconsin Street?
The people who sponsor these events do it because they like those kinds of activities and/or they get residual business profits from them, said Commissioner Fritz Sobanja.
The city doesn’t charge a fee for events like this, Kennedy said.  He asked the board to consider discussing its policy with the community organizations that sponsor such events.
These events cost the county money, Commissioner Jim Johnson said.  “…Charging a fee makes that point,” he said.  “Philosophically, I can see both sides. …It’s a philosophical issue.”

Join WTIP for a fun evening August 23rd to support “A Home of Our Own”

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 9:16am

WTIP Community Radio is presenting an evening of culture and fun at a beautiful, historic fish house on the shore of Lake Superior, adjacent to Butterwort Cliffs near Cascade River State Park. The fundraising event will feature music by Gordon Thorne and a presentation by naturalist Chel Anderson (heard on WTIP as the Northwoods Naturalist). Drinks and appetizers will be served.

The event will take place from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 23rd. Tickets are $100 each or more if you can. All proceeds will support WTIP’s “Home of Our Own” capital campaign.

Please call the station for more information: 218-387-1070 or e-mail: 

Primary will be held Tuesday, August 14

Mon, 08/13/2012 - 7:02am

A three-way Democratic congressional contest in the 8th Congressional District has brought attention in our area to tomorrow’s primary.

Jeff Anderson, Taryl Clark and Rick Nolan are competing for the opportunity to represent the DFL against Eighth District Republican Congressman Chip Craavack. Nolan is the DFL endorsee in the race.

In Cook County, District 4 is holding a primary to select two candidates to replace retiring Commissioner Jim Johnson. Vying for the November election ballot are Gail Anderson, Rick Austin and Heidi Doo-Kirk. The top two vote-getters will move on to November.

There will be three candidates on the ballot for the District 2 commissioner’s seat now held by Fritz Sobanja. Kelly Swearingen did pull out of the race, but not in time to get her name off the ballot. Sobanja is on tomorrow’s District 2 primary ballot as is Garry Gamble.

Also on the Cook County ballot are three Republican challengers and two Independence Party candidates vying for the US Senate seat now held by Amy Klobuchar. She is unchallenged on the Democratic side of the ticket as is Cravaack for his congressional seat. There also are two Supreme Court seats that have three candidates attempting to make the cut to two for the November election.

Voters in the City of Grand Marais precincts will go to the polls to vote. Those people in District 2, Precinct 5, or, Grand Marais East, will vote at the Cook County Courthouse, Commissioners' Room. Voters in District 3, Precinct 6, Grand Marais West, will vote at the Cook County Community Center

The polls for these precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.