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News and other information from Cook County

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

Thu, 01/24/2013 - 5:20am

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 - 4:42am
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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 www.oneworldendeavors.com

 

Flu is still with us, but the vaccine is here

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 11:02am

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.

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

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 11:02am
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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 - 11:00am

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 http://www.plungemn.org/plunger/bryannbockovich.
To learn more about the Polar Plunge, visit http://www.plungemn.org/ to find out all the chilly details.

Lonnie Dupre reaches 14,200 feet on Denali

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 5:47am
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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 www.oneworldendeavors.com.