Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Most Lake Superior beaches are closed

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 12:30pm

The state's Lake Superior Beach Monitoring Program is advising no water contact at all beaches along the north shore from Gary/New Duluth to Chicago Bay in Hovland. Further information will be forthcoming.

Roads reopen across the Northland, some remain closed

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 9:02am

The Minnesota Department of Transportation reports that northbound Interstate 35 has reopened this morning between Mahtowa and Highway 210 at Carlton.

Southbound I-35 remains closed in that area.

The DOT said people posted at the barricades on I-35 are trying to help drivers find alternate routes, but that's a challenge given the other roads that are closed around the area from flooding. Interstate 35 is open across the city of Duluth.

Here are some updates on other roads in the Northland, provided this morning by MNDOT and other sources:

  • Highway 61 Expressway closed at Knife River with detour in place; Scenic 61 reportedly is open to Two Harbors.
  • Highway 61 open at Silver Creek Tunnel, with shoulder damage
  • Highway 53 is now open past the Miller Hill Mall. Maple Grove Road is open in the same area; parts of Mall Drive remain closed
  • Highway 2 open from Proctor west.
  • Highway 23 closed at Fond du Lac
  • Highway 210 closed through Jay Cooke State Park

Cook County invasive species listed

Thu, 06/21/2012 - 5:49am

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says 20 percent of boaters screened in the state so far this spring had an invasive species violation.

Cook County is not without its share of infested waters. According to a report released earlier this spring the DNR said spiny water fleas are the biggest problem.

In the BWCA, spiny water fleas are found in Caribou Lake. They are also found in Flour Lake, Gunflint, Little John, McFarland, North and South Fowl, Pine and Saganaga lakes.

Devil Track and Greenwood lakes are infested, as are the Pigeon River downstream of South Fowl, Royal Lake and the Royal River.

Some tributaries to Lake Superior, including those in Cook County can carry other invasives to the big lake. Species include ruffe, white perch and zebra mussels.

Tributaries may also carry viral hemorrhagic septicemia to Lake Superior.

Through June 6, DNR officers have ticketed or warned 1,898 boaters statewide for invasive species violations.


Duluth area suffers extensive damage in storms

Wed, 06/20/2012 - 6:10pm

DULUTH, MN (AP) - Up to 9 inches of rain fell in parts of the Duluth area and along the North Shore in the past 24 to 36 hours, causing extensive damage and flooding.  Officials are discouraging travel into the Duluth area because several major routes are closed due to the flooding.

The mayor of Duluth has declared a state of emergency and the Duluth Police Department currently advises no travel in the city.  The Duluth News Tribune online blog had reports of people being rescued, vehicles falling into sinkholes, collapsed roads, and rivers and streams overtaking roadways.  Heading into Duluth, drivers were being routed off the freeway Wednesday as water and mud flowed along the shoulder like a river. A number of streets in Duluth are covered by standing water or mud.  

Governor Mark Dayton says he's offering Duluth all possible state assistance as the city copes with the situation.
Dayton issued a statement Wednesday, saying he spoke with Duluth Mayor Don Ness about help the state can provide now and during the recovery. He says he will travel to Duluth Thursday morning to discuss further how the state can help.

Dayton also asks people who live in or were planning to travel in the Duluth area to follow the requests of local authorities to stay off of affected roads and highways so emergency crews can do their work.

The Red Cross has opened two shelters for residents displaced by the flooding. One is at the First United Methodist Church in Duluth. The Red Cross is also staffing a shelter at Carlton High School.

State emergency managers say there were 30 evacuees at the Duluth church and 40 at Carlton High School.


Community Center Steering Committee to continue design discussion June 22

Wed, 06/20/2012 - 4:06pm

Several members of the Cook County Steering Committee participated in a walk-through of the west end of the School District 166 campus, the current community center and the grounds with Architect Dan Miller of JLG Architects on Friday, June 8. The purpose of the visit was to provide the architect information necessary to develop a plan for a community center attached to the school building.
Outdoor hockey ice was discussed and it was agreed that the hockey rink should not be held up any longer. The steering committee passed a motion asking the county board to move ahead with the ice rink as soon as possible.  So Miller spent some time looking at the ice rinks and asked a lot of questions about how they are arranged, including where is the Zamboni stored?
Another steering committee meeting has been scheduled for Friday, June 22, from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. in the Mianowski Conference Room at School District 166. On the agenda is design review with Architect Dan Miller, including discussion of expansion of industrial arts. There will be discussion of phasing of the project, regarding the ice rink, tennis courts, and exterior and interior demolition of the school’s west wing.
The discussion will continue at another steering committee on July 12, which will be held in the commissioner’s room at the Cook County courthouse from 2 – 5 p.m. Following that, there will be a community meeting for input that evening from 6 – 8 p.m. in the Mianowski conference room at Cook County High School

Preserving Mineral Center history

Wed, 06/20/2012 - 4:04pm

Years ago, about six miles up the Mineral Center Road in Grand Portage, there was a thriving community called Mineral Center. There were numerous homes, a store, a garage, a church and a cemetery.
The town came to life in the early 1900s, according to Glen Roberts, a descendant of the Linnell family that once lived in Mineral Center. There were once 54 families living there.
According to the Cook County Historical Society, the United Congregational Church of Mineral Center was first used on June 2, 1920. The church is long gone, however. For various reasons, families moved on in the 1930s and Mineral Center ceased to be.
For many years, relatives of the people buried there cared for the cemetery, but its remoteness makes it difficult. In recent years, the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has assisted with the maintenance of the old cemetery. However, some descendents feared that the location of the cemetery would be completely lost to future generations and they decided to do something about it.
Halbert “Hally” Bockovich of Finland, MN, was particularly concerned that his family’s history in the former town of Mineral Center would be lost. The son of one-time Mineral Center residents Martin and Theresa (Linnell) Bockovich was particularly concerned that his family’s history in the former town would be lost. He carefully mapped where homes had been and saved the information for his siblings and children, for nieces and nephews. He marked the lots that were homesteaded by Clyde Roberts, William Walters, Asa Hoyt, Art Evans, Malcolm Linnell and many others, including his grandparents, Peter and Nellie Linnell and his parents.
Bockovich also hoped that one day there would be some sort of marker commemorating the cemetery, where two of his siblings that died as children are buried.