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News and other information from Cook County

Special prosecutor appointed in Cook County Attorney case

Mon, 04/08/2013 - 1:47pm
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A lawyer who twice led the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota has been appointed as special prosecutor to determine whether criminal charges are warranted against Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell for his relationship with a teenage girl.

The Duluth News Tribune reports former U.S. Attorney Thomas Heffelfinger, a 35-year lawyer working in private practice in Minneapolis, has been appointed special prosecutor to review the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s investigation of Scannell.

Scannell, who was shot and seriously wounded in December 2011 by a sex offender he had just prosecuted, was ordered by the court last December to stay away from the minor girl.

According to the BCA’s petition to appoint a special prosecutor to the case, the bureau has conducted an investigation of Scannell’s relationship with the girl and is ready to submit the case to a prosecuting attorney to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.

The BCA investigator assigned to the case contacted six county attorneys about their willingness to review the investigation for potential charges. All of the county attorneys declined. Hence, Heffelfinger was appointed to act as special prosecutor and perform all duties of the county attorney in relation to the Scannell case.

Winter weather continues

Mon, 04/08/2013 - 12:17pm

All the wet snow and there’s still more in the forecast. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with meteorologist Mike Stewart about this slow spring.

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Open House to review Temperance River Wayside Rest improvements

Mon, 04/08/2013 - 8:30am

At the Tofte annual meeting on Tuesday, March 12, Supervisor Paul James said a design consultant is working with Temperance River State Park officials and the Minnesota Department of Transportation on increasing safety at the Temperance River wayside rest.  The design they are working on would help prevent pedestrians from crossing the highway in so many places.  An open house to discuss the plans will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 11 at the Schroeder town hall.  James said travelers want wayside rests that they can access directly off the road.

Town Clerk Barb Gervais volunteered to work with the park and cemetery committee on restoring or replacing the pavilion in the town park.  She said she would like to see a timber frame structure put up and would be willing to apply for grants to get the necessary funding.  The group talked about how the structure could be built to shelter people from the cold and how lighting could discourage vandalism.

North Shore Care Center to celebrate April birthdays

Sun, 04/07/2013 - 7:35pm

The monthly birthday party at the North Shore Care Center will be celebrated on Wednesday, April 10 to honor Lorraine Duininck, Earl Anderson, and Delores McLean. Cake and ice cream will be served at 3:00 p.m. along with piano classics performed by Doug Sanders.

There are volunteer opportunities for all ages at the North Shore Care Center. For more information about the activity calendar or volunteer programs, please contact the Activity Dept. at 218-387-3518 or visit our website www.nshorehospital.com.

 

Cook County Soil & Water seeks water monitors

Sun, 04/07/2013 - 10:10am

If you are interested in learning about water monitoring and using some great equipment, an opportunity is available – Cook County Soil & Water is still in need of water monitors. Volunteers are needed to fill in as substitutes and to possibly be responsible for one water body for a season. The season runs from May-September.A mandatory training will be held Tuesday, April 16 from 9 to 11:45 a.m., rain or shine. If you are interested in learning more and attending the training, contact Ilena Berg at 218-287-3648 or ilena.berg@co.cook.mn.us before Friday, April 10.

Cook County Local Energy Project biomass representatives meet with Grand Marais Public Utilities

Sun, 04/07/2013 - 10:08am

On March 28, Paul Nelson and George Wilkes of the Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP) met with the Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to discuss the possibility of the PUC being the fiscal agent for a biomass district heating plant grant of $200,000-$250,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

The grant requires a significant amount of work to have been done already.  Nelson said the biomass district heating project CCEP has been pursuing on behalf of the city of Grand Marais appears to be tailor-made for this grant, with all of the required background work already completed.

The PUC has agreed to be the owner of the proposed plant if it proves to be feasible.  CCLEP has been working through a series of steps to determine the project’s feasibility, but for this grant, a fiscal agent with a more significant financial history, such as the PUC, is required.

CCLEP has retained the services of FVB Energy Inc., which has estimated that a biomass plant, underground infrastructure, and hookups to the first customers would cost about $9 million.