Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

A full ballot for November county commissioner contest

Wed, 06/06/2012 - 12:50pm

When the election filing period closed at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5, there were candidates in all the seats that will be on the November 2012 ballot. Each of the two county commissioner districts, there is a three-way race.

Fritz Sobanja currently holds Commissioner District 2. He has filed to run for re-election. Filing to run for against Sobanja is Garry Gamble and Kelly Swearingen.

Commissioner District 4 is currently held by Jim Johnson. Johnson has stated he will not run for re-election. Three people have filed to run for that district, Gail Anderson, Rick Austin and Heidi Kirk. 

Three seats are also on the ballot for the Cook County Soil & Water Conservation District. District 1 is currently held by Donald Goodell who has filed for re-election. District 3 is currently held by Joan Farnam who has also filed to run again. District 5 is currently 
held by Jesse Derscheid, who did not file for re-election. Jerry Hiniker has filed for that seat.

The art of Roy Thomas is featured at Thunder Bay Art Gallery this summer

Wed, 06/06/2012 - 12:48pm

"Vision Circle: The Art of Roy Thomas" is the title of a major retrospective featured at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery this summer.
Sharon Godwin, director of the art gallery, said the exhibit is an appropriate summation of how this Ojibwa artist interacted with and viewed the world. “The circle of life–birth, life, death, the four seasons, the medicine wheel and the circling embrace of family and ancestors–are all extremely important elements in Thomas’s work,” said Godwin. “In works of art that are full of color and symbolism, Thomas tells stories, describes relationships between the animal, human and spiritual worlds, and teaches us about Ojibwa culture.”
The exhibit brings together over 60 of Thomas’s paintings from public and private collections in Canada in order to show the depth of his artistic achievement. Thomas has been featured in galleries throughout the world—from Sivertson Gallery in Grand Marais to the Universität Marburg, Hanseatic, Germany and the Hong Kong Museum of Art in Japan. The works in the Vision Circle show range from his earliest drawings to very large and impressive public commissions. “The impact of Roy Thomas as an artist, a mentor and a father is strong and clear. The circle of his influence continues to widen,” Godwin commented. “Be sure to see his exhibition.”
Vision Circle opens June 7 and runs through Sept. 9, after which it will travel to other Canadian galleries over the next two years. For more information contact the Thunder Bay Art Gallery at (807) 577-6427 or

Community Center public input meeting Tuesday

Tue, 06/05/2012 - 1:47pm

A Public Input Meeting on the new Cook County Community Center is scheduled for 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, June 5 at the ISD #166 campus in Grand Marais. The community gymnasium will be the venue if there is a large crowd. If the group attending is smaller, the meeting will be held in the Jane Mianowski Conference Center. The meeting is designed to gather input on the new conceptual design for the center. There also may be a tour of the west end of the school bcomplex to see how the space could be reused.

In this interview, WTIP volunteer Mary Manning talks with Community Center Steering Committee chair Paul Sporn about the meeting.  (Click on AM Community Calendar show link below to hear the interview.)

Attached file
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Election filing deadline is tomorrow -- commissioner race has three candidates in district 4; one in district 2

Mon, 06/04/2012 - 9:22am

Tomorrow is the last day to file to be on the ballot for the November 2012 election. To date, three people have filed for county commissioner for District 4 and only one for District 2.
Commissioner District 2 is currently held by Fritz Sobanja. He has filed to run for re-election. No one else had filed in that district.
Commissioner District 4 is currently held by Jim Johnson. Johnson has stated he will not run for re-election. Three people have filed to run for that district, Gail Anderson, Rick Austin and Heidi Kirk.
The filing period ends tomorrow, Tuesday, June 5 at 5 p.m. Candidates filing for office in Cook County do so at the Cook County Auditor’s Office, in the Cook County Courthouse in Grand Marais.
 The fee to file to run for commissioner is $50

Three seats are also on the ballot for the Cook County Soil & Water Conservation District—District 1, currently held by Donald Goodell;  District 3 currently held by Joan Farnam; and District 5 currently 
held by Jesse Derscheid.
 Farnam and Goodell have filed for re-election.
The fee to file for the Soil & Water Conservation District is $20.

Broadband and computer use survey under way

Mon, 06/04/2012 - 9:06am

A phone survey from the University of Minnesota about broadband and computer use is under way to seek opinions on participation in the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Community (MIRC) initiative that was started by Blandin Foundation 18 months ago. The program is designed around several broadband-related elements that have been identified as important indicators of prosperous communities in the 21st century.
Local goals for this initiative are to get people thinking about and experimenting with how to use broadband tools to strengthen local businesses, institutions, and community.
Beneficiaries of the initiative include the Cook County Historical Society, Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, Boreal.TV, WTIP, Cook County Higher Education, the Grand Marais Public Library, Cook County Visitor’s Bureau, PCs for People and Adult Basic Ed.
If you have feedback on this program or ideas for ways to address known gaps in our digital inclusion and access efforts, your input is encouraged. Contact Danna MacKenzie
, Cook County director of Information System, at 
218-387-3662 or

Community encouraged to attend public meeting on community center planning

Sun, 06/03/2012 - 12:57pm

Citizens interested in the new Cook County Community Center are encouraged to attend apublic input meeting on Tuesday, June 5 from 6 - 8 p.m. at the community gymnasiun (the old school gym) at Cook County School  District 166.

If you are unable to make the public meeting, you may talk to members of the Community Center Steering Committee. Serving as Steering Committee Chair is Paul Sporn of Grand Marais. Other members are Commissioners Sue Hakes and Fritz Sobanja; Community Center Director/Extension Educator Diane Booth; ISD 166 School Board Member Jeanne Anderson; Maggie Barnard of the Cook County Visitors Bureau; Andra Lilienthal, Community Education; Cathi Williams; Gene Glader;  Paul Nelson, Firewise; Sue Prom; Karen Saethre; and ISD 166 Superintendent Beth Schwarz.

Minutes of steering committee meetings and other information about the community center planning process can be found on the Cook County website at