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News and other information from Cook County

Weekend News Roundup for January 26

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 10:32am

Each weekend WTIP news produces a round up of the news stories they’ve been following this week. Lonnie Dupre on Denali, soap toxins in the water, the Feds joining in a criminal sexual conduct case and much more…all in this week’s news.


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Order seedlings for spring now

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 10:06am

Although many Minnesotans are thinking of what to do in the recent snowfall, staffers at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) state forest nurseries are looking forward to warmer weather. Nursery workers are gearing up for their spring seedling sale.

Millions of seedlings are available for the 2013 planting season, including 20 species of native bareroot trees and shrubs grown from seeds collected in Minnesota. Seedlings vary in size from 6 to 18 inches in height.

“Pines, spruces, oaks, maples, wildlife shrubs and much more are available with prices starting as low as 24 cents per piece,” said Craig VanSickle, nurseries supervisor. 

Assessors Office seeks additional staff member

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 10:03am

New Assessor Betty Schultz has taken on an ambitious challenge.  Under orders from the state, she and her staff will be assessing 20 percent of the county’s private properties—called a quintile—each year from here on forward.

 In addition to that, they will be collecting more detailed information on each property than was collected in the past and putting the data into a new software system.  To accomplish all that, Schultz asked the county board on January 22 to consider adding a new staff position to her department.

“The full 20 percent quintile requirement has not been met for a number of years due to the Assessor’s Office workload and maintaining personnel to cover the office on a daily basis,” Schultz wrote in a January 22 memo to the board. 

Cook County girls win at Carlton, boys lose

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 8:05am

Lily Gruber-Schulz scored 24 points Friday night to lead the Cook County Viking girls to a 57-54 road basketball win over Carlton.

The Viking boys lost a close game 44-42 to Carlton after nearly overcoming an eight-point deficit at the end of the first half.

The Vikings outscored the Bulldogs 40-29 in the first half of the girls’ game. The Bulldogs came back to take a 25-17 advantage in the second, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Vikings. Cook County upped its record to 6-12 with the win.

The Viking victory came despite being out-shot at the free-throw line. The Bulldogs hit 18 of 25 from the charity stripe while Cook County only managed five of 21.

In addition to Gruber-Schulz’s game-high 24, Theresa  Morrin had 16 for the Vikings. Also scoring were Breana Peterson with eight, Kaitlynn Linnell with five and Jordyn Deschampe with four.

Clarissa Nelson led the Bulldogs with 23 points while Tori Zime had 10.

The Viking boys didn’t fare as well as the girls. Carlton managed to escape Cook County by two points, 44-42. The loss dropped the Vikes to 8-5 for the season.

The Bulldogs outscored the Vikings 25-17 in the first half before the Vikings came back to take a 25-19 second-half advantage, falling just short.

Colin Everson hit 20 for Cook County followed by Kale Boomer with 11. Lars Scannell scored five while Jonny Jacobsen hit four and Peter Warren hit one.

Erik Adams and Lane Empson led the Bulldogs with 16 and 11 respectively.

The Vikings’ boys and girls teams host the  Silver BayMariners in Grand Marais on Monday night followed by a visit from the Mesabi East Giants on Tuesday night.

Portage to play at North Shore Care Center Saturday

Fri, 01/25/2013 - 11:27am

The first dance of 2013 at the North Shore Care Center will feature Portage – the local country music band. Portage performs the last Saturday of the month during the year. The dance will be Saturday, January 26 at 6:30 p.m. and community folks are always welcome. 
For more information about activity programs or volunteer opportunities, please contact the Activity Department at (218) 387-3518 or visit:

Fire damages Solbakken Resort cabin a second time

Fri, 01/25/2013 - 11:11am
Firefighters at the scene

When a page went out to the Lutsen Fire Department at about 2 p.m. on Wednesday, January 24, firefighters undoubtedly thought the address—cabin 4 at Solbakken Resort—sounded familiar. For good reason—the fire department was called to a fire at the same cabin two years ago, oddly on the exact same date.
Solbakken Resort is owned by Michael and Maureen O’Phelan. Reached by phone, Michael O’Phelan said they were baffled by the cause of the fire. No guests had been in the cabin since January 8, but staff members check on all six of the Solbakken cabins daily. The fire was spotted by housekeeping staff conducting deep cleaning in an adjacent cabin.
“Maureen got the call at Cascade and we flew over there, hoping it was something small, but by the time we got there, it was engulfed in fire,” said O’Phelan.
Members of the Lutsen Fire Department were on the scene of this fire by about  2:15 p.m. Lutsen Fire Chief Paul Goettl noted that the first two firefighters on the scene were two of the newest fire department members. He said they did an excellent job assessing and responding to the fire. “We’ve been training and you can see that our training is paying off. They did a good job.”
The Tofte and Schroeder Fire Departments also responded, as well as the Cook County Ambulance. Goettl said the ambulance crewmembers, who are also Grand Marais firefighters, were helpful with directions and incident command. There were no injuries, although a few wet firefighters had to take a break to sit in a warm truck to thaw out their turnout gear.
The fire department was able to quickly extinguish the fire, which had lit a nearby tree on fire.  They then had to ventilate the structure, cutting holes in the roof and gables to pull out smoldering insulation, to ensure the blaze was out.