Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

County denies request to dissolve Hovland subordinate service district

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 11:44am

The Cook County courthouse commissioners’ room was full of Hovland property owners on June 25, 2013 at a public hearing before the county board to discuss dissolving the Irish Creek Winter Maintenance Subordinate Governmental Service District (SGSD) authorized by the county board last November.
Property owners along Tom Lake, Irish Creek, Brumbaugh, Wilderness Shores and Powers Lake roads west of the Arrowhead Trail had requested that the county establish the district so that costs for snowplowing 10.5 miles of road could be shared among those who would benefit from it.
A couple of property owners, Jon Muhich and Rich Wojcik, had been plowing the road but financial contributions from people in the neighborhood were not covering their expenses.
After the county board authorized the SGSD, objections from its opponents led to a decision to hold this hearing.
Virginia Johnson, who along with her husband, C. Duane Johnson, owns property along the route but only uses it in the summertime, opposed the establishment of the SGSD.  She maintained that the families who use the road in the winter should share the cost of plowing it and not involve the county.
“There should have been a lot more names on the plowing list in the first place,” Mr. Johnson said.  Only those who own property on or who have driveways leading to the SGSD snowplowing route were charged for services starting in late winter when the SGSD went into effect.
The Johnsons’ son Rusty estimated that about 150 property owners use the road to access their property and said to be fair, they should all share the cost of plowing. 
Mrs. Johnson pointed out that half the people who signed a petition asking for the SGSD last fall had previously signed a document saying they would not ask the county to provide services such as snowplowing. 

Weather close to ideal for the 4th

Mon, 07/01/2013 - 9:33am

It promises to be a great 4th of July holiday week. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Stewart about super summer weather. (Click here to hear the interview.)

Attached file
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Class of 2013 grad heading to Uganda

Sun, 06/30/2013 - 10:01pm

Michaela Peterson of Hovland is preparing for the journey of a lifetime. At summer’s end she will be embarking on a nine-month service trip to Uganda, Africa. Michaela will be working with the charity in poverty-stricken areas.

Michaela is a member of the Cook County High School Class of 2013 and unlike many of her friends, she is not sure just what she wants to do in the future. She is considering a career in theater or journalism, but she is not ready for college.

Instead of taking a road trip with friends, Michaela decided she wanted to travel and somehow make a difference in the world. She did her research and found the United Planet, a nonprofit that “strives to create a world in which all people understand, respect, and support one another.” The mission of United Planet is to build “a community beyond borders.”

Michaela is certainly going beyond her childhood boundary of rural Hovland. Her mother, Kari Peterson, noted that it was a bit unnerving to see her daughter undergoing malaria and yellow fever immunizations. But Michaela is determined, tackling the first hurdle—raising over $7,000 for the journey.

She has done well, reaching out to friends and family and the broader community, explaining why she wants to participate in this nine-month quest. At press time, she has about $3,000 to go, with a deadline looming.

Tip-of-Trail property auctioned by county

Sun, 06/30/2013 - 9:58pm

Being the only bidder at an auction is a pretty nice situation to be in.  Michael Drilling didn’t have too much to worry about at the county’s auction of the approximately 4½-acre Tip-of-the-Trail property on Saganaga Lake on June 24, 2013, because he was the only bidder.

One other person identified himself as a potential bidder but could not bid because he did not have the required bid bond or equivalent of 5 percent of the appraised value.

The property was a tax-forfeited parcel.

Drilling won with the minimum bid of $350,000, the appraised value of the property.  Cook County Assessor Betty Schultz said the appraiser didn’t really have any good comparables to base the appraisal on.  The assessed value is $537,400 -- $294,500 for the two buildings and $242,900 for the land.  The parcel is zoned lakeshore residential.

Drilling told the Cook County News-Herald after the auction that he would be living on the property.  He is the outfitting manager at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters and said he has been coming to Cook County for many years.  He said the house has not been lived in for 15 years.

The county recently filled in three septic systems that had been condemned, so Drilling will have to have an acceptable form of septic treatment before he can live on the property.

Sign up for Tofte Trek 10K run/walk now

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 9:32am

There is no better way to kick off your Fourth of July than by running up the slopes of the Sawtooth Mountains, racing on the Superior Hiking Trail and tracking down your competition through the mud.

Thirty-four years ago the Tofte Trek Wilderness Run/Walk was born and the tradition carries on.  Each year this event continues to grow, bringing over 200 runners and walkers to the town of Tofte.

Pre-registration is $25; same-day registration is $30.

Registration begins at the Birch Grove Community Center at 7:45 a.m. July

4 followed by races beginning at 9 a.m. with the walkers, 9:05 a.m. with various kids races (free), 9:20 a.m. with a mile race (free), and rounding out the morning is the 10k running race beginning at 9:30 a.m.

There will be overall awards, age group awards and a raffle prize. All proceeds from this event are used for XC Ski and Mountain Bike Trail maintenance within the Sugarbush Trail System.

For more information, visit


Minnesota State Patrol offers law enforcement experience at summer camp

Sat, 06/29/2013 - 9:31am

The Minnesota State Patrol is offering a week-long summer camp for youths interested in careers in law enforcement. State Patrol Trooper Leah Carpenter of Grand Marais encourages local students ages 16 - 19 years old to apply to learn the training and responsibilities of law enforcement officers.

The camp includes training in firearms, radar/aircraft enforcement, defensive driving, crash investigation, defensive tactics, as well as leadership skills and more.

The camp takes place Aug. 11 - 17 at Camp Ripley in Little Falls.

Approximately 30 teenagers will be accepted through the application process. The camp will be led and monitored by State Patrol troopers. There is no charge for the camp. Applications are due July 6.

For more information, contact Trooper Carpenter or find an application at