Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Arrowhead Transit driver Mark Quello recognized for 20 years of service

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 10:22am

Mark Quello of Grand Marais is well known to community members as the driver of “the bus.” He was recognized recently for 20 years of dedicated service with Arrowhead Transit. Quello starting driving for Arrowhead Transit on February 8, 1993.
Quello doesn’t normally attend the Cook County Transit Advisory Committee meeting, but comes in if needed. His supervisor Katy Keranen called him at the meeting on Wednesday, September 4 and Quello stopped work on his home improvement project to see what was needed. It turns out that nothing was needed, it was just time to recognize his hard work for Cook County.
Associate Director of Arrowhead Transit Joe Gentile presented Quello with a plaque in recognition of his dedicated service.
An honor well-deserved said Cook County Senior Center Director Bev Green. “Mark is just loved by all his people. He’s such a gentle driver and he is always willing to go the extra mile,” she said.
Arrowhead Transit covers all eight counties within the Arrowhead – the largest rural transportation service in the United States.
Arrowhead Transit serves Grand Marais and Cook County with scheduled bus services with Dial-A-Ride service work routes to Grand Portage and routes to Duluth. To see a ride schedule, visit and click on Grand Marais.
Or call Dial-A-Ride at (218) 370-1515. Dial-A-Ride services are provided Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 1 - 4 p.m. Dial-A-Ride is also available on Sundays from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Riders are asked to please call at least a half hour in advance to schedule a pick up time.

County offers opportunity to meet final candidates for county administrator October 3

Mon, 09/30/2013 - 10:19am

Early in the county’s process of hiring a county administrator, there were 39 interested applicants. On Friday, Sept. 13, the board of commissioners interviewed six semi-finalists. Each candidate was interviewed for one hour, and after a discussion the county board selected two finalists:  Mike Roth, Grand Marais city administrator, and Jay Kieft, executive director of human services for Wright County in Buffalo, Minnesota.  
County Board Chair Janice Hall said, “We were pleased with our pool of applicants and we had six very qualified semi-finalists.”

The two candidates for the recently-created county administer position will be meeting with Cook County department heads this week. The department heads will be writing down their impressions of the applicants to share with the county board.

The county is hosting an opportunity for the public to meet the two final applicants at a “Meet and Greet” at East Bay Suites Stone’s Throw Room on Wednesday, October 2 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. 

The final interviews—and possibly a decision will be on October 3.

Planning to enhance Father Baraga's Cross historic site continues

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 12:46pm

At the September meeting of the Town of Schroeder, Jim Norvell, champion of the Father Baraga’s Cross historic site and the Schroeder Township park adjacent to it, gave an update. Norvell travelled from his new home in Duluth to report on the grant-funded planning being done for the township park.  

Planned for the park is an open space by the lake with a picnic shelter set back from the lake.  A vegetation buffer between the park and the beach will absorb storm water and prevent erosion.  A handicap-accessible parking lot will be located near a pit toilet.  The site will have informational kiosks in several places, and the cross will have benches near it that are cohesive with the design of the cross.  The boat launch will remain.

One resident who lives along Father Baraga Road protested further development of what is already there.  She said the boat launch is not functional, the road would not accommodate increased activity, and it would need brushing and plowing.

Jim Norvell said they hope to address boat accessibility over the course of time.  Skip Lamb said this is a 20-year plan, and the township will be focusing on what can be done on its own land, even though the park plan includes enhancements to the cross area, owned by the Catholic Diocese of Duluth, and the river area, owned by Skip and Linda Lamb.

Regarding the road leading to the park, which has several private properties along it, Bill McKeever said, “It’s a town road.”

Public meetings have been held on enhancement of the park, with notices in the paper and on WTIP Radio, said township supervisor Tina McKeever.  It has been discussed at township annual meetings as well.

Weekend News Roundup for September 28

Sat, 09/28/2013 - 10:32am

Each week the WTIP news staff puts together a roundup of the news over the past five days. Moose calf mortality is up, new habitat lands proposed for lynx, the 144th will deploy to the Middle East, again, and much more…all in this week’s news.


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Enjoy fall colors and beatutiful art at the 2013 Crossing Borders Studio Tour

Sat, 09/28/2013 - 8:28am

Soak in the glorious fall colors while following the 2013 Crossing Borders Studio Tour along the Minnesota North Shore of Lake Superior.

This year, 22 career artists with their original work are featured at seven working studio sites located along the North Shore.  The Crossing Borders Studio Tour offers a unique opportunity to visit the home studios of the artists and view and purchase art work. Visitors can learn about the artists’ processes and how this rugged environment influences their color and design ideas.

The tour began Sept. 27 and is open daily from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. through Oct. 6. The public is invited to participate in this free self-guided tour.

Featured this year are stone and clay sculpture, Ojibwe art work, pottery, weaving, glass sculpture and jewelry, print making, handmade paper, wood turning, metal works, fiber art, jewelry, and leather. Twelve guest artists will be part of the tour.  

A sad note for familiar tour goers is the loss of potter Dave Yungner. Dave, one of the pioneer Crossing Borders artists, passed away suddenly in July. Members of Dave’s family will be at his studio during the first weekend of the tour. Guest artist Karin Kraemer will be at Dale Burton’s studio.

Tofte welcomes new District Ranger Kurt Steele

Sat, 09/28/2013 - 8:25am

The U.S. Forest Service Tofte District welcomed Kurt Steele as the new district ranger in early September.

Steele brings a broad background in natural resource management.  He graduated with a bachelor's degree from Oregon State University in natural resources with an option in forest ecosystems. He also double minored in forest management, and fisheries and wildlife. 

Later, Steele successfully completed the National Advanced Silvicultural Program to become a fully certified silviculturist. During that program he studied at Michigan Tech, Northern Arizona University, University of Tennessee, and Oregon State University.

Steele has held positions on several national forests across the country.  He started his Forest Service career as a temporary employee with the fire management program on the Umatilla National Forest in eastern Oregon. 

His next duty station was on the Rouge-Siskiyou National Forest in southwest Oregon. Steele then accepted a forester position on the Willamette National Forest in western Oregon.  His last duty station prior to coming to the Tofte Ranger District was in Georgia on the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest where he served as a silviculturist. 

Steele has continued to participate in fire operations where he has established a number of qualifications including Incident Commander Type 4. 

 Kurt and his wife, Melissa, come to Cook County with their two pets, Trigger, a yellow lab, and Oconee, a kitten. Melissa has already begun her new job as a teacher in the local school system.  They look forward to becoming part of the community.