Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Community center bids come in over budget

Thu, 01/24/2013 - 4:08pm

At the Tuesday, January 22 county board meeting, Commissioner Sue Hakes reported that bids were in for the next phase of construction on the Cook County Family YMCA.  She said the bids came in over budget and the Community Center Steering Committee would be meeting to discuss revising the plans to stay within budget.
The steering committee meeting is scheduled for Friday, January 25 starting at 8:00 a.m. and scheduled until 2:00 p.m. at the Cook County Community Center. 

The meeting agenda calls for looking at the construction costs of all phases and considering changes and reductions in construction to meet the budget for the project.

“I’m not going to beat around the bush,” Hakes said.  “I think we’re going to have to make some tough decisions on Friday.”

DNR seeks comments on area lake and stream management plans

Thu, 01/24/2013 - 3:25pm

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fisheries division is continually monitoring and strategizing how best to manage the lakes and streams under its care. Part of the effort includes gathering public comment on the lakes and streams being evaluated. Citizens interested in learning about or commenting on DNR strategies for managing Grand Marais area lakes and streams have until Feb. 15, 2013, to ask questions or submit comments.
“Management plans describe the past, present and desired future conditions of the waters,” said Steve Persons, Grand Marais area fisheries supervisor. “The plans identify specific management activities planned for that lake or stream in the next five to 20 years.”
Every year, DNR fisheries staff prepares or revises individual lake and stream management plans for several waters in each management area. In the Grand Marais area, plans for the following lakes and streams will be reviewed:
* Bogus - managed for splake, reviewing stocking success and need for stocking adjustments.
* Little Cascade - managed for northern pike (special regulation), reviewing assessment needs to evaluate regulation.
* Daniels - managed for lake trout and smallmouth bass, reviewing status of lake trout population and assessment and stocking needs.
* Dawkins - managed for northern pike, no new management activity proposed.
* Holly - managed for northern pike and walleye, reviewing need for continued walleye stocking.
* Jack - managed for northern pike, no new management activity proposed.
* Loon - managed for lake trout, northern pike, and smallmouth bass, reviewing status of populations and assessment needs.
* Lost - privately managed, updating plan to reflect loss of public access.
* Mit - managed for walleye, reviewing need for continued stocking.

Feds now involved in county sexual abuse case; Omnibus Hearing continued to March 5

Thu, 01/24/2013 - 6:20am

The Omnibus Hearing for a 36-year-old man facing a number of charges alleging sexual conduct with young girls has been continued to March 5

Assistant Cook County Attorney Molly Hicken and defense attorney John Lind agreed to the continuance Wednesday afternoon for Joel Ray Allard of Grand Portage. During the 10-minute hearing before Sixth District Judge Michael Cuzzo, it was disclosed that the US Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are also investigating charges against Allard.

After the hearing, Hicken said that Allard is the only subject of her office’s investigation.

Hicken told the court that federal law enforcement is now involved in the case which her office began investigating last year. She said the FBI’s investigating agent believes a federal grand jury will vote an indictment for Allard within the next few weeks. A federal indictment would take precedence in the case although Hicken said the state could continue its case once the federal case is resolved.

The assistant county attorney requested that Allard remain in county custody unless the federal system gets involved. She also asked that the Omnibus Hearing be continued for six weeks to give federal officials the time to act.

Under questioning from defense attorney Lind, Allard said he understood the involvement of federal authorities. Lind said he expected the federal case to have “quite rapid” movement. 

Lind also said that his client was waiving his request for a speedy hearing. He said that if Cook County intends to actively prosecute the case that the proper discovery process continue with evidence to be made available by the county attorney. Cuzzo asked Hicken to continue with the discovery process as necessary and she agreed.

Dupre plans to move further up Denali Thursday

Thu, 01/24/2013 - 5:42am
Dupre Map_012413.jpg

If the weather permits Thursday, Grand Marais explorer Lonnie Dupre plans to begin moving his supplies another 2,000 feet up Denali.

Dupre is on his solo third attempt to reach the summit of Alaska’s Denali. He would be the first person to do so. The peak is North America’s highest.

His crew at One World Endeavors reports that Wednesday was “a rest day for Lonnie at the 14,200 foot camp. He must acclimate (to the altitude) before continuing on.”

Dupre spent Wednesday charging electronic gear and organizing for when he begins ferrying his gear up to 16,200 feet. The plan would be for him to move supplies today and return to his camp at 14,200 feet to sleep.

The route from 14,200 to 16,200 feet surmounts the mountain’s West Buttress. The Duluth News Tribune reports the route presents the steepest climbing along West Buttress route — an 800-foot, 40-to-55 degree snow and ice face known as the Headwall. From 16,200 to the 17,200-foot camp, the route follows just below a ridge line and includes several steep and exposed sections.

The News Tribune says Dupre hopes to move to his high camp at 17,200 feet on Friday. That would be his last camp before reaching the summit.

In addition to the grueling climb, Dupre also is working on a 20-minute documentary film called “Cold Love.” The film will call attention to climate change.

Dupre's expedition may be followed at


Flu is still with us, but the vaccine is here

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 12:02pm

The respiratory flu is still around, but the vaccines are all available. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with nurse Teresa Borak about what’s available for which patients.

Attached file

EPA’s 2011 Toxics Release Inventory shows increase in Great Lakes Basin pollution

Wed, 01/23/2013 - 12:02pm

Toxic releases into surface waters in the Great Lakes Basin increased by 12 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s annual Toxics Release Inventory report published this month. Nationwide, toxic surface water discharges decreased by 3 percent.

“This is a significant increase in toxic releases to our waters – and an indication that the Great Lakes region is lagging behind other parts of the country,” said Susan Hedman, EPA Region 5 Administrator and Great Lakes National Program Manager. “EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory is a valuable tool to help target areas for improvement and we will use this new information to work with municipalities, agricultural producers and manufacturers in the Great Lakes Basin to improve water quality.”

Nitrates and pesticides from municipal wastewater treatment plants and agriculture account for most of the toxic surface water discharges to the Great Lakes Basin. Nitrates were also discharged by primary metals facilities, such as iron and steel mills and smelters, and food and beverage manufacturers.