Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Cook County Schools band concerts Tuesday, May 12

Sun, 05/10/2015 - 1:07pm

 The Cook County High School Music Department will present two concerts on May 12, and the public is invited.

At 2 p.m. in the varsity gym the high school band and choir will perform with the Sky Blue Jazz Ensemble A Century of Jazz. This celebration of jazz concert is open to all students K-12, including students from GES. It will feature music from Sky Blue Ensemble, along with CCHS students. 

At 7 p.m. the Middle School-High School Music Departments will have their annual Spring Concert.  This year's theme is The Wonderful Music of Disney. This concert will feature all three bands: 6th grade band, middle school band, and high school band.  There will also be performances by the choirs from both schools. Senior awards will be handed out at the concert, and there will be a Disney Carnival, including a Disney movie package raffle, in the cafeteria starting at 5 p.m. and running until the concert begins.  


This local news is provided by Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at


DNR offers boat prep guidelines

Sun, 05/10/2015 - 1:05pm

Before heading out fishing, boaters are reminded to inspect their boats and boating equipment and review regulations, which can be found in the 2015 Minnesota Boating Guide.

“With lakes and streams opening up across the state, boaters are anxious to get on the water and start enjoying the boating season. The best time to make sure boats, equipment, and safety items are in legal and proper working order is before your first launch of the season,” said Debbie Munson Badini, boat and water safety education coordinator with the Department of Natural Resources. “No one wants to break down, get a ticket or have a safety emergency after waiting all winter to get back on the water.”

In addition to making sure boats are equipped with all required safety items, it’s important to take extra precautions during the cold water season when more than 30 percent of Minnesota’s boating fatalities take place.

 While children younger than 10 years old must wear life jackets while aboard watercraft when under way (i.e., not tied to a dock or anchored for swimming), boat and water safety officials strongly recommend that all boaters wear life jackets any time they are on cold water, no matter their age.

“Wearing a life jacket is an imperative part of staying safe on the water during the spring months when the water is extremely cold,” Munson Badini said. “In the event of an unexpected fall or capsizing, having a life jacket on can make all the difference. Adult boaters resistant to wearing a typical life jacket are encouraged to try inflatable styles, designed to make preventive use more convenient and comfortable.”

Informational meetings on ARMER towers Tuesday, May 12

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 3:27pm

Cook County Information Technology (IT) Director Rena Rogers talked to the Cook County News-Herald about three proposed allied radio matrix emergency response (ARMER) towers that will be built near Sawbill Lake, Cascade River and Devil Fish Lake this fall. She told reporter Brian Larsen that the towers may offer more than just emergency radio communications.

 Rogers said, “For the first time people living near these areas will have a chance to hook up to power and receive fiber optics if they choose to.”

Two public meetings will be held to discuss the towers on May 12. The first will be at the Cook County courthouse from 4 to 5 p.m. in the commissioners’ room and the second will be held at the Hovland Town Hall at 6 p.m.

Rogers and Cook County commissioners whose constituents will be affected by the towers will attend the meetings as well as Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen to answer questions and concerns.


This local news is provided by Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at

Contractors encouraged to attend hospital construction information meeting

Sat, 05/09/2015 - 3:25pm

With the North Shore Hospital and Care Center getting set to undergo a $22.5 million renovation/expansion the hospital board is hoping local contractors attend the Tuesday, May 12 pre-bid meeting from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the North Shore Hospital and Care Center large conference room.

“If you don’t go to this meeting, you won’t be able to bid on projects,” said Hospital Administrator Kimber Wraalstad.

Last year the hospital board hired Boldt Construction to be the general contractor. Boldt recently completed a $28 million Cloquet Community Memorial Hospital project and are working on the $28 million expansion at Mercy Hospital in Moose Lake. They have also been selected to act as general manager for the Ashland Cancer Center.

At the hospital board’s April 23 meeting Boldt senior project manager Mike Ellingson said contractors with the skill level to complete projects in a timely and professional manner could probably work under Boldt’s insurance if need be.

But they must attend the pre-bid meeting to find out, said Ruth Drake, Boldt’s project manager who will be on site for the next two years overseeing the many phases it will take to complete work on the hospital and care center.

Board member Tom Spence asked if artisans, master wood workers or others who are highly skilled but like to work alone could find work on a project of this size and Drake said in all probability yes, there will be plenty of work to go around.

Administrator Wraalstad said prospective workers should call Ruth Drake, the project manager, if they have questions. Drake’s cell phone number is 218-393-6668 and her email is


This local news is provided by Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at

AARP Driver Safety training offered May 11

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 3:28pm

AARP volunteers are once again offering local drivers the opportunity to brush up on their skills and save money by participating in upcoming safety classes.

On May 11 from 5-9 p.m., Birch Grove Community Center will be offering AARP Driver Safety Refresher Training. 

Minnesota drivers aged 55+ receive a 10 percent auto insurance discount by taking part in one of these approved driver safety classes. Drivers maintain the discount by taking a four-hour refresher class every three years.

Call Pam at (218) 387-2035 or Bill at (218) 387-3167 to register or ask questions.


This local news is provided by Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at

EDA gives new business concept its endorsement

Fri, 05/08/2015 - 3:24pm

The Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) had an item of new business on its April 14, 2015 agenda introducing just that—a possible new business in the community.

EDA Board Member Hal Greenwood introduced George and Marilyn Carlson of the Grand Marais. Greenwood said George Carlson was one of the founders of the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department, had a distinguished career with Motorola and after moving to the Gunflint Trail, started his own company, the very successful Wildfire Protection Systems.

Carlson noted that many of the problems in Cook County—lack of living wage jobs, the affordable housing shortage, declining school enrollment and the exodus of young families—can be traced to the fact that Cook County has a mono-economy, based primarily on tourism. Carlson said the county—the EDA—needs to create economic diversity.

Carlson shared a copy of his business plan for Wildfire Solutions, a company that will design, manufacture and distribute ultraviolet flame detectors. Carlson said a detector such as he is manufacturing is not currently available directly to consumers. He passed around samples of the product’s components.

Carlson said in 2014, more than 1,900 primary structures were lost to wildfire. In 2012, the U.S. saw $595 million in insured losses due to wildfire. “With the growing threat of wildfires exacerbated by extreme drought in areas like California, there is an opportunity to market early detection flame sensors to protect lives and property,” he said.

Carlson has created his new company, has obtained the license to develop the flame sensors and has begun testing and production. The initial location is his home on the Gunflint Trail, but in 2016 he plans to relocate to larger facilities in Grand Marais.