Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

New position to be established at the county

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 12:26pm

Administrator Jeff Cadwell asked the county board on Tuesday, August 9 to approve a job description for Land Commissioner/Parks and Trails Director at the classification of C42-2. This position would also handle tax forfeit property, land transactions, parks and trails and aquatic invasive species.

The Land Commissioner would be under the direction of the Land Services Director, and would manage state tax forfeit land and its forest resources “for the economic, environmental, and social benefit of the county.”

As Parks and Trails Director, the individual would be responsible for implementing and monitoring the county comprehensive trail plan and for the maintenance of the county’s recreational properties, as well as coordination of the aquatic invasive species program and contracts.

In the meantime, Cadwell said one position would be eliminated from the Assessor’s office to make room for the new Land Services Director position. Cadwell said an extra person had been hired to help the office catch up with its backlog of projects, and those projects were now largely finished.


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

New assistant principal talks preschool funding

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 11:13am

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton announced on August 8th the 74 school districts and charter schools that will receive state funding for preschool this year. Among the schools on the list was ISD 166.

WTIP's Joe Friedrichs spoke with new ISD 166 Assistant Principal Bill Dewitt about state funding for the preschool program and his new role with the local school district. 


Warm weather continues for a couple of days, then rains return

Mon, 08/15/2016 - 10:38am

The sun returns for a couple of days, then more rain. The thunderstorms could be severe again, but stay tuned because the rain won’t show up until late Thursday or Friday and the bad stuff may miss the Arrowhead.  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Stewart.


WTIP Weekend News Roundup for August 13

Sat, 08/13/2016 - 10:17am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. Cook County schools will receive money for pre-Kindergarten classes. A DFL committee has quashed an anti-mining resolution. The UP’s Empire Mine is closing and the replica Viking ship conflict heats up…all this and more in the week’s news.



Cabin on Hungry Jack Lake rich with history of former mobster, bootlegger

Fri, 08/12/2016 - 12:09pm

A cabin on the shores of Hungry Jack Lake was once owned by a notorious Minnesota mobster and bootlegger.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs has this report on the Tommy Banks cabin up the Gunflint Trail. 


Rendezvous Days Powwow and National Park Service celebration this weekend

Thu, 08/11/2016 - 2:48pm

 Everyone is invited to Grand Portage National Monument to celebrate 100 years of our national parks, considered by many to be “America’s Best Idea.” Aug. 12 through 14 marks the commemoration of Rendezvous Days and Powwow at Grand Portage. Voyageur songs, Ojibwe drums, and Highland bagpipes mix as the Montreal canoe brigades, native peoples, fur traders, and North West Company partners gather for their annual rendezvous and traditional Ojibwe Powwow.

In recognition of the 100th year of the U.S. National Park Service, the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and Grand Portage National Monument will welcome the tall ship, Mist of Avalon. The ship will arrive in time to drop anchor in picturesque Grand Portage Bay for the 2016 “Centennial Edition” of rendezvous.

Mist of Avalon, named for the Celtic island of rebirth, is a fully rigged vessel in the tradition of late 19th century Grand Banks schooners: 100 feet long with a 20-foot beam, and carries 3,668 square feet of sail. She will set sail for the Tall Ship Festival in Duluth on Sunday, Aug. 14. 

Captain Don Szczech, of Grand Portage Isle Royale Transportation and his crew, Capt. Ben Silence and deckhand Paula Powell, will provide free rides aboard the Sea Hunter around the Grand Portage Bay to include an “up close” look at the Mist of Avalon on Saturday, Aug. 13. The water depth of the bay is too shallow to permit the Mist of Avalon’s mooring at the monument’s dock, so she will have to anchor out near Pete’s Island. Due to U.S. Coast Guard regulations for ships at anchor, passengers on the Sea Hunter will not be allowed to board the Mist of Avalon.

Local airport opens after runway remodel

Thu, 08/11/2016 - 1:26pm

After being closed for the entire summer, the Cook County/Grand Marais Airport reopened this week.

WTIP's Joe Friedrichs spoke with Airport Manager Rodney Roy about the recent, and several ongoing projects at the facility.  


Public hearing set for proposed sales-tax increase

Thu, 08/11/2016 - 11:41am

There will be a public hearing to discuss a proposed sales-tax increase in Cook County. The hearing will be at the Cook County Courthouse on Monday, August 15 at 6 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Room. A video broadcast of the public hearing will be live streamed and recorded. These can be watched either on the county’s website or on

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs reports on the proposed tax increase and the public hearing Monday night. 


Nice weekend weather for Rendezvous Days and Pow Wow

Thu, 08/11/2016 - 11:06am

Once the rain passes through, the weekend looks very comfortable – perfect for Rendezvous Days and the Pow Wow.  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Stewart.


County on board with EDA housing project

Wed, 08/10/2016 - 1:33pm

The Cook County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to financially support a proposed housing project of the local Economic Development Authority.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs reports on this story.  


Highway engineer gives update on 2016 road projects

Wed, 08/10/2016 - 8:18am

According to Cook County Highway Engineer Dave Betts, paving on the Sawbill Trail was completed on Friday, August 5th. Finishing work will continue over the next three weeks. Motorists are advised that traffic will be restricted where the work is occurring and should plan accordingly.

WTIP's Joe Friedrichs spoke Betts about the Sawbill project and other work being done this summer and fall by the highway department. 


Trivia Tuesdays at Grandma Ray's

Tue, 08/09/2016 - 4:00pm

Tuesday nights are trivia night at Grandma Ray's, formerly the American Legion in Grand Marais. WTIP's Will Moore features showrunners Brian Kizzek and Kristy Bramblett on how trivia got started and it's growing competiteve atmosphere, as well as experiences from some of the weekly players.


Community members invited to join Lioness Club

Tue, 08/09/2016 - 11:31am

This year brings some changes to the Grand Marais Lioness Club. Longtime member Nancy Waver has retired as the secretary after about 20 years in that role and Nancy Daley will be stepping into that job. Nancy Waver is staying on the board to advise and lead us as "historian" of the Lioness Club.  

Lioness President Laurie Spry said, “Looking at our history, we are all about education.  As a nonprofit, we raise money to give to our students and staff in all of the schools in Cook County to fill some voids when money is unavailable. We enjoy working with the Grand Marais Lions Club to accomplish other community action as well and are delighted to have their support.”

The Lioness Club meets the second Tuesday of the month at Bethlehem Lutheran Church for a wonderful lunch provided by Rebecca Thompson catering. "We have luncheon speakers from our community who keep us entertained and enlightened," said Spry.

“We are a nonprofit working to support and help our community and we’d love to have you join us,” said Spry.

 A recruitment gathering is planned for October. Please feel free to contact Laurie Spry at if you are interested in joining and learning more about what the Lioness Club does.


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


North Shore baker and chef finds perfect match with Finland Community Center

Mon, 08/08/2016 - 12:37pm

Tracy Jacobsen was the executive chef at Bluefin Bay Resort before he retired. He now bakes bread under his own company name, North Shore Breads. Jacobsen gives a portion of his profits to children’s hospitals as a means of giving back.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs produced this feature on Jacobsen and shares his story.

To learn more about the local opportunities available through the Small Business Development Center, click here and follow the tab marked ‘request consultation.’ 


Aquatic macro-invertebrate excursion is Saturday

Mon, 08/08/2016 - 10:52am

On Saturday the 13th you’ll be able to set up a net across the Kadunce River and net…water bugs. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Ilena Berg and Karen Kobey about looking for aquatic macro-invertebrates.