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The North Shore News Hour includes up-to-the minute weather, North Shore happenings in local news, sports and entertainment, as well as a variety of features from WTIP staff and volunteers. If you miss the North Shore News Hour at noon, tune in for a replay Monday through Thursday beginning at 5:00 p.m.

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Cook County Law Enforcement Center - Photo by Rhonda Silence

A Look at the March Law Enforcement Log

Throughout the month the Cook County Sheriff's Office provides a brief summary of incident reports logged by 911 dispatchers. Calls range from fraud reports and parking problems to car crashes and fires. WTIP Community Radio asked for more information on many of the calls. Here's a look at the March 2021 log.

March 1
7:56 a.m. A party reported a car hitting a tree on Pike Lake Road. The tree is in the road. The North Shore Ambulance was paged, but the driver refused medical treatment. Cook County Highway Department removed the tree from the road.
March 2
10:34 a.m. A caller expressed concern about a COVID-19 stay-at-home violation, as well as staff at a business that is not wearing or enforcing masks. The complaint was forwarded to Public Health & Human Services.
11:42 a.m. A woman in Grand Marais reported a call telling her that there was a warrant out for her. She hung up on the caller but wanted to report it.
1:33 p.m. There was a report of an unwanted party at an apartment building in Grand Marais. The party was located and was given a trespass letter. The party agreed to leave, but they did not know why they had a trespass order against them.
2:47 p.m. A car hit a deer on West Highway 61. The motorist said their car is drivable and they don’t need help. They just wanted to let the sheriff’s office know a deer was hit.
5:14 p.m. A motorist stuck in a snowbank called for assistance. The party is not injured and they are able to keep warm. A tow was arranged for the Subaru Outback.
10:28 p.m. A caller in Grand Marais asked for help getting an unwanted person to leave. While on the phone with law enforcement, the party left. Cook County advised the party to call back if the unwanted person comes back and if they feel unsafe.
March 3
11:55 a.m. A scheduled monthly test of the countywide paging test was conducted.
2:59 p.m. There was a report of an abandoned Nissan Sentra in the parking lot off Highway 61 and the Ski Hill Road. The sheriff’s office reviewed the call and others associated with the vehicle. The sheriff’s office will again contact the landowner to tell them the vehicle must be moved.
March 4
8:15 a.m. A deputy came across a vehicle in the ditch on the Sawbill Trail. No injuries and no damage to the car, but a tow is needed. The deputy provided lights while the car was pulled out by North Coast Towing.
11:10 a.m. There was a report of a black lab with an orange collar loose near the Lutsen Town Hall.
2:37 p.m. A Minnesota State Trooper working a detail in the Twin Cities called to follow-up on a threat that had been made to the governor from a Grand Marais resident.
2:59 p.m. An individual called asking if there was an indoor shooting range in the county. The sheriff’s office gave the person advice on gravel pits where people can target practice.
6:00 p.m. A U.S. Forest Service staffer called to report that he would be out on The Grade doing an owl survey tonight. The party should be back in town by 11 p.m. and will check in on return.
6:15 p.m. A motorist reported hitting a deer on Highway 61 near Birch Drive. A possession permit for the dead deer was issued to another party.
March 5
9:02 a.m. An automated smoke alarm went off at Surfside Resort and the Tofte and Schroeder Fire Departments were paged, along with Cook County Ambulance. Responders were on route when the call was canceled as a false alarm.
10:21 a.m. A motorist called to report an item in the middle of the road on West Highway 61. A deputy removed the item.
12:23 p.m. A party in a 2007 Dodge Ram reported hitting a deer on East Highway 61. The deer is on the fog line. A possession party was given to an interested person.
12:35 p.m. A caller reported a deceased dog on the side of the road in Hovland. It does not have a collar. The sheriff’s office checked missing dog reports and there were none. A party picked up the dog and will take it to the vet to see if it has a chip. If the owner can’t be found, the party will bury the dog.
4:47 p.m. A motorist on West Highway 61 reported hitting a deer. There is minimal damage to the vehicle. The driver wasn’t sure about the deer’s condition. The call was referred to Minnesota State Patrol.
6:28 p.m. A party from Wisconsin called to ask for assistance as they were stuck on 600 Road in Tofte. A tow truck was contacted, but it was determined a groomer would probably be needed to remove the 2010 Lexus. The parties called back at 7:53 p.m. to make sure they weren’t forgotten. They said they were getting cold. Cook County Towing reported that the parties were out at 10:42 p.m.
March 6
1:01 p.m. A deputy responded to a hazard on the Gunflint Trail, removing a board from the road by the water tower.
2:48 p.m. A motorist reported hitting a deer in a Subaru Outback. The car is drivable, but the motorist was not sure about the deer as they were unable to stop because there were cars behind them. They just wanted to report it.
2:55 p.m. A party called to report that they would be swimming in Lake Superior, starting in the east bay and around the point.
6:24 p.m. A party in Grand Marais called with concerns about someone coming uninvited to her apartment while work is being done there. The caller was given information on how to handle that situation if it happens.
6:26 p.m. An automatic fire alarm went off on Ski Hill Road. Lutsen Fire Department and Cook County Ambulance were paged. Caribou Highlands called back to say there was no fire, but they were having problems resetting the alarm.
March 7
12:34 a.m. A party called from Grand Marais to report an assault. The reporting party was able to leave the residence where it happened and was walking around town. The sheriff’s office took a statement and gave the party a ride home. A male party was arrested.
1:48 a.m. A party called to report a fire in the cabin they are staying at in Lutsen. The party said it appears to be an electrical fire. The caller said they have gotten all 10 people staying at the cabin outside. The Lutsen and Tofte Fire Departments and Cook County Ambulance were paged. Responders were on scene by 2:20 a.m. and observed visible flames. Lutsen Fire was able to extinguish the fire and were mopping up by 3:10 a.m. All responders were clear by 4:00 a.m.
2:31 p.m. A vehicle is broken down on Sag Lake Trail. There are three passengers and a dog and they are not dressed for the weather. A tow truck is on the way, but it will be a while. A party in Grand Marais was found to transport the family to the Best Western in town.
3:07 p.m. A motorist traveling with another vehicle on the Arrowhead Trail lost track of the other vehicle. The first vehicle was stuck for about an hour and when they finally were free, they were unable to find the other car, a Toyota Highlander. The reporting party wanted to make sure the other person was not also stuck somewhere in the area. A deputy went to the original destination of both cars and no one was there. The party was located stuck on Esther Lake Road. The party was okay and the vehicle was not damaged they just needed a tow. A tow was arranged and the vehicle was out on the Arrowhead Trail at 7:14 p.m
7:45 p.m. A driver called to report a dead deer in the middle of the road on East Highway 61. The caller is not the one who hit the deer. A deputy moved the deer off the roadway and informed dispatch that it was not a good fit for the car-killed possession list.
March 9
8:57 a.m. There was a collision on 5th Avenue in Grand Marais between two pickups. There was minor damage to vehicles.
11:54 a.m. A party on the Superior Hiking Trail off Jackson Lake Road stated that an aircraft flew over and was shooting near him. The party said they are fine but are not feeling safe. Cook County checked with the U.S. Border Patrol to see if they are conducting any exercises. The Border Patrol has no one in the area. There is a moose survey underway in that area. Cook County advised the moose surveyors that a hiker was concerned.
12:11 p.m. North Shore Health contacted the sheriff’s office that there is a vehicle in the parking lot that needs to be moved from the helicopter landing area.
6:30 p.m. A party called from East Highway 61 reporting an argument between two people that might turn physical. One party departed before a deputy arrived. All parties were interviewed and agreed there was nothing physical.
March 10
5:36 a.m. A call came in from Grand Portage saying that their neighbor’s car alarm had been going off and on all night. They were worried about their neighbor. The sheriff’s office contacted the car owner, who was just waking up for the day. He was unaware of the alarm and would go turn it off. Cook County let the reporting party know the neighbor was okay.
8:27 p.m. A party called from Grand Portage to report that the stop sign on Store Road was facing the wrong way. The county highway department was contacted. They will check it out, but it may be a Minnesota Department of Transportation sign.
12:34 p.m. A relative of a recently deceased person in Lutsen asked if they could enter the property to make sure everything in the house is okay. The party was advised to talk to the attorney overseeing the estate.
12:57 p.m. A party in Grand Marais reported a scam call saying there were problems with his social security number. He did not give any information but was concerned about using his phone. The sheriff’s office advised that it is okay to use his phone but to continue to not give any information out to such callers.
3:17 p.m. A caller from Grand Marais received a letter supposedly from the Department of Treasury in Texas informing them that they would be getting $600 in the next few days and to call a number if they don’t receive it. The party received a stimulus check in the mail. They were suspicious and will watch for future contact.
3:20 p.m. A party on the Caribou Trail called to report someone flying drones over his and his neighbor’s property. The caller said he talked to the people with the drone equipment and they said they were looking for a lost dog. The reporting party said it was rude that they didn’t talk to property owners. They would like a call back for questions about drones.
March 11
8:03 a.m. A homeowner in Grand Marais called to report big tire tracks from a truck on the sidewalk and into their yard. They wanted to let the sheriff’s office know in case there are reports of a drunk driver in the area. It was determined that the tracks were from the city’s snow equipment.
9:46 a.m. A party reported a scam call about a warrant to be served by the sheriff’s office. They didn’t give any information but wanted the sheriff’s office to be aware of the fraud call. The sheriff’s office advised the party to block the number if it continues.
10:33 a.m. A U.S. Forest Service staffer asked the sheriff’s office to contact the Tofte Ranger Station to let them know there is a tree down, blocking half of The Grade. Cook County shared that information.
10:43 a.m. A party called to report a scam call. When the party began questioning the scammer they hung up. The party did not lose anything and just wanted to report it.
3:35 p.m. A call for assistance came in from Sable Lake Road. The sheriff’s office determined that the caller was in Michigan and had googled Grand Marais.
March 12
12:58 a.m. Several 911 calls came in with crackly noises only, then the line disconnected. A deputy drove around the area and found no disturbance.
8:07 a.m. Dispatch recorded that the Drug Take Back container was emptied.
2:09 p.m. A party in Grand Marais reported receiving a call from a number that looked like the hospital, but it was a scam. She did not give any information but wanted to report the call.
2:28 p.m. There was a report of adult abuse. No further information is available at this time.
3:07 p.m. A party on County Road 7 in Grand Marais reported hitting a deer. There are no injuries, but the car has damage on the passenger side. The deer is off the road. The party wants a report for injuries.
3:31 p.m. A party in Grand Portage called to report that a family member had borrowed a car and they were having difficulty getting it returned. Cook County will be on the lookout for the car.
March 13
12:58 p.m. A party found a box of drug paraphernalia off of County Road 7 in Grand Marais and brought it in to the law enforcement center. Seventeen glass pipes were destroyed.
1:02 p.m. A caller said they were trying to reach Cook County Public Health and Human Services regarding an appointment they were supposed to go to in the Twin Cities. The information was shared with Public Health.
2:51 p.m. There was a report of two vehicles stuck in the snow on County Road 170 in Lake County. A Ford Focus and Mitshubishi were not together, but were both stuck in the same area. The call was transferred to Lake County.
3:00 p.m. A party in Schroeder called for help with an unwanted person who won’t leave. There was an argument about the ownership rights of a dog. The unwanted person alleged animal abuse. A deputy visited the residence and found a dog and cat that appeared to be healthy and happy. The unwanted visitor was advised not to return.
4:18 p.m. A caller contacted the sheriff’s office to see if there had been any traffic accidents between Grand Marais and Lutsen. The party was concerned because the person picking him up was overdue. Sheriff deputies looked for the vehicle until 4:40 p.m. when the caller said they had made contact with the party who had gotten lost on some back roads but is now safe.
5:49 p.m. A party called to report being stuck in a Nissan Murano on Cascade Lake Road, which was unplowed. The party is able to stay warm and can wait for a tow. Cook County Towing responded and will pull the vehicle out to a spot where they can drive out.
7:52 p.m. A call came in from the Grand Marais waterfront. The caller was standing by the Coast Guard Station and saw a red/orange flare over the lake. The Duluth Coast Guard was contacted and they are sending up a boat. The estimated arrival time is two hours. The Coast Guard will also be sending a helicopter from Traverse City. The search was restarted in the morning and no sign of boaters in distress was found. See related WTIP story here. Coast Guard called for search for possible boat in distress.  
7:53 p.m. A sheriff deputy stopped to check on a vehicle parked at the entrance to Cascade State Park, which is closed. The party is okay.
8:47 p.m. A caller reported airborne fireworks in the Superior National Forest, next to Hungry Jack Lodge. A deputy responded and did not see any fireworks.
March 14
10:56 a.m. A motorist on West Highway 61 called to report that a gas can fell off of a truck. The can and gas is in the road. The call was referred to the Minnesota State Patrol.
2:59 p.m. A party reported that a medium, black sheltie dog was wandering around on East Highway 61.
3:03 p.m. An individual in Grand Marais reported a possible case of child neglect.
3:45 p.m. There was a report of a missing reddish-gold puppy with a blue collar in Grand Marais. While on the phone, the owner saw the dog and was able to go after him.
9:53 p.m. A party reported that a truck had driven about one mile on a ski trail. The information was shared with the U.S. Forest Service.
March 15
6:36 a.m. There was a report of garbage in the northbound lane on East Highway 61. The bag was full of T-shirts and was dropped off at the Law Enforcement Center. The owner picked up the items.
March 16
5:43 a.m. The driver of a semi-tractor and trailer called the sheriff’s office to let them know he was broken down, headed south on the Gunflint Trail, near the golf course. He has someone coming to help and should not be there more than 45 minutes. He does not need help but wanted to let law enforcement know if anyone called it in.
6:22 a.m. Another party called to report the stalled semi. The sheriff’s office contacted the driver at 6:41 a.m. and the driver said the truck was no longer there.
9:34 a.m. The law enforcement center received a call from a party in Alaska who had been informed that some construction equipment was parked on his property in Grand Marais. The contractor was contacted and told law enforcement they had an easement. The sheriff’s office contacted the landowner and said it was legal for the equipment to be there.
10:51 a.m. There was a report of graffiti on the outdoor toilet at the Pincushion Trails area.
4:32 p.m. A party called the law enforcement from County Road 7 in Grand Marais to say they thought they may have seen the yellow lab that is on missing posters in the county. Cook County contacted the phone number on the poster to advise of the sighting.
4:41 p.m. A caller reported two dogs, a beagle and a pit bull-type dog, running loose across from the Northshore/Cascade building. Both dogs have collars. A deputy patrolled the area and was unable to find the dogs.
10:08 p.m. A party came into the lobby of the law enforcement center to turn themselves in because of a probation violation.
March 17
3:17 a.m. A phone call came in from a person in Grand Portage wanting to talk to someone about their mental health. The caller said they were not suicidal, just sad and needing someone to talk to. Grand Portage Human Services was contacted.
7:56 a.m. A party reported receiving two fraud calls, supposedly from social security.
8:11 a.m. A party called to report a fraud attempt by text. The text was supposedly from UPS.
10:41 a.m. There was a call reporting a missing black lab with a little white on his chest. The dog is missing from the RV storage area on West Highway 61. The dog was found.
1:34 p.m. The sheriff’s office received a call reporting possible drugs and paraphernalia in Grand Marais.
7:09 p.m. A caller reported a fire on a bunch of logs about halfway in on the Greenwood Road. The scene was checked and there is plenty of snow around the area. The fire should burn itself out.
7:57 p.m. A party in Grand Marais reported a dog running loose with a 20-foot lead. The dog is always with its owner and the party was concerned about him. A deputy found the dog and put it inside the owner’s camper. The owner arrived and said the dog has been running away from him.
March 18
9:14 a.m. A Duluth hospital called requesting a welfare check on a party in Grand Marais. They have not been able to get a hold of him for a few weeks. A family member was contacted and the party is okay. They are receiving medical treatment in the Cities.
9:52 a.m. A deputy was flagged down by a party who wanted to report that a juvenile with only a learner’s permit had been driving, with other juveniles in the car.
12:23 p.m. A party in Grand Portage reported a fraud call from an automated voice saying his package had been seized at the border and he needed to contact them. Cook County advised the party to block the phone number.
1:35 p.m. There was a call from Lutsen reporting a party threatening suicide. A deputy transported the party to North Shore Health.
3:20 p.m. A party calling himself “Officer Whitley” called asking for the county’s inmate roster because “his computer was down.” Cook County asked him a few questions and he hung up.
4:12 p.m. A caller from Schroeder said they had just arrived at their cabin and found a deer right next to the door. It is alive, but laying down and allows the reporting party to come right up to it and touch it. No conservation officers were available, so the State Patrol will respond. The deer is acting odd. It may have eaten some Styrofoam.
5:06 p.m. A party called from Grand Portage to report a misunderstanding at the store. The caller almost dropped something and swore. At the same time, another customer walked around the corner and thought the reporting party was talking to them. They swore back at the reporting party. The caller wanted to make sure law enforcement know that this wasn’t directed toward the other person.
5:25 p.m. An out-of-town party called to report receiving a social security fraud call. The caller ID came up as a local business.
5:27 p.m. The sheriff’s office gave a party a ride to their residence in Lutsen.
March 19
12:05 a.m. There was a report of a verbal fight between two people on West Highway 61. A second party called reporting that he was assaulted by his uncle. The parties were separated.
1:33 p.m. A party walked up to a deputy’s squad car saying his girlfriend had kicked him out. He needed a ride to Grand Portage. The transport began and the party changed his mind and went to another residence in Grand Marais.
March 20
8:12 a.m. A call came in from an individual saying that a “Trooper Yang” had called him, but didn’t give badge information.
11:12 a.m. There was a report of a brown, shaggy dog headed toward the Gunflint Trail. A deputy was unable to locate the dog.
12:26 p.m. Cook County received an anonymous tip that 20-pounds of meth was being brought into the Grand Marais area. The reporting party did not know who was bringing it or how it would be brought in. The call was recorded for the record.
2:46 p.m. A party in Grand Marais called with concerns about a green Subaru that has been parked in the sun with two dogs inside about two hours ago. A deputy checked. The windows were down about ¼ of the way. It was 47 degrees. The dogs jumped up and barked at the deputy and seemed healthy.
3:33 p.m. A local therapist asked for a welfare check for a potentially suicidal party that did not show up for an appointment. The party was located. They had overslept. They called the therapist.
5:15 p.m. A report of adult abuse was investigated.
7:13 p.m. A party called the sheriff’s office to report a text from a friend who said they were stuck on the Honeymoon Trail near the Poplar River campsites. The party needs to be pulled out. Cook County Towing headed to do the tow, but the party called back at 8:02 p.m., saying after shoveling they were able to get out. The tow was canceled.
8:08 p.m. Three women that skied to Seagull from Ely contacted the sheriff’s office to say they have been unable to locate their ride. A deputy drove up to give them a ride to town and the sheriff’s office attempted to locate the driver. The driver was reached and was able to connect with the women.
10:17 p.m. A party came into the law enforcement center to report an open flame on a tree trunk in the area where the U.S. Forest Service had some burn piles. The driver stopped and threw some snow on it, but couldn’t do anything more without tools. The Forest Service was contacted and they said they were not concerned, they expected the fire to smolder and still burn in the area. There is plenty of snow around it. They said it might continue to smoke and smolder through the weekend.
March 20
10:32 a.m. There was a report of stolen license plates. The plates are firefighter plates.
3:21 p.m. A party in Colvill called to say he has a pile he wants to burn. The caller was advised that the DNR had just restricted burning permits because of forecasted low humidity and winds. The caller said thanks and said they wouldn’t burn after all.
7:08 p.m. A caller from Hovland asked if there were any burns going on in the County Road 14 or Maple Hill area. They think they see smoke to the west. A deputy patrolled the area and did not see a fire.
10:59 p.m. A party called to report someone driving while intoxicated. The sheriff’s office was able to locate the vehicle described parked at a residence with no one around. Because it was a third-hand report, there was nothing more that could be done.
March 21
2:40 a.m. A 911 call came in from somewhere on the Temperance River area. A deputy patrolled the campground. Five campsites were occupied, all lights off. The 911 caller picked up the phone and the Cook County dispatcher advised him to hang up and speak to the deputy. The party had accidentally dialed 911.
10:33 a.m. A party in a black Silverado came into the Tofte Holiday without a mask. The reporting party does not work there but suggested a mask and the man started swearing at the reporting party. He said it’s not a law and he was vaccinated and didn’t need to wear one. As the reporting party called the sheriff’s office, the man left going southbound, flipping off the caller as he drove off.
1:12 p.m. An emergency page went out just after 1 p.m. for a structure fire at 1361 County Road 14. Fire departments from Colvill, Hovland, and Maple Hill were paged, along with the North Shore Health ambulance. The shed and its contents were completely destroyed. The fire burned the door of the nearby wood boiler and scorched part of a gutter on the house. See WTIP report here: Fire crews on scene at garage fire.   
1:46 p.m. A motorist reported a golden retriever-type dog running east down County Road 7. Deputies were unable to locate the dog.
2:02 p.m. A call came in from a party calling with concerns about his sister on Ryan’s Bay Road. Cook County dispatch asked if the party was trying to reach law information in Cook County, Illinois. The party said yes. Dispatch gave the caller the number for the Cook County, Illinois Sheriff’s Office.
5:59 p.m. A party on Fall River Road in Grand Marais reported seeing an older brown or gray Suburban going around a corner at 50 mph or so. A deputy drove to the west end of County Road 7 and was unable to locate the vehicle.
5:51 p.m. Two parties that got lost while hiking called for help. They made it out to County Road 54. While talking to Cook County Dispatch, someone came by in a vehicle. That person will give them a ride to their car. The caller said they were okay now, but added thanks.
March 23
9:47 a.m. There was a report of a hit and run on West Highway 61.
11:16 a.m. A party on West Highway 61 said they received a call from someone saying they were with the government and the party owed $1,000. The party gave some information out before realizing it was a scam. They contacted their bank and requested new credit and debit cards. They just wanted to have a record of the incident.
March 24
1:25 a.m. A caller reported receiving a message from a family member with a flat tire on the Gunflint Trail. They cannot get the spare off of the car to change it. North Coast Towing was contacted and they assisted.
2:00 a.m. A party in Grand Marais called to report that an ex broke into their home while they were in Duluth. Clothing, food and ammunition were taken.
11:41 a.m. There was a report of a fraud call in Grand Marais. The party just wanted it on record.
10:18 p.m. A party in Grand Marais called for help as they were having psychological problems. The party was transported to North Shore Health.
March 25
2:01 a.m. A caller in Grand Marais asked for help getting an intoxicated party to leave. They were not in danger but just wanted the person to leave because it is 2 a.m. and they are being loud. The party agreed to leave voluntarily.
9:47 a.m. A party on West Highway 61 reported receiving a call from someone trying to sell medical equipment. The caller ID said it was the county attorney’s office. The reporting party did not give any information but wanted it on record.
11:28 a.m. A caller on East Highway 61 reported seeing a fox with mange. The call was reported to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
3:52 p.m. The sheriff’s office received a request to try to locate a party that hadn’t been heard from for several days. The party is dealing with depression and didn’t come home as expected. The party last used their debit card at the Grand Portage Trading Post. Local law enforcement searched for the car. They were unable to locate the party but will be on the lookout. The reporting party said the missing person was found in Wisconsin at 12:22 p.m. on March 26.
6:16 p.m. A party from Social Security called to report a possibly suicidal person. The party had lost their social security benefits. It was determined that the distressed party was in Cook, MN. The number for St. Louis County was provided.
March 26
9:43 a.m. The sheriff’s office was asked to assist the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources with information on a possible felon in possession of firearms.
11:55 a.m. A motorist on West Highway 61 called to report a dead wolf in the middle of the road. The animal could not be found.
12:32 p.m. A welfare check was requested for a party in Lutsen who has not been seen by anyone for an unknown length of time, perhaps a week. The party was okay but was having phone problems.
1:04 p.m. A party called with questions on eviction laws. They were living in employee housing but had quit and were told they had to leave. The party was given information on eviction and advised to seek legal counsel for further information.
2:13 p.m. A business person reported that a lime-colored car had damaged gas pumps at their business. A vehicle matching that description was located with possible damage to the driver’s side rear bumper. The driver was informed that they should go back to the business to work it out.
3:59 p.m. A party asked to speak to a deputy about a fraud call that instructed them to put money into a Bitcoin account, which they did. The sheriff’s office advised the party to contact Bitcoin customer service to cancel the transaction if possible. The sheriff’s office will follow up with the party.
5:10 p.m. An individual at the Anti-Racism Rally in Grand Marais reported a white pick-up truck driving past the Rally, revving the engine and blowing smoke on rally participants. A deputy drove around Grand Marais and saw multiple white trucks. None were committing traffic offenses. A photo was later emailed to the sheriff’s office.
March 27
6:53 a.m. A party in Grand Marais reported a lost dog running loose. They know the owner and put the dog in their car, but they don’t know where to find the owner. The party brought the dog to the law enforcement center. A deputy returned the dog to the owner.
10:54 a.m. A caller from Canada reporting an abandoned child in the Tofte area. They also claimed to have information on the missing dog. The caller said they are using a crystal and dousing to divine this information. A deputy checked the area described and the road was unplowed.
3:10 p.m. A motorist got a ride from Lima Mountain Road to report that their Jeep Grand Cherokee was stuck in deep snow. Another occupant and their dog were still in the car. A tow was requested and the Jeep and the other parties were brought out. The motorist told law enforcement that they had left notes asking for help on four trucks near the Ram Lake Trailhead asking for help, in case those parties contacted the sheriff’s office.  
March 28
9:38 a.m. A caller reported trees hanging low and about to fall on County Road 14. The Cook County Highway Department was informed.
10:13 a.m. A driver reported a dead eagle on the side of the road on East Highway 61. The call was referred to the Minnesota State Patrol.
3:08 p.m. A property owner called to report that their neighbor is burning garbage. They have tried talking to the neighbor to get them to stop. The sheriff’s office responded and found the smell of burning plastic in the area. The party was advised not to burn prohibited materials.
5:08 p.m. There was a report of smoke coming from Isak Hansen Hardware. Lutsen and Tofte Fire Departments responded and extinguished the blaze. See the full WTIP report here: Fire damages light fixture and siding at Isak Hansen's Hardware
6:34 p.m. A call came in from the Arrowhead Trail reporting two sled dog/husky type dogs running loose in the area of the beaver dam road. Cook County contacted Conservation Officer Mary Manning and Points North Kennel to see if they have any idea whose dogs they are. They both suggested the same name. CO Manning will keep an eye out for the dogs.
7:31 p.m. A party reported an assault. The suspect called law enforcement to talk about the incident.
9:42 p.m. A call came in to report a missing 11-month-old Alaskan husky male named Bear. Bear is dark brown and black and wearing a purple collar. He is shy but could possibly be lured by food. A picture was posted on Cook County Missing Pets and the Sheriff’s Office Facebook pages. The party called back at 10:39 p.m., Bear is back home safe.
March 30
7:50 a.m. A call came in from Superior National at Lutsen reporting an equipment trailer parked in the golf course main parking area. The caller is unsure whose it is and why it is there. The caller just wanted it on record as suspicious.
9:35 a.m. A party called from Grand Portage wanting to talk to a deputy about someone they said is a “crazy person.” The party said he had received a call at 3 a.m. and the person wanted to come over. The caller said the person hit and scratched them and took money and a debit card.
12:09 p.m. There was a report of possible adult abuse. A party borrowed an individual’s debit card to buy one pack of cigarettes and they put $60 on it.
2:10 p.m. The sheriff’s office provided driver information to the U.S. Forest Service.
2:22 p.m. A motorist called to report a tree down about 3/4-mile south of Gunflint Lake.
4:32 p.m. A party in Grand Marais called to report a “door ding” on the back door, driver side of their Jeep Cherokee.
4:35 p.m. There was a report of a tree down on the Sawbill Trail, about 3 ½-miles from the intersection, blocking both lanes of traffic. Cook County Highway Department was notified and will send someone to clear it.
March 31
4:15 p.m. There was a report of a suicide attempt. The sheriff’s office responded and confirmed there was an unwitnessed death at a residence on West Highway 61. The deceased was transported to the state medical examiner.
6:15 p.m. A party called from Pincushion Mountain trails to report that they were walking with their six-month-old puppy when it was attacked by a black pit bull. The owner of the pit bull was unable to control their dog. The puppy has wounds on its right front leg.
7:10 p.m. A caller in Grand Marais reported being thrown on the ground by a significant other. The caller stated they did hit the other person. A female party was arrested.
8:42 p.m. A parent requested a welfare check for a child staying overnight with the reporting party’s ex, who is the other parent. A deputy contacted the other parent and things seemed fine.

If you would like to contact the Cook County Sheriff's Office, call 218-387-3030. In an emergency, dial 911.


Cedar Grove Business Park - File photo, Rhonda Silence

EDA grants business development funds, names new golf course superintendent and more

The Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority had a very busy April meeting. WTIP's Rhonda Silence spoke with EDA Executive Director Mary Somnis right after the meeting about business development, housing projects, the new golf course superintendent, and more.

Bluefin Bay planning workforce housing project
The EDA meeting started off with a presentation by Bluefin Bay Resorts co-owner Joe Swanson, along with semi-retired former owner Dennis Rysdahl. The duo shared information on a proposed housing project on two lots owned by the company to the east of the AmericInn. The lots were previously zoned as a planned unit development, but Bluefin would like to expand the number of housing units and add commercial space to the project. They shared a drawing of the proposed two-story building which would include two one-bedroom apartments; eight two-bedroom apartments; and two three-bedroom apartments. The proposed building would also include seven commercial rental spaces of 1,350-square feet.

The Bluefin representatives said they are still seeking approximately $153,000 in funding to complete the project. The presentation was information only at this time.

Two applications for assistance from the EDA Business Development Fund approved
The EDA heard from two businesses seeking funding from the EDA's Business and Housing Development Fund. Sam Hedstrom and Kate Keeble, two of the four co-owners of The Fisherman’s Daughter, were at the meeting  to answer questions about their application for $15,000 for cooler upgrades for the fish market/deli/restaurant, to create an easier way to serve customers in a "grab and go" format. The EDA board unanimously approved that request.

The Grand Portage Trading Post, represented by Grand Portage Enterprises Director Brian Sherburne, also requested business development funds for a new produce cooler. Sherburne said the cooler not only serves visitors in the area but community members. The EDA board approved the request for $2,499 unanimously.

The EDA was asked to support a possible housing project, not with money, but with a grant application to the Iron Range Resources. Sarafin Metis plans to demolish an old house trailer on a property she owns to construct two one-bedroom houses which could serve as affordable housing. She asked the EDA to support an application to the Iron Range Resources for demolition. The EDA Board also approved that request.

Another request for assistance from the Iron Range Resouces came from the Cook County Historical Society. The historical society is seeking financial assistance to create and implement a stormwater management plan on the Cedar Grove Business Park lot it has purchased. The lot will be used to construct an archival building. The EDA gave its full support to the application.

Cedar Grove Business Park activities
A potential lot sale in Cedar Grove Business Park was discussed. Director Somnis said the EDA had received a request from local boat builder Josh Tolken. Tolken is doing an internship at North House Folk School. His internship at the folk school is ending soon and he hopes to stay here in Cook County to open a boat building shop. He is interested in the Cedar Grove lot directly above Nordic Electric.

EDA Director Somnis explained that Tolken will only purchase the lot if the legislation to change its designation is passed. The EDA is working with local legislators to allow the owners of commercial/industrial business parks to offer lots with fewer restrictions if lots remain unsold over a decade. The EDA would like to offer more owner-occupied lots, to allow a business owner to combine housing and the business on one lot.

The EDA board came up with a counter to Tolken's offer of $25,000 for the lot and agreed to make the sale contingent on the legislature changing the language on allowed uses in the business park.

There was discussion about attempts to sell business park lots in the past, with EDA Board Member and Realtor Virginia Palmer asking why there were not consistent, set lot prices. She noted that real estate prices have gone up significantly in the past year. She asked her colleagues to consider whether the EDA should raise lot prices.

There was also discussion of whether or not an animal shelter should be constructed in the business park. Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen contacted the EDA to ask if the city could purchase the lot above Como Oil & Propane for $1 as had been requested about a year ago.

At that time, the city was considering using the lot for a solar array and it seemed that a small animal shelter could be located there as well. The animal shelter has to be moved from the small pound building near the lakeshore in the Grand Marais Recreation Park because improvements are being made to the boat launch there.

EDA Board Member Bev Green also serves on the Arrowhead Animal Rescue board, which is working with Sheriff Eliasen on this. She said Arrowhead Animal Rescue is putting up a third of the money to build a new shelter. For now, stray animals are being kept in kennels at the garage at the law enforcement center.

Green said it is the sheriff’s responsibility to find a location for the pound as he is the county animal control officer. But she said the shelter does not need that large lot. Green said the sheriff probably asked for the larger lot because that was what was discussed previously.

After some discussion, the EDA asked Director Somnis to contact the sheriff about using a different, smaller lot. EDA's Howard Hedstrom suggested that the animal shelter be built on county land, near the highway department complex.

The matter was tabled until the next EDA so Director Somnis can get more information from the sheriff.

Taconite Relief Area Loans distributed
In other business, Small Business Development Center Consultant Pat Campanaro gave a report on the distribution of the Taconite Area Business Relief Loan Program. The EDA was granted $215,000 from the Iron Range Resources Board for business relief. Campanaro told the EDA that 34 applications had been received for over $425,000. The EDA committee reviewing the applications had a difficult time selecting businesses to receive the loan. The committee focused on businesses that had not received other forms of COVID-19 financial assistance. None of the businesses received the full amounts requested.
The committee chose the following 18 businesses to receive loans if they meet the criteria.
Cascade Vacation Rentals
Lutsen Mountainside Lodge
Sivertson’s Gallery
Fika Coffee
North House Folk School
Lutsen Reflections
Hedstrom Lumber
JNS Custom Jewelers
The Fisherman’s Daughter
Voyageur Canoe Outfitters
GunFlint Mercantile
Joy Enterprises
Well Spring Therapy
Grand Marais Art Colony
Mueller Studio
Basecamp Bungalows
Voyageur Brewing Company
Coldwater Foundation

EDA working on hiring next EDA director
After her announcement that she would like to retire a year ago, progress is being made on finding someone to take on the EDA director position so Mary Somnis can step down. Small Business Development Center Consultant Pat Campanaro is working with the EDA personnel committee on this succession planning.
She said the committee is working on the employment ad and the explanation of what the EDA wants of its director. The EDA will make the job announcement available soon. Campanaro said the committee is working hard to "replace Mary, who is irreplaceable."

The next EDA meeting will be May 11 at 4 p.m.

After the meeting, WTIP's Rhonda Silence spoke with EDA Director Mary Somnis to learn more about all of this.


County Commissioner Stacy Hawkins asks Highway Department Mechanic Steve Butz some questions. 04-08-21 Photo by Rhonda Silence

Commissioners take a day-long tour of county-owned buildings

The Cook County Commissioners got a behind-the-scenes look at a number of county-owned buildings on Thursday, May 8. County commissioners, staff, and a few members of the public took part in the tour that included the courthouse, the county highway department complex, the Cook County YMCA, the community center, and the law enforcement center. 
WTIP's Rhonda Silence joined the county representatives for part of the tour, taking a look at the highway department buildings and the Cook County YMCA. 
At the highway department, there was quite a bit of discussion about the heaters and ventilation in the garage space. There is an ongoing problem of exhaust fumes leaking into the office space. Highway Department Maintenance Supervisor Josh Dix noted though, that the problem is not just keeping fumes out of offices. Ventilation is not sufficient for the mechanics in the garage itself. 
Dix also noted that the garage really didn't give the mechanics room to work.
The group got a tour through the highway department office area, which included the combination meeting room/lunchroom. Engineer Robby Hass said the meeting room seems a bit more spacious than it used to be. County Commissioner Ginny Storlie, who had been on previous tours of the site, said it looks great. 
However, the solution to making more room in the meeting room meant moving files to shelves in the men's restroom. The lack of storage issue was echoed by Highway Department Accountant Lisa Sorlie, who pointed out that work gloves and some other equipment are stored in the women's restroom. 
The need for more storage continued as the tour moved to the cold storage building, used to store signs, traffic control equipment, and seasonal road equipment. Hass said he wasn't certain of the history of the building, but it was moved to the highway department from the Cook County Airport many years ago. The building has a dirt floor, which has led to the rotting timbers along the wall. The ceiling is speckled with holes, letting in light, as well as rain and snow. The cold storage building was filled wall-to-wall with seasonally-stored equipment, something that is quite inconvenient if the piece of equipment is lodged between two other vehicles. 
After the aging cold storage building, Hass led the group to another building, dubbed the "Bee Building." Not, he explained because the highway department complex has A, B, and C buildings, but because every spring bees must be removed from the building before it can be used for storage. That building too was moved to the highway department site from somewhere else. 
Hass said ideally, that building would be removed and that space used for a covered sand/salt building.
The tour of the highway department also included a look at the old construction trailer used by planners for testing gravel next to the Goble building, the highway department's newest building, which has some relatively minor concerns. 
The tour ended at the northern portion of the property where Hass said a new, larger cold storage structure could be constructed. The location would allow for a structure that would make moving vehicles in and out much easier. It would also better protect equipment from the elements. 
After the tour of the highway department, the group reconvened at the Cook County Community YMCA. YMCA Executive Director Emily Marshall joined the group as County Maintenance Director Brian Silence did a walk-through pointing out building defects that the county had spent time and money correcting. 
An example was the inadequate drains for the locker rooms, which led to water damage and mold in the locker rooms. County commissioners and members of the public saw the workout equipment room, which was once flooded due to improper grading on the backside of the building during remodeling. They visited the noisy pool equipment room and then the pool area itself, where Maintenance Director Silence talked about the shortcuts taken during construction that led to a nearly collapsed roof over the hot tub. 
Silence said for the most part, things like that at the YMCA building have been corrected, although access to the roof is still problematic. Silence explained that maintenance staff must go onto the roof to check and change pool filters and to reset the pool ventilation system whenever there is a power outage, no matter how small. A narrow ladder leads to a trap door on the roof, which becomes snow and ice-covered in the winter. Silence is hoping to find a better way to access the roof. 
Commissioner Dave Mills asked if things were better with the time and money that the county had invested in the YMCA building. Silence said it is definitely better. He said before the many repairs--replacing ductwork and parts of the ceiling in the pool and hot tub area; chiseling in larger drains in the locker rooms; cleaning and repainting with mold-resistant paint--county maintenance staff spent more time on the YMCA than all of the other county buildings combined. 
Now though, Maintenance Director Silence said overall he was pleased with the current building operations. 
Before leaving the group to the rest of the tour, WTIP's Rhonda Silence checked in with County Administrator James Joerke. She asked if anyone in the group had given feedback on any "red flag" areas that need immediate attention. Administrator Joerke said not yet. He said there would definitely be some sort of debriefing to talk about the areas of concern. He noted that there was a priority list of potential projects in the county's capital improvement plan a few years ago, but it needed a fresh look. He said, "I know we will have a lot of conversations about these buildings."
Joerke added that the county is very lucky to have the maintenance staff it does. He said they are taking very good care of the buildings, noting that most of the buildings are old and take a lot of work. Joerke said he hopes to develop a capital improvement plan that  is proactive, rather than reactive. 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence shares this report from the tour. Click on the photo to see some of the areas discussed.


Sheriff squad car in the City of Grand Marais - Photo by Rhonda Silence

Cook County Sheriff shares thoughts on use of tasers, traffic stops

On Sunday, April 12, a 20-year-old Black man was killed in Brooklyn Center in what that city's police chief describes as an "accidental discharge" of a firearm.

Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said he believes the officer intended to use a Taser, but instead fired one bullet at the man being arrested, Daunte Wright.

The Twin Cities and cities around the United States are facing clashes between police and protestors over this latest death. 

There are many questions about the incident, such as how can a law enforcement officer mistakenly shoot a firearm instead of a Taser? And was this an appropriate traffic stop? 
WTIP turned to Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen to learn more about procedures for Tasers and traffic stops here in Cook County. Here's Rhonda Silence with more. 

The fire near Tettegouche State Park on April 3, 2021 -  Photo by Peter Soregi

Following up on the April 3 fire near Tettegouche State Park

The wildfire that ignited in six locations along Highway 61 in the Tettegouche State Park area on Saturday, April 3, was successfully knocked down by a major response by local fire departments and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 
The fire scene was visited the next day by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources fire investigation team. The team includes Conservation Officers and foresters. DNR Forester Aaron Mielke is on that team. 
WTIP talked to Mielke about the fire, the response, and about the possible cause. 

Anyone with information on a vehicle that may have been involved in this incident is encouraged to call the Lake County Sheriff's Office at (218) 834-8385 or the Grand Marais Forestry Office at 218-387-6031. 


School District 166 has reminders of COVID-19 cautions throughout the school. Photo by Rhonda Silence

ISD166 reports second case of COVID-19 in student body

Cook County School District 166 has announced its second confirmed case of COVID-19 which has affected our student body. This case is not related to the first case announced on April 8. The school district is in close communication with public health professionals and has, or will be, connecting with those affected by this new case of COVID-19 in the school. 

WTIP contacted Principal and Acting Superintendent Megan Myers for information. Myers tells WTIP that this COVID-19 exposure affects seven students and one adult in the elementary school. The students will be able to continue classes via distance learning. Myers said the protocols in place are very restrictive and should prevent the transmission of the coronavirus, but protocols still require a quarantine period. 

In her written announcement, Principal and Acting Superintendent  Myers said, "We are following our procedures and protocols to ensure that a minimum number of people in our school community is affected.
"As we work through this incident, please know that we will continue to work hard to continue to follow the COVID plans that include the implementation of the CDC and MDH guidelines. 
"As a community we should be proud of our public health officials and their diligence when working through these cases with the parties involved. We, as a school, will be working with the public health team to continue to diligently evaluate and re-evaluate our procedures and protocols. Our focus is to ensure the safety of all staff, students, and the community.
"As a community please know that we need the support of all families and community members to follow the recommendations to reduce the Spread of COVID-19," wrote Myers.
Principal Myers added, "Please remember to have unconditional positive regard for those whom have been tested and contact traced. This is unintentional and we must support one another in these tough situations."

Hurdles are waiting for Northland Track and Field athletes - Photo courtesy of Alyssa Ledesma via Unsplash

Track and Field to start competition this week if weather allows

School District 166 has had a great turnout for the 2021 Track and Field season. There are 35 athletes on the combined team of 7th graders through seniors, boys and girls.  
The team started practicing on March 29. The first Track meet will be April 13 in Two Harbors, starting at 4 p.m. (weather permitting!)
Click here for a schedule (the schedule header is boys' varsity, but the Cook County team is boys and girls combined, as well as all ages). 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence checked in with Coach April Wahlstrom to find out how the season is shaping up. 


Photo by Savannah Rohleder, courtesy of Unsplas

Vikings baseball ready for season--if rain stops

The Cook County Vikings baseball team has been practicing for a few weeks now. The field at the high school is in good shape and the Vikings are ready for their first game on Monday, April 12 starting at 4 p.m. at home versus Two Harbors. 
They follow that the next day, April 13 with an away game at McGregor High School. 
Of course, the weather has something to do with whether or not the games are played. WTIP will provide updates on cancellations as soon as possible. 
The team started practicing in March with conditioning and started batting practice on March 29. There are 28 players in grades 7-12th ready to go. Baseball Coach Arleigh Jorgenson said the younger players have been eagerly waiting for their chance to be leaders, following last year's team of mostly seniors. Coach Jorgenson talked to WTIP a little bit about the lineup for players, but it is quite fluid at this time. 

There are three coaches for the Vikings, Jorgenson, Andy Fedema, and George  Gomez. 

With baseball being a "non-contact" sport, the team will be able fairly easily follow COVID-19 precautions. Some players will not be in the dug-out during the game. Huddles will be in small groups and will take place. 
The public is invited to attend games at the Arleigh Jorgenson Field at Cook County High School, but Coach Jorgenson does remind the public that they need to avoid interaction with the players. 
Click to connect to the online baseball schedule

WTIP's Rhonda Silence talked to Baseball Coach Arleigh Jorgenson on April 6 to get a little preview of the season. 


Photo by Matthew McBrayer on

Fishing opener is not on Mother's Day, but Take-a-Mom fishing event is

The opening of spring fishing is an unofficial Minnesota holiday, dubbed "The Opener." The season typically falls on the same weekend as Mother's Day. However, this year that is not the case. 
Minnesota's fishing opener for walleye, bass, trout in lakes and northern pike is May 15. Minnesota statute sets the fishing opener as the Saturday two weeks prior to the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. This year, with Memorial Day the latest it can be, on May 31, that puts the fishing opener on Saturday, May 15.
There is a special event each year on Mother's Day weekend, the "Take a Mom Fishing Weekend." This is something that does fall on Mother's Day, under Minnesota statutes. So this year, "Take a Mom Fishing" falls on the weekend before the opener, on Saturday and Sunday, May 8-9. 
So although moms can't fish for walleye or lake trout in lakes, they can stream fish or seek fish that are available now, such as crappie or perch. 
WTIP spoke with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Program Consultant Jon Hansen, who pointed out that there is an error in the printed version of the Minnesota Fishing Regulations book regarding the dates for the 2021 Take a Mom Fishing Weekend. Hansen stressed that the correct dates for the 2021 Take a Mom Fishing Weekend—when Minnesota-resident moms can fish without purchasing a license—are Saturday, May 8, to Sunday, May 9. 
Fishing season dates, and the corrected Minnesota Fishing Regulations handbook, are available online. Anyone with questions may also call the Grand Marais fisheries office at 218-387-6021. 

Dan Shirley, co-owner of Sawbill Outfitters and chair of the ISD 166 school board. Submitted photo

Write-in candidate Dan Shirley declines treasurer position

When Tofte township elections were held in March 2021, incumbent Treasurer Dan Shirley let it be known that he was not running for that office. As co-owner of Sawbill Outfitters in Tofte and School Board chair at School District 166, Shirley has enough to keep him busy. 
Despite not running for the office, Shirley won the write-in vote. He has since informed the board that he does not want to accept the position. He will, however, serve until the May township meeting. 
Anyone who would like to talk to Shirley about the position may reach him at Sawbill Outfitters at 663-7150.
Information is also available from Tofte township Clerk Kay Burkett at 218-401-0229.
WTIP's Rhonda Silence checks in with Dan Shirley to see what's ahead for him--and for the Tofte township.