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School District 166 votes to increase school levy 5.06 percent

Mon, 12/29/2014 - 11:30am

The School District 166 school board voted to increase the school levy by 5.06 percent—the legal limit it can levy—at its December 18 meeting, pushing the taxpayer total from $1,063,000 last year to $1,117,687 in 2015.

Before the board voted they held the district’s annual Truth and Taxation meeting. Only one person from the public attended and had no comment.

Outgoing School Board Member Ann Sullivan advocated a levy hike.  She compared what she paid as a Hennepin County homeowner to a Cook County homeowner living in similarly valued house.

In Hennepin County Sullivan said her house was valued at $285,700 and she paid $826.14 in yearly school taxes. Today her home in Cook County is valued at $290,500 and she pays $237.09 in the school district approved levy. Counting the voter approved excess levy referendum levy ($59.67 per year for Sullivan) she pays $296.76 in total taxes to the school district.

Superintendent Beth Schwarz said the proposed levy increase was less than three other similar sized districts and higher than one district about Cook County’s size.

Board Chairman Jeanne Anderson said she felt comfortable with increasing the levy, noting it was going to the children. The other board members Sissy Lunde, Deb White and Sullivan echoed her comments and voted for the increase.

Superintendent Schwarz presented a 2014 expenditure analysis that explained why the district was down to $30,000 in its fund balance.

Typically school districts work to have 35 days of operating expenses in fund balance. In June of 2013 the district had 35 days of operating expenses ($1,340,000). It costs about $29,600 per day to operate the school, so the district has a little of over one day of cushion.

County commissioners go to online board packets

Sun, 12/28/2014 - 3:13pm

Each county commissioner will be receiving a Microsoft Surface Tablet which will allow him or her to get all meeting materials online, rather than having paper packets mailed out to them. The tablets will also be given to the county auditor and county attorney.

Tablets will allow commissioners to work remotely and will eventually allow them to view visual presentations at board meetings while the public views them on a large monitor. Total cost of the tablets and software is $8,685.40.


This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald ~

Weekend News Roundup for December 27

Sat, 12/27/2014 - 10:04am

Each week the WTIP news department puts together a roundup of the weeks top    news stories. Lutsen Mountains will expand its operation, wolves are back on the endangered list, two men drown in Lake Superior …all this and more in the week’s news.


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Legion Auxiliary brightens holidays with donations

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 3:06pm

The American Legion Post 413 Auxiliary is delivering its annual donations this month. At the December meeting the Auxiliary decided that it should contribute to the local chapter of the Salvation Army, the Cook County Senior Center, the North Shore Care Center, the Cook County Food Shelf, the Silver Bay Veterans Home, and Northland Honor Flights.

Auxiliary President Janet Breithaupt said auxiliary members have donated to these organizations in the past. “The members feel they do the most good or have the most impact on veterans,” said Breithaupt.

This year each of the groups received $500 from the Legion Auxiliary.

The money is raised by Legion Auxiliary members through a bake sale, the Fisherman’s Picnic bingo tent and food tent sales.

Anyone who would like information on becoming a member of American Legion Post 413 Auxiliary is encouraged to call stop by the Legion lounge or contact Auxiliary President Janet Breithaupt at


This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald ~


Work progresses on Tofte senior housing project

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 12:12pm

Meeting weekly, Tofte supervisors have been spending a great deal of time getting all of the pieces ready to build 12 senior housing units on 29 acres of township property that also houses the Birch Grove Community Center.

Construction has already begun. Charles Lamb of Lamb Construction has blasted rock to allow McKeever Well Drilling to drill a well, said Tofte Supervisor Paul James.

The well is 350 foot deep and pumps 30 gallons of water per minute, said Supervisor Jeanne Larson.

On November 11 the board hired Larson to manage the senior housing project (SHP). Larson’s reimbursement was initially $20 per hour but a week later the board increased her pay to $30 per hour. Larson said she has been spending about 30 hours week attending to her new duties, but added, “But I see my hours going down as we get over this initial hump.”

Supervisor Jim King praised Larson for her work over the last month, and he noted how much more efficient it was to have someone living in Tofte attend to all of the duties and be available when needed. Larson has taken over most of the work once performed by Dick Grabko of Community Resource Development (CRD) who was let go at the end of September. The township was paying CRD $3,000 per month for its services.

Led by Grabko, CRD spent the last year writing grants and helping the township board work with its township attorney, architects, and bankers.

“Dick is still available to us and he will be paid on an hourly basis if we need his help,” said Larson.

Best wishes from the Cook County News-Herald

Thu, 12/25/2014 - 9:09pm

A very Merry Christmas to everyone from all of us at the Cook County News-Herald!



This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald ~