Around Cook County
The Cook County Board of Commissioners met in special session Tuesday morning to among other things select a chair and vice-chair for 2014.
The process began with the nomination of Commissioner Sue Hakes by Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk. Hakes made a brief statement expressing her willingness and enthusiasm to serve. Hakes has represented Grand Marais West on the board for three years and previously served as mayor of Grand Marais.
Commissioners Gamble, Hall and Martinson each declined to second and the motion died.
Gamble then nominated Commissioner Jan Hall. Hall is currently board chair and also held the position in 2012. Martinson made the second. The vote was 2-2, with Hakes and Doo-Kirk opposed. Hall then cast the deciding vote and was re-elected as chair for the coming year. Commissioner Martinson was then nominated for and elected to the position of vice chair.
The action of retaining Hall and Martinson in their board positions for another year runs counter to a historical tradition of rotating the board chair between commissioners.
The North Shore Restoration Project will stretch along the shore from Two Harbors to the border. WTIPs Jay Andersen spoke with Gunflint District Ranger Nancy Larson about an informational Restoration Open House this Friday.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk looks ahead to the 2014 legislative session. WTIPs Jay Andersen spoke with Sen. Bakk about three issues that will undoubtedly be dealt with during the session.
In December 2012, the U.S. Forest Service Gunflint and Tofte Ranger districts introduced a proposal to restore the forest along the North Shore of Lake Superior. Gunflint Ranger Nancy Larson and then-Tofte District Ranger John Wytanis noted that anyone traveling on Highway 61 could see that birch trees along the North Shore are dying. The rangers explained that it is not just the birch trees along the highway dying, they reported that 80 percent of the birch forest on national forest land is old and declining. Concerns were raised that succession of conifer (balsam fir, spruce, cedar and white pine) was not occurring. To address the situation, the Forest Service and a number of community partners worked to create the North Shore Restoration Project, which has now gone through an environmental review process. The public is invited to learn about the environmental assessment and restoration plans at an open house on January 10, 2014 at the Gunflint Ranger District Office at 2020 West Highway 61 from 3:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Gunflint Ranger Larson and Tofte Ranger Kurt Steele invite the public to attend the open house and comment on the recently released North Shore Restoration Project Environmental Assessment. Technical experts will be at the open house to provide information on performing restoration on private lands in the North Shore Project area.