Around Cook County
Are you looking to improve your writing and communication skills? Would you like to learn to write more clearly and effectively for work or school?
If so, Writing Your Way Forward is the class for you. The course consists of four two-hour sessions on Tuesdays from 4-6 p.m. at the North Shore Campus beginning Oct. 15.
Four sessions will focus on organizing information for coherence and unity, expressing ideas clearly and effectively, proofreading and revising for content, and how to conduct research and analyze source material. This writing series has been developed to help participants in their workplace or place of business, students, grant writers, and those looking to renew or revitalize their writing and communication skills.
Alabaster Falls will present bluegrass/folkgrass music at the Grand Marais Public Library at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11.
A crowd of about 50 people packed the Cook County Commissioners’ Room Tuesday morning to hear MNDOT District 1 Engineer respond to their concerns regarding rumble strips along Highway 61 east of Grand Marais.
Objections registered by residents along the highway focused on the loud and annoying sound produced by vehicles crossing the centerline strip they described as a penetrating, ripping noise audible for more than a mile inland. Other complaints included hazards to cyclists and walkers, flying debris from deteriorating strips, spray thrown up at oncoming traffic when rainwater collects in strip depressions, and many more.
Duane Hill, MNDOT District 1 Engineer, assured the group that the rumble strip issue in Cook County and elsewhere in the state has the attention of MNDOT at all levels. He noted that the installation of the strips is in accordance with a statewide policy adopted as part of the “Towards Zero Deaths” highway safety program. He also described an ongoing research effort to develop a rumble strip which would alert a driver without the loud sounds.
Hill detailed a fast track approach to mitigate the sound problem in the short term. Jim Miles, an engineer accompanying Hill at the meeting, will be conducting sound measurements over the next two weeks between Grand Marais and Hovland. Based on the results, modifications will be applied to existing strips with the goal of reducing the sound to a tolerable level. Hill also described a process for concerned residents to be kept informed by email and seeking feedback to be provided to MNDOT on the success of the mitigation effort.
When pressed for a timeframe on the work, Hill made reference to the approaching deer season as a target, but spoke of the difficulties involved in contracting this late in the year and on short notice.
The Cook County board has offered the position of County Administrator to Jay Kieft, currently Executive Director of Wright County Human Services in Buffalo, MN.
Kieft previously was head of human services in Kandiyohi County from 2007 to 2012.
The board has authorized its consultant, David Unmark, to negotiate the contract with respect to health insurance, salary and contract length as well as other details.
According to Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, Kieft heads a department of 200 people and the county expects him to assume his position here within two months.
The 2013 Highway 61 Film Festival occurred this past weekend in Pine City, Minnesota. The competition included one film from Cook County this year. “Sled Dogs to St. Paul: The Race for Clean Water” was an official selection for the festival, and took second place in the Documentary Feature category.
Local filmmakers Patrick Knight and Kelly Schoenfelder directed the film, which tells the story of local dogmusher Frank Moe’s trip from Grand Marais to St. Paul during the winter of 2012, to raise awareness about the potential impacts of nonferrous mining projects proposed in northeastern Minnesota.
The Highway 61 Film Festival was established in 2011 as a means of supporting and promoting independent films and filmmakers from all along Highway 61 and beyond. The judges awarded films in a variety of categories, including comedy, drama, student film, animation and documentary.
At the September 10, 2013, meeting of the Cook County-Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA), housing program administrator Nancy Grabko of Community Fundraising Solutions (CFS) said she needed help from West End communities to complete an application to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) for funding to rehabilitate homes in Lutsen, Tofte and Schroeder. This week Grabko contacted the Cook County News-Herald, noting that help is still needed.