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News and other information from Cook County

New books, workshops and more offered at Grand Marais Public Library

Tue, 12/30/2014 - 4:33pm

There are workshops being offered and new books to read at the Grand Marais Public Library during the month of January. WTIP volunteer Mary Manning spoke with Steve Harsin of the Grand Marais Public Library on North Shore Morning. 

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Book and film group will explore South African topics

Tue, 12/30/2014 - 8:58am

We’re in the midst of winter and there’s an opportunity to read books and watch movies from a much warmer climate and culture. WTIP volunteer Yvonne Mills spoke with Mary Ellen Ashcroft on North Shore Morning. 


The group will meet at Cook County Higher Ed eight Thursdays from 6:00-8:30, during January, February and March. (You don’t need to come to all of the sessions.)
January 8-- Background to literature/film of Southern Africa. Watch Athol Fugard’s Master Harold and the Boys
January 15-- Discuss Alan Paton’s novel-- Cry the Beloved Country.
January 29—Watch Andre Brink’s--Dry White Season.
February 5-- Discuss Nadine Gordimer’s-- July’s People.
February 12-- Watch Athol Fugard’s TsoTsi.
February 26—Discuss J. M Coetzee’s Disgrace.
March 5—Watch Invictus and discuss some short readings by Nelson Mandela.
March 12-- Watch Long Night’s Journey Into Day. (Optional reading: Antjie Krog’s--Country of my Skull). Discuss some short readings by Desmond Tutu.

CONTACT: Mary Ellen Ashcroft
PHONE: 387 1536

(Photo by Niall McNulty on Flickr)

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Naturalist Training at Sugarloaf Cove begins in February

Tue, 12/30/2014 - 8:58am

Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center is offering naturalist training, along with the opportunity to meet other North Shore enthusiasts while learning about the wildlife and ecology of our area. North Shore Morning host Yvonne Mills spoke with naturalist Margie Menzies of Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center on North Shore Morning. 


The course will run from 9 am to 4 pm every other Saturday (a three week gap over the Easter stretch) for 6 sessions beginning February 21 and ending May 19, 2015. Field trips will be incorporated into the scheduled class days. A capstone project is expected of participants, as well as the commitment to volunteer for 40 hours during the year. 
Visit for more information and to register or call 218-525-0001.


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County Commissioners to hold one last meeting in 2014

Mon, 12/29/2014 - 12:37pm

Despite not wanting to meet again until next year, the Cook County Board of Commissioners will have a final meeting on Tuesday, December 30 at 8:30 a.m. to discuss wrapping up a few loose ends to 2014.

On the agenda are Interim Sheriff Leif Lunde and Sheriff-elect Pat Eliasen to discuss Sheriff Department staffing; Planning & Zoning Administrator Bill Lane on gravel pit renewals; County Engineer David Betts with the final payment on the sidewalk on County Road 7, and Emily Marshall of Cook County YMCA and Chris Francis, YMCA Duluth with a YMCA operations update.

Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers is also on the agenda for an item titled 2015 Budget Resolution.


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


School District 166 votes to increase school levy 5.06 percent

Mon, 12/29/2014 - 12:30pm

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 - 4:13pm

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 ~