Around Cook County
The Cook County 1 percent local option sales tax for recreation and infrastructure continues to bring in more each year since it was started. In the first six months of 2011, it brought in $433,206.98. In the first six months of 2011, it brought in $474,637.62. In the first six months of this year, it brought in $523,814.42, a 10.4 percent increase over the first half of last year.
Cook County’s lodging tax saw a 9.3 percent increase in the first six months of 2013 over the first six months of last year. Different areas of the county are faring differently, however.
The Gunflint Trail Tourism Association saw a year-to-date decrease of 1.2 percent from last year, but the Grand Marais Area Tourism Association saw a year-to-date increase of 3.6 percent and the Lutsen-Tofte Tourism Association saw a year-to-date increase of 12.7 percent.
Drier weather means increased fire danger and the Labor Day holiday calls for increased vigilance. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Tofte-Gunflint fire officer Patty Johnson about current small fires and impending fire restrictions.
Check out the pdf file above to see a map of the Knife Lake fire.
Grand Marais Public Library announces the “My Library Essay Contest” for Cook County children ages 10 - 14 with cash prizes for the top three ranked essays.
Children are asked to write an essay of about 250 words on the topic “My library.” Possible ideas are “My favorite time at the library was the day…” or “If I were the librarian.” Or “I just love our library because…” or even “Can you imagine a world without books?”
Essays may be typed, printed or written, but they must be delivered to the Grand Marais Public Library no later than 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 31, 2013.
Each essay may receive a maximum of 100 points, based on form and content. Form includes grammar, correct spelling and punctuation and logical organization. Content is the main idea. Young writers will receive 25 points for form and 75 points for content.
Essays will be judged by a panel and the winner announced by September 14, 2013.
Cash prizes, thanks to a local donor, to be awarded are $75 for 1st place; $50 for 2nd place and $25 for 3rd place.
The architectural firm hired by Tofte Township to assess whether or not the Birch Grove Community Center building could support a second story that would accommodate senior housing and some office space has indicated that a preliminary look at the building’s walls and foundation are not suited for a second addition, said Dick Grabko of Community Resources Development (CRD).
Or, as Grabko told the board, the cost to fix the walls and foundation would far exceed what the township was hoping to spend on developing senior housing.
The structural assessment completed by engineering firm DSGW indicated there were issues with footings, walls, and the roof and determined it would be more expensive to fix those then to build an adjacent structure, Grabko told Tofte Township supervisors at their August 8, 2013 meeting.
Of the three architectural firms to bid on the project, DSGW Architects of Duluth was the low bidder at $10,800. As part of the bid, DSGW will now make a recommendation about the feasibility of adding onto the building and what those costs might be, and if that is not a plausible option, also look at determining what type of senior housing could be located on the township’s 29 acres which lay behind the community center.
Grabko and his partner, Gary Lammpa of CRD, have been hired to help the township develop senior housing at Birch Grove. Part of their job is to identify perspective clients, write grants, find bonds and find a developer if the project is feasible.
As part of the process, said Supervisor Paul James, “We need to get senior citizen input into just what type of building or housing they want.”
The summer we all wished for is here, but perhaps more than what we had wanted. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with meteorologist Carol Christensen about hot and dry.
The Cook County Highway Department will be hosting an open house to discuss upcoming projects on the Gunflint Trail (County State Aid Highway 12). The open house will be held 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at the Gunflint Lodge Conference Center.
Two Gunflint Trail projects are slated for 2014 and 2015. They consist of replacement of the portion of the road between West County Road 92 and the Cross River.
County Engineer David Betts said, “These projects comprise removal of the pavement, repair of culverts in need of work, reshaping of the sub-grade and repaving of the roadway. Limited repair work on existing sub-grade problems will also take place.”
Interested parties are encouraged to stop by anytime during the open house to learn about the projects, ask questions, and offer comments.