Around Cook County
After unsuccessfully asking the county board for $70,000 more in contingency funds from the county’s 1 percent recreation and infrastructure sales tax fund one week prior, Cook County Community YMCA Project Manager Wade Cole of ORB Management came back again on September 17, via a Skype session over the Internet to ask the board how they wanted him to proceed. The project had been slated for completion by the end of December.
The original contingency fund was set at $568,812, but estimated costs to finish the project would bring it to a deficit of $68,933.56. The original cost estimate had not included almost $68,000 for Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry oversight the state originally said the project would not need and $70,000 paid to JLG Architects for re-designing some of the work to bring costs down and to The Meyer Group to resolve contract issues related to the re-design.
Taking the requested $70,000 from the 1 percent fund would leave $484,122.69 yet uncommitted.
Commissioner Garry Gamble used the words “uncomfortable” and “frustrating” to describe being asked for more money.
The estimated final cost of the project keeps changing from week to week as things get done, Project Manager Cole said. The only cost changes from his request the previous week, he said, was $10,000 in caulking. He said the extent of the caulking that would be needed was not fully understood by the contractor when cost estimates were made.
Involving the board in individual expenditures would delay the project, Cole said. “At this point, there’s a lot of activity on site,” he said, with 30-40 workers there every day.
Community members who have disagreed over how stringent the county’s new septic ordinance should be may want to weigh in at a public hearing on the issue that has been scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 25 in the courthouse commissioners’ room. The proposed ordinance was drafted by the Cook County Planning & Zoning Department with input from county commissioners, septic contractors, and community members.
The state is requiring counties to have ordinances in place by February 1, 2014.
At the August 27, 2013 county board meeting, Planning & Zoning Director Tim Nelson said the first draft of the document was more restrictive than state statute, but this one is less restrictive whenever the county has any leeway. “It takes the more flexible route,” he said.
The proposed ordinance requires management plans for all new or replacement systems that include operation and maintenance agreements with licensed contractors. Systems not requiring management plans must be inspected or pumped out at least once every three years. Property owners installing their own outhouses must get an approved design from a state-licensed designer, a permit, and an inspection.
Commissioner Sue Hakes said some people are worried that asking questions about existing systems might result in inspections and having to spend a lot of money to remedy failing systems. Planning & Zoning Director Tim Nelson said his department does not have the time or resources to track down systems for policing purposes. Certain “triggers,” such as application for a land use permit for a bedroom addition, would automatically result in an inspection.
Each week the WTIP news staff puts together a roundup of the news over the past five days. The Duluth Port has a new director, Asian carp continue to threaten, Rep. Nolan votes to ease mining permit standards, A long-time area fishing guide drowns and sex trafficking on the north shore is discussed …all in this week’s news.
Cook County Higher Education will offer training in the use of a Macintosh computer on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
Jim Ringquist of Times Two Design in Grand Marais will lead a class for beginning to intermediate Mac users from 6-9 p.m. at Higher Ed’s North Shore Campus, 300 W. Third St., Grand Marais.
Ringquist has been using, upgrading and repairing Macs since 1985. His class – designed, he says, to help you use your Mac more effectively and efficiently – will cover such topics as Mountain Lion Basics; quick and easy eMail including filtering out spam; spaces; Safari; utilities; and customizing your Mac.
Ringquist says he can cover advanced topics if he knows in advance that there is a need for it. Higher Ed recently did an inquiry asking what people would seek in a Mac class, and all of the responses were forwarded to him to help guide his curriculum development. If you have a specific topic you wish covered, please let him know.
To register for the Mac class call 387-3411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Cost for the class is $60.
Students are asked to bring their own Mac laptop; Higher Ed has no Mac laptops to loan.
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.
Instructor Erin Altemus has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota. She has taught creative writing and freshman composition classes for eight years at the U of MN and UW-Stout. She most enjoys writing essays and memoirs about food, farming, animals and the outdoors.
The fee for this four-week class is $40 and is supported by a generous grant from Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. Scholarships are available.
For more information or to pre-register, call 387-3411.
WTIP North Shore Community Radio is seeking your feedback.
Please take a few minutes to fill out our 14-question survey to let us know what you think about various programs and features that are produced at WTIP. The survey has several multiple choice questions and room to share your comments. The information we gather from this short survey will help us with grant reporting and will inform our decisions about future programming.
Thank you for your input!