Around Cook County
On this Thanksgiving, the Cook County News-Herald would like to say thank you to the wonderful North Shore community that has supported the local newspaper for over 125 years. We couldn’t do it without you.
We wish all of readers and contributors a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving!
In its second year, Operation Family Christmas will again collect and distribute gifts to families that may not be able to buy gifts for the holiday.
The organizers will place collection boxes this Friday, November 22, at Mike’s Holiday, Johnson’s Grocery Store, Java Moose, Buck’s Hardware, Joynes Ben Franklin, Grand Marais SuperAmerica and the Cook County Community Center. There will also be a collection box at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, local headquarters for Operation Family Christmas.
They are looking for donations of new, unwrapped gifts for kids up to 18 years old.
Andrea Everson, one of the organizers said, “This is all confidential. No one knows who is getting presents.”
Parents (or legal guardians) can pick up applications at the Cook County Law Enforcement Center or at the Violence Prevention Center or through Anna Sandstrom at School District 166.
The boxes will be collected on December 16 and gifts distributed on December 21.
Last year 46 kids in the county received presents they would not have gotten if not for people donating to Operation Family Christmas.
Everson said, “We’re organized better this year. We have had more time for planning. We don’t want anyone to be forgotten.”
The 8th annual Holiday Market at Last Chance Gallery takes place on Friday, November 29 and Saturday, November 30. This year’s theme is “Home for the Holidays.”
Friday’s market opens at 10 a.m. and runs until 7 p.m. with a reception from 4-7 p.m. The reception will offer treats and caroling with the annual tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. Saturday’s Market runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Artists will demonstrate their work both days. Sixteen-year-old Nate Saunders, who has been making pottery for 11 years, will demonstrate from 2 to 4 p.m. both days. Al Sunde (11 a.m. to 1 p.m., wood carving) and Anna Hess (1-3 p.m., painting) will join Nate in demonstrating their art on Saturday.
Once again there is ornament painting with the proceeds going to charity. This year’s ornaments (in keeping with the theme) will be in the shape of “homes” with log cabins, igloos, tipis and even spaceships, so bring the children along for a fun time at the ornament table. Food shelf items will be collected and a portion of the proceeds go to the Cook County Community Fund.
Last Chance Studio and Gallery is located at 17 Railroad Dr. in downtown Lutsen next door to Arrowhead Electric. For more information call (218) 663-7008.
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Although there have been setbacks, the Tofte Town board continues to seek affordable senior housing options that will allow older residents the chance to stay in the community when they are no longer able to take care of their homes.
Dick Grabko of Community Resource Development came before the Tofte Town board on November 14 with an update on financing for the estimated $1.9 million project.
Grabko has been hired to help the township develop 10 senior housing units. Whether they turn out to be small homes or townhomes or apartments or a combination of those remains to be seen. The developer is working with Dynamic Homes on the project.
Grabko said he and several others met with the Northland Foundation’s Director of Business Finance, John Elden to discuss gap-financing alternatives for the senior housing project.
The Cook County - Grand Marais Economic Development Authority took steps at the November 12 board meeting to meet what its members believe is the need for “safe, decent, affordable rental units” in Cook County. The first step was a commitment to donate up to 4.03 acres of land in the Cedar Grove Business Park (CGBP) if funding is found to construct 24 units of affordable rental housing.
Leah Hall of the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) returned to the board with more information on the concept she introduced to the EDA in May 2013. AEOA proposes to develop and become owners of an affordable housing complex on two lots on the southern end of the business park for low to moderate income households in Cook County.
Hall said that the rental units would be in a lodge-style apartment complex, consisting of two floors with walk-up entry options or a townhome-style complex. She said, “We won’t know what the design will look like until further down the road.”
Also to be determined is the combination of 1, 2, and 3 bedroom apartments, but Hall said, “The goal is to have at least 75 percent of the units targeted toward families.”
Cook County’s Danna MacKenzie moves on to a new state position, good news from the YMCA, and new long-term residential housing were discussed at this week’s County Board meeting. WTIP’s Tracy Benson spoke with District 4 County Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk about this week’s meeting.