Around Cook County
People with gates at the end of their driveways or private roads are not accessible to the local fire department if their houses catch on fire. This was a concern raised by Fire Chief Phil Bonin at the Schroeder Township Board meeting September 10, 2013. Bonin said he would not use a department truck to break a steel gate.
Numerous Schroeder properties are known to be blocked off by gates. Bonin said he gets requests from insurance companies regarding things such as how far a property is from the nearest fire hall and response time in case of fire.
Board Treasurer Alicia Kangas wondered if a property owner who had installed a gate at the end of a private road could be held liable for damage to other properties that are accessed from that road through an easement.
The board decided to try to send letters out to all property owners known to have gates on their properties, telling them that they are not protected by the fire department because their properties are inaccessible. One issue was that they were not sure how to contact some owners, particularly those who live outside the county most of the time.
Another danger the fire chief mentioned was water. Bonin said the department had conducted several water rescues lately. People continue to get into trouble in the Temperance River. “I now keep a water kit in the truck,” he said. It consists of a throw rope and a life preserver.
Fire Chief Bonin reported that the fire department’s pancake breakfast fundraiser on Father Baraga Day brought in 80 people.
Cook County Local Energy Project kicks off the second-year pilot of the Residential Energy Efficiency Program (REEP) on Thursday evening Oct. 10 with a hands-on homeowner workshop – a new approach to home energy efficiency.
Energy Auditor Chris Norman of Boreal Craft and CCLEP Coordinator Virginia Danfelt will present fundamentals of home energy efficiency and techniques handy homeowners can learn to do on their own. There will be demonstrations, discussions and an opportunity to try different techniques.
Contact Danfelt (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Oct. 5 to suggest ideas or projects that can be incorporated into the workshop.
The workshop will be held at the Community Center from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and there is a $5 fee. It is sponsored by the Cook County Community Fund and supported by CCLEP partners Cook County Higher Education and Cook County Extension.
Matt Geretschlaeger of Grand Marais introduced the idea of his new business, Superior Zipline Adventures over a year ago. It took a while to find a location and funding for the approximately $825,000 project, but Geretschlaeger broke ground on the zip line along the Gunflint Trail, overlooking Grand Marais and Lake Superior on August 14, 2013.
Geretschlaeger said everything is going as planned and he expects to open the zip line for business in spring 2014.
Geretschlaeger has put much of his own money on the line but is receiving financial help from a number of entities. Geretschlaeger was granted a Cook County Revolving Loan Fund loan of $250,000 in July 2013 at 6.18 percent interest over 20 years. He also received a loan of $266,000 from the USDA Small Business Administration. Another $192,000 of funding comes from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) in the form of an economic development grant. Another $9,000 grant was received from the Cook County – Grand Marais Economic Development Authority Immediate Needs Fund, established this year with assistance from the IRRRB.
The $9,000 grant was necessary, according to EDA Board Member Hal Greenwood, to get the ball rolling. At the August 2013 EDA meeting, Greenwood explained that the site preparation and clearing had to be completed by December 2013 under the conditions of the other grants.
Reached by phone on September 25, Geretschlaeger said Geronimo Construction of Biwabik is the firm building two zip lines, with help, he stressed of all local contractors. He noted that Jason Hill Excavating and Lamb Construction Corporation had been great to work with. “We’ve used 100 percent local contractors, except for Geronimo, which is an Iron Range company,” said Geretschlaeger. Another local contractor is logger Kent Anderson who is clearing the site.
As North Shore residents and vistiors enjoy the brilliant fall colors, the Cook County Visitors Bureau is planning an interesting new event meant to draw visitors in the shoulder season and promote the dramatic late-fall weather as an attraction.
The event will be known as “The Lake Superior Storm Festival—a celebration of Lake Superior’s wild side” and will be held Nov. 7-10. Businesses are asked to host a StormFest event such as talks on topics like the Edmund Fitzgerald, North Shore shipwrecks, wreck diving, lighthouses, storm science, the White Hurricane, storm photography; author readings on relevant topics; live music; film screening; art displays or exhibits; and even guided excursions such as a hike to a spot with a fantastic lake view or historical significance.
Interested business owners are asked to contact Shelby Gonzalez, CCVB marketing manager, at (218) 387-2788 for more information or to suggest ideas, offer assistance or volunteer.
In Cook County Community YMCA news, seven local YMCA board members have been identified so far: Myron Bursheim, Hillary Freeman, Sue Hakes (representing the county), Jeanne Anderson (school), Beth Schwarz (school), Rusty Day (youth), and Matea Acero (youth). Marshall said they are trying to bring in board members representing diversity in age, sex, location in the county, skills, and organizations. When the board starts to meet, they will select several more members.
The federal government partial shut down shows no signs of easing, leaving much of the federal government closed, with lawmakers from both parties ominously suggesting that the partial shutdown might last for weeks.
The shut down affects the U.S. Forest Service and Tofte and Gunflint stations are closed. This will not affect BWCAW permits, since the self-permitting, no fee season started Oct. 1. Gravel and timber permits for Federal land, however will not be available.
Grand Portage National Monument and the heritage center are closed to visitors.
Only government personnel deemed as "essential" will be on the job for the duration of the shut down.
Airport security and air traffic controllers are working, so are border and customs employees.
The shut down affects only federal workers. State parks and offices remain open as usual.