Around Cook County
Three officials from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) appeared before the Lutsen town board on Tuesday, October 15 to discuss next summer’s work on Highway 61 that will impact Lutsen businesses, locals and visitors to the North Shore.
Todd Campbell, a civil engineer who is the assistant district engineer for program delivery for MnDOT District One, which encompasses eight counties in northeastern Minnesota, led the discussion.
Campbell said work will probably begin in May, and that a 10-mile stretch of road from Onion River to a couple of miles east of Cascade will receive a 3½ inch overlay after crews first strip 3½ inches from the current surface.
“Eleven culverts will be replaced before any overlay is put down,” said Derek Fredrickson, who will oversee the Lutsen project for MnDOT.
Lutsen Supervisor Ginny Storlie asked if MnDOT had any plans to widen the road and make bigger shoulders, especially for the many bicyclists who peddle through the area, Campbell said no.
“I think widening the shoulder would be great, and you might think widening the shoulder wouldn’t be a big deal, but it is quite dramatic to add shoulders and we don’t have the funds to do that right now,” Campbell said.
Several people attending the meeting asked if MnDOT was going to require a contractor to add rumble strips to either the center line, the sides of the road or to both, but Fredrickson said that while the rumble strips were still in the plans, two weeks ago they were told to take them out and for now, they won’t be included in the work.
Campbell said the overlay was part of new national highway standards called pavement preservation, or “reconstruct light.”
For the third year, a group of Halloween-loving friends will be transforming a Grand Marais garage into The Haunted House on Third Street. Ghosts and goblins are sought to help with this ghoulish event, which will once again benefit the Cook County Food Shelf.
There is no charge to visit the Haunted House, but participants are asked to bring a non-perishable item for the Cook County Food Shelf.
Jane Ranum and her terror-producing cohorts are in the midst of constructing the haunted house in her garage and yard and are they are open to ideas—and creepy construction materials.
The Third Annual Food Shelf Haunted House is also in need of adult actors, food collections ghouls and anyone else willing to help out. The Haunted House will be in operation on October 29, 30 and 31. Contact Ranum at (218) 387-1877 for more information. “The more the scarier,” says Ranum.
Cook County may be forming a new Subordinate Government Service District (SGSD). On October 15, 2013, two residents who access their property from Rosebush Hill Road, which starts at Highway 61 just west of Grand Marais, presented a petition to the county board requesting the SGSD.
All seven of the property owners who live along the road have requested the SGSD, although only one of them is a registered Cook County voter. They are having work done on the road that would bring it up to the standard the county requires to oversee snowplowing for a group of property owners.
The county board agreed to move forward with the process of creating the SGSD and set a public hearing for 10 a.m. November 12 in the courthouse commissioners’ room. If the SGSD is approved, it could be March before the bidding process would result in finding someone to plow the road. Resident Nancye Belding said that finding someone to plow regularly has been difficult.
Commissioner Sue Hakes indicated she expects this to be a less contentious issue than the creation of the Irish Creek SGSD in Hovland since everyone who would be paying for the services has requested them.
Minnesota's trapping season got underway Saturday, October 19. WTIP's Carah Thomas spoke with trapper and dog owner John Reynolds about the loss of his dog "Penny" in a 220 bodygrip trap in 2011, and his ensuing efforts to protect other dogs. Reynolds is the founder and president of the Minnesota-based non-profit Dog Lovers 4 Safe Trapping MN.
(Click on link to "North Shore Morning" below to hear the interview.)
Photo courtesy www.doglovers4safetrappingmn.org
Cook County commissioners have asked Jay Kieft to come on board as the county’s first county administrator. The county is in the process of negotiating a contract with Kieft. At the October 15, 2013 county board meeting, Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers handed out a proposed contract that had been drawn up by the county’s consultant, David Unmacht.
The proposed contract did not mention placing the county administrator on a job grid that relates pay to level of experience and years with the county like all other employees and elected officials are on.