Around Cook County
Grand Marais city councilors voted Jan. 30 to go ahead with the first step of a planned public works facility by approving a pre-design proposal from LHB, an engineering firm from Duluth. Under the terms of the $10,844 agreement, LHB will look at the city’s needs, such as function, size and furnishings. LHB will then provide a planning documents, a site recommendation, a preliminary project budget and schedule.
The city council is pursuing this because they feel another site is needed to allow the city to move its vehicles and equipment from the existing garages in the Rec Park along the shore of Lake Superior.
The city has already done some of its own investigation regarding a site for the facility, and there are three locations under consideration: a lot in the Cedar Grove Business Park; a city-owned site adjacent to the hospital on Fifth Avenue West; and the city’s defunct brush site on County Road 12 (the Gunflint Trail). Each site has yet to be evaluated and compared to determine the advantages and disadvantages of each. Some of the criteria to be used in the evaluation include capacity, future expansion opportunities, topography, accessibility, wetlands, visibility, neighborhood compatibility and land acquisition cost (if any).
City Administrator Mike Roth said the LHB proposal is the same one discussed by the city council last fall, and it has been reviewed with the appropriate department heads and met with their approval.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — State lawmakers want to give Minnesota businesses tax credits for hiring veterans.
Apple Valley Republican Rep. Anna Wills and Sen. Chuck Wiger, a Maplewood Democrat, unveiled a bill Monday they say would lower the unemployment rate for veterans and boost Minnesota's economy.
Wills says 23 percent of veterans in Minnesota are unemployed — the third-highest rate in the nation.
Businesses would receive a $3,000 credit for hiring a disabled veteran, $1,500 for an unemployed veteran and $500 for hiring any veteran. The lawmakers hope that hiring more veterans would increase income tax revenues enough to cover the cost of the credits.
Gov. Mark Dayton floated a similar proposal last year. It was included in a large package of tax cuts that Dayton vetoed for other reasons.
At the January 8 meeting of the Cook County-Grand Marais Economic Development Authority, a decision was made on the contract for the upcoming year for the EDA’s housing program. The EDA board reviewed a request from Community Fundraising Solutions (CFS), which has been providing housing services for the EDA for five years, offering its services for January 1 – December 31, 2013.
In exchange for delivering “a successful and comprehensive Housing and Redevelopment program,” CFS requested a “lump sum fee of $73,800, excluding mileageoutside of the service area.” In the proposed agreement, travel outside the service area would be billed at federal mileage rates and expenses for lodging, meals, etc. would be reimbursed only with prior approval of the EDA. The fees for the CFS contract would be invoiced in the monthly amount of $6,150.
The Grand Marais City Council voted to list the city fire department’s 1984 General pumper for sale on e-Bay. The fire truck is considered surplus equipment, and the city needs to sell it in order to make room for a new tanker slated for delivery at the end of February.
City Administrator Mike Roth told councilors at the January 30 council meeting that the process to sell the fire truck began about 18 months ago with listings in various publications and websites, and there has been some interest shown, but no buyers have come forward. The first asking price was $10,000, which was then cut in half. “Make us an offer,” said Roth.
The 10th annual Snowarama for Easter Seals was once again a great success, with 77 riders hitting the Grand Portage trails and perhaps more importantly, raising $24,575 to help Easter Seals of Ontario.
The weather was bitter cold as riders set out from Grand Portage Trail Center. But the intrepid riders just bundled up and not only endured the minus 13 degree temperature, they enjoyed it. About half of the riders traveled the long route, heading from Grand Portage to Trail Center or Hungry Jack Lodge on the Gunflint Trail. The rest of the riders stayed closer to the comforts of Grand Portage Lodge and Casino, traveling the beautiful trails right in Grand Portage.
But the real reason for the ride was brought home by the current and former Easter Seal Ambassadors at the event. Terry Douglas of Thunder Bay, mom of Easter Seal Ambassador Kendall Douglas was the evening’s emcee. She thanked everyone for taking part, noting that it is impossible to express enough appreciation to Easter Seals for its work with children with physical disabilities.
The new Cook County Chamber of Commerce invites all county business owners and managers to a “We Love Cook County” pre-Valentine celebration from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at Sivertson Gallery in Grand Marais.
“Everyone is welcome,” said host Jan Sivertson. “We'd love to see members of the Greater Grand Marais Chamber and also business folk from other parts of the county who have not previously been active in chamber affairs.”