Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Increased security will soon be in place at the Cook County courthouse

Fri, 10/11/2013 - 2:23pm

Security at the Cook County courthouse is ramping up.  By a vote of 4-1 on October 8, 2013, the county board approved the purchase of a portable X-ray machine and walk-through metal detector to be used at the courthouse.  Commissioner Garry Gamble cast the sole no vote.

The cost of the X-ray machine, including delivery, set-up, and training, will be $21,950.  The cost of the walk-through metal detector, including delivery, will be $2,550.

Sheriff Mark Falk had previously talked to the board about an opportunity to obtain an X-ray machine for free from the FBI.  It was not portable, however, and it would only be able to process small bags, he said. 

City considers its handicap parking policy

Thu, 10/10/2013 - 2:43pm

Grand Marais City Council’s Sept. 25 meeting began with a visit from Rebecca Thompson of the American Legion.

The manager of Post 413 was there to request a handicap parking space in front of the Legion’s First Avenue West building. Thompson said there are many elderly veterans who are experiencing difficulty walking and having trouble getting into the building from their vehicles, especially when there are no vacant parking spaces nearby.

“We have older clients now, and there is a whole generation of military veterans with severe issues of mobility,” said Thompson, noting that that has changed in recent years, and will probably continue to worsen. “Our concern is for our clients as they become more disabled.”

Thompson requested that one parking space in front of the Legion’s building be designated as handicap only during the Legion’s hours of business—a request which was granted by council following a brief discussion.

"Writing your Way Forward" offered at Cook County Higher Ed

Wed, 10/09/2013 - 11:36am

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.

Grand Marais Library presents "Alabaster Falls" Friday evening

Wed, 10/09/2013 - 11:32am

Alabaster Falls will present bluegrass/folkgrass music at the Grand Marais Public Library at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11.

Rumble strip discussion draws crowd

Wed, 10/09/2013 - 10:16am

A crowd of about 50 people packed the Cook County Commissioners’ Room Tuesday morning to hear MNDOT District 1 Engineer respond to their concerns regarding rumble strips along Highway 61 east of Grand Marais.

Objections registered by residents along the highway focused on the loud and annoying sound produced by vehicles crossing the centerline strip they described as a penetrating, ripping noise audible for more than a mile inland. Other complaints included hazards to cyclists and walkers, flying debris from deteriorating strips, spray thrown up at oncoming traffic when rainwater collects in strip depressions, and many more.

Duane Hill, MNDOT District 1 Engineer, assured the group that the rumble strip issue in Cook County and elsewhere in the state has the attention of MNDOT at all levels. He noted that the installation of the strips is in accordance with a statewide policy adopted as part of the “Towards Zero Deaths” highway safety program. He also described an ongoing research effort to develop a rumble strip which would alert a driver without the loud sounds.

Hill detailed a fast track approach to mitigate the sound problem in the short term. Jim Miles, an engineer accompanying Hill at the meeting, will be conducting sound measurements over the next two weeks between Grand Marais and Hovland. Based on the results, modifications will be applied to existing strips with the goal of reducing the sound to a tolerable level. Hill also described a process for concerned residents to be kept informed by email and seeking feedback to be provided to MNDOT on the success of the mitigation effort.

When pressed for a timeframe on the work, Hill made reference to the approaching deer season as a target, but spoke of the difficulties involved in contracting this late in the year and on short notice.


County hires new Administrator

Wed, 10/09/2013 - 10:05am

The Cook County board has offered the position of County Administrator to Jay Kieft, currently Executive Director of Wright County Human Services in Buffalo, MN.

Kieft previously was head of human services in Kandiyohi County from 2007 to 2012.

The board has authorized its consultant, David Unmark, to negotiate the contract with respect to health insurance, salary and  contract length as well as other details.

According to Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, Kieft heads a department of 200 people and the county expects him to assume his position here within two months.