Around Cook County
Early in the county’s process of hiring a county administrator, there were 39 interested applicants. On Friday, Sept. 13, the board of commissioners interviewed six semi-finalists. Each candidate was interviewed for one hour, and after a discussion the county board selected two finalists: Mike Roth, Grand Marais city administrator, and Jay Kieft, executive director of human services for Wright County in Buffalo, Minnesota.
County Board Chair Janice Hall said, “We were pleased with our pool of applicants and we had six very qualified semi-finalists.”
The two candidates for the recently-created county administer position will be meeting with Cook County department heads this week. The department heads will be writing down their impressions of the applicants to share with the county board.
The county is hosting an opportunity for the public to meet the two final applicants at a “Meet and Greet” at East Bay Suites Stone’s Throw Room on Wednesday, October 2 from 6:30 – 8 p.m.
The final interviews—and possibly a decision will be on October 3.
At the September meeting of the Town of Schroeder, Jim Norvell, champion of the Father Baraga’s Cross historic site and the Schroeder Township park adjacent to it, gave an update. Norvell travelled from his new home in Duluth to report on the grant-funded planning being done for the township park.
Planned for the park is an open space by the lake with a picnic shelter set back from the lake. A vegetation buffer between the park and the beach will absorb storm water and prevent erosion. A handicap-accessible parking lot will be located near a pit toilet. The site will have informational kiosks in several places, and the cross will have benches near it that are cohesive with the design of the cross. The boat launch will remain.
One resident who lives along Father Baraga Road protested further development of what is already there. She said the boat launch is not functional, the road would not accommodate increased activity, and it would need brushing and plowing.
Jim Norvell said they hope to address boat accessibility over the course of time. Skip Lamb said this is a 20-year plan, and the township will be focusing on what can be done on its own land, even though the park plan includes enhancements to the cross area, owned by the Catholic Diocese of Duluth, and the river area, owned by Skip and Linda Lamb.
Regarding the road leading to the park, which has several private properties along it, Bill McKeever said, “It’s a town road.”
Public meetings have been held on enhancement of the park, with notices in the paper and on WTIP Radio, said township supervisor Tina McKeever. It has been discussed at township annual meetings as well.
Soak in the glorious fall colors while following the 2013 Crossing Borders Studio Tour along the Minnesota North Shore of Lake Superior.
This year, 22 career artists with their original work are featured at seven working studio sites located along the North Shore. The Crossing Borders Studio Tour offers a unique opportunity to visit the home studios of the artists and view and purchase art work. Visitors can learn about the artists’ processes and how this rugged environment influences their color and design ideas.
The tour began Sept. 27 and is open daily from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. through Oct. 6. The public is invited to participate in this free self-guided tour.
Featured this year are stone and clay sculpture, Ojibwe art work, pottery, weaving, glass sculpture and jewelry, print making, handmade paper, wood turning, metal works, fiber art, jewelry, and leather. Twelve guest artists will be part of the tour.
A sad note for familiar tour goers is the loss of potter Dave Yungner. Dave, one of the pioneer Crossing Borders artists, passed away suddenly in July. Members of Dave’s family will be at his studio during the first weekend of the tour. Guest artist Karin Kraemer will be at Dale Burton’s studio.
The U.S. Forest Service Tofte District welcomed Kurt Steele as the new district ranger in early September.
Steele brings a broad background in natural resource management. He graduated with a bachelor's degree from Oregon State University in natural resources with an option in forest ecosystems. He also double minored in forest management, and fisheries and wildlife.
Later, Steele successfully completed the National Advanced Silvicultural Program to become a fully certified silviculturist. During that program he studied at Michigan Tech, Northern Arizona University, University of Tennessee, and Oregon State University.
Steele has held positions on several national forests across the country. He started his Forest Service career as a temporary employee with the fire management program on the Umatilla National Forest in eastern Oregon.
His next duty station was on the Rouge-Siskiyou National Forest in southwest Oregon. Steele then accepted a forester position on the Willamette National Forest in western Oregon. His last duty station prior to coming to the Tofte Ranger District was in Georgia on the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest where he served as a silviculturist.
Steele has continued to participate in fire operations where he has established a number of qualifications including Incident Commander Type 4.
Kurt and his wife, Melissa, come to Cook County with their two pets, Trigger, a yellow lab, and Oconee, a kitten. Melissa has already begun her new job as a teacher in the local school system. They look forward to becoming part of the community.
Minnesota Sea Grant is hosting the final segment in a three-part speaker series on Climate Change, Thursday, September 26 at the Harbor House Grille in Grand Marais, starting at 7:30 p.m. (Click on link to WTIP below to hear an interview with Sea Grant Climate Change Extension Educator Hilarie Sorensen.)
The featured speaker is Dr. Robert Richardson from Michigan State University. Dr. Richardson will be speaking about climate change impacts on tourism and recreation and implications for the North Shore.
Dr. Richardson is an Associate Professor of Sustainable Development at Michigan State University. He is an applied economist with interests in the study of environment and development, particularly the contribution of ecosystem services and natural resources to socioeconomic well-being. He holds a PhD in agricultural and resource economics from Colorado State University. His teaching, research, and outreach program focuses mainly on sustainability and development. His research has included assessments of the role of environmental resources in development, vulnerability to climate change, and tradeoffs in decision making about natural resource management.
Harbor House Grill, is located at 411 Highway 61 in Grand Marais. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.