Around Cook County
MINNEAPOLIS — The Humane Society of the United States and other animal welfare groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday to restore federal protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region that were lifted last year.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in the District of Columbia against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its parent agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior. It says the decision to take wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan off the endangered list threatens the animals’ recovery throughout most of their historic range.
Hunters and trappers in Minnesota and Wisconsin killed 530 wolves combined during those states’ recently concluded seasons — 413 in Minnesota and 117 in Wisconsin. The Michigan Legislature voted in December to authorize wolf hunting, which could resume as early as this fall.
A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman said she couldn’t comment on the lawsuit, but the agency took the wolves off the endangered list because the population had recovered and followed the law in doing so.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued a statement saying that putting wolves back on the list would not be in the best interest of the animals or state residents.
Michigan is expected to make a decision on wolf hunting this spring. Officials say if a hunt is approved, it probably will be limited to parts of the sparsely populated Upper Peninsula where wolves have preyed on livestock and pets.
A spokesman for the Minnesota DNR declined to comment until officials could review the lawsuit.
St. Paul, Minn. (February 11, 2013) – Portage, a musical group from Grand Portage has been named the Aging Services of Minnesota 2013 District B Volunteer of the Year for their years of entertaining the residents at Cook County North Shore Hospital and Care Center. This special award is the highest honor recognizing the dedication and service of volunteers who support Minnesota seniors.
Portage was honored in February by Aging Services of Minnesota, a trade association for older adult services organizations in Minnesota.
Portage is a classic country music band that has been performing for the residents in and around Cook County for over 10 years. They have had a long standing gig at the care center the last Saturday of every month for 8 years – and they fill the dance floor every time.
“They play my favorite song, Heartache by the Number every time, just for me,” said resident Gert Scott
“The members of Portage are an inspiring example of what volunteers can accomplish in the lives of older adults,” said Gayle Kvenvold, president and CEO of Aging Services of Minnesota. “Their dedication and talent have made a difference in the lives of so many.”
Volunteers like the members of Portage are the unsung heroes in Minnesota’s health care system. Their deep commitment, talent and contributions make it possible for older adult services organizations to extend the level of care and services to their residents, clients and communities.
For more information about the 2013 Aging Services of Minnesota Stars Among Us awards, visit our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/AgingServicesMN?feature=watch
On Wednesday, Jan 10, the Cook County senior high Knowledge Bowl team had its first meet, facing powerful competition from a number of teams who went to the State Knowledge Bowl meet last year—International Falls, Marshall, Duluth East, Hermantown, Denfeld and Proctor.
Cook County fielded two teams and both finished quite well, said Knowledge Bowl Coach April Wahlstrom.
Team 1 was Mara MacDonell, Ben Seaton, and Sarah Larsen, who came in first in points with 110.5 points. The Cook County team was followed by IFalls with 108, Hermantown 105.
Team 2 was right behind with 104.5 in 4th place. Team 2 includes Will Seaton, Sean MacDonell and Sterling Anderson.
Coach Wahlstrom said the high-ranking finishes were all the more impressive because teams can have four individuals on a team. Cook County was missing its 11th grade students who were taking a final, so the students who competed were at a disadvantage. They still pulled off a top five finish.
“Things are on the up and up for Cook County,” said Coach Wahlstrom, “State is a goal again.”
Upcoming meets are Feb. 13 and March 6. The tournament to determine State contenders is on March 20.
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.