Around Cook County
Insurance, finances and remodeling under discussion at the Cook County North Shore Hospital & Care Center board meetingFri, 09/27/2013 - 1:02pm
In the summer of 2012, a coalition of Minnesota conservation groups calling themselves Mining Truth started a public dialogue surrounding the proposed Polymet and Twin Metals mines near Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
The coalition is continuing a public debate over four questions they feel Governor Dayton and mining companies should be able to answer before allowing the mines to proceed. (Click on link to WTIP below to hear an interview with Aaron Klemz of Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.)
Those questions are:
1) Will Minnesota’s water stay safe and clean?
2) Are there safeguards in place for when things go wrong?
3) Will the company leave the site clean and maintenance-free?
4) Will Minnesota’s taxpayers be protected?
Bethlehem Lutheran of Grand Marais is hosting its annual Harvest Dinner in support of Zion Lutheran of Finland. The church was destroyed by fire this spring and proceeds from the dinner will be dedicated to their building fund. A special offering basket will be available for additional contributions to Zion Lutheran.
The meal will be served from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27. The traditional menu will include fishcakes, baked ham, parsley buttered potatoes, garden vegetables, beet pickles and rye bread. The church is handicap-accessible but take-home dinners can be requested at the ticket table or by calling Bethlehem at (218) 387-2227 Monday through Thursday and reserving a dinner. Ticket prices are $12 for adults and $5 for children.
This is a great opportunity to enjoy a traditional meal and support the work of Bethlehem Lutheran Church Women and the need of Zion Lutheran of Finland. We will not have financial support from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans this year, so your attendance and gifts will be much appreciated by both congregations.
Dovetail Partners, which has been working with the Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP) over the last couple of years to study the feasibility of biomass energy projects in Cook County, has published a report on its findings. The study also included biomass feasibility in the city of Ely.
The study investigated biomass energy options, impacts and trade-offs for the two communities.
The final report, Community-Driven Biomass Energy Opportunities: A Northern Minnesota Case Study, describes the interest of the two communities in using timber harvest residuals, sub-merchantable timber, and waste wood to heat homes, businesses, and government buildings in either stand-alone or district energy systems.
The case studies provide insight into developing and implementing bioenergy facilities and address the topics of wood supply, technological options, financial feasibility, emissions, environmental impacts, and supply chain opportunities and hurdles. Several alternatives were investigated that can aid other communities interested in bioenergy facilities.
Project funding was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR), the Cook County Board of Commissioners, and the USFS Wood Education and Resource Center. The Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund is a permanent fund constitutionally established by the citizens of Minnesota to assist in the protection, conservation, preservation, and enhancement of the state’s air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources.
The Grand Marais/Cook County Airport Commission continues its effort to extend the existing airport runway 4,200 feet to 5,000 feet. The airport commission appears to have satisfied state and federal environmental and cost-benefit requirements and can proceed to project design.
A key reason the airport commission has pursued the runway expansion for many years is that the existing runway is too short to support state and federal fire-fighting aircraft. As a consequence, aircraft fighting forest fires in Cook County, such as during the 2007 Ham Lake fire must operate from airports much more distant from the blaze. This reduces their ability to quickly suppress an emerging fire or contain a large blaze.
A 5,000-foot runway, Airport Manager Rodney Roy explained, is an FAA standard that allows larger aircraft to accelerate to takeoff speed and still safely stop if necessary, before running out of runway.
Numerous state and federal agencies, along with the Cook County Chamber of Commerce and Cook County health-care agencies and others, have provided strong support for the runway extension.
To raise community awareness of the airport’s role and explain the runway extension project, the Grand Marais/Cook County Airport Commission and the Cook County Chamber jointly are planning a “Fall Color Fly-In and Open House” at the airport on Sept. 28. More information on that event will be announced shortly.
With one organizational meeting under their belts, the committee in charge of setting up and running the 2014 Gitchigami Express Sled Dog race is excited and looking for more volunteer help and sponsors as it proceeds with the second running of what could be called an impromptu (but very successful) inaugural race.
“Last year we had 18 mushers, and this year we are limiting the field to 30,” said one of the organizers, Jack Stone of Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply, who added, “And it doesn’t look like we will have any trouble filling up. We have had mushers from all over, including from Alaska, inquiring about this year’s race.”
The 2014 event will be held January 4-6, and start in Grand Portage and run to somewhere mid-Gunflint Trail before teams finish either at Devil Track Lake or in Grand Marais.
“A lot of where we start and finish will be dependent upon snow conditions,” Stone said.
Underwriting the race is the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and Stone said working with the band has been a blessing.
“I can’t say enough about how good Tribal Chairman Norman Deschampe and the Tribal Council have been to us,” said Stone.
Currently the committee is looking for someone to fill the volunteer race coordinator position. “That’s one or our biggest needs right now,” Stone said, adding, “but we need many more volunteers to help put this race on, so if you want to help out, please contact me at Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply or contact me through our Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race Facebook page.”