Around Cook County
The snow may be piled up all over Grand Marais, but that didn’t stop the Grand Marais Park Board from discussing plans for the Community Connections walkway into the Grand Marais Recreation Area at its February 5 meeting.
North House Folk School Executive Director Greg Wright was on hand to discuss plans that timber frame designer and instructor Peter Henrikson had drawn up for a pedestrian bridge on the Community Connections walkway. The Community Connections project will lead pedestrians from the highway down into the northeast section of the park next to North House. Wright had designs for a covered bridge and an uncovered bridge.
Wright said North House never uses treated lumber and recommended that they use large tamarack beams from International Falls if the bridge were uncovered because tamarack is more resistant to rotting from moisture. A covered bridge would lengthen the life of the bridge because it would provide more protection from moisture.
“The covered is more expensive, but the covered is more beautiful,” said Bill Lenz.
The board talked about how a covered timber frame bridge would look and how it would affect views of the lake. “I don’t see it as an obstruction as much as an invitation,” said Sally Berg.
Park Manager Dave Tersteeg, who formerly worked in the landscaping field, said he sees the bridge as a piece of landscape furniture. Board Chair Walt Mianowski said it would blend in well with the architecture of the North House. Berg said it would enhance the area like an architectural feature in a Chinese garden.
You didn’t know it, but you have training your whole life. Anytime you told a Sven & Ole joke at home or school or to your dog, you were sharpening your skills. And now it’s time to show the world just how good you have become at delivering a punch line.
On February 20 the first world championship Sven & Ole joke-telling competition will be held at Sven & Oles pizzeria at 7 p.m. Competitors should get there a little bit before 7 p.m. to warm up their gums and loosen their tongues.
First prize is a $50 gift certificate and the right to call yourself a World Champion. A $25 gift certificate will be given to the contestant judged to have the best Scandinavian accent.
All participants will get a prize of some sort.
There is a strong rumor that two young Norwegian journalists will be on hand to take pictures and use some of the film for their interactive documentary project. At least that’s what Sven said. Ole couldn’t be reached because he was busy cutting lutefisk into heart shapes to give to Lena for Valentine’s Day.
Uffdah, won’t she be happy?
Have you been wishing for those one-of-a-kind cookies that
you can only purchase at a certain time of the year? Have you been
thinking of Thin Mints? Craving Caramel Delights? Longing for
Lemonades? Well, you are in luck because Cook County Girl Scouts have
cookies and they are selling!
Cook County Girl Scouts now offer direct sales, which means you don’t
have to order your cookies and wait weeks to get them. The cookies are
here in Cook County, so most of the time when you buy, you receive
your cookies immediately if they are in stock.
So find your favorite Girl Scout and buy cookies for yourself, your
relatives, and your friends. Cookies are a great way to say “Thank
you” or “I’m thinking of you!”
And whether you enjoy them all yourselves or whether you share, buying
cookies from a Girl Scout is more than just handing over money for a
treat. For the girls, selling cookies teaches goal setting, decision-
making, money management, people skills and business ethics. All
things essential to leadership, to success and to life.
For nearly 100 years, Girl Scouts have been selling cookies, earning
money to help support their troops’ activities and to contribute to
their communities. And Cook County Girl Scouts are happy to carry on
So, look for your favorite scout to buy some Peanut Butter Patties,
Thanks-A-Lots or, new this year, Mango Cremes.
There were a few finishing touches to be done on the newly
renovated Lutsen Town Hall, so Lutsen supervisors convened the
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 meeting one last time in town’s old meeting
space. Along with usual monthly business, the town board talked about
parking and considered rental prices and policies for the new town
It was noted that with more space for people, more space for vehicles
is needed. Treasurer John Groth said a citizen had asked if the ball
field fence could be removed and parking extended to the east. The
cost to extend the parking lot would be $21,000 for an area 80’x90.’
To add an additional space of 24’x50’ for overflow would be $27,000.
It was agreed to discuss this at the upcoming annual meeting, on March
Supervisor Ginny Storlie shared a draft rental policy, but said she
had heard from current users of the hall, asking if their rate could
stay the same. The board agreed to give the group that currently meets
at the hall the same rate for a year, to be reconsidered after that.
Otherwise, the town board is considering charging $50 for a group of
25-50 people or $100 for 51- 100 people.
The next town meeting will be held in the newly expanded town hall
space on February 19 at 7 p.m. Prior to the regular monthly meeting,
the town board will hold its annual board of audit at 5:30 p.m. and
then a budget meeting at 6 p.m.
On Wednesday, February 13, the Cook County
Senior Center was filled with excited representatives from area
nonprofits. It was time for twice-yearly distribution of profits from
the First & Second Thrift Store in Grand Marais, which is always a fun
event. Throughout the year, volunteers staff the thrift store and the
donation center, accumulating hours to be credited toward their
designated organization. No one is sure just what they’ve “earned”
until the numbers are tallied and announced at the gathering. It’s
always a pleasant surprise for the volunteers and the nonprofit
organizations to see just how much has been raised.
At the gathering this week, 25 different organizations received a
portion of the $20,044.75 made at the thrift store from July 1, 2012
to December 31, 2012. In all 68 volunteers worked a total of 1822.25
hours! The payout amount for this period was $11 per hour. The payout
varies depending on store profits and expenses, but since the store
opened in 2007, local nonprofits have received $$198,214.98.
First & Second is located in the Cobblestone building next to
Pumphouse Fitness. The store is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and
Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The warehouse for accepting donations of clean, lightly used items is
located on the south side of the garage behind the Cook County Senior
Center. The donation center is open Wednesday and Saturday from 9 a.m.
to 1 p.m.
If you are interested in volunteering at the thrift store and
raising some money for your favorite local nonprofit, contact Thrift
At their Feb. 12 meeting, county commissioners did not
disagree with the notion that the Assessor’s Office has a lot of work
to do or that keeping more detailed property records is a good idea,
but they weren’t ready at their February 12 county board meeting to
grant Assessor Betty Schultz’s request for a new position in the
The Minnesota Department of Revenue (DOR) requires that counties
assess at least one-fifth of their properties – called a quintile –
each year so that all properties get assessed at least every five
years. The DOR is in the process of conducting a review of all
Minnesota assessor offices to gauge compliance.
Cook County has not been able to meet the quintile requirement for
years, and Assessor Schultz is trying to figure out how her department
is going to do it. She said the DOR has told her the county must be
in compliance within five years. “It’s a serious responsibility,” she
said. “Right now we cannot meet the requirements at the current level
In addition to increasing the number of assessments the department
will be doing each year, the county board has authorized Schultz to
gather more detailed information on all properties and implement a new
computer system to track that information.
The onsite assessment will involve measuring land elevations, views,
access, lakeshore footage, roadways, tillable soils, water, sewer, and
electric utilities, and buildings, including quality, condition, story
heights, open vault areas, age, decks and porches, differing uses