Around Cook County
For the cost of $100 and a clean background check one can make traveling through U.S. borders much quicker and less stressful when entering the United States at larger international airports, said Brian King, port director/public affairs liaison for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. King, who is located in Warroad, Minnesota, was in Grand Portage on Thursday, May 29 to unveil the Global Entry Protection program to the staff at the Pigeon River border crossing.
Begun in April 2008 as a pilot program at the John F. Kennedy International airport in Jamaica, New York, and two other airports, Global Entry is one of four “Trusted Traveler” programs U.S. Customs and Border Protection uses throughout the country and abroad to screen pre-identified, lower risk populations.
“These programs allow our CBP officers to quickly process low risk travelers,” King explained.
Interested individuals must apply online, said King, and undergo a background investigation and complete an in-person interview with a CBP officer. If no disqualifying information is found, travelers will get a Global Entry card they can use at nearly 300 kiosks located at 34 U.S. airports and 10 preclearance locations in Canada and Ireland.
The $100 application fee allows for a five years of membership, “but if the applicant doesn’t pass the security check, it’s non-refundable,” said King.
CBP Officers at Grand Portage will each receive several days of training to learn the new protocol. In Warroad, all of the agents have been trained in the Global Entry Program, said King.
Global Entry has reduced wait times more than 70 percent with more than 75 percent of travelers using their cards to pass through the check-in gate in less than five minutes.
There's a new business in Grand Marais called 'Oddz & Endz.' WTIP volunteer, Marnie McMillan, spoke with EvaLyn Carlson and Arvis Thompson on North Shore Morning about this new non-profit thrift/consignment store.
Oddz and Enz is located at 2066 West Hwy. 61 in the former bowling alley. Current hours are Mondays and Tuesdays 1 to 6pm, Wednesdays and Saturdays 9am to 2pm; and open for donations Thursdays from 9 to noon. More information from Sharon at 387-1714.
Cook County Higher Education, working with the Cook County Sheriff's Office and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, will offer alcohol server training June 17 and 18.
On Tuesday, June 17, the training will be held 5-7 p.m. at Cascade Lodge; the following day training will be held 10 a.m. to noon at Windigo Lodge on the Gunflint Trail. Cost of the training is $5.
Bartenders, wait staff and all owners and operators of alcohol-dispensing establishments are highly encouraged to attend this informational training. In the state of Minnesota, liability charges can be levied against the individual serving the alcohol as well as the owner. At this course you will learn Minnesota statutes relating to the sale/service of alcohol; procedures for checking identification; how to identify minors; how to manage customer drinking; methods of intervening with intoxicated persons; and factors and signs of intoxication.
The course will be taught by Cook County Sheriff Mark Falk and Brian Kringen, law enforcement liaison officer with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement. Register at Cook County Higher Education by calling 387-3411
Grand Marais developer Matt Geretschlaeger has confirmed the widely circulating rumor that he will not build a zip line on 22 acres of land he purchased from the city of Grand Marais in April 2012.
Reached by phone on July 9, and asked what was happening with his Superior Ziplines development, Geretschlaeger replied, “Absolutely nothing.”
Geretschlaeger said the obstacles to completing the project were insurmountable. He said, “There was too much of a path of resistance. I’m not going to deal with it anymore. I’m completely selling out.”
The property, which Geretschlaeger purchased from the city on April 25, 2012 for $75,000, is located about a quarter mile up from the city’s water tower just off of the Gunflint Trail on the hill overlooking Grand Marais.
At the time of the sale some citizens voiced concerns that Geretschlaeger, the former director of the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA), would like to see the property used for a high-end housing development.
Geretschlaeger assured the community and his funders that was not the case.
Geretschlaeger’s business plan relied on a $250,000 loan from the county’s revolving loan fund, which the county agreed to lend in July 2012. The agreement was contingent on Geretschlaeger securing a loan of $350,000 from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB).
This year, on January 28, 2014, the county board decided to the void the agreement to loan $250,000 from the county revolving loan funds, stating that Geretschlaeger hadn’t met all of the criteria.
Geretschlaeger also told the News-Herald that he was contacted by Cook County Planning & Zoning Administrator Dave Demmer, notifying him that some of the work conducted last fall had caused damage to a protected wetland.
The third and final stage of an ambitious project to enhance the facilities for the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department is completed. Fire Hall #3 and the Seagull Lake Community Center will be hosting an open house on Tuesday June 17.
Phase one of the project was the creation of the Schaap Community Center and a Cold Storage facility at Hall #1 at mid-Trail and the bathroom/storage addition to Hall #2 on South Gunflint Lake Road.
The GTVFD mission was to provide multi-use facilities that would serve as a community center, training center and when necessary an Incident Command Post (ICP). Complete with radio communications, cell service and up to 12 independent phone lines the center can be immediately transformed to an ICP in the event of a major fire, search and rescue mission, evacuation or other such incidents. Thus an ICP team can move right in and begin crucial operations without wasting time acquiring needed resources.
The Schaap Community Center, boosted by a generous donation from Paul and Carol Schaap, has been open since May of 2013. So far area property owner associations, community members, the U.S. Forest Service, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Cook County EMS Department, the GTVFD and numerous other organizations have made use of the center.
The Seagull Lake Community Center will now offer those same opportunities to the end of the Gunflint Trail residents.
The total cost of the three fire hall projects was $850,000 with over $500,000 in donations from a vibrant and generous Gunflint Trail community. That includes the buildings, wells, septic systems, parking lots and emergency generators. Now it’s time to celebrate and give thanks to our friends and neighbors. The Open House Festivities will begin at 4:00 p.m. at 7 Seagull Lake Access Road (right across from the Seagull Creek Fishing Camp).
Each week the WTIP news team puts together a roundup of the week's news. Grand Portage holds elections, Enbridge gets a pipeline go-ahead, tenet caterpillars may not be back with a vengeance and rumble strips are rumbling off in the distance…all this and more in this week’s news.