Around Cook County
Citizens interested in the new Cook County Community Center are encouraged to attend apublic input meeting on Tuesday, June 5 from 6 - 8 p.m. at the community gymnasiun (the old school gym) at Cook County School District 166.
If you are unable to make the public meeting, you may talk to members of the Community Center Steering Committee. Serving as Steering Committee Chair is Paul Sporn of Grand Marais. Other members are Commissioners Sue Hakes and Fritz Sobanja; Community Center Director/Extension Educator Diane Booth; ISD 166 School Board Member Jeanne Anderson; Maggie Barnard of the Cook County Visitors Bureau; Andra Lilienthal, Community Education; Cathi Williams; Gene Glader; Paul Nelson, Firewise; Sue Prom; Karen Saethre; and ISD 166 Superintendent Beth Schwarz.
Minutes of steering committee meetings and other information about the community center planning process can be found on the Cook County website at www.co.cook.mn.us.
There are a few more days for anyone interested in running for public office to file. The
candidate-filing period for federal, state, county and some local offices beganTuesday, May 22 at 8 a.m. and closes Tuesday, June 5 at 5 p.m.
Candidates filing for office in Cook County do so at the Cook County Auditor’s Office, in the Cook County Courthouse in Grand Marais.
According to a May 5 announcement by County Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, there are a few county seats on the ballot in 2012. There are two county commissioner seats, District 2, currently held by Fritz
Sobanja and District 4, currently held by Jim Johnson.
The fee to file to run for commissioner is $50
Three seats will be on the ballot for the Cook County Soil & Water Conservation District—District 1, currently held by Donald Goodell; District 3 currently held by Joan Farnam; and District 5 currently
held by Jesse Derscheid.
The fee to file for the Soil & Water Conservation District is $20.
Regular summer hours at the pool will begin on June 4. The
pool will be open from noon to 9:00 p.m. on Saturdays and from noon to
8:00 p.m. on Sundays. Summer prices started Memorial Day weekend.
Swim lessons have been scheduled for the summer and log rolling is in
full swing on Mondays and Tuesdays.
At the May meeting of the Grand Marais Park Board, Manager Dave
Tersteeg had information regarding the park board’s request to
investigate the cost of a new pool liner to replace the one that has
been there since 1987. It is rough and has needed repeated patching.
Tersteeg said in an April 26 memo to the board that bids solicited in
2007 had ranged from $27,906 to $79,300. “The 2012 pool budget does
not allocate enough capital to afford refinishing the big pool,” his
Board Chair Walt Mianowski asked what it would cost to rehab the pool
building, but Bill Lenz, also on the city council, said the city’s
attorney said they should not discuss pool rehabilitation at all while
they are dealing with a contract the city previously made with Burbach
Aquatics regarding using that company for future pool projects. The
city continues to stay out of the county’s plans to building a new
community center with a pool because Burbach declared it would take
the city to court if it became involved in that project.
The next meeting of the Grand Marais Park Board is Tuesday, June 5 at
4:30 p.m. at the Recreation Park rec. hall.
Three probationary teachers were released from their
contracts with School District ISD 166 at a special meeting on May 30
at the Jane Mianowski Conference Room.
The ISD 166 School Board acted on the probationary contracts of Sherry
Nanoff, a math intervention instructor; Heather Kemp, a fourth grade
instructor; and Eric Frost, an early childhood special education
Superintendent Beth Schwarz said that Frost didn’t have the
appropriate licensure to retain his position and that Kemp and Nanoff
were being released because of the financial condition of the school
district and decrease in enrollment.
However, said Schwarz, due to several teachers retiring at the end of
this year, teaching positions will open and be posted internally so
that current staff can have first chance at those jobs. That will
leave some openings later, and, said Schwarz, “They may [Kemp,
Nanoff, Frost] be hired for those openings, but as of now we have to
terminate their contracts.”
A motion was passed on the non-renewal of the contracts.
North Shore Hospital Lab Supervisor Jennifer Backstrom was
happy to report that the hospital’s lab and her staff received zero
citations after the College of American Pathologists (CAP) inspection
on May 1 – 2, 2012.
Backstrom gave her report to the North Shore Hospital board on May 24.
“It is difficult for a hospital of any size to pass with no
citations, and the laboratory staff should be commended. I hope you
brag about them,” said Dr. Jon Steinhauer, a Duluth doctor who works
with the lab and its staff.
CAP inspectors tour the world inspecting labs, said Backstrom. The
inspector for the Cook County North Shore hospital had just come back
from Tokyo, and told Backstrom that it’s rare for a lab to be found
“”We have a real committed staff who have real high standards,”
The hospital board commended Backstrom and her crew for their
The ISD 166 School Board has finished its negotiations with
the Cook County Educational Association— the teacher’s union. At
the May 17, 2012 school board meeting, School Board Member Terry
Collins reported on his and board member Mary Sanders’ work
negotiating on behalf of the school board. Representing the Cook
County Education Association (CCEA) were Al Heine, Marc Tavernier, and
Betsy Jorgenson. The agreement, which applies to 39 teachers, will be
in place for the years 2011-2013.
A mediator was hired because the two parties could not agree on
salaries. The union asked for a 3.1 percent increase.
Collins also said arbitration had been considered. After Collins and
Sanders were told that they would likely end up increasing salaries
even after arbitration, he said they decided to spend the
$18,000-20,000 they would have spent on arbitration on salaries instead.
The result was a 0 percent salary increase this year (although
teachers will still move up the pay scale based on years of experience
and educational level) followed by changes in the salary scale next
year—which together will amount to an increase of approximately 2
percent in the amount paid out in teaching salaries next year.
Collins said they also negotiated a change in the starting pay for a
new teacher because they felt it was not competitive. A new teacher
with a bachelor’s degree will now earn $33,392.
Also increased was remuneration for coaching and other student
involvement outside the regular classroom. According to Sanders, this
raises compensation to more professional levels. Collins said that the