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News and other information from Cook County

School District 166 considers levy options

Sun, 08/24/2014 - 11:00am

The voter approved property tax levy that was accepted in the fall of 2011 is set to expire December 2015. Cathy Erickson of the Arrowhead Regional Consortium spoke at the August 7, 2014 school board meeting to explain what levy options are available to the board. The levy generates approximately $430,000 in annual revenue for the school district.

Due to a change in the way the state allows and calculates school levies the original $650 per resident pupil unit has been modified to the figure of $861 adjusted pupil units which is based solely on the number of students attending Cook County Public Schools. With the legislative changes the board would be allowed to levy as much as $724 per adjusted pupil unit without voter approval. This would generate just over $9,100 in additional revenue.

Another factor in the decision is that Cook County schools receive no equalization aid from the state. Equalization payments are based on a formula of all taxable properties except seasonal, recreational properties in a district and the number of students. Since property values are high in Cook County and the number of students low, ISD 166 is one of two schools in Minnesota that does not qualify for the additional aid. Erickson indicated that part of the reasoning behind the formula is that if you are serving fewer students you should have to spend less than larger schools.

Board member Ed Bolstad stated that he had heard that Cook County has the lowest property tax rate in the state. Erickson clarified that the tax rate percentage is lower because of the higher property values. Another option being considered is to ask voters to approve an increase over and above the $724.

One dynamic being considered by the board is that it did vote to approve an additional property tax levy specifically for the improvements to the parking lot at the last meeting. The board pondered whether it should wait on asking voters to approve even more.

A New Season of Cook County Athletics & Booster Club Concessions

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 7:19pm

The first home volleyball game is Tuesday August 26th, and the Cook County Athletic Booster Club wants you.  North Shore Morning host Sherrie Lindskog  spoke with Kris Phillips, Booster Club secretary, on North Shore Morning.

The Cook County Athletic Booster Club is looking for volunteers for the concession stand during the volleyball season (6 home volleyball games) and later for the basketball season (starting in December).
Three people per shift is ideal.  Anyone can volunteer - parents, grandparents, community members, businesses, etc. A sign-up sheet will also be posted at school at the concession area looking for volunteers for other home games.  More information and sign up with Kris Phillips at 370-5910 or
Earliest dates: Tuesday, Aug 26 (Silver Bay)
Early Shift (4:45-6:30)
Late Shift (6:30-8:15)
Tuesday, Sept. 9 (Wrenshall) 
Early Shift (4:45-6:30)
Late Shift (6:30-8:15) 


North Shore Morning

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Little Free Library coming to Harbor Park soon

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 8:27am

Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux was back in front of the Grand Marais Park Board with his proposal to build a Little Free Library (LFL) and place it in Harbor Park.

Arrowsmith DeCoux appeared before the board two months ago and then had to take his request to the Grand Marais City Council. They told Arrowsmith DeCoux to take his request back to the park board for final approval.

While the park board had expressed initial concerns about seeing a LFL in Harbor Park, Arrowsmith DeCoux said he could put one near the east end of the park near two trees. “That way it wouldn’t affect the site lines in the park,” he said.

The LFL proposed by Arrowsmith DeCoux would look like the Grand Marais lighthouse and stand 5 feet tall and weigh about 100 pounds. It would be moored to the ground, but in such a way that it could be removed in the winter when the park walks are filled with snow and the park isn’t in use most of the time.

“I would be willing to go get it and store it in my garage,” said Arrowsmith DeCoux.

Arrowsmith DeCoux said he picked up a lot of books at the recent Library Friends Book Sale, and could get more from the Grand Rapids Library Friends if needed. The books he selected were graphic novels or regional in content—two topics that LFL studies suggested patrons seemed to want to get from a LFL.

After some discussion the board voted unanimously to have Arrowsmith DeCoux build and install the LFL in Harbor Park. Sally Berg said she was in favor of the motion because if, at some time, the town gets an Arts Advisory Board (AAB), the LFL could be moved if the AAB decided it didn’t fit that area. Arrowsmith DeCoux said he was fine with that and he will have the structure up and running by the middle of August.

Arrowsmith DeCoux has erected a Little Free Library on 5th Street near Sawtooth Ridges Senior Apartments in Grand Marais.

Food Shelf helps community members obtain fresh produce

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 8:53pm

Providing hungry families and seniors with fresh, healthy food has long been a goal of the Cook County Food Shelf.  In the past year, the Food Shelf has created the new “Fresh Produce Voucher” program to allow people to choose their own fresh produce.

Throughout the country, hunger relief programs and food shelves are realizing the important role they play in supporting people with limited financial resources by providing healthier and fresher foods.

Last year, Cook County Food Shelf partnered with the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, Minnesota Extension, and AEOA through a Community Transformation Grant to find a new way to provide greater access to fresh produce. The Food Shelf was already offering fresh produce for part of the month thanks to generous donations from St. John’s Catholic Church. The Food Shelf Board saw that people loved the fresh produce, but it was difficult for the volunteers to handle, difficult to store and it didn’t last for clients later in the month. Together, the partners created a new produce voucher worth $10, which can be redeemed at any local grocery store for the purchase of fresh fruits or vegetables only, and can be used at any time they shop.

The fresh produce voucher program kicked off this spring, and it has been a great success. “We were in a position to use more money towards food for families, and we could have added more non-perishable food to the box.  But we decided to put it towards these fresh produce vouchers instead,” said Food Shelf board member Steve Deschene. 

“The fresh produce voucher helps support the local grocers as well. And it gives people more options, to use at any store for what they want,” said board member Sharon Hendrickson.

For information about the fresh produce program, contact Steve Deschene at 387-1767, Gwen or Bill Lenz at 387-9860, or First Congregational Church at 387-2113.

Work on Lake Superior - Lutsen Mountains water pipeline under way

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 8:52pm

Work on the Lake Superior-Poplar River Water District pipeline, a project three years in the making is under way. Maine Tech is working to install the piping at the Lake Superior inlet.

When the approximately 2-mile, 20-inch diameter pipeline is up and running between Lake Superior and Lutsen Mountain Ski Hill, it will be able to pump 7,500 gallons of water per minute to users in the water district.

In November 2011, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) told Lutsen Mountains Ski Hill that it had to stop drawing water from the Poplar River for snowmaking by fall 2016. The ski hill and other area businesses drafted a plan, environmental studies were conducted, and in October 2012, the DNR determined that the proposed Lake Superior-Poplar River Water District pipeline would have no significant environmental effects

In addition to snowmaking, water drawn from Lake Superior will be used for irrigation of Superior National at Lutsen golf course, as a water source for local fire departments and eventually for drinking water. However, additional funds are needed to complete the water plant and drinking water phase of the project.

The cost of the pipeline project is estimated at $4.8 million. Construction began with $3.6 million secured in the 2012 state bonding bill. A local match is required so a number of project partners have contributed such as the Cook County-Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA); Superior National at Lutsen golf course; Caribou Highlands Lodge; Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior; Mountain Inn; Village at Lutsen Mountain Condominium Association; Eagle Ridge Resort; Papa Charlie’s Restaurant, and several other businesses, with Lutsen Mountains contributing the majority of the necessary funding.

Annual Ruffed Grouse Society Banquet - September 4

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 1:08pm

The annual banquet for the North Shore Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society is coming up Thursday, September 4th, at the American Legion in Grand Marais.  WTIP volunteer Tracy Benson spoke with Jean Mathis Spry about this event on North Shore Morning. 

22nd Annual North Shore Chapter
Conservation & Sportsmen’s Banquet
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Social Hour & Raffles: 5:30 p.m.
Dinner: 7:30 p.m.

American Legion Post 413
17 West 1st Street
Grand Marais, MN 55604

For more information, please contact:
Jean Spry or Jill Hill
PO Box 892
Grand Marais, MN 55604

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