Around Cook County
At the Tofte annual meeting on Tuesday, March 12, Supervisor Paul James said a design consultant is working with Temperance River State Park officials and the Minnesota Department of Transportation on increasing safety at the Temperance River wayside rest. The design they are working on would help prevent pedestrians from crossing the highway in so many places. An open house to discuss the plans will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 11 at the Schroeder town hall. James said travelers want wayside rests that they can access directly off the road.
Town Clerk Barb Gervais volunteered to work with the park and cemetery committee on restoring or replacing the pavilion in the town park. She said she would like to see a timber frame structure put up and would be willing to apply for grants to get the necessary funding. The group talked about how the structure could be built to shelter people from the cold and how lighting could discourage vandalism.
The monthly birthday party at the North Shore Care Center will be celebrated on Wednesday, April 10 to honor Lorraine Duininck, Earl Anderson, and Delores McLean. Cake and ice cream will be served at 3:00 p.m. along with piano classics performed by Doug Sanders.
There are volunteer opportunities for all ages at the North Shore Care Center. For more information about the activity calendar or volunteer programs, please contact the Activity Dept. at 218-387-3518 or visit our website www.nshorehospital.com.
If you are interested in learning about water monitoring and using some great equipment, an opportunity is available – Cook County Soil & Water is still in need of water monitors. Volunteers are needed to fill in as substitutes and to possibly be responsible for one water body for a season. The season runs from May-September.A mandatory training will be held Tuesday, April 16 from 9 to 11:45 a.m., rain or shine. If you are interested in learning more and attending the training, contact Ilena Berg at 218-287-3648 or email@example.com before Friday, April 10.
On March 28, Paul Nelson and George Wilkes of the Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP) met with the Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to discuss the possibility of the PUC being the fiscal agent for a biomass district heating plant grant of $200,000-$250,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The grant requires a significant amount of work to have been done already. Nelson said the biomass district heating project CCEP has been pursuing on behalf of the city of Grand Marais appears to be tailor-made for this grant, with all of the required background work already completed.
The PUC has agreed to be the owner of the proposed plant if it proves to be feasible. CCLEP has been working through a series of steps to determine the project’s feasibility, but for this grant, a fiscal agent with a more significant financial history, such as the PUC, is required.
CCLEP has retained the services of FVB Energy Inc., which has estimated that a biomass plant, underground infrastructure, and hookups to the first customers would cost about $9 million.
Grand Marais Public Utilities (PUC) customers have undoubtedly noticed a new format to their monthly bills. The new format was recommended by the city’s energy cooperative, Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA) with the hope that a new feature comparing energy use with other customers will inspire people to reduce their use of energy.
The new format shows residential customers how their own energy use compares with that of people with homes of similar size, age, and heat sources. Grand Marais has been divided up into numerous groupings.
According to the SMMPA website, “The Household Energy Comparison is aimed at giving you a better understanding of your electric consumption and provides additional ways to use energy wisely. Similar programs across Minnesota have found that customers save an average of 1.5 percent on their monthly electric bills.
The Cook County High School Industrial Arts Trust Fund doesn’t have a fancy name and the one who inspired it won’t let it be named after him, but it is in place and awaiting support from the community.
Last November, the ISD 166 school board decided to establish a fund to promote the industrial arts program and gave Leonard Sobanja, a long-time advocate of vocational education, the discretion to determine how it would be used.
Sobanja is a retired ISD 166 teacher, principal, and school board member. At the March 21 school board meeting, he thanked the board for motivating him to develop the Industrial Arts Trust Fund.
In a letter to the board, Sobanja wrote that he had given the fund’s guidelines a lot of thought. He decided the fund should be used not for scholarships but for building the CCHS Industrial Arts Department.
The guidelines state, “The fund is dedicated to help build and furnish the space needed to meet the requirements of an up-to-date industrial arts facility that will allow students to experience the techniques needed in today’s labor market.”
The fund is open to donations from the community and funds raised will be placed in the school’s trust fund so they can enjoy the interest raised by that fund. Expenditures must be approved by a committee comprised of the superintendent, a school board member who advocates for technical education, the CCHS industrial arts teacher, the school counselor, and any teachers who have vocational education certificates.
Sobanja said he would like to see the fund grow and pointed out that new machinery is needed.
Hands-on learning is vital, Sobanja said.
The board unanimously passed a motion formally establishing the CCHS Industrial Arts Trust Fund.