Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Community encouraged to attend public meeting on community center planning

Sun, 06/03/2012 - 12:57pm

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


Election filing period ends Tuesday, June 5

Sun, 06/03/2012 - 12:36pm

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.

Grand Marais Park Board discusses Municipal Pool

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 9:47pm

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 
memo concludes.
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.

ISD 166 probationary teachers released from contracts

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 9:45pm

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 receives recognition

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 11:36am

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,” 
Backstrom said.
The hospital board commended Backstrom and her crew for their 

ISD 166 and Cook County teachers' union reach agreement

Sat, 06/02/2012 - 11:34am

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