Around Cook County
The Cook County Community Center Steering Committee met on May 7, 2012 and discussed a potential layout for a community center attached to the west wing of Cook County High School. The preliminary design proposes remodeling and adding onto the existing building at an estimated cost of $8,350,000.
Outdoor and other amenities totaling $990,000 were also discussed, bringing the total project cost to $9,340,000, which is $340,000 over the amount authorized by the county board. Among other things such as ball fields and a lighted outdoor ice rink, the preliminary plan includes upgrades to two tennis courts and remodeling of the existing Community Center to include warming house amenities.
At the Tuesday, May 8 county board meeting, Commissioner Sue Hakes said the steering committee would be asking the county board to raise the project cost cap to $9,500,000.
Consultant Tom Wacholz of ORB Management later contacted the News-Herald and said, “…If the board authorizes moving forward with the project there will be additional public comment opportunities as the design process moves along.” He said a more updated plan and budget would be presented to the board on May 15.
The Cook County News-Herald wishes all the moms out there a very peaceful and happy Mother's Day!
Cook County Higher Education will feature Judy Siegle, who
will present Witnessing a dream become reality: Building houses in
Haiti at the first Guest Lecture Series of the season on Thursday, May
17 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Cook County Higher Education North Shore
Campus in Grand Marais.
Siegle will share information about the cultures she has visited and
highlight her work in Haiti, where she plans to return in November 2012.
Siegle states, “I have always had an interest in international
travel, with the bottom line toward learning a lot about the cultures
I visit. So, I have been to Nicaragua and Honduras with the Center for
Global Education at Augsburg in 1991; Chiapas, Mexico to carry
monetary and spiritual support to our sister church in Amantenengo in
2008; and to Haiti with Habitat for Humanity’s Carter Work Project in
2011. Each one of those adventures has been transforming and filled
me with humility, sorrow, and joy. I look forward to sharing just a
portion of those experiences with the community on May 17.”
Siegle does not consider herself a “normal” higher education
student. For two years she worked her way through the University of
Minnesota, and took two quarters off to go to Europe with two other
women. She came back to go to school for another quarter and summer
session, got married, and became the mother of two daughters. As they
grew, Judy attended night courses until she had earned enough credits
to need only one more year of school when she finally returned in
Siegle retired in 2002, and she and her husband live in Grand Marais.
There’s no doubt the weather in the Great Lakes Region has been off. In fact, there seems to be a new trend we can rely on, and that’s that you never really know what to expect. There’s a growing consensus that extreme storms and generally unpredictable weather may be the new normal.
The City of Grand Marias has signed a purchase agreement with former Economic Development Authority director Matt Geretschlager for 20 acres along the Gunflint Trail. Geretschlager intends to construct a zipline on the steeply graded land.
The nature of the sale has raised a number of questions in the community. Chief among them is the question of a conflict of interest with Geretschlager. City Administrator Mike Roth said ‘no.’
“The Cook County-Grand Marais EDA is its own separate entity. It has its own board, its own budget, it doesn’t take direction from the city, does not receive funding from the city. Matt is not an employee of the city. There’s no conflict of interest there.”
In the meantime, the EDA board and Geretschlager mutually agreed his last day as director would be June 12.
Another citizen concern has been the method of sale, but Roth said the city operated within state statute.
“A lot of the questions the councilors had about that is, what is our required process here? It was addressed by the city attorney early on when Matt made his request. There is no public hearing requirement for the sale of city-owned property. It’s just as simple as it happened. Someone can come in and say, ‘I’d like to buy that piece of property,’ and the city council goes through some process to decide what it’s worth and whether they’re willing to sell it, and the can offer it for sale.”
Even though a purchase agreement has been signed, the process is far from over. Roth said the price is $75,000 but the sale has not yet closed. He added that the appraised value is not public information at this time.