Around Cook County
On Tuesday, March 11, 2014, the county board authorized Sheriff Mark Falk to purchase two new replacement squad cars and equipment at a total cost of about $95,000, which was budgeted for. Commissioner Bruce Martinson voted against the purchase, saying there was not enough information provided, such as the account balance or mileage on the vehicles to be replaced.
Maintenance Director Brian Silence was given the go-ahead to seek quotes for a new vehicle to be used by the assessor, and to look at alternatives for more efficient use of the vehicles in the county fleet.
Users of the county recycling facility will notice a change beginning this week – expanded hours of operation on Tuesdays.
Cook County Planning Director Tim Nelson came before the county commissioners March 11 with the new plan and several other items.
Nelson, who also serves as solid waste officer, said he has been hearing comments and complaints for nearly as long as he’s been here (10-plus years) about the fact that the Recycling Center does not open to the public until 11 a.m. In response to those requests, Nelson said he is willing to implement a pilot program on a trial basis.
Effective immediately, the center will now open at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays until further notice.
Nelson explained that the reason the center has never been open between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. is to allow employees time to process materials that have come in either from the drop-off boxes at the center or those from remote trailers in other locations throughout the county. Nelson said if the expanded morning hours on Tuesday prove successful and don’t interfere with the work routine, morning hours on other days will be added.
Hours of operation for the Recycling Center are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, except for Thursday (open until 6 p.m.) and Tuesday (open at 9 a.m.), and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
Unfortunately winter still insists upon staying onstage, even though spring is supposed to be waiting in the wings. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Stewart about more snow on the way.
Winners in the 2013 Minnesota Associated Press Broadcasters news contest have been announced. WTIP will take home four at the Midwest Journalism Conference in Bloomington on March 28.
In the Feature category, the station won two Honorable Mentions:
"Arrowhead Transit: All Aboard!" by Veronica Weadock and "Artist Open House: Lenna Stever," by Jay Andersen.
In the Series and Specials category, First Place went to "The Lake Superior Project," by Kelly Schoenfelder. Best Documentary went to "History Speaks: The Boundary Waters," by Ada Igoe.
AP news awards are given to Minnesota stations in categories based upon their staff sizes.
At the February 18, 2014 meeting Cook County commissioners, Tim Kennedy of Grand Marais was appointed to represent the county on the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks & Trails Commission.
Kennedy is longtime member of the Superior Cycling Association and North Shore Ski and Run Club and a strong advocate for establishing and building trails to accommodate those activities. He came before the board asking to be the county’s representative on the council at the regional and statewide levels so that he can advocate for Cook County.
The Superior Cycling Association applied for Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Parks and Trails Legacy Grant funding last fall and while it was turned down, Kennedy said, “We are still hopeful and optimistic,” that the club would reapply and receive funds in the future.
If granted the money would be used to build more single-track mountain biking trails at Pincushion Mountain in Grand Marais and Britton Peak in Tofte. Each area has about five miles of single-track mountain biking trails with two more miles to be added to each system this summer.
Outstate Minnesota is in a constant fight with the Metro area for state funds to build and maintain more recreational trails, said Kennedy. In the last three years $70 million in state funds have been allocated to the Metro Parks while the rest of the state has been awarded $26 million.
The GMPTC works with the governor and legislative leaders to select projects seeking funds from the Parks & Trail Legacy Fund, which was initiated by the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.
“If I get appointed to the coalition it will give us more footing to apply for more Legacy funding, which might be as early as this fall,” Kennedy said.
Mountain biking is a growing sport nationally, and single-track riders are pushing that trend even further.
Conservation Corps Minnesota is currently accepting applications for young adults, ages 18-25, for summer apprentice positions in 37 Soil and Water Conservation Districts throughout Minnesota. Apprentices will spend their summer working alongside natural resource professionals to learn hands-on skills in managing soil and water resources. Responsibilities will vary by site and may include communicating with landowners, providing educational materials, monitoring, inspecting sites, preparing reports and other conservation-related activities. The Cook SWCD apprentice will be based at the courthouse in Grand Marais.
Apprentices will serve as AmeriCorps members and receive a monthly living stipend of $1,210 as well as an education award of $1,468 to use towards qualifying education and student loan expenses. Educational credits may be arranged by the apprentice. The service term runs from May 19-August 15.
Interested candidates should apply online at www.conservationcorps.org/apply by March 21, 2014.
The program is funded through the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resource Trust Fund and LCCMR.