Around Cook County
Cook County has seen a lot of staff turnover in recent months. This may be good news for people seeking certain types of jobs but difficult for some departments to keep up with.
Public Health & Human Services is one such department. Director Sue Futterer reported to the county board on August 27 that Child Support Officer Michael Garry had resigned after being recruited for a job with better pay. He had been in the position for less than six months. “County wages are not competitive with other businesses in Cook County right now,” Futterer said, “and that’s one of the reasons we’re losing staff.”
Cook County Higher Education in collaboration with Mesabi Range Community & Technical College is offering two levels of Boiler Operator Licensure training. The training is scheduled for Sept. 27 and 28, with registration due Sept. 4.
The training offered is:
It may be a while before people enjoying outdoor sports near the Cook County tennis courts, Community Center, and ball fields will be able to find a drink of water outside.
At the August 27 county board meeting, Commissioner Garry Gamble reported on his visit to the Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission (PUC) where he was told the city would not be interested in waiving the $1,000 hookup fee for a drinking fountain near the tennis courts.
At the PUC meeting, Gamble was told that the old fountain near the tennis courts had leaked, frozen in the wintertime, and been vandalized. City Water/wastewater Superintendent Tom Nelson had said the location that has been suggested might be too close to the fire hydrant.
Minnesota requires school children to have certain immunizations, and these early days of the school year mean time for vaccination updates. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Sawtooth Mountain Clinic nurse Amy Marie Schmidt about what shots kids need and when.
The Care Partners Senior Rides program is an exciting new resource for seniors in the community. Senior Rides is a volunteer assisted transportation program that fills in the gap for transportation needs not met by Arrowhead Transit or friends and relatives.
“Arrowhead Transit is a great resource in Cook County,” commented Debi LaMusga, the program’s new coordinator. “But there are times when the Duluth schedule doesn’t work for them, or the day gets too long. They may need someone to walk with them to the office or help with grocery bags.”
In addition to medical trips to Duluth or other regional centers, Senior Rides will offer rides within Cook County for medical appointments as well as wellness and social activities for those over 60. “Care Partners is pleased to offer another way to help seniors live independently and safely and another resource for their caregivers,” says Care Partners Program Director Kay Grindland.
Care Partners is currently recruiting Senior Rides volunteer drivers. Volunteers must have a reliable vehicle and good driving record. Care Partners will reimburse mileage and provide a short training. Providing this one-on-one service can be very rewarding and the schedule is very flexible. Volunteers can choose to provide rides to Duluth, or just around town.
The first orientation is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 4 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the lower level classroom at Sawtooth Mountain Clinic. Call 387-3788 to sign up or for more information.
The Senior Center has been offering volunteer-assisted rides for out-of-county medical reasons for many years. A federal Older Americans Act grant from the ARDC Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging has allowed Care Partners to expand on that service. Care Partners is working closely with the Senior Center to transfer their service to Senior Rides so all volunteer assisted transportation is under one roof.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of people per day visit Artists Point during the busy summer season. Visitors are drawn to the Point to enjoy the view, explore shoreline rocks, experience its small forest, observe wildlife, and absorb the sights and sounds of this natural Lake Superior setting.
Few of the visitors know, however, that the area in Grand Marais known as Artists Point is actually part of the Superior National Forest.
The Point includes a well-defined and dense network of unmaintained user trails in its small forest. Soil erosion, soil compaction, root exposure, and vegetation trampling is abundant. Due to poor drainage and the natural topography of the peninsula, there are puddles and large muddy areas in the forested portion of Artists Point during the summer months. Poor access, water obstacles, and fallen trees impede easy access to the area by visitors, leading to the expansion of user trails and additional impacts.
The Superior National Forest is working to manage recreational use of Artists Point to improve visitors’ experiences at the site and protect natural resources. Beginning soon, a three-phase plan to improve the area will begin; plans call for completion by next spring.
The plan includes:
• Development of a trail through the interior of the forested portion of Artists Point with spur trails to access points of interest. A developed trail will provide safer and drier access to both sides of the Point.
• Replacement of the existing steps going up to the breakwater. New steps will be better designed, safer to use, and include even step height. The Army Corps of Engineers also plans to repair the handrail going out to the lighthouse.