Around Cook County
The weather looks wet for Tuesday night and Wednesday, but it’s looking good for the Dragon Boat Festival this weekend. That plus bow echoes and big billowy clouds. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke about rain and big thunderheads with meteorologist Carol Christenson.
Has the Flute Reed always run brown? What were the North Shore streams like before the European settlers arrived? Interested citizens are invited to attend the annual meeting of the Flute Reed Partnership to find out.
The meeting will take place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. July 28 at the Hovland Town Hall. The featured speaker will be Paul Sandstrom of the National Resource Conservation Service in Duluth. He will talk about the
history of our North Shore streams and how they have changed. Paul has fished the Flute Reed many times and studied our rivers for over 30 years, and is full of fascinating stories.
There will also be an update on the Flute Reed Partnership $540,000
Great Lakes Restoration grant and other activities of the watershed group.
As a part of the agreement reached by Gov. Dayton and legislative leaders, the bills recently signed into law once again will use school districts to help balance the budget. Some $700 million in state aids to education will be held back. ISD166 Superintendent Beth Schwarz:
“Of course we’re pleased that the state shutdown has come to an end, but really disappointed that again the state’s budget is again being balanced on the backs of our children. That’s very, very frustrating. For us it would be like your boss coming to you and saying ‘We’re having a cash flow problem right now on the books, we’re going to give you 60% of your check and we’re going to write you an IOU for 40% of the rest and we’ll pay you that in about a year.”
Schwarz said holding back part of the payments means money will be coming in long after it was needed.
“We will get 60% of our funding throughout the course of the 2011-12 school year, but we will get 40% of our state aid after the school year is over. So we will be getting aid payments in August, September and October that are monies that were meant to pay our teachers, keep the lights on, keep books on from September to May, 2011-12.”
She likened the borrowing, line of credit and payback scenario to a credit card shell game.
“It means for us borrowing, it also means where’s our cash flow at, what sort of things can we do?
It looks like we’re definitely going to use our line of credit throughout the year next year, and ity looks like any given month, we’ll be looking to have to run that line of credit to its maximum, which is about $220,000, and then we’ll get a state aid payment in and we’ll pay it on that credit and then we’ll probably have to run it up again the next month. So we’ll be doing a lot of that shell game a lot of people in their personal lives are doing right now, given the economy.”
It is true that the legislators increased per pupil aids by 50 dollars, but Schwarz said, while appreciated, it isn’t much of a help.
“The shift, the 40% we’re looking at is $1.4 million for our district. The $50 per student will give us about $25,000. So it really is a drop in the bucket. Every little bit helps and I don’t mean to snub the legislators, at least they got us something, but on the other hand, $25,000 in help when we’re being asked to come up with $1.4 million is pretty tough.”
The smoke you may smell is coming from fires in Northwest Ontario. Winds in a northerly direction are bringing to Cook County smoke from wildfires totaling a million-three hundred thousand acres.
The 118 active fires are largely concentrated in an area from the Manitoba border to above Thunder Bay, Ontario. The latest activity is two small fires in the Fort Frances Fire District in the Quetico Provincial Park along the border with the BWCAW. The two are above Ely and Prairie Portage west of Saganaga. They are small and their cause is unknown at this time.
Last week an Air Quality Advisory was issued for Grand Portage. If heat and high humidity accompany the smoke, particulates in the air may have an adverse effect on the elderly, young children and people with respiratory difficulties.
To see a map of fire locations, click here.
Photo courtesy of summerrunner2009 via Flickr.
On July 26, Mike Wait of Sirius Golf Advisors will present a report about Superior National at Lutsen (SNL) golf course to the Cook County Board of Commissioners. Sirius has been meeting with golf course staff, golfers, with individuals involved in the creation of the golf course, as well as investigating the health of other golf courses in the region. Sirius has been tasked with giving recommendations on how to make the golf course operate in the best possible way to serve the community.
Sirius was retained by the county to conduct an analysis of SNL, which is managed by the EDA, a joint entity of Cook County and the City of Grand Marais.
At the July 5 meeting of the Grand Marais Park Board, Recreation Park Manager Dave Tersteeg reported to park board members that he is working with Gunflint Hills Golf Course employees to prioritize capital needs that might be eligible for 1% sales and use tax money being collected countywide for recreational capital improvements.
“We’re not asking for the world,” Gunflint Hills Golf Course Manager Mike Kunshier said. “We’re asking for a small upgrade. Our equipment is really old.” He said, for example, they have been unable to find parts for their 20-year-old riding lawn mower.