Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

New segment of Gitchi-Gami State Trail opens

Wed, 06/05/2013 - 8:12am

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Gitchi-Gami Trail Association held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Silver Bay yesterday to celebrate the official opening of a new, 2.3-mile paved segment of the Gitchi-Gami State Trail on the North Shore of Lake Superior. 

From the Rukavina Arena in Silver Bay, the new trail segment runs south across Northshore Mining property and continues to the east end of West Road in Beaver Bay. Continuing south, bicyclists and other trail users can follow the gravel West Road for a half mile to connect with the longest paved section of the trail, the 14.6-mile segment from Beaver Bay to Gooseberry Falls State Park.

More than 28 miles of the trail are complete in six segments. The Lutsen Phase 1 segment, to be completed in 2013, will add another 1.1 paved miles to the trail.

When complete, the trail will extend 86 miles from Two Harbors to Grand Marais.

New principal selected for ISD 166

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 2:51pm

Twenty-seven community members and school representatives spent Saturday, May 18, 2013 interviewing five candidates out of a field of 16 for the Cook County High School 6th-12th grade principal position that is being reinstated next school year.  By Monday, May 20, ISD 166 Superintendent Beth Schwarz announced on the school’s facebook page that Adam Nelson, a social studies teacher at Red Wing High School, had been offered and conditionally accepted the job.
In a special meeting on Thursday, May 30, the board voted to hire Nelson on a one-year probationary contract at a salary of $78,000 plus benefits.  His duty year will be 210 days (the equivalent of 42 weeks) with up to 15 paid-time-off days for sickness and/or other approved uses.  He will be moving here with his wife and baby girl and will start working full-time in August.

Community input taken on concept of county administrator

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 2:50pm

About 20 people gathered at the Cook County Community Center on May 22, 2013 to talk about what a county administrator could contribute to Cook County government.
Community member Jim Boyd shared his thoughts on the matter, saying that while additional government doesn’t always save money, it improves both services and efficiencies.  “You get more bang for your buck,” he said.
You don’t have a school without a superintendent or a company without a CEO, Boyd said.  “Your staff deserves one boss and right now they have five,” he said to the four county commissioners at the meeting (Bruce Martinson, Garry Gamble, Heidi Doo-Kirk, and Sue Hakes).
Another community member, Myron Bursheim said he thought the county has done a great job with its resources, but he added that he thinks the county needs an advocate inside the courthouse.  Consultants aren’t necessarily looking out for the best interests of the county, he said.
Commissioner Bruce Martinson said, “We need the right person, that’s for sure.”
He said one thing he was looking for was consistency in departmental reviews.  When commissioners each conducted employee reviews on different department heads several years ago, their reviews seemed really inconsistent, he said.
Community member Mike Carlson wondered how insulated a county administrator would be from public criticism.  Commissioner Gamble said people skills would be important for the person in this job.  “The primary role of an administrator, as I see it, is making people better,” he said.  “A person like that should be above the fray…because you’re not going to please everybody.”

Gogebic starts test drilling

Tue, 06/04/2013 - 7:32am

Exploratory drilling into the largest deposit of iron ore in North America could begin as soon as Saturday in northern Wisconsin’s Penokee Range.

According to the Duluth News Tribune, Gogebic Taconite filed a notice of intent to drill with the Department of Natural Resources in a letter dated Friday. Department of Natural Resources waste management director Ann Coakley said GTAC can start drilling five days after they get the notice, and they received the notice Monday.

Eight holes, one in Ashland County and seven in Iron County, will be drilled this month. Coakley said the DNR will keep an eye on the operation with unannounced spot-checks.

The bore holes will be 350 to 1,143 feet deep. The 2-inch holes will gather data on the layers of rock, the quality of the iron ore and the chemicals in the ore body.


Minnesota Department of Agriculture proposes quarantine of Cook and Lake county wood products

Mon, 06/03/2013 - 11:52am

Under a proposal by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), it will be illegal to bring wood products in or ship wood products out of Cook and Lake counties beginning in the spring of 2014 unless the wood products have met rigorous compliance agreements (CA) set up by the state.
The MDA is taking this action to, “prevent and stifle the growth of gypsy moth populations in Lake and Cook County,” states the newsletter distributed to the Cook County board of Commissioners at its Tuesday, May 21, 2013 meeting.
Because of their destructiveness, gypsy moth caterpillars have caused millions of dollars of damage nationwide as they defoliate trees and plants. Brought in to Boston from Europe accidentally in 1868 or 1869, gypsy moths slowly spread. Because they are so numerous and have few predators, they move almost unimpeded, slowly making their way across the country. Over the last 20 years millions of acres have been sprayed with pesticide to slow the spread of gypsy moths. But still the moths are winning, advancing along the food trail.
If the proposal is carried forward Cook and Lake County will be the first counties quarantined in the state, and Minnesota will be the 21st state to be completely or partially quarantined for gypsy moths.
Since 2006 the MDA has worked in Cook and Lake County to suppress the growth of gypsy moths. Every year people are hired to trap gypsy moths and over the years the number of moths in certain areas in the Lake and Cook County has increased.
“Populations have now grown to a point where treatment is ineffective,” stated the newsletter.
“They [MDA] need to convince us that imposing significant hardships on loggers and mill owners is going to make any real difference in the spread of gypsy moths,” said Wayne Brandt, executive director of the Minnesota Timber Association.

Senior Center offers "Casino Express" trips

Mon, 06/03/2013 - 11:50am

There are three Grand Portage Casino Express trips planned for the Cook County Senior Center in June—Lucky Wednesday, June 5; Lucky Wednesday evening, June 19 and June 26. Contact the Senior Center for times and pick-up information.
Another Mystery Trip is planned for Wednesday, June 12, 9:45 a.m. Last month the center travelled to Silver Bay. They visited the new UMD Sustainable Farm and enjoyed lunch at Camp 61 in Beaver Bay, followed with shopping at the new Honey Bee Bakery.
This trip will include at least three mystery stops including a lunch stop. The cost is only $10 per person for transportation from the Senior Center.
For more information or for registration of any of these upcoming trips, stop in or call the Senior Center at (218) 387-2660.