Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Consultant hired to update county's Solid Waste Management Plan

Wed, 07/31/2013 - 11:23am

Some work just doesn’t seem to get done without outside help.  On July 23, 2013, the county board authorized Planning & Zoning Director Tim Nelson to hire a consultant to update the county’s Solid Waste Management Plan at a cost not to exceed $22,300. 
The state requires counties to update their plans every 10 years, but the last time Cook County submitted a plan was in 2001.  Nelson said other projects involving the subdivision ordinance, the septic ordinance, and the Comprehensive Land Use Plan had left him unable to spend the time it would need to do this himself.
Wenck Associates Inc. of Fargo, North Dakota will work on updating the Solid Waste Management Plan, which will be paid out of the recycling budget.
The board also authorized Nelson to set up a committee to look at the county’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan (also called the Land Use Guide Plan) to determine whether it needs to be updated and how an update could be accomplished.  Commissioners Jan Hall and Heidi Doo-Kirk will sit on that committee.  The plan was last updated in 1997.

Library Friends of Cook County offers great deals at used book sale

Wed, 07/31/2013 - 11:21am

The annual book sale sponsored by Library Friends of Cook County will be held Thursday, Aug. 1 through Saturday, Aug. 3 at the Community Center.
Thursday night is for Library Friends members only between 5 and 7 p.m.  Memberships will be sold at the center one hour prior to the sale on Thursday afternoon.  The hours on Friday are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Saturday hours are 8 a.m. to noon and books and materials will be discounted for $3 per bag in the main sale, and half-price in Better Books.
The Library Friends of Cook County is an all-volunteer nonprofit service organization, which conducts the sale each year to raise funds in support of the library mission for the Grand Marais Public Library and all of the school libraries in Cook County.  In addition to contributing funds for books, materials and programming, the Library Friends contributed monies for a special gift for the newly renovated library, completed in 2011. The success of the sale depends on donations of books and other materials throughout the year and the many volunteers who sort books and help with the sale.  This sale will offer books, DVDs, CDs, and videotapes.  All hardcover fiction in all genres will be sold for 50 cents in the main sale.  These books will be identified with a blue sticker on the spine of the book.  There will also be fiction titles offered in the Better Books area.  This year, there is a large collection of cookbooks, including many church/guild cookbooks.  In addition, there are many Civil War, World War II and other history books from which to choose and Rudyard Kipling in editions from 1897 to 1920.  The “Oldies but Goodies” section includes primarily fiction published between the late 1800s through 1950.

Cook County takes part in "World Breastfeeding Week"

Wed, 07/31/2013 - 11:20am

World Breastfeeding Week will be celebrated Aug. 1-7 and once again, Cook County organizations plan to take part in the event.
The 2013 theme, “Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers,” highlights the importance of providing support to breastfeeding families.
Infant feeding is one of the most important decisions that new families make; evidence is clear that breastfeeding is the ideal way to feed an infant. Research shows that infants who are not exclusively breastfed for their first six months of life are more likely to develop a wide range of chronic and acute diseases. Mothers also benefit from breastfeeding with a decreased risk for breast and ovarian cancers.
Despite most mothers wanting to breastfeed, many are met with multiple and complex barriers that keep them from achieving those goals. Support and encouragement from all angles can make success possible. Negative attitudes and practices of the mother’s closest support network can also pose sizeable barriers.
As part of the observation of World Breastfeeding Week, posters featuring breastfeeding will once again be placed in various public places in Cook County, said local advocate Angie Works. The posters are part of a campaign sponsored by the Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Program of Minnesota as an effort to normalize the image of breastfeeding in society.
Cook County has variety of resources for mothers seeking breastfeeding support. Works is a breastfeeding peer counselor. Kristin Wharten at Sawtooth Mountain Clinic is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Mothers can also turn to Teresa Borak at the clinic and Public Health Nurse Alison Heeren. In addition, there is mother-to-mother support group called Bosom Buddies.
“Support from community is an essential part of a family’s successful breastfeeding,” said Works.

Public Meeting on Flute Reed Partnership's work on the river Thursday, August 1

Tue, 07/30/2013 - 11:52am

Big things are happening on the Flute Reed River.  With funding of about $540,000 from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), the first of four river bank stabilization projects was started in mid-July. 
A public meeting to discuss the projects and the Flute Reed Partnership’s efforts on behalf of the watershed as well as a tour of some of the project sites will take place Thursday, August 1, 2013 starting at 7 p.m. at the Hovland Town Hall.  The public is invited to come learn more about how the clay riverbanks are being stabilized. 
The Flute Reed Partnership’s annual meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Hovland Town Hall – just before the community meeting -- and all interested parties are invited to attend that meeting as well.
Construction projects funded by the grant were started last year with replacement of undersized or poorly aligned culverts on private property within the watershed. 
The work requires permits from Cook County, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Cook County Soil & Water Conservation District personnel will be supervising the construction sites.
This summer’s construction activities will temporarily impact water quality, but over the long term, the projects will help stabilize and protect both the river and Lake Superior.
Project partners include the Flute Reed Partnership, Cook County Soil & Water Conservation District, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, consultants, and local contractors.

Fisherman's Picnic starts with fabulous Grand Marais Lioness Buffet Wednesday

Tue, 07/30/2013 - 11:44am

The Annual Grand Marais Lioness Buffet is just around the corner, from 5 – 6:30 p.m. on July 31 at St. John's Catholic Church at 10 East Fifth Street, Grand Marais.
Everyone looks forward to this Fisherman’s Picnic tradition where the best cooks in the land bring together fishcakes, ham, potato salad, baked beans, and more.
Michelle Korst is heading this all-star group with its “Many hands making the work lighter" attitude. Come hungry!
The Grand Marais Lioness Buffet Dinner is a fundraiser to support many of the wonderful activities the Lioness Club does for our community, like scholarships, and charitable projects.
Cost of the buffet for adults is $15 and children under 12 years, $7.
There will be a silent auction as well. Sally Hennessy is the "go-to-person” for donations and purchases. Items can be dropped off the night before at the lower level of the Church from 5-7 p.m. There will be art, cabin items, pontoon boat rides, baked goods and many other treasures. The bidding starts prior to the dinner at 5:00 p.m.
Hennessy said, “The Lioness Club thanks all those who give so generously of their time, talents and auction items. A true community effort!”

County board debates approval of zip line loan

Mon, 07/29/2013 - 1:11pm

After a motion to approve a county revolving fund loan for Superior Zip Lines failed for lack of a second at the county board meeting on July 23, 2013, a heated debate broke out, but it resulted in a favorable outcome for the applicant.
Hal Greenwood of the Cook County Revolving Loan Fund Committee brought a recommendation to the board for a loan of $250,000 to Matt Geretschlaeger for the construction of Superior Zip Lines, to be located just off the Gunflint Trail above Grand Marais. 
Last July, the county board approved the loan upon the recommendation of the Revolving Loan Fund Committee.  Three months later, the board approved a revised loan agreement that reflected changes in financing.  That agreement was contingent upon Geretschlaeger securing a loan of $350,000 from the Iron Range Resource and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB). 
On July 23, Geretschlaeger returned to the board for a renewal of its approval because his financing had not been finalized within six months as required by county guidelines and because it was different from what had been stipulated:  Geretschlaeger had not gotten a loan from the IRRRB, but he did get a grant of $191,000 instead.  He also got a loan of $266,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration. 
The total project cost, including the land, will be $825,000 and will be done in phases.  Geretschlaeger said he had contracts in place with fixed prices for construction.  He expects to seasonally employ up to 26 people part-time and two people full-time.
Geretschlaeger had three pieces of property he would be using as collateral for the Revolving Loan Fund loan.  The county would be in second position on Geretschlaeger’s home, valued at $535,000 last summer when the business plan was presented to the county board.  The county would be in first position on two other pieces of property valued at $46,800 and $82,400.