Around Cook County
Tomorrow, January 6, Minnesota’s newest stage-style sled dog race, the Gichigami Express begins in Grand Portage! The three-day race travels from Grand Portage, along the Gunflint Trail to Grand Marais and back to Grand Portage on January 6-8, 2013. The community is happy to welcome a field of 20 mushing teams to compete in the inaugural race.
U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken today joined U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin in a friendly wager on Saturday's NFL playoff game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers. The Wisconsin senators wagered a case of Wisconsin craft beer against a case of local Minnesota beer from the Minnesota senators.
“It’s not often we have the chance to beat Green Bay two weekends in a row,” Klobuchar said. “There will be no better way to wash down the sweet taste of victory than with an ice cold Wisconsin beer from my friends across the border.”
Colin Everson scored 23 points to lead the Cook County Vikings to a 65-55 home victory over the Cromwell Cardinals Friday night in Grand Marais.
The Viking girls won their second game in a row by stopping the Cardinals 51-39 led by 14 points from Lily Gruber-Schulz.
In other North Shore high school basketball play, Silver Bay dropped a pair of games to Moose Lake-Willow River.
The Viking boys took a 36-28 lead at the half and outscored the Cardinals 29-26 in the second for the win.
In addition to Everson’s 23, Justin Goldstein had 15 while Kale Boomer had 11. Rounding out the Vikings’ scoring were Lars Scannell with eight and Jonny Jacobsen with four while Rory Bakke and Peter Warren added two each.
Austin Pfisthner had 17 for Cromwell.
The Vikings are 6-2 for the season and play Friday night, January 11 at Silver Bay in a game that will be broadcast on WTIP.
The Viking girls upped their record to 5-6 with their win over the Cardinals.
Cook County held a 30 to 20 halftime lead before holding off Cromwell 21-19 in the second to take the 11-point win.
Gruber-Schulz’s 14 led the Vikes followed by Breana Peterson’s 12 and eight from Teresa Morrin. Other Vikings on the scoreboard were Kaitlynn Linnell with seven, Jamie Sjogren with six and Leah Utities with four.
Christina Stenson led Cromwell with 13.
The now 5-6 Vikings travel to Mesabi East for a game Thursday night, January 10. On Friday, they join the boys at Silver Bay and their game will be broadcast on WTIP.
The Silver Bay Mariner girls lost a 67-38 road game at Moose Lake-Willow River.
The Rebels took a first-half lead of 35-32 before taking the second half 32-19 for the win.
Alicia Nopola scored 26 to lead the Mariners. Tara Dow added 10 and Kayla Maleski scored two. Nopola also had a three-point basket.
Cook County property taxpayers can expect some increases in their 2013 property taxes, but they won’t see an increase in the hospital levy. On December 20, 2012, the hospital board voted to keep it at $800,000 for another year.
“My hope had been to decrease it,” said North Shore Hospital & Care Center Administrator Kimber Wraalstad. Given financial projections for next year, she was not comfortable recommending that the levy be decreased but thought they could handle keeping it the same.
Board member Tom Spence pointed out that they expect to go to the taxpayers for a lot of money in facility renovations in the next several years. He said he wanted taxpayers to see that the hospital was trying to do the right thing with their money.
Administrator Wraalstad said she was disappointed to see a projected loss of $200,000 when working on the new year’s budget. The loss could be greater with potential federal funding cuts of over $200,000 and up to $400,000 that could go toward building renovation if the board decides to pursue it.
The hospital ended 2012 in the black for the first time since 2008. Wraalstad told the board it was due to a reduction in care center beds, a change in funding structure called Equitable Cost-Sharing for Publicly Owned Nursing Facilities, an increase in swing bed volume, the ability to do MRIs, and the addition of occupational therapy.
The Grand Marais city council’s last meeting of the year was also the shortest. Councilors met for about 10 minutes on Dec. 26 to put the final stamp of approval on the city’s 2013 budget and levy. As adopted, the levy for next year is $824,152.44, which is a 1.12 percent property tax levy increase.
The action concludes the lengthy budget process, which began in late summer with meetings between council and the city’s department heads. In September, council set a preliminary levy of $866,552.44, which would have represented a 6.3 percent increase over the prior year. City administrators worked since then to reduce that increase.