Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Wheelage tax rolled out of the way for now

Thu, 08/01/2013 - 11:02am

With a deadline looming, the county board wrestled on July 23, 2013 with an opportunity to authorize a new tax.  The state has authorized counties to impose a wheelage tax of $10 a year for certain types of vehicles over the next four years and up to $20 a year starting in 2018.
The tax would apply to vehicles such as cars, pickups, busses, and commercial trucks but not to motorcycles, RVs, and semis.  For a small fee, the state could collect the tax along with vehicle license renewals on behalf of the county.  The revenue projected for Cook County would be approximately $52,780 a year and would help fund projects on county-owned roads.  In order for the state to collect the tax in 2014, the county would need to give the state notice by August 1.
Cook County Highway Engineer David Betts recommended that the board authorize the tax.
Commissioner Bruce Martinson said he would rather see increased sales taxes or a levy increase, because this is a regressive tax that would have greater impact the lower a vehicle owner’s income was.
Commissioner Garry Gamble said he empathized with the Highway Department’s need for funding and pointed out that $10 a year amounted to just over 83 cents month.  “The problem is, it’s nibble, nibble, nibble, nibble,” he said.  “Cumulatively, it’s a problem. …We can’t just keep adding taxes.”

Durfee Creek road work to begin

Thu, 08/01/2013 - 6:23am

The Cook County Highway Department is slated to begin work on the Durfee Creek crossing on County Road 60 the week of August 5.

The scope of the project includes replacing the existing corrugated metal pipe with a bottomless aluminum arch set on concrete footings. 

The project means closure of CR 60 at Durfee Creek for approximately four weeks.  Travelers are advised to use alternate routes until work is complete.

American Legion Auxiliary hosts Fisherman's Picnic Pie Social Thursday, August 1

Wed, 07/31/2013 - 8:27pm

American Legion Auxiliary, Post 413 invites Crazy Days shoppers to stop by the American Legion for the annual bake sale and pie social on Thursday, August 1 from 9 – 11 a.m. The bake sale supports auxiliary events such as the children’s Christmas carnival and veteran events like the Memorial Day luncheon. Come catch up with friends and family and enjoy a piece of pie and take home some goodies for later!

Consultant hired to update county's Solid Waste Management Plan

Wed, 07/31/2013 - 12:23pm

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 - 12:21pm

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 - 12:20pm

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.