Health Beat interview

Health Beat is a weekly Tuesday A.M. Community Calendar Program feature during which local health care providers inform and educate the community regarding the relevant health issues of our time and in our community.   On September 18th, Harry Swift, Chemical Dependency Counselor with Cook County Health and Human Services, discussed issues relating to alcohol and drug abuse, addiction and ways to get help, as part of National Alcohol and Abuse Recovery Month.

Listen to the interview

School board votes to change closed campus policy

More than 50 people showed up to the special discussion held prior to the school board meeting Monday evening at Cook County High School. The meeting was convened to give members of the public an opportunity to comment on the closed campus policy that was adopted by the school board in July. That policy restricted freshman and sophomores from leaving campus during the lunch period. Juniors and seniors were allowed to leave during lunch, but only on foot. More than 20 people spoke during the open discussion, and the majority of comments heard were in favor of changing the newly adopted closed campus policy. The school board eventually voted to approve a new procedure that gives open lunch driving privileges back to juniors and seniors with parental consent. If a student fails to meet the criteria outlined in the new procedure they will lose their driving privileges for the remainder of the semester. Students must be receiving passing grades in all subjects to be eligible for driving privileges, and can not be making up requirements or electives needed for graduation. The procedure was drafted by Principal Engelking, and presented by members of the student council. Although juniors and seniors will be able to leave campus by car for lunch, nothing changed for freshman and sophomores. They will not be allowed to leave school for lunch, even on foot.

EDA considering purchase of First Baptist Church in Grand Marais

EDA Director Matt Geretschlaeger asked the EDA board for permission to pursue purchase of the First Baptist Church at the board’s meeting Tuesday, Sept. 11. Geretschlaeger said the building would lend itself well to future affordable housing development. The First Baptist Church has plans to relocate in the

Cedar Grove Business Park. The board unanimously approved Geretschlaeger’s request to prepare a sales agreement for the property.

Get connected with WTIP’s volunteer opportunities

WTIP invites anyone interested in getting involved with their local community radio station to attend a volunteer open house on Tuesday, Sept. 18 from 4-6:30 PM.

The volunteer open house is an invitation to stop by on a casual basis and meet the WTIP staff, enjoy some snacks and get information about volunteering at the station.  Everyone is welcome and encouraged to drop by. 

Volunteers are essential to the service and operations of WTIP.  Volunteerism spans areas from on-air host to answering phones to organizing events.  There are many different roles that individuals can fill at WTIP, and each one is important.  The staff works with volunteers to discover what is personally fulfilling to them, and to train volunteers in their chosen role.

As the station grows and demand for more local programming increases, volunteer opportunities expand as well.  In addition to established roles, new opportunities exist for news, writing, research, sports, and beyond.  Volunteering is a great way to get involved and help the station maintain and increase its service to the community.   

To learn more, please drop by the volunteer open house on Tuesday, Sept. 18 from 4-6:30 PM or contact Ann Possis, interim program director, or Melanie Steele, development director at 387-1070.

Cedar Grove Business Park construction back on track; MPCA administrative order pending

EDA Director Matt Geretschlaeger reported that the installation of all utilities as well as the business park road will be completed this fall. Business park construction was delayed earlier this year after repeated violations related to stormwater runoff issues occurred. The violations resulted in a pending administrative order from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). MPCA Agent Lisa Woog stated in a phone conversation Monday, Sept. 10 that specific information regarding the pending administrative order will not be available until the case is resolved. Woog did characterize the case as an active enforcement case, adding that the MPCA is not generating an inspection report or a letter of warning, but rather an administrative order that will carry a penalty. According to the MPCA’s website, “The severity of the enforcement action depends on the environmental impact of the violation, whether it is a repeat offense, and how quickly the problem is corrected.” A letter sent to KGM Contractors and the EDA dated June, 29 by the MPCA stated that 12 specific incidences of non-compliance occurred at the site from December 2006 to June 21, 2007. During Tuesday’s EDA meeting Geretschlaeger reported that the county’s inspection of the site on Friday, Sept. 7 went well with no violations occurring.

Preliminary levy up 16.89% from 2007

The Cook County Board of Commissioners approved a preliminary levy of approximately $5.8 million at their meeting Tuesday, Sept. 11. According to County Auditor/Treasurer Braidy Powers, the major factors contributing to the increase are rising healthcare costs and continuing reductions in state aid. Powers noted that although healthcare costs increased only modestly this year relative to previous years, there has been a 60% increase since 2002. State aid was reduced again this year. In 2008 the county will receive just over $92,000. That’s down from more than $1 million in 2002. Powers commented that the reduction in state aid has “finally come home to roost.” The county board has until December to set the final levy for next year. From now until then only cuts can be made to the budget.