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News and other information from Cook County

County approves temporary road for airport runway extension project

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 2:43pm

As the Cook County Airport runway extension gets closer to realty, Cook County Highway Engineer David Betts brought a request to the county board on August 19 to construct an access road from a gravel pit near the airport to the Cook County Airport to be built and used by Northland Constructors during the  project.

The highway department recommend approval with the condition that Northland Constructors obtain all necessary permits, prepare a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP), stake the route and review it with the highway department, construct a lockable gate and compensate the county. Betts said compensation would likely be in the form of gravel.

Betts and Assistant County Engineer Sam Muntean recommended approving the request. Muntean said it benefits the airport because trucks will not have to drive across the existing runway. Commissioners approved the request, with Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk noting that it also meant “less wear and tear” on the ears of the neighboring property owners.

County board hears rumble strip update and highway construction plans

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 2:40pm

Duane Hill and James Miles of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) were at the Tuesday, August 19 county board meeting to give an update of what has been happening on Highway 61.

One of the first topics was rumble strips and Hill said that MnDOT crews had filled in all of the rumble strips that had been installed east of Grand Marais except for those in a ¼-mile stretch by Mount Josephine. He said MnDOT did not “screed” the sections off even with the pavement, but just filled them in with hot mix. He said the partially filled rumble strips should now make an acceptable level of noise while still serving as a deterrent to crashes.

Hill said it is now MnDOT’s policy to install side and centerline rumble strips on all projects, however, he said MnDOT is researching sinusoidal rumble strips which are supposed to be much less disruptive. Hill said there is a MnDOT YouTube video that can be viewed for anyone interested in the difference in the current rumble strips and the sinusoidal strips. He said MnDOT has the newer rumble strips installed at its test center in Monticello and on Highway 59 just south of Thief River Falls.

“We’re hoping to find a way to have these, without even gaps for driveways, but we’re being careful. We don’t want to repeat our experience here in Cook County,” said Hill.

James Miles presented the county board with a map of the county with dots showing where accidents occurred that resulted in fatal or serious injury; injury; or property damage only. He said, “Looking at the crash data for Cook County, you’re very low on crashes. Cook County is a very safe county, but we want to still improve that.”

Hill said rumble strips would not be installed in the mill and overlay project south of Grand Marais at this time.

Briand Morrison to perform at Grand Marais Library Wednesday evening

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 12:29pm

On Wednesday, Aug. 27 an hour of smooth, warm, and innovative music designed to appeal to both jazz aficionados and anyone who loves good guitar will be presented by Briand Morrison at the Grand Marais Library beginning at 6 p.m.

Briand Morrison has been playing guitar since he was 7 years old. In sixth grade he was part of his first band playing piano, bass and guitar; at 16 he was hired by the West Bank School of Music as a rock guitar teacher.

Jazz improvisation grabbed his interest with its rich harmony, rhythm and melody. So much so that it continues to be tightly woven within his music interests and still shapes what he plays and listens to. The solo jazz guitar program is designed to help listeners experience Morrison’s music, song writing style, and maybe even learn some guitar playing tips.

Contact the library at (218) 387-1140 for more information.

"No water contact" advisory again issued for Grand Marais Campground Beach

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 12:25pm

The Minnesota Department of Health beach monitoring program has issued  another “no water contact” for a Cook County beach. The Grand Marais Campground Beach received a “no water contact” advisory on August 25. Another water sample will be collected today, August 26 to see if the bacterial levels have returned to acceptable levels.

Other beaches that received advisories on August 25 include the Agate Bay Beach in Two Harbors and the Blueberry Landing beach, Brighton beach, Lester River beach, 42nd Avenue East Beach, Minnesota Point Harborside beach, Clyde Avenue boat landing beach, Leif Erickson Park beach and Sky Harbor Parking Lot beach and the Lakewalk and Lakewalk East beach in Duluth. Also receiving an advisory was the Twin Points public access beach north of Gooseberry Falls State Park. They will also be retested today.

Beach monitoring is conducted at the following beaches in Cook County:  Chicago Bay boat launch in Hovland; Paradise Beach, Kadunce Creek, Durfee Creek in Colvill; Old Shore Road, Harbor Park in Grand Marais, Recreation Park campground in Grand Marais, Cutface Creek Wayside Rest; Temperance River State Park, Schroeder Town Park and Sugarloaf Cove Beach in Schroeder. At press time, all had “water contact acceptable” ratings.

A number of factors, such as dog, geese and other wildlife feces, dirty diapers, failing septic systems and sewer line breaks and overflows, can contribute to higher levels of illness-causing bacteria.

Energy efficiency brings rebate to Cook County Community YMCA

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 12:23pm

Local government officials were pleased to accept a payment of $12,737.50 in utility rebates from the Grand Marais Public Utility Commission on August 11. Keith Butcher, the energy service specialist for the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA), which provides power for the city of Grand Marais, explained that the rebate was made because of energy efficient equipment choices made by Cook County during the planning and construction phases of the Cook County Community YMCA.

Butcher said, “The county’s investment in energy efficient equipment will save them over 300,000 kWhs of electricity annually.”

Butcher said the rebates are for the YMCA’s efforts focused on highly efficient air-conditioning units, lighting (high bay linear fluorescents, CFLs and LEDs), and the significant use of occupancy sensors throughout the building to ensure that lights are off when not needed. 

Additionally, Cook County is working with Grand Marais Public Utilities to quantify the savings from the installation of variable speed drives on the swimming pool and water slide pumps.  Upon completion of the data collection, it is expected the Cook County will receive additional funds.  “This is yet another example of how Grand Marais Public Utilities works with their customers to use energy wisely,” said Butcher.

To learn how you can participate in any of the Grand Marais Public Utility programs, visit or call Keith Butcher, Grand Marais’ SMMPA Energy Representative, at 507-990-5907.



This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald


'Back to School' Open House and Orientation August 27

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 11:51am

The Cook County School District is hosting a "Back to School Open House/Orientation" on Wednesday, August 27th from 3:30pm - 6:30pm.  WTIP volunteer Sherrie Lindskog spoke with Melissa Dressley of the Cook County PTA on North Shore Morning about this event, and the school's ongoing need for volunteers.
The open house will have tables available for non-profit community organizations that provide services or support to youth and/or families to host.  Such organizations can have brochures, flyers, etc. available for parents and students.  This is also an opportunity for students and parents to meet their teachers.

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