Around Cook County
The first ever Boundary Waters Expo will happen June 12 through 14 at the Seagull Lake boat landing on the Gunflint Trail. WTIP spoke to the event's organizers, Kjersti Vick and Quinn McCloughan, about the activities and demonstrations that will be taking place.
Judge Michael Cuzzo has denied the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s request to find David Berglund of Lakeview Natural Dairy in contempt of court for refusing inspection of his farm. He will not have to pay any of the $500-per-day fines the agency wanted to impose on him.
Cuzzo also stayed, or removed, a previous court order requiring Berglund to allow state inspectors onto his farm until the constitutionality of the regulations facing Berglund is determined.
A June 23 telephone conference has been set to schedule a later hearing date for evidence to be presented by both sides. Any final decision by the judge on the issue could be many months away.
Berglund has challenged that Article 8 of the Minnesota constitution protects his dairy from government regulations, and by attempting to inspect it, the MDA is acting unconstitutionally. The Department claims the article only protects the dairy from licensure, not from regulations.
In an effort to make lots in the Cedar Grove Business Park more marketable, Grand Marais city councilors approved a joint powers agreement with the county and Economic Development Authority (EDA) May 27.
The seven-page agreement, which was recently approved by the Cook County Board of Commissioners, calls for the county to contribute half of the annual bond payment amounts to the city. In turn, the city will re-assess the lots to more accurately reflect market prices; credit the county’s payment toward the EDA’s assessments; and collect any lot sales revenues in a fund to pay off the bonds when the fund is sufficient.
For its part, the EDA will continue its assessment obligation and provide all lot sale revenues to the city until the bonds are paid off.
City Administrator Mike Roth said the agreement evolved following conversations between the city and county. City Attorney Chris Hood said the document has been in the development phase for two years and although it is “not exactly the way I want it to be,” it is nevertheless acceptable.
According to a memo Roth presented, the EDA identified the $60,000 assessment per lot as a major obstacle for potential sales. Accordingly, with the agreement almost in place, the EDA will move forward based on the new prices; the current market value of the lots is believed to be substantially lower than the original value.
Councilors agreed that by re-assessing the lots, chances of selling the remaining lots will be increased. “If this will validate the values for the owners–why not do it?” said Councilor Tracy Benson.
“This seems like a pretty good solution to me,” said Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux of the assessment process, adding that the prices still in effect from the original assessment are no longer valid.
The first-ever Ruby’s Pantry food distribution went extremely well, with nearly 400 people lining up at School District 166 to take part. The line to register started by the Sawtooth Elementary School gym and wound through the school and nearly out the playground door. No one seems to mind the wait as neighbors visited with one another and new friends were made.
Any concern that Ruby’s Pantry wouldn’t work in Cook County seems to have been relieved. However organizers did hear some questions about how Ruby’s Pantry works—and how it impacts the county.
Reverend Mary Ellen Ashcroft of Spirit of the Wilderness Church, which is sponsoring Ruby’s Pantry, explains, “Ruby’s Pantry’s delivers donated food to around 60 Minnesota and Wisconsin rural distribution sites. The purpose is threefold: to extend food dollars, cut down on food waste and build neighborliness as people come together at the distribution.”
Ashcroft explained that guests give a $20 donation to Ruby’s Pantry. Of that, 90 percent this goes to Ruby’s Pantry to pay for trucks, drivers, and a few support staff.
The other 10 percent stays in Cook County—some goes to the school for building use, some to buy supplies such as plastic bags and freezer blankets to keep food frozen. “Any other monies will be put back into the community to help support other food related programs,” said Ashcroft.
On June 11, Cook County Higher Education will host a Guest Lecture with presenter and retired minister Jake Hjorth. He'll be discussing Islam, including its origins and effects on the world today. WTIP volunteer Mark Abrahamson spoke with him on North Shore Morning.
The Grand Marais City Council granted a permit to the American Legion to once again operate its beer tent during Fisherman’s Picnic, July 30 through Aug. 2. Terry Breithaupt, Legion manager, said the security features that have worked well in the past will again be used, including three controlled entrances, gate guards to check IDs, and ensuring that no minors have access to beer in the enclosed area. “We get a lot of people of all ages,” he said of the event.
The council also approved the second reading of an ordinance amendment permitting Sunday sale of growlers in the city. There were no changes from the original version, and no public opposition or comment.
This local news is provided by Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at www.cookcountynews-herald.com