Around Cook County
Invasive Species Coordinator Angelique Edgerton of the Cook County Invasive Team has confirmed the presence of Japanese knotweed in the county. A day after the Duluth News Tribune published an article about Japanese knotweed, Edgerton said she was contacted by a resident who thought she had some knotweed on her County Road 8 property.
“I went up to her place and found the plant, and sure enough, it is Japanese knotweed,” Edgerton said. “I think we have more of this around than we might realize, and I think people should be aware of the risks associated with some of these plants that may be growing in their yards.”
This plant is not regulated in Minnesota, but is invasive and can spread and quickly colonize riparian areas. It can spread by seed, rhizome, or shoot fragments, and its roots and shoots can break through asphalt and concrete.
The County Road 8 reporting was the first in the county, said Edgerton. “It is in St. Louis and Lake counties, but prior to this was not officially known in Cook County,” she added.
According to Edgerton, Japanese knotweed is a shrub-like perennial herbaceous plant that has smooth, hollow stems that grow annually to be over 10 feet tall. The plant identified in Cook County was about 10 feet in height. The roots can grow down to about 9 feet, one of the factors making this plant challenging to remove. The leaves are alternate, broad, and oval, and are quite large – around 6 inches long by 4 inches wide. It flowers in late summer (it has not flowered here yet this year) and produces green-white blossoms that grow in clusters. It reproduces by seed, root rhizome growth, and shoot or root fragment.
Parents and children are invited to School District166’s Back to School Orientation on Thursday, August 29. The event will be open from 3:30-7:30 p.m.
Over the summer the school has undergone many transitions. School offices have moved, new classrooms created, new paint graces the walls, new lockers have replaced old lockers, and of course the work on the Cook County Community YMCA goes on as well.
All kindergarten through 12th grade teachers will be on hand and in their classrooms to answer questions. The grade school and middle/high school offices will be open for making payments, getting forms and staff will be available to answer questions.
A panel of administrators will give a preview of the coming year and be on hand to answer questions at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts (ACA) from 4 p.m.-4:40 p.m.
A meeting for middle and high school parents will be held in the ACA from 4:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and from 5:45 p.m. to 6:52 p.m. students and parents can follow the student’s seven-period schedule by participating in seven-minute classes with three-minute breaks. Classroom teachers will provide overviews of their class’ curriculum, expectations, and hopes for the year.
Shake those summer blues and come out to the orientation. School begins the day after Labor Day, Tuesday, September 3.
Get ready for fun, because school is coming quicker than you think!
The Cook County 1 percent local option sales tax for recreation and infrastructure continues to bring in more each year since it was started. In the first six months of 2011, it brought in $433,206.98. In the first six months of 2011, it brought in $474,637.62. In the first six months of this year, it brought in $523,814.42, a 10.4 percent increase over the first half of last year.
Cook County’s lodging tax saw a 9.3 percent increase in the first six months of 2013 over the first six months of last year. Different areas of the county are faring differently, however.
The Gunflint Trail Tourism Association saw a year-to-date decrease of 1.2 percent from last year, but the Grand Marais Area Tourism Association saw a year-to-date increase of 3.6 percent and the Lutsen-Tofte Tourism Association saw a year-to-date increase of 12.7 percent.
Drier weather means increased fire danger and the Labor Day holiday calls for increased vigilance. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Tofte-Gunflint fire officer Patty Johnson about current small fires and impending fire restrictions.
Check out the pdf file above to see a map of the Knife Lake fire.
Grand Marais Public Library announces the “My Library Essay Contest” for Cook County children ages 10 - 14 with cash prizes for the top three ranked essays.
Children are asked to write an essay of about 250 words on the topic “My library.” Possible ideas are “My favorite time at the library was the day…” or “If I were the librarian.” Or “I just love our library because…” or even “Can you imagine a world without books?”
Essays may be typed, printed or written, but they must be delivered to the Grand Marais Public Library no later than 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 31, 2013.
Each essay may receive a maximum of 100 points, based on form and content. Form includes grammar, correct spelling and punctuation and logical organization. Content is the main idea. Young writers will receive 25 points for form and 75 points for content.
Essays will be judged by a panel and the winner announced by September 14, 2013.
Cash prizes, thanks to a local donor, to be awarded are $75 for 1st place; $50 for 2nd place and $25 for 3rd place.
The architectural firm hired by Tofte Township to assess whether or not the Birch Grove Community Center building could support a second story that would accommodate senior housing and some office space has indicated that a preliminary look at the building’s walls and foundation are not suited for a second addition, said Dick Grabko of Community Resources Development (CRD).
Or, as Grabko told the board, the cost to fix the walls and foundation would far exceed what the township was hoping to spend on developing senior housing.
The structural assessment completed by engineering firm DSGW indicated there were issues with footings, walls, and the roof and determined it would be more expensive to fix those then to build an adjacent structure, Grabko told Tofte Township supervisors at their August 8, 2013 meeting.
Of the three architectural firms to bid on the project, DSGW Architects of Duluth was the low bidder at $10,800. As part of the bid, DSGW will now make a recommendation about the feasibility of adding onto the building and what those costs might be, and if that is not a plausible option, also look at determining what type of senior housing could be located on the township’s 29 acres which lay behind the community center.
Grabko and his partner, Gary Lammpa of CRD, have been hired to help the township develop senior housing at Birch Grove. Part of their job is to identify perspective clients, write grants, find bonds and find a developer if the project is feasible.
As part of the process, said Supervisor Paul James, “We need to get senior citizen input into just what type of building or housing they want.”