Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

AARP Driver Safety courses offered

Tue, 04/02/2013 - 10:35am

The Grand Marais Senior Center is once again offering local drivers the opportunity to brush up on their skills and save money by participating in upcoming safety classes.
AARP Driver Safety Beginning Class (eight-hour) will be offered Saturday, April 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cook County Community Center, Grand Marais. The schedule includes hourly breaks and an hour for lunch. The fee is $12 for AARP members; $14 for non-members. To register, call Pam McDougall at (218) 663-7068.
The four-hour refresher class will also be offered at the Community Center in Grand Marais.
Participants will meet on Monday, April 8 from 5 to 9 p.m. Registration fee for AARP members is $12; non-members, $14.
For more information on the drivers’ safety classes, call Pam at 663-7068 or Bill at 387-3167.
The refresher course will also be offered in Tofte at Birch Grove Center on Wednesday, May 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. A senior lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. for $5. AARP members will be charged $12; non-members, $14. Call Pam at (218) 663-7068 to sign up.
Minnesota drivers aged 55+ will receive a 10 percent auto insurance discount by taking part in one of these approved eight-hour driver safety class. Drivers maintain the discount by taking a four-hour refresher class every three years.
It’s also possible to take the safety courses online. See www.aarpdriversafety.org for all the details.

Lodging tax revenues for February generally up over 2012

Tue, 04/02/2013 - 9:32am
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Lodging tax revenues for the second month of 2013 were up compared to February of last year county-wide. According to the latest report from the Cook County Auditor-Treasurer’s office, the year-to-date totals were up 11.9 percent across the board for reporting tourism organizations.

Lutsen-Tofte revenues were up 14.7 percent from last February and it was the best February since 2006. Grand Marais revenues were up 12.4 percent from this time last year. But the Gunflint Trail revenues for February were down 5.4 percent.

The Auditor’s office emphasizes that not all businesses report taxes at the same time each year and revenues are an “apples-to-apples comparison.” That means only businesses which reported lodging tax revenues both in February of this year and last year are included in the monthly accounting.

Weather Service to begin "Impact-Based Warnings"

Mon, 04/01/2013 - 10:02am

The National Weather Service has a new plan for severe weather warnings.  Begininning today, April 1, the Service expands "Impact-Based Warnings" to Minnesota and Wisconsin. Forecasters say the more descriptive information is aimed at getting people to safety sooner when severe weather approaches.

The expanded warnings have been tested in Missouri and Kansas and will now be used in 14 states through the upper and  middle sections of the country.

Tornado warnings will be issued based on three tiers of information. When a tornado is possible based on radar data, the warnings will more clearly communicate hazards and possible impact.

WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Duluth meteorologist Mike Stewart about “Impact-Based Warnings," as well the weather week ahead.

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Biomass representatives talk to EDA about a lot in Cedar Grove Business Park

Mon, 04/01/2013 - 9:46am

George Wilkes and Paul Nelson of the Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP) appeared before the Cook County-Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) a second time on Tuesday, March 12 to ask about the possible purchase of a business park lot. As suggested at a previous meeting, the CCLEP representatives looked at Lot 7, but have determined that Lot 6 better meets their needs. “We feel Lot 6 is the best location for a biomass district heating plant,” said Wilkes.

Wilkes asked if the EDA would consider “holding” Lot 6 for the biomass project.

Nelson said they understood that there were concerns that the biomass facility would look too industrial for the lot at the entrance to the business park. He shared photos of some biomass heating plants that were aesthetically pleasing. Nelson said a great example is a district heating plant in downtown St. Paul. Board Member Don Davison reiterated that he was still very concerned about the aesthetics. He reminded his colleagues that the EDA is still trying to get Como Oil & Propane to install the screening it said it would erect on its lot.

Learn more about GIS certification

Mon, 04/01/2013 - 9:43am

Are you interested in map use, analysis and interpretation?  Are you thinking about enhancing your career with technical skills found in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)?  On Monday, April 8 at 6:00 p.m., Cook County Higher Education is hosting an information session on Itasca Community College’s online GIS program scheduled to begin this fall.  The GIS Certificate program at Itasca Community College provides students with a fundamental background and hands-on training in geospatial technologies and computer mapping applications. 

The information session at the North Shore Campus in Grand Marais is for people who are interested in learning more about the 16-credit GIS certificate program, as well as a chance to meet instructor Timothy Fox.  Fox will cover the specific details about the program, the course prerequisites, and the recommended course sequence and credit load.  He will also discuss the online delivery format and the computer software requirements for the program.

Happy Easter everyone

Sun, 03/31/2013 - 10:54am

Have a wonderful Easter Sunday!