Around Cook County
WASHINGTON – Northern States Power Co. will begin cleanup of the Ashland/Northern States Power Lakefront Superfund Site in northwestern Wisconsin under a settlement with the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency.
According to the EPA, the 40-acre site is located on the shore of Chequamegon Bay in Lake Superior. It was used for various industrial purposes for more than a century. The EPA said that use resulted resulting in the release of volatile organic compounds, such as benzene, and semivolatile organic compounds, such as naphthalene.
Under the agreement, filed this week with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin in Madison, Northern States Power will design, construct and implement the cleanup plan for the on-land portion of the site. The on-land cleanup is expected to cost approximately $40 million. The federal government will also require additional cleanup of sediments in Chequamegon Bay. The EPA said it expects that Northern States Power and any other responsible parties will perform the rest of the cleanup. That work is not part of the agreement filed with the Court.
The agreement also requires Northern States Power to transfer approximately 990 acres of land along the Iron River to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and 400 acres within the reservation of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Indians to the Bad River tribe. These parcels are worth about $1.9 million. They will be preserved by the state and the Bad River tribe to enhance natural resources in the area that have
been harmed by pollution from the site, such as fisheries in Chequamegon Bay and its rivers.
In addition, the state of Wisconsin will transfer 114 acres of land to the Red Cliff Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. That land will also be managed to preserve natural resources.
For more than a century, the Ashland site has been home to various industrial uses, including sawmills, railroads, and a city wastewater treatment plant. The EPA says the primary source of pollution at the site was the manufactured gas plant operated by Northern States Power’s predecessor company between 1885 and 1947. The EPA says pollution from the manufactured gas plant contaminated both the on-land portion of the site and the sediment in the bay.
At a July 19 meeting of the School District 166 school board, the board discussed how the CCHS industrial arts program could possibly benefit from the community center project. With the school planning to sell its west wing to the county for the construction of a community center, the school may have some capital to use for the recommended expansion.
Industrial technology teacher Sam West presented the school board with highlights of the middle and high school curriculum and what he thinks the department needs to prepare students adequately.
Cook County offers students training in woodworking, construction, welding, Computer-Aided Drafting and Design (CADD), and Computer Numerical Control (CNC), which runs router, lathe, and mill equipment.
The current industrial technology area has a computer lab where students work on CADD and a general purpose room with a small welding enclave where they do everything else.
West told the board that the existing layout is overcrowded and inefficient.
He said they lose time moving equipment and supplies in and out for various classes every day, and they are lacking needed storage space. More space and properly dedicated space means safer operation of machines, proper ventilation, and more kids working safely more of the time.
The department currently has 3,000 square feet, and West recommended adding an additional 3,000-5,000 square feet.
The industrial arts department was once much larger and had much more equipment before it was downsized when the school was expanded in 1997.
School Board member Deb White said, “Let’s not build for today, let’s build for what we’re going to need in two years, in five years.” With the community center project in the works, the opportunity to expand is here, she said. “It’s not going to happen again.”
During the July “Mystery Trip,” the Cook County Senior Center traveled north, up the Gunflint Trail. They enjoyed the view from Pincushion Lookout, visited and admired the beautiful new Hungry Jack Lodge and had a delicious lunch at Trail Center. Howard Hedstrom gave seniors a very educational and interesting tour of Hedstrom Lumber Mill.
Sound like fun? Seniors are invited to join the next Mystery Trip on Monday, August 13. The cost is just $5 per person for transportation from the Senior Center. Lunch is at your own cost, ($10-$12 should be sufficient). If you guess where the Mystery Trip is going (clues available at the senior center), you win a free trip plus lunch on the Senior Center!
Cook County is a long way from Veterans Administration medical facilities. The population of military veterans is aging, as well as increasing due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Getting veterans to their medical and related appointments can be difficult.
That’s where Cook County Veterans Services Officer Clarence “Clinker” Everson comes in. He makes sure the vets get to where they need to go. However, the state’s enhancement grant that helps with such transportation ran out in June.
The Cook County Board and the Grand Portage Reservation Tribal Council jumped into the gap to help veterans get that necessary transportation.
In an interview with WTIP’s Roger Linehan, the Veterans Service Officer tells what happened.
Because of large fires this summer in the West and South, and the need to conserve resources, the US Forest Service has directed forest supervisors to attack and stop fires as soon as possible.
While this is not a long-term policy change, it is a different way of looking at things for the rest of this year. Superior East National Forest Fire Management Officer Patti Johnson discussed the change with WTIP's Roger Linehan.
Paradise Beach is a popular place to be near the water, to toss rocks and just relax. Unfortunately, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office has received multiple complaints of an adult male exposing himself to females in the Paradise Beach area (the Lake Superior shoreline near mile markers 120 and 121, between Colvill and Hovland). The exposure acts have occurred in the presence of adults and children.
One of the latest occurred on Wednesday, August 1, reported by a woman who said the individual had been “stalking” her group.
The suspect is a white male, balding, between 5’10” and 6’00” tall.
Chief Deputy Leif Lunde said Minnesota State Statute 617.23 Indecent Exposure states: Anyone who willfully and lewdly exposes their private parts in public is guilty of a misdemeanor. The offense becomes a gross misdemeanor if the offense is committed in the presence of someone under 16 years of age. The offense becomes a felony if the person has been previously convicted for the same offense.
If you have any information regarding these incidents, please call the Cook County Sheriff’s Office at (218) 387-3030.