Around Cook County
At the August 13, 2013 meeting of the Cook County - Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA), the EDA board was disappointed to hear from golf course consultant Jeff Brauer of Golfscapes, Inc. that the bids received for renovations at Superior National at Lutsen golf course had come in too high, with a $727,133.42 difference between the lowest bidder and the proposed budget of $3,897,982.50. However, Brauer reassured the EDA that “value engineering” could put the project back in line with the EDA’s project budget and could allow work to still begin this fall.
“So we’re not dead in the water?” asked EDA Chair Mark Sandbo. Brauer said no and asked for authorization to work with the low bidders and Superior National staff to see what changes could be made to get the project within budget. The EDA asked him to proceed and a special meeting was held on August 21 to hear another proposal, closer, but still $262,032.92 higher than what the EDA had earmarked for the project.
Value engineering to bring down costs
Mid-America Golf and Landscape of Kansas City, Missouri, remained the company with the lowest bid after value engineering at $4,160,015.42. To reach that reduced bid, Brauer and Superior National staff agreed to eliminate the driving range, to reuse nearly all the existing cart paths and to eliminate some greens protective material as it was already being provided in the stormwater management plan.
Other “minor reductions” could be made, wrote Brauer in his bid summary, but it was noted that he and Golf Course Manager Bob Fenwick believed further reductions would take the course below “resort-level,” which the EDA is seeking per its business plan put together by Sirius Golf Advisors.
Join WTIP Community Radio for the 6th Annual Radio Waves Music Festival September 6th to 8th. It features live music throughout the day, a dance floor, children’s activities, and on-site food vendors. It’s a rain or shine event under a big-top tent in the Grand Marais Recreation Area. Check out the music line-up and details.
The Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has announced it will not hold its planned moose hunt this fall, avoiding an arbitration process with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The Duluth News Tribune reports that the band in August had announced it would issue 21 permits for a bulls-only moose hunt Oct. 5-20 on lands in the ceded territory covered by an 1854 treaty.
The DNR opposed the band’s plans for the hunt based on an agreement between the state and the 1854 Treaty Authority, which represents both the Grand Portage and Bois Forte bands.
As a result, the DNR had begun a formal arbitration process with the Grand Portage Band, but no arbitration hearings had yet been held when the band canceled its hunt.
Under a court-approved agreement between the DNR and the treaty authority, the bands may not hold a big-game hunting season for which no corresponding state hunting season is being held.
The state pays the Grand Portage and Bois Forte bands each year to limit their exercise of some treaty rights. During fiscal year 2013, which ended June 30, the DNR paid $2.68 million each to the two bands.
In February, the DNR decided to cancel its moose hunting season because of conservation concerns about the moose population. The population has dropped from an estimated 8,800 moose in 2006 to an estimated 2,760 in this past winter’s survey. The population suffered a 35 percent drop from 2012 to 2013.
Norman Deschampe, chairman of the Grand Portage Tribal Council, said that a tribal subsistence hunt “is fundamentally different than a sports hunt and should be considered differently.”
Deschampe also said the band was disappointed that the DNR ignored its obligation to consult with the band before cancelling the state moose hunt.
The Bois Forte band earlier opted not to hold a moose season.
Justice and reconciliation are the themes of a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) trip that Maria Nickolay of Hovland will be taking this fall. Nickolay leaves October 1 for Rostrevor, Northern Ireland.
To raise funds for her mission trip, Nickolay is performing Irish music at the Hovland Town Hall on Friday, September 6 at 7 p.m Hall.
Nickolay has been working hard to raise the $12,000 required to take part in this mission opportunity, This concert is the latest effort to reach her fundraising goal. It is also an opportunity to hear an amazing young musician perform.
There is no cover charge at the door, but donations will be happily accepted toward her YWAM trip.
Kurt Steele is the new District Ranger for the Tofte District. Steele brings a broad background in natural resource management, including forest ecosystems, fisheries and wildlife, fire operations and silviculture.
He has held positions on several national forests in Oregon and Georgia prior to coming to the Tofte Ranger District.
Steele and his wife, Melissa, a teacher, have already been in the area for some time. His official start date is Monday, September 9th.
WTIP’s Kelly Schoenfelder attended last night’s GO Team meeting at St. John's Catholic Church in Grand Marais. She reports just over 40 people turned out for the second of four public meetings. The gathering was an opportunity for members of the GO Team to present their draft economic vision for the future of Cook County, as well as collect input and garner support for the initiative from community members.
(Click on the "Attached File" below to read the economic vision draft.)
Jim Boyd of the Cook County GO Team, along with Randy Lasky of the Northspan Group and Josh Bergstad of the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission, presented a summary of the information they gathered from community members on the state of the economy in Cook County.
The information was based both on answers from over 40 community members in interviews conducted by the GO Team, as well as responses from over 400 residents on an online survey.
Bergstad highlighted some of the economic challenges facing the community, including a graying population, lack of affordable housing, and a dependency on tourism. Lasky presented the draft economic vision prepared by the GO Team and explained some of their potential solutions, including an increase in the county population to 6500 over the next 12 years and the creation of a collaborative marketing plan to strengthen the tourism sector.
While the comments from the attendees were mostly positive, there was some concern expressed about the viability of the plan, lack of buy-in from local government, and whether it can actually create solutions for the struggles and sacrifices of young families trying to make it in the community.