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News and other information from Cook County

Weekend News Roundup for October 11

Sat, 10/11/2014 - 10:31am

Each week the WTIP news department puts together a roundup of the weeks top news stories. New MnDOT road condition definitions, City Council decisions, and PolyMet EIS information…all figured in this week’s news.



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EDA and AEOA offer small business program

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 10:34am

The Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) and Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency are working together to offer business owners in the Grand Marais area the opportunity to participate in a Small Cities Deferred Loan Program. This program has funding available to approximately five business owners in the city of Grand Marais to make repairs to existing and/or deteriorating exterior features such as windows, doors, roofs, siding, energy upgrades, accessibility issues, or to correct building code violations.

Business owners can receive funding up to $38,500 in a zero percent interest, 10- year deferred forgivable loan. Certain terms and restrictions apply.

To receive an application, or for more information, contact Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency at (218) 735-6827 for Anna or (218) 735-6828 for Vince.  Inquiries must be received by Oct. 13.

Two candidates now running for School District 166 District 3 seat

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 10:29am

As the election filing period closed for School District 166 school board, there were no candidates for District 3, the West Grand Marais/Cascade area. At the last school board meeting on September 18, Superintendent Beth Schwarz announced that Chris Goettl was running as a write-in candidate. At press time, Jeff Kern has also announced that he will be running for the District 3 seat.

In a letter to the Cook County News-Herald, Kern said he was running, “Because education of our kids is at the heart of a successful community, I’m offering to represent people of Cook County District 3 on the ISD 166 School Board.  Our community thrives only when it includes families with kids.  Families with kids come and stay only if there is a strong school system.

Kern has two children currently attending Cook County High School.

The News-Herald contacted Chris Goettl by phone to confirm his write-in candidacy. Goettl said yes, he is running. He said, “I’m concerned about the future of ISD 166—for the students and the community. I’d like to become more involved with what happens in the future at ISD 166.”

Goettl also has two children in the school, one in middle school; one in high school.

Cook County Historical Society hosts Annual Meeting and Dinner: October 15

Thu, 10/09/2014 - 9:00am

 The Cook County Historical Society invites all to attend their 90th Annual Meeting and Dinner on Wednesday, October 15, 2014.  WTIP volunteer Tracy Benson talked with Carrie McHugh of the Cook County Historical Society about this event on North Shore Morning.   

The 90th Annual Meeting and Dinner is Wednesday, October 15, at The Landing at Devil Track Resort. Reservations are requested by October 10.  A social hour will begin at 5:30 pm and dinner will be served at 6:30 pm. Learn about 100 years of Hedstrom Lumber’s history in a presentation given by Howard Hedstrom.
Please call this Historical Society at 387-2883, or email to make your reservation by October 10th. 

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October 9 is "Louise Trachta Day" in Tofte

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 10:46pm

At the September meeting of the Tofte Town Board, supervisors set aside October 9 as Louise Trachta Day in Tofte. Trachta, in her last month as Tofte’s Search & Rescue volunteer leader, said she was honored to serve in the department for 15 years.

 “I’ve enjoyed working with the organization and I wish them well. I’ve worked hard to make things go smoothly and I will work with my replacements to help them,” Trachta said.

Fire Chief Rich Nelson said, “I want to thank Louise for all of her help. When we were down to three First Responders and five firefighters she was one of the first to step up. She did anything asked of her. We are going to really miss her.”

Schroeder Fire Chief Phil Bonin and Kim Jahnke will team up to replace Trachta. “I think Phil’s just the guy I would have picked. He’s very knowledgeable. Kim came along and she has a lot of fire and desire in her. She wants to learn and is compassionate towards people. You’ll do fine, both of you,” Louise said.

Rose Thoreson has also taken over some of the paper work that Trachta has been doing in a job that gets busier and busier each year.

Trachta said her department received 32 calls from January 1 to September 4. Her search and rescue squad has now grown to 12 people, she said. “I’m really proud of all of our responders for their dedication and willingness to help out.”

County considers interim use permit for RV living

Wed, 10/08/2014 - 10:45pm

Although there was a great deal of discussion the county board ultimately approved an interim use permit to allow the continued use of a recreational vehicle (RV) for property owners Andrew Herman and Jane Powers on Bigsby Lake in Lutsen. The couple purchased their 24.33-acre property with approximately 50 feet of shoreline in 1999 and were granted a conditional use permit allowing the short-term use of a recreational vehicle in 2002. That permit expired in 2007 and the RV was on the property unpermitted until 2011 when a 3-year interim use permit was approved by the board of commissioners. At that time, in response to septic concerns, the applicants installed a holding tank on the parcel.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Bill Lane said that permit expired in May 2014, which is why the matter was back before the commissioners. Eleven notices were sent out to adjacent property owners. One reply was received and that was in favor of granting Herman and Powers another interim use permit. In the memo listing considerations for the Planning Commission, Lane wrote, “In the case of the Herman/Powers property, any impact on shared resources and adjoining properties is essentially non-existent. The property is well-maintained, a holding tank is in place, and the landscape is heavily vegetated with old, mixed-type forests and sight lines are extremely limited.”

On September 10, 2014, the planning commission—noting that it was unclear that there is a county requirement of only two years for an interim use permit and that the property was very remote and well-maintained—granted the permit for a period of five years.

The county board followed suit, but Commissioner Sue Hakes stressed that she did so reluctantly. She noted that allowing people the ability to live in an RV instead of building a home could erode the county’s tax base. “We need a plan, a process for RV use,” said Hakes.