Around Cook County
Each weekend WTIP news produces a round up of the news stories they’ve been following this week. The pending wolf season runs into a possible snag, mineral leases are being let by the DNR, a sexual predator hearing was held in district court, and there’s city and county accord on the new community center…all in this week’s news.
Hospital building codes have changed since North Shore
Hospital was remodeled in 1994. Architect Rebecca Lewis of DSGW
Architects, who was involved in that project, talked to the hospital
board on August 23 about changes they might want to consider.
North Shore Hospital has a lot of corridors—just ask anyone who’s
wandered around feeling lost in the maze. Collapsing some of those
corridors might make better use of space, Lewis said, and “right-
sizing” should be part of the equation.
Lewis, hired to help the hospital examine its use of space, has
inventoried spaces, interviewed staff, and investigated projected
future uses. Her recommendation includes decreasing the size of the
care center, increasing other areas such as the radiology, emergency
room, and lab departments, and keeping support staff space the same.
Health care keeps changing, said Hospital Administrator Kimber
Wraalstad, and whatever remodeling they do should allow flexibility so
that spaces can be reconfigured as needed. Lewis concurred, saying
that things such as countertops that used to be built in are now being
designed so they can be moved around.
Hospitals also need to have the infrastructure to make use of
potential Internet applications, Lewis said.
A very big hospital concept today is making some rooms big enough for
family members to stay and help provide care, Lewis said. Another
trend is mobile units for services that were once housed in buildings,
such as dentistry, counseling, and wellness promotion.
Lewis presented the board with some design ideas, including a unified
Last Chance Gallery in Lutsen is offering “artist afternoons” in September. Visit the gallery at 17 Railroad Drive in Lutsen on Sunday, September 23 to see a demonstration on baskets by Judie Johnson from 1 – 4 p.m. Light refreshments will be provided during artist demos. Learn more about the artists and Last Chance Gallery at www.LastChanceFab.com.
Nancy Grabko of Community Fundraising Solutions (CFS), the company that provides housing program services to the EDA sent a letter to the EDA board to clarify what she said was a “total misrepresentation of facts.” Grabko wrote, “It has been represented to the County Board that CFS is receiving $2,000 per month to answer the telephone at the EDA offices”
Grabko said that CFS currently receives $2,950 per month to provide housing administrative services. Of that, Grabko said, $2,000 is paid to Rehab Specialist Steve Grabko. CFS is also paid a mileage stipend of $261 per month. Grabko said the remainder goes toward her operating expenses—accounting services, taxes, training, etc. “As a result,” wrote Grabko, “I have been working for virtually little or no salary for the past 15 months. I take responsibility for that business decision. I am no longer able to continue personally subsidizing the EDA Housing Program.
Grabko noted that because of “increased EDA successes” regarding its housing program, she has no time for other clients, and explained that is why she sought an increase in her contract for housing administrative services.
Mike Littfin, EDA housing committee chair, said a motion made at last month’s EDA meeting was the “wrong way” to address the increase in the EDA housing budget. He said the “ill-advised” motion, which stated the increase was to “cover the EDA office in the absence of the director at a cost of $2,000 per month,” triggered the county board’s concerns.
The possibility of a biomass-fueled heating plant for Grand Marais continues to move toward reality. On September 11, 2012, the county board approved a request from the Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP) for the use of up to $355,000 of 1 percent recreation and infrastructure sales tax revenue for pursuit of a biomass heating facility in Grand Marais.
Funding for a biomass plant was one of the projects identified in legislation approving the tax in 2009.
Representatives of two consulting groups will meet with the Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on Wednesday, September 26 to talk about the potential of a biomass-fueled district heating plant in Grand Marais.
The public is invited to this meeting, to be held in the Commissioners’ Room at the Cook County Courthouse at 7 p.m., and will have some opportunity to ask questions and make comments.
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — U.S. Senators from both parties are proposing legislation to continue Great Lakes cleanup efforts that include removing toxins from polluted harbors and fighting invasive species.
A measure introduced Thursday calls for carrying out a recently updated agreement with Canada to deal with some of the lakes' most pressing ecological problems. Some have been around for decades, such as excessive algae blooms. Among newer concerns are the effects of climate change.
The bill also would extend programs already under way, including the Obama administration's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has pumped more than $1 billion into projects across the region. Funding would need to be appropriated separately.