Around Cook County
At the July 23 county board meeting, the board approved three interim use permits allowing RVs for habitation: Chris and Kenya Jahnke on Camp 20 Road, Randi Nelson on County Road 8, and Evan and Nancy Anderson on Lake Superior in Schroeder.
While the Planning Commission had recommended permits for two, three, and four years, respectively, the county board approved two years for each. All three were renewals.
County ordinance also allows conditional use permits for long-term use of RVs on permanent foundations. Commissioner Sue Hakes expressed concern about property values being reduced when RVs are placed on lakeshore properties, however.
Catch some four-footed fun on Saturday, August 3 at the Gunflint Horse Park, when a horse show sponsored by the Reigning Riders will be held beginning at 9 a.m.
Registration is from 8-10 a.m.
Classes that will be held include open trail obstacle class (starts at 9 a.m.), water in a glass, barrels, jackpot barrels ($7 entry fee), reining R race, pole weaving, keyhole, speed dash, jackpot speed n' action ($7 entry fee) and open relay race.
All events are free to spectators. For more information contact Jessica at 218-226-9946 or Steph at 218-226-9714.
Cook County authorities are searching for missing 82 year old, Paul Brandt of Grand Marais.
Brandt went blueberry picking up the Gunflint Trail on Thursday afternoon and did not return home. He was blueberry picking in the area south of the Seagull Guard Station. His vehicle was located parked nearby.
The Sheriff’s office says Brandt is 6’1”, 190 pounds has grey hair and blue eyes and wears glasses. There is no clothing description. He is in good health and described as pretty fit. Mr. Brandt lives on the Gunflint Trail and this is unusual for him to not return home.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Cook County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department, USFS, friends and relatives have been searching for Mr. Brandt since the initial call at 9:40 p.m. Thursday night. Also assisting is the Minnesota State Patrol and search dogs with the Central Lakes Search and Rescue.
Environmental groups rallied on Duluth’s Lake Superior waterfront Thursday morning, making public thousands of signatures calling for tougher scrutiny of proposed copper mining in Northeastern Minnesota.
The Duluth News Tribune reports Environment Minnesota had nearly 10,000 signatures of state residents opposing copper mining, while Water Legacy members said they have nearly 4,200 petitions calling on the federal Environmental Protection Agency to step in and “protect Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters” Canoe Area Wilderness.
Earlier this summer the group Sustainable Ely opened a new tourist center in Ely aimed at educating visitors to the potential problems of copper mining.
Several companies are eying copper, nickel, platinum and other valuable metals across the Arrowhead. PolyMet Minerals plans an open pit mine and processing center near Hoyt Lakes that will employ 350 people.
Twin Metals, has plans to build an underground copper-nickel mine southeast of Ely, just outside the BWCAW.
Mining supporters say the region’s expansion into copper mining will bolster employment and the copper can be mined and processed with no long-term environmental problems.
Opponents say the promise of jobs is being overstated and that the cyclical booms spurred by mining won’t be worth the potential environmental harm caused by the acidic runoff that often accompanies copper mining.
The 2012-2013 ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) year was full of fun and learning for local families with children ages birth to 5 years old. The program is made successful by the strong community involvement and volunteer efforts of community members as well as our ECFE staff members.
ECFE classes had numerous guest speakers featuring topics such as passenger safety, nutrition, gardening, stress management and post partum depression, as well as visiting a local hobby farm and the school’s book fairs.
Another outreach of the ECFE program is the Open Gym program which is held twice a week and allows families and childcare providers to gather their children in an open, safe environment to burn off some energy, develop their large motor skills and social skills. In our long and cold winters this is a benefit for many families.
In order to help keep Open Gym affordable for families the annual ECFE pancake breakfast will be held during Friday and Saturday of Fisherman’s Picnic. ECFE parents and staff will be serving all-you-can-eat pancakes, along with sausage, juice and coffee beginning at 7 a.m. at the Cook County Community Center on Aug. 2 and 3. Costs of the breakfast are $4 for kids 12 and under, $6 for adults. Proceeds from the fundraiser are used by the ECFE Advisory Council to help supplement Open Gym operating costs.
With a deadline looming, the county board wrestled on July 23, 2013 with an opportunity to authorize a new tax. The state has authorized counties to impose a wheelage tax of $10 a year for certain types of vehicles over the next four years and up to $20 a year starting in 2018.
The tax would apply to vehicles such as cars, pickups, busses, and commercial trucks but not to motorcycles, RVs, and semis. For a small fee, the state could collect the tax along with vehicle license renewals on behalf of the county. The revenue projected for Cook County would be approximately $52,780 a year and would help fund projects on county-owned roads. In order for the state to collect the tax in 2014, the county would need to give the state notice by August 1.
Cook County Highway Engineer David Betts recommended that the board authorize the tax.
Commissioner Bruce Martinson said he would rather see increased sales taxes or a levy increase, because this is a regressive tax that would have greater impact the lower a vehicle owner’s income was.
Commissioner Garry Gamble said he empathized with the Highway Department’s need for funding and pointed out that $10 a year amounted to just over 83 cents month. “The problem is, it’s nibble, nibble, nibble, nibble,” he said. “Cumulatively, it’s a problem. …We can’t just keep adding taxes.”