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News and other information from Cook County

Commissioner Gamble to research where to place water fountain

Wed, 09/18/2013 - 12:19pm

As promised, Commissioner Garry Gamble brought his recommendation regarding a water fountain at the county’s public tennis courts back to the county board on September 10.
The county had purchased a freestanding unit but has had it in storage because they wanted to coordinate the work with the other work being done in the vicinity. 
The county could avoid a $1,000 hookup fee to the city and a monthly service charge by installing a wall-mounted unit on the outside of the new YMCA.  Wall-mounted units do not come with water bottle spigots at this time. 
Gamble said returning the fountain they already purchased would cost a 35 percent restocking fee, which means they would get $1,300 back out of an investment of about $2,000. 
The fountain could be handicap-accessible if they put in a slope to the curb near it. 
The board decided to not install the fountain they had purchased but to find out the cost of installing a wall-mounted one onto the YMCA with a sloping curb leading to it

Refurbished Gunflint Trail signs back in place

Wed, 09/18/2013 - 11:17am
Voyageur sign is re-installed after being refurbished by Yarrow Korf.

The historic Gunflint Trail signs in downtown Grand Marais are back in place after getting  much needed facelifts.  The refurbished Voyageur and Bear signs, which date back to the 1950's, were installed on Friday, September 13th.  

The effort to repair the deteriorating signs was led by the Gunflint Trail Historical Society, and spearheaded by John Schloot of Cross River Lodge.  Funds were provided by the Cook County Historical Society, the City of Grand Marais, Cook County, and Arrowhead Electric Cooperative.  Local artisan Yarrow Korf did the repair work.

According to John Schloot, the stone walls on which the signs rest were erected in the 1930's by either the WPA or CCC, while the signs themselves date back to the 1950's.  Schloot also commented on the colors used on the signs, saying he and Korf worked together to come up with a more "historic and proper" color scheme.  




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WTIP’s New Volunteer Open House

Wed, 09/18/2013 - 10:09am

Everyone interested in becoming a volunteer, or who would like to learn more about volunteer opportunities at WTIP, is invited to stop by WTIP’s new volunteer open house between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 24th. 

The new volunteer open house is an opportunity to learn more about current volunteer openings at the local radio station, including public affairs program hosts, Small Change trivia show hosts, and various music program hosts. WTIP staff will be on hand to discuss the opportunities, learn more about volunteer interests, and explain the process of becoming a trained host or co-host.

For more information please call the station at 387-1070 or email:  


County denies request for use of uncommitted 1 percent funds for Cook County Community YMCA

Tue, 09/17/2013 - 10:21am

Cook County Community YMCA Project Manager Wade Cole of ORB Management asked the county board on September 10 for $70,000 of as-yet-uncommitted funds from the county’s 1 percent recreation and infrastructure sales tax budget in order to finish the project.  He cited unexpected costs due to a contract dispute with The Meyer Group and re-design fees paid to JLG Architects after the building was downsized.

Project Manager Cole said they were waiting on prices for 88 separate items, so the exact amount he anticipated needing was not known yet. 

Cole said his company has been advocating for the county’s benefit all along.

Commissioner Sue Hakes said this is a complicated project.

Commissioner Bruce Martinson reminded the board that about $60,000 of the cost of the project was for oversight by the state that the state originally told them would not be needed.  

Some projects can wait, Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk said, such as painting the custodial room, a projected cost of $550, or replacing the carpeting in the Jane Mianowski room, a projected cost of $5,000.

Commissioner Hakes made a motion authorizing $70,000 from the 1 percent budget to be put into the contingency fund, and then amended that amount to $35,000.  It failed by a vote of 2-3, with Commissioners Hakes and Martinson voting yes and Commissioners Doo-Kirk, Gamble, and Jan Hall voting no.

Arts Council to hold informational meeting about grants program Sept. 20

Tue, 09/17/2013 - 10:18am

Are you an artist living in the Arrowhead Region, seeking funding to move your career to the next level? Does your regional arts nonprofit need operating support, or funding for a project? If so, plan to attend a meeting of the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council on Sept. 20 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Grand Marais Art Colony.

Samuel Black, assistant director of the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council (ARAC), will discuss important changes to three ARAC grants: Career Development (individual artists); Two-Year Operating (arts nonprofits); and Rural/Community (arts nonprofits).

Included in this discussion will be ARAC’s new grant deadline structure, the new shape of the narrative questions (to reflect criteria), other changes to multiple ARAC programs, and using the Grant Lifecycle Manager (GLM) as an application format. All questions will be answered!

Individual artists are advised that McKnight/ACHF/ARAC Career Development Grants support and assist regional artists from all cultural backgrounds at various stages in their careers. This program encourages artistic development by assisting artists to take advantage of specific opportunities and to nurture artistic creativity through self-generated proposals. This program is also designed to allow artists the time to work to achieve specific career goals by purchasing supplies and materials, participating in advanced study not related to a degree program, or pursuing other activities that will allow them to meet their artistic goals.

Opponents continue quest to eliminate rumble strips

Mon, 09/16/2013 - 1:50pm

East End residents are not happy about the new rumble strips recently installed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) on Highway 61 between Grand Marais and the Canadian border. On September 10, citizens were on hand to speak to the county commissioners personally about the matter during the public comment portion of the county board meeting. 
Citizens were informed that the county board supported their opposition with a letter to Minnesota Transportation Commissioner Charles Zelle written September 4, 2013.
Bob Carter thanked the board for the letter but asked for a resolution decrying the rumble strips.  “For those of us who live there and hear them every day, day and night, they’re intolerable,” he said. 
Carter said people who live as far as two miles from the highway can hear them.  He said he had heard from over 60 people who are bothered by them. 
Commissioner Garry Gamble said when they presented the letter to the transportation commissioner the commissioner listened and seemed responsive. 
Gamble acknowledged that there are a lot of deaths on Highway 61 and said they want to protect public safety but also reduce the noise.
“We’re not opposed to public safety,” said Carter.  He said people who move up here know the highway is there and are prepared for traffic noise.  “There’s a huge difference between the sound of traffic and rumble strips,” he said.
The letter to the transportation commissioner states “While the safety goal is one we support, the Cook County Board of Commissioners and many, many residents along Highway 61 have concerns about the negative impacts resulting from the length and location of these recently installed centerline rumble strips.”