Around Cook County
A rather heated discussion ensued at the Schroeder Township annual meeting on Tuesday, March 12, when donation requests totaling $21,000 came up. It was noted that could push the projected 2013 budget almost $4,000 higher then revenues, which concerned some citizens.
Donations requested were: Schroeder Area Historical Society asked for $10,000, Birch Grove Foundation requested $3,500, Birch Grove Community School $5,000, Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center $1,000 and the Town of Tofte asked for $1,500 for the July 4th fireworks and music.
After much discussion, a motion was made to not fund the $1,000 request to Sugarloaf and to donate $1,000 (not $1,500) to Tofte for fireworks and then to reduce all the other requests by 10 percent. This passed with a majority of support by the voters and the budget requests granted were $17,650 instead of $21,000.
Northeastern Minnesota’s most-rural county is also the region’s healthiest.
The Duluth News Tribune reports Cook County ranks among the top 30 in the state in the two major areas evaluated in the fourth annual County Health Rankings, released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
Out of 87 counties, Cook County ranked 29th in “health outcomes” — up from 42nd last year. The health outcomes category considers premature deaths, low birth weight and similar data.
Cook County ranked 23rd in “health factors,” which includes a wide array of measures ranging from adult obesity to sexually transmitted infections to the violent crime rate.
St. Louis, Lake and Cook counties have ranked relatively low in all four years of the County Health rankings.
Although Cook County falls well below some of the counties in the suburban Twin Cities and most of those in southeastern Minnesota, it stands out in the region. St. Louis County ranked 72nd in health outcomes and 59th in health factors; Lake County ranked 83rd in health outcomes but 28th in health factors; and Carlton County ranked 81st in health outcomes and 36th in health factors.
At the Lutsen Township annual meeting on Tuesday, March 12, there was debate over a donation to Birch Grove Community School. The first request for a contribution of $3,500 for the Birch Grove Foundation, the same donation as last year, was passed almost unanimously with minimal discussion.
However, the second request, for $5,000 from the Birch Grove Community School, met with a barrage of questions for school board members and Director Diane Blanchette. This is the first time the school has asked for financial support from Lutsen and Schroeder.
Concerns were expressed over the school’s finances and Blanchette explained that the school has worked very hard to deal with state funding delays and decreased funding because of declining enrollment. She said in 2011-2012 expenses were cut by $38,490 through a variety of saving measures that included changes in transportation and cuts in salary. Blanchette said the school has tried not to impact the educational program.
Questions were asked about declining student enrollment and Blanchette said there are currently 28 students, down from a high of 48. “How do you keep it viable without higher numbers?” asked Val Groth.
Blanchette replied, “That’s Birch Grove’s history. Parents and community members came together long before we were even a charter school because enrollment was a problem, but people wanted a school in our community.
Val Groth said she supported choice for parents, but added, “In some ways, I feel this is taxation without representation. Without a school board we elect, I feel like we don’t really have a voice.”
Blanchette quickly replied, “We have a vacant seat on our board!” She encouraged Groth and anyone else who had questions to come by the school and ask.
The Superior Cycling Association invites anyone interested in what's happening with bicycling in Cook County to its annual meeting which will be held March 20 at 7 p.m. at East Bay Suites.
Superior Cycling Association (SCA) spokesperson Mark Spinler explains, “We will have a short business meeting and then have maps and information about the mountain bike single track trail systems we are building at the Pincushion Recreation Area north of Grand Marais and the Sugar Bush Ski Trail System north of Tofte.
“Come see what we have accomplished to date and what we have plans for this coming trail building season,” said Spinler.
Simple refreshments will be available.
There will be a special offering for those interested in winter biking. After the meeting Superior North Outdoor Center will have a fat tire bike and bikes with studded tires available for test
rides. “Consider becoming a member to help us continue our work with trail building,
advocacy, rides, and events,” added Spinler.
For more information, contact Spinler at 9218) 370-9497 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2013 shipping season will get under way in the Twin Ports late today when the 1,000-foot laker Mesabi Miner is expected to be the first departure of the season.
The Duluth News Tribune reports the Miner began loading coal yesterday at the Midwest Energy Terminal in Superior. It then moved to the Port Terminal to load and install a drive motor for its conveyor system before making a Lake Superior delivery to Marquette, Mich.
The Miner will return to Duluth over the weekend to load iron ore at the CN dock and then head to Indiana Harbor on Lake Michigan. The Canadian-flag CSL Tadoussac also is set to head to Duluth this weekend from winter layup in Thunder Bay to load iron ore pellets.
Spring is in the air and the Grand Portage Elders will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a Stew Cook Off & Meat Bingo on Thursday, March 21 at the Grand Portage Lodge. The fundraiser will start at 5 p.m. with dinner and bingo to follow. Everyone is invited to enter a stew for the contest.
Call Carol Hackett for more information at the ENP at (218) 475-2655. All proceeds from this fund raiser will go towards trips and activities at the ENP.