Around Cook County
At the Cook County Community Center Steering Committee meeting on June 22 and during a School District 166 board special meeting on Tuesday, July 10, architect Dan Miller of JLG Architects spent some time in person and on the phone asking and answering questions about the proposal to attach a new community center to the west end of the School District 166 campus. Miller has been tasked with designing project, as well as possible changes to the existing community center building and the ice rinks.
Miller will return with architectural drawings for a joint county/school board/YMCA meeting from 2 – 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 12. A public input meeting will be held that day from 6 - 8 p.m. at the Mianowski Conference Room.
Beer lovers, meet your makers! That’s the invitation from the organizers of the 2012 Hopped Up Caribou Beer Fest at Caribou Highlands Lodge in Lutsen on Saturday, July 14.
The Hopped Up Fest features a mouth-watering barbecue and live music by Cook County’s Most Wanted in the mountain side beer garden from 3 – 6 p.m. Beer lovers will have the chance to sample homegrown (local and regional) beer from 13 area breweries and to get to meet the brew masters behind the beer. Fest-goers get to vote for the beer that should receive the Lake Superior Beer Cup.
From 7 – 10 p.m. there will be a Still Hopping After Party with an outdoor bonfire, barbecue, and more live music with the Boomchucks.
Cost is $35 per person in advance ($40 at the door), which includes food and live entertainment. Lodging packages are available. Designated drivers receive discounted admission.
For more information, go to: www.hoppedupcaribou.com or call (800) 642-6036.
The Gunflint Trail Canoe Races are set for July 18 at Gunflint Lodge. The annual event, the biggest of the summer on the Trail, benefit the Gunflint Trail Fire Department, and last year raised $14,500.
The well-trained fire department averages a call a week. Those include medical, search and rescue, and fire-related. The three stations along the Trail are situated at population centers: Station 1 at Mid Trail; Station 2 at Gunflint Lake; and Station 3 at Seagull Lake near the end of the Trail. All stations have brush trucks, with the ambulance at Gunflint. Tanker tenders are an important part of the services to provide water when needed.
The Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department covers a total of 192 square miles stretching along the Trail from Swamper Lake to the end of the Trail and reaches to Greenwood Lake and Twin Lake. This makes it the largest territory in Cook County and perhaps in the state.
Plans are being made to upgrade the three fire stations. Project Chair Michael Valentini reports that two buildings will be added at Station 1 – a storage building and a hall that will double as a community building and incident command post with bathrooms are planned. Building should begin in mid-summer and completed in the fall.
At Station 2 bathrooms with shower will be added and should be completed in the fall. At Station 3 the present tiny building will be moved off the property as the land is permitted to have only one structure. The new building will house two trucks, storage and serve as an incident command center and community center.
The canoe race schedule begins at 4 p.m. Over 100 items will be raffled at $2 a ticket. A second raffle of a Wenonah Spirit 11 Royalex canoe donated by the Wenonah Canoe Company of Winona will also be held at $5 a ticket. The canoe is on display at Trail Center.
After some conflict in the commissioners’ room of the courthouse during county board meetings over the last couple of months, at its June 26 meeting, the board decided to look at creating written guidelines for the public comments period of the meeting shortly after the meeting gets started.
Opponents of the way the proposed community center project has been handled have been speaking out, and sometimes commissioners have spoken back.
Commissioner Fritz Sobanja said he thought they needed to set some parameters, and he suggested that one of them be to not schedule that portion of the meeting so early in the meeting, which starts at 8:30 a.m. most of the time.
Commissioner Bruce Martinson said he was concerned that without guidelines, the public comment period could turn into a “circus.”
Board Secretary Janet Simonen had collected samples of other boards’ written guidelines for public comment periods. She gave distributed the guidelines used by Cook County’s ISD 166 school district, the City of Grand Marais, and Freeborn County.
Commissioner Sue Hakes said she liked the city’s guidelines but suggested adding some elements from the others as well, such as prohibiting individual attacks on board members, allowing the board to ask questions of the speaker, and leaving open the possibility of adding the speaker’s topic to that day’s agenda.
Commissioner Sobanja suggested that they require people to read written statements that they would then submit to the board. He also liked the idea of limiting this portion of the meeting to 15 minutes and of allowing the board to respond to the public.
Commissioner Bruce Martinson suggested that they limit comments to five minutes per person but put the topic on the agenda for later in the meeting if more discussion were needed.
The US Forest Service is monitoring the area of a small fire one mile west of Perent Lake in Lake County. The fire was started by a lightning strike on Monday, July 2 and spotted on Tuesday, July 3. Forest Service CL215s, or water scoopers, flew over the area on Tuesday, making water drops. The rain on July 4 and Friday, July 6, subsequently doused the fire as well. On Monday, July 9, Tofte District Ranger John Wytanis said a flyover of the area on Sunday revealed no smoke.
Wytanis said Forest Service considered putting some wildland fire fighters on the fire, however it is in an area with poor access, so suppression was from the air. Then the rain “put a pretty good hurt on it” and the ground fire suppression was not necessary.
The fire burned approximately 3 acres. It is within one quarter of a mile of the Pagami Creek Fire from last year, which Wytanis said is actually a good thing. “It’s between Perent Lake and the Pagami Creek Fire. There is ‘black’ on one side and water on the other, so it’s a relatively good spot,” he said.
The fire burned in a mixed boreal forest type that consists of spruce and hardwoods mainly, with some scattered pine.
The Forest Service continues to monitor the area.