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News and other information from Cook County

No second story for Birch Grove Community Center

Tue, 08/27/2013 - 9:34am

The architectural firm hired by Tofte Township to assess whether or not the Birch Grove Community Center building could support a second story that would accommodate senior housing and some office space has indicated that a preliminary look at the building’s walls and foundation are not suited for a second addition, said Dick Grabko of Community Resources Development (CRD).

Or, as Grabko told the board, the cost to fix the walls and foundation would far exceed what the township was hoping to spend on developing senior housing.

The structural assessment completed by engineering firm DSGW indicated there were issues with footings, walls, and the roof and determined it would be more expensive to fix those then to build an adjacent structure, Grabko told Tofte Township supervisors at their August 8, 2013 meeting.

Of the three architectural firms to bid on the project, DSGW Architects of Duluth was the low bidder at $10,800. As part of the bid, DSGW will now make a recommendation about the feasibility of adding onto the building and what those costs might be, and if that is not a plausible option, also look at determining what type of senior housing could be located on the township’s 29 acres which lay behind the community center.

Grabko and his partner, Gary Lammpa of CRD, have been hired to help the township develop senior housing at Birch Grove. Part of their job is to identify perspective clients, write grants, find bonds and find a developer if the project is feasible.

As part of the process, said Supervisor Paul James, “We need to get senior citizen input into just what type of building or housing they want.”

Summer heats up and stays dry

Mon, 08/26/2013 - 12:47pm

The summer we all wished for is here, but perhaps more than what we had wanted. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with meteorologist Carol Christensen about hot and dry.

Attend county highway department open house to learn about upcoming projects on the Gunflint Trail

Mon, 08/26/2013 - 9:33am

The Cook County Highway Department will be hosting an open house to discuss upcoming projects on the Gunflint Trail (County State Aid Highway 12).  The open house will be held 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at the Gunflint Lodge Conference Center.

Two Gunflint Trail projects are slated for 2014 and 2015.  They consist of replacement of the portion of the road between West County Road 92 and the Cross River.

County Engineer David Betts said, “These projects comprise removal of the pavement, repair of culverts in need of work, reshaping of the sub-grade and repaving of the roadway.  Limited repair work on existing sub-grade problems will also take place.”

Interested parties are encouraged to stop by anytime during the open house to learn about the projects, ask questions, and offer comments.

"Hawaiian Week" at North Shore Care Center

Mon, 08/26/2013 - 9:30am

The end of August marks “Hawaiian Week” with something tropical added to the activities each day at the North Shore Care Center. And, just in case the recent tropical weather doesn’t continue, Activities Director Kay Rosenthal said residents will still enjoy making fruit kabobs, watching the movie South Pacific, playing Hawaiian Bingo with Walt Mianowski, and the Hawaii 5-0 Dance with the band Portage on Saturday, August 31 at 6:30 p.m. Families and community members are always welcome to join in the fun.

For more information about activity programs or volunteer opportunities at the North Shore Care Center, please contact the Activity Department at 218.387.3518 or check out the website:

Detour planned on Highway 61 along North Shore

Mon, 08/26/2013 - 8:28am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Construction work on Highway 61 will detour traffic for about a week starting today.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation says the detour between Little Marais and Illgen City will add about 10 minutes to travel time. The highway is scheduled to reopen Friday afternoon, just ahead of the Labor Day holiday weekend.

The contractor is flattening hills and widening shoulders on about five miles of Highway 61. MnDOT engineer Dan Erickson says it's a heavily traveled road, so the extra space will benefit motorists who have to pull over in emergencies.

MnDOT has spent more than $115 million in recent years on the scenic highway. Next summer, drivers will face a detour for about three weeks.

List of applicants to interview for county administrator under review

Sun, 08/25/2013 - 9:50am

At the county board meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 13, Consultant David Unmacht of Springstead Group told the board that 36 people have applied for Cook County’s new county administrator position. 

Unmacht said he knows 11 of the applicants.  Another 10 live in Minnesota and the rest are from across the Midwest and beyond.  At first glance, Unmacht said, he could see that at least four or five were “solid” applicants.

Unmacht will create a matrix to evaluate and compare applicants and with input from commissioners will sent out a set of screening questions to 7-11 of the highest ranking applicants.  From there, he will narrow the list down to 3-5 people to invite to a first interview and will call them before that interview. 

Unmacht said they could do first interviews soon after Labor Day and second interviews shortly after that, leading to a decision by the end of September.  After the first interviews, finalists will be selected and their references will be checked.  If the whole board interviews the final set of candidates, their names would be available to the public. 

Unmacht is making the applications available to the board, and the board will decide on August 27 which candidates will be invited to a first interview.