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News and other information from Cook County

Tofte board approves Birch Grove Community School lease

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 12:28pm

On Tuesday, June 24, Tofte Township supervisors approved a one-year lease for the Birch Grove Community School at a special town board meeting.

The lease calls for the school to pay the Tofte township $37,502 to use 4,412 square feet of space in the Birch Grove Community Center building for the year 2014 - 2015.

Under terms of the agreement, the school will switch its office space with the office that currently houses the Birch Grove Foundation director.  Otherwise the school will use the classrooms it used last year and share the same common space (the gym, playground, hockey rink, tennis courts etc.) that the other three tenants now share at no additional charge.

The Birch Grove Foundation is in charge of the building and grounds while the town of Tofte owns the facility. The school is the biggest tenant in the building and a lease payment of $37,502 will go a long way towards paying the approximate $73,000 yearly operating cost for the community center


This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald

The 9th Annual Hovland Arts Festival

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 12:17pm

Every year, artists get together at the Hovland Arts Festival to display and sell their works. One of the artists involved, Karen Cedarmoon, talked to WTIP about the festival, and art that will be featured there.


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Pre-trial hearing for County Attorney Tim Scannell to be held July 3

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 10:38am

Court dates have been set for jury trial of Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell on two felony charges of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. On April 17, Court Administrator Diane Herrick-Schmidt issued the notice that Scannell is scheduled to appear in court again in July.

The case is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 3. A jury trial has been scheduled for July 21-25, beginning at 8:30 a.m. each day. The proceedings will be held in St. Louis County District Court in Duluth.

County Attorney Scannell has been free on his own recognizance since his October 2013 indictment with the condition that he has no contact with the alleged victim or with any of the witnesses in the case.

Scannell came under public scrutiny after a Cook County family concerned about the safety and wellbeing of their then-17-year-old daughter issued a harassment restraining order against him on December 4, 2012. An investigation and the grand jury indictment followed.

Scannell’s attorney, Joseph Tamburino argued for dismissal of the indictment at a March 27 hearing, but on April 11, Judge Shaun Floerke issued an opinion that the matter should proceed to trial. Because the age of consent in Minnesota is 16, the case may be decided by the jury on whether or not Scannell was in a position of authority over the girl at the time of the physical acts. According to court documents, Scannell had known the girl since she was in third grade. He had been her soccer coach, tennis coach, taught her guitar lessons, helped her with her homework and most recently, gave her advice on college planning.

If Scannell is found guilty of the charges, he could be sentenced to up to 10 years of incarceration and/or $20,000 on each count.

Scannell first became the center of media attention on December 15, 2011 when he was shot by a defendant he had successfully convicted of criminal sexual conduct with a teenaged girl.

Industrial arts expansion in final design phase

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 10:37am

At the Thursday, June 19 School District 166 board meeting, Ryan Erspamer from Architectural Resources presented an update concerning the industrial arts expansion project at the high school.

The project is scheduled to have a final design completed on July 1. A pre-bid conference will be held allowing potential contractors to do a walk-through of the space. The project is then anticipated to be put out for bids on July 21 with bids due back by August 6.

It will be close to the start of school before construction begins.

The current design calls for a 2,200 square foot addition, which is down from the original plan of an additional 2,500 feet.

The original budget of $750,000 for the project included $450,000 for the building itself but lacked an allowance for the remodeling of the existing building.

The budget currently stands at $783,000 for construction without including any additional equipment.

The total budget for the project is now $997,500 plus a ten percent contingency fund of $100,000. This figure would allow $250,000 to be spent on the purchase of new equipment.

Erspamer said the amount received by Architectural Resources is set and will not increase due to the increased project budget.

In addition to $750,000 of taconite funding slated for the project there is another $150,000 available from the sale of the west end of the ISD 166 building to the county for the Cook County Community YMCA. There may also be funds that can be accessed from the health and safety fund for certain improvements. Superintendent Beth Schwarz added that there are additional grant resources that have not yet been tapped in to.


This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald

Lake Superior hikers to speak at Grand Marais Library July 3

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 10:36am

The Arrowhead Library System will present "From Adventure to Publication" with Mike Link and Kate Crowley at 3:30 p.m. July 3 at the Grand Marais Public Library.

The educators, naturalists, photographers and authors will offer the free program, speaking about their 1,555-mile hike around Lake Superior. They will describe their shore-hugging journey around the world’s largest freshwater lake and their unique perspective as naturalists, travel writers and grandparents. They chronicled and described their epic five-month Lake Superior hike through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ontario as a life-altering experience.

They will also describe their next adventure – The Full Length Mississippi. Kate and Mike have already driven the length of the Mississippi and plan to boat along the upper portion of the river and then follow the annual bird migration.

And if that isn’t enough to talk about, Mike and Kate also wrote a series of books, "Places to Go, Wisdom to Share" about traveling through Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota with grandchildren. Take an active role in their lives and share your experience while exploring Minnesota and the Midwest.

The event is sponsored by the Arrowhead Library System and funded by money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Call the library at (218) 387-1140 for more information.


This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald

A full field of riders turn out for Lutsen 99er

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 11:57am

Here’s a quick look at the Lutsen 99er bike race Saturday. Michael Naughton of Crystal Lake, IL won the 99er in 5 hours, 51 minutes, 49 seconds.  In the 39 mile race, Jason Johnson of St. Paul and Ryan Fitzgerald of Roberts, WI tied for the lead with 2 hours, 7 minutes and 42 seconds.

Coming in at number 32 and 34 in the 39er was Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux and John Alt of Grand Marais. In the number 35 place was Kerrie Berg of Grand Marais, who also took first place in the women’s division at 2:33:54. A host of other Cook County racers were spread out over the 39er field.