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News and other information from Cook County

Economic Development Authority researching bonding options for Superior National at Lutsen golf course improvements

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 8:24am

Following up on the resolution passed at the February meeting allowing Treasurer Scott Harrison to work with Ehlers& Associates and bond counsel Fryberger, Buchanan, Smith & Frederick on the issuance of bonds for $2,350,000 for improvements and additions to the Superior National at Lutsen golf course, Harrison reported that Ehlers had only two replies to the RFPs.

The bond rates from those firms were high, ranging from about 5½ to 6 percent, Harrison told his Cook County - Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) colleagues on Tuesday, March 11. Harrison said Ehlers suggested that the golf course seek a tax abatement bond, which would drop the rate to 2½ percent.

“In short,” Harrison said, “We’re going back to the county.”

By obtaining a tax abatement bond, Harrison said the golf course would see $1.4 million in savings over 15 years. He explained that the rate is significantly less because of the certainty. He said, “Golf course revenues are pledged to pay the bonds, but if those revenues are not sufficient, the bonds are backed by the county. Basically, taxpayers are on the hook.”

However, Harrison asserted that the golf course has covered bond payments since they were first issued in 1998. He said the cash load for the new bonds would be the same.

Harrison and bond attorney Bob Toftey appeared before the county board on March 18 to introduce the idea to the commissioners. Commissioners asked for more information such as examples of successful tax abatement bond projects, options for other collateral, and the possibility of reducing the cost of the project.

Theater Sports postponed -- again!

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 9:54pm

The community will have to wait to catch the energetic and highly-entertaining Theater Sports. Theater Sports was postponed last month when school was cancelled because of the weather and was scheduled to Friday, April 4--another snow day! Stay tuned to find out when this fun event will be held.

The competition can get a little crazy, but for a great cause:  the College Literature class’s annual spring theater trip to the Twin Cities. This year the students will see both Rain and Othello.

Coached by Michael McHugh, Theater Sports is improvisational theater with a competitive sports angle. In a typical match, two teams challenge each other, react to a surprise command, and count on the audience to judge them. In addition to suggesting wacky scenes for the teams to enact, a few brave audience members may wish to take the stage and compete also!

 Theater Sports teams include Thomas Anderson, Jessica Berg-Collman, Joe Borud, Anna Carman, Joey Chmelik, Sarah Deschampe, Cy Fortunato, Jonny Jacobsen, Charlie Lawler, Megan Lehto, Shannon O’Phelan, Breana Peterson, Melanie Stoddard, Abby Sutton, and Seth Warren.

Furlong picked to attend National Youth Leadership Forum

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 12:37pm

Cook County High School sports fans know Richie Furlong as a fearless competitor. A tough kid who competes as hard as he can but plays with great sportsmanship.

A junior at CCHS, Furlong recently received notification that he has been selected to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum in Washington D.C.

“I received a letter nominating me for this week-long program and was happy to accept it,” he said.

The forum will run from July 6 to July 11.

Furlong hopes to someday become a lawyer or work as a crime scene investigator (CSI). Both programs will be covered in Washington. The weeklong classes will include exploring the entire judicial process, from the discovery of the crime, through collecting and analyzing all of the critical evidence and then proceed into the courtroom for a mock trial. 

Visits will also be made to some of Washington D.C.’s top law firms, universities and legal institutions. Students explore the full range that exists in the legal and forensic science fields, not from a classroom setting but from hands-on experience.

Furlong will get to tour campuses at George Mason University and Pepperdine University.

Furlong is a starter in three varsity sports for Cook County High School: football, basketball and baseball. The son of Lisa and Richard Furlong of Grand Marais, Furlong is also a good student.

“I will apply for a scholarship and then I will have to raise some funds to go, but this is a great opportunity for me. I will get a feel for what I will be up against in college and in the future. I can’t wait to go,” Furlong said.

If you would like to help please go to and search Richie’s name and scroll to the form with the donation information

Changes at EDA office in Grand Marais City Hall

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 7:42am

The Cook County - Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA)’s space in Grand Marais City Hall looks a bit different now that Small Business Development representative Pat Campanaro started doing business there on April 1. Campanaro’s role with the EDA was one of the main topics of discussion at the March 11, 2014 EDA meeting.

Campanaro thanked the EDA for the modifications that separate her and the other occupant of the EDA space, Jim Boyd, executive director of the Cook County Chamber. Treasurer Scott Harrison in turn thanked his board colleague Howard Hedstrom for taking the remodeling request to the EDA’s landlord, the city of Grand Marais. The city paid a potion of the cost of renovation, $1,975 of the total $3,950.

Campanaro updated the EDA on her activities and noted that now that the office renovation is complete, the community should be made aware of the integration of Small Business Development Center to the EDA.

She asked if the board wanted to have an open house. The board agreed to hold an open house at 4:30 p.m. after the May EDA meeting on Tuesday, May 13. The open house will allow the public to come meet Campanaro, as well as a chance to talk to the new EDA board members.

Scott Harrison said the contract with the University of Minnesota Small Business Development Center, which will fund Campanaro’s services is nearly complete and should be available for the EDA board to sign at the April EDA meeting.

Change of venue for Cook County Chili Cook Off Saturday, April 5

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 11:49am

How do you like your chili? Do you prefer a bowl of traditional tomato and hot peppers? Or do you like it on the wild side, made with venison and grouse? Do you like a flavorful white sauce or a chili with a hint of chocolate as the secret ingredient? Whatever you like in a bowl of chili, you are likely to find it at the Fifth Annual International Cook County Chili Cook Off on Saturday, April 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Evangelical Free Church, instead of St. John's Catholic Church!

Mark your calendar! You don’t want to miss the chili—or the friendly competition amongst the chili chefs. At press time, 17 cooks had signed up for the event.

The cost is just $7 adults and $4 for children, or for $12 chili fans can receive a souvenir mug and a raffle ticket for a chance at some nice prizes.

Proceeds of the event go toward scholarships for Coldwater Foundation, a nonprofit youth leadership development program with an outdoor focus and the Violence Prevention Center educational programs.

For more information or registration, contact Jamie at (218) 370-0262 or Coldwater Foundation at (218) 370-8864.

County approves purchase of new crew cab truck for highway department

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 11:48am

County Highway Department Supervisor Russell Klegstad asked the county board for approval to purchase a 2015 GMC Sierra 4WD crew cab truck for $36,476.81 to replace one that was totaled in a rollover accident last summer. The county received $16,313.75 from insurance for the totaled truck that will be used toward the purchase. The truck would be purchased from Nelson Auto Center in Fergus Falls, MN, which is the dealer for state bids. Commissioners approved the purchase unanimously at the March 25 board meeting.