Around Cook County
Each weekend WTIP news produces a round up of the news stories they’ve been following this week. Early ice-out on area lakes, an early start to the fishing season, cell towers are back in the news, the Grand Marais Rec Park is geared up for spring, and a wolf season is set…all in this week’s news.
Fire danger, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is extreme in the western half of the state. However, as Cook County residents know, most of the rest of the state is in high or very high fire danger status.
The National Weather Service Fire Weather Forecast issued a red flag fire warning for west central Minnesota from 1 pm to 8 pm on Friday, April 6. Windy conditions along with dry fuels created dangerous fire weather conditions.
Minnesota Incident Command System (MNICS) agencies are making additional fire fighting resources available for today and the weekend.
Lenny Bloomquist of the Grand Marais street department attended the March 28 meeting to present bids that were submitted for the purchase of a “new” used street sweeper to replace the city’s deceased unit. That vehicle, which was purchased refurbished in 1990, was used for only a few hours last month to start the season before it died.
Fortunately, the city had planned on replacing it soon anyway, and budgeted $60,000. Upon reviewing quotes received from multiple vendors for used and refurbished sweepers, council approved the recommendation to purchase a 2001 Pelican from ABM Equipment & Highway Manufacturing of Hopkins at a cost of $43,000. According to information provided by the company, the vehicle is “reconditioned and repainted and ready to go.” It has 31,000 miles and about 6,600 hours on it.
Quotes on other street sweepers submitted for consideration ranged from $29,000 to $85,000. However, City Administrator Mike Roth said in a memo that the 2001 Pelican “has the combination of age, price and features that best meet our needs.”
The Grand Marais Senior Center invites the public to catch the Grand Portage Casino Express. There are two dates for April; Monday, April 9 and Monday, April 23. Leave the Senior Center at 9:45 a.m., return at approximately 3:30 p.m.
Kristen Anderson, Senior Center assistant director, said, “The transportation is free! You can’t beat this price of transportation. With the price of gas these days, how could you not take advantage of this great deal?
Everyone aged 50 and older also receive $10 in free slot play and $5 off a Lunch entrée in the restaurant.
Grand Marais Fire Chief Ben Silence and Aaron Mielke of the city’s fire department appeared before City Council on March 28 to say that they were recently notified by FEMA that the city has been awarded a $209,950 FEMA grant to be used toward the purchase of a new fire truck. The approved project cost is $221,000, leaving the city to kick in 5 percent of the total, or $11,050.
Silence credited Mielke for filling out the application and following up on the paperwork, and said the process is now “surprisingly simple” for a federal program: the department has to get two bids for the new vehicle within 30 days.
In response to a question about the cost of the fire truck versus the amount of the grant, Silence said the department actually began pricing the trucks last summer, and the anticipated cost is between $190,000 and $195,000, so the grant ought to cover all of it. Silence also said that the department has already received some inquiries from interested manufacturers. The new tanker/pumper truck will come fully outfitted and ready for service. Delivery is expected in about a year.
Council voted to accept the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant and go forward with the bidding process.
The Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa held its 2012 primary election on Tuesday, April 3, 2012 for Reservation Tribal Council chair and a committeeman seat. When the polls closed and the votes had been counted, Tribal Chair Norman Deschampe had once again retained his council seat. Deschampe earned 51% of the vote, with 199 votes. Because he garnered over half of the votes, Deschampe will not have to be on the ballot for general election in June.
The other candidates who ran for tribal chair were Donovan D. Dahmen, Lena (Deschampe) Santos and Dennis B. Morrison. Howard Johnson.
However, none of the candidates running for the committeeman seat had a majority of votes, so that race will go to a general election in June. However, the names on the ballot for June have yet to be declared. The contest was very close and a recount has been requested.
Running for the committeeman seat was Rita Evans who received 11 votes; incumbent Committeeman William “Bill” Myers, who received 109 votes; Robert J. Hull who received 110 votes and Marie Spry, who received 132 votes. The two candidates who receive the most votes proceed to the general election, so the initial count shows Hull and Spry moving on to the June election.
However a recount has been requested because of the narrow margin between William Myers and Robert Hull. Election Judge Gale Carlson said the recount would be held Monday, April 9 at 10 a.m. at the old Log Community Building. The recount is open to Grand Portage Band Members.