Around Cook County
Lodging tax revenues for the second month of 2013 were up compared to February of last year county-wide. According to the latest report from the Cook County Auditor-Treasurer’s office, the year-to-date totals were up 11.9 percent across the board for reporting tourism organizations.
Lutsen-Tofte revenues were up 14.7 percent from last February and it was the best February since 2006. Grand Marais revenues were up 12.4 percent from this time last year. But the Gunflint Trail revenues for February were down 5.4 percent.
The Auditor’s office emphasizes that not all businesses report taxes at the same time each year and revenues are an “apples-to-apples comparison.” That means only businesses which reported lodging tax revenues both in February of this year and last year are included in the monthly accounting.
The National Weather Service has a new plan for severe weather warnings. Begininning today, April 1, the Service expands "Impact-Based Warnings" to Minnesota and Wisconsin. Forecasters say the more descriptive information is aimed at getting people to safety sooner when severe weather approaches.
The expanded warnings have been tested in Missouri and Kansas and will now be used in 14 states through the upper and middle sections of the country.
Tornado warnings will be issued based on three tiers of information. When a tornado is possible based on radar data, the warnings will more clearly communicate hazards and possible impact.
WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Duluth meteorologist Mike Stewart about “Impact-Based Warnings," as well the weather week ahead.
George Wilkes and Paul Nelson of the Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP) appeared before the Cook County-Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) a second time on Tuesday, March 12 to ask about the possible purchase of a business park lot. As suggested at a previous meeting, the CCLEP representatives looked at Lot 7, but have determined that Lot 6 better meets their needs. “We feel Lot 6 is the best location for a biomass district heating plant,” said Wilkes.
Wilkes asked if the EDA would consider “holding” Lot 6 for the biomass project.
Nelson said they understood that there were concerns that the biomass facility would look too industrial for the lot at the entrance to the business park. He shared photos of some biomass heating plants that were aesthetically pleasing. Nelson said a great example is a district heating plant in downtown St. Paul. Board Member Don Davison reiterated that he was still very concerned about the aesthetics. He reminded his colleagues that the EDA is still trying to get Como Oil & Propane to install the screening it said it would erect on its lot.
Are you interested in map use, analysis and interpretation? Are you thinking about enhancing your career with technical skills found in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)? On Monday, April 8 at 6:00 p.m., Cook County Higher Education is hosting an information session on Itasca Community College’s online GIS program scheduled to begin this fall. The GIS Certificate program at Itasca Community College provides students with a fundamental background and hands-on training in geospatial technologies and computer mapping applications.
The information session at the North Shore Campus in Grand Marais is for people who are interested in learning more about the 16-credit GIS certificate program, as well as a chance to meet instructor Timothy Fox. Fox will cover the specific details about the program, the course prerequisites, and the recommended course sequence and credit load. He will also discuss the online delivery format and the computer software requirements for the program.
Have a wonderful Easter Sunday!
For the second year Thrivent Financial, North Shore Chapter 31313 has invited willing Cook County churches to take a supplemental food shelf offering on a designated Sunday in March.
Though all area churches already have planned regular means of contributing to the local food shelf, six area congregations agreed to join the special offering effort with Thrivent offering supplemental funding of $600.
On, Sunday, March 17, $2,110 was collected among these six churches: Bethlehem Lutheran, Lutsen Lutheran, Trinity Lutheran, Cornerstone Community, Evangelical Free and Life in Christ Lutheran, Missouri Synod. Adding the $600 additional funding from Thrivent Financial, a total of $2,710 will be contributed to Cook County Food Shelf this month.
A similar effort was made in Silver Bay and Two Harbors through cash donations made at local grocery stores on March 16. The campaign totals for all three North Shore food shelves was $5,692!