Around Cook County
After receiving new cost estimates that were about $300,000
more than expected, the Tofte Town Board looked at things to cut from
the long hoped-for improvements at the Birch Grove Community Center on
May 10. The county had granted $700,000 from the 1% infrastructure and
recreation sales tax.
The town board talked about things such as eliminating a covered
picnic pavilion, building the warming house on a floating slab instead
of on foundation walls with footings, not installing in-floor heat and
Commissioner Bruce Martinson suggested that the town ask the county
board for an increase of $250,000.
And Tofte did, at the county board meeting on Tuesday, May 15, Tofte
Supervisor D.C. Olsen addressed some of the cuts the Tofte board had
discussed, saying they did not like the thought of having no roof over
the picnic area. He also said the township has wanted to make
improvements that were as maintenance-free as possible, “What we save
now we’ll pay for later,” he said.
Olsen and Tom Wacholz of ORB Management asked the county board for an
extra $250,000, but Commissioner Sue Hakes said she thought they
should keep 100 AMP service and fiberglass dasher boards in the
design. She made a motion, seconded by Bruce Martinson, to grant an
extra $270,000 for the project. It passed unanimously, with
Commissioner Jim Johnson absent.
The next Tofte town meeting is Thursday, June 14 at the Tofte Town Hall.
Your May PUC bill is going to be due on the 26th, but it’s
going to look different, so don’t throw it away! Grand Marais Public
Utilities Commission (PUC) Utility Administrative Specialist Jan Smith
said, “My biggest fear is that some people are going to throw their
first bill away because it’s coming in an envelope.”
The new format will give customers more information in a clearer
format and explain things that they would otherwise be asking the PUC
to help them understand, such as the fact that each customer is
charged a basic rate for water, sewer, and electric service, with
usage charges added on top of that. It will indicate most recent and
upcoming meter reading dates and indicate in red ink how much extra
the bill would be if it were paid after the 26th of the month.
The new bill will have a bar graph showing individual electric usage
over the last 12 months. This will be helpful, for example, in seeing
how much usage has been fluctuating from season to season.
The new bill will also have room for messages, such as notifications
regarding energy efficient appliance rebates or CFL light bulb
giveaways. Smith said they also plan to let customers know when
community events such as the Grand Marais Arts Festival or the Dragon
Boat Festival are coming up.
The new bill will arrive in an envelope on 8½x11-inch paper. The cost
“will be a little higher,” according to Smith, because they will
need to stuff the envelopes and envelopes cost more to mail than
postcards. She hopes they will start bar coding the envelopes, which
Children need to feel safe and be comfortable when visiting
with a noncustodial parent or being transferred from one parent to
another. Finding an environment for that to take place is proving to
be difficult for families along the North Shore.
On April 15, 2012, Wendy Hansen of Cook County’s guardian ad litem
office requested funding from the county board for the North Shore
Visitation Center (NSVC), an initiative begun in 2008 to provide
supervised visitation and child exchanges for children of separated or
The program was started with a grant from the Northland Foundation,
but funding was not ongoing. Fifteen different families representing
23 different children have been served over the last 3½ years, and all
but two were referred by the court. Judge Michael Cuzzo has relied on
the program in family court proceedings, but it ran out of money this
spring and had to suspend services.
“Although supervised visitation is court-ordered,” said a request
for county funding from the North Shore Visitation Center, “it is,
unfortunately, an unfunded service so our community struggles to pay
for this valuable service.
“The nearest visitation center to Grand Marais is 100 miles away in
Duluth and 146 miles from Grand Portage Reservation, creating a great
need for a supervised site on the North Shore.”
A second location was established at Birch Grove Community Center in
Tofte, and last fall, Grand Portage Reservation requested the service
and offered a space to provide it. A group of professionals from Lake
Water levels in Lake Superior have been going down. There is less ice on the lake then there used to be and water temperatures are increasing at twice the rate of air temperatures. We still don't fully understand what climate change means for the Lake Superior basin, but we're starting to find out.
DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service has lifted campfire restrictions in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
The Forest Service says continued precipitation over most of the Superior National Forest means the restrictions are no longer needed. Campfires will be allowed any time of the day in all areas of the Boundary Waters.
The agency has also declared a forest fire near Ely controlled. The forest fire was ignited by a fallen power line May 17. Fire equipment and hoses have been removed from the area.
In light of continued precipitation over most of the Superior National Forest, the Forest Service is lifting campfire restrictions in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).
As of 7:00 am Wednesday, May 23, 2012, campfires will be allowed any time of day in all areas of the BWCAW.
Forest visitors are urged to be careful with campfires. Please use designated fire rings when available and make sure all fires are completely extinguished before leaving.
For updates regarding conditions on the Superior National Forest, see the Forest website: www.fs.usda.gov/superior