Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Attend county highway department open house to learn about upcoming projects on the Gunflint Trail

Mon, 08/26/2013 - 8:33am

The Cook County Highway Department will be hosting an open house to discuss upcoming projects on the Gunflint Trail (County State Aid Highway 12).  The open house will be held 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at the Gunflint Lodge Conference Center.

Two Gunflint Trail projects are slated for 2014 and 2015.  They consist of replacement of the portion of the road between West County Road 92 and the Cross River.

County Engineer David Betts said, “These projects comprise removal of the pavement, repair of culverts in need of work, reshaping of the sub-grade and repaving of the roadway.  Limited repair work on existing sub-grade problems will also take place.”

Interested parties are encouraged to stop by anytime during the open house to learn about the projects, ask questions, and offer comments.

"Hawaiian Week" at North Shore Care Center

Mon, 08/26/2013 - 8:30am

The end of August marks “Hawaiian Week” with something tropical added to the activities each day at the North Shore Care Center. And, just in case the recent tropical weather doesn’t continue, Activities Director Kay Rosenthal said residents will still enjoy making fruit kabobs, watching the movie South Pacific, playing Hawaiian Bingo with Walt Mianowski, and the Hawaii 5-0 Dance with the band Portage on Saturday, August 31 at 6:30 p.m. Families and community members are always welcome to join in the fun.

For more information about activity programs or volunteer opportunities at the North Shore Care Center, please contact the Activity Department at 218.387.3518 or check out the website:

Detour planned on Highway 61 along North Shore

Mon, 08/26/2013 - 7:28am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Construction work on Highway 61 will detour traffic for about a week starting today.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation says the detour between Little Marais and Illgen City will add about 10 minutes to travel time. The highway is scheduled to reopen Friday afternoon, just ahead of the Labor Day holiday weekend.

The contractor is flattening hills and widening shoulders on about five miles of Highway 61. MnDOT engineer Dan Erickson says it's a heavily traveled road, so the extra space will benefit motorists who have to pull over in emergencies.

MnDOT has spent more than $115 million in recent years on the scenic highway. Next summer, drivers will face a detour for about three weeks.

List of applicants to interview for county administrator under review

Sun, 08/25/2013 - 8:50am

At the county board meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 13, Consultant David Unmacht of Springstead Group told the board that 36 people have applied for Cook County’s new county administrator position. 

Unmacht said he knows 11 of the applicants.  Another 10 live in Minnesota and the rest are from across the Midwest and beyond.  At first glance, Unmacht said, he could see that at least four or five were “solid” applicants.

Unmacht will create a matrix to evaluate and compare applicants and with input from commissioners will sent out a set of screening questions to 7-11 of the highest ranking applicants.  From there, he will narrow the list down to 3-5 people to invite to a first interview and will call them before that interview. 

Unmacht said they could do first interviews soon after Labor Day and second interviews shortly after that, leading to a decision by the end of September.  After the first interviews, finalists will be selected and their references will be checked.  If the whole board interviews the final set of candidates, their names would be available to the public. 

Unmacht is making the applications available to the board, and the board will decide on August 27 which candidates will be invited to a first interview.

County watching budget for furniture, fixtures, and equipment at Cook County Community YMCA

Sun, 08/25/2013 - 8:47am

The county board is trying not to let Cook County Community YMCA costs get out of hand.  On August 20, 2013, a motion by Commissioner Sue Hakes authorizing Branch Executive Director Emily Marshall to spend up to $300,000 for furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E)‑—the amount budgeted—as long as individual purchases were within 10 percent of the amount budgeted failed for lack of a second. 

Commissioner Hakes said authorizing the purchases would streamline the project.  Marshall had created a list that included everything from a volleyball net for the pool, budgeted at $30, to mats and play structures for young children, budgeted at $6,100.  The FF&E budget also included things like fitness equipment, garbage and recycling bins, and computers for the offices. 

Items that the school will no longer need, such as some strength training equipment, will not need to be purchased.  Some items on the list will be coming out of another part of the project budget.  These include three “suit spinners” (for drying swimsuits) estimated at $4,000, exterior signs estimated at $15,000 and lobby furniture quoted at $3,940.

Marshall told the Cook County News-Herald that if people have items in good condition that they would like to donate, such as a pool table, they would be appreciated.  They are also hoping to find grant funding.  She told the county board she would be talking to Safe Routes to Schools Coordinator Jerry Hiniker about the possibility of finding a grant to fund a bike rack, which is not in the budget.

Commissioner Hakes said Marshall was doing a good job looking for good prices and trying to find things that could be purchased secondhand.

Tofte supervisor Jim King appointed to Governor's Coastal Program

Sun, 08/25/2013 - 8:44am

Governor Mark Dayton recently appointed Tofte resident Jim King to the Minnesota Lake Superior Coastal Program (MLSCP).

King, a Tofte Township supervisor, joins Cook County resident Keck Melby on the 15-person council which was set up to make recommendations to the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on grant priorities, projects to receive grant funding, and the program’s annual administrative budget. 

Membership is made up of three Governor appointed representatives from Carlton, Cook, Lake, and St. Louis County as well three at-large members.

Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program offers annual grants for projects that address coastal issues in five basic interest areas including: coastal habitat protection and restoration; public access, historic preservation, community and natural resource planning and coastal education and training.

Funds for these grants come from the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA), and Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.

Grant applicants include local municipalities, townships, and counties within the coastal boundary, as well as tribal governments, colleges, and coastal community schools, joint powers boards, sanitary sewer boards and nonprofit organizations.