Around Cook County
The Grand Marais Playhouse will be holding auditions for the musical Church Basement Ladies on Monday, April 1 at 6:30 p.m. at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts. The cast includes five women and one man and an organist. Rehearsals will be Sunday evenings through April then alternately Monday - Thursday with Moon Over Buffalo through May and June. This year the Playhouse will rotate the musical with the comedy from July 18 - August 11.
Scripts for upcoming plays are available at the Grand Marais Public Library for short term check-out. A CD of the musical is also available.
After a great deal of discussion over the past two weeks regarding potential liability issues, the county board agreed on March 12, 2013 to enter into a partnership with the Cook County Historical Society for the purchase of the Bill Bally Blacksmith Shop. The historical society needed a fiscal partner in order to apply for a grant from the Minnesota Historical Society that would fund the purchase.
A review of the property was conducted by an environmental consulting firm after the board expressed concerns about potential liability for any environmental contaminants that might be found on the property. Planning & Zoning Director Tim Nelson said that as long as the property is not altered, nothing would trigger further investigation.
The board passed two motions: one to enter into a purchase agreement with the historical society and the seller, the estate of Karen Holte, and the other to enter into a management agreement with the Cook County Historical Society, with the understanding that the county will transfer ownership of the property to the historical society after five years when the partnership requirements of the grant have been fulfilled.
The sellers will be removing the waste oil containers currently on the property and will have the well inside the blacksmith shop capped.
The closing date will be August 1, 2014 or before, which gives the historical society time to procure the hoped-for grant.
The 2013 Port of Thunder Bay shipping season is officially underway.
The Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal reports the occasion was marked yesterday with a traditional top hat ceremony at the port authority’s headquarters.
Capt. Douglas Parsons of the John B. Aird, the first ship to arrive in Thunder Bay’s port this season, was presented with the top hat.
The top hat ceremony dates back to the creation of the city’s harbour commission in 1953. It’s a beaver hat, a symbol of the fur trade.
On March 18, the board had a work session to discuss the possibility of restructuring the personnel director/board secretary position when Janet Simonen retires in August. They considered putting some of her duties into someone else’s job description and hiring a county coordinator or a county administrator in her place.
A county coordinator or administrator could be a point person for information, oversee the county budget, implement board actions, and provide expertise to the board. A county administrator would have authority over the other department heads, whereas a county coordinator would not.
The board will be inviting a representative of the Association of Minnesota Counties and a couple of county administrators to talk to them about how a county administrator could be useful. They asked several department heads what they knew about these positions in other counties.
“I’ve heard some very positive things, and I’ve heard some not so positive things,” said Public Health & Human Services Director Sue Futterer. “The right person can certainly make a difference.”
“The right person is the bottom line,” said Planning & Zoning Director Tim Nelson.
Information Systems Director Danna MacKenzie said having a decision-maker and point person could help the county get things done more efficiently and cost-effectively. “We have an opportunity to change the way we do business to make it work better,” she said.