Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

DRN sells Lake Superior shoreline for $1.2 million

Thu, 07/25/2013 - 10:06am

ST. PAUL (AP) — A chunk of state-owned land on the shores of Lake Superior has been sold for over $1 million and will benefit public schools.

The 65-acre property includes nearly 1,700 feet of lakeshore 10 miles north of Silver Bay. It was sold to two individuals during a public auction Wednesday. State lawmakers last year approved the sale of lake land to boost funding for schools. The sale had previously been prohibited unless approved by the legislators.

Not everyone is happy about the sale of the prime property, including the Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota. Executive director Brett Feldman called the sale disappointing.

Advocates had hoped a state trail would be built on the land. But the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said it prefers a connection to the nearby Gitchi-Gami trail be built further inland.

Senior Center hosts Spaghetti Dinner Friday

Wed, 07/24/2013 - 7:00pm

On Friday, July 26 from 5 - 7 p.m. the Cook County Senior Center will be hosting a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser at the center on Broadway.
On the menu is all you can eat, homemade spaghetti, tossed salad, bread, lemonade and coffee. The cost is $10 at the door. Children 6 and under: $5. Cash and local checks accepted. And of course additional donations are always welcomed and much appreciated.
Bus transportation will be available by reservation within the near Grand Marais area.
For more information on Senior Center activities, stop in or call the Senior Center at (218) 387-2660.

Library Board budget approved by city of Grand Marais

Wed, 07/24/2013 - 6:58pm

Grand Marais Public Library Director Linda Chappell and Audrey Stattelman, president of the library board, presented the library’s 2014 budget proposal at the Wednesday, July 10, Grand Marais City Council meeting. The library budget first comes before council because both the city council and Cook County commissioners must approve it; under the terms of a joint operating agreement, each entity pays half of the library’s operating expenses.
As usual, said Stattelman, there are still a number of unknown factors that may influence the final budget, making projections a bit difficult. For example, the union contract, health insurance, public utilities costs and a propane contract are still awaiting finalization, she said. The 2014 budget also includes the cost of carpet cleaning, which should be done about every 18 months.
Chappell said the library has been seeing “hordes of people” who are enjoying the newly renovated building. There are some new services the library staff will concentrate on next year, said Chappell, such as an online magazine service, portable devices for public use, and an electronic book service offered through the Arrowhead Library System.
“People love the new services,” said Chappell. “But they don’t want to give up the old ones either.”
Despite the new offerings and plans for even more services, there is good news about the budget. Chappell said that, due mainly to a librarian’s retirement earlier this year, she anticipates a less than 1 percent increase in the 2014 budget. By comparison, the 2013 budget was an increase of 4.4 percent over the prior year.

Great Lakes Restoration funds slashed in House bill

Wed, 07/24/2013 - 6:17am

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A subcommittee in the U.S. House is proposing the steepest cut in spending on a far-reaching Great Lakes environmental cleanup program since it was established in 2009. The panel approved a bill yesterday that would spend just $60 million on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, nearly 80 percent less than the $285 million in this year's budget.

The vote came from the interior and environment subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. The panel establishes federal spending limits and it voted on 2014 appropriations for departments including the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper reports the current $285 million spending level is already below the amount envisioned by White House and congressional leaders for the multi-year restoration program.

The bill cuts more than 80 percent of a revolving state loan fund used to help communities upgrade old sewer systems, going from $1.03 billion today to $250 million for fiscal year 2014.

Also the bill would give the Environmental Protection Agency a 34 percent cut over the currently enacted level.

The National Endowments for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities would be cut by nearly 49 percent.

The bill also contains special provisions for certain industries. One provision would alter rules for mining companies that would ensure the availability of clean up funds.

"Print Demo" and more offered at Grand Marais Art Colony through the summer

Tue, 07/23/2013 - 1:11pm

The Art Colony in Grand Marais is offering free weekly activities through Labor Day, such as “Print demo with Jerry Riach,” Thursdays July 25, Aug. 29 and Sept. 26 at 2 p.m.
Ever wonder what's an etching, a drypoint, a wood engraving, a woodcut? Curious how they're made?  What's a limited edition?  Here's your chance to find out in a short, concise presentation by an experienced printmaker.  See the equipment used in a professional, eco-friendly print studio.  Hear descriptions of the printing processes.  Learn what to look for when you look at a fine art print. 
Stop by 120 W. 3rd Ave., just two blocks up from the Java Moose and harbor, for any or all of these events.  Contact the Art Colony at (218) 387-2737 for more information.

Tofte tennis court issues discussed

Tue, 07/23/2013 - 1:09pm

Another issue with tennis courts in Cook County was discussed at the county commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday, July 16 as well as the Tofte town meeting on Thursday, July 11.  The Birch Grove Community Center issue, where the new tennis court slopes away from the centerline, could have been avoided if the Cook County Tennis Association had been consulted, association member Rod Wannebo told the county board on July 16. 
Wannebo said he said he had provided Birch Grove tennis court architect Tim Meyer a manual on proper construction of tennis courts, which if followed would have precluded the court from sloping away from the centerline in both directions. 
Commissioner Bruce Martinson said that Meyer was proposing that the cost to fix the court be split among his firm (Meyer Group), Tofte Township, Cook County, ORB Management, and court designer Mateffy Engineering. 
At press time the town of Tofte had not yet made any decision on how to handle the flawed tennis court, but Tofte Supervisor Paul James told the Cook County News-Herald, “it might come down to talking to our attorney and to our constituents and see what they would like to do.  It looks like it might come down to litigation or arbitration, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”
The Tofte town board meets again on Thursday, August 8 at 7 p.m. at the Tofte Town Hall.