Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

DNR to offer state lands at public auction

Tue, 09/24/2013 - 9:35am

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will have 23 parcels of land in northeastern Minnesota for sale at a public auction scheduled for Friday, Oct. 25.

The sale will include parcels in Cook, Itasca, Lake, and St. Louis counties, some of which are lakeshore lots.

The three parcels in Cook County include 4.29 acres and 600 feet of shoreline on Loon Lake, eight acres and 1,200 feet of shoreline on Devil Track Lake and 40 acres northwest of Hovland on Lost Lake Rd.

The auction starts at noon with registration at 11:30 a.m. at the Lake County Law Enforcement Center in Two Harbors.

Interested buyers are encouraged to visit the DNR’s land sale information page prior to attending the sale.

AEOA offers Business Energy Retrofit Program

Tue, 09/24/2013 - 8:02am


The Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) is currently taking applications for grants through the IRRRB Business Energy Retrofit (BER) program.  (Click on link to WTIP below  to hear an interview with Barbara Ackerson of AEOA.)

These grants will cover one third of energy retrofit costs, up to a maximum of $20,000, with the other two thirds coming from utility rebates, owner match, other energy funds or low interest loans. The savings realized from these investments will allow those local business owners to retain existing jobs as well as create new economic opportunities for their business with an improved bottom line. The work provided through local contractors and materials purchased from local suppliers will also retain local jobs as well as create additional new economic opportunities.

Sign up now for the 18th annual North Shore Health Care Golf Scramble

Mon, 09/23/2013 - 10:15pm

Reserve your spot now to golf in the 18th Annual North Shore Health Care Golf Scramble on Sept. 29 beginning at 10 a.m. at Superior National at Lutsen.

This annual fundraiser has always been the North Shore Health Care Foundation’s primary source of funding for initiatives supporting the mission to “benefit health care for all who live, work, and visit in Cook County.”  

To date these grants have totaled over $500,000 and include programs such as Care Partners of Cook County and the Oral Health Task Force for children.  

Participants may register as a team or as a single golfer and we will place you in a group.  You can register online at or call Dori Betts at 370-0518 for more information.

Area juvenile to face vehicular homicide charges

Mon, 09/23/2013 - 3:29am

A Grand Marais teenager is scheduled to appear in Sixth District Court today, facing four felony and seven gross misdemeanor charges.

The charges stem from a fatal June 13 vehicle accident on the Pike Lake Road.

According to the complaint, a group of seven people under the age of 21 had first gathered to party at a Cascade River campsite, then moved to a private residence. According to witnesses, alcohol was consumed at both sites as was marijuana.

Early on the morning of June 13 the defendant, with one juvenile and one adult passenger, took a vehicle from the residence which then subsequently hit a ditch and rolled near the intersection of Pike Lake Road and County Road 44. The 15 year old passenger was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene.

Three of the felony charges relate to various forms of criminal vehicular homicide, the fourth is a charge of vehicular theft. At today’s hearing a motion will be filed to try the defendant as an adult.

In addition, the adult passenger, Thomas Adam Stacy, 18, is being charged with three counts of furnishing alcohol to an underage person.


County changes stance on increasing contingency fund for Cook County Community YMCA project

Sun, 09/22/2013 - 1:35pm

After unsuccessfully asking the county board for $70,000 more in contingency funds from the county’s 1 percent recreation and infrastructure sales tax fund one week prior, Cook County Community YMCA Project Manager Wade Cole of ORB Management came back again on September 17, via a Skype session over the Internet to ask the board how they wanted him to proceed.  The project had been slated for completion by the end of December. 

The original contingency fund was set at $568,812, but estimated costs to finish the project would bring it to a deficit of $68,933.56.  The original cost estimate had not included almost $68,000 for Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry oversight the state originally said the project would not need and $70,000 paid to JLG Architects for re-designing some of the work to bring costs down and to The Meyer Group to resolve contract issues related to the re-design.

Taking the requested $70,000 from the 1 percent fund would leave $484,122.69 yet uncommitted.

Commissioner Garry Gamble used the words “uncomfortable” and “frustrating” to describe being asked for more money. 

The estimated final cost of the project keeps changing from week to week as things get done, Project Manager Cole said.  The only cost changes from his request the previous week, he said, was $10,000 in caulking.  He said the extent of the caulking that would be needed was not fully understood by the contractor when cost estimates were made.

Involving the board in individual expenditures would delay the project, Cole said.  “At this point, there’s a lot of activity on site,” he said, with 30-40 workers there every day. 

Public hearing on proposed Cook County Septic System ordinance

Sun, 09/22/2013 - 1:32pm

Community members who have disagreed over how stringent the county’s new septic ordinance should be may want to weigh in at a public hearing on the issue that has been scheduled for 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 25 in the courthouse commissioners’ room.  The proposed ordinance was drafted by the Cook County Planning & Zoning Department with input from county commissioners, septic contractors, and community members. 

The state is requiring counties to have ordinances in place by February 1, 2014. 

At the August 27, 2013 county board meeting, Planning & Zoning Director Tim Nelson said the first draft of the document was more restrictive than state statute, but this one is less restrictive whenever the county has any leeway.  “It takes the more flexible route,” he said.

The proposed ordinance requires management plans for all new or replacement systems that include operation and maintenance agreements with licensed contractors.  Systems not requiring management plans must be inspected or pumped out at least once every three years.  Property owners installing their own outhouses must get an approved design from a state-licensed designer, a permit, and an inspection.

Commissioner Sue Hakes said some people are worried that asking questions about existing systems might result in inspections and having to spend a lot of money to remedy failing systems.  Planning & Zoning Director Tim Nelson said his department does not have the time or resources to track down systems for policing purposes.  Certain “triggers,” such as application for a land use permit for a bedroom addition, would automatically result in an inspection.