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News and other information from Cook County

Jack Hedstrom to retire from Hedstrom Lumber Company

Wed, 09/18/2013 - 11:22am

In its 99th year of operation, Hedstrom Lumber Company of Grand Marais prepares to say thank you and goodbye to Jack Hedstrom, 67, grandson of company founder Andrew Hedstrom and an owner who helped guide this iconic North Shore business through years of difficult struggle and monumental change in the lumber industry. That the company survived to plan its centennial celebration next year owes in significant degree to Jack Hedstrom’s work, said Howard Hedstrom, Jack’s brother and company president.
On Sept. 16, Jack Hedstrom will retire as vice president for sales. He will be replaced by Jeff Johanns, 39, previously vice president for operations and plant manager at Stewart’s Forest Products in Fort Ripley, Minn., a position he has held since 2004. Johanns will be returning home, in a sense. He is a 1992 graduate of Cook County High School. He studied forest products at the University of Minnesota.
Jack Hedstrom will aid with the transition and formally retire at the end of 2013.
Jack Hedstrom’s diverse duties at Hedstrom lumber include production planning, dry kiln operations, sales and shipping coordination. Johanns will take on all of those responsibilities.
“Finding someone who possessed that specific combination of skills was a challenge,” Jack Hedstrom said. “But Jeff can do all of it. We were fortunate to find him.”
In addition to his multiple duties at the mill, Jack Hedstrom also serves as chairman of the board for Hedstrom Lumber, a position he will retain. He also will continue to serve on the board of directors for Northeast Lumber Manufacturers Association, as president of the Northern Softwood Lumber Bureau and as a member of the American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC). Members of the ALSC are appointed by the secretary of Commerce. The ALSC sets lumber standards that have a global reach.

Community invited to "Moving Matters" event at Cook County Community Center

Wed, 09/18/2013 - 11:20am

All across the country communities are working to make streets safer and more accessible for pedestrians and bicyclists in an effort to help people go from place to place without the aid of a motor. Besides the physical and mental benefits to the participants, proponents say there is also less automobile traffic on the road and less carbon fuels being burned and sent into the atmosphere, and more economic activity with increased bicycle tourism and local business.
That is called a win-win.
Today, similar efforts are coming to Cook County. The Sawtooth Mountain Clinic has launched a project called “Moving Matters” and is working to create safe and accessible walking and biking routes for all people.
“To kick-off the start of this three-year project, we are hosting an event on Thursday, September 19  from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” said Maren Webb, assistant coordinator for Moving Matters. The group originally planned to hold the event at the Grand Marais Library, but the location has been changed to the Cook County Community Center. 
Former U.S. Congressman James Oberstar, a strong advocate of active living and bike trails during his long career in Congress, will be the keynote speaker. Congressman Oberstar will talk from 12:30 to 1:30 and his theme will be “Active Living As You Age.”
During the morning there will a bouncy house, Zumba and an outdoor story time for young children. Following Congressman Oberstar’s speech there will be bike/walk tours ongoing into the afternoon.
The four to six block tours will allow participants to experience and assess the walkability and bikeability of the city streets, a county road and Highway 61. All ages and ability levels are welcome. “Just don’t forget your walking shoes or bicycle,” said Webb.

Commissioner Gamble to research where to place water fountain

Wed, 09/18/2013 - 11:19am

As promised, Commissioner Garry Gamble brought his recommendation regarding a water fountain at the county’s public tennis courts back to the county board on September 10.
The county had purchased a freestanding unit but has had it in storage because they wanted to coordinate the work with the other work being done in the vicinity. 
The county could avoid a $1,000 hookup fee to the city and a monthly service charge by installing a wall-mounted unit on the outside of the new YMCA.  Wall-mounted units do not come with water bottle spigots at this time. 
Gamble said returning the fountain they already purchased would cost a 35 percent restocking fee, which means they would get $1,300 back out of an investment of about $2,000. 
The fountain could be handicap-accessible if they put in a slope to the curb near it. 
The board decided to not install the fountain they had purchased but to find out the cost of installing a wall-mounted one onto the YMCA with a sloping curb leading to it

Refurbished Gunflint Trail signs back in place

Wed, 09/18/2013 - 10:17am
Voyageur sign is re-installed after being refurbished by Yarrow Korf.

The historic Gunflint Trail signs in downtown Grand Marais are back in place after getting  much needed facelifts.  The refurbished Voyageur and Bear signs, which date back to the 1950's, were installed on Friday, September 13th.  

The effort to repair the deteriorating signs was led by the Gunflint Trail Historical Society, and spearheaded by John Schloot of Cross River Lodge.  Funds were provided by the Cook County Historical Society, the City of Grand Marais, Cook County, and Arrowhead Electric Cooperative.  Local artisan Yarrow Korf did the repair work.

According to John Schloot, the stone walls on which the signs rest were erected in the 1930's by either the WPA or CCC, while the signs themselves date back to the 1950's.  Schloot also commented on the colors used on the signs, saying he and Korf worked together to come up with a more "historic and proper" color scheme.  




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WTIP’s New Volunteer Open House

Wed, 09/18/2013 - 9:09am

Everyone interested in becoming a volunteer, or who would like to learn more about volunteer opportunities at WTIP, is invited to stop by WTIP’s new volunteer open house between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 24th. 

The new volunteer open house is an opportunity to learn more about current volunteer openings at the local radio station, including public affairs program hosts, Small Change trivia show hosts, and various music program hosts. WTIP staff will be on hand to discuss the opportunities, learn more about volunteer interests, and explain the process of becoming a trained host or co-host.

For more information please call the station at 387-1070 or email:  


County denies request for use of uncommitted 1 percent funds for Cook County Community YMCA

Tue, 09/17/2013 - 9:21am

Cook County Community YMCA Project Manager Wade Cole of ORB Management asked the county board on September 10 for $70,000 of as-yet-uncommitted funds from the county’s 1 percent recreation and infrastructure sales tax budget in order to finish the project.  He cited unexpected costs due to a contract dispute with The Meyer Group and re-design fees paid to JLG Architects after the building was downsized.

Project Manager Cole said they were waiting on prices for 88 separate items, so the exact amount he anticipated needing was not known yet. 

Cole said his company has been advocating for the county’s benefit all along.

Commissioner Sue Hakes said this is a complicated project.

Commissioner Bruce Martinson reminded the board that about $60,000 of the cost of the project was for oversight by the state that the state originally told them would not be needed.  

Some projects can wait, Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk said, such as painting the custodial room, a projected cost of $550, or replacing the carpeting in the Jane Mianowski room, a projected cost of $5,000.

Commissioner Hakes made a motion authorizing $70,000 from the 1 percent budget to be put into the contingency fund, and then amended that amount to $35,000.  It failed by a vote of 2-3, with Commissioners Hakes and Martinson voting yes and Commissioners Doo-Kirk, Gamble, and Jan Hall voting no.