Around Cook County
Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board Commissioner Tony Sertich will be in town for a listening session Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Sertich about what he is listening for.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — State regulators are preparing to add some enforcement teeth to rules meant to cut the haze that sometimes clouds the views in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park.
The haze comes mostly from the state's older coal-fired power plants and the taconite plants on the Iron Range.
Environmental groups, joined by the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service, say proposed changes to rules set by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in 2009 don't go far enough.
Mining companies say they go too far.
The MPCA Citizens Board is due to vote Tuesday on whether to submit the proposed changes to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval as part of an EPA push to reduce haze at national parks and wilderness areas across the country.
The changes include new sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide limits for taconite plants. They also would allow power plants to follow broad new federal cap-and-trade emissions limits, rather than a set of specific limits for specific plants as required under the state's 2009 plan.
The EPA says the cap-and-trade system would yield even greater improvements. But several environmental groups sharply dispute that and won a court order in Washington, D.C., that at least temporarily blocks the EPA from using that approach.
Chris Francis, CEO of the Duluth YMCA, was at the Wednesday,
March 14 meeting of the Community Center Steering Committee, county
commissioners and school board members and he gave an overview of how
the YMCA would work with Cook County. Concern was expressed about how
community education could be changed if this partnership was formed,
about security, rates and how the facility would be managed.
All of the questions will be considered, said Francis, in an informal
feasibility study being conducted by the YMCA. Francis said he hoped
the results of the preliminary study would be available at the next
steering committee meeting on Monday, March 26.
At the March 13 county board meeting, Commissioner Jim
Johnson said Cook County Historical Society Museum Director Carrie
McHugh asked him if the county wanted to celebrate the 100th
anniversary of the courthouse building. “Love it,” Commissioner
Sue Hakes said of the idea.
“I’m for it,” said Commissioner Jan Hall.
By consensus, the board supported the Historical Society’s offer to
help plan a celebration.
The developers of a West Highway 61 parcel were given until
mid-June to persuade adjacent property owners that their plan to
rezone 21 acres from Permanent Residential to Recreational Commercial
is the best use of the site.
That was the decision of Grand Marais city councilors March 14 when
they tabled a vote on the proposal which, if ultimately approved, will
enable the petitioners to build a zip line on the site. The planning
commission considered the request from Matt Geretschlaeger and HRH
Highway 61 LLC a week prior to council’s meeting, and recommended
approval by unanimous vote. However, some members of council said they
were uncomfortable with the plan.
Citing letters received and comments made before the planning
commission from owners of adjacent property, Councilor Bill Lenz said
he couldn’t back the rezoning unless and until consent was given by
all of the residents whose property bordered the site. Lenz said he
believes that if people buy a piece of land which is surrounded by
property zoned residential, they should be able to expect that the
property will remain residential.
Mayor Larry Carlson also voiced concern about the project, saying he
feared a zip line would be a “move toward Disneyland.” “It just
doesn’t fit with what we’re all about,” he said, adding that if
he were in the same situation as the affected residents on Harborview
Trail, he’d want his neighborhood to be kept in the same zoning
classification it was in when purchased.
Councilor Jan Sivertson didn’t express any qualms about the plan, but
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation
Officer Mary Manning received a report of a dead bobcat in the Highway
61 ditch near Fall River Road west of Grand Marais on Friday evening,
March 16. The caller believed the animal had been shot.
When CO Manning retrieved the bobcat the next day, she said it was
obvious the cat had been shot. The circumstances of the shooting are
unknown however. Manning said a vehicle could have hit it and someone
dispatched it. Or it could have been shot and dumped in the ditch.
Manning hopes that someone has some information, because the shooting
was illegal. There is a hunting season for bobcat, which allows taking
by firearm, however, the season ended January 8.
CO Manning encourages anyone with information about the incident to
contact her at (218) 475-0121.