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News and other information from Cook County

Anishinaabe Way: Anna Deschampe & Alan Aubid

Thu, 05/03/2012 - 9:16am

Anna Deschampe and Alan Aubid are the parents of two young sons. They live on the Grand Portage Reservation in northern Minnesota. In this segment of WTIP's ongoing series "Anishinaabe Way: Lives, Words, and Stories of Ojibwe People," they discuss raising children to have traditional values while living in mainstream society, and the role of the community and elders in parenting. They also share the lessons they've learned along the way and the dreams they have for their kids.

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Highway Department buildings discussed at county board work session

Wed, 05/02/2012 - 12:14pm

Cook County Highway Department buildings are in dire need of replacement, according to Engineer Betts.  At a Tuesday, April 24 work session, Betts told the county board that the main building is rusting at its foundation and doesn’t provide nearly enough working space.  Contractors come in for pre-construction meetings and have to sit on countertops.  The meetings cannot easily be held elsewhere because they refer to documents and computer programs that are housed at the Highway Department.  “Pure and simple, we need at least twice the space we have in the office right now,” Betts said
The shops in Hovland and Tofte are “falling down around them,” said Betts.  The sewer gas at Hovland is “overwhelming” and “the ceiling is hanging,” he said.  “There’s no clean space to have computers at either of the buildings. ...They are actually going to fall down if we don’t do something.”
The department is not able to store salt properly, and much of its equipment sits outside where it is vulnerable to the elements.  The Goble building has so much moisture in it that the employee break table gets wet, Betts said.  The fuel stations need to be replaced.  Employees are getting sprayed with fuel when they fill up their trucks.
“How much good money do you throw after bad?” said Klegstad.  He said making day-to-day plans is difficult without knowing what the long-term plan is.
Betts said fixing all three sites would cost over $6 million.  “I’ve been told it’s not the right time, but I question when is the right time.”  He said he has some funding ideas that include using some of their state aid. 
No decisions were made, but the group discussed the possibility of bonding to fund the improvements.

Forest Service to Re-open Areas Affected by Pagami Creek Wildfire

Wed, 05/02/2012 - 8:16am
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Beginning today Superior National Forest Managers will allow public use in all but a small portion of the area in the BWCAW that was affected by last year’s Pagami Creek wildfire.

The decision to adjust the closure area is based on recent field assessments of conditions in the fire area and rehabilitation work that was accomplished by crews this spring. 

Some campsites are posted closed as well as portages accessing Horseshoe, Brewis, Harbor, North and South Wilder Lakes and the Pow Wow Trail and Pow Wow Trail Entry Point.

The Forest Service is warning campers to beware of snags.  Standing trees may look solid but the root system may have been burned away and they could fall at any time.

Firewood is also limited, so using a cook stove is advised. Some of the campsites may not have sufficient trees to hang a food pack.  An alternative such as a bear resistant food container is suggested.

Revised ISD166 School Calendar is WTIP’s First Thursday topic

Wed, 05/02/2012 - 5:16am
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The ISD166 school board has voted to try a different calendar for the 2012-13 school year. Cook County Schools – and consequently students at Great Expectations – will experience longer days, a number of four-day weeks and some combined additional vacation times. The administration says the move saves money and improves instruction.

If you have kids in school, what do you think?
Join Jay Andersen with WTIP’s First Thursday Community Conversation on May 3 for “Hybridizing the School Year.”

Each month we choose a topic for discussion, invite guests into the studio and invite you to join in the conversation. This month our guests include Superintendent Beth Schwarz, Great Expectation’s Administrator Peter James, teacher and union representative Mitch Door and you. Join the conversation by calling 387-1070 or 800-473-9847. Our email address is wtip@boreal.org.

 “Hybridizing the School Year” -- First Thursday Community Conversation, 6 to 7 p.m. May 3rd. Only on WTIP North Shore Community Radio.

County denies new 1 percent sales tax requests

Tue, 05/01/2012 - 3:21pm

With $1.7 million of the county’s growing 1 percent 
recreation and infrastructure sales tax revenue still uncommitted, new 
groups are coming forward with requests for the county board.  On 
April 24, two groups were sent away empty-handed after the board 
refused to make any promises for the balance of the $20 million (plus 
the cost of bonding) that can be collected in coming years.
 

Cook County Mountain Bike System
Tim Kennedy and Mark Spinler of the Superior Cycling Association asked 
two things of the board:  to make an application for funding from 
Minnesota’s Parks and Trails Legacy Grant Program on behalf of the 
association and to consider using 1 percent funds for a 25 percent 
match on a grant of up to $500,000.  This would amount to $125,000 or 
6¼ percent of the $20 million.
Tim Kennedy told the board that areas in the region that have invested 
in single-track mountain bike trail systems are seeing significant 
increases in visitors, and those visitors tend to be prosperous.  He 
cited statistics showing the average mountain biker’s household 
income to be $94,000.
Commissioner Bruce Martinson said he could support committing $50,000 
of 1 percent funding for the project. “It would have been nice to 
designate it from the start,” he said.
However, such a motion was not made. The county board passed a motion 
supporting the association in an application for Legacy funds but made 
no commitment of funds.
 

Mandatory training for Lake Service Providers May 3

Tue, 05/01/2012 - 3:17pm

Lake Service Providers are required by law to attend Aquatic 
Invasive Species (AIS) training and obtain the permit prior to working 
in waters of the state.  For their convenience, a training session is 
scheduled in Grand Marais on May 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 
Cook County Community Center. Lake Service Providers should act now 
and be sure to attend the training session and obtain a permit before 
performing work this spring.
  Irrigation contractors who install/remove lake pump equipment and 
pond aeration equipment are considered Lake Service Providers - along 
with those who install/remove other water-related equipment (docks, 
boats, etc.) that is capable of containing or transporting Aquatic 
Invasive Species (AIS), aquatic plants, or water from Minnesota lakes, 
streams and rivers.
  State laws passed in 2011 aim to help prevent the spread of AIS 
between waters in the state.  They also require service providers to 
apply for a permit, pay the $50 application fee, attend training in 
person and pass a test. Upon completion of all mentioned tasks a 
permit will be issued to the service provider.
  Through a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Natural 
Resources (DNR), Minnesota Waters is conducting statewide trainings 
for businesses that install and remove water recreation equipment. The 
training sessions provide the information needed to understand and 
pass the required test. In addition, service providers are taught how 
to integrate AIS prevention strategies into their business.
Information about the service provider training and permitting can be