Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Minn. Senate OKs hunting and fishing fee hikes

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 8:32am
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Senate has voted to raise fees for hunting and fishing licenses.

The Senate has approved a game and fish bill 36-30 that includes the fee hikes. The bill now goes back to the House, which passed it earlier without the fee increases.

Under the bill, a one-year fishing license for an adult resident would go from $17 to $22. A deer hunting license for residents would be bumped from $26 to $30. Other fees would increase by similar amounts.

The bill also allows for wolf hunting in the state after the species came off the endangered species list in January.

MPCA board to revisit Voyageurs, BWCA haze rules

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 7:02am
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The citizens board of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is taking another crack at approving rules meant to cut the haze that sometimes clouds the views at Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

The haze comes mostly from the state's coal-fired power plants and taconite plants on the Iron Range. The board was due to vote on the new rules last month. But the board decided to hold off until today's meeting so MPCA staffers could address concerns raised by Cliffs Natural Resources about how new nitrogen oxide emissions limits would affect its Hibbing Taconite and United Taconite operations.

MPCA staffers say they've made changes that should address Cliffs' primary concerns.
The National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service say the MPCA plan won't cut haze enough.

Hospital to improve "swing bed" availability

Mon, 04/23/2012 - 12:02pm

Swing beds in the Care Center, Discussion and planning for elderly sustainable housing, a recent eye clinic and strategic planning for Cook County North Shore Hospital and Care Center. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with hospital administrator Kimber Wraalstad.

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Emergency Services Conference features live burn simulation, advanced ATV training and more

Mon, 04/23/2012 - 10:51am

The 2012 Cook County Emergency Services Conference will be held April 27-28 at the Cook County Community Center. This is the 23rd annual conference for local and regional emergency response personnel. There are many exciting training opportunities, including a live burn simulation and advanced ATV training for emergency responders.
The ATV training is new this year. The Cook County ATV Club worked to get a qualified instructor for the conference because the club was econcerned about inexperienced people being called on to search for and/or transport patients with ATVs. “It would be terrible to have a rescuer injured in the midst of a rescue,” said ATV Club President Mickey Brazell.
ATV Club Secretary Rhonda Silence said, “We know that fire department and/or ambulance staff do not normally travel into the woods to get patients...but we also know that in emergency situations, people are called on to fill in wherever possible. So, we think this is great training for everyone in the ES service.”
Thanks to funding from the Cook County Sheriff's Department, the Emergency Services Conference has retained Steve Jacobson of St. Cloud, a retired (31-year) DNR Conservation Officer who teaches advanced conservation officer/law enforcement training. He has also been a DNR-certified youth ATV safety instructor since 1981, so he has taught all levels of ATV safety.
Jacobson is an "avid ATV enthusiast" who has logged over 80,000 miles of riding in all conditions from the Rocky Mountains to the Moab Desert to trails all over Minnesota and neighboring states. As a conservation officer, he was involved in a number of search and rescue operations that involved transporting patients, so he has had real-life experience in what he is teaching.

boreal.TV coming to a screen near you

Mon, 04/23/2012 - 10:50am

Grants through Blandin Foundation’s Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities initiative to promote the development of broadband applications have resulted in an application for a new 501c3 nonprofit in Cook County called boreal.TV. 
According to its website, http://boreal.TV, “boreal.TV is a collaborative effort to create a public access community video/TV network in Cook County, Minnesota. Our goal is to use local resources to produce and deliver video content about life in our communities.
At the April 17, 2012 county board meeting, Commissioner Sue Hakes said she has been talking to County Information Technology Director Danna MacKenzie about how the county, the City of Grand Marais, the Grand Portage Reservation, and Cook County Schools could make use of this technology. 
Boreal.TV has made a proposal to the county.  It states, “In light of the recent discussion by members of the public and the county board regarding the value of making local government and the content of public meetings more accessible to citizens, boreal.TV would like to propose the county contract with boreal.TV to video and publish their regular and special board meetings.  
“For $6,000 a year, boreal.TV will provide one videographer, all necessary video equipment, editing of videos with basic tagging information, [and] online publishing and archiving (available from the county’s website) of all regular and special meetings held at the Cook County Courthouse and provide video content in a format compatible with publishing to the local cable station, as well as make it available at the public library.”

City agrees to work with zip line developer

Mon, 04/23/2012 - 8:32am

Matt Geretschlaeger, whose proposal last month to build a zip 
line adjacent to a residential area at the city’s west entrance met 
with citizen and council opposition, told the council on April 11 that 
he had come up with a more suitable location. He said that location—a 
parcel on the Gunflint Trail adjacent to and east of the city water 
tower—is better because of its topography, proximity to town, minimal 
area of current development and zoning.
The Council expressed its willingness to work with Geretschlaeger on 
the Gunflint Trail site and voted to order an appraisal of the 20 
acres (the cost of which would be billed to the developer) to come up 
with a fair market value, and then negotiate for sale or lease of the 
property giving Geretschlaeger the right of first refusal. 
Geretschlaeger said he would be open to either option (lease or 
purchase), but he preferred to purchase the land and is willing to pay 
whatever the fair market price is determined to be.
City Attorney Chris Hood advised that the sale of the property would 
be more of a “straightforward transaction,” and cautioned that a lease 
may involve the city in any number of liability issues.
The Grand Marais City Council put the plans for a new zip line on the 
fast track with unanimous approval to appraise and negotiate the sale 
of 20 acres of city-owned land off the Gunflint Trail for development 
of the $750,000 enterprise.
According to information presented by Geretschlaeger, the “Sawtooth 
Mountain Indurance Course” will be built by Geronimo Construction of 
Biwabik and include a 2,500-square-foot lodge on an additional acre, a