Around Cook County
The county and ISD166 are once again talking about a collaboration. WTIP’s Jay Andersen has this report on the school, community center and the YMCA.
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During our "Side by Side" Membership Drive, March 14th - 19th, we’re bringing you all our regular services, and some special highlights and features, including:
• Live music:
o Gordon Thorne Thursday 1-2 p.m.
o Mysterious Ways Thursday 4-5 p.m.
o The Sky Blue Trio and the Orange Girl Friday 1-2 p.m.
o The Clearwater Hot Club during the Roadhouse 5-7 p.m. Friday
o The Hi- B’s Saturday 3-4 p.m.
• Special Programming:
o Third Thursday Community Conversation featuring Bob Carter from 6-7
o Special “Side by Side” themed Swing Session on Friday
o Special Roadhouse Music feature program from 8-10 p.m. on Friday
o Behind the music feature with several local musicians 4-7 p.m. Saturday
o Celtic Music program 8-11 a.m. Sunday
o Double-feature of the Vinyl Café 11-1 p.m. on Sunday
WTIP’s membership drives are a fun opportunity to support our many services. During our “Side by Side” Membership Drive, March 14th - 19th,
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Grand Marais city councilors have set April 11 as the day on which a public hearing will be held to consider an annexation request which, if approved, may pave the way for a very interesting project – the construction of a zip line near the city’s west entrance.
The site in question is a 5-acre parcel at 1800 W. Highway 61 (near the Grand Marais Inn, formerly Tomteboda) which is currently zoned R-1. To accommodate the zip line, the owners are asking that the zone district be changed to R/C (Recreation-Commercial). And because the parcel lies outside of the city limits, it would have to be annexed in order for the city to change the zoning.
City Administrator Mike Roth explained at council’s Feb. 29 meeting that a public hearing regarding the annexation has to be held after all adjacent owners and the county have been given 30 days notice. Council then has to vote approval of the proposed annexation and notify the state, which must grant final approval.
It was decided that council’s April 11 meeting was the soonest the public hearing could be scheduled without holding a special meeting.
Upon completion of the annexation and rezoning, HRH Highway 61 and Matt Geretschlaeger are proposing to construct two 1,000-foot-long side-by-side zip lines, which will start from a six-story launch tower and have a 15-story descent.
It is hoped the enterprise, which is touted as the first high-speed zip line in Minnesota, will be up and running this summer. The design and construction of the project on the currently vacant lot will be done by Geronimo Construction of Biwabik.
According to the application submitted by Geretschlaeger, the project will require a minimum of 16 new employees, which may expand to 24 as the market develops.
More than 1 million people residing in more than 400,000 households in Minnesota rely on private wells as their source of drinking water. While wells can provide high quality drinking water, state health officials observe that most wells are rarely tested on a regular basis for things that can make consumers of the well water sick, such as bacteria, arsenic, or nitrate.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) estimates that at any given time, as many as 25 percent of private wells in Minnesota have detectable levels of total coliform bacteria, an indication that surface contamination has entered the well or water system.
National Groundwater Awareness Week was established more than two decades ago to bring attention to the important role that groundwater plays in the health and well-being of people. Properly maintaining wells that tap into groundwater is critical for protecting personal health and the health of the resource. This year’s observance, March 11-17, is a good time for well owners to put “Test Well” on their “to-do” list, say state well management specialists.
MDH recommends that private wells be tested once a year for total coliform bacteria, an indicator of bacterial contamination. Testing for nitrate is recommended every two to three years – more often if nitrate has been detected previously in the well or if an infant under the age of six months will be consuming the water. I n addition, MDH recommends that every well be tested for arsenic at least once.
Getting wells tested is a relatively simple process. The local county health department may provide or arrange for testing services. Commercial (or private) laboratories providing water testing services are usually listed in the Yellow Pages under “Laboratories – Testing.” The laboratory will provide directions for collecting and submitting water samples for testing. The costs for analysis are usually in the range of $20 to $40 per test, depending on what is tested. More information on well testing can be found at: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/wells/waterquality/test.html.
People with questions about well water contaminants – or other well related issues – can obtain advice from MDH, local health departments, or local MDH-licensed well contractors. Well specialists are available to answer questions at MDH district offices in Bemidji (218-308-2100), Duluth (218-723-4642), Fergus Falls (218-332-5150), Marshall (507-537-7151), Rochester (507-206-2700), St. Cloud (320-223-7300), and the Twin Cities (651-201-4600).
Photo by Martin Cathrae via Flickr
The West End Townships of Lutsen, Tofte, and Schroeder held their annual meetings and elections last night. In Lutsen, 118 votes were cast. Ginny Storlie was elected to fill the Supervisor seat vacated by Diane Parker. Parker stepped down after two 3-year terms. Storlie won over Alta McQuatters and write-in candidate Larry McNeally. Two candidates were vying for the Town Clerk position in Lutsen. Coming out on top was Sylvia Duclose, winning over Gail Thompson.
In Tofte, 17 votes were cast. Incumbent Township Supervisor Paul James was re-elected along with Town Clerk Barb Gervais. The races were uncontested.
And in Schroeder, 36 votes were cast. Deb Johnson was elected to fill the seat vacated by Ross Wilson, and Doug Schwecke is the new Town Clerk – taking over from longtime clerk Carol Tveekrem. Tveekrem served 13 years as Schroeder Town Clerk and was honored during the meeting for her service to the Township.
The Cook County Community Center Steering Committee met with
Chris Francis, CEO of the Duluth Area YMCA, on February 29. The
steering committee has been investigating the possibility of the YMCA
operating a community center facility built and owned by the county.
YMCAs are 501(c)(3)s independently owned and operated in each
community. There are almost 1,000 YMCAs operating at about 3,000
different branches. The Duluth Y is one of the 300 biggest, with
about 7,500 members and annual revenue of about $5½ million.
The cost of membership in a YMCA is lower than the cost of operating,
Francis said. Because of this, fundraising is ongoing to help pay for
programming and to help fund those in need. Members often get a
discounted fee at Ys other than the one they belong to, and nonmembers
can pay a daily rate to use YMCA facilities such as pools.
An endowment of about a million dollars would be needed to get started
and a foundation would need to be established, Francis said., adding,
“There’s just all kinds of potential opportunities we could look at.”
Not many new YMCAs are created nowadays. Most new facilities are
branches attached to already established Ys, and this is what the
Duluth Area Y would expect if it became involved in building a program
in Cook County. Local YMCAs pay dues to be part of the national