Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Commercial rehab loan granted to GunFlint Tavern

Thu, 06/27/2013 - 10:41am

The Grand Marais City Council approved a $9,500 commercial rehab loan request from the GunFlint Tavern June 12.
GunFlint Tavern owner Jeff Gecas attended the meeting along with Housing Administrator Nancy Grabko and Hal Greenwood of the Grand Marais - Cook County Economic Development Authority. City Administrator Mike Roth explained that the loan comes from a commercial rehab revolving loan fund established through a grant from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board. A similar loan was recently granted for a rehab project at The Garage; overall the program has funded about $234,000 worth of improvements for downtown Grand Marais businesses.
Grabko said the loan recipients are chosen by an independent community review committee comprised of Greenwood, Vicki Wentz and Jan Sivertson. The GunFlint Tavern was one of four applicants ranked.
Plans for the GunFlint Tavern project call for replacement of window units, pointing of 06-27-13 all exterior walls, and installation of new doors and heat/air conditioning units. Total cost of the work is estimated at $79,500 which will be funded by the city IRRRB grant, Cook County Revolving Loan Fund ($26,500), EDA Small Cities Development Program grant ($38,500) and a $5,000 commitment by the business owner

Law enforcement bookings at high level in county

Thu, 06/27/2013 - 7:18am

As reported on North Shore Morning earlier this week, Cook County Sheriff Mark Falk said as of June 25th his department has logged 75 bookings.
That number of arrests was not reached last year until September.

Falk elaborated on the number yesterday, saying some of the arrests involved multiple charges, so his office recorded the charge that was the most significant.  

Since the first of the year, one arrest has been made on an order for protection. There have been nine assaults including domestic assaults and terroristic threats; probation violations added seven more.

DWI’s accounted for 20 arrests, drugs for 16 and criminal sexual conduct for two.  Warrant arrests totaled 6, trespass and forgery accounted for one each, as did criminal damage to property.

Six individuals were booked to serve their sentence. Five were transported to serve a sentence at Northeast Regional Correctional Center in Duluth, at St Cloud, or on warrant.

Falk said they have a total of 13 inmates in custody, four are serving work release sentences out of the Cook County jail; one new arrest is in custody in the county on pre-trial and eight are in custody in either Lake or Aitkin counties awaiting trial.  

Another vehicle speed sign to go up on County Road 7

Wed, 06/26/2013 - 7:45pm

The Highway Department received a grant of $4,925 through the Minnesota Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) for a vehicle speed readout sign facing westbound drivers on County Road 7 between First and Third avenues east.  A match of $603 in labor and materials will be required.  The Highway Department will maintain the sign and the city of Grand Marais and the county will cover the cost of electricity to the sign.
A 2010 study revealed a daily average of 2,100 vehicles traveling County Road 7 between the Old Gunflint Trail (Fifth Avenue West) and Broadway and 1,250 between Broadway and the new Gunflint Trail.
Regarding the sign that has been installed on County Road 7 facing eastbound drivers near Fourth Avenue West, the grant application quoted Sheriff Mark Falk: “I think what is most noticeable is the drop in the number of traffic stops that occur in the school zone.  I think speeds have decreased significantly and noticeably, …and general comments are that the radar speed sign, along with enforcement actions, has caused people to take notice of their driving conduct, specifically their speeds.”

PCs for People at Cook County Higher Ed

Wed, 06/26/2013 - 12:18pm

Cook County Higher Education is now a PC's For People Computer Depot.  Applications are being accepted for reduced cost computers through Higher Ed.   WTIP volunteer Tracy Benson learns more in this interview with Higher Ed director Paul Sundet Wolf.

(Click on North Shore Morning link below to hear interview.)



Attached file
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EPA and MPCA to Provide More than $3 Million to Restore the St. Louis River

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 9:01am
St. Louis River

Duluth  – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency last week announced more than $3 million to help restore the St. Louis River Area of Concern.   EPA will provide $2.2 million in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funds and MPCA will provide an additional $1.1 million through the Minnesota Clean Water Fund.

The money will be used to fund a variety of activities to guide clean-up work within the St. Louis River Area of Concern, one of 38 such areas within the Great Lakes region.  The $3 million will be used to assess cleanup options at three sites; develop engineering plans for the restoration of seven sites; evaluate the potential use of dredged river sediment for use in local habitat restoration projects and conduct ecosystem monitoring activities.

“I am pleased to announce that EPA is providing an additional $2.2 million to help restore the headwaters of the Great Lakes,” said EPA Regional Administrator and Great Lakes National Program Manager Susan Hedman.  “EPA and MPCA are jointly funding the next phase of work needed to reverse over one hundred years of environmental degradation in the St. Louis River Area of Concern.”

"The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is delighted to be working with our federal partners, including EPA, to secure funding to address legacy pollutants, a result of historic practices in the St. Louis River Area of Concern.  With the help of our local partners, we are putting finishing touches on a detailed, multi-million dollar clean up and restoration plan to delist this Area of Concern by the year 2025,” said John Linc Stine, Commissioner for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Maintenance bids complicated by late mail

Tue, 06/25/2013 - 6:47am

The county board had a tough decision to make on June 11, 2013 after being presented with only one bid on some summer road maintenance work and finding out that another bid had been delayed because of a problem with the mail.

Two bidders vied for summer maintenance of the Evergreeen Road, Mile-O-Pine, and Voyageur’s Point special service tax districts, but one arrived late because of an unexpected delay in delivery by the U.S. Postal Service.  Mike Rose of Mike Rose Excavating mailed his bid on May 25 but it didn’t get to the county until June 3, five days after the May 29 deadline and nine days after it had been mailed.

A letter to the board from Lutsen Postmaster John Groth verified that Mike Rose had handed him the letter personally on May 25.  “I recall the letter because I remember the writing on the bottom stating that it was for a bid,” he said, “and also that Mike Rose commented that it was important to get it in the mail that day due to the upcoming holiday.”  Groth suspected the delay had something to do with mechanized handling of the envelope.

Commissioner Jan Hall said late mail is now the norm.  Commissioner Bruce Martinson took issue with this, saying she was “slandering the post office.”