October 30, 2014

Community Center / Ruby's Pantry controversy settled


The Cook City Council opened its Oct. 23 meeting with two entities airing out their concerns. From last month's meeting, citizens have misread, misrepresented, misinterpreted and miscom-municated the Ruby's Pantry/Community Center situation.
Mayor Harold Johnston called on Tammy Palmer to speak first. She expressed 100 percent support of Ruby's Pantry. Also, reminding those there that Friends of the Parks is not involved with decisions - only in raising funds for all of the parks. But, there is concern for damage that heavy use could do to the yet unfinished building. Future use of the building by anyone depends on the electrical work being completed and inspected. Barring a miracle, this could be at least two or three months as the volunteer contractors will get to it when their regular, paying projects are finished.
Ruby's Pantry personnel got their turn to speak next. They appreciate that the Community Center is not ready, has expressed a willingness to adjust their procedure to protect the building, and that ads have been placed to find another building in which to distribute food. Their concern with the old school is no heat, and the possible removal process of asbestos.
The council reiterated its intention of allowing Ruby's Pantry use of the Community Center, contingent upon its completion, and if Ruby's Pantry is still in need of a home at that time. Authority over the Community Center lies with the council, but approval has not been granted due to the building's unfinished state. No animosity exists between the Recreation Committee, Friends of the Parks, and Ruby's Pantry. All are serving the community in their own way, for the good of many.
Jim Nyhus of Disability Specialist approached the council on two items. One was an easement for a few hundred feet of City property for trenching a fiber line. A neighbor has already granted easement through his property, and the council approved the easement for the City's part. The second item was support for his effort to acquire a grant and then bring broadband throughout the city, connecting all interested homes. Broadband fiber has unlimited capability and is faster than other options. There would be no cost for Cook, and insurance is well supplied. The council approved his request.
The hunt is on for a new ambulance director before the Nov. 30 retirement date of the current director. The Ambulance Committee has decided the position should be changed from a paid volunteer to a full-time, salaried head of the department. Research into the finances which could be had from currently lost transfer opportunities annually could easily pay for this change. Approval was granted by the council for the position.
Blight came up next. Five properties had been selected as the greatest in need for improvement. A "final" letter was sent, and three responded with a timeline to meet the requirements. The two who did not respond fall under the City policy of Cook employees doing the work and adding those charges to other billings. However, the city attorney does not encourage going on to private property. Rather, he suggests passing on their violations to the county attorney for criminal prosecution. The council decided the two should be notified by mail that this will be the course of action the City will take if there is no response within a week.
Parks and Recreation decided at their last meeting that there would be an operating and maintained ice rink this year. Due to the unfinished building, heavy plastic will be applied to the gazebo for a warming shack, with lights and rubber mats from the old building to protect skates. A satellite bathroom will be available.
McDonald's is having a ribbon-cutting, grand re-opening ceremony Monday, Nov. 3, at 4 p.m. Mayor Johnston has joined the Parks and Recreation Committee to represent the council. The council will meet Thursday, Nov. 13, at 9 a.m., as the Canvassing Board to certify election results. Approval was made for the IRRRB resolution for grant monies to address street drainage and ADA needs. In closing remarks, councilor Karen Hollanitsch commented on the all-cute Halloween decorations around town.

Cook Food Shelf to receive big donation from McDonald's Grand Re-opening


The Cook McDonald's Restaurant has been undergoing a huge remodeling, inside and out, but they have kept serving their customers throughout the construction. The inside is vastly different and the outside has a new paint job.
Local Marketing Manager Steve Pearson gave some good news to Cook Food Shelf volunteers Lee Ehrbright and Cleo Cottrell last week. Tuesday, Nov. 4, will be Charity Day. McDonald's will be donating 20 percent of sales that day to the Cook Food Shelf. That is great news for the Food Shelf and those who rely on it.
There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, Nov. 3; a Family Day on Wednesday, Nov. 5; Thursday will be McCafe Day; and Friday will be a Prize Day.
This will be a special day in Cook and for McDonald's. Mark these days on your calendar and plan to go there, for sure, on Tuesday, Nov. 4.

ISD 2142 Finance Committee reports $3,293,708.41 cash balance through September


The ISD 2142 Finance Committee met with Business Manager Kim Johnson and Supt. Steve Sallee before the regular meeting Monday at the South Ridge School. They were given financial reports for the end of August and September. The cash total at the end of September was $3,293,708.41, plus $5,000 in scholarship and $2,985,111.44 in funds to pay for the Cherry addition. Johnson reported that the district had paid back the $3,780,000 loan they borrowed when the state withheld funds since they were short of cash, so they withheld aid payments to schools.
Supt. Sallee noted they have an upcoming study session this Thursday.
Students from South Ridge gave a program on High School Media Arts dealing with photography and Photoshop.
Northeast Range School had donations of $600 (a trombone from Kasie Quandt), $40 from Ami Keene and $10 from Ranae Hanson, and the North Woods School had a donation of $143.93 from the Cook Lions.
A revision to American Indian Policies and Procedures dealing with an American Indian Advisory Board was approved.
The board approved a five-year lease for copiers with ShelDon calling for an annual lease of $32,097 and annual maintenance cost of $38,090 for a total annual cost of $70,187. Metro had an annual total bid of $78,619.
The Employment Agreement with the Superintendent's Secretary was approved calling for a salary of $45,000 for 2014-2015 and $48,000 for 2015-2016.
The board next hired Stacy Vick as bus driver at South Ridge, and Robert Petke as bus driver at South Ridge.
Cherry School resignation from Kali Anderson as assistant girls basketball coach, Mathew Koski as assistant boys basketball coach, and Katherine Hendrickson as health assistant were approved. Anderson is now teaching at Northeast Range.
The meeting, which started at 5 p.m., ended at 5:47 p.m.

Two injured in one-car rollover on Willow River Road

On Sunday, Oct. 26, at 2 p.m., the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office responded to a one-vehicle rollover on Willow River Road near the intersection of Sethers Road, which is located approximately 15 miles southwest of Orr.
Leona Connor, 32, of Nett Lake was driving a Chrysler Concorde westbound on Willow River Road when she lost control of her vehicle on a corner and rolled it into the north side ditch.
Connor was transported by Orr ambulance to the Essentia Health Virginia Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Her passenger, Derrick LaRoque, 34, of Nett Lake, was transported to the Cook Hospital by ambulance and later transported by Life Link 3 air medical to a Duluth hospital with serious injuries.
Alcohol is a factor and the crash remains under investigation by the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office.


Pick up this week's paper for more stories and pictures...

CACU hosts Family Fun Night

Trinity Lutheran's Bazaar goes over great

On-site health insurance and long-term care options counseling offered in Cook

Letters to the Editor ...