October 20, 2016

New Community Center holds dedication - What an asset to Cook

by GDA

Way back on July 28, 2010, Bill Gruska (Gruska Construction) and Dan Sherman (Sherman Plumbing) started the construction of Cook's new Community Center when they did utility work on the site. Gruska Construction started the ground work and coordinated it the next day. There were a lot of donated services and equipment. Gruska Construction donated a dump truck, two excavators, a roller/compactor and a dozer. Viita Excavating donated two dump trucks, Vermilion Construction donated a dump truck and 400 yards of sand. Kantola Construction donated a dump truck. Subway (Lisa Ojanen, owner) donated subs and chips for the workers. Zup's and Matt Zupancich donated beverages.
On Sept. 9, 2010, Norman Nelson Construction had their crew at the site. The Cook Building Center and Greg and Eric Burckhardt provided much of the material at cost. Sherman Plumbing did plumbing and trench digging. The Iron Range Youth in Action members helped level and pack the pad. JH Masonry tied re-bar. Briggs Builders, Ratai Con-struction, Aune & Keister Construction, and Friends of the Park were busy at the site. Trusses were put in place on Oct. 25, 2010, with Todd Zimmerman operating the crane and Sandberg Construction helping.
On Nov. 10, 2010, Reichel Electric installed the electric entrance cable and conduit. STSPS Construction started sheeting the roof. Other construction firms that donated services were Briski Construction, Ebnet Construction and Fultz Construction. Mark Shermer helped with insulation. Ratai Con-struction worked on siding and gable ends. Marty's Plumbing did plumbing, while The Tin Man did duct work. Terry and Tom Swanson of Swanson Painting primed the ballroom ceiling and painted the finishing coat.
There were many construction companies and individuals who volun-teered over the years and if their names are not here, I am sorry. It seemed that anyone who could swing a hammer or dig with a shovel was working at the site at some time. This was a real community effort and all should be proud of it.
Making the Cook Community Center come true was definitely a volunteer effort with literally hundreds of vol-unteers.
At last Saturday's Grand Opening, Jeannie Taylor said the building was valued at $650,000, which included two $50,000 IRRRB grants. Fundraisers brought in the rest. She said she was proud of the community, businesses and volunteers. The Community Center can now be used for weddings, meetings, whatever. It is a big asset to Cook.
Cook Council member Liz Storm read a letter from former Cookite Doug Johnson who lived here most of his life. The former state senator's letter told how proud he was of this project which is located in the Doug Johnson Recreation Park.
Parks and Rec. Chair Greg Burckhardt said he was proud of each individual in Cook who had a part in this project and added, "You Cared."
Door prize winners at Saturday's Grand Opening were: $50 gift certificate to The Wilderness - Dave Wood; $50 gift certificate to The Wilderness - Travis Taylor (both donated by The Wilderness); Fit-Bit (adult) - Alan Brunner; Fit-Bit (youth) - Noah Fox; Child (0-6 years old) - Jordan Herdman.

ISD 2142 board sets date for graduation for district schools


The St. Louis County School District board (ISD 2142) at their regular meeting Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the Tower-Soudan School approved the date for graduation for the four district high schools as June 2, 2017, at 7 p.m.
Supt. Steve Sallee reported that a team from each school building is attending a series of training sessions for Learning Services International (LSI). He also said the North Woods School's kindergarten class has 25 children, but they seem to be handling it. The third-grade class is large too, but the teachers are handling it, also. Sallee will be giving the State of the District presentation at North Woods on Oct. 17 at 5:15 p.m., South Ridge on Oct. 26 at 6 p.m., Cherry on Oct. 27 at 5:15 P.M., NER on Nov. 3 at 4 p.m., Tower on Nov. 10 at 4 p.m., and at the District Office on Nov. 28 at 4:30 p.m.
Northeast Range Principal Kelly Engman reported that the Tower-Soudan K-6 school made Rewards School on the MCA tests. She had three students who participated in the Ely marathon race report on it at the board meeting. There were 14 who ran a mile or more and enjoyed it. All received a sweatshirt and a medal. There has been great feedback on the new math curriculum. She also presented the goals for the school, which were: Increase Academic Achievement, Ensure that All Students are School, Career or Community Ready, and Promote Two-Way Communication.
Business Manager Kim Johnson presented the financial report for July which showed total cash and invest-ments at $7,163,392.06. The balance in the general fund was $4,125,108.18.
The Consent Agenda, which was approved, included Concurrent Enroll-ment Agreement for 2016-2017 with Mesabi Range College and Cherry.
The board passed a resolution calling for the school board elections. District 1 has Pat Christensen and Melissa Roach running. District 4 has Gary Rantala, Chris Koivisto and Ronald Marinaro running. District 6 has Chet Larson and Randy Jackson running, and District 7 has Gardner Lepp and Christine Taylor running.
Paraprofessionals Rebecca Constan-tine and Natalie Graves for Cherry, and Cari Meyer for NER were recalled.
Support staff hired for the NER School were paraprofessionals Kelsey Velcheff, Cari Meyer and Tia Bissonette. Peggy Makkyla was hired for Indian Education Program Assistant for NER. ECFE teacher aides hired were Dakota Johnson, Heather Krohn and Cassandra Ableman. Preschool teacher assistant Patti Quick was also hired.
The resignations of North Woods assistant girls basketball coaches Teresa Knife Chief and Liz Cheney were accepted.
Jeff Chaulklin was hired as North Woods assistant football coach. Paxton Goodsky was hired as the head girls basketball coach at NER, with Melissa Schroeter his assistant coach.
Superintendent's Administrative Assistant Jeanne Sopp had her contract approved with a salary of $51,000 for 2016-2017 and $53,000 for 2017-2018. Kim Johnson, business manager, had her contract approved for 2016-2017 with a salary of $95,000, with Nancy Glowaski voting "no" on this. Kay Cornelius had her 2016-2017 contract as transportation director approved at $60,000.
The meeting adjourned at 5:35 p.m.

Scouting: Past, Present, and Future

By Josh Gillson

My father, Rock Gillson, most of you might know him, asked me to write an article about Scouting, Eagle Scouts, and where all of ours (Troop 128) ended up. I told him flat out that I could not write an article on something that is so personal. Yet I did decide to write a letter. Here goes.
To All It Does Concern,
Many years ago I was a young first-grader. One night after dinner, I was called to my father's office. I thought I was in trouble. He sat me down and asked me a question. Now when you are 6 years old, you never think, wow this is a turning point in my life, but it was. My dad asked if I wanted to join Scouts. He explained it to me and I said YES. I have yet to encounter another pivotal life choice as big as that one I made years ago.
Scouting has a long past, far too much to write in one simple letter. So lets focus on Cook, MN and its Scouting history. It goes back a ways too, but we have to always remember our roots. So, shout out to Cook's first Eagle Scout, Jerry Storm, earning the rank in 1964. Then in the early 1990s Troop 128 was chartered. Cook saw two more Eagle Scouts, Alan and Jeremy Orlikoski, in 1992 and 1993. Since then Cook has seen 19 Eagle Scouts in the last 15 years. Not to mention the countless other Scouts who have been involved in the program.
By a show of hands, how many of you have been invited and attended an Eagle Scout Ceremony? Well, if you have or have not, there is one section that always sticks in my head. That is the tale of 100 Scouts. This reading informs us how, in every 100 Scouts, a certain number/percent will likely do a certain thing or become a certain person. Let's use a few examples from our very own troop.
One in 100 Scouts will use his knowledge gained in Scouting to save a life. Trevor Nicholas did that while snowmobiling and coming across an accident. Trevor can also be included as one of the 18 who will learn and enhance a skill or hobby into a career. His love for music has driven him to become a music educator in Chicago. A number of other Cook Eagles have pursued career paths in trade skills: Zach Polich - electrician, Ted Paakkonen - heavy mechanics operator, Thomas Hill - chemical engineer, and others. One in 100 Scouts will enter the clergy; Rodney King is on that path right now. A certain number will join the military; Evander King and Sam Maki both joined a branch of the American Armed Forces. A high percentage of sports team captains and student government presidents were Scouts: football captains - Caleb Gillson, Thomas Hill, Ethan Olson and Sam Maki. I, myself, Josh Gillson, stood as the Student Body President at UMD my senior year. Did I mention this was just one in 100 Scouts? The national average is now nearing 4 percent becoming Eagle, that is four in 100 Scouts. Troop 128 has super exceeded that statistic.
I could go on and on about how some of our older Eagles are married, have children of their own, rose to prominence in their career, achieved great accomplishments, traveled the world, and so many other wonderful things; or talk about our young Eagles joining the military or attending college, but again this is a letter not a book. I want to focus now on the future of Scouting. Scouting is not just a group, club, team or organization; it is all of those things and more. Scouting is a commitment. The best part is, you can choose to join whenever. There is no start and end date. You can join early and young or join later. You can choose to pursue ranks and merit badges or just participate in activities and outings. Troop 128 has seen all forms of involvement over the years.
Next week, on Monday, Oct. 24, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., at the Redwater Complex (old Cook school), Troop 128 is hosting an Open House. There will be food and fun to be had by all who attend. If you have ever wondered about Scouting, what it is, what we do, how to get involved, stop on by. It is open to everyone and we encourage you to come: parents, students, possible merit badge counselors, former Scouts, everyone. Current and former Scouts will be there to answer any and all of your questions. Then we will tell you stories, possibly perform a few skits, and convince you why Scouting is the best.
I know I would not have been able to do half the things I have done, if not for the opportunity Scouting gave me. I have traveled the world, been exposed to new and different cultures, climbed mountains, scuba diving in the oceans, participated and staffed training courses, national and world jamborees, and more. I would not trade my experiences nor change one single thing. All of this was possible because when I was 6 years old, I said YES.
Here is a list of all of the Cook, MN Eagle Scouts.
Jerry Storm - 1964
Alan Orlikoski - 1992
Jeremy Orlikoski - 1993
Josh Gillson - 2001
Cameron Nicholas - 2002
Trevor Nicholas - 2003
Zach Polich - 2005
Caleb Gillson - 2006
Joe Frauenshuh - 2006
Matt Alaracon - 2007
Thomas Hill - 2008
Steve Sellers - 2008
Jason Triska - 2010
Rodney King - 2010
Evander King - 2010
Ted Paakkonen - 2010
Ethan Olson - 2010
Alexandra King - 2012
David Markwardt - 2013
Kristian Alaracon - 2014
Sam Maki - 2014
Andrew Joran - 2015


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