July 30, 2020

Timber Days still a possibility for this year

by A.J. Shuster

Reporting on Timber Days and the Veterans River Street Park to the Cook City Council on Thursday, July 23, were Carrolle Wood and Diane Brunner.
Timber Days may still be a possibility, but as a one-day event at the end of September. Sought for and approved was permission to not charge vendors a set-up fee - an attempt to support them and keep open relations for the future. One idea was to set up volleyball at the former Rude Feed site. After research, the women had come up with a few options for a sand-based court, including one that included removal of several inches of existing soil, then fill in with sand. City Administrator Theresa Martinson said that could cause environmental issues as there may not have been enough years of rest from chemical deposits, and there are pipes and such just under the surface. The project will be addressed once there has been input by NE Technical Services and the City insurer.
The Veterans Park has access to a grant through the railroad to set up a fence. It seems that a composite material would have endurance, and constructing it vertically would prevent climbing. It has been tabulated that costs for fencing, concrete pads, picnic tables, and two grills would cost at least $8,000. Then there is the sign and dock to consider.
The City of Cook has made application with CDBG and the IRRRB for funds to improve Vermilion Drive and the edges of the treatment ponds.
Reed Erickson shared information to clarify the HRA and HUD guidelines. The City has a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) contract for 10 percent, while HUD guidelines say 5 percent. Use of funds are determined by the county, where PILOT funds are sent. Some funds are sent back by the county, but not the 10 percent as all funds collected are dispersed throughout the county for HRA facilities.
The Ambulance Service is looking for new members who:
· Are highly-motivated
· Have a valid driver's license
· Pass a background check
· Are able to work 24 hours per month
Interested in being an EMT/EMR? Call 666-2866 or visit www.cookmn.us.
The library is receiving a $500 check (COVID funds) which will be used to complete the outdoor space with a pergola.
Hiring a new liquor store lead manager is progressing.
The former water plant/garage is for sale.
The City of Cook received high praise from the Regional Safety Coordinator for its safety guidelines - including accident prevention, well safety, and COVID policies.
The City accepted propane bids at 88 cents/pound, with $1.24/pound for employees.
The county was to offer free COVID testing at the fairgrounds in Chisholm on July 28 from noon to 7 p.m., and on July 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Community Center's ADA rebuild will begin shortly after the Primary Election.

Forbes native is Cook's new Postmaster


The city of Cook has a new postmaster and she is a native, born and raised, of Forbes, Minn. Rebecca "Becky" Lamb, who has been serving in the role of interim postmaster, received word last week that she is the new postmaster for Cook.
Postmaster Becky is very excited with her new job, to say the least. She started working for the U.S. Postal System in 1994 when the postmaster for Forbes asked if she would like to help out a little. This part-time work has turned into a long-time career where she has served the Makinen, Marble and, most recently, the Biwabik post offices.
Becky Lamb grew up in Forbes, attended and graduated from Cherry High School in 1980 and with her husband, Michael, has enjoyed life in northeastern Minnesota. Husband Michael is a retired heavy equipment operator from United Taconite and with their son, Jim, enjoys working with their "mudder" car, the "Mud Rail," which they take to mud runs to compete.
Becky enjoys reading, gardening and travel. She said of her new job, "I am very happy to be here. The people are friendly. I hope to be here for many years."
Stop in and say hello to Postmaster Becky.

Census responses slow in county and townships


With the COVID-19 pandemic taking the lead in the news, followed closely by the Marxist BLM riots, killings and thievery, the United States Census, which is very important for states, cities and townships, has been virtually ignored. The numbers that come from this are very important in providing federal and state funding for these entities.
The U.S. Census Bureau is ramping up their work in getting the population of the states counted now as the deadline is rapidly approaching. For those who don't return their Census reports, they will be visited by individual census takers to get their numbers, but it is important to report your numbers.
A new mailing will be going out to those who haven't responded and the Census Bureau hopes for a good return.
For St. Louis County, the response rate is 64.6 percent, while for Minnesota, the response rate is 71.8 percent as of July 23.
Locally, the City of Cook has a 63.7 percent return, with Orr reporting only 48.5 percent. Tower has a 42.5 percent response rate, the Township of Breitung has a 26.6 percent rate, followed by Crane Lake at a low of 15 percent, Floodwood at 58.9 percent, Virginia at 64.1 percent, and Babbitt at 71.1 percent.
It should be noted that those with seasonal or lake homes should also report.
To make sure your community is counted correctly, be sure to report.


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