Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cook County Board Meeting for April 23: Blue Ribbon Award, CUPs, Personnel Decisions, Administrator/Coordinator Hiring Discussion

Vice Chair Bruce Martinson chaired today's County Board Meeting in Board Chair Jan Hall's absence due to illness.  Other Commissioners present were Heidi Doo-Kirk, Garry Gamble and Sue Hakes.  Also in attendance were Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers and Personnel Director/Board Secretary Janet Simonen.

Public Comment
No member of the Public opted to address the County Board.

2013 Blue Ribbon Award
Public Health and Human Services Director, Sue Futterer, was pleased to announce that Cook County has been named as one of Minnesota counties to receive the 2013 Blue Ribbon Award.  The Blue Ribbon County/Tribe award recognizes counties and tribes that exemplify a strong commitment to child abuse and neglect prevention through collaborative efforts of public, non-profit, and community services and activities.  Collaborating partners in this work include: Cook County Public Health and Human Services, Grand Portage Social Services, Grand Portage Tribal Council, Violence Prevention Center, Law Enforcement, Victim/Witness Coordinator, County Attorney's Office.  (I sure hope I've not missed anybody, I'm going from memory which is always risky!).  A special thanks went out to Anna Sandstrom for writing the application although Ms. Sandstrom was modest in saying, "Winning this award was the result of the entire community working together, a truly collaborative effort."  The County Board gave this team a hearty congratulations and thanks!

Office of Planning and Zoning Conditional Use Permits and Interim Use Permit
The County Board approved (3) Conditional Use Permits (CUP) and (1) Interim Use Permit as follows:
-  A CUP was approved to establish a business in the Resort Commercial/Residential zone district on property adjacent to Cook County 5 (Ski Hill Road).  It is the intention of the property owner to establish a winery and brewery to enhance the existing tourist offerings in Cook County.
-  A CUP was approved on Big Bay Point for the homeowner to build an accessory structure in excess of 1000 square feet.  It is the intention of the property owner to build a workshop with a bedroom above.
-  A CUP was approved to allow an increase from 5-acres to 10-acres of active excavation in a gravel pit adjacent to Cook County 27 (Ball Club Road).
-  An Interim Use Permit was granted to allow the use of a mobile home for habitation in the Single Family Residential (R-1) zone district on property adjacent to Cook County 71 (Moose Valley Road).  This Interim Use Permit is granted for 2 years.

County Personnel Matters
The County Board approved comparable worth pay ratings to two previously approved positions:  Assessor's Technical Clerk and Human Services Case Aide.  These pay ratings were studied and recommended by the 2013 Personnel Committee:  Jan Hall, Bruce Martinson, Brian Silence, Betty Schultz, Sue Futterer and Janet Simonen.

The County Board approved the hiring of Jill Pederson as a Technical Clerk in the Assessor's Office.  Janet Simonen reported that 19 applications were received and 7 interviews were conducted.

The County Board discussed its next steps in the process to determine whether to hire a County Administrator, County Coordinator or Personnel Director to replace the retiring Janet Simonen.  The Board is holding a Special Meeting on April 30 to discuss this decision, most importantly what they are looking for in this leadership position.  Simonen retires on August 9.

MN DOT and Arrowhead Regional Development Commission Reps
Todd Campbell, MN DOT Highway 61 Corridor Engineer, came before the County Board to discuss the work plan and issues for Highway 61 as it impacts Cook County.  Also present for this discussion were Tim Goettl, Ginny Storlie and Skip Lamb from the west end.  Of particular note are the 14 mile Mill and Overlay project from CR 34 to 3 miles NE of the Cascade River, Culvert Replacement with single span bridge at Cut Face Creek, and Approach Work and Replacement at the Devil Track River.  Several County Road projects were also discussed including CSAH 4, CSAH 5, CSAH 12 as well as the Gitchi-Gami State Trail.  In addition to multiple questions from the County Board, Goettl, Storlie and Lamb asked several questions about parking at Cascade River, the bike trail, and safety issues near Birch Grove Community Center.  Campbell also reported that MN DOT will be installing a 16" wide rumble strip down the center of Highway 61 from Grand Marais to Grand Portage.

County Highway Department
The County Board authorized a Special Use Permit for the Classic Car Show to be held downtown Grand Marais on Saturday, June 15, 2013.  Mark your calendars; this is a fun event.

County Engineer David Betts informed the Board that Gary Blomberg is retiring effective May 3, 2013; the Board accepted this resignation with regrets.  Blomberg has been with the Highway Department full-time since July 1980 and will be missed.  The County Board authorized David Betts to advertise for a replacement in this position.

County Attorney's Office
County Attorney Tim Scannell requested authorization to purchase (3) IPads for use with Westlaw (on line legal research products) allowing County Attorney Office staff to use tablets in the courtroom and while out of the office.  As a matter of practice, Commissioner Hakes asked County Attorney Scannell if Information Technology Director Danna MacKenzie had reviewed this purchase for cost reasonableness and to ensure all security needs would be met. Scannell argued that there were no security issues and withdrew his request.

The Board approved a contract for Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC) to serve as the project manager for developing strategies to complete the work necessary to complete the Gitchi Gami Trail.  This $10,000 planning project is a partnership between the DNR, ARDC, Lake and Cook Counties.  Cook County will pay 1/3 of the $5000 cost-share.

The County Board approved a final resolution to auction the TIP of the Trail property on Saganaga Lake.  This public sale will be conducted at 10:00 am on Monday, June 24 in the Courthouse.  The property will be sold to the highest bidder, but not at less than the appraised value of $350,000.

The County Board approved Jim Stortz as a qualified Wildfire Mitigation Grant Program vendor as recommended by the Firewise Committee.

Cook County Family YMCA
Commissioner Hakes suggested the County Board, Grand Marais City Council, ISD 166 School Board, and other County/City staff tour the Cook County Family YMCA construction site on May 10 at 8:30.  Hakes will work with Y Director Emily Marshall to schedule this tour.  Hakes also said Marshall will be conducting additional tours for the public and other interested parties as the project progresses, so stay tuned!

AEOA Grand Marais Rental Housing Project
Commissioner Hakes reported on the collaborative effort between Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) and the Cook County/Grand Marais EDA to work together to help meet the need for safe, decent, affordable rental units in the Grand Marais/Cook County Comunity.  AEOA will be present at the May 14 EDA Meeting to take some important first steps.

Veteran's Transit and Medical Access 
Commissioner Hakes reported on the most recent of several ARDC sponsored meetings she has been involved in with area Veteran's Service Officers, County Commissioners, AEOA, Tom Albright of Senator Franken's Office, Staff Member from Rick Nolan's office, MN DOT, and others with interest in improving access to medical care for Veteran's.  The problem is arguably twofold:  1)  lack of adequate transportation to medical facilities, and 2) lack of medical resources in rural MN. Next steps for this group include a meeting with VA personnel to explore the feasibility of a) waivers/fee-based services for Veteran's >50 miles from a primary care provider b) local support from medical personnel at one of the Northern MN CBOC facilities (Hibbing or Ely)  by coming to Silver Bay to offer primary care services on a regular basis (2x/month for example), c) securing Federal funds for transportation from Twin Ports to Minneapolis.  Cook County VSO Clarence Everson is also involved in these discussions to bring forward the needs of Cook County Veterans.

AEOA Planning Commitee
Commissioner Hakes was recently appointed the Chair of the newly revived Planning Committee for AEOA.  This Committee will help AEOA set strategic direction based on a recent needs study.

Arrowhead Counties Association
Commissioner Martinson reported on the most recent Arrowhead Counties Association meeting attended by Martinson and Hakes by giving a legislative report on PILT, NERCC funding, and ARMER sales tax exemption.

Meeting Minutes
A copy of the official meeting minutes from this meeting will be made available on the Cook County website after they are approved or by calling Janet Simonen at 218 387 3602.  A video of this meeting in its entirety may be viewed by going to Boreal.TV.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April 16 Human Services and County Board Meetings: SHIP, EDA Advance, Security Equipment, SSTS Ordinance, ATV Grant

Cook County Human Services Board Meeting
Human Services Board Chair Sue Hakes and Board Members Heidi Doo-Kirk, Garry Gamble, Jan Hall, Jerry Lilja, Carla LaPointe, and Bruce Martinson were all present for today's Human Services Board Meeting.  Also present were Sue Futterer, Jan Parish and Alison McIntyre.

Committee Reports
Commissioner Hakes reported on the most recent Arrowhead Health Alliance Joint Powers meeting and Commissioner Martinson reported on the most recent Health Care Planning Committee.  For details on these meetings, contact Hakes or Martinson directly.  No other Committee Reports were given as the Committees hadn't met since the last Human Services Board Meeting.

Statewide Health Improvement Project (SHIP)
Kristin DeArruda Wharton, Local Project Coordinator for SHIP, gave an overview of the SHIP Program and Services in Cook County.  The Minnesota SHIP Program was created to improve health and reduce health care costs by reducing the risk factors that contribute most heavily to chronic disease.

DeArruda Wharton gave an update on the active School Day and Healthy School Food SHIP initiatives in partnership with the ISD166 Wellness Program. These programs focus on healthier environments through policies and systems changes. Current work includes providing healthy snacks, improving athlete lunches and healthier vending options in the school. Work is also being done to incorporate more physical activity throughout the school day.

SHIP Funding in Cook County expires on June 30, 2013, but DeArruda Wharton is hopeful that continued funding for Cook County's health improvement efforts will come from a variety of grant sources, including the possibility of SHIP 3 funding.

DeArruda Wharton is passionate about her work and is to be credited for the statewide recognition and success of SHIP in NE Minnesota and Cook County.

March Financial Report/Update on Financial Assistance Programs
Jan Parish, Income Maintenance & Fiscal Supervisor, presented the March 2013 Financial Report noting that the Fund Balance is low at $537,700.  Generally speaking, the fund balance is low at this time of year due to the lag in billing and the delayed receipt of some grant and block funding.  However, Parish expressed some concern about the current balance being too low due to expenditures from the Fund Balance to meet services.  Of specific concern is the cost of out-of-home placements which is currently at 24% of the annual budget after just 2 months.

Parish also discussed the projected caseload increase with the Medical Assistance expansion coming in the 4th Quarter of 2013.  It is anticipated there will be at least 25% increase, but that number is in flux.

Director's Report, Sue Futterer
PHHS Director, Sue Futterer, reported that Region 3 Redesign continues to move forward with E-documents Management System planned to go live in Cook County on 9/30/13.

Futterer also gave the Board a legislative update on current bills in both the MN House and MN Senate.  At this time, it looks grim for any additional funds for Counties to absorb the additional costs anticipated from the planned Medical Assistance expansion.  There is also the potential for $150 Million in cuts to Public Health and Human Services statewide.  On the brighter side there does seem to be good support for modernizing the Department of Human Services computer systems (still using DOS).

Board Action
The Board approved a Memorandum of Understanding between Cook County and Carlton County for the provision of Child Support Officer Supervision and Consulting from April 1 thru September 30, 2013.

Cook County Board of Commissioner's Meeting
County Board Chair Jan Hall, Commissioners Doo-Kirk, Gamble, Hakes, and Martinson  were present at today's County Board Meeting.  Also present were Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, and Personnel Director/Board Secretary Janet Simonen.

Public Comment
No member of the Public opted to come before the County Board.

Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA)
Scott Harrison, EDA Board Member, came before the County Board to request an advance in the tax levy in the amount of $60,000 to meet cash flow needs.  The County Board voted to pay the EDA this amount now instead of waiting until June.

Harrison also requested an additional $50,000 in funding to begin marketing for Superior National Golf  Course.  This request is in addition to the existing $225,000 loan from the County to the EDA.  The entire $275,000 will be paid back in full in November 2013.

Building Maintenance, Director Brian Silence
The Board approved a contract in the amount of $135,717.93 to purchase and install security equipment from ESC Systems in the Courthouse including duress buttons, security cameras, county-wide intercom/paging, and key card access control systems as approved by the Board on March 12, 2013.  This contract also includes duress buttons and cameras at the existing Community Center and Highway Department.  ESC Systems is the vendor of choice because they service Cook County and their equipment is compatible with existing security equipment already installed.

2013 Budget Review
The Board reviewed and approved the First Quarter 2013 Budget Review for the General Revenue Fund as presented by Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers.

Cook County Septic Ordinance Number 58
Office of Planning and Zoning Director Tim Nelson came before the County Board to request the Board take the next steps in the creation of a new Cook County Septic Ordinance as is required by 2014.  Nelson explained that the proposed draft of Cook County Septic Ordinance Number 58 was created by a local working committee and that counties have some liberty to use alternative standards to State Septic requirements.  The Board had several questions and concerns including clarification of the areas that differed from State requirements.  It was agreed that the Board would hold a Work Session on May 21 at 2:30 to discuss this proposal.  In general, the Board had concerns about making the local ordinance more restrictive than necessary.

ATV Grant-in-Aid Trail Grant
The County Board reviewed the project description and public comments received for the ATV Grant-in-Aid Trail Grant applied for by the Cook County ATV Club through the Minnesota Trail Assistance Program for construction and maintenance of off-highway trails for ATVs.  It was noted that most comments were positive.  During this review, Braidy Powers told the Board this grant had been approved for $3000.  ATV Club Board Member Vilnis Neilands was present to answer any questions.  Neilands also expressed gratitude for DNR's work on this project.

Revolving Loan Fund
The County Board approved (3) Revolving Loans as recommended by the Revolving Loan Fund Committee:  1)  $48,000 to Randy Sjogren for Putt 'n Pets purchase and improvement, 2) $16,000 to David Rak for improvements to the Mangy Moose Motel including the hair salon, and 3) $17,000 to Bruce Block for improvements to Sydney's Frozen Custard & Pizzeria.

Assessor's Office
The Board authorized the purchase of a computer, computer monitor, and office furniture for the new employee to be hired in the Assessor's Office.  No unused office furniture was available for use.

Cook County Family YMCA
In a written memo from Chris Francis, President and CEO of the Duluth Family YMCA, it was announced with great pleasure that Emily Marshall has been selected as Branch Executive Director for the Cook County Family YMCA.  The interview process included a panel of individuals representing the city, county, school district and the community.  Emily is currently serving as the Aquatics Director of the Downtown Y in Duluth.  Prior to this she was the Program Director at Camp Miller and the Youth and Family Program Specialist for the Downtown Y.

Replacement for Janet Simonen
The County Board is currently discussing how best to replace Personnel Director/Board Secretary Janet Simonen who is retiring on August 9, 2013.  The Board has held (2) Special Meetings to discuss the possibility of replacing Simonen with a County Administrator or a County Coordinator.  The last of these meetings was held on April 15 with (3) invited County Administrators from neighboring counties:  Trish Klein (Itasca), Tim Houle (Crow Wing), Brian Benson (Sherburne).  The next steps in this process will be a meeting on April 30.

Meeting Minutes
A copy of the Meeting Minutes from the April 16 County Board Meeting will be made available on the Cook County Website or by calling Janet Simonen at 387-3602.  A video of the meeting in its entirety will be made available on Boreal.TV.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cook County Board Closed Session on April 9, 2013

The Cook County Board of Commissioners went into a closed session at its April 9, 2013 regularly scheduled board meeting.  This was done at the recommendation of the Board of Commissioner's Attorney, Dyan Ebert.  Below is the written text of Ms. Ebert's comments prior to the Board's vote to go into closed session.

"It is my recommendation that the Board go into closed session pursuant to Minnesota Statute section 13D.05, subdivision 3 (b) for attorney/client privileged communications.  The purpose of the closed session is to discuss the litigation that has been threatened against Cook County by Tim Scannell relating to the December 2011 shooting.  The discussion will not be for purposes of general legal advice.  The litigation has been threatened and appears imminent based on direct conversations that I, as well as some of the individual commissioners, and other County employees have had with Mr. Scannell and his attorney, Baiers Hereen. The lawsuit has also been threatened in a demand letter that was sent to me, at my request, to provide the County with specific details regarding the claim and the basis for the lawsuit.  It is my belief that a closed session is necessary so that I can consult with the Board in a private, confidential setting and it will also provide the Board with the opportunity to discuss the defense strategy and possible reconciliation or settlement options relating to the threatened lawsuit.  Having the discussion in open session would compromise the Board's ability to protect its rights and a confidential session is also necessary for me to effectively advocate on the Board/County's behalf.  The discussions in the closed session will be limited to strategy and settlement options relating to the threatened litigation."

The County Board is very aware of the complaint against Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell.  

The County Board is also aware that US Attorney Thomas Heffelfinger has been appointed by Judge Shaun Floerka to serve as a special prosecutor to review a MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigation to determine whether or not criminal charges should be filed regarding Mr. Scannell's relationship with a teenage girl.

Pursuant to MN Statutes, the County Board has very limited authority over elected positions such as the County Attorney, but continues to monitor the situation closely and deal with the issues that come before the Board.

The County Board remains deeply concerned for the families involved, as well as the entire Cook County Community during this very difficult time.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April 9, 2013 County Board Meeting: Courthouse Security, Cook County Family YMCA, Closed Session, Highway Department Work Session

County Board Chair Jan Hall, along with Commissioners Doo-Kirk, Gamble, Martinson and Hakes were all present for today's 8 1/2 hour Board Meeting.  Also present were Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, Personnel Director/Board Secretary Janet Simonen, and County Attorney Tim Scannell.

Public Comment
Jerome Brandt came before the Board to express his opposition to an X-ray machine and additional deputies in the Courthouse.  He stated his fears that if this happens, the County Board (and other Boards) will change from being helpful, kind and considerate to being arrogant bullies.  Brandt asked for mercy on the poor and no extravagant spending.

MN Counties Insurance Trust (MCIT)
Jeff Holubar of MCIT came before the Board to present the 2013 MCIT report to Cook County.  MCIT is a joint powers entity made up of counties and associated public entities that pool resources to provide property, casualty and workers' compensation coverage to members.

Holubar reported that Cook County's 2013 cost is $137,529, up approximately 40% over the past 3 years.  Rates are based on a formula that uses the frequency and severity of work-related injuries and illnesses.  Holubar also reported that 31.2% of Cook County employees use the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), a voluntary program that provides access to professional counselors for support and advice on personal issues that may affect an employee's work performance.

State-wide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) Coordinator, Kristin Wharton
SHIP Coordinator, Kristin Wharton, updated the Board on the Active Living Summit held last Fall.  The Board also agreed to her request for a letter of support from the County for Sawtooth Mountain Clinic's application to Prevention MN for the "Active Living for All" grant project.

Highway Department, County Engineer David Betts
The Board approved a special event permit for the Ham Run.  The Board also accepted the bids as submitted for the CSAH 7 Rehabilitation Project and authorized awarding the project to low bidder Northland Constructors for $2,876,217.14. County Engineer David Betts and Assistant County Engineer Sam Muntean are working to reduce the cost of this project by approximately $200,000. The CSAH 7 Project is slated to begin in June with completion in August of this year.

Office of Planning and Zoning (OPZ) and Solid Waste Officer, Tim Nelson
The Board passed a resolution to continue the Lakeshore Septic System Compliance Program with inspections on (3) area lakes:  McFarland, Greenwood, Tom.  Cook County, with the assistance of SWCD, has been awarded a Clean Water Legacy grant to fund the inspection of these lakes.  Cook County SSTS Loan Ordinance #60 was passed in 2012 authorizing Cook County to establish and administer a low interest public loan program that assists private landowners to finance site evaluation, pumping, design, installation, repair, and replacement of Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems.

The Board authorized hiring Gary Kimball at the Tofte Transfer Station as recommended by Tim Nelson.

The Board authorized writing a letter of support to the appropriate State Legislators in support of H.F. 865 and S.F. 639 to enable manufacturers of carpets, batteries, and paint to implement end-of-life management systems for their products.

Cook County Family YMCA Project
Wade Cole, ORB Management, presented the re-bid results for Earthwork and Aluminum Storefronts/Glazing and the County Board authorized making awards to the low bidders.  The costs for the Earthwork and the Aluminum Storefronts/Glazing both went down.

Cole informed the Board that the original low bid for the Painting and Coatings was incomplete.  The Board directed ORB to re-bid the Painting and Coatings.

The Board also directed Cole to get bids for HVAC System Commissioning which is the process of assuring that the HVAC system and its components are installed, tested, operated and maintained properly.  Once these bids are received the Board will consider authorizing this work.

Courthouse Security
Sheriff Mark Falk, supported by several members of the Courthouse Security Committee, presented a choice of (2)  written resolutions on Courthouse Security for consideration by the County Board.  These recommendations were based heavily on the professional recommendation of  Steven Swenson of CJES Security and 15 months of study by the Courthouse Security Committee.  Both are summarized below:

Resolution #1:  2 full-time deputies for Courthouse security. Full screening of persons and bags entering the Courthouse during regular Courthouse hours. Purchase of equipment necessary to screen bags and persons (X-ray and Metal Detection).

Resolution #2:  1 full-time deputy for Courthouse security.  Full screening of persons and bags entering the Courthouse during any District Court hours or other highly-charged/high-risk events n the Courthouse at the discretion of the Sheriff. Purchase of equipment necessary to screen bags and persons (X-ray and Metal Detection).

The Board then engaged in a lengthy, passionate, complex and difficult debate about Courthouse Security, but did not approve either resolution.

Ultimately, the Board did pass (3) separate motions in a very fragmented and bumpy manner:

Motion 1.  Authorized Sheriff Falk to obtain a used X-ray machine from FBI Office in Duluth at no charge; or if not available or not in working order, authorization to purchase an X-ray machine. (Passed 3-2 with Hakes and Hall opposed because motion did not address staffing or Metal Detector.)

After the motion to obtain the X-ray machine passed, Commissioner Hakes made a motion to support Resolution #2.  Jan Hall made the second, but it failed 2-3 with Doo-Kirk, Gamble, and Martinson opposed.  (Note that both Commissioners Hall and Hakes were members of the Courthouse Security Committee.)

Motion 2.  Authorized Sheriff Falk to hire part-time licensed peace officer to staff the X-ray machine on Court Days.  (Passed 3-2 with Hakes and Hall opposed because Sheriff Falk was not consulted.)

Motion 3.  Authorized Sheriff Falk to purchase a Metal Detector. (Passed 5-0)

Personal Note on Courthouse Security--

I fully supported the recommendations of Sheriff Falk, the Courthouse Security Committee, Security Expert Steve Swenson of CJES, and the teachings of security trainings I have attended.  I believe that Security decisions are best made by those responsible for providing that security, namely the law and order of our County, and should be based on the knowledge and recommendations of those professionals with security expertise.

Beyond that, I believe that NOT taking the recommendations given to the County Board exposes the County to enormous financial liability.  This financial liability is in addition to the costs being incurred from the December 15, 2011 shooting (security enhancements to the building, lost work and lost productivity, increased insurance costs, training, workman's comp, staff time working on security issues, health care, Employee Assistance Program services, building cleanup, additional attorney services, etc.). 

But far and above all, I'm concerned about the safety and welfare of all those who enter the Cook County Courthouse including members of the Public, County employees, jurors, elected officials, Court Administration and Courtroom Staff, Judges, defendants, victims, witnesses, probation officers and law enforcement.  

I was in the Courthouse during the shooting event, I've heard the complete 9-1-1 tape and viewed the photographs of the incident.  I've had detailed conversations with the victims, the employees involved in the struggle, and many of the employees in the building at the time of the shooting.  I heard the gun shots, the cries for help, and the struggle. I witnessed the chaos and the extreme pain and anguish suffered by the families of those involved and the employees present. Like others, I am forever changed.

I've been accused of being too emotional in my decision-making about Courthouse Security.  Yes, I am emotional about it.  More importantly, I am aware of what can happen when we least expect it.  It can and did happen to us.  I don't ever want this to happen to anybody again and will do what I can to ensure that it doesn't.

Certainly, there is no promise that by implementing the proposed security recommendations that we will never have another incident of violence in our Courthouse.  But, we need to take all reasonable steps to minimize the possibility of another Courthouse shooting or act of violence.  If we do this, we have a good chance of preventing the next emotionally charged person from making a bad decision for him or herself.  If we do this, we have a good chance of preventing harm to those who enter the Courthouse.  If we do this, we will know that we've done all that we reasonably can.  I cannot, in good conscience, support anything less.

-The Board approved 10 sesonal liquor license renewals.
-The Board approved a grant agreement for $5000 for the completion of the Gitch Gammi State Trail which included a $5000 match to be paid equally by Cook County, Lake County and the Gitch Gami Trail Association.
-The Board approved a contract with Pro-West and Associates for GIS address point data development to be paid with funds allocated from the Title III USFS SRS funds.
-The County Board agreed to send a letter of support for the grant application being made to the MN Historical Society for Historical and Cultural Legacy grant funds to purchase and stabilize the historic Bally Blacksmith Shop in Grand Marais.

Closed Session of the Cook County Board of Commissioners
Attorney Dyan Ebert of Quinlivan and Hughes was present for a closed session of the Cook County Board of Commissioners pursuant to client/attorney privilege to discuss strategy regarding threatened litigation by Tim Scannell.

Work Session with County Highway Department
The County Board and the Highway Department agree that quarterly work sessions would help the Board understand Highway Department operations and enable better decision-making.  This first of these work sessions was held this afternoon and included 2013 Summer Projects, Capital Improvements, Staffing Issues, City Maintenance Agreement, and Event Permits.

Meeting Minutes
Formal meetings minutes may be obtained by going to the Cook County website or by calling Board Secretary Janet Simonen at 218-387-3602.  A video of this meeting in its entirety is available by going to Boreal.TV.