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HomeNewsNew State Senator Secures $700,000 for Cook County Historical Society

New State Senator Secures $700,000 for Cook County Historical Society

In a press release issued May 20, the office of Senator Grant Haus­child announced the success of the “Grand Deal on Bonding Bill’’ by the Minnesota Legislature. Both houses of the Minnesota Legisla­ture are majority DFL but the effort on the “Grand Deal ‘’ by its nature is bi-partisan. The cash bonding portion of the legislation may pass both houses with a simple major­ity, but the general bonding leg­islation requires a supermajority. The DFL could not do it without Republicans joining in.

Hauschild was elected in 2022 to represent the newly crafted Senate District 3, which includes part or all of Koochiching, St. Louis, Lake and Cook Counties. He proved his abilities when, as a freshman sen­ator, he brought home significant state funding for programs in the Arrowhead.

“Our district had the most proj­ects in this legislation,” Hauschild said.

The final bonding legislation in­cluded $300 million in funding for nursing homes. A chronic shortage of available nursing homes persists in the mostly rural district. It also included almost $40 million for a large number of other projects in District 3 according to Hauschild.

Hauschild also announced that his work in the Tax Conference Committee this last session includ­ed his “Mineral Article” to fund ten projects, mostly on the Iron Range.

The Cook County Historical So­ciety in Grand Marais is one of the Mineral Article recipients receiv­ing $700,000 in state money to maintain and improve the proper­ties it owns.

Prior to the most recent legis­lative session, Hauschild visited communities in his district for a listening tour. At a meeting in Grand Marais he was approached by Historical Society representa­tives who explained its need for funding to maintain the five sites under its purview and to build an effective storage facility for soci­ety archives. The current storage is maintained at the Society main office, formerly the lighthouse keepers house in Grand Marais, which is well known to regularly flood. The intention is to build a new storage building on a site in the Grand Marais Business Park that the Society recently acquired.

“At the meetings, I told them that I thought the bonding request would work for the $2.1 million they needed to raise,” Hauschild said.

The Historical Society worked with Visit Cook County and its lobbying firm early in the session to get the provision in the bonding bill. Ultimately that effort was not successful but Hauschild worked $700,000 into the tax bill.

“The Cook County Historical Society needs more money,” Haus­child said. “I will try to get more in the bonding bill in the next ses­sion. My goal is to get them what they need.”

Katie Clark, Director of Opera­tions for the Historical Society, is delighted with the results of Haus­child’s efforts. “The $2.1 million figure came from our “dream list” that we put together a couple years ago,” she said.

As for now, Clark said in an email, “Our main goal is to focus on the necessary site repairs and restoration work in order to avoid further damage and deterioration. We also will be addressing our archival storage project. The state funding will allow us to act fast­er – spending less time on patch­ing together funding and instead focusing on securing the resources needed to preserve our historical sites.”

The Historical Society maintains the Chippewa City Church (St. Francis Xavier), Johnson Heritage Post Art Gallery, the Replica Fish House/1935 Nee-Gee Fishing Tug at the Recreation Park, the Bally Blacksmith Shop, and the Muse­um, all in Grand Marais. As they prioritize projects they intend to complete design, site engineering, construction, and equipping the new archival storage facility.

Steve Fernlund
Steve Fernlund
Typically these “about me” pages include a list of academic achievements (I have none) and positions held (I have had many, but who really cares about those?) So, in the words of the late Admiral James Stockwell, “Who am I? Why am I here?” I’m well into my seventh decade on this blue planet we call home. I’m a pretty successful husband, father, and grandfather, at least in my humble opinion. My progeny may disagree. We have four children and five grandchildren. I spent most of my professional life in the freight business. At the tender age of 40, early retirement beckoned and we moved to Grand Marais. A year after we got here, we bought and operated the Cook County News Herald, a weekly newspaper in Grand Marais. A sharp learning curve for a dumb freight broker to become a newspaper editor and publisher. By 1999 the News Herald was an acquisition target for a rapidly consolidating media market. We sold our businesses and “retired” again, buying a winter retreat in Nevada. In the fall of 2016, we returned to Grand Marais and bought a house from old friends of ours on the ridge overlooking Lake Superior. They were able to move closer to family and their Mexico winter home. And we came home to what we say is our last house. I’m a strong believer in the value of local newspapers--both online and those you can wrap a fish in. I write a weekly column and a couple of feature stories for the Northshore Journal. I’m most interested in writing about the everyday lives of local people and reporting on issues of importance to them.
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