Cooks Run fish hatchery to open?


Staff Writer

CRYSTAL FALLS – Cooks Run fish hatchery in western Iron County may be running again by this summer.

During the Iron County Board of Commissioners’ Thursday meeting, Dino Giannola of Watersmeet asked for permission to operate the facility.

Giannola, who also runs the Watersmeet Trout Hatchery and Fish Farm, had originally approached the board about operating Cooks Run back in 2008.

He intended to clean up the grounds, stock county lakes with fish from the hatchery, and make the hatchery accessible to the public.

However, the deal fell through.

The facility stood vacant for several years while the board searched for another operator. When there was no interest, the board considered other uses for the site.

Giannola told the board on Thursday that he is now better prepared to take on the Cooks Run project.

The board granted him permission to check the condition of the hatchery and grounds.

Giannola suggested that maybe he and the board could formulate an agreement to be approved at the board’s next meeting. He added that he hopes to start operations by May.

In other business, the board:

– Went into executive session to discuss pending litigation against the county. Commissioners did not say anything about the issue during the open meeting.

– Decided to purchase BS & A software for county offices at a cost of $172,100. The county can pay the amount over a period of three years. Since the item was not in the 2013 budget, the first payment will come out of the delinquent tax revolving fund.

Iron County Administrator Sue Clisch pointed out that 97 percent of Michigan counties use BS & A software.

– Released the annual appropriation of $3,000 to the Iron Conservation District. Money will go toward operating costs and programs to fight invasive species and improve the environment.

– Renewed the Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency’s lease for office space at the Iron River Senior Center. The annual lease is $500.

– Directed Clisch to interview the five people who answered the county’s request for a forestry consultant/timber sale administrator. She will recommend one of the applicants for the job at the board’s next meeting.

– Met Iron County’s new 4-H program director, Nick Baumgart. Baumgart will split his time between Dickinson and Iron counties.

– Appointed Carol Dallavalle to the Authority on Aging for an interim term.

– Heard public comment from Gigi and George Polich, who said that since the county deeded some land to a resident, that resident will not allow them access to their lakefront property.

Board Chair Carl Lind said that he will turn the issue over to the board’s civil counsel.

Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is