Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

EDA hears report on affordable housing needs

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 9:53am

Although the consultant gathering information on the affordable housing situation in Cook County had a somewhat dismal report of low wages and high housing prices he also said, “I don’t want to be too negative.”

Consultant Steve Greisert of Community Resource Partnership (CRP) gave the update over the phone at the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) meeting on February 10, 2015. Before he started, Greisert said he had visited a lot of towns that have a lot to offer—a lake or some trees or something to do—but Cook County “has it all.”

Greisert said the only thing Cook County is lacking is affordable housing.

Greisert shared some demographic research, noting that in 2010, Grand Marais lost 21 families. He said that is kind of a “red flag.” He also said only about 1 in 8 households have parents and kids. According to the census, 44 percent of the households are single-person residences. He said that likely means there are a lot of senior citizens instead of families. However, he added, that could mean a housing turnover in 10-15 years.

For now though it is a problem, especially added to the fact that wages in Cook County are low compared the state median. Another problem is that existing housing sale prices are high.

Greisert said by looking at building permits in the county, there has been significant construction, but it is primarily vacation properties. He said for households making less than $25,000 he could only find one property in that range.

EDA Board Member Hal Greenwood said one of the big problems in the county was lending issues. He said in rural areas it is difficult to find comparable sales.

Lake Superior Project: Words for Water

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 2:27pm

Words for Water is a gathering place for people who value the Lake Superior Basin and its fragile ecosystem. On this edition of the Lake Superior Project, Mary Dougherty explores the idea of "speaking" for the largest fresh-water lake in the world.  
To learn more about Mary Dougherty's project:

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Blood donors wanted in March

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 10:53am

Memorial Blood Centers invites all eligible blood donors to roll up their sleeve and give blood at one of three Cook County locations in March.

 Every 2 seconds someone needs blood–from heart transplant and cancer patients to accident victims. The need for blood is constant, but the supply is not. Only volunteer blood donors can make a life-saving difference to someone in need.

Patients in local hospitals depend on Memorial Blood Centers to be there with the right blood type they need to survive. All types are needed—especially O negative (O-) and O positive (O+).

Step up to give blood at a blood drive in your neighborhood and help save lives. Donating blood is convenient and safe when you are healthy and well.

While walk-in donors are always welcome, we encourage appointments to be made in advance. To register for a blood drive, go online to or contact the sponsoring organization directly.

The first blood drive will be March 2 at Zoar Lutheran Church (next to Mike’s Holiday) from 2:30 - 6 p.m. To sign up, call Carla at (218) 663-0179.

Another blood drive will be March 3 at the Cook County Senior Center, sponsored by St. John’s Catholic Church, 10 North Broadway in Grand Marais from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. To schedule an appointment to donate blood on that date, contact Kay Sivets at (218) 387-2262.

And finally on March 4, Memorial Blood Center will be at Cook County High School, 101 West 5th Street, in Grand Marais from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. 
To donate, contact Pam at (218) 387-2273 ext. 604.


This local news is provided by Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at


Hospital update on expansion includes increased costs

Sun, 03/01/2015 - 10:51am

With plans coming together to expand and renovate the Cook County North Shore Hospital and Care Center, the hospital board has been holding long board meetings, and the one it held from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 19 was no exception.

One of the things the board learned was that the cost of the project is going to be higher than anticipated. For the past year the board has been working with a $20.5 million estimate, but the new projection is that when everything is completed it will cost more in the range of $22.5 million

There are several reasons for the increase, but the biggest expense will be buying a new generator that can supply all of the power to the hospital and care center in case the power goes out, said Mark Walch of Boldt Construction, who was on hand to explain the build out process and costs to the board.

Rebecca Lewis of DSGW architects was also there, and she reminded the board that they had recently added several new items to the list that exceeded the estimated $20,890,367 price tag.

Those items include spending $75,000 for lift supports in the care center remodel; $60,000 for a drive up canopy; $30,000 to increase hospital room sizes; $248,724 to build a two-stall ambulance garage, and $450,000 for new boilers.

There were other reasons the estimate has risen, said Walch.  Higher costs than first projected are expected in demolition work, concrete and masonry, interior finishes, millwork and earthwork.

There was a great deal of discussion of the financing of the project, with many questions by hospital board members and reassurances by financial advisors that funding would be available.

If financial details are worked out project bidding will be in May with an expected ground breaking in late May or early June for the two-year project.


Weekend News Roundup for February 28

Sat, 02/28/2015 - 11:39am

Each week the WTIP news department puts together a roundup of the weeks top    news stories. Ice caves, moose calves, wild rice water quality and a train derails…all this and more in the week’s news.

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Minnesota Horticultural Society sponsors youth scholarship

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 5:47pm

The Minnesota State Horticultural Society (MSHS) 8th District is offering two $500 and one $250 scholarship to youth graduating from a high school (or equivalent) in the 8th District area (Itasca, St. Louis, Koochiching, Cook, Lake, Carlton counties) who will be attending a college or technical school after graduation.

The Minnesota State Horticultural Society 8th District recognizes “gardening/ horticulture” as a healthy lifetime activity. By offering this scholarship to youth who have shown an interest in gardening/horticulture, they hope to encourage youth to continue their gardening/horticultural activities throughout their life, as a hobby or vocation.

Applications are due March 1, 2015. The scholarship applicant must exhibit an interest in horticulture/gardening by writing a short essay about their horticultural/gardening experiences. 

To receive an application, contact your local high school, University of Minnesota Extension County Office, a local garden club, or Alice Haglund at 218-749-3316.