Around Cook County
The Cook County Ambulance crew is busy. Ambulance Director Steve DuChien rattled off some interesting statistics on the service to the North Shore Hospital and Care Center board on September 26.
“The ambulance service has been serving the county for over 50 years,” DuChien told the board. Its beginnings were humble, he said, providing basic life support for many years. In the last 18 months two paramedics on staff have enabled the service to provide advanced life support, which allows patients to receive more advanced care as they are heading to the local hospital or to a critical care hospital outside the county. “I think it’s a great program,” he said. “I think it’s a great benefit to the community.” About 28 percent of the crew’s calls require advanced life support care.
Cook County Ambulance Service has 15 volunteers and five people on staff including DuChien, the two paramedics—Jeff Denniston and Sheila Costello —and two other EMTs—Rebecca Sturm and Mike Flack. They are on hospital grounds most of the time, helping out with hospital patients and assisting various departments while being ready to run out the door when needed.
Cook County Ambulance Service made 411 runs last year, with 123 of them involving transfers out of the county. Its three ambulances averaged 29,053 miles in 2011, using up 2,053 gallons of gas. Ambulance No. 35 has 32,000 miles on it, No. 34 has 101,000 miles on it, and No. 36 has 208,900 miles on it, and will soon be getting a new chassis.
Coming up for the Grand Marais Senior Center are some trips
to Grand Portage. There will be another great Grand Portage Casino
Express trip on Tuesday, October 16. This will be an evening trip.
On Sunday, October 21, the Senior Center will be going to Grand
Portage to enjoy the Polka Fest to listen and possibly dance to the
famous Chmielewski Fun Time Band. This is a free show and should be a
lot of fun. Transportation is free plus you receive $5 in free slot
play and $5 off any lunch entrée including the German Polka Platter.
For more information or for registration of any of the senior center’s
upcoming trips, stop in or call the Senior Center at (218) 387-2660.
Numerous local business large and small, established and new
have recently requested funding from the Cook County Revolving Loan
Fund. On October 9, the county board followed the Revolving Loan Fund
Committee’s recommendations from its September meeting by approving
requests in the following amounts:
* 1010 Interiors: $5,000 loan over five years at 1.5 percent over the
10-year T bond rate. Part of a $15,000 project to improve building
insulation and equipment.
* Shawn Maravigli: $10,650 loan over 10 years at 1.5 percent over the
10-year T bond rate. Will help toward the $12,650 purchase of a
client list and equipment for a lawn maintenance business.
* Lutsen Mountains: $25,000 loan over 10 years at 1.5 percent over
the 10-year T bond rate. To be used toward the purchase of 43 snow
guns at a cost of $956,750.
* Lutsen Mountains: $49,000 loan over 20 years at 1 percent over the
10-year T-bond rate. To cover one-third of the cost of buying five
acres of land adjacent to the ski hill parking lot from George Nelson.
Lutsen Mountains Co-President Tom Rider said the purchase was part of
a deal with George Nelson in which the ski hill agreed to sell four
acres of its land adjacent to Superior National Golf Course at Lutsen
to the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA).
Commissioner Sue Hakes said she did not want her approval of this
Revolving Loan Fund request to be construed as approval for the EDA to
purchase four acres of land. That would need to be discussed with the
county board before she would consider approving such a purchase, she
The county board approved use of the $63,000 the Grand Marais
Public Library has left over from the money it received in 1 percent
recreation and infrastructure sales tax funds to pay $9,300 in
On October 9, the county board also authorized Library Director Linda
Chappell to use the remaining funds to buy furniture that she had not
had time to order yet because the library has been so busy.
The board discussed the need to make changes to the north side of the
building where water leaked in after a big storm this summer. This
was a portion of the building that was not changed during the rehab
and expansion project, Chappell said. The commissioners told Chappell
that the cost of the work should come out of the remaining $63,000 as
About the newly remodeled building, Chappell told commissioners
“People seem to really be loving it.”
Although the Cook County Salvation Army unit will continue to help
people in need, the organization will no longer be the primary sponsor
of community activities such as “Merry Christmas for All” and the
delivery of Easter baskets to senior citizens. “We’ve been doing some
of these programs for years,” explained Salvation Army board chair
Arvis Thompson. “There are other groups who do similar projects and
maybe they want to step up. We’re creating that opportunity.”
The Salvation Army, like many other charitable organizations, is
feeling a financial pinch because of economic conditions. Red Kettle
donations were down about $4,000 last year, which helped the board
make the decision to tighten the budget and eliminate some of its
offerings that are not of an urgent nature. In addition to the holiday
programs, Salvation Army had been providing non-food items to the food
shelf (such as soap, shampoo, etc) and donating school supplies to
Thompson said Salvation Army will continue to help those in need on an
individual basis instead of the broader programs previously offered.
“If a teacher comes to us and says she has a student who needs
supplies, we will help. If someone knows a family that needs boots or
winter coats, we will help,” said Thompson.
Salvation Army will continue to provide emergency housing and disaster
relief, as well as emergency heat and utility assistance. However,
Thompson said, there is less money available for that as well. And,
she said, before an individual receives assistance, they must now