Around Cook County
Two representatives from HealthShare, a Duluth-based
“community health coverage program,” will explain what HealthShare
offers Cook County's small businesses and their employees at Higher
Education's March Business Networking Luncheon. The luncheon will
begin at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 27, at Higher Ed's North Shore
Campus. The program will conclude by 1 p.m. Cost is $15.
HealthShare executive director Jenny Peterson and business services
representative Wyn Mathews will explain how the program works and how
it collaborates with health care organizations and the communities it
serves. Several Cook County employers already have signed on with
HealthShare. HealthShare is unique in Minnesota and one of only a
handful of similar organizations nationwide. It provides coverage to
the uninsured – including many part-time employees – who work for
small businesses that cannot afford health benefits.
HealthShare costs employers and employees about $60 each per month,
with the remainder financed by Generations Health Care Initiatives, a
foundation in Duluth; St. Luke's; Essentia Health; Northland
Foundation; Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation; and others. In past years,
the program has received significant federal and state grants to
sustain the program. A key feature of HealthShare is its strong
emphasis on behavior change to promote health and wellness.
To register for the program (formerly known as the Women’s Business
Networking Luncheon), call (218) 387-3411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
by noon on March 25.
The Cook County North Shore Hospital and Care Center is facing a couple of $200,000 income reductions. One from the federal government and one from an insurance provider. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with hospital administrator Kimber Wraalstad in this extended interview.
Local artists Dan and Lee Ross, nationally recognized stone and clay sculptors, spent two weeks in January at the Grand Marais Art Colony exploring an unfamiliar media – printmaking. This opportunity led the Rosses in new directions, challenging them to redefine their artistic language through ink, paper and the printing press.
The result is a collection of original prints entitled “Entry Points” which will be on display at the Art Colony from March 22-April 7 in the Founder’s Hall. The public is invited to attend the Opening Reception and Artist Lecture at 5 p.m. Friday, March 22. The artists will also be available on Saturday, March 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to speak with exhibit visitors.
Dan and Lee's paths crossed in 1972 as students at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Subsequently a collaboration began that continues to this day. They work side by side from initial design to the finished piece. Their work ranges from small hand-held clay pieces to large scale commissions carved out of granite. Moving to Hovland in 1991 had a dramatic impact on their work. New forms and shapes evolved after they observed how tumultuous storms and shifting ice sheets rearrange their boulder strewn shoreline.
This is the second Artist-in-Residence at the Grand Marais Art Colony. In the 2012 inaugural residence, visual artist Hazel Belvo spent two weeks developing a large scale body of paintings which she shared with the community through open studios and public lectures. For generations, the Art Colony has been a nurturing sanctuary for the creative spirit - welcoming artists of all skill levels and backgrounds into the artistic community of the North Shore. The Artist-in-Residence program provides established artist(s) with access to our studio spaces to expand and explore their creativity. For more information see www.grandmaraisartcolony.org or call (218) 387-2737.
A rather heated discussion ensued at the Schroeder Township annual meeting on Tuesday, March 12, when donation requests totaling $21,000 came up. It was noted that could push the projected 2013 budget almost $4,000 higher then revenues, which concerned some citizens.
Donations requested were: Schroeder Area Historical Society asked for $10,000, Birch Grove Foundation requested $3,500, Birch Grove Community School $5,000, Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center $1,000 and the Town of Tofte asked for $1,500 for the July 4th fireworks and music.
After much discussion, a motion was made to not fund the $1,000 request to Sugarloaf and to donate $1,000 (not $1,500) to Tofte for fireworks and then to reduce all the other requests by 10 percent. This passed with a majority of support by the voters and the budget requests granted were $17,650 instead of $21,000.
Northeastern Minnesota’s most-rural county is also the region’s healthiest.
The Duluth News Tribune reports Cook County ranks among the top 30 in the state in the two major areas evaluated in the fourth annual County Health Rankings, released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
Out of 87 counties, Cook County ranked 29th in “health outcomes” — up from 42nd last year. The health outcomes category considers premature deaths, low birth weight and similar data.
Cook County ranked 23rd in “health factors,” which includes a wide array of measures ranging from adult obesity to sexually transmitted infections to the violent crime rate.
St. Louis, Lake and Cook counties have ranked relatively low in all four years of the County Health rankings.
Although Cook County falls well below some of the counties in the suburban Twin Cities and most of those in southeastern Minnesota, it stands out in the region. St. Louis County ranked 72nd in health outcomes and 59th in health factors; Lake County ranked 83rd in health outcomes but 28th in health factors; and Carlton County ranked 81st in health outcomes and 36th in health factors.
At the Lutsen Township annual meeting on Tuesday, March 12, there was debate over a donation to Birch Grove Community School. The first request for a contribution of $3,500 for the Birch Grove Foundation, the same donation as last year, was passed almost unanimously with minimal discussion.
However, the second request, for $5,000 from the Birch Grove Community School, met with a barrage of questions for school board members and Director Diane Blanchette. This is the first time the school has asked for financial support from Lutsen and Schroeder.
Concerns were expressed over the school’s finances and Blanchette explained that the school has worked very hard to deal with state funding delays and decreased funding because of declining enrollment. She said in 2011-2012 expenses were cut by $38,490 through a variety of saving measures that included changes in transportation and cuts in salary. Blanchette said the school has tried not to impact the educational program.
Questions were asked about declining student enrollment and Blanchette said there are currently 28 students, down from a high of 48. “How do you keep it viable without higher numbers?” asked Val Groth.
Blanchette replied, “That’s Birch Grove’s history. Parents and community members came together long before we were even a charter school because enrollment was a problem, but people wanted a school in our community.
Val Groth said she supported choice for parents, but added, “In some ways, I feel this is taxation without representation. Without a school board we elect, I feel like we don’t really have a voice.”
Blanchette quickly replied, “We have a vacant seat on our board!” She encouraged Groth and anyone else who had questions to come by the school and ask.