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News and other information from Cook County

Sky Blue Jazz Ensemble in concert in Silver Bay

Sat, 01/24/2015 - 1:15pm

Sky Blue Jazz Ensemble, a talented and popular jazz group from Grand Marais, which earlier conducted workshops with the Cook County High School Band, is collaborating with Two Harbors and Silver Bay schools to present A Century of Jazz, a concert of familiar jazz tunes spanning the last century, with discussions of the history behind the music.

The members of the Sky Blue Jazz Ensemble are Al Anderson on trombone, Brett Jones percussion, Erik Hahn on sax, Karina Roth, vocals, Mike Roth on bass and Mike DeBevec on piano.

The jazz ensemble is working with the Two Harbors Concert and Jazz Band, directed by Dave Haaverson and the William Kelley High School Jazz Band in Silver Bay, directed by Kris Peterson. A concert will be held in Silver Bay on Monday, January 26 at 7 p.m. at the William Kelley High School Auditorium.

Tickets are $5 for adults, youths 18 and under are free. Tickets are available at the door.

These concerts are part of a five-year project begun in 2011 by the Sky Blue Jazz Ensemble to provide concerts, presentations, workshops, recordings, and radio shows for rural North Shore communities. The goal is to entertain and to educate people about the role of jazz in the evolution of popular American music.

Organizer Mike DeBevec said these activities are made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation and an appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. The Northern Lake County Arts Council is cosponsoring the Silver Bay event.

There will also be a concert with the Cook County High School band on May 12, 2015—mark your calendars!


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


John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon starts Sunday

Sat, 01/24/2015 - 1:13pm

The schedule and the route of the 2015 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon has been fluid and a bit like the drifting snow banks, but a course has been set for the 31st running of the race.

At press time last week the Cook County News-Herald reported the good news that the 2015 route travels through the rugged Sawtooth Mountains as it has historically. However, there is a major change for the Mid-Distance Race. It will not be finishing on the snowmobile trail next to the AmericInn in Tofte, but instead at Devil Track Lake by The Landing at Devil Track. On January 16, the Beargrease website announced that the first teams are expected to be in at about 11:55 a.m. on Monday, January 26. As always, the finish time is dependent on trail conditions and weather.

There are no local mushers taking part in the Mid-Distance Race, but there are certainly names that racing fans will recognize, such as Leanne Bergen of Sioux Lookout, Ontario, who was the first finisher in the recent Gunflint Mail Run and Jennifer Freking of Finland or Mike Hoff of Silver Bay.

Other opportunities to see the mushers traveling the North Shore are at the race start at 2 p.m. on Sunday, January 25 at the Highway 2 gravel pit in Two Harbors. A nearby checkpoint for viewing is the Finland Area Recreation Building. In Cook County there are checkpoints off the Sawbill Trail in Tofte, at Devil Track Lake and at Trail Center on Poplar Lake.

A number of local mushers are running the 2015 Beargrease Full Marathon. Taking part are Erin Altemus of Grand Marais; Odin Jorgenson of Grand Marais; Frank Moe of Hovland; and Rita Wehseler of Tofte.

The first full marathon teams are expected (based on previous race times and contingent on weather and trail conditions) in at the Sawbill checkpoint on Monday, January 26 at 1:30 a.m. with teams coming in throughout the morning with the last teams estimated to be heading out at 7:26 a.m.

Weekend News Roundup for January 24

Sat, 01/24/2015 - 10:30am

Each week the WTIP news department puts together a roundup of the weeks top    news stories. Lonnie Dupre conquers Denali, northern forests are changing and the hospital considers no more births…all this and more in the week’s news.


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North Shore Hospital to hold informational meeting on discontinuing labor and delivery services

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 4:16pm

After several hours of taking public comment on the proposal to stop offering labor and delivery services at Cook County North Shore Hospital, the hospital board agreed to hold another informational meeting on the discontinuation of perinatal and obstetric services. The public is invited to gather in the hospital large classroom on Wednesday, January 28 from 6-8 p.m.

The hospital board will be holding a special board meeting on Friday, January 30 at 9 a.m. in the conference room.

For many years the North Shore Hospital has faced the challenge of maintaining its labor and delivery services with a limited number of births each year. 

Many families elect to travel to a Duluth hospital to deliver and some higher-risk pregnancies must go there, but there are other who want to have their baby born close to home, which was very apparent from comments received at the regular meeting on January 22. And yet others end up doing so because they have a very fast labor.

To see a video of the discussion at that meeting, visit

Citizens unable to attend the meeting, but who have questions may contact a hospital board member.

Chair Tom Spence at
Kay Olson at
Justin Mueller at
Other hospital board members can be reached by phone at:
Sharon Bloomquist 387-1714
Howard Abrahmson 387-2326


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

Portage to play at North Shore Care Center Saturday

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 3:52pm

The first dance of the year at the North Shore Care Center welcomes Portage–the award winning country music band that performs at the Care Center the last Saturday of each month–except for this month! In January, they are shaking things up a bit by playing the fourth Saturday, January 24 at 6:30 p.m.

As always, the Care Center invite families, friends, and community members to join in the fun and dance!

For more information about upcoming activities or volunteer opportunities at Cook County North Shore Hospital & Care Center, please contact the Activity Department at 218.387.3518 or the website


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


North Shore Hospital to make OB decision by end of month

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 9:27am

The Cook County North Shore Hospital and Care Center board Thursday held a lengthy discussion regarding the continuation of elective deliveries and whether or not they should continue to offer this service.

The possibility of ceasing birthing services at the hospital has prompted a flurry of Facebook responses and public discussion pro and con.
Near the first of November last year the hospital received a report from their medical malpractice/professional liability insurer (Coverys) that stated they do not meet the standards of care for OB services.

According to hospital administrator Kimber Wraalstad, at issue is not about the quality of care provided but whether the hospital can meet the expected standards of care for elective obstetrical services in a hospital.
The Coverys report highlighted five different areas where improvement is recommended, but the deal breaker is providing OB services involving emergency cesarean sections.  

Wraalstad said the hospital does not have the OR, equipment, or staff to provide an emergency c-section. An operating room is on the drawing board for the hospital expansion plan, however the conservative cost estimate of providing the required trained nurses, anesthesia personnel, neonatal resuscitation team members, and obstetric attendants – not including the surgeon -- is $1 million dollars per year.

The Guidelines for Perinatal Care were established by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

According to its data, since 2002 through 2014 the hospital has averaged 9.5 deliveries per year, with as many as 15 and 17 deliveries during that time. Department of Health figures show Cook County averaged 46.6 deliveries over an 11 year period, with just over 20 percent performed in Grand Marais.

Wraalstad added that regardless of the decision of the board, the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and their doctors and employees will continue to provide pre- and postnatal care.  The hospital will provide emergency deliveries.  

There will be a public information meeting on the subject, Wednesday, January 28, at 6 p.m. in the hospital’s large classroom.  A special board meeting is scheduled for Friday, January 30 at 9 a.m. a.m. when a decision is anticipated. Any change in hospital policy would be effective on July 1.

Hospital administrator Kimber Wraalstad spoke with WTIP's Jay Andersen on "Daybreak" Friday, Jan. 23.


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