Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Snowy weekend in store

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 11:02am

On again, off again snowfalls this weekend. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Carol Christenson.



Medical marijuana not available at local medical facilities

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 2:30pm

Even if you have a prescription for medical marijuana, it can’t be filled at Cook County North Shore Hospital (CCNSH). Nor can it be filled at Sawtooth Mountain Clinic.

This would seem to counter the state of Minnesota’s new law, which legalized medical marijuana on January 1, 2016.

Under the legislation, Minnesotans diagnosed with intractable pain (when no relief or cure of the cause of pain is possible, or none has been found after reasonable efforts) are now eligible to receive medical marijuana to treat their pain.

However, Hospital Director Kimber Wraastad said to the hospital board on January 21, “To our knowledge there is no nonprofit hospital or nursing home in the state that allows this.”

The problem, said Wraalstad, is that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) “can exclude providers for payment for breaking the federal law,” because medical marijuana isn’t legal nationally.

Until the federal government changes its stance on medical marijuana, Wraalstad said the hospital/care center couldn’t risk providing cannabis to patients for fear of losing its Medicaid/Medicare payments.


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

Public Health & Human Services Director to retire

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 2:28pm

Cook County Public Health and Services (PHHS) Director Sue Futterer will be leaving her position, but not for a while. Futterer, who will retire on July 8 after filling the position for 18 years, made the announcement at the Cook County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, January 19, at the end of the Health and Human Services Board meeting.

Commissioners were saddened, but understanding.

“This has been a very difficult decision and one I have been thinking about for a long time,” Futterer said to the commissioners, adding she had told her staff earlier so they would be aware of her decision.

The position will be advertised first internally, but Futterer said County Administrator Jeff Cadwell would post her job to the public in the near future in light of several human service directors in the region announcing that they too, will be retiring soon.

Lake County will lose its director at the end of June, said Futterer, the Koochiching’s human service director leaves in July, and the St Louis County’s human services director will retire in April.

Futterer said she would like to help with the coming transition, adding, “People have gone through change and change is good. New leadership is good. You’ll be fine.”

When she told her family, her son called and said, “Good luck mom on saying you’re going to retire.”

“They know it’s an emotional thing for me,” said Futterer. “I am really tied to what we do.


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


Opinions surface on proposed Dollar General store

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 7:39am

Grand Marais could be home to a Dollar General store if development plans continue on a proposed project. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs reports on this story. 


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Borealis Chorale to perform CRAZY COLD BEAUTIFUL

Tue, 02/02/2016 - 1:56pm

Visiting composer Robin Escher of Sonoma, California has written a song cycle CRAZY COLD BEAUTIFUL about the Beargrease, which will be performed by the Borealis Chorale, directed by William Beckstrand on Friday, Feb. 5 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Grand Marais. The Grand Portage Stonebridge Singers will perform at 7 p.m. prior to the performance.

Eschner, the 2014 McKnight Visiting Composer with the American Composers Forum, received a grant to complete this musical work about the history and culture of mushing in northern Minnesota.

Her research included studying letters written between 1880-1900 from the local historical society, meeting with mushers and sled-builders, librarians, writers, historians, musicians, and people who have lived along the North Shore area for generations.

Eschner said, “I followed the route traveled by John Beargrease, learning as much as I could and gathering materials for the song cycle." 

All are invited to this and another performance at 4 p.m. at the Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth on Saturday, Feb. 6.


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

AEOA reminds residents of energy assistance programs

Tue, 02/02/2016 - 1:51pm

At the January meeting of the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA), Anita Jeziah of the Arrowhead Economic Development Authority (AEOA) gave a report on Cook County’s participation in the AEOA Energy Assistance program. At the time of the meeting, 161 applications had been approved for county residents for a benefit of $126,700. Eight families received financial assistance for “crisis events,” such as the need for propane while waiting for an AEOA application to be processed. Five families also received assistance for furnace repairs.

Jeziah said energy assistance funds are still available and she asked EDA board members to help spread the word. Anyone needing assistance can complete an application on line at or they can visit Jeziah at the AEOA office (next to the EDA office in Grand Marais City Hall). More information is available from Jeziah at (218) 387-4547.


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