Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

SplinterTones invite all to dance at the Community Center log building

Thu, 01/21/2016 - 3:38am

SplinterTones, a six-piece band based in Grand Marais, will perform at 7 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Cook County Community Center log building.

The ensemble plays a blend of hep and snappy tunes in a unique and unmistakable style. Noted for their vibrant vocal harmonies, colorful stage presence and strong rhythmic grooves, SplinterTones crowd the dance floor with legions of enthusiastic dancers.

The group performs at music festivals, wedding dances, town halls, clubs, parties and celebrations throughout the region. Its members include Max Bichel, fiddle/vocals; Liz Sivertson, saxophone/vocals; Leah Thomas, accordion/vocals; John Gruber, guitar/vocals; Jeff DeShaw, bass; and Rick Brandenburg, drums.

SplinterTones are on Facebook and YouTube. An archived television performance is available on The PlayList,  WDSE TV, Duluth.

Borealis Chorale and Orchestra to perform "Crazy Cold Beautiful" - February 5&6

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 1:58pm

The Borealis Chorale and Orchestra will be performing a musical work inspired by the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. WTIP volunteer Sherrie Lindskog spoke with director, Bill Beckstrand, in this interview.
There will be two performances of Crazy Cold Beautiful: Friday, February 5, from 7 to 8 pm at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Grand Marais, and February 6 from 4 to 6 pm at the Sacred Heart Music Center in Duluth.

(Photo courtesy of Markus Jobstl on Flickr)


Cook County health and human services director to retire

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 9:18am

During a meeting of the Cook County Commissioners on Tuesday, Jan. 19, Cook County Public Health and Human Services Director Sue Futterer announced she plans to retire in July.

Futterer made the announcement public during a joint meeting of the Humans Services Board and the commissioners. Her last day of work with the county is slated for July 8. She told county staff of her plans to retire earlier Tuesday morning.

“It’s been a very difficult decision and one I’ve been thinking about for a long time,” Futterer said during Tuesday’s meeting.

Futterer said she has been talking with County Administrator Jeff Cadwell about future plans for the Public Health and Human Services Department, including her retirement. Futterer said during the last round of establishing the county budget she explained to Cadwell her intentions to retire in 2016.

Although the commissioners appeared saddened by the news, Commissioner Frank Moe jokingly made a motion not to accept Futterer’s retirement plans. Commissioner Jan Sivertson followed suit, making a motion to “clone” Futterer so her services and experience can continue to beneficial for Cook County.

Futterer said she will help the county transition while a new director for human services is found. Cadwell told Futterer he plans to post the job opening soon, as the directors for health and human services in both Lake and St. Louis counties also plan to retire this year.

“People have gone through change and change is good, new leadership is good, and everybody will be fine,” Futterer said. 

Hard times continue for Minnesota's moose population

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 9:18am

Minnesota’s moose population continues to face a variety of hardships that could be contributing to its decline. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs reports on this issue. 


Grand Marais Playhouse relives 1971

Tue, 01/19/2016 - 10:30pm

It was a cold and stormy night. It was January 1971. Folks were gathered at the First Congregational Church, sitting together anticipating an event that had never happened before! People from the community, their friends, family, or even neighbors perhaps were going to act. Act in performance in front of them. What would happen? Where would this lead? Insert dramatic music here!

Well, it was a wonderful night and it lead to the formation of what is now the Grand Marais Playhouse.

That night three scenes were presented to the community by community members. The plays were Death of a Salesman, Arsenic and Old Lace and a children’s production, The Wizard of Oz.

This January 23, 2016 at 7 p.m. at the same First Congregational Church local community members will again perform scenes from those same three shows in celebration of 45 years of community theater.

The evening will include a reception in the church basement following the shows. Death of a Salesman will be directed by Dick Swanson with the cast of Bob Carter, Marcia Hyatt, Jackson Nickolay and Will Brandenberg. The Wizard of Oz will be directed by EvaLyn Carlson (returning to direct as she did in 1971) with the cast of Mark Abrahamson, Gerry Grant, Jan Healy, Robin Henrikson, Jaymie Kirk, Aurora Schelmeske and Abbey Stoddard. Arsenic and Old Lace will be directed by Sue Hennessy with the cast of Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux, Beth Faraone, Beth Benson and Braidy Powers.


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

Principal discusses Industrial Arts changes

Tue, 01/19/2016 - 8:36am

Cook County Schools ISD 166 recently lost its Industrial Arts instructor and is scrambling to replace him. With WTIP’s Jay Andersen, High School Principal Adam Nelson discusses the school board’s decision and the plan that’s in place to continue the program.