Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Legislative help sought with legal fees in county attorney’s prosecution

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 12:11pm

During discussion with Senator Tom Bakk and Representative David Dill when they visited Cook County on Tuesday, October 21, county commissioners asked if there was any possibility that the county could be reimbursed by the state for the legal fees incurred in the prosecution of former County Attorney Tim Scannell. At the latest board meeting, Commissioner Bruce Martinson said that he had received news that Senator Bakk was going to introduce legislation to that effect.

The county had made a request to the Minnesota Office of the Attorney General to pay the prosecution fees of Special Prosecutor Thomas Heffelfinger, who gained a conviction of the former county attorney on two counts of criminal sexual conduct on July 25, 2014, but David Voigt of the Office of the Attorney General said Minnesota State Statutes do not allow his office to cover the cost.

The county board appealed to Senator Bakk and Representative Dill for assistance, noting that the Office of the Attorney General had appointed Heffelfinger, a “high end” attorney as special prosecutor, without input from Cook County. In a memo, Commissioner Martinson wrote, “The State must have viewed a successful prosecution of Tim Scannell to be in the state’s best interest. In the successful prosecution, a message was sent to other county attorneys and those working with 16- and 17-year-old youths, not to abuse their power as a person of authority.”

On October 22, Martinson received an email from Julie M. Bayerl, leadership assistant in Tom Bakk’s office. She said Senator Bakk had asked her to research whether there was a precedent for the state reimbursing counties for costs in high profile prosecution cases. Bayerl wrote, “Our senate counsel confirmed that this reimbursement has been done in the past.”

National Bat Week: Oct 26 - Nov 1

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 10:04am

Bats play an important role in our ecosystem and not just on Halloween!  Bats are often misunderstood and currently challenged by white-nose sydrome.  North Shore Morning host Julie Carlson learns more from Steve Robertsen, education specialist with the USDA Forest Service, Superior National Forest.


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No Honor in Racism Rally, November 2

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 1:06pm

On Sunday November 2nd the Minnesota Vikings will play the NFL team from Washington D.C. at TCF Stadium at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.  A large protest effort is underway highlighting the racism involved in the name and mascot of the Washington 'Redskins’.  The National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media is based in Minneapolis and a main organizer of the 'No Honor in Racism' Rally.  John Morrin, tribal council member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Band of Ojibwe, is participating in the protest.  He spoke with WTIP’s Veronica Weadock.

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More Halloween fun at Birch Grove Community Center

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 10:45am

More fun at Birch Grove Community Center! On October 31 from 6 - 9 p.m. there will be a Halloween Party and Open House at Birch Grove.  Kids can trick or treat 6 - 9 p.m. There will be a costume contest all ages at 7 p.m.

Movies start after the contest. In the gym Sleepy Hollow will be playing and in the KidZone It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown will be on loop. 

Admission is a suggested $5 donation, but kids trick or treating can come and go for free between 6 - 9 p.m.


This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald ~



North Shore Hospital board discusses Ebola

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 10:44am

Although the Ebola crisis may seem far away, the local hospital and clinic have been taking measures to mitigate the danger to Cook County residents should the illness reach our doorsteps.

At the October 23 hospital board meeting, Cook County North Shore Hospital/Care Center administrator Kimber Wraalstad said, “We are receiving many updates and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Hospital Association, Minnesota Hospital Association, Minnesota Department of Health and St. Luke’s Hospital.”

Staff members that register patients are receiving training on the Ebola screening process, said Wraalstad, adding, “The Cook County Emergency Preparedness Committee has come together for a situational awareness meeting. This includes the Emergency Manager, Cook County Public Health, Grand Portage Public Health, Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and Cook County North Shore Hospital and Care Center. Together with our county partners, we are preparing to safely manage a patient with Ebola or other infectious disease.”

Wraalstad said other measures include, “updating Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits, equipment as well as polices and procedures in case of an exposure.”

Wraalstad said, “It is very, very unlikely that we will ever see an Ebola patient,” but she added, “this is a good opportunity to review the various precautions that are used and to have employees practice using PPE.”


This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald ~


Benefit in Finland for Ahlbeck family cancelled

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 10:53am

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the benefit for the family of Richie Ahlbeck has been cancelled. A number of Cook and Lake county community members have participated in the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) course, working together on a 20-hour FEMA curriculum, learning how citizens can be prepared for hazards and how to deal with disasters. One CERT member, Deb Ahlbeck, lost her husband, Richie Ahlbeck, to cancer recently, and her emergency services colleagues in Lake County were sponsoring a fundraiser to help the family with multiple medical bills and expenses on November 2.  

Although the benefit has been cancelled, anyone who would like to make a financial donation to help the family may do so in at the North Shore Federal Credit Union.