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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.



Senator Franken among those recognizing importance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 1:21pm

Many regional and national leaders have issued reminders of the importance of this day, January 18, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. U.S. Senator Al Franken made the following statement in honor of the day.

 "Every year, we take this day to remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy. We honor his leadership, his eloquence and courage, and his determination to bring people together.

 “Dr. King imagined a world without hate. But now, nearly 50 years after his death, we remain fractured in many ways. When I was growing up, my Rabbi always used to say that it isn’t enough to be just. He said you have to do justice. Dr. King challenged us to do the same when he said that by staying neutral in the face of injustice, you side with the oppressor.

 "So if we’re going to live up to Dr. King's dream, and if we're going to try to repair these fractures, we can't remain neutral. We need to work together to address real injustices—racial, economic, and educational—that continue to divide communities in Minnesota and all across the country."


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

County Highway Department seeks bids for Sawbill Trail improvements

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 10:12am

Cook County Highway Engineer Dave Betts came before the Cook County commissioners with a request to bid a portion of the Sawbill Trail for surfacing improvements. The 8.4-mile section will run from Britton Peak to Honeymoon Trail and will include culvert replacements, culvert repairs, bituminous surfacing, putting in an aggregate base and aggregate shouldering. Also included will be a paved pull-off spot for hikers and skiers at Britton Peak, said Betts.

Betts said the estimated cost was about 10 percent higher than anticipated when the project was originally scoped out, but he said, “We will see what the bids come in at.”

Betts cited lower asphalt prices as something that might reduce the estimated cost.

Commissioners voted unanimously to allow Betts to request bids. Betts said he hopes the work will begin after spring break-up and end some time near the end of August.


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