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News and other information from Cook County

Donate a toy to brighten a family's Christmas

Sat, 12/13/2014 - 10:41am

As the deadline to donate gifts to Operation Family Christmas nears, organizers are a bit concerned. The number of children needing gifts is greater this year and to date there are fewer donations. Community members are encouraged to help Operation Family Christmas reach its goal of seeing that every child has a happy holiday.

Operation Family Christmas boxes will be collected on December 16 and families will be able to pick up the gifts on December 21.

This is the third year that Operation Family Christmas has collected toys to make Christmas brighter for local families and once again Anna Sandstrom, Lindsay Mielke, Samantha Wallner and Andrea Everson spearheading the effort. The Bethlehem Lutheran Church confirmation students also provide assistance.

“They have no idea who is getting presents or where the presents are going, but they help select and box toys based on age ranges and they also make treats. They are a huge help,” Everson said.

Community members can drop off unwrapped toys and gifts for kids 0-18 years at special Operation Family Christmas boxes at Buck’s Hardware, Joynes Ben Franklin, the North Shore Federal Credit Union in Grand Marais and Lutsen, the Cook County Community Center and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.

If Operation Family Christmas is short on toys, organizers will purchase them. If you would like to contribute toward toy purchases, checks could be sent to: Andrea Everson at P.O. Box 1260, Grand Marais, MN 55604.

The Operation Family Christmas donation boxes will be available until 3 p.m. on December 16. Consider buying a toy to help fill the box and brighten a family’s Christmas.

Future of North Shore Dragon Boat Festival unclear

Sat, 12/13/2014 - 10:38am

Although it is greatly enjoyed by those who take part and the throngs of people watching from the shore, the future of the North Shore Dragon Boat Festival is uncertain. For 11 years, three of Cook County’s nonprofits–WTIP Community Radio, North Shore Health Care Foundation and North House Folk School–have collaborated leading the event forward. Greg Wright of North House issued an announcement this week that the groups would no longer be managing the event.

Wright noted that together the nonprofit organizations have insured the event’s overall success and managed details ranging from on-water safety to on-shore parades, team training to community engagement.

“We’re proud of the joy and excitement that the Dragon Boat Festival creates every year and appreciative of the many volunteers, invested business sponsors and talented staff who have made it possible,” said WTIP’s Debbie Benedict. ”The three partners have worked well together, but now we have other commitments to the community that need to come first. New dragon boat leadership is needed.”

Greg Wright of North House said there is little doubt that the words “joy and excitement” accurately capture the dragon boat festival’s decade-plus on the water. “Photo finishes, shouts of ‘Paddles Up,’ water-drenched yet smiling paddlers, a harbor filled-to overflowing with community members and visitors–the festival’s unique character is satisfying for many reasons.”

Karl Hansen with North Shore Health Care Foundation agrees: “We know the Dragon Boat Festival is an important part of the summer here in Cook County. Given this, we want to work hard to find a great new organization to lead the dragon boat festival forward.”

Bethlehem Lutheran Church hosts Julefest Saturday

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:00am

The 40th annual Julefest will be held at Bethlehem Lutheran Church on Saturday, December 13, starting with a bake sale of traditional Scandinavian goodies. Julefest guests may arrive earlier to enjoy conversation and coffee as well as the bountiful assortment of treats in the fellowship hall upstairs, but the bake sale will not be open for purchase of Scandinavian goodies until precisely 1 p.m.

A wonderful program is planned and guests will be treated to a truly Swedish St. Lucia, accompanied by several attendants, singing in Swedish and English. Craig Peterson and Jim Ringquist will serve as the emcees and additional music will be offered by Philis and Kent Anderson.

Come to Bethlehem Lutheran on Saturday, December 13 to sample Romme grot, rice pudding, Krumkake, Sandbakkels, Norwegian wedding cake, cardamom toast and more; to enjoy some lovely music and to celebrate a little lightness in the dark of winter.


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




Sawtoooth Mountain Clinic to receive recognition, funding, as health center "quality leader"

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 10:51am

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell recently announced that Affordable Care Act funding would be awarded to 16 health centers in Minnesota to recognize health center quality improvement achievements. Sawtooth Mountain Clinic in Grand Marais is one of the facilities being recognized.

The Clinic was recognized as a “health center quality leader” because it was among the top 30 percent of all health centers that achieved the best overall clinical outcomes. Seven Minnesota health centers received funding in this category. Sawtooth Mountain Clinic will receive $22,350.

Sawtooth Mountain Clinic received an additional award of $7,350 for its use of electronic health record (EHR) reporting, one of only four Minnesota health centers which received funding in the EHR category.

Clinic Director Rita Plourde said, “The clinical service team works extremely hard to identify and better serve the individual needs of our patients, most importantly those with chronic diseases.  This funding award will assist in facilitating access to increased services such as support for care coordination for our patients.


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

The Sivertones perform at North Shore Care Center at 5:30 tonight

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 2:06pm

The Sivertones jazz ensemble will perform at the North Shore Care Center, today, Thursday, December 11 at 5:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome to come enjoy the music with residents.

Additional music during the month will feature Myron Bursheim on Sundays, Irene Thompson on Mondays, Al Fuller on Tuesdays, Susan Scherer on Wednesdays, and sing-a-longs with Tina Kraus on Fridays.

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 the Cook County News-Herald ~

Sunday Funday December 14 at Birch Grove Community Center

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 2:04pm

Each month on the second Sunday, there is a fun day with card making, scrapbooking/stamping, social and open gym at the Birch Grove Community Center. On December 14, participants can use the fitness center, KidZone, library, Wi-Fi computer lab, and other amenities during these times. 

Birch Grove Foundation Director Caroline Woods said RSVPs are always appreciated and recommended.  General admission donations of $5 are also appreciated. 

Call Caroline at (218) 663-7977 for more information.

Everyone is invited to the Birch Grove W.E. Cook event on Sunday, Dec 14 from 3 - 5 p.m with award-winning chef Tracy Jacobson.  He will lead participants in Winter Sweet Treats Baking.  The cost is $25 but Birch Grove Sunday Funday guests will have a

Program Director Caroline Wood said, “As always there are many things W.E. Connect for in the West End.  I hope you will join us or share your ideas today!”

Call Caroline at 663-7977 for more information about Birch Grove Foundation and Community Center.


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