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Community Activism Continues at North Shore Health Board Meeting

Still energized by the termination of Emer­gency Room Doctor Bruce Dahlman, a group of taxpayers, patients, and visitors was formed to try and collaborate with the existing NSH board.

The group arose after some of its leader­ship withdrew a petition calling for the board to terminate hospital CEO Kimber Wralstad. The petition had more than 700 signers earlier this month when the hospital board called a “closed-door” meeting to discuss possi­ble legal action for a defamation claim. The board did not indicate in the meeting notice what specific actions it felt were defamatory, but petition organizers felt intimidated and withdrew the petition.

Following that withdrawal, its organiz­ers formed a non-profit group called Con­cerned Citizens for Cook County Healthcare (CCCCH).

A representative of CCCCH, Rowena Clax­ton, addressed the hospital board during the public comment section of its meeting on De­cember 21.

In her statement, Claxton said, “Our group is made up primarily of Cook County resi­dents… We are committed to ensuring that an impartial and independent investigation takes place as soon as possible into all aspects surrounding the non-renewal of Dr. Bruce Dahl­man’s contract and that those findings be pre­sented to the citizens of Cook County.”

Claxton said the group wishes to work col­laboratively with the board to determine the appropriate, independent entity to perform the investigation.

The group’s second priority is to investigate and address what seems to be a “trou­bling workplace culture” at North Shore Health (NSH).

“We specifically ask that this independent investigation into the hospital’s culture and work environment be conducted immediate­ly and completely separate from the Board’s strategic planning endeavors,” Claxton said.

She then went on to provide NSH board members with a two-page outline of specific areas of more concerns the group has identified, a sincere willingness to work with the board, and proposed actions that will create more trust in the public regarding NSH and its board’s leadership and responsiveness to community concerns.

CCCCH lists an Interim Management Team of Vicki Biggs-Anderson, Rovena Claxton, Bob Evans, Chuck Heller, and Michelle Mill­er. It has posted a video of Claxton’s testi­mony before the NSH board, along with doc­uments referred to above, on the Facebook page of Cook County MN Community Con­versations.

Steve Fernlund
Steve Fernlund
Typically these “about me” pages include a list of academic achievements (I have none) and positions held (I have had many, but who really cares about those?) So, in the words of the late Admiral James Stockwell, “Who am I? Why am I here?” I’m well into my seventh decade on this blue planet we call home. I’m a pretty successful husband, father, and grandfather, at least in my humble opinion. My progeny may disagree. We have four children and five grandchildren. I spent most of my professional life in the freight business. At the tender age of 40, early retirement beckoned and we moved to Grand Marais. A year after we got here, we bought and operated the Cook County News Herald, a weekly newspaper in Grand Marais. A sharp learning curve for a dumb freight broker to become a newspaper editor and publisher. By 1999 the News Herald was an acquisition target for a rapidly consolidating media market. We sold our businesses and “retired” again, buying a winter retreat in Nevada. In the fall of 2016, we returned to Grand Marais and bought a house from old friends of ours on the ridge overlooking Lake Superior. They were able to move closer to family and their Mexico winter home. And we came home to what we say is our last house. I’m a strong believer in the value of local newspapers--both online and those you can wrap a fish in. I write a weekly column and a couple of feature stories for the Northshore Journal. I’m most interested in writing about the everyday lives of local people and reporting on issues of importance to them.
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