Cook County News

Hazardous Road Conditions Due to Freezing Rain & Ice: Use Extra Caution on Roadways

April 26, 2017 – Due to hazardous road conditions, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management advise motorists to use extra caution if travel is necessary. Conditions may change throughout the day, but current road conditions are hazardous. 

The Cook County Courthouse is open however; some services may be affected as staff were advised they should only travel to work if they could safely do so.

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Contact:  Valerie Marasco, Director – Emergency Management & Public Information, 218-387-5366 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

April 25, 2017 – Cook County has been working to improve its communication capacity, including a recently adopted Communications Policy, Communications Committee, new county brand and now, the Office of Emergency Management & Public Information under Director Valerie Marasco, to streamline communication programs internally and for the public. 

“Cook County has been working to identify synergies, improve its public outreach and our internal communications leadership,” said Jeff Cadwell, County Administrator. “Fortunately, we were able to combine two areas of service delivery into a single department and capitalize on the expertise we have within the organization to achieve this. As we move deeper into strategic planning for the County, leadership in this area will be vital.”

The Office of Emergency Management & Public Information is being led by Valerie Marasco, current Director of Emergency Management and Public Information Officer for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office - a role that was just introduced in September 2016, when Marasco came on board.

“There has been a significant need for some time for a more coordinated, proactive approach to communication and outreach to citizens across County departments and the Board,” said Jan Sivertson, Chair – Cook County Board of Commissioners. “The pieces of the puzzle have aligned and we are pleased to be able to implement a more strategic approach by reorganizing departments. Ms. Marasco brings a wealth of experience to us and has worked with Cook County Emergency Management for several years on cross-border initiatives and public information trainings for us prior to becoming staff.”

Ms. Marasco has over 15 years’ experience in public relations and communications, specializing in civic government and emergency services, creative direction, publication and brand management, and media relations. She spent more than 10 years as part of the City of Thunder Bay Communications leadership team and the Emergency Operations Control Group, and is one of only a few recognized PIO trainers outside of the Department of Public Safety’s staff. She holds a double BA from the University of Minnesota Duluth and La Universidad de Guadalajara in Mexico. Marasco was born and raised in the Twin Cities.

“I am very much looking forward to expanding the County’s communication capacity and integrating this within Emergency Management as its own department,” said Marasco. “We have seen great success with the new public information program to date within the Sheriff’s Office, as well as significant accomplishments in a short amount of time with the County’s new brand, development of the Communications Committee and Communications Policy. I am excited to continue this momentum and share that model across the other service areas. I feel very fortunate to be working with a great management team and being able to bring my experience in both Emergency Management and Communications to one of my most favorite places.”

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Contact:  Valerie Marasco, Director – Emergency Management & Public Information, 218-387-3059, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Live Stream of Board Meeting Temporarily Unavailable

April 25, 2017 – We are experiencing technical difficulties with the Live Stream of today’s Commissioner Meeting. The County MIS Department is working to get the issue resolved with vendor. In the meantime, the meeting is being recorded and will be posted on the County website as soon as it is available.

“This is an unfortunate situation, especially as the County has been actively discussing live-streaming and a putting a focus on open communication,” said Rena Rogers, Director – MIS Department. “However, we are not immune to technical difficulties, and would like to assure our citizens we are working as quickly as possible to address the issue.”

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Contact:  Rena Rogers, Director – MIS, 218-387-3662 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

April 19, 2017 – To make more informed decisions and recommendations prior to voting on important issues affecting the County, the Cook County Board is implementing a Committee of the Whole structure – or a monthly work session – in addition to its regularly scheduled, three Board meetings per month. This new regular monthly work session of the board is scheduled for the third Tuesday of each month from 1-3 pm.

“Committee of the Whole sessions, commonly used by legislative bodies, are an opportunity to have in-depth discussions during a meeting without requiring a decision on the spot and allow decision makers an opportunity to ask questions, get answers and compile background information to bring solid recommendations for decisions during the formal Board meetings,” said Jan Sivertson, Chair – Cook County Board of Commissioners.

Cook County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is accepting applications from private and public shoreline landowners in Cook County. With the help of Clean Water Land & Legacy Funds, Cook SWCD has financial and technical assistance available to assist interested landowners in shoreline erosion reduction Best Management Practices that will reduce sediment and improve water quality of the lake and/or stream adjacent to their property. Please fill out the application form by May 31, 2017 if you are interested in applying.

 

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