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North Shore News Hour

  • Monday 12-1pm
  • Monday 5-6pm
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The North Shore News Hour includes up-to-the minute weather, North Shore happenings in local news, sports and entertainment, as well as a variety of features from WTIP staff and volunteers. If you miss the North Shore News Hour at noon, tune in for a replay Monday through Thursday beginning at 5:00 p.m.

What's On:
Pedestrian Plan for City of Grand Marais - Screenshot courtesy of City of Grand Marais

Mayor explains Pedestrian Plan adopted by city

The City of Grand Marais has been working with the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic through the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) for several years to make Cook County a more walking-friendly community. In the summer and fall of 2018, that included the formation of a steering community and some public meetings asking, “Where do you want to go in the City of Grand Marais?”

That feedback was collected and compiled into a Pedestrian Plan, which was introduced to the community in April 2018 in draft form.
At the Wednesday, August 14 city council meeting, the plan was adopted unanimously.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence spoke with Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux about the plan.

Cook County Sheriff's Office lights - WTIP photo

A look at the Law Enforcement Log, August 6-12

Each week the Cook County Sheriff’s Office provides a brief report of calls made to the Cook County Law Enforcement Center. WTIP requested more information on the following incidents. This report provides more details on calls logged by law enforcement dispatchers from  August 6 - 12.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office handled a child protection/neglect case on August 6.

The sheriff’s office received a report of on injured peregrine falcon on a coal pile August 6. The call was transferred to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The law enforcement center was contacted on August 6 by a caller concerned about a dog in a white Toyota van from South Dakota with no windows open. A sheriff deputy checked on dog. It is 67 degrees and sun roof on the van is open. 

At 7:50 p.m. August 6, a truck driver asked if he could park in the county highway department parking lot for the night. The truck driver was given an okay.

A party in Grand Portage requested an extra patrol at their residence in Grand Portage after seeing an individual allegedly trying to steal gas out of a can at 4:30 a.m. that morning. 

There was a report of an individual trespassing on Wisconsin Street in Grand Marais at 9:06 a.m.

A monthly test of the countywide paging system was conducted at 11:55 a.m. August 7.

A motorist called to report a fuel truck, “making bad passes” on West Highway 61 at noon August 7.

Parties eating at a café on the Gunflint Trail August 7 reported a dog barking and lunging at them. The dog grabbed and damaged the female party’s shirt. The dog is a black and white shepherd with a service animal vest. Parties asked to speak to a deputy.

On August 7, an individual received notice that they were not to trespass at a local property in Grand Marais. 

On August 7 at 4:43 p.m., a party called with concern about her parents from Arkansas, traveling on the North Shore. Party said she hadn’t heard from them in 24 hours. Just before 5 p.m., party reported they were okay, just out of cell phone range all day.

A party reported kids swimming by the dock at the Grand Portage National Monument at 6:30 p.m. August 7. Party said there is no problem with them swimming there, but they were using foul language and starting to destroy property at the dock. Kids were gone when a deputy arrived. 

Extra patrols were requested at a property in Lutsen August 7 because of concerns about a former resident returning.

At 7 p.m. August 7, a caller reported a woman leaving the Rec Park ballfield area, talking on the phone and possibly in distress. Deputies spoke with the driver, who was just hot and sweaty from a hike. 

At 12:31 a.m. August 8, a party called having mental health issues, asking to go to the hospital to be checked out.

At 12:47 a.m. August 8, a party called saying he was being followed by some people who had harmed his family. Cook County contacted family members who were fine. Deputies talked to the party, who said he knew he wasn’t making sense. He declined any medical attention and said he needed some sleep. 

There was complaint of loud music from a camper in the Rec Park campground at 3:10 a.m. August 8. Deputies arrived at campsite to find speakers outside the camper playing loudly. After three knocks on the camper, the individual came outside, appearing intoxicated. An alcohol breath test was given and a citation was issued for minor consumption. The music was turned down. 

At 4 a.m., a party was given a ride back to Grand Portage. 

A party requested a welfare check for a person in Grand Portage who didn’t show up for work August 8. A third party was contacted and checked on the person who was home sick.

A party called at 9:57 a.m. August 8, asking for assistance in regaining custody of his daughter who was believed to be in Cook County with the mother and the mother’s family. Cook County advised the party that he needed to go through the courts to work this out.

A party on County Road 7 reported suspicious activity at 1:18 p.m. August 8. The party said someone claiming to be from the Census Bureau had stopped by, spoke to her son, and left. They were driving a faded green Chevy. Party just thought it was odd. 

A party called August 8, reporting that a white van with no side windows had been parked on the side of the road on County Road 35 for well over 24 hours. Party was concerned it was a vagrant. Cook County contacted the registered owner of the van. He is working with the ground building the mountain bike trail from Lutsen to Tofte and meeting other crew members there. 

There was a call of a lost dog at 6:06 p.m. The dog is an orange and white English setter named Maggie. Party called back at 6:28. The dog returned. 

A party in Grand Marais called with a complaint of trucks jake-braking down the bottom of the Gunflint Trail. Party says trucks going by the area, excessively braking 4-5 times a day. Cook County advised the party that there is a city ordinance governing this situation. Deputies will keep an eye out while on patrol. 

There was a call of a suspicious party collecting firewood in a Grand Portage logging area.

A party called at 8:30 p.m. August 8, asking if Cook County had an emergency contact number for Como Oil, as they are on the keep-fill program and need propane. The after-hours tech told them they would try to find a tech. Cook County suggested waiting a little while. While on the phone with the dispatcher, Como called back. Propane will be delivered. 

A party called at 7:38 a.m. August 9, requesting a phone number for a tow company. Cook County gave contact information for all three North Shore companies to the party. 

At 10:14 a.m., a party on Devil Track Road called to find out if census takers are out and about. A male party in an older, small, green truck had stopped by saying he was with the census. Caller just wanted to let law enforcement know. 

On August 9, a party came into law enforcement complaining of harassment. 

A party called Cook County at 2:12 p.m. August 9 letting law enforcement know that they were broken down in the southbound lane on Highway 61 in a 40-foot RV pulling a 20-foot boat. They were over as far as possible, but asked if they could get help getting a tow. Sheriff deputies directed traffic around the breakdown, as it was on a curve, until a tow truck was able to respond at 4:30 p.m.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office received a 9-1-1 hang-up call at 4:42 August 8. After being cut off, a party called back to report a two-vehicle accident. Maple Hill Fire Department, Grand Marais Fire Department and sheriff deputies responded. Three people suffered non-life-threatening injuries and one person was transported to North Shore Health by ambulance. 

A Quebec man was stopped at the US-Canadian border at 5:15 p.m. August 9. The man had 27.2 grams of marijuana and two paraphernalia pipes. 

An officer on foot patrol at 8:45 p.m. was stopped by a concerned citizen who said the raffle canoe in front of the Beaver House was not locked. The sheriff’s office contacted the Cook County Chamber, which is raffling the canoe. 

There was a car/deer accident at 9:31 p.m. August 9. There was no damage to the vehicle and driver and passengers were not hurt. The deer was alive, but had broken back legs. Sheriff deputies responded and dispatched the deer. 

A resident on County Road 44 called in with questions about ATVs on county roads at 8:58 a.m. August 10. Party is concerned that riders are not following the rules of the road and “hot rodding.” Party would like the people to be educated about ATV safety. 

On August 10, a party on Birch Drive was assisted in a battery change.

Another party was stopped at the border with a small amount of marijuana and paraphernalia. A citation was issued. 

A caller reported suspicious activity at his van August 10. It is not running and he believes it was tampered with while he was “locked up for six days.” 

At 12:37 p.m. August 10, there was a report of two dogs in the ditch, on the Sawbill Trail, south of the Carlton Peak entrance. Party picked them up and took them to the Tofte General Store. It is a beagle mix and German shepherd mix. Owner was tracked down via Facebook. 

At 2:52 p.m. August 10, a resort owner called to see if a deputy could stand by as they packed up the belongings of a guest that failed to check out by the proper time. New guests – a wedding party – were waiting to use the room. Cook County advised that this is a civil matter and they should follow lodge procedure for removal of guest belongings. 

A party called at 5:56 p.m. August 10, reporting that they almost hit a small dog on Dyers Lake Road. It was a small, very friendly, female, shitzu type of dog with black collar. Cook County had seen a lost dog notice on Facebook and gave the reporting party that information. Party was able to reunite dog with owner. 

At 6:11 p.m. August 10, a woman called to report an “overly friendly” person asking her a lot of questions and freaking her out at Johnson’s Foods.

A party called from the Grand Portage PowWow at 8:19 p.m. August 10, asking for a ride home to Ely. Party was disconnected.

There was a noise complaint on South Caribou Drive at 8:41 p.m. August 10. Party said there are 4-5 young couples, drinking and being loud. Noise went on until 1 a.m. last night, with cursing. Reporting party asked them to quiet down and they refused. Deputies arrived and issued a citation to one party for possession of marijuana.

There was a call from the Grand Portage PowWow security booth at 10 p.m. There were a group of youths talking about drinking and fighting. Security intervened, but wanted Cook County to know they said they planned to fight elsewhere. 

The law enforcement center received a 9-1-1 text saying “emergency need help,” then a message saying “all okay” at 10:40 p.m. August 10. A deputy visited the residence and all seemed to be fine. 

A sheriff deputy checked a group on Hollow Rock Road at 2:02 a.m. August 11. It was an underage drinking party.

There was a report of a rollover crash on the Gunflint Trail at 10 a.m. August 11. One vehicle, a 2007 Honda Civic, ran off the road and was likely totaled. Driver and passenger were calling from Poplar Haus, requesting a tow. 

There was a car/deer crash on West Highway 61 at 10:20 a.m. August 11. 

 A party reported a boat and trailer on the side of the road with a possible broken axel at 11:36 a.m. August 11. Party is trying to find a way to move the trailer. 

A party came in to the law enforcement center with a pair of Oakley sunglasses on August 11. They said their child had found the sunglasses on the side of the road on July 1. The child was using the sunglasses and someone recognized them. The owner of the sunglasses called the party and said they want them back. The party gave the sunglasses to law enforcement to return to the owner. 

At 4:27 p.m. August 11 a party called requesting a probation check on a family member with mental health issues. 

The sheriff’s office was asked to help locate some overdue campers at 7:29 p.m. August 11. Party said they were staying in a tent on an inland lake. Members of the sheriff’s office checked Devil Track, Grand Marais, and Temperance River State Park. At 9:30 p.m., the parties were located at the Flour Lake campground. They were fine and would be leaving in the morning. 

The Grand Portage Lodge reported an assault at 10:30 p.m. August 11. A guest insulted a woman and got into a scuffle with her boyfriend.

There was a report of suspicious activity at the new warming house at the Cook County Community Center. The reporting party thought someone might be staying there. The report was determined to be unfounded as construction workers on site had seen no one. 

Lost and Found
On August 6, a deputy on patrol found a cardboard box of various plumbing parts. Box was taken to the law enforcement center for safekeeping.

On August 6, a driver’s license was turned in to the law enforcement center. It turned out to be a fake and it was shredded.

On August 7, a brown wallet with driver’s license, credit card and cash was found. The wallet will be sent to the owner. 

Another call came in August 7 from a party that lost a hearing aid downtown over the weekend. Party contacted the sheriff’s office  August 12 to say the item had been found.

A party reported a lost a keychain with a YMCA pass and Scandinavian flag keychain over the weekend.

A mustard colored Michael Kors wallet was found at a restaurant in Grand Marais and dropped off at the law enforcement center. The owner was contacted and picked up the wallet.

On August 9, a party reported a phone lost while in the BWCA, along one of the portages off of Alpine Lake. The phone is an iPhone in a pink case in a ziplock bag. Party asked to be called if the phone was turned in. 

A wallet was found at World’s Best Donuts August 9. The party contacted law enforcement dispatchers, who gave them the phone number for the donut shop. 

There were 19 crank or misdialed 9-1-1 calls during the reporting period and 14 medical calls. Deputies checked 31 businesses and residences.

There were 60 traffic stops that ended with a reprimand; 33 with a verbal warning and 16 motorists received citations. 

Sheriff deputies also participated in Operation Stonegarden, a joint exercise with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. 

 For non-emergencies, call the Cook County Sheriff's Office at 218-387-3030.  If you are experiencing an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Mary Owen, MD, director of the Center of American Indian and Minority Health - Photo courtesy of UMD Medical School

Speaking with Dr. Mary Owen, Center of American Indian and Minority Health

The University of Minnesota Medical School in Duluth first began offering American Indian student programs in the early 1970s.

Following that, the Center of American Indian and Minority Health was established at the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1987.

The Minnesota Legislature approved a plan developed by co-founders Ruth A. Myers, a member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and a leader in American Indian education, and Robert Pozos, a medical school faculty member.

In 2019, the Center of American Indian and Minority Health continues to provide support and encouragement for American Indian students pursuing careers in health and medicine.

Dr. Mary Owen is the Executive Director of the Center of American Indian and Minority Health. WTIP’s Rhonda Silence caught up with Dr. Owen in her office at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Dr. Owen has some good news—there has been an increase in Native American students enrolled at the University of Minnesota. This year the university has 12 first-year medical students, a record for the school.

They talked about Dr. Owen’s role at the Center of American Indian and Minority Health; about the importance of increasing the number of Native American and minority health providers; and about weaving cultural traditions in the college’s curriculum and more.

To learn more about the Center of American Indian and Minority Health, call (218) 726-7235 or visit the Center’s website. 

The "Stewardship Survey" launched by the City of Grand Marais on August 9 has been closed. Photo by Rhonda Silence

City pulls online survey after citizen feedback

On Friday, August 9, the City of Grand Marais posted an online survey filled with photos taken throughout the community of residences and businesses. The survey, dubbed the “Stewardship Survey,” asked people to look through a collection of 100 photos and respond by saying whether the scene detracts from the quality of life in the city, or contributes to the quality of life. 
The photos ranged from the manicured lawns and landscaping at North Shore Health and the Public Library to photos of overgrown lawns and city lots filled with parked vehicles. 
By the time the Grand Marais city council met on Wednesday, August 14, there was a heated response on social media, with some members of the public expressing anger at what many felt was the targeting of some community members. 
During the city council meeting, four people spoke about the survey, including Mike Smieja. [:50]

Smieja said a picture of his yard was included in the survey and he surmised that it was there as an example of a messy yard. He said he realizes his yard is not tidy and said he has a business to run, along with additional jobs, and he just doesn’t have time to keep it organized. 

However, he said he didn’t care that a photo was taken of his yard. He was concerned though, that he had been contacted by someone else whose property had been included who was proposing a lawsuit against the city. 
Dale McIntire, pastor of Cornerstone Community Church also spoke, questioning the survey methodology. He said he felt the survey created division in the community. [2:40]
The day after the Grand Marais City Council meeting, WTIP’s Rhonda Silence spoke with Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux. [3:55]. The mayor agreed to answer a number of questions, such as how did this survey come about. 
Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux talked about the use of social media by the public. He made a plea to citizens to talk directly to the city council or city staff about their concerns. [7:04]
The mayor talked at length about the intent of the Stewardship Survey and issued an apology. [11:47]

The subject of how much the Stewardship Survey cost the taxpayers of Grand Marais came up on social media and WTIP asked Mayor Arrowsmith DeCoux about that. [15:16]
Mayor Arrowsmith DeCoux spoke about the next steps in the process of updating the city ordinances. And once again, gave an apology to anyone who was distressed by the survey photos. [16:28]


Saganaga cabin fire 08-11-19 - Community members turned out to fight the fire - Photo by Marco Manzo III

Lake Saganaga cabin and boathouse destroyed by fire

The peace and serenity of Lake Saganaga was shattered at 7:17 p.m. Sunday, August 11 when the sound of an overheated propane tank rocked the vicinity of a 55-year-old cabin on the Canadian side. The cabin as well as a boat house were on fire.

Word spread to homeowners via marine radio, and property owners hurried to the scene with pumps and hoses to try to extinguish the fire. 

One of those responding volunteers, Marco Manzo III of Sagonto  on Lake Saganaga, said 25 to 30 people showed up to fight the fire, including some guests at Sagonto. 

It was heavy, dirty work, getting water pumps into the lake and moving the water-filled hoses around. 

Manzo said at one point the fire jumped to the neighboring Rogers Island, where a cabin owner quickly extinguished the firebrands. 

Community members were able to keep the fire from spreading to the trees around the cabin; however, the two structures at the site, a boat house and the cabin, were completely destroyed. 

When the fire was under control, a water sprinkler was set up to completely douse the area. Manzo and another Saganaga resident, Eric Johnson, checked back later in the evening and found a few smoldering trees just outside the perimeter of the sprinkler. They worked with chainsaws to drop some snags and ensure the fire line held throughout the night. 

A helicopter from Canada landed and inspected the fire scene on Monday. 

The cause of the fire is not known. The cabin owners were not there at the time of the fire. 

Manzo said there were no injuries. He noted how fortunate that was. He said there was a gathering on Monday, to talk more about fire protection in this remote area. 

Photos courtesy of Marco Manzo III, Sagonto on Lake Saganaga

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence spoke with one of the responders, Matt Ritter. 

City Hall was crowded with citizens concerned about removal of the trees on Highway 61 for road reconstruction. Photo R. Silence

Public pleads for preservation of elm trees in Highway 61 corridor

It was nearly standing room only in Grand Marais City Hall for a Minnesota Department of Transportation public information meeting on Thursday, August 8. The purpose of the meeting was to share information on the scheduling of the road reconstruction work planned for Highway 61 in 2020 and 2021.

The meeting was set to run from 4 to 6 p.m. starting with a time for discussion of the project. There were large maps of the construction area, taped to the wall and spread across a long table. The plan was to have a brief presentation by MnDOT officials at 5 p.m. However, by 4:30 p.m. the chairs in the room had been filled with about 60 people, with many giving impassioned pleas for preservation of the elm trees in the road reconstruction area.

Of the 11 elm trees in the section of Highway 61 from the intersection by Voyageur Brewing to the intersection by Buck’s Hardware, nine are earmarked for removal.

There were many comments about how important the trees are to the aesthetics of Grand Marais, as well as for cooling shade and environmental benefits. 

There was also a great deal of frustration over the report put together by the MnDOT arborist which says the elm trees along the highway are in poor to moderate health. After the idea of removing the trees from the road right of way was brought forward at a February 27, 2018 meeting, some citizens sought another opinion. Another arborist visited Grand Marais and inspected the trees.
This second report conflicts with the MnDOT report and says the trees are in fair to good condition, with many trees listed as very good condition.

However, the report has been called into question because the arborist who compiled it preferred to be unnamed.

Highway 61 Project Manager Michael Kalnbach said he had never received a copy of that report. He added that because the report’s author was unnamed, MnDOT would likely not take it into consideration. However, he said he would like to see the report.

Members of the public asked MnDOT to consider hiring a third, impartial arborist to conduct a study on the health of the trees.
Kalnbach and Project Engineer Andrew Demming both noted that the project is complicated by the number of things happening along with the road reconstruction, utility work, stormwater system improvements and the removal of contaminated soil by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Four of the trees marked for removal are because of work being conducted by the MPCA during road reconstruction. MPCA plans a major excavation and removal of soil from the Cobblestone building to the Harbor Inn parking area.

Some commenters asked MnDOT to reconsider the placement of the bike path to allow the trees to remain. MnDOT officials replied that the trees were not being moved because of the bike path, but to place the stormwater system and utilities. Citizens asked MnDOT to reconsider a reroute of that work.

There were questions about completely halting the project to consider other alternatives. Kalnbach said it would be difficult at this point, as the construction agreement with the city had been finalized and the bidding process completed. KGM Contractors of Angora, Minn. was the successful bidder for the work.

Kalnbach said he wasn’t sure what would happen if the approximately $21 million project was dropped or changed significantly at this point, but said the company would have to be reimbursed in some manner.

There were questions about the history of the project. People wanted to know who made the decision to do the roadwork and to remove the trees. MnDOT Engineer Duane Hill gave a brief history of the work that had been done and the number of public meetings that held been held.

Overall, the public meeting seemed frustrating for all – for the MnDOT officials who believed the project had been finalized and who came to the meeting to talk about the project work schedule.

And it was frustrating for the members of the public who hadn’t heard about the project and the removal of the trees.

It appears, at this point, that the Highway 61 project through Grand Marais will continue as planned. Tree clearing is set to begin in November 2019, not just in the City of Grand Marais, but at several sites where culverts will be replaced along Highway 61.
For more information, visit the MnDOT website or the Grand Marais City website, or call City Hall at 218-387-1848.


Teri Downing of WunderBar with one of the first campers in the "Glampground." Photo courtesy of WunderBar's Facebook page.

WunderBar Eatery and Glampground faces financial challenges

The WunderBar Eatery and Glampground opened just over two years ago with a novel idea and high hopes. Teri and Chris Downing planned to revitalize the long-closed Harbor Light Supper Club, making it not just a restaurant, but a place for people to “stay and play.”

They brought the concept of “glamping” to the North Shore, offering stays in several revamped campers and elegant Lotus Belle tents. The glamping model has been well received and WunderBar has received a great deal of media attention around the region. The funky atmosphere, with its from-scratch menu overseen by Chef Chris Callender, nostalgic drinks, game room and lounge and live music has earned two Minnesota Monthly awards – Top 50 Destinations in Minnesota and Top 100 Places to Visit this Summer.

However, keeping the WunderBar open year-round has been a struggle. In recent months, the parent company of WunderBar Eatery, Heart Rock LLC, has been on the docket in state bankruptcy court.

WTIP Community Radio reached out to the Downings to find more about the status of the WunderBar. Teri Downing confirmed that Heart Rock LLC is in the process of restructuring. Teri told WTIP this decision was not taken lightly, but it is one that will hopefully give WunderBar the chance to honor the events and vacations planned by guests.

WTIP invited Teri and Chris into the studio to learn more about the future of WunderBar – and the Downing family.

The couple is still hopeful that WunderBar Eatery and Glampground will continue to be part of the community. They both expressed appreciation to the many people who have supported them. And Chris Downing encouraged people to watch for announcements about the WunderBar and an opportunity to be involved in the business. The couple said to watch for announcements at WunderBar and on their social media outlets, such as their Facebook page. 

Here’s WTIP’s Rhonda Silence with the conversation with Teri and Chris Downing.


Cook County Sheriff's Office - logo courtesy of Cook County Sheriff's Office

A look at the Law Enforcement Log, July 28 - August 4

Each week the Cook County Sheriff’s Office provides a brief report of calls made to the Cook County Law Enforcement Center. WTIP requested more information on the following incidents. This report provides more details on calls logged by law enforcement dispatchers from July 28 – August 4, 2019.

On July 30 at 5 a.m., a trucker called to tell the Sheriff’s Office that his trailer brakes had locked up on him. He said the truck is blocking the lane, but he has flashers on and safety triangles out. He just wanted to let law enforcement know. The truck was moved off the roadway by 8 a.m.

At 8:18 a.m. on July 30, Pastor Dale McIntire reported that someone doing wheelies in the parking lot of Cornerstone Community Church had spun a rock up and shattered the glass front door. Photos were taken of the damage and the parking lot. This is under investigation.

On July 30, a man called 9-1-1 to report that he was lost on the Pincushion Trail System at 1:15 p.m. Cook County sheriff deputies, Grand Marais firefighters and First Responders took part in the search for the man. Law enforcement used his phone coordinates to locate the man. Rescuers arrived at the patient at 2:47 p.m. He was brought out to the North Shore Health ambulance and was transported to North Shore Health.

A party reported that an iPhone had been stolen from their room at the Grand Portage Lodge on July 30. The party said the lodge was very helpful, but the phone had not been turned in. They asked for a report to file with their cell phone company.

 At 10:33 p.m. on July 30, parties reported a couple arguing on the sidewalk on First Avenue. Sheriff Deputies responded and separated the couple for the night.

At 8:05 a.m., a caller asked for the 9-1-1 number for the Los Angeles Police Department. The party said a client had called him needing help in L.A. Cook County found a number online and relayed it to the caller.

A party called at 8:52 a.m. from a resort on West Highway 61 to report that they had found a bag of bones in a green plastic tarp. A tree was growing over most of it. It looks like it had been there quite a while. The bag of bones was found. There was fur in the bag and the bones appear to be from a medium-sized dog.

At 1:18 p.m. on July 31, a party reported a hit and run at the Grand Marais Rec Park boat launch. A party hit his pontoon boat trailer.

A missing Jack Russell terrier was reported at 4:45 p.m. on July 31. Party was looking for the dog in the Croftville area. Party called back at 5:18 p.m. The dog had been found.

A number of calls were received from West Highway 61 just before 6 p.m. on July 31 reporting a fawn stuck in the falls on the upper side of the road. When a deputy arrived at the location at 7:44 p.m., the fawn was gone.

Law enforcement was called to assist a party in the Hovland area whose neighbor’s dog charged his puppy. Party is concerned for his dog as the neighbor’s dog is quite a bit larger. Deputies advised the neighbor that she needed to keep her dog on her own property.

 At 9 p.m. on July 31, the sheriff’s office received a report that someone was camping in the city hall parking lot. The deputy found the person who told the deputy that they thought they could camp there because it said “24 hour parking.” They were in the middle of cooking dinner. The deputy explained the difference between parking and camping and said if they were still there later, they would get a citation. The party was gone when the deputy checked again after midnight on August 1.

 A party from Canada called on August 1 to report hitting a deer the day before between Ryden’s Border Store and Grand Portage. They requested a report for their insurance company.

There was a call reporting a vehicle in the ditch on West Highway 61 at 12:41 p.m. on August 1. The car was on its side, leaning into the ditch on the south bound lane near the county line. When deputies arrived, the car was gone.

A party found a gray and black cat wearing a black collar with a bell running around town. Deputies took the cat to the pound. The owner was located and paid the pound fee to reclaim the cat.

On August 1, a member of the Grand Marais Lions Club called to say they could not locate owners of three cars parked on First Avenue where the Fisherman’s Picnic vendors need to set up. One vehicle owner was located; two were towed.

 A party flagged down a sheriff deputy at 5:45 p.m. on August 1 to say a woman left her infant in her car when she went in and out of the laundromat. Deputies checked and none of the cars in the parking lot had babies inside. No one in the laundromat had babies.

A party called at 7:53 p.m. on August 1 reporting a fox hanging out on the beach on East Wisconsin Street. Cook County advised them to try to scare it off with noises, but said it may be hard to make it go away with all the people – and food—in town. If the fox doesn’t leave, Cook County suggested getting in touch with a game warden.

There was a call reporting that a bus had backed into a red pickup at the Grand Marais Apartments on August 2. There appeared to be no damage to the pickup.

At 5:05 p.m. a business owner called to report someone parking illegally in their private lot. Cook County told the party they could have the vehicle towed. A towing company towed the car to their lot. The vehicle owner called the sheriff’s office and was given the location of their car.

At 6:07 on August 2, a party called to report a car parking on the grass in front of Visit Cook County. A deputy located the registered owner and told her she could not park on the grass. The party moved the car.

 At 8:30 p.m. on August 30, a party called to report a white 4-wheeler driving fast on Broadway. A deputy patrolled the downtown area, up and down Broadway and The Point and did not see an ATV.

A party reported that they had hit a moose cow just before 10 p.m. on August 2. They were driving a Chevy Silverado pickup. There was damage to the driver’s side front quarter panel, mirror and bumper. The moose appeared to be stunned and ran into the woods after a short time.

A public assist call came in at 10 p.m. on August 2 for a Class C trailer with transmission problems. Someone is coming from Canada to get the trailer.

There was a call for help from a Lutsen man who had flipped his 4-wheeler at 10 p.m. on August 2. The party said he had hurt his knee and he was not sure where he was; he was possibly on a snowmobile trail. Cook County Sheriff deputies, Cook County Search and Rescue, and Lutsen Fire and First Responders were paged and began a search for the man. At 11 p.m., responders reached the man. By 11:30 p.m. they had him out to the ambulance. The man refused medical transport.

A call went out just before 11 p.m. of an accident on West Highway 61. A Michigan couple had crashed near Thomsonite Beach, taking down a power pole and electrical lines. Sheriff Deputies, Lutsen Fire and First Responders, Grand Marais Fire Department and North Shore Health ambulance were paged. Arrowhead Electric Cooperative was paged to cut power to the downed lines.
Traffic was blocked while the accident victims were extricated from the vehicle and loaded into the ambulance and the power lines cleared.
Power was restored to nearby residences by 12:52 p.m.

There was a call of an accident on Moose Valley Road in Hovland at 12:44 a.m. on August 3. The reporting party said a vehicle ran off the road, 15 feet into the woods. There were two occupants; one was complaining of neck pain. Colvill and Hovland Fire departments and First Responders and sheriff deputies responded. Parties were transported to North Shore Hospital.

A call for help for a 21-year-old man from Pine City on the Superior Hiking Trail near Tom Lake in Hovland went out at 7:20 a.m. on August 3. Party reported to be suffering from heat stroke. Colvill and Hovland fire departments and Cook County Search and Rescue were paged. The 9-1-1 dispatcher lost contact with the party by phone.
Responders headed onto the trail with two ATVs and a mule trailer at 7:53 a.m. They reached the patient at 8:35 a.m. Patient was upright and mobile and was taken to Cook County Ambulance and transported to North Shore Health.

 A parking problem was called in on August 3. The registered owner was reached and said he would move his bike from the problem location.

 At 2 p.m. on August 3, a passerby told a sheriff deputy on foot patrol about a dead deer stuck in the rocks on the east side of the Grand Marais harbor. Cook County contacted the city street department, which said they didn’t have the staff to do anything about the deer, but would see what they could do.

The Law Enforcement Center received a hold up alarm from a business on West Highway 61. Cook County made contact with someone in the office who said they had accidentally pushed the button. Confirmation was made with the security company. No emergency.

 A five-year-old with a pink shirt and tiger face paint was reported lost on Broadway Avenue in Grand Marais at 3:44 p.m. on August 3. Information was relayed to dispatch to all law enforcement personnel. Child was found safe at 3:49 p.m.

 On August 3, a caller reported an older, burgundy Chevy Blazer driving all over the road at 4 p.m. Deputies were unable to find the vehicle.

There was a call of a disturbance at a State Park campsite. Deputies arrived to find parties arguing over cell phone use, with each party telling the other to get off the phone.

A party reported a lime green convertible driving at high speeds down the middle of the road on West Highway 61 on August 3. Information was shared with Minnesota State Patrol.

 A party called the sheriff’s office at 5 p.m. on August 3, reporting that she had heard a very loud bang that shook her home. She said it appeared to come from the North Shore Waste lot. Deputies located a group shooting tannerite on Eliasen Mill Road. Parties said the first shot was very large and they would be shooting smaller portions from then on. They also said they would not be shooting very much longer as they were almost out of ammunition.

Two calls came in reporting cars needing to be moved on West Highway 61. Cook County contacted the first registered owner and he said he would move his car. He called back and said the car had been moved. Shortly after another car also needed to be moved and that owner was contacted. He agreed to move the car as well.

There was a call from Grandma Ray’s at 11:24 p.m. on August 3, asking for assistance in getting an unwanted party to leave. Deputies located two parties and advised them to leave. Parties were told if they returned, they would be arrested.

 A party called at 12:08 a.m. reporting very loud music coming from GunFlint Tavern or Voyageur Brewing. Person has earplugs in and windows closed and can still hear music after midnight.

 A motorist was stopped on West First Street on August 4 and a Grand Marais man was arrested for driving under the influence.

Another party called at 1:50 a.m. on August 4 reporting loud music at a neighbor’s house. When a deputy checked the area at 2:07 a.m., there was no music.

Two calls were received just after 7 a.m. on August 4 reporting a car horn honking for the last 10 minutes. Callers said it was a red 2-door car. Car was gone when deputy arrived.

At 7:19 a.m., a caller said they pulled over to let a truck pass and the trucker yelled at them.

A party called the sheriff’s office on August 4 reporting damage to a rented room. Party called back later and said a deputy was not needed, the renter agreed to pay for damage.
There was a report of a missing white male cat with gray on his back at 12:57 p.m. on August 4. The cat’s owner called back at 5:13 p.m. to say they had found the cat.

There was a call reporting an accident at 12:58 p.m. The caller said a female party had been run over by a car and was trapped underneath it. Grand Marais Fire Department and First Responders were paged and found no entrapment.

 Just before 2 p.m. on August 4, a woman flagged down a passing car on the Gunflint Trail asking for help in locating her 22-year-old daughter, who went hiking. She was concerned that he daughter could be injured. Party called law enforcement later to say the daughter had been found.

There was a minor two-car accident on east Highway 61 at 1:58 p.m. on August 4. There were no injuries.

Cook County received a call reporting a motorcycle parked in a no parking zone by the beer garden on August 4 at 2:17 p.m. Party said the motorcycle was blocking the emergency lane by the road block closing the street and the driver refused to move. When the deputy arrived, the motorcycle was gone.

There was a call on August 4 regarding a custody matter. Party was told to follow up in court.

On August 4, there was a report of a party driving a black Suburban, drinking a Labatt’s Blue beer in Grand Marais. A deputy drove around town and was unable to locate the party.

A party called at 5:23 p.m. about a medium-sized dog in a car with only one window open a little bit and no water in car. Deputy confirmed that dog was panting and while waiting for owner to return seemed to be panting more. The deputy entered the car to get dog to take to the pound. As the deputy was leaving, the owner returned. She was given the dog and a citation.

Law enforcement dispatchers received a call on August 4 from someone concerned about a suicidal friend in Douglas County, Wisconsin. The dispatcher found a phone number for Douglas County emergency services for the person. Cook County also informed Douglas County of the call.

The North Shore Health ambulance reported that a red pickup passed the ambulance in the Schroeder no passing zone. The pickup had been tailgating the ambulance for some time. Lake County Sheriff’s Office will look for the vehicle.

On August 5, a party camping on Meads Lake reported that their group of four campers had another group of seven people move into their campsite, uninvited and belligerent. DNR and Forest Service Conservation Officers will go look into the matter.

At 8:46 a.m. on August 5, a party reported someone camping on their property. Deputies found a tent and blankets and left a note for the campers, letting them know they cannot camp there.

Fraud calls
A party in Grand Marais contacted the Sheriff’s Office on July 31 reporting that they had received a letter from asking for payment so they did not lose their DOT driver’s license. The party made a payment but has since cancelled payment on their credit card. They wanted law enforcement to be aware of the scam.

Another party from Grand Portage called on July 31 to report a call about their social security card being compromised. They were told to press one to continue, pressed one, spoke to party and was pretty sure it was a scam. Party didn’t lose any money or information, but wanted to know if the sheriff’s office thought this was a scam. Cook County verified he was correct, the government wouldn’t get a hold of him by phone.

Yet another party said they had received a scam call on July 31. They reported that they had a phone call saying they had to call back on a matter or they would be arrested. Party just wanted to check with the sheriff’s office that it was a scam. Cook County told them they were correct; it was a scam.

A party called on August 1 to report a scam in which someone called pretending to be Amazon security. They talked a family member into resetting a password and took over the computer. Party was cancelling credit cards. They just wanted to warn others they should not let anyone take over their computer.

There was another social security scam call report on August 2.  

Lost and found
A party reported a lost wallet on the Gunflint Trail on August 1, but called back to say it had been found.

A credit card belonging to a woman from Elk River was found downtown Grand Marais on August 2. Party had a friend pick up the card.
 A party called from North Broadway in Grand Maris to report a lost wallet containing photo ID, cash and credit cards on August 2.
A party came in to the Law Enforcement Center on August 2 to pick up their lost debit card. She saw on social media that it had been turned in to law enforcement. There was no sign of it yet. Cook County will contact the party if and when their card is turned in.

 A party stopped a deputy on foot patrol downtown on August 2 to turn in a set of found keys. Keys are on a single silver ring.

 A black Samsung Note 9 cell phone was reported lost downtown just after 9 p.m. on August 2. The phone was found the next day.

On August 3, a party turned in a set of keys found on the side of Highway 61. Key ring includes a Ford key, a master lock key and two other keys. Keys will be kept in the lost and found cabinet at law enforcement.

 A party lost a motorcycle key with black handle and the word “Victory” on the key ring somewhere on Artists’ Point on August 3.

 A party called for help in retrieving a phone dropped in Trout Lake on August 3. The phone is in about 4 feet of water. It is a gray iPhoneX in a black life proof case. Cook County informed the reporting party that the sheriff’s office does not have divers for lost phones.

On August 4, a party called to report a purse lost at Mink Lake. It is a small brown purse with ID, credit cards, key fob, etc.

A purse belonging to a Minneapolis woman was found and turned in to Java Moose on August 4. Cook County found a phone number for the party and let them know the purse was at the coffee shop. Party will pick it up there.

A party reported a purple Galaxy S9 phone lost on the parade route in Grand Marais at 2:21 p.m. on August 4. Party asked to be contacted at another number if the phone is turned in to law enforcement.

During this time frame, sheriff deputies made 36 traffic stops resulting in warnings or reprimands. Eight other traffic stops resulted in citations. There were 19 stops to check businesses or residences. There were 12 medical transport calls. Sheriff’s Office dispatchers handled 21 crank or misdialed 9-1-1 calls.

The Grand Portage Rendezvous Days celebration powwow includes dancers of all ages! Photo by Rhonda Silence, 2011

A time of reunion at Grand Portage Rendezvous Days

The great Rendezvous starts in Grand Portage today, August 9, with events at the Grand Portage National Monument and the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior PowWow grounds through Sunday, August 11. 

At the Grand Portage National Monument, there are dozens of historical re-enactors camped out on-site, offering a trip back in time to 1797 during a time of gathering for trade and socializing. The theme of this year’s event is “hats off to the Fur Trade,” with programs and workshops highlighting the iconic fashionable “must-haves” of the 1790s.

On the monument grounds, you will see the historic buildings, including the kitchen, which is in use throughout the weekend. There are guided historic tours, demonstrations, games, and crafts. There is no fee to enter the National Monument, but there are some materials fees for some craft projects.

Throughout the weekend, there will also be a Mackinaw boat under sail in Grand Portage Bay.

At the PowWow grounds, dancing at the Rendezvous Days Celebration PowWow begins with warm-ups at 7 p.m. on Friday. At that time, the Grand Portage Royalty Contest will also be held.

PowWow visitors should note that time change, the contest is being held earlier in PowWow this year, to give the young people chosen to represent Grand Portage have more time to take part as royalty in the 2019 PowWow. 

The Rendezvous Days Celebration PowWow continues through the weekend with Grand Entry being held at 1 and 7 p.m. on Saturday and at 1 p.m. on Sunday. There are numerous special dance events being held throughout PowWow, as well as a hand drum contest at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

There is a wonderful mix of history and modern times at Grand Portage Rendezvous, as there is also a mixed softball tournament all weekend, starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

The 1- or 3-mile Run/Walk always sees an amazing turnout of community members. Registration opens at 9 a.m. for that.

There is also bingo, horseshoes, a turkey shoot, and raffle drawings. And of course, lots of visiting as Rendezvous is a time for many family reunions.

To see the schedule of events at Grand Portage National Monument and the Rendezvous Days PowWow, click here. 

To see the poster for the Grand Portage Celebration PowWow, click here. 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence spoke with Mary Ann Gagnon of the Grand Portage Rendezvous Days Celebration PowWow Committee, to learn more. 

And, to learn more about activities at the Grand Portage National Monument, WTIP's Jana Berka spoke with Pam Neil, chief of interpretation at the monument. 

Click below to hear those interviews. 


Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley at WTIP Community Radio - Photo by Rhonda Silence

Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley visits WTIP

Steve Kelley, a former Minnesota legislator and Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, was named as Minnesota Department of Commerce commissioner in January 2019.

Kelley is following the lead of Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan and reaching out to communities across the state. Kelley visited the North Shore this week.

He spent some time in Two Harbors, speaking with area health care navigators there, learning about the challenges they face while helping citizens obtain health coverage.

Here in Cook County, he visited with representatives of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior, a local bank, and Arrowhead Electric Cooperative. And, he stopped by WTIP Community Radio.

Here’s his conversation with WTIP’s Rhonda Silence.

Learn more about all the things happening at the Minnesota Department of Commerce by visiting the Department of Commerce website.