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North Shore News Hour

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  • Monday 12-1pm
  • Monday 5-6pm
  • Tuesday 12-1pm
  • Tuesday 5-6pm
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  • Wednesday 5-6pm
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  • Friday 12-1pm
Genre: 
News

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:
Mayor Arrowsmith DeCoux

Mayor talks about council vacancy, ordinances and more

Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux stops by the WTIP studio for an interview after each meeting of the Grand Marais City Council. In this interview with Rhonda Silence, the mayor shares his thoughts on the city council vacancy, the Sawtooth Bluffs Master Plan, city ordinances, the budget and levy and more.

Regarding the city council vacancy, which occurred when Carl “Pete” Gresczyk decided not to accept the council seat to which he was elected, Mayor Arrowsmith DeCoux said they want to hear from citizens who want to fill that vacancy.

Jonathan Steckelberg was appointed to fill the seat just until the special election could be held. He ran to be elected to the council seat, but was defeated by a slim margin of 24 votes. He could apply to be appointed to the council.

Craig Schulte, a candidate in the other city council race, has submitted his name for consideration. Schulte was just one vote behind Councilor Anton Moody who won re-election.

The mayor said citizens interested in being appointed to the council have until Friday, December 7 to contact city hall. The council will consider applicants and likely will make an appointment at the December 12 city council meeting.  For more information, call City Hall at 218-387-1848 or email cityhall@boreal.org. An application for the council seat can be downloaded here. 

In other business, the council accepted the Sawtooth Bluffs Master Plan, contingent on an agreement between the city and county for management of the hillside property.

The council also denied a variance from David Berner for his property between Java Moose and the Harbor Inn. Berner requested a variance to construct a three-story building on the now-vacant lot with a height of 18 inches over the permitted 30 feet.

Councilor Anton Moody said he had heard from members of the public with concerns about loud vehicles. The council also discussed the city’s ordinance about parking recreational vehicles on the street and/or in front yards in the city. A letter has been sent out to property owners to let them know this is not allowed under the city ordinance.

However, council members noted that it was time for a thorough review of city ordinances, to determine what ordinances the city can—and cannot—enforce. Councilors also said it is time to consider if ordinances reflect the vision and values of the community.
City Administrator Mike Roth’s employee evaluation was also discussed. Councilor Kelly Swearingen brought some samples of other organization’s evaluations to consider. Roth said he hoped that the evaluation would focus on goals that the council would like to see the administrator meet.

Finally, the council decided to change the date of its last regular meeting in December, from December 26 to December 19. The meeting time will also change, the December 19 meeting will start at 5 p.m.

Another city meeting coming up is the Truth-in-Taxation meeting, to be held December 12 at Grand Marais City Hall at 6:30 p.m.
WTIP’s Rhonda Silence talks to the mayor about the actions taken at the council meeting.
 
 

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A 7.0 earthquake hit Anchorage, Alaska on Friday, Nov. 30 - Photo courtesy of Associated Press

Checking in with a former Grand Marais resident in Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Back-to-back earthquakes measuring 7.0 and 5.7 rocked buildings and shattered roads Friday morning in Anchorage, sending people running into the streets and briefly triggering a warning to residents in Kodiak to flee to higher ground for fear of a tsunami.

The warning was lifted without incident a short time later. There were no immediate reports of any deaths or serious injuries.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the first and more powerful quake, that hit at 8:30 a.m. local time, was centered about 7 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, with a population of about 300,000.

A large section of road near the Anchorage airport collapsed, marooning a car on a narrow island of pavement surrounded by deep chasms in the concrete. Several cars crashed at a major intersection in Wasilla, north of Anchorage, during the shaking.

Anchorage Police Chief Justin Doll said there are reports that parts of the Glenn Highway, a scenic route that runs northeast out of the city, had "completely disappeared."

The quake broke store windows, opened cracks in a two-story building downtown, disrupted electrical service and disabled traffic lights, snarling traffic.

All flights were halted at the airport after the quake knocked out telephones and forced the evacuation of the control tower, and the 800-mile Alaska oil pipeline was shut down while crews were sent to inspect it for damage.

Anchorage's school system canceled classes and asked parents to pick up their children while it examined buildings for gas leaks or other damage.

Alaska’s Municipal Light and Power said there are approximately 7,000 to 10,000 customers without power, and that their crews were responding now.

WTIP checked in with one former Grand Marais resident, Brad Janorschke, who served as the manager of Arrowhead Electric Cooperative. The Janorschke family moved to Alaska, where Brad now works as manager of the Homer Electric Association. 

Rhonda Silence reached Brad Janorschke at his office to find out how things are going there. Here's that interview. 
 

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School District 166 - Eagle entrance

School lock-down rumors unfounded

Rumors surfaced throughout the community on Friday, November 30 that School District 166 had initiated a "lock-down" on the Grand Marais campus in response to some sort of threat. WTIP reached out to school officials who deny that any sort of lock-down took place, an exercise or actual incident of concern. 

When asked how such a rumor got started, Assistant Principal Mitch Dorr said it could have been because a Cook County Sheriff deputy was at the school on Friday morning, greeting students as they arrived. Assistant Principal Dorr said this is something that happens once in a while, to help children be more comfortable with law enforcement. 

WTIP also contacted School District 166 Superintendent Bill Crandall, who also said there was no incident that caused a lock-down at the Grand Marais school on November 30. He also talked about the procedures for lock-downs, real and practice. 

Here's Rhonda Silence with that interview. 

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Olympian Billy Mills told students to find their dreams - Photo by Michael McHugh

School District 166 hosts Olympian Billy Mills

Olympian Billy Mills spoke to students and staff at School District 166 on November 29, sharing a message about following your dreams.

Mills, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe, won a gold medal at the Olympics in Tokyo in 1964 in the 10,000 meter run, breaking the Olympic record. He is the only American to win the 10,000 meter gold.

His inspiring life story was highlighted in the 1983 moving Running Brave.

Mills has spent most of his life as an advocate for Native American needs and rights.

His message is made more powerful by the fact that he grew up on the Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Reservation in South Dakota, surrounded by alcoholism and depression. He was raised in a broken home and his mother died when he was just nine years old.

Despite that rough start in life, Mills thrived in the U.S. Marine Corps, and at Haskell University where he first took to the athletic field.

In 2012, President Barack Obama awarded Mills the Presidential Citizen's Medal for his work for the nonprofit organization Running Strong for American Indian Youth. He is the only track gold medalist to receive that honor for his later life work
Mills’ message to students centered around the idea of students finding their dream. He said his father told him "Chasing your dream will heal your broken soul.

Mills told students, “It all starts with finding a passion, developing a talent, and creating the magic,” adding, “I believe in magic."

Photos courtesy of School District 166
 
 


 
A search for childcare in the Duluth area brings up pages of options for parents

Lack of childcare a factor in family leaving community

Like many parents in the community, Maren Webb had difficulty finding childcare in Cook County. WTIP spoke to her at the start of this series on the childcare situation in Cook County. We’re following up with Maren again after finding out that her family is leaving Grand Marais—in part, because of the lack of childcare for their daughter, Mabel. 
 
Here’s WTIP’s Rhonda Silence with that conversation. 
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Children learn a lot in a consistent childcare setting

Regional childcare study presentation spurs ideas

In this series, Childcare Challenges in Cook County, WTIP has been talking to local community leaders, such as Bill Hansen, retired owner of Sawbill Canoe Outfitters and board member of the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation.

We spoke with Hansen at the start of this series and again after the release of a study about childcare in the region put together by the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation, the Minnesota Iron Range Resources Board, Blandin Foundation and the Northland Foundation.

This is part 2 of our discussion with Hansen, who attended a presentation on the release of the study on October 25. In part 1 we talked about the need for the study, the methodology used to collect the information…and a little about possible solutions to this childcare crunch.

Here’s WTIP’s Rhonda Silence and Bill Hansen with more on that report and how it could impact Cook County.
 

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Representatives from a variety of agencies gathered for an Emergency Operations Center exercise on November 27, 2018

Emergency Operations Center opened at Community Center

At about 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 27, text messages, emails and recorded phone messages were sent out to the community members on the county’s emergency preparedness contact list. The people on the list—members of various emergency services disciplines—were asked to go to the Cook County Community Center for the activation of an Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

Fortunately, the page was for an exercise, not a real crisis. But participants were serious as they discussed how they would handle two potential emergency scenarios.

Cook County Emergency Management Director Valerie Marasco facilitated the EOC gathering which looked at resources and protocols that would be used in the case of a H8N4 influenza pandemic or a straight line wind incident that caused significant damage to the hospital and clinic building.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence checked in at the Community Center to catch the emergency response team in action.
 

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North Shore Health and Sawtooth Mountain Clinic have a unique partnership, officials say.

Visiting officials share thoughts on rural healthcare

Most WTIP listeners know that North Shore Health and the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic are housed at the same campus here in Grand Marais and that they work together in a variety of ways. That isn’t the norm in rural healthcare, according to some recent visitors to the North Shore. 
 
Jonathan Watson, the Chief Executive Officer of the Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers and Matt Anderson, senior vice president of policy at the Minnesota Hospital Association, visited the hospital and clinic this week to talk to them about that partnership—and about the future of healthcare overall. 
 
WTIP’s Rhonda Silence sat down with the healthcare officials to learn more. 
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Infants require much more care and attention from childcare providers. - Photo courtesy of Flickr

YMCA seeks to collaborate on childcare solutions

In WTIP’s ongoing series, Childcare Challenges in Cook County, Rhonda Silence has been learning more about the complicated issue of childcare in Cook County.

Rhonda has been speaking with local government officials, community leaders, parents—and childcare providers, such as the Cook County YMCA.

In this second part of a two-part interview with YMCA Director Emily Marshall, Rhonda learns more about a recent study done regarding the childcare crunch in the region. They also talk about possible solutions.

Here’s WTIP’s Rhonda Silence and Emily Marshall, talking about childcare.  
 

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City Hall

City Council again faces a council vacancy

In an on-again, off-again news story, WTIP has been reporting on the election of Carl “Pete” Gresczyk and his decision to decline taking the council seat to which he was elected. In the latest city council packet is a letter from Gresczyk formally announcing that he would not take the council seat.
 
After the election, Gresczyk said he was concerned about a possible financial conflict of interest. His company, G&G Septic, has a contract with the city of Grand Marais to haul sewage sludge to Duluth on a regular basis. He also has a contract with the city for rental of PortaPotties in the city.
 
In WTIP’s last conversation with Gresczyk, on Nov. 16, he thought would be able to take the seat. At that time, Gresczyk said he had documentation from the city’s attorney that stated he could take the seat, as long as he recuses himself from any of the city’s dealings with his company.
 
However, shortly after that, Gresczyk submitted a letter to the city saying he would not take the city council seat to which he was elected. The text of that letter can be seen below.
 
Gresczyk defeated Jonathan Steckelberg who had been appointed to fill a vacancy created when Councilor Tracy Benson moved out of the city and resigned. Steckelberg does not automatically take the new vacant seat, as his appointment was just until the special election could be held.
 
WTIP’s Rhonda Silence checked in with City Administrator Mike Roth to find out how the city council will proceed to fill the vacancy.  Interview below.
 
Letter
 
To whom it may concern,

I was recently elected to the City Council of Grand Marais. Shortly after the election it was brought to my attention that a statute, #471.87, pertaining to a city councilor having a bid contract with the city is illegal. I hold an ongoing bid contract with the City of Grand Marais. Our City Administrator, Mike Roth, worked with the City Attorney to clarify the meaning of the statute. It was determined that we could make it work with some adjustments to how the city council votes. That would put me in a position to open up criticism on my business relationship with the city.

There are many factors in my decision. But at this time I have to put myself, my family and my business as my priority. So it is with great regret I am recusing myself from my recent election to the City Council of Grand Marais.
 
There are many big decisions coming up and our county and city constituents are split on many of these issues. It is important for the citizens to stay involved and let your elected officials know your concerns. Please take the time to contact these people and get your opinion out there. I know I will.
 
Respectfully,
 
Carl “Pete” Gresczyk
 
 

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