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North Shore News Hour


  • Monday 12-1pm
  • Monday 5-6pm
  • Tuesday 12-1pm
  • Tuesday 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:
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.


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. 

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.


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. 

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.  


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.
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.
Carl “Pete” Gresczyk


The city passed a resolution to deny David Berner's request for this building which would be 18 inches over the permitted height

Grand Marais mayor talks buildings and big rodents

There was a meeting of the Grand Marais City Council on Wednesday, Nov. 15. WTIP's Rhonda Silence checks in with the mayor of Grand Marais and shares this report. 


For most, Thanksgiving means time with family over a meal. Photo courtesy of Flickr

WTIP asks community about favorite Thanksgiving tradition

WTIP's Rhonda Silence took to the streets of Grand Marais to talk to people about their favorite Thanksgiving tradition, past or present. Thanks to Kimberly, Meadow, Jacob, Harry, Tyson, Wes, Denise, Lynn, Anson, Kathy Ann and Autum for talking to our "roving reporter." 

And thanks to all our listeners. Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! 


Starting the 2018-19  season at the top of the hill, the Cook County Alpine ski team.

Alpine team practicing for a strong season

The Cook County High School Alpine ski team is off to a great start on the 2018-2019 season. They started with dryland training, hiking hills and building strength. Lutsen Mountains is now open so practice is now taking place on the snow. 

There are 15 skiers on the team, with a number of returning skiers, including last year's state Alpine meet participants, Sela Backstrom and Riley Wahlers. 

The racers are looking forward to the first meet, which will be held on KooKoo at Lutsen Mountains on Friday, December 14. 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence talks to Alpine Coach Charles Lamb to find out how things are looking as the season starts. 

Photo: The 2018-2019 Alpine ski team pauses for a photo. (L-R, front) Elsa Lunde, Reilly Wahlers, Halle Lamb, Cy Oberholtzer.(L-R, back)  Coach Charles Lamb, Sela Backstrom, Weston Hereen, Elijah Blanck, Ben Obinger, Andrew Hallberg, Kalina Dimitrova, Ray Dressely. (Not pictured - Hazel Oberholtzer, Emma Sexauer, Will Surbaugh) Photo courtesy of the team


Little ones enjoying playtime - Photo courtesy of Parker Knight, Flickr

A regional look at a local problem--lack of childcare

WTIP has recognized that a lack of childcare in the community is causing concern locally and regionally. We talked to Bill Hansen, a community leader and board member of the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation, when we started this series focusing on childcare.

Now we’re checking in with Hansen again, after his attendance at a presentation regarding the childcare issue in the entire northland.

Hansen fills us in on 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 1 of our discussion with Hansen, who attended that presentation on the study on October 25. Here’s Rhonda Silence with what he had to say about the need for the study, the methodology used to collect the information…and a little about possible solutions to this childcare crunch.