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North Shore News Hour


  • Monday 12-1pm
  • Monday 5-6pm
  • Tuesday 12-1pm
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  • Wednesday 5-6pm
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  • Friday 12-1pm

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:
Many of the trees at the Grand Marais Recreation Park have been caged to prevent beaver damage

Beaver damage discussed at Grand Marais City Council

Beaver are an iconic Northland species. They are industrious and interesting to watch. However, they can cause problems in urban areas – such as scenic downtown Grand Marais.

After a large maple tree along the entrance to the Grand Marais Recreation Area was taken down by the local beaver population in October, WTIP talked to Grand Marais Parks Manager Dave Tersteeg.

 Apparently, because the trees that the beaver prefer have been caged to protect them from knawing, the beaver are now going after trees like that maple, as well as an apple tree and other trees across Highway 61.

Although the Grand Marais Parks Department recognizes this problem, it is reluctant to have the beaver trapped and killed. At the latest Grand Marais City Council meeting, Councilor Kelly Swearingen said something needs to be done.

City Administrator Mike Roth said the city doesn’t know where to turn. That led to an in-depth council conversation, with Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux and Councilor Anton Moody also weighing in.

No one wants to kill the beavers, but there seemed to be consensus that something must be done. City councilors asked Administrator Roth to research options for non-lethal removal of the beaver in the Grand Marais harbor area.

Rhonda Silence shares this report of the city council’s discussion.


Superintendent Dr. Bill Crandall

An update from ISD 166 Superintendent Bill Crandall

WTIP periodically checks in with Superintendent Dr. Bill Crandall about activities at  School District 166. WTIP's Rhonda Silence spoke with Dr. Crandall after the last school board meeting on Thursday, November 15 about renovations at the school;  some staff changes; and about the upcoming "Common Ground Summit" at the school. 

Members of the public who want to see the renovations that have been talked about for the last few months, will have the chance at an Open House on Friday, December 14 from 5 to 7 p.m. 

And community members who would like to give input on what they would like to see at the Common Ground Summit can take a survey on the school's website. Find the survey here


School District 166

Superintendent addresses lawsuit and allegations

School District 166 has been in the news in recent days, as a civil lawsuit was filed against the district by a student alleging that he was unfairly suspended after being accused of sexual misconduct by several female students.

According to WDIO-TV, which obtained several letters included in the court documents, the school district began its investigation in mid-October 2018 and ultimately concluded that the student allegedly forced a female student to have sex with him. There are also allegations from more than one other female student of other unwelcome acts. All of the allegations are from incidents that took place off of the school grounds.

The documents obtained by WDIO-TV show that the student declined the opportunity to respond to those allegations in an interview with an independent investigator working with the school district. However, in a written statement, the student said, in part, “I maintain that I have not engaged in any sexual misconduct and have not violated school policy.”

The student was suspended for 10 days with the school district stating that he had violated the district’s harassment and violence policy. He was also suspended from participating in football for the remainder of the season.

According to WDIO-TV, the lawsuit alleges negligence on the school’s part and that the suspension process was unfair. It also alleges that the student was suspended in part because the district was under pressure of losing federal funds under Title 9.
The lawsuit asked for a minimum of $75,000 and a jury trial.

On November 12, WDIO reported that the lawsuit against the school district had been dismissed. A court document filed November 9 says all of the student’s claims “have been fully compromised and settled.”

Details of the settlement are not disclosed in the court filing.

WTIP contacted Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen to ask if any criminal charges had been filed. Sheriff Eliasen said he could not discuss the matter, but said, “There is an open investigation involving criminal sexual conduct involving a juvenile.”

WTIP's Rhonda Silence reached out to School District 166 Superintendent Dr. Bill Crandall to learn more. Here's that conversation:



Veterans Day 2018 in Grand Portage - James Corcoran raises the United States flag - Photo by Rhonda Silence

Voices of Veterans Day 2018

Veterans Day 2018 was observed in two special ceremonies on Monday, November 12. The day started in Grand Portage, at American Legion Post 2019. The Stonebridge Singers started the day with first a welcome drum song, followed by an honor song for veterans.

Legion Post 2019 Commander Orlando Swader was the keynote speaker who spoke about remembrance, sharing the historic poem, In Flanders Field by John McCrae. He thanked all veterans for their service, those who have passed and those serving today.

Grand Portage Veterans Services Officer Clarence Everson gave a brief video presentation with music and poignant photos of service men and women around the world. The video included statements from the top military officials at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. honoring veterans on this special day.

The event ended with a time for friendship and fellowship over a luncheon prepared by the Grand Portage Legion Auxilliary.

Many local veterans also attended the Veterans Day Concert at School District 166.

That event featured the Cook County High School Choir and Band. Continuing the remembrance theme of Orlando Swader's speech, the choir performed a song, based on the poem In Flanders Field. 

Bob Carter, an Army medic who served in Vietnam, was the speaker. Carter gave a meaningful speech, sharing a wish made by President John F. Kennedy in the 1960s—that there be no need for veterans; that there be peace in the world.

Carter also expressed thanks to the American Legion Post 413 Honor Guard, which started the ceremony with the presentation of the flags, and all of the veterans at the event. He said as years have passed, he has become more and more thankful with the bond with “his brothers and sisters” of the service.

The event ended with a lovely echoing version of Taps, performed by Jack Willis (pictured in slideshow) and Jonah Schmidt.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence was at the ceremonies and she shares this report.



Veterans raising flags at the 2017 Veterans Day observance in Grand Portage - Photo by Rhonda Silence

Veterans Day observed with several events Monday

Although Veterans Day observances are traditionally held on the 11th day of the 11th month, local ceremonies are being held on Monday, November 12.
There are multiple events happening in Cook County in observation of Veterans Day.

The day starts in Grand Portage with a Veterans Day ceremony on Monday, November 12 beginning at 10:30 a.m. with traditional drum song with the Stone Bridge Singers. There will be a brief presentation and a moment of silence at 11 a.m.
Following the ceremony, the Grand Portage Legion Auxiliary will provide light refreshments.
The Grand Portage event is at Grand Portage Legion Post 2009 at 8495 East Highway 61 (mile marker 146).

Also on Monday, November 12, Cook County School District 166 will be hosting a Veterans Day concert at 2 p.m. The band and choir will be performing musical pieces to honor our military, past and present. Students are assembling a slideshow of photos of veterans in their families.

Throughout the day Monday, Gene’s Foods, 431 Highway 61 in Grand Marais, is offering a free soup and sandwich to all military members in recognition of their service. 

The American Legion Post 413 and the Post 413 Auxiliary will be hosting a Veterans Day Dinner from 4-6 p.m. on Monday at Grandma Ray's. The meal is free for veterans.

At this annual event, the Legion Auxiliary is accepting clean, gently used clothing and other items at Grandma Ray's. Clothing, towels, sleeping bags, coats, boots,...are being collected for homeless veterans.  All items will be driven to a distribution center to be organized and then provided to homeless vets.

Also of note, Grand Marais Public Library will be closed Monday for Veterans Day.


It was standing room only at Grand Marais City Hall for the MnDOT presentation on road construction coming in 2019-20.

Full house for MnDOT Highway 61 construction update

The Minnesota Department of Transportation held an Open House on Wednesday, November 7 at Grand Marais City Hall. It was standing room only in the council room as about 60 community members gathered to hear the latest on the plans for reconstruction of Highway 61 as it runs through the city.

Brad Scott of LHB Engineering gave an overview of the project, reminding the public that this process began in February 2016.
Michael Kalnbach of MnDOT gave a presentation of the plan, explaining the two-stage process starting in 2019 on the outskirts of Grand Marais and then continuing in 2020 in the heart of Grand Marais.

Kalnbach described the detours and traffic control measures that would be in place throughout the process. He shared photos of just what visitors and community members can expect to see as the project advances, such as the 10-foot deep trench that will be cut for utility work and when the contaminated soils are removed from the Cobblestone Building and Harbor Inn area.

The agenda for the meeting called for one-on-one discussion following the presentation, however members of the public said they would like to hear questions from others, so MnDOT and LHB answered questions from the audience for about an hour before breaking into smaller discussion groups.

There were questions about traffic control about specific intersections; about MnDOT’s work at Fall River where a bridge is being built on the Gitchi Gami Bike Trail; about access to businesses; and about future snow removal in the city. Concerns were expressed about parking during the project.

Grand Marais resident Dick Powell asked if MnDOT would help repair the roads that were to be used as detours, such as the road he lives on, County Road 7.

Although officials have said the highway design has been finalized, public comment forms were available for the public, with MnDOT asking for feedback on suggestions for minimizing disruption to the community during the construction project.

Anwers to questions and other information will be posted to the MnDOT Highway 61 project website.

WTIP was at the meeting and Rhonda Silence shares this report.


Dockside Fish Market in Grand Marais. Photo by Joe Friedrichs

Dockside Fish Market changes plan for winter season

 This April, Dockside Fish Market in Grand Marais changed hands. Longtime owners Shele and Harley Tofte retired and a new family took over operations of the market. The market was closed at the time and the news owners reopened for the season a short time later.

The new owners report that things are going well. Well enough that there is a change in operations for the winter season. WTIP’s Rhonda Silence learns more in this interview.

WTIP likes to share news of local businesses -- new businesses, new owners, milestone achievements. If you know of North Shore business owners who should be featured, contact We would love to tell their story! 


Highway 61/Grand Marais Tourism Assn.

City and tourism officials planning for construction in 2019-2020

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is returning to Grand Marais on Thursday, November 7 with the latest—and final—version of the Highway 61 re-design through the city of Grand Marais. 

This latest meeting is a continuation of the work begun in February 2016 when a MnDOT design team, including consultants CJ Fernandez, a highway architect and Jason Aune of Aune Fernandez Landscape Architects and Mike Fischer of LHB, Inc., shared concept designs. 

There was a large turnout for a February 2018 public meeting with MnDOT, at which the agency presented plans for what Fernandez described as the “geometric plan” for the highway corridor. At a city council meeting at that time, Fernandez said the geometric plan was the “core” or the “spine” of the project. 

MnDOT officials and city representatives hope for a large turnout at this meeting as well. Citizens and business owners are encouraged to attend the meeting at City Hall, Wednesday, November 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. 

MnDOT staff will share details about the project, construction phasing, traffic control and will provide an opportunity for attendees to ask questions and learn how to stay informed/involved with the project. Anyone with questions for MnDOT about the plan may call  (218)-725-2708. 

To see the MnDOT project page, click here

To see a MnDOT concept video of the project going through the city, click here. 

More information on the project also available from Patrick at or (218)-387-1848.

If you are unable to attend this meeting, the plans are available for viewing at City Hall anytime during normal business hours. 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence spoke with City Administrator Mike Roth and Visit Cook County Director Linda Jurek about the upcoming construction work and its impact on the city. 



Green Party candidate for MN Senate Paula Overby 10-31-18

Green Party's Paula Overby visits Cook County

Election season continues and so does campaigning. This week WTIP was visited by Paula Overby, the Green Party endorsed candidate.
The transgender Green Party candidate is challenging incumbent Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, and state Rep. Jim Newberger, a Republican from Becker, Minnesota.

Overby is from Eagan, Minnesota. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in psychology and a second major in computer science. As a full time working mother of three, she had a successful career as a systems analyst with experience in quality assurance, data analysis and process design.

Overby is author of The Transgender Myth: Through the Gender Looking Glass.

In this interview, WTIP’s Rhonda Silence learns more about Paula, about the Green Party platform and the challenges faced by candidates not affiliated with either of the two major political parties.



The 2018 North Shore Storm team had a great season - Team photo by Bruce Johnson

North Shore Storm finishes great season at State

The Cook County/Two Harbors cross country running team, North Shore Storm, followed up on their great showing at the Section 7A championship meet with a trip to the State Meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield on Saturday, November 3. Once again the Storm runners faced stiff competition and represented the North Shore well, with the boys’ team finishing 9th and the girls 16th.

Out of 175 runners at St. Olaf, the Storm girls finished strong with Autumn Smith finishing 40th with a time of 20.25.8, followed closely by Cedar Gordon, 44th at 20.38.4. Lamar Gordon was less than a second back, coming in 67th at 21.23.7. They were followed by Claire LaVigne in 69th with a time of 21.24.7, Louise Ramberg, 71st with 21.26.6; Kate Walsberg, 77th, at 21.36.8 and Malin Anderson, 90th with a time of 22.07.2.

The boys’ field included 176 runners. Finishing first for the Storm was Isaac Swanson, in 15th at 16.35.8. He was closely followed by Noah Smith in 23rd, 16.53.9 and Brenden Seipke, 28th at 16.57.9. The rest of the 9th place Storm were Will Surbaugh, 48th, 17.21.5; JC Holman, 101, 18.47.9; Tate Crawford, 104th, 19.02.5; and Kevin Viren, 106th, 19.05.0.

Congratulations to our State competitors and the entire team, as well as coaches April Wahlstrom, Dan Hebl and Sara Schiel.