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North Shore News Hour

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  • Monday 12-1pm
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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:
National Weather Service.JPG

Significant snow could impact roads Sunday

A winter storm watch has been issued for Sunday morning through Monday, November 5. According to the National Weather Service, Cook County could see snow totals of 6 inches or more.

Duluth Meteorologist Dean Melde says the storm will likely occur over northern Wisconsin first with an estimated 2 to 5 inches, then move north along the north shore leaving 1 to 4 inches, with higher amounts over eastern Cook County. The worst conditions will likely be late Sunday afternoon and evening.

High winds may accompany the storm with gusts of 30 to 40 mph near Lake Superior.

Motorists are advised to expect slippery road conditions. Be sure to clear snow and ice from windows and lights. Brake early, leaving twice the normal amount of room for stopping. Don’t use cruise control in wintry conditions.
 


 
Mayor Arrowsmith DeCoux

Talking with the mayor about the liquor store, YMCA and more

After every meeting of the Grand Marais City Council, WTIP invites Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux into the studio to hear his thoughts on what transpired in the meeting.

Here's WTIP's Rhonda Silence with Mayor DeCoux, talking about the Sawtooth Bluff (Old Ski Hill property) master plan; about the Grand Marais Municipal Liquor Store audit; about the city and county's shared operation of the Cook County YMCA building and finally, the "Oh Ole Night" holiday celebration in the city. 

The city and county will sit down Friday, November 9 at a place to be determined to talk more about the YMCA. 

 

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The city and county are reevaluating their contract for operation of the Cook County YMCA building

City requests more information from county on YMCA operations

The Grand Marais City Council met Tuesday, October 30, and had discussion on a number of ongoing matters.

The council heard from County Land Commissioner Lisa Kerr about the Sawtooth Bluffs Master Plan. Kerr distributed a copy of the draft plan and told the council that she and the plan facilitators, the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission, wants some direction. She said she would come back at the end of November to see if the city wanted to approve the plan.

The council asked what would happen if it agrees to adopt the plan. Kerr said the next step would be to create a joint powers board to manage the Sawtooth Bluff area amenities. And, she said, the city and county would have to decide what the make-up of that joint powers board would be—just city and county officials or user group representatives. And, Kerr asked the board to decide if it wanted an at-large representative of some sort, not affiliated with trails groups at all.  

***
The council had discussion of YMCA financials on its agenda, along with a spreadsheet detailing Y program revenue and expenses. Councilor Kelly Swearingen, the city’s YMCA representative, said that the Y hopes to have a profit of about $30,000 at the end of the year.

Swearingen pointed out the membership numbers—in September 2017, there were 1,679 members. In September 2018, 1,801.

Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux asked for the definition of membership and there was discussion of memberships versus program fees. There were also questions about what those membership and program fees are used for.
County Administrator Jeff Cadwell was at the council meeting, following up on a county request to meet with the city to discuss possible changes to the city/county joint agreement on funding the YMCA. Cadwell suggested the council direct its questions to YMCA Director Emily Marshall.

But, he added that the agreement between the city and the county regarding operations of the building were not related to the YMCA’s programming.

City Administrator Mike Roth disagreed and said the current agreement spells out the city, county and YMCA responsibilities. He said it makes sense to make changes, but to do so, the city needs to understand its current commitment.

The council agreed it needed more information to proceed. Swearingen asked her colleagues to give them her questions about YMCA operations. She will gather that information. The city council also asked Cadwell for copies of the current county/city contract; the county’s new contract with the YMCA and what the county has spent in maintenance at the YMCA.

Cadwell said he would get that documentation to the city and that he would include the county’s budget for the YMCA costs for the last five years.

The council and the city will meet on Friday, October 9 at 10 a.m., at a location to be determined.

*****
In other business, the council heard an update from Grand Marais Liquor Store Manager Chris LaVigne who answered questions that had been raised by the city’s recent audit about store inventory and how price changes are handled.

****
Administrator Roth also shared information on the city’s proposed change to the employee health insurance plan from the Northeast Service Co-op to the Public Employees plan. Roth said the city will save over $10,000 with this change.
Roth said there had been discussion with employees about increased out-of-pocket costs versus lower premiums and increased contributions to individual health savings accounts. He said he appreciated the interaction with employees to figure out the best plan.
The city union voted to accept the change in plans, which Administrator Roth called a “win-win.”

*****
Councilor Swearingen noted that the city administrator does not get an employee review. She asked her colleagues if they were interested in conducting a review. She suggested the current board get this in motion as the makeup of the council could change after the November election.
Swearingen said she could bring in some sample evaluation forms. Roth said he would appreciate a review. He said he also has some staff review templates. They will bring those to the next council meeting for consideration.

*****
The council also approved the hiring of a new volunteer firefighter, Elizabeth Fragale.
And in a light-hearted piece of business, the council approved a street use permit and fireworks permit for the “Oh Ole Night” celebration on Friday, November 23.

Click below to hear some of the council's discussion about the county/city YMCA contract. 
 

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One of the new homes on Second Street in Grand Marais - Photo by Mary Somnis

Concerns, corrections on Nordic Star homes

The North Shore community has been watching One Roof Community Housing and the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) work together on housing projects for several years now.
 
One of the projects is the Nordic Star development in Grand Marais, which features four single-family homes in phase one, completed late this summer.
 
The homes feature vaulted, chalet style ceilings, three bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and living room. The houses will be owner-occupied as a principal residence and cannot be used as vacation rental property. All four of the phase one homes have been spoken for, but WTIP recently learned that there were some deficiencies found during the required home inspection.
 
A home inspector expressed concern about the possibility of mold in the crawlspace of one structure, about improper installation of siding, about placement of a shed too close to the house and a few other things.  
 
WTIP’s Rhonda Silence checked in with EDA Executive Director Mary Somnis and One Roof Housing’s Julie Petrusha to ask about the items that concerned the home inspector—and about what One Roof Housing was doing about it all. Petrusha said she was pleased to explain the process to remedy such concerns and assured the community that the home sales are moving ahead. 

Here's that conversation. 
 

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Cotton Candy was a hit at the Birch Grove Halloween Carnival on Sunday, Oct. 28

Frightfully good fun at Birch Grove Halloween Carnival

For more years than community members can remember, there has been a Halloween Carnvival at Birch Grove Community Center. This year's event, on Sunday, October 28, attendance was on par with previous years. There were plenty of super hero characters, witches, vampires, dinosaurs, princesses and more. 

Volunteers hosted games ranging from a "Lucky Duck Pond" and "Fishing Hole" to golf and bean toss games. There was a nice lunch and cotton candy. There was cookie decorating and a cake walk. 

And to top it all off, Chaz the Magician performed throughout the carnival. 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence was on the scene and shares this report. 

And visit our WTIP Facebook page for lots more pictures! 
 

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Vikings volleyball season ends in playoffs

After some exciting action, the Cook County Vikings Volleyball season has come to an end.
 
The Vikings faced the Cromwell Cardinals in the second round of the playoffs. The Vikings won the first set, 25-16, but fell in the subsequent sets 25-21, 25-17, and finally 25-16.
 
Congratulations to the Vikings for a great season. Best wishes to our senior Vikes: Elsa Lunde, Andrea Larsen, Selah Backstrom, Riley Wahlers, Emma Smith, and Alyssa Fenstad.

 
ISD 166 Principal Megan Myers and Hibbing Community College Provost Michael Raich check out the new culinary arts space

School District 166 culinary arts classroom ready for students

Officials who played a role in the creation of the new School District 166 culinary arts area got a look at the new space on Monday, October 22. 

Checking out the state-of-the-art kitchen and classroom were Representative Rob Ecklund, Iron Range Resources Commissioner Mark Phillips, Hibbing Community College Provost Mike Raich, Cook County Chamber Director Jim Boyd, Chamber Legislative Representative Judy Erickson, and a number of community members. 

Visitors were given a tour by Superintendent Bill Crandall, Facilities Manager Tom Nelson and ISD 166 Culinary Arts Instructor Jason Gesch. 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence visited with some of those in attendance after the tour. Here's that report. 

 

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Throat singers Nina Segalowitz and Taqralik Partridge - Photo courtesy of Sivertson Gallery

Sivertson Gallery busy with Inuit Premiere

Throat singers Nina Segalowitz and Taqralik Partridge will again help Sivertson’s Gallery in Grand Marais celebrate its Inuit Premiere. The women will perform at 3 p.m. on Friday, October 26 at North House Folk School and at 1and 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct 27 at Sivertson Gallery. 

Throat singing is a traditional activity of the people of Nunavik, Canada. Often two women perform together and combine rhythmic tones from both inhaling and exhaling.
Taqralik Partridge is an Inuit poet and spoken word artist from Kuujuak, Canada. She describes throat singing as a game, “You have two people who play with each other and echo each other and the object of the game is to make the other person stop either by exhaustion, laughing or losing the rhythm.”
Nina Segalowitz was born in the far north and grew up in Montreal. She says, “Throat singing is for me a way to bridge two worlds.” She has performed as a throat singer for over 20 years. 

To find out what else is happening during the Inuit gathering, see the complete events schedule here.

WTIP volunteer Jane Alexander learns more about the gathering in this interview. 

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Vote button

Voting questions? Auditor Braidy Powers gives some answers

Voting should not be confusing, but it sometimes can be. What are the deadlines? How do you register? The Cook County Auditor's Office is a great community resource -- it is not only where you register to vote, but it is also where you can get your questions answered. 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence checks in with Auditor Braidy Powers about voting in Cook County, particularly about mail ballots. 

If you still have questions about voting, you can contact the County Auditor's Office by calling 218-387-3000. 

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Operation Family Christmas works to see that every child has a gift for the holiday

Community comes together for Operation Family Christmas

Operation Family Christmas has been part of the Cook County Community for about eight years, working to make sure that every child in Cook County has some gifts for Christmas. For the last three holidays, Jes Rodne of Grand Marais has been coordinator of the program.
Jes provided some details of the program.
 
For applicants:
You must be the parent or legal guardian of the child on the application.

  • The family must live in Cook County.
  • Applications are available at the Cook County Senior Center, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, North Shore Federal Credit Union (Grand Marais, Lutsen and Grand Portage), Grand Marais State Bank (Tofte and Grand Marais branches), Cook County and Grand Portage Human Services, the Violence Prevention Office, Cook County Schools and Birch Grove School in Tofte.
  • Applications must be turned in to Jes Rodne by November 20, 2018 at 4 p.m. No exceptions.

For donors:

  • Christmas Tags will be placed on trees and available at the Senior Center, North Shore Federal Credit Union (Grand Marais, Grand Portage and Lutsen branches), Grand Marais State Bank starting November 26. Tags will have the age, gender and some ideas of each child’s wishes for this Christmas.
  • Donors simply pick up a tag(s), go shopping, and return the gifts unwrapped with each ornament tag securely fastened to the outside of the gift bag by December 17 to either the Senior Center, the North Shore Federal Credit Union in Grand Marais or Lutsen or the Grand Marais State Bank.

If you have any questions, contact Jes Rodne at 218-370-9813 or by email jmrodne@gmail.com.

And WTIP’s Rhonda Silence talked to Jes about the program and how meaningful it is to her and the others who participate. Here’s that conversation.
 

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