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North Shore News Hour


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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:
A citizen completing a form during a test session for the upcoming 2020 census. Photo courtesy of U.S. Census Bureau

Planning for Census 2020 has begun

The census of 2020 may seem far away, but the U.S. Census Bureau is working to get the word out about the importance of taking part in its count of citizens now. North Shore residents will have the opportunity to take part in the census, by completing the documents to be counted, but also by taking part in the counting process.

Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux is involved in the pre-census planning and WTIP's Rhonda Silence checked in with him to learn more.


Try Hockey Day started under bright blue skies and skaters practiced through sunset on Feb. 19 - Photo Renee Buryanek

Great turnout for "Try Hockey Day"

 The Cook County Community Center was crowded with kids in hockey gear on Tuesday, Feb. 19 during “Try Hockey Day” in Grand Marais.
There were lots of smiles at the high-energy event which was a joint effort of the Silver Bay Blue Line Club and the Cook County Amateur Hockey Association. WTIP spoke with Shane Hoff of the Silver Bay Club and Jim Walner of the Cook County club.
Hoff expressed appreciation to Walner and other members of the Cook County group for all their hard work shoveling and flooding prior to Tuesday. Hoff said, “In small communities like ours, this passion and dedication are a requirement to keeping these opportunities alive for our kids.”
Hoff explained the reasons why the Blue Line Club wanted to have a Try Hockey Day in Grand Marais. He said there were three goals: to show support of the current Cook County hockey families; to generate interest in the sport of hockey and to evaluate interest at various age levels.
For example, said Hoff, there were several Mite 1 and Mite 2 age kids who showed up, which indicates enough interest to create a team at those levels based in Grand Marais. Hoff said it would be ideal if there are enough kids and coaches to form teams based in Grand Marais.
However, he said joining the young players in Silver Bay is an option if that doesn’t work out. Hoff said, “We also want to let folks in Cook County know that there are several families carpooling to Silver Bay for practices.  The Silver Bay Blue Line Club helps families with carpooling expenses by giving a $25 gas card for each practice at a given level.”
Hoff said, “The Silver Bay Blue Line Club is willing to help the Cook County Hockey Association in whatever capacity we can to give these kids the opportunity to play hockey starting next season.”
For more information about hockey on the North Shore, contact Jim Walner at 218-370-1097 or Shane Hoff at 218-226-3122.
Looking at the turnout for Try Hockey Day in Grand Marais, it seems there is a lot of interest in hockey in Cook County.  WTIP’s Rhonda Silence talks to some of the participants in this interview.

Click photos for slideshow - Photos courtesy of Renee Buryanek


Grand Marais Fire Department responding to a shed fire in the alley off 3rd Street in Grand Marais - Photo by Rhonda Silence

Shed destroyed by fire in Grand Marais

The Grand Marais Fire Department and Cook County Ambulance were paged to respond to a structure fire at 111 West Third Street in Grand Marais at 2:30 this afternoon, Feb. 20.

A sheriff deputy was first on the scene and confirmed that a small shed on the alley was fully engulfed and said it could endanger nearby homes. According to the Cook County Sheriff's Office, homeowner Carol Bosman was evacuated from the adjacent house. Her pets were also temporarily removed as a precaution.

The Grand Marais Fire Department responded and by 3 p.m., the fire had been extinguished but the fire department remained on the scene to ensure the blaze was completely out. The fire department and other responders were clear of the scene by 3:45 p.m.

The shed and its contents were destroyed by the fire. There were no injuries.

The cause of the fire is not known at this time.

Law Enforcement Center - Photo Rhonda Silence.jpg

A look at the Law Enforcement Log

 Each week the Cook County Sheriff’s Office provides a brief report of calls made to the Cook County Law Enforcement Center in the past week. This week’s report provides details logged by law enforcement dispatchers from February 13 to February 19.

On Feb. 15, a female snowmobiler was injured when she was thrown off her machine, suffering a possible broken collar bone.

Members of Cook County Search and Rescue and sheriff deputies participated in the rescue effort on the Meridian Road snowmobile trail in Grand Marais. Morgan Eberhardy of Menomonie, Wisconsin was transported off the trail by emergency services and then transported to North Shore Health by ambulance.

Another snowmobiler walked into the Cook County Law Enforcement Center on Feb. 15 to report an accident the day before. Michael Hatecke of Culver, Minnesota reported that his hand was injured when another driver crashed into him.

There was a personal injury accident on Feb. 16 on Pine Mountain Road in Grand Marais. Deputies responded to a report of a vehicle in the ditch at 5:36 a.m. and the driver was arrested for driving under the influence.

There were several calls on crashes. A vehicle slid on the ice on Hungry Jack Road and collided with a Como Oil delivery truck on Feb. 14. There was damage to the vehicle, but no injuries reported.

Another accident with damage to motor vehicles occurred on private property off of Devil Track Road on Feb. 15. No emergency response was needed.

A man from Winona, Minnesota had damage to his vehicle when he backed into gas pumps at Clearview General Store in Lutsen. The vehicle had a broken tail light and there was damage to the interior of the gas pump. 

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office also had some damage to a squad car on Feb. 13 when another patrol vehicle backed into it, causing minimal damage to the bumper. A second incident occurred when a Cook County Sheriff’s Office squad car backed into a private vehicle on Clearwater Road on Feb. 17.

Just before 10 a.m. on Feb. 18, law enforcement dispatchers received a call reporting erratic driving on Highway 61.

There was a report of a domestic disturbance in Tofte just before midnight on Feb. 18. The sheriff’s office learned that the incident had happened previously and the victim was now in the Twin Cities. However, the suspect was arrested and transported to the Cook County jail.
There were two calls regarding juveniles, one regarding an issue with social media.

A damage to property call came in because of illegal garbage dumping on West Highway 61. A receipt was found and the matter is under investigation. 

There were two calls reporting “suspicious activity” on South Broadway in Grand Marais. The activity was people skating on the east bay and walking on the harbor ice by the lighthouse.

Deputies responded to two “check hazard calls,” one near Beacon Hill Road in Schroeder where deputies picked up beer cans on the highway. The other call was from a motorist worried that a semi truck would not be able to make it up the hill on 5th Avenue West in Grand Marais.

Deputies were asked to assist the public in a number of ways, such as traffic control for a tow company; checking and replacing batteries for an individual using the Project Lifesaver system; and aiding a party removing belongings from a home. Deputies also responded to a report of a vehicle rolling down the street on 1st Avenue West.

There were a few calls related to animals. On Feb. 13 there was a call regarding a pet dispute between neighbors. There was also a call of a loose dog on Feb. 15 and deputies were called to release a dog from the pound later that day. There was a call of a dead deer in the road on East Highway 61 on Feb. 17.

There were three calls reporting car and deer crashes, on West Highway 61 and on Resort Road in Lutsen on Feb. 14 and near Bents Road in Grand Marais on Feb. 17.

Several “parking problem” calls were received. An inoperable vehicle was in the roadway at Mile Creek Road on Feb. 14. Another vehicle was stalled in the road on the Gunflint Trail on Feb. 18. And a caller reported concern about vehicles parked on the shoulder of Highway 61 at Devil Track River on Dec. 18.

There was a report of lost keys in the Gunflint Trail area.

A caller from the West End of the county reported an incident of fraud. The caller said they had ordered a phone and received a magazine instead.

Deputies and the Tofte Fire Department was paged to an automated fire alarm at Aspenwood in Tofte on Feb. 17. It turned out to be a false alarm.

On Feb. 18, a caller reported an open door at a building in Grand Marais. It was determined that the door was left open by a delivery driver who was still bringing packages in.

There were several reports from deputies on snowmobile patrol. Cook County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Valerie Marasco said the county conducts these patrols in cooperation with the State of Minnesota, which provides some funds for these activities.

Marasco said the patrols are random, unless the sheriff’s office is requested due to a certain activity or problem spot on any of the trails.
Sheriff deputies also participated in the joint U.S. - Canada border monitoring program, Operation Stone Garden on Feb. 14, Feb. 16, Feb. 17 and Feb. 19.

Through the month there were six medical calls and eight crank or misdialed 9-1-1 calls.

There were 20 traffic stops in which drivers received a reprimand and four drivers were ticketed.

If you need help from Cook County Law Enforcement, dial 9-1-1. For non-emergency calls, contact the Cook County Sheriff’s Office at 218-387-3030.

Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux - Photo by Rhonda Silence, WTIP

Mayor talks about zoning and climate change plan

The Grand Marais City Council met on Wednesday, Feb. 13 and we checked in with Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux after the meeting.
The mayor gave an update on topics discussed, such as a zoning change in the Creechville area of Grand Marais and possible changes to overall zoning to increase opportunities for new housing in the city; on personnel matters.
The mayor expressed appreciation to Karl Hansen, who has gone off the Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission, for his time on the board. The council approved appointment of Ann Possis to the PUC.
In other PUC news, the council received a rough draft of a city climate action plan from Climate Change Coordinator Shane Steele. There was limited discussion on that to give councilors time to read through the draft to discuss at future meetings.  
A related interview, on the delay of the Highway 61 construction project through the city of Grand Marais can heard here.
Here’s WTIP’s Rhonda Silence with more.  


Bob Spry on the ice during the USA Curling Senior Nationals .Spry's team won the Master's Division. Photo by Millie Spry

Bob Spry on winning Curling Senior Nationals team

The 2019 USSMCA National Senior Men’s Championships were held Feb 14-17 at the Duluth Curling Club at the Duluth Convention Center. Among the curlers was Bob Spry of Grand Marais.
Spry participated in the Masters event this year. After four days of curling, Bob's team claimed first place. Team members were Lead - Ray Mickolojak, of Superior; Second - Bob Spry, Grand Marais; Third – Dick “Doc” Fisher, Duluth; and Skip - Seppo Sormanen, Duluth.
The USSMCA Championship is divided into three events: Masters (16 oldest teams), Super Seniors (next 16 oldest teams), and Seniors (remaining teams).  For the Masters Division, each team member must be at least 68 years old.
For the Super Senior Division, each member must be at least 63 years old. Any team may request to be in the Seniors Division regardless of age, but all players must be 55 years old by February 14, 2019.
This is Bob Spry’s first win as a Master, but he has previous honors under his belt. He has won two times in Super Seniors and two times in Seniors.
WTIP’s Rhonda Silence talked to Bob Spry about taking part in this prestigious event.

  1. Bob Spry on the ice at the Duluth Curling Club, with Dick Fisher and Seppo Sormanen.
  2. The team with their trophies. (L-R) Lead Ray Mickolojak, of Superior; Second – Bob Spry, Grand Marais; Third – Dick Fisher, Duluth; and Skip – Seppo Sormanen, of Duluth.

Photos courtesy of Bob and Millie Spry


Director of Nursing Fred "Andy" Andrews - Photo courtesy of North Shore Health

North Shore Health welcomes new director of nursing

North Shore Health has a new director of nursing, Fred “Andy” Andrews. And although Andrews is new to his position as director of nursing at North Shore Health, he is known to many from working in the hospital emergency room for more than a year. 
He’s been in the new role for more than a month now, so WTIP sat down to get to know him. Here’s Rhonda Silence with more. 

A still shot from MnDOT's animation of the proposed improvements on Highway 61 through the city. Photo courtesy of MnDOT

MnDOT delay gives city more time to prepare for road construction

The future of construction for Highway 61 from Cutface Creek through Grand Marais has been up in the air in recent days. Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux told WTIP that the highway reconstruction work is being pushed back from 2019-2020 to 2020-2021. 
The mayor said Minnesota Department of Transportation has taken full responsibility for the delay. He said MnDOT tells the city that there were errors in the survey work completed by MnDOT and a delay in the right-of-way acquisition process, which means bids for the work cannot be let this spring. To take an animated look at the proposed changes, click here. 
However, Arrowsmith DeCoux says it is not necessarily a bad thing to have a delay.
WTIP’s Rhonda Silence learns more from the mayor in this interview. 

Snowarama riders coming in to the bonfire at the Mineral Center during Snowarama 2019 - Photo by Rhonda Silence

Another successful Snowarama for Easter Seals

Saturday, February 9 was a beautiful winter day in Grand Portage, with a sundog appearing in the bright blue sky over the Snowarama for Easter Seals Kids event. There were 160 snowmobilers registered for the day of riding that benefits the Easter Seals organization. 

This was the 16th year that the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino, Grand Portage Trail Riders and Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa joined forces with Easter Seals of Ontario to host Snowarama for Easter Seals Kids.
The event included trail rides, a bonfire and prizes, a delicious buffet dinner and live Saturday night entertainment, featuring Rage N Country.
To celebrate the 16th year at Grand Portage Lodge and Casino, the riders who collect pledges for Easter Seals will receive a chance to win  great Snowarama gifts, including a trip to Las Vegas. Riders received one chance to spin a big prize wheel for each $100 that they raise.
Little Emily Pike, this year’s Easter Seal Ambassador enjoyed a day of riding with her family and fulfilled her duty of drawing the prize tickets.

The top fundraisers were all from Thunder Bay – Wayne Muloin raised $7,660. Jeremy Moore raised $2,602 and Jennifer DeCorte raised $951. A total of $42, 000 was raised for Easter Seals in 2019, bringing the 16-year total to $493,698 for children and youth with physical disabilities. Funds raised at this event help provide financial assistance for children with physical disabilities for essential mobility and communication equipment and fully accessible summer camping opportunities.

 WTIP’s Rhonda Silence joined the fun on Saturday, talking to riders, organizers and of course, Easter Seal Ambassador Emily Pike. Here’s her report.


Matt Conlin of Grand Marais with Adyssey and Odessia enjoying a past Father-Daughter Dance - Photo courtesy of the family

Girl Scouts invite all girls and dads to Father-Daughter Dance

The Cook County Girl Scouts are hosting the 10th Father Daughter Dance on Tuesday, February 19, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the School District 166 cafeteria. 

A grand march will take place at 7 p.m., so moms and friends can see the girls and dads all dressed up. 

However, the rest of the evening belongs to the girls and dads, with live music by the North Shore Community Swing Band. The event will be catered by Alyce’s and there will be pictures by Bruce Johnson and something special for the girls to take home. 

Girls are welcome to attend with dads, grandfathers or any other trusted adult. 

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence talks to local Girl Scout leader Arvis Thompson about past dances and about this year’s event.