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North Shore News Hour


  • Monday 12-1pm
  • Monday 5-6pm
  • Tuesday 12-1pm
  • Tuesday 5-6pm
  • Wednesday 12-1pm
  • Wednesday 5-6pm
  • Thursday 12-1pm
  • Thursday 5-6pm
  • 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:
The proposed bridge over Fall River on the Gitchi Gami State Trail received EDA support on September 18

EDA votes to support DNR plans for Fall River bike trail bridge

The Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) tackled a number of matters at its September 18 meeting. In addition to the usual items on the EDA agenda--housing, the business park, the Lutsen golf course--there was a proposal for the EDA to lend support to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's plan for a trail bridge over Fall Creek in Grand Marais. 

The bridge in question is part of the upcoming construction of a new three-mile section of the Gitchi-Gami State Trail. The new segment will start at Fall River Road in Grand Marais and go south along Lake Superior to Cutface Creek, where there’s a rest area on Highway 61. 

Proposed amenities include observation areas and interpretive signage—and the bridge over Fall River, which has raised some citizen concern.

WTIP was at the open house to explain the plan in July. Hear some of the comments about the proposed bridge in that WTIP report.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2019, with completion anticipated by summer 2020

Rhonda Silence spoke with EDA President Howard Hedstrom about the EDA’s motion regarding the Gitchi-Gami Trail and the bridge.

For more information, visit or contact the DNR Information Center by emailing by calling 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).


Cook County Airport

Airport invites visitors to drive (or fly) in for pancake breakfast

The Cook County Airport (KCKC) is the site of the 2018 Fall Color Tour and Pancake Breakfast. The Arrowhead Eagles Aero Club and the Cook County Airport Commission are inviting the public – pilots, want-to-be pilots, and the general public – to come check out the renovations at the airport on September 22.

Breakfast is 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., along with an Open House to showcase the airport’s new arrival/departure building.

There will be aircraft displays and discount airplane rides.

More information at 218-387-3024 or

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence checked in with Mike Raymond of the Arrowhead Eagles Aero Club to learn more.

Artist Jeff Niesen with his art-loving grandmother, Marcy Podas

Art donation welcomes visitors to newly remodeled North Shore Health

Artist Jeff Niesen was commissioned by his grandmother, North Shore Health Care Center resident Marcy Podas, to create some artwork for the recently remodeled medical facility. Jeff's paintings were installed in the sitting area between the hospital and care center, where patients and family members gather for quiet visits. 

Jeff and his delighted grandmother are pictured here at the reception to unveil the original work

WTIP's Rhonda Silence talked to Jeff Niesen about the thoughts behind the paintings which bring the feel of the northwoods indoors for hospital-bound patients. Here's their conversation. 



Mayor Arrowsmith DeCoux

Mayor weighs in on lodging ordinance, stormwater management and levy

The Grand Marais City Council met on Wednesday, September 12 and took action on a number of items that have been on the city’s agenda for quite some time.

The city reviewed ordinance changes suggested by the Grand Marais Planning Commission regarding lodging on the first floor of downtown businesses. After lengthy discussion, the council passed a motion to adopt the proposed ordinance change, which allows lodging on the first floor, but only with a conditional use permit.

That means anyone who hopes to create lodging on the first floor of the downtown waterfront area would have to appear before the planning commission and city council with plans. Although Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux and Councilor Jonathan Steckelberg expressed concern that the criteria for the conditional use permit was not clearly stated, they cast votes to approve the ordinance change.  

The council also adopted its Stormwater Management Plan, approved liquor licenses for area businesses, and more. 

One of the final matters was approval of the 2019 levy numbers.  Just as the county did, the City of Grand Marais set its preliminary levy for 2019 with a 5.99 percent increase.

Mayor DeCoux and the other councilors noted that the 5.99 is the maximum – the city will be working to reduce that number before the final levy is adopted on December 26, 2019.

WTIP's Rhonda Silence spoke with the mayor about the lodging ordinance, stormwater management and the levy. Here's that interview. 


One of the first four homes in the Nordic Star housing development

First phase of Nordic Star housing development nearly full

 One Roof Community Housing and the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority have been working together for more than a year on housing projects here in Cook County.
One of the projects is the Nordic Star development in Grand Marais, which features four single-family homes in phase one (summer 2018) and four more single-family homes in phase two (fall 2018). 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.
According to EDA Executive Director Mary Somnis funding for Nordic Star was made possible through a number of  partnering organizations: City of Grand Marais, Cook County, Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority, Minnesota Housing, Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation, One Roof Community Housing, and Odyssey Development.
The EDA and One Roof Housing are hosting an Open House to showcase the new homes in Grand Marais. The public is invited to gather at the corner of Nordic Star Drive and West Second Street on Tuesday, September 18, from noon to 3 p.m. There will be a brief program at 2 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
“We are delighted to invite everyone who is interested to take a tour of these new homes,” said Mary Somnis, EDA Director. “Please come and see for yourself, the great asset that One Roof is bringing to Cook County with the Nordic Star project. Families will soon occupy the first four homes. Completion of the next four is expected before the end of the year. Join us in celebrating this milestone moment!”
Households interested in purchasing one of the homes should contact Jim Philbin at One Roof Community Housing in Duluth at 218-249-0083, or by email at

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence talked to Philbin about the homes, the criteria for purchasing and more in this interview.

Photo courtesy of One Roof Community Housing


The Grand Marais Fire Department's ladder truck with the flag at half-mast in remembrance of September 11, 2001

A 9-11 remembrance in Grand Marais Harbor Park

In recognition of 9/11, the Grand Marais Volunteer Fire Department has for years, quietly positioned their ladder truck with the American flag flown at half-staff in Harbor Park in downtown Grand Marais, from sunrise to sunset on Sept 11.

To support them and show unified emergency services support for the sacrifices made on this historic day, Cook County Emergency Management and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office joined the fire department this year. Also on hand were representatives of the U.S. Border Protection and Customs, U.S. Forest Service, a number of other fire departments, Cook County Search and Rescue, Minnesota State Patrol and the Cook County volunteer chaplains

Emergency responders gathered at 8:40 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept 11, for a moment of silence at 8:46 am, when the first tower was hit by a plane in the devastating attack on September 11, 2001. 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence was there and shares this report. 

Photos by Rhonda Silence/WTIP


Chamber logo

Cook County Chamber seeks "Business of the Year" nominees

 At the Visit Cook County/Cook County Chamber Fall Gala, scheduled for Oct. 23 at Grand Portage Lodge and Casino, the organizations will announce recipients of three annual business awards. They are asking for help from the public.

Nominations are being sought for three awards: Entrepreneur of the Year; Business of the Year; and Community Business Leader of the Year.

Past recipients for Entrepreneur of the Year have been Sarah Hamilton for her Camp Chow business, Sid Backlund for his regional, frozen Sven & Ole’s pizza marketing effort, and Kim and Chuck Corliss for developing the new North Shore Winery in Lutsen.

Previous recipients of the Business of the Year award include Hedstrom Lumber Company, G&G Septic, Johnson Foods, and North Shore Waste.

And past recipients of the Community Business Leader of the Year have been Howard Hedstrom, Norman Deschampe, Sue and Bruce Kerfoot, Beth Kennedy, and Jan Sivertson.

Jim Boyd, executive director of the Cook County Chamber says, “We need names of those you wish to nominate plus a compelling explanation of why you think they deserve the award.”

Nomination forms are available at the Cook County Chamber of Commerce office at Grand Marais City Hall or online here.

Nominations are open only to members of the Cook County Chamber of Commerce. Nominations are due by Monday, Sept. 17.
For more information, email or call Boyd at 218-387-2079.

Rotary Club members Sam Dalal and Dr. Abul Sharah

India's International Village Clinic founder visits North Shore

WTIP was pleased to welcome a man from Bloomington, Minnesota to the radio station at the end of August. Dr. Abul Sharah was on the North Shore visiting friends and he agreed to stop by to talk about the work his nonprofit, International Village Clinic is doing in rural India. 

 In 2017, the International Health Clinic served 60 villages and 28 schools with prevention programs, such as nutritional supplements, education and vaccinations. The clinic provided 412 pregnant woment with prenatal care and offered family planning assistance. 

The International Village Clinic also offered urgent care at its 12-bed hospital. It provides 24/7 service with two ambulances. In 2017, the medical program performed 56 surgeries, delivered 25 babies and treated 68 tuberculosis patients. Over 100 cataract surgeries were also completed. 

There is much more and more work to be done, according to founder Dr. Abul Sharah, who started the clinic in 1996 with minimal resources. He is quick to express appreciation to all who have helped him and he is very proud of his International Rotary Club connections. 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence spoke with Dr. Sharah about his work in rural India and what inspired him to give back. 


A warm welcome - New Lutsen Resort owner Bryce Campbell with former owners Nancy Burns and Scott Harrison

New owners at Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior

After 30 years of owning and managing Minnesota’s oldest resort, Scott Harrison and Nancy Burns turned over the iconic Lutsen Resort to new owners in August. The historic property is now owned by the North Shore Resort Company, owned by Bryce Campbell and his mother, Sheila.
WTIP’s Rhonda Silence visited Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior to visit with the owners—former and new—to hear what’s next for all of them.  


Alyssa Fenstad spikes the ball back to Esko at the August 30 home game

Vikings volleyball defeats long-time rival Silver Bay

 The Cook County Vikings volleyball team fell to the Esko Eskomos in their first home game on Thursday, August 30, but bounced back to defeat North Shore rivals, the Silver Bay Mariners.
The scores on that Tuesday, September 4 game were 25-23, 25-22, 26-24.
For the Vikings, Reilly Wahlers had 13 digs; Sophie Eliason had 21 digs and 9 set assists. Alyssa Fenstad added 14 kills and 11 digs and Bianca Zimmer had 15 set assists.

Photos courtesy of Michael McHugh/ISD 166