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North Shore News Hour


  • Monday 12-1pm
  • Monday 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:
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

The mangled Chevy Trailblazer that crashed into the Poplar River in mid-July was removed on September 5

Update: Submerged vehicle successfully extracted from Poplar River

The Chevy Trailblazer that has been submerged in the Poplar River since July 12 has been removed.

Attempts to remove the vehicle began at 9 a.m. this morning, September 5, and continued until just after 2 p.m. when Lake City Towing of Superior, Wisconsin was finally able to extract the car.

Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen said the vehicle’s location was determined by side scan sonar operated by Tom Crossman of Crossman Consulting. Lake City Towing then used “just about every piece of equipment they brought with” to remove the car.

Finally, after a number of attempts Lake City Towing was able to get a large grappling hook attached and pulled the Trailblazer up to Highway 61.

Sheriff Pat Eliasen said the car was completely demolished, not from the water, but from crashing on the rocks. Fortunately, he said the gas tank remained intact and there was no evidence of any fluids leaking from the vehicle.

The car had been in the river since July 12, when a 1995 Roadster motorhome crashed on Highway 61 in Lutsen, nearly tumbling into the Poplar River, 40 feet below. The motorhome’s driver and passenger suffered minor injuries and the motor home was removed from the east embankment by Lake City Towing.

However, the vehicle being towed behind the RV, a Chevy Trailblazer, disappeared into the Poplar River.

On August 3, St Louis County Search & Rescue, assisted by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office determined the vehicle’s location in the river.  The car’s location was found through use of a special large magnet.

Cook County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Valerie Marasco said removal of the car from the river was delayed as the sheriff’s office awaited a decision from the motorhome owner’s insurance company of whether the cost of extraction will be covered by insurance. Marasco said the insurance company is covering the expense of the extraction.

Sheriff Eliasen thanked all involved in the salvage operation—Lake City Towing, Crossman Consulting, the Minnesota State Patrol, the Hovland STOP Team and Lutsen Fire/EMS.

Photos courtesy of Cook County Sheriff's Office

Some of the children that Maria Carlson cares for at Wee Folks Daycare

Childcare in Cook County: a provider's perspective

As many local parents and employers know, finding adequate daycare can be a struggle. There has been discussion on the lack of childcare in Cook County. In this series, WTIP is looking at this issue and what is being done to alleviate this stressful situation for young families.

WTIP reached out to a local home daycare provider, Maria Carlson, to learn more about how home childcare fits into the puzzle. 


A crayfish native to Cook County - Photo courtesy of Cook County Aquatics Invasive Species Program

Clean, drain, dry over Labor Day weekend

The Minnesota "Clean. Drain. Dry." program is meant to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. There are inspectors at boat landings and there is a boat wash program in Grand Marais. 

Rhonda Silence checks in with Cook County Aquatic Invasive Program Coordinator Amanda Weberg to learn how things have been going this summer -- including the latest on the rusty crayfish. A native crayfish is pictured here. 


Superintendent Dr. Bill Crandall

School District 166 begins hiring process for new principal

At the end of the School District 166 school board meeting on  August 16, Principal Bill DeWitt announced that he would be resigning to take another principal job in the Unity School District in Wisconsin. That means a search for another principal for ISD 166. 

The ISD 166 school board met on August 27 to set the wheels in motion to hire another principal.  

After the meeting, WTIP's Rhonda Silence spoke with Superintendent Dr. Bill Crandall about the resignation and about the process to fill that principal position. Here's that conversation