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North Shore News Hour


  • Monday 12-1pm
  • Monday 5-6pm
  • Tuesday 12-1pm
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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:
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



Despite damp weather, be careful with campfires

The Grand Marais Fire Department, US Forest Service fire crews, and the Cook County Ambulance were paged to respond to a fire on Benedict’s Road in the Pike Lake area at around 1:30 yesterday, August 30.

Lutsen Fire Department, which provides mutual aid to Grand Marais, was also paged, but when Grand Marais Fire arrived on the scene, the request for assistance was cancelled.

Fire crews were able to quickly extinguish the fire, which apparently started by a campfire that had been smoldering in a peat bog near a cabin. Neighbors spotted flames and called 9-1-1.

Grand Marais Fire Chief Ben Silence reminds the public to ensure that their campfires are completely out when they leave.
A fire that is not completely out can smolder for days and even after heavy rains can re-ignite as the ground dries out and wind increases.  
Fire Chief Silence said in addition to the distress caused by a wildfire, an individual found responsible for a fire can be be fined and charged for the costs to fight the fire.

So, this Labor Day weekend, be very careful with fire!

Lucas Leaf, executive director of the Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters--and lucky fisherman--was at the governor's announcement

Governor issues proclamation of Public Lands Day

In recognition of public lands as a resource belonging to all Minnesotans, Gov. Mark Dayton has proclaimed today, Friday, Aug. 31, Public Lands Day.

In his announcement, the governor notes that Minnesota’s 5.6 million acres of state lands provide space and access to a wide variety of outdoor experiences.  This network includes trails for snowmobiling, hiking, biking, skiing and off-road motorized use. Hunters and anglers have access to millions of acres of state hunting lands and waters. And the governor notes, for others, state lands offer solitude and beautiful spaces for camping, wildlife watching and photography.

The governor and DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr were at the Minnesota State Fair at the Department of Natural Resources building, to talk about the benefits of public lands and the Labor Day weekend opportunity to get out and enjoy them.

The winners of the DNR’s social media public lands photo contest were announced. 

In addition to the governor and the DNR commissioner, representatives of a number of organizations were also on hand: Anthony Hauk of Pheasants Forever; Susan Schmidt with the Trust for Public Lands; and Matt Lee, social media director for Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.

WTIP reached out to another State Fair attendee, Lukas Leaf of the Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters, who was there for the governor's proclamation.  



School District 166 is negotiating its contracts with the North Shore Music Association and the Grand Marais Playhouse

School and arts organizations negotiating contracts for Arts Center

The Arrowhead Center for the Arts is part of the School District 166 Grand Marais campus. In addition to housing the school's music and arts programs, it is home to the North Shore Music Association and the Grand Marais Playhouse.

The school has contracts for use of the space by the arts organizations and it is time to renew the contracts. There have been some changes to the use of space by the North Shore Music Association. 

And the school district is in the midst of some reconstruction. The science and culinary arts areas are nearly completely renovated and work will soon begin on the Arts Center roof. That work will mean the space will not be available for performances for an undetermined amount of time. 

Rhonda Silence checked in with Superintendent Bill Crandall to learn more about the changes at the Arts Center. 


Oddz and Endz invites teachers to stop by during their preparation for the new school year

Oddz & Endz -- a community-minded store

Oddz and Endz, the resale store on the west side of Grand Marais, has become an important part of the community. Not only is it a place to recycle gently used household items, it is a source of funding for local nonprofits.

Volunteers work in the resale store and earmark their portion of the profits to nonprofits in the area. Oddz and Ends recently announced its annual payout to the organization sponsored by those volunteers. In its fourth year, Oddz and Endz distributed $47,967.63 to community groups such as churches, historical societies, youth groups and more.

Volunteers earned $11.26 per hour for their chosen nonprofit.

Arvis Thompson, one of the founders of Oddz and Endz said, “Thank you, Grand Marais, Cook County, and beyond for making this all possible!”
In another community effort, Oddz and Endz is doing something special for local teachers as they prepare their classrooms for the coming school year.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence learns more about that effort in this interview.


Road construction is under way on Old Highway 61 and Mineral Center Road in Grand Portage - Photo by Bob Deschampe

Road construction under way in Grand Portage

A long-awaited road reconstruction project is under way in Grand Portage. During the project, there will be periodic road closures on County Road 17, Old Highway 61 and Mineral Center Road.
The first closure, on the Old Highway 61 section, went into effect on August 22 and work is expected to last a few weeks as as Northland Constructors completes pavement reclamation and culvert replacements. 

Drivers in that area are asked to take an alternate route via Mineral Center Road.
The county reminds motorist to drive carefully and to obey all signage.
County spokesperson Valerie Marasco said, “Your patience is appreciated as we work to make these important infrastructure improvements.”
WTIP’s Rhonda Silence  checked in with County Commissioner Bob Deschampe, who also works in the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s construction department to learn more.


Rainbow Camp gathering in 2016 - File photo by Joe Friedrichs, WTIP

Trout Lake Rainbow Gathering attendee arrested on assault charges

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office and Cook County Ambulance responded to a "Rainbow Gathering" being held in the Superior National Forest off of the Trout Lake Road in Grand Marais over the weekend.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office arrested 20-year-old Spencer Fredrickson, of Northfield, Minn, on Sunday, Aug 26. Fredrickson is being charged with 1st-degree assault (strangulation, jaw pulling) and 4th-degree assault on a peace officer.

Fredrickson was attending a Rainbow Gathering where he physically assaulted a 40-year-old female victim, bit off part of another male party’s finger and assaulted a Sheriff’s Office deputy while under the influence of LSA, LSD and ‘Morning Glory Seeds.'
Fredrickson grabbed the female victim by the throat and attempted to strangle her as well attempting to pull her jaw apart by force after the female had attempted to calm Frederickson down at the gathering and refused unwanted advances. The female victim was able to scream for help and a group of people then came upon her and attempted to pull Fredrickson off of her, noting that the defendant was exhibiting "superhuman strength."
During this struggle, Fredrickson then bit off part of a finger of a person named "Satellite."

The group was able to restrain the defendant with Duct Tape to subdue him, until law enforcement arrived.

Cook County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Hayes arrived on scene to assist, and while trying to prevent the defendant from cutting off his own circulation, the defendant assaulted the deputy breaking the skin through the deputy’s gloves.

Both assault victims were treated and later released at the North Shore Health Hospital in Grand Marais. Fredrickson is being held on $200,000 bail in the Cook County Jail and is being charged in court today.