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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:

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.

The Superior National Forest wildfire incident management team - Photo courtesy of Steve Schug

Tofte man travels with Forest Service fire management team

With the numerous wildfires across the United States, the U.S. Forest Service needs helps managing these incidents. Sometimes, they end out a call for assistance from Forest Service retirees. One such retiree is Steve Schug of Tofte, who serves on the Minnesota Incident Management Team.

Most recently Schug was deployed to the Pacific Northwest. 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence learns more about what it's like to be part of this incident management team in this interview with Schug. 

Photo: Steve Schug (on upper left) and the Minnesota Incident Management Team on their latest deployment to Davenport, Oregon. Photo courtesy of Steve Schug


Childcare in Cook County is overseen by Cook County Public Health and Human Services

Childcare--the county's role

Hearing that it can be a challenge to find childcare in Cook County is not a suprise to the people at Cook County Public Health and Human Services. That county department has been working with local daycare providers and parents for years. 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence talks to Heidi Akins and Grace Bushard of Public Health to learn more about the county's role in the local childcare situation. 

Heidi Akins can be reached by phone at 218-387-3620. She also shared links to the following resources that could be helpful for someone considering becoming a home childcare provider: 

Minnesota Department of Health & Human Services - Family Systems. This site includes rules and forms for becoming a licensed for childcare or foster care. 

Attorney Tom Copeland, specializing in representing childcare providers


Girl Scouts get a work out hauling cookies around!

Cook County Girl Scouts preparing for new year

The Girl Scouts of Minnesota/Wisconsin Lakes & Pines - Cook County unit has a long history here on the North Shore. And Girl Scouts will tell you, scouting is about much more than selling cookies. 

Local Girl Scouts have traveled to Savannah, Georgia; Seattle, Washington; New York City and more. Girls have learned cooking skills, first aid, about the arts and business. They've organized community events such as Santa's Workshop and they've been flag bearers at events and in parades. They've been empowered to help others by planting community gardens, helping the homeless in Duluth, assisting literacy programs at the school, supporting animals at the local shelter and so much more. 

And girls have had a lot of fun along the way. But none of this happens without caring adults.

Cook County has girls who want to be scouts, but not enough leaders. Service Unit Coordinator Arvis Thompson asks anyone who may be interested to talk to one of the current leaders to learn how you can become a "leader of girls." 

Co-leaders/helpers are needed for all ages, but in particular, leaders are needed for kindergarten and third grade. There are currently no troops for these girls. The local service unit leaders 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence talks to Service Unit Coordinator Arvis Thompson to learn more about the status of Girl Scouting in Cook County. 

To learn more, visit the Girl Scouts of Cook County Facebook page. Information is also available from Thompson at 218-387-2487  or from Christine Kunze at 218-370-8338. 


Wisconsin Street in downtown Grand Marais would be impacted by the ordinance change - Photo courtesy of City of Grand Marais

Grand Marais Planning Commission recommends change to downtown lodging rules

After several months of gathering information, the Grand Marais Planning Commission met at city hall on Tuesday, August 21 to again consider whether or not lodging should be allowed on the first floor of the city’s downtown waterfront area. It appears the answer may soon be no.

Under the existing city ordinance, lodging on the first floor of a business in the “core downtown waterfront district” is allowed. However, after speaking with business owners in that district and seeking feedback in a variety of ways, the planning commission decided it should change the language to exclude lodging as a permitted use on the first floor.

There had been some discussion about allowing first floor lodging if the property owner brought forward a plan for the space and requested a conditional use permit. However, that language did not make it to the final ordinance revision suggestion.

Planning commission members agreed there was more refining of the ordinance to be done, but ultimately agreed that the ordinance change restricting lodging on the first floor should be made.

The matter is not completely settled. The planning commission recommendation now goes to the Grand Marais City Council for approval. It takes two readings of an ordinance before a language change is adopted, so members of the public will have two more chances to weigh in on this if they wish.

The next city council meeting is Wednesday, August 29 at 6:30 p.m.