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WTIP Weekend News Roundup for January 30, 2016

Sat, 01/30/2016 - 11:27am

Each week the WTIP news staff compiles a review of news from the previous five days. Cook County adopts a new land use plan and still hasn’t gotten rid of its garage-sized culverts. Big animals like elk and moose are in the news and the steel business is still in a slump…all this and more in the week’s news.


Dollar General coming to Grand Marais?

Fri, 01/29/2016 - 8:57pm

A rumor that began circulating last summer appears to be coming true. Dollar General, the nation’s largest retail chain (by number of stores) is looking at building on property zoned for retail sales adjacent to the former Harbor Light Restaurant in Grand Marais.

Richard J. Knight, an attorney living in Appleton, Wisconsin registered the DGI-Grand Marais LLC trademark name on December 7, 2015.

Additionally, the land next to Harbor Light has been has been surveyed to see if a 7,000- to 10,000-square foot store would fit.

To date however, Dollar General or Richard Knight has not applied for a building permit for the property. Grand Marais City Administrator Mike Roth said he has talked with representatives of the company but hasn’t heard back from them.

A move to Grand Marais would appear to follow the company’s plan. Dollar General is opening a store in Silver Bay near AmericInn and planning another store in Floodwood.  It also has locations in Ely, Aurora, Duluth, across the Iron Range and throughout Minnesota.

With national retail sales of $18 to $19 billion, Dollar General is a giant in the bargain retail market, selling a range of household goods, beauty products, groceries, over-the-counter medicines and more. As of October 30, 2015, Dollar General operated 12,396 stores in 43 states, a growth of 900 stores (and three more states) over what it had January 1, 2015.

Neither Richard Knight nor officials from Dollar General returned phone calls to respond to News-Herald questions at press time.

****This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at


The goals of a North Shore hockey captain

Fri, 01/29/2016 - 8:39am

The season is winding down for the North Shore Storm girls’ hockey team this year. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs has this story about the team’s captain, Madison Roy.


Mayor discusses city's timeline for Tomteboda property

Fri, 01/29/2016 - 7:30am

The City of Grand Marais could move a bulk of its facilities and build new garages for city equipment at the top of the hill near WTIP by the end of 2016. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Mayor Jay Arrowsmith-Decoux about the city’s timeline for such a project. 


MNsure open enrollment period ends Sunday

Thu, 01/28/2016 - 12:16pm

The open enrollment period for MNsure under the Affordable Care Act ends on Sunday.  WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Sawtooth Mountain Clinic’s Rachelle Christianson who serves as the program’s navigator.


Local biomass heating plant faces uncertain future

Thu, 01/28/2016 - 11:42am

A long-proposed biomass plant in Grand Marais appears as though it won’t happen anytime soon. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs reports on this story. 



A below zero dip, then more snow and mild weather

Thu, 01/28/2016 - 11:42am

A few more snowfalls coming this weekend and a below zero dip, then back to mild weather. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Carol Christenson.


Winter photography class offered at Sugarloaf Cove

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 8:29pm

Winter can be a great time for outdoor photography, especially if you know the key tricks for getting impressive images in snowy Minnesota!

Join landscape photographer Chris Sandberg at Sugarloaf Cove for a class on winter photography at 10 a.m. Jan. 30. Sandberg has been shooting at the Cove and along the North Shore for the last 13 years, and has taught adult learners for over 20 years. Photographers of all skill levels are welcome at the class. 

The class will explore composition, lighting, scene selection, overcoming winter issues, equipment, and new software to advance your photo skills, with techniques that you can use all year long.

For more information call (218) 525-0001.


This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at

Top topic for January EDA meeting is housing

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 8:27pm

The primary topic of the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) January meeting was housing, as the Work Force Housing Committee gave an update on its progress toward finding potential properties on which to develop workforce housing.

The Work Force Housing Committee—Harrison, Doo-Kirk and Moody—had several meetings with One Roof Community Housing, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is “to provide housing services and building and sustaining affordable homes and healthy neighborhoods using the community land trust model.”

What the EDA is working to develop is different than what One Roof has done in the past—the nonprofit works to provide housing for families at 80 percent of the adjusted median income while the EDA is trying to build homes for those that are at 120 percent of the adjusted median income. Anton Moody said services for the people at the 80 percent level are eligible for Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) programs.

“AEOA is filling that role,” said Moody. He noted the EDA wants to provide market rate—workforce housing—that will enable professionals like teachers, nurses or government workers to find a home to buy.

It was agreed that although their focus is a bit different, One Roof Community Housing could still help the EDA as it proceeds with its housing initiatives. A unanimous motion passed to endorse One Roof as the EDA’s partner on its workforce housing project.

Scott Harrison said still using funds from its Northland Foundation grant, the housing subcommittee has made progress in the study of two potential properties, one near Arrowhead Cooperative in Lutsen and the other west of Homestead Housing in Grand Marais.

LSProject: The John Beargrease Sled Dog Race

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 10:03am

The 2016 John Beargrease Sled Dog Race will start on January 31. Born in 1858, John Beargrease, was the son of an Anishinaabe chief. He delivered mail between Two Harbors and Grand Marais, following a challenging route that paralleled Lake Superior. In this edition of The Lake Superior Project, Curtis Gagnon and Doug Seim talk about the beginnings of the sled dog race that commemorates John Beargrease.

Photos courtesy of Curtis Gagnon.


Mushers prepare for upcoming Beargrease race

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 8:53am

There are many factors that go into a successful run in the John Beargrease Sled Dog Race. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs talks with area mushers about how they stay focused and what they are looking forward to in this year’s race. 


1st & 2nd invites community to celebration of payouts to nonprofits

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 4:57pm

The little second-hand store in the Cobblestone Building off Highway 61 in Grand Marais isn’t just a fun place to bargain hunt. Since 2007, 1st and 2nd Thrift Store has also been raising money for nonprofit organizations in Cook County.

In 2015, the store raised an impressive $73,084, which will be distributed at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, January 27 at the Cook County Senior Center. All Thrift Store volunteers and representatives of the benefitting organizations are invited to the payout party.

1st and 2nd Thrift Store is a volunteer-run organization. The volunteers accept donations, sort and clean them, and sell them in the store at 211 Highway 61 in Grand Marais. Each volunteer designates a Cook County non-profit organization when he or she signs in to work. Volunteers are repaid for their time at the end of each year with a donation to the non-profit organization they have designated. This year 78 volunteers have worked 4,568 hours in support of 50 nonprofit organizations.

The store sells clothing and accessories, household goods, linens, and a wide variety of other goods. Often unusual and valuable items can be found there, such as original art or a skunk fur coat with a note attached saying, “Do not get wet!” Some shoppers stop by regularly to see what new items are available.

1st and 2nd winter manager Gerry Grant issued the invitation to the January 27 event saying, “1st and 2nd Thrift Store is successful because everyone wins: the volunteers who turn their time into financial contributions; the organizations who receive their support; the donors who know their unneeded items will benefit Cook County; and the shoppers who buy quality items at reasonable prices.”

Anyone interested in volunteering at 1st and 2nd Thrift Store should contact the thrift store at (218) 387-1826.


One Act Play "Foiled by the Innocent Maid" to be performed January 28

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 4:54pm

The Cook County High School One Act is well into rehearsal. The play this year is a melodrama called Foiled by the Innocent Maid. The play is directed by Sue Hennessy with the cast of Erica Marxen, Andy Kern, Finn Garry, Linnea Henrikson, Amelia Roth and Lucy Callender.

The play will be presented to the community on January 28 at 7 p.m. Come boo the villain and cheer for the hero and heroine. The play goes to competition against seven other schools on January 30 in Two Harbors.

Following the high school performance there will be a meeting for anyone interested in participating in the 2016 Summer Repertory. One musical and one comedy will be selected based on interest at this meeting. One possibility for the musical is Into The Woods by Stephan Sondheim. This would require a large cast of both men and women with experience singing as well as a host of musicians! Can we do it? Are you willing? Rehearsals would begin in March. Performances would be Mid-July – Mid August. 

Got questions? Contact the Grand Marais Playhouse at 218-387-1284 or email


This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald. Visit the community newspaper at

Sheriff talks ATVs and Beargrease road safety

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 11:20am

The yearly ATV road incident report was presented to the county board this week. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen about ATV complaints and caution on the back roads during the Beargrease.


10 questions with Lily Gruber-Schulz

Tue, 01/26/2016 - 9:35am

Earlier this month, Cook County Viking basketball player Lily Gruber-Schulz topped the 1,000-point milestone for her high-school career. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs caught up with her recently to talk about the achievement and her athletic career with the Vikings.