Scare up some pink at Mush for a Cure!

Thu, 03/06/2014 - 11:48am

The community is invited to once again take part in the wild and crazy—and this year, a bit scary—Mush for a Cure. The theme for the 8th annual event’s kickoff on Friday, March 7 is “Pink Zombie Party” which includes the “Bald, Brave and Beautiful” competition. The merriment continues on Saturday, March 8 with pink-clad people and dogs taking to the trail for a fun run that benefits the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Saturday’s events take place on Gunflint Lake in front of Gunflint Pines Resort beginning at 8 a.m. with a pancake breakfast open to all.  The long course, which at press time had 21 participants signed up, begins there with an entertaining sourdough start at 12 p.m. The short course, with 11 racers at press time, including some skijoring teams finishes there, so there is action all day.

The Cook County Ridge Riders snowmobile club will be grilling food and there will be other activities throughout the day.  And in case of inclement weather, a big tent will be set up on the lake.

The highly successful fundraiser has brought in $186,500 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation in its eight years. One of the organizers, Sue Prom of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters encourages everyone to join the fun. Prom said, “This is not a race where one team wins. It's an event where everyone wins by raising money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.”

"Our Town" debuts at Arrowhead Center for the Arts Thursday, March 6

Thu, 03/06/2014 - 11:45am

The Grand Marais Playhouse pleased to present the community youth play "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder, which runs for one weekend only, March 6 - 9. Thursday - Saturday, 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 adults and $5 students. Sunday, March 9 is donation day (pay what you can for your ticket).

This timeless drama of life in the mythical village of Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, has become an American classic with universal appeal. Thornton Wilder's most frequently performed play, "Our Town" appeared on Broadway in 1938 to wide acclaim, and won the Pulitzer Prize. From the very beginning, "Our Town" has been produced in amateur and professional theatres around the world.

Wilder offers a couple of chairs on a bare stage as the backdrop for an exploration of the universal human experience. The simple story of a love affair is constantly rediscovered because it asks timeless questions about the meaning of love, life and death. In the final moments of the play, the recently deceased Emily is granted the opportunity to revisit one day in her life, only to discover that she never fully appreciated all she possessed until she lost it. "Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you," she says as she takes her place among the dead.

Don’t miss this play with a talented intergenerational cast of local performers.

WTIP's "Spring Forward" Membership Drive March 6-10

Thu, 03/06/2014 - 9:47am

Listener support helps WTIP maintain and strengthen our services. Please support our efforts by becoming a member or renewing your membership!

During our "Spring Forward" Membership Drive, March 6th – 10th we’re celebrating all the ways we serve our community of listeners. In addition to providing all our regular services, we’ll be featuring some special programs and highlights, including:

Live music:

 Barb LaVigne and Yvonne Mills Thursday, March 6th at noon

 Eric Frost and Bill Hansen Thursday, March 6th at 1 p.m.

 Max Bichel and John Gruber Friday, March 7th at noon

 Gordon Thorne during The Roadhouse Friday, March 7th

 Sky Blue Trio and the Orange Girl starting at 3 on Saturday, March 8th

 Har-di-Har starting at 4 on Saturday, March 8th

 Amy and Andy Schmidt starting at 5 on Saturday, March 8th

 Derek Smith and Erik Lastine of Whurl starting at 6 on Saturday, March 8th

 The Curry Family Band during Classic Country Sunday, March 9th starting at 6 p.m.


Special Programming and events:

Yummy ice cream social Saturday from 6-8 pm. PLEASE STOP BY!!
Special Celtic music program Sunday from 10 - noon
Special “Shining Examples of women artists” edition of Women in Music
Special "Spring Forward" themed Swing Session on Sunday


Tune in:

90.7 FM North Shore * 90.1 FM Grand Portage * 89.1 FM Gunflint Trail

Call in: 387-1070; 1-800-473-9847

Pledge Online

Stop by: 1712 West Highway 61 in Grand Marais

Deadline nearing for comments on proposed copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 8:07pm

Following up on three public meetings hosted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in January on the potential environmental impact of a proposed copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota, the non-profit Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness (NMW) hosted its own public meeting in Grand Marais on Wednesday, February 19, 2014.

Jerritt Johnston, coordinator for Sustainable Ely and administrator for NMW welcomed about 30 people to the Cook County Senior Center. Jane Reyer, a former attorney for the National Wildlife Federation, (NWF) who lived in Cook County from 1998 to 2006, gave a presentation on highlights of the 2, 200-page supplemental draft environmental impact statement (SDEIS). The information she shared can be found on the NMW website at (

The deadline for comments is March 13, 2014.  Anyone wishing to comment should write to: Lisa Fay, EIS Project Manager, MN DNR Division of Ecological and Water Resources, Environmental Review Unit, 500 Lafayette Road, Box 25, St. Paul MN 55155-4025 or email:

Tofte continues to consider senior housing at Birch Grove

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 8:06pm

After several years of dogged planning it looks like housing for seniors may finally be built in Tofte.

Dick Grabko and Gary Lamppa of Community Connections came before the Tofte town board on February 13, 2014 and informed the supervisors that the Iron Range Resources Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) had awarded the township a grant of $230,000. The money will be used to put in infrastructure for a planned 12-unit senior housing project expected to cost $1.9 million to develop.

Originally the township was hoping to receive $350,000 from the IRRRB but due to a shortfall in the IRRRB’s budget for this grant cycle, it was pared down. Grabko said the township could reapply for the remaining $120,000 in the IRRRB’s next grant cycle.

The township plans on renting housing units at market rates and will finance the rest of the project through general obligation abatement bonds with a 20-year repayment plan. Currently township supervisors have been working with Dynamic Homes on the design of houses. To get a better idea of what might be built in Tofte, township supervisors toured Mill Stream Village in St. Joseph, Minnesota, looking at the layout of those senior living and assisted living houses.

Senior housing options will allow older residents a chance to live in their home town when they are unable to take care of their house, said Supervisor Paul James.

“We are trying to get the cost of the houses down as low as possible and yet maintain quality,” said James.

Senior housing will be on the agenda at the township annual meeting on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.

”We will have a presentation with preliminary designs and we hope costs for the public at our annual meeting,” James said.

A representative from Dynamic Homes should be at the annual meeting to answer questions, said James.

Commissioners pass motion in opposition to gypsy moth quarantine for Cook and Lake counties

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 8:04pm

The Cook County commissioners room was during the Tuesday, February 25 county board meeting as about 35 community members gathered to learn more about a proposed Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) quarantine of Cook and Lake counties in the effort to slow the spread of the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar dispar).

 Lucia Hunt, gypsy moth unit supervisor and Alan Sommerfeld, senior communications officer for the MDA, gave the presentation, which many North Shore residents have heard before, describing the impact of the gypsy moth as a nuisance pest and landscape defoliator. Hunt said that currently, 800,000 acres are deforested nationwide by the pests.

Four loggers and two timber industry representatives and one resort owner spoke after the MDA presentation. Several noted that 800,000 acres were deforested nationwide by the advancement of the gypsy moth. One logger, Victor Bohnen of Grand Marais said that seems relatively small, considering the potential economic hardship to Cook County.

County commissioners seemed sympathetic to the logging industry representatives. Commissioner Bruce Martinson said it seems that the “cat seems to be out of the bag” and there is no stopping the gypsy moths.

Commissioner Garry Gamble said he had talked to some noted entomologists about gypsy moths and had been told that the pests would never ravage Cook and Lake counties, basically because the climate is not suitable for them. Gamble also noted that gypsy moth outbreaks are associated with the presence of oak forests and Cook and Lake county forests consist of 0 percent oak and the Superior National Forest’s 2004 Forest Plan projected that the forest would remain that way for 100 years.

Gamble presented a potential resolution stating the county’s opposition to the proposed quarantine listing numerous other reasons. The board passed the resolution unanimously.

Mush for A Cure on the Gunflint Trail - March 7 and 8

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 4:30pm
Mush For a Cure

WTIP's Ann Possis talks with Sue Prom about the 8th Annual "Mush for a Cure," being held on the Gunflint Trail this weekend (March 7 and 8).  It is the mission of Mush For a Cure to raise awareness of and raise funds to find a cure for breast cancer through annual pledge/tribute runs by dog team.

Ana Genz, Cory Christianson, and Craig Horak are this year's "Bald, Brave and Beautiful" participants.  More information and a donation link are at the "Bald, Brave and Beautiful" website here

Festivities begin Friday, March 7, with registration and the Pink Pasta Feed at Trail Center. The Pink Zombie Party follows from 7 to 11 pm at Windigo Lodge, featuring the Bald, Brave, and Beautiful Contest at 9:30. 
Events on Saturday will take place on Gunflint Lake in front of Gunflint Pines Resort, beginning with a pancake breakfast open to all from 8 to 11 am. The short course begins at 10 am at the Cross River Gravel Pit, and the long course begins with a "sourdough start" at noon in front of Gunflint Pines. The awards ceremony is at 3:30 pm.

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View more news from WTIP

Moratorium on LED illuminated signs nixed by county board

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 3:33pm

When Paul Goettl, owner of Clearview General Store in Lutsen approached the Cook County Planning Commission at its January 2014 meeting with a request to amend his business’s 2007 conditional use permit (CUP) to modify his internally illuminated sign—with LED bulbs—Cook County Planning & Zoning Administrator Bill Lane raised the question of whether or not LED technology is addressed in the current county sign ordinance. That led to a planning commission decision that it should seek a moratorium on all LED illuminated signs for six months, to allow time to consider the question. However, the Planning Commission request met with denial at the county board meeting on Tuesday, February 25.

Goettl’s request was to make a change to the gas station sign on the east edge of the Clearview property, replacing the gas prices displayed below the large white Mobil sign. Goettl explained that the pricing section of the sign was damaged and not repairable. He said the existing base and poles and the upper Mobil sign would stay in place. The only thing to be changed is the lower section, which Goettl explained meant installing a new, more efficient, LED sign.

Goettl’s neighbors were contacted and there was no opposition.

After discussion of whether or not it could make a decision based on the existing sign ordinance and stressing that Goettl’s request was not denied, merely suspended, the Planning Commission passed a motion to impose a six-month moratorium temporarily prohibiting the issuance of conditional use permits for internally lit LED signs in Cook County. The purpose, the Planning Commission said, was to allow the sign ordinance committee to develop ordinance standards and language addressing the introduction of new technology into advertisement displays in Cook County.

UMD to offer "Adult Mental Health First Aid" at Cook County Higher Ed

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 3:32pm

The UMD Continuing Education Department is offering Adult Mental Health First Aid – a ground-breaking public education program that helps people understand and respond to signs of mental illness.  The training introduces participants to the risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds an understanding of their impact, and gives an overview of the common treatments.

 This training is for any person who works with the public including. 

Adult Mental Health First Aid is an interactive eight-hour training program that presents an overview of mental illness and substance use disorders. This training prepares members of the community to provide Mental Health First Aid to individuals experiencing a mental health problem. It is designed to help community members identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness. What you say, how you say it, and how well you listen can have a profound impact on those in need. 

The training will be offered from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 20 at Higher Ed’s Grand Marais campus on West Third Street. There is a $115 fee. To register or for more information call (218) 726-8113.

MPCA postpones releasing wild rice recommendation

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 12:52pm

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has postponed its recommendation on whether changes are needed to the state's water quality standards for protecting wild rice from sulfates.

The agency gave no explanation for canceling last Thursday's scheduled release except to say it wasn't ready. MPCA spokesman Dave Verhasselt said the agency will provide an update when it can in the coming weeks.

The Chamber of Commerce has criticized the study on which the MPCA is basing its recommendations. The Chamber's analysis concludes that based on the MPCA's study, a sulfate standard is unnecessary.

But John Pastor, a University of Minnesota Duluth researcher who's one of the lead researchers, says the current 10 milligrams-per-liter standard or something close is about right. Pastor has been growing wild rice in stock tanks for several years. He says it’s not the sulfate itself that harms the plants. Rather, bacteria living in the oxygen-poor muck convert sulfate into sulfide, which scientists have long known interferes with plants’ respiration and nutrient uptake.

“We found there really is no threshold at which sulfide becomes toxic,” Pastor said.  “As soon as you add any, you get a decline in growth rate.”


Harbor House Grille - Open 11 to 8:30 p.m.

Garlic Steamed Mussels, Fresh Lake Trout, Chicken Arugula Alfredo, Blackberry Pork & T-Bone Steak
smaller mussels.jpg

Join us for a home cooked meal at Harbor House Grille, featuring handcrafted American cuisine. Todays specials include Garlic Steamed Mussels, Fresh Local Poached Lake Trout with a Lemon Dill Cream Sauce, Chicken Arugula Alfredo over Spinach & Portabell Mushroom Ravioli, Grilled Pork Loin with a Blackberry Mustard Sauce & Charbroiled T-Bone Steak. Best Burger in Grand Marais - 1/2# Fresh Ground Chuck Charbroiled to perfection with Potato Wedges or a Salad for $9.95. Try our Duck Bacon BLT Sandwich or our vegetarian Walnut Burger. All come with Potato Wedges or a fresh mixed green salad and under $10. Check out our vegan options: Pasta Puttanesca & a Roasted Wrap Sandwich. View our full menu at  Wood fired oven baked pizzas available eat in and to go start at $12. Call (218) 387-1889. Reservations welcome. Serving Beer, Wine, Spirits & Flavor. Free Wi-Fi. Located at 411 W Hwy 61, across from the Grand Marais harbor. Look for our mellow yellow building with the BIG deck, harborside. See you there! .

Weekend News Roundup for February 28

Sat, 03/01/2014 - 11:09am

Each week the WTIP news team puts together a roundup of the week's news. Taconite pellets spill near Two Harbors, the EPA has invasive species money and the gypsy moth quarantine gets bad reviews from the county board. His and much more…all in this week’s news.


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Person's Name: 
Ruth Backlund



A memorial service will be 11:00 a.m. Saturday, March 1, 2014 at the Wenner Funeral Home in Cold Spring, MN for Ruth M. (Schouviller) Backlund, age 89, who died Tuesday at the St. Cloud Hospital.

Ruth was born in Richmond, MN to Bernard and Mary (Zumwalde) Schouviller. She married Wesley Backlund on November 21, 1947 in Grand Marais, MN. Ruth worked as a teller for many years at the Grand Marais State Bank. She enjoyed bowling, walking, playing cards and beating her daughters at cribbage.

Survivors include her daughters, Katherine Kaye Backlund (friend, Ron Lick), Maralee (Clinton) Park, Peggy Backlund (friend, Juan Carlos Ortega), Lori (Mark) Sundman; grandchildren, Brianna (Mitch) Collins, Jamie (Dan) Hedburg; step-grandchildren, Olivia (Jay) Sundman-Rogers, Becky (Andy) Strand, Janice (Travis) Brown, Ryan Park, Travis Park; great-grandchildren, Henry Collins, Baby Collins, Baby Hedberg; step-great-grandchildren, Sadie and Colin Sundman-Rogers, Peyton Strand, Baby Strand, Kainoa Taylor Quia-Park, Logan K. Oliver Park; siblings, Lillian Sichak and Eleanor Jordahl.

Preceded in death by her husband, Wesley; siblings, Roy, Ray, Bernie, Anna Marie, Viola Brinkman, Theresa Katherine and 1 infant sibling.

Care Partners offers volunteer training in March

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 12:42pm

The gift of friendship can mean a lot for those on the journey of aging or serious illness—just someone to hear their stories, be with them or remind them of their significance.

Care Partners volunteers provide companionship in the client’s home, at the Care Center, or the hospital. Volunteers provide ongoing friendly visits, a compassionate presence at end-of-life, phone check-ins, or caregiver respite—each volunteer finds his own niche.

 Care Partners Companion Volunteer Training will be held March 3, 4 and 11 from 4:30 to 8 p.m. for those who want to provide friendly visits, respite care, or presence at end of life. Contact Care Partners at 387-3788,

Nominees sought for 11th Annual Environmental Stewardship Award

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 12:41pm

The Lake Superior Binational Forum is seeking nominations for its 11th Annual Environmental Stewardship Awards Program. This award honors extraordinary achievements in six categories in the U.S. and Canada.

Nominations can be made on behalf of a person, group, governmental agency or tribe. The deadline for all nominations is April 11, 2014.

The six categories for nominations include Youth, Adult Individual, Business, Industry, Municipality/Governmental Agency or Tribe/First Nations, and Organization. Members of the Lake Superior Binational Program review each nomination and select a winner in each of the six categories. Judges may also make Honorable Mention awards to suitable nominees.

A nomination form, awards guidelines, and past recipients can be found on the Binational Forum's web site at Awards will be presented to winners at a ceremony on Lake Superior Day on July 20.

The Lake Superior Binational Program represents a partnership of federal, state, provincial, and First Nations/tribal governments working together with citizens to ensure the protection of the Lake Superior basin ecosystem.

The Forum is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The U.S. Forum office is located at the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute at Northland College in Ashland, Wis.

For more information call (715) 682-1489.