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North Shore News Hour

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  • Monday 12-1pm
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News

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:
ISD 166 Board Chair Sissy Lunde and Superintendent Bill Crandall at a recent school board meeting

Local schools among those denied state security grants

The Minnesota Department of Education announced Monday that more than 120 schools will share the $25 million in safety grant funding approved by the Legislature in May as part of a capital investment bill.

More than 1,000 schools had requested money for $230 million worth of projects that will not be funded.

“Students and teachers clearly need more support to ensure our kids are safe,” Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said in a statement announcing the grants.
 
“The school safety grants announced today only scratch the surface,” she said.
 
District leaders submitted applications for individual school buildings. Some districts had multiple projects funded.
The Anoka-Hennepin, Columbia Heights, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville, Mahtomedi, Minneapolis, North St. Paul-Oakdale-Maplewood, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan, Roseville, South St. Paul, South Washington County, St. Paul and West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan districts all had projects funded.

The grant amounts were capped at $500,000 except for the Ada-Borup district in northwestern Minnesota that received $512,726. Education department officials said the grants would be split between the Twin Cities metro area and Greater Minnesota.
Area school districts that received portions of the requested safety grant money were Chisholm, Hibbing and St. Louis County.
Schools that requested safety grant funding include Ely, Esko, Eveleth-Gilbert, Floodwood, Grand Rapids, Greenway, and Virginia. Also denied was the Lake Superior School District and Cook County Schools (ISD 166).

Superintendent Bill Crandall serves both the Lake Superior School District and Cook County. WTIP’s Rhonda Silence reached out to Crandall to learn more.
 

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Walking School Bus - Photo courtesy of Moving Matters.JPG

The six "Es" of Safe Routes to School

Each month the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic offers infomation on a timely "Topic of the Month." This month the topic is "Safe Routes to School" and the actions taken to make Grand Marais a safer walking area. 

Hartley Acero of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic talks about the six "Es" that make a community safer in which to walk. Acero explains they are: engineering, enforcement, education, encouragement, equity and evaluation. 

One of the educational efforts that has taken place in the past is the "Walking School Bus," in which students, parents, school officials, members of law enforcement and the general public walk together to school. It's meant to determine the safest routes for walkers and to encourage children and parents to make that walk part of their everyday routine. The next "Walking School Bus" event will be Wednesday, October 10. 

WTIP's Gary Latz talks with Hartley to learn more. 

 

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 Cook County Sheriff's Office

Theft and vandalism at North Shore Car Wash

Last Friday, Peter Schliep, the owner of the North Shore Car Wash and Laundromat was met with an unpleasant surprise when he opened the car wash for business. Overnight on September 21, someone had pried open a coin box, taking all of the coins and damaging the box beyond repair.
 
Schliep said only one of the two car wash bays was damaged, however, it is a bad time to have a bay down, as there are a lot of grouse hunters and leaf lookers washing cars this time of year.
 
The North Shore Car Wash also provides free boat washes under the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program.
 
Schliep was able to make temporary repairs and both bays are now back in service.
 
Schliep tells WTIP that he has cameras at the car wash and laundromat and Cook County Law Enforcement said the suspects have been identified. The case is currently under investigation.
 
 
 


 
While Grand Marais looks for a solution, an above ground sewer line is in place temporarily

City wastewater department faces challenges

Grand Marais Public Utility Commission workers were putting their pumper truck to use this week because of a faulty lift station on the west side of Grand Marais. That problem has been resolved for the most part, but the wastewater department is facing a deadline to get the line along Highway 61 repaired and back in the ground. 

Rhonda Silence finds out more about PUC activities in this interview.
 

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City Hall

Citizens fill city hall for North House lease discussion

The Grand Marais City Council met Wednesday, September 26 and discussion continued on the city’s lease with the North House Folk School.

The city of Grand Marais owns the property on which the North House Folk School is located. The city leases the harbor side property to the school for approximately $4,000 annually.

North House’s current is lease for 25 years, of which 11 years remain. In 2017, North House approached the city to get an early extension of its lease, to either 50 or 99 years.

Discussion of a possible extension led council members to consider a change to the criteria used to gauge whether North House was fulfilling its side of the lease agreement. Councilors agreed that the lease should clearly outline what the city expects in community outreach programs.

The council asked North House to return to the September 26 council meeting with more information on what the city gains from programming directed at community members, such as programming for local school students and events.

Returning on the September 26 were North House Executive Director Greg Wright, board members Mike Prom and Mark Glasnapp. In addition, there the city council chamber was filled with citizens, many who spoke during the public comment period.

North House provided information in the council packet, listing things such as dedicated educational programs for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes; the high school timber frame course; youth sail camp and deckhand programs; as well as a 25 percent tuition discount for Cook County residents.

North House also pointed to community projects such as the Rec Park timbered bridge and the shelters at the Rec. Park, stating that North House would be open to discussing other such projects to support the city and its residents.
In addition, North House said that it will continue to keep its waterfront campus open and welcoming to the public, adding that North House has conducted the day-to-day and annual maintenance of the folk school grounds, freeing the city’s maintenance department from those duties.

Carl “Pete” Gresczyk, a citizen running for a city council seat, led off the public comment period, stressing that he thinks North House is a great organization, which does a lot for the community. However, he asked the council to put a value on the city property currently occupied by the North House Folk School. He said that value is what should be used to determine what the lease payment should be for the school.

Several other citizens also spoke, with Fritz Sobanja noting that the low lease payment was intended to help the folk school as it was getting established. He suggested that be reevaluated.

Jim Vannet noted that the low monthly payment was terribly inadequate and offered to pay $400 a month to lease the waterfront property. He urged the council to reconsider the lease payment and to not agree to a 50- or 99-year lease. He said that would lock the city into a deal that may not be sustainable.

Barb LaVigne, co-owner of the Angry Trout Restaurant, near the North House campus, said North House has brought great economic benefit to the community, bringing visitors to town in February, March and November, when business is usually slow.
LaVigne also suggested taking the approximately $30,000 or $40,000 that could be collected in taxes on the property and dividing it amongst property owners, to see what the true impact is to taxpayers.

Dave Williams, owner of Bear Track Outfitters, said the city and North House Folk School keep saying the folk school is helping local businesses. He said in his case, it caused him to lose business as the instructor/guides he had worked with went to work at the school. He said not all businesses—or tax payers—see benefits from North House.

The day after the meeting, WTIP’s Rhonda Silence sat down with Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux to talk about the North House lease, as well as the ordinance on first floor lodging in downtown Grand Marais, the city-county agreement on operation of the Cook County Community YMCA and more. 
 

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Megan Myers is the new principal at School District 166

New principal on the job at ISD 166

Megan Myers has joined the administrative staff at School District 166. Myers is the new principal, coming to Cook County from the Circle of Life Academy in White Earth, Minnesota.

Prior to her principal job in White Earth, Myers was a teacher for 13 years, working with grades 6-8 and also high school, specializing in math instruction.

Myers officially started on the job on Monday, September 24 and managed to find some time to visit with Rhonda Silence at WTIP on Wednesday, September 24. Here’s their conversation.
 

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EDA President Howard Hedstrom

EDA helps Lutsen workforce rental housing project meet funding gap

The Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority is involved in a number of housing projects, including a workforce rental housing project in Lutsen. The apartment complex has been dubbed the "Four Directions Dwellings" and will ultimately provide 16 rental units. The EDA is working with One Roof Community Housing, which is actually the developer of the project.

There have been a number of starts and stops for the development, as One Roof and the EDA have worked to obtain funding through a variety of housing sources. Because of unexpected development costs, there is a budget shortfall and One Roof Community Housing is seeking more funding to ensure a successful project. At the September 18 EDA meeting, One Roof asked the EDA to contribute $75,000 to the project. 

EDA President Howard Hedstrom explains the finances of the Lutsen project--and others--in this interview with WTIP's Rhonda Silence. 
 

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Preschool fun - Photo by Christina Vlinder/Flickr

Changes for preschool at School District 166

There have been some staffing adjustments at the start of the year for School District 166, including a reduction in the school's planned preschool offering. The later afternoon preschool option has been eliminated, at least temporarily. 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence talks with ISD 166 Superintendent Bill Crandall about the district's preschool program, as well as the early childhood family education (ECFE) program. 

 

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The City of Grand Marais wants to hear from pedestrians

City still seeking comments on pedestrian walking plan

The City of Grand Marais is working on a pedestrian plan. The purpose of the plan is to identify the transportation needs of people moving at a walking pace. The city hopes to include instrastructure, maintenance strategies and policies in the plan. And the city is asking for the public's help. 

Interactive maps were placed at Grand Marais City Hall, the Cook County courthouse, Grand Marais Public Library, the Cook County Community YMCA, and the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic atrium. They will be there for community input until tomorrow, September 21. 

Anyone interested can also take part in a survey online here

 


 
The proposed bridge over Fall River on the Gitchi Gami State Trail received EDA support on September 18

EDA votes to support DNR plans for Fall River bike trail bridge

The Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) tackled a number of matters at its September 18 meeting. In addition to the usual items on the EDA agenda--housing, the business park, the Lutsen golf course--there was a proposal for the EDA to lend support to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's plan for a trail bridge over Fall Creek in Grand Marais. 

The bridge in question is part of the upcoming construction of a new three-mile section of the Gitchi-Gami State Trail. The new segment will start at Fall River Road in Grand Marais and go south along Lake Superior to Cutface Creek, where there’s a rest area on Highway 61. 

Proposed amenities include observation areas and interpretive signage—and the bridge over Fall River, which has raised some citizen concern.

WTIP was at the open house to explain the plan in July. Hear some of the comments about the proposed bridge in that WTIP report.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2019, with completion anticipated by summer 2020

Rhonda Silence spoke with EDA President Howard Hedstrom about the EDA’s motion regarding the Gitchi-Gami Trail and the bridge.

For more information, visit mndnr.gov/state_trails/gitchigami or contact the DNR Information Center by emailing info.dnr@state.mn.usor by calling 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).

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