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North Shore News Hour


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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:
Gunflint Hills Golf Course awash with wildflowers - Photo courtesy of Grand Marais Parks Department

City continuing hiring process for Gunflint Hills Golf Course superintendent

At the last Grand Marais City Council meeting on June 27, a number of citizens spoke during the public comment period, sharing concerns about the future of the city-run Gunflint Hills Golf Course. WTIP shared some of the discussion here. 

Gunflint Hills Golf Course will again be a topic of discussion at the next city council meeting, Wednesday, July 11. Before that, WTIP caught up with Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux to learn more about the situation at the municipal golf course. 

City Council meetings are held in the Grand Marais City Council Chamber. Meetings start at 6:30 p.m. with a time for public comment.  



Lin Salisbury

Superior Reviews by Lin Salisbury - Paula McLain

In this edition of Superior Reviews, Lin Salisbury reviews Paula McLain's book, "Love and Ruin".


The American Legion Post 413 Honor Guard led the Independence Day parade in Tofte

Rain doesn't dampen 4th of July festivities

Although it rained heavily in the morning and sprinkled thoughout the day, the 4th of July festivities at the Tofte Town Park were still enjoyed by many. 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence was there and she shares this report. Click the photo to see more!


The 2018 Tofte Trek T-shirts bear this logo

Another muddy Tofte Trek 10K in the record books

The Tofte Trek 10K Wilderness Run Walk was yesterday and by all accounts it was a success – it is considered so if participants come away muddy and they did!  

Finishing first in the overall men’s race was Joseph Klecker of Minnetonka, MN. He finished in 38 minutes 59 seconds.

The top local male finisher in the run was Will Surbaugh of Grand Marais, who came in 5th with a time of 42 minutes 32 seconds. Will finished first in his age group of 18 and under.

Will was followed by Colin Treiber of Grand Marais at 45 minutes 31 seconds.

Not far behind them was Ben Seaton of Grand Marais in 10th place with a time of 49 minutes 33 seconds.

The top female finisher in the run was Sage Hurta of Minnetonka, MN with a time of 44 minutes and 37 seconds.

The top local finisher was Sarah Law of Grand Marais in 6th place with a time of 58 minutes 57 seconds.

Finishing first in the race walk for the men was Tim Finnegan of St. Paul with a time of 1 hour 17 minutes.
The top local walker for the men was Jay Halvorson of Lutsen with a time of 1 hour and 50 minutes.
And Jim Wiinanen of Grand Marais did the walk with his grandson, Kaj Erickson. They finished together in 13th and 14th place at 1 hour and 54 minutes.

Ellen Anderson of Tofte was the first place finisher for the women walkers, coming in at 1 hour 24 minutes.
The next locals in the walk were Jenny Kartes and Morgan Johnson, both of Lutsen. They finised in 9th and 10th place.

The Tofte Trek is sponsored by the Sugarbush Trail Association and full results can be seen on their website

The science lab renovation creates a much larger, more user friendly work space for students

Construction under way at School District 166

Construction is in full swing on projects at School District 166. Rhonda Silence takes a tour to find out more about some of the renovations funded by the $6 million dollar bonding referendum passed in November 2016.

To learn more about bond projects, visit the School District 166 website. Check out “Quick Links” on the left and choose “Bond Update” for more information.



Gunflint Hills golf course

Gunflint Hills golf course in flux

There was a full house during the public comment period at the city council meeting on Wednesday, June 27. About 20 people were there and seven people spoke, sometimes passionately in defense of Gunflint Hills Golf Course Superintendent Mike Kunshier, upon his retirement, stating that they felt he had been underappreciated in his role at the golf course for 27 years.

Kunshier submitted his resignation last October and had agreed to stay on through this golf season, to help train a replacement. However, last week he submitted a letter of resignation, effective July 10.

Kunshier spoke and then a number of golfers, praised Kunshier and took the city to task for not completing a job assessment for his job for many years and for not recognizing the work he has done at Gunflint Hills. Several said he has treated the golf course as his own. Golfers appealed to the council to do whatever they can to keep him on staff through the season.

One supporter even offered to make a donation to cover the expense of keeping Kunshier on staff, perhaps as a consultant.

Golfers were also concerned about rumors that the city was considering closing Gunflint Hills altogether, something Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux responded to immediately, stating there was no plan to close the course.

Although golfers said they were glad to hear that, they were still concerned about how the golf course would function without Kunshier on board. They urged the council to develop some sort of transitional plan which includes keeping Kunshier involved for the rest of the season.

Mayor Arrowsmith DeCoux thanked all of the golfers for speaking up and letting the community know about the value of Gunflint Hills. He thanked them for being informed on the matter, especially the understanding that the golf course is not a money making enterprise for the city.

He then attempted to answer some questions, noting first that whether Kunshier stays on as superintendent or not, is not up to the city, as it was Kunshier who submitted his retirement earlier than planned.

Arrowsmith DeCoux said when the city learned that Kunshier was unhappy with the fact that other city managerial positions had been evaluated—and that others had received an increase in pay—the city attempted to find a solution.

As the conversation wrapped up,  golfers thanked the city for looking for ways to keep the Gunflint Hills Golf Course viable, but  several stressed the importance of keeping the current superintendent on staff.

The matter came up later in the meeting, during council reports with councilors Anton Moody, Johnathon Steckelberg and Kelly Swearingen expressing surprise at this turn of events. Councilor Tim Kennedy was absent.

Swearingen said she shared the dismay of the citizens who questioned why the golf course superintendent had gone so long without a job description update. She said that needs to change.

In the short-term, the council is faced with the problem of filling the golf course superintendent vacancy. The mayor agreed to reach out to Kunshier once again.

And city administrator Mike Roth said it is now back to the drawing board with the applicants for the position, as the council agreed it will take a special skill set to take over golf course operations without the training from the current superintendent.

The matter will be on the next city council meeting, scheduled for what is now Mike Kunshier’s last day as golf course superintendent, July 10.


The former Tomteboda Motel site is slated for demolition and cleanup soon

City accepts bid for clean up for former Tomteboda Resort site

The Grand Marais City Council met Wednesday, June 27 and one agenda item was the decision on whether or not to wait for grant funds for the demolition and clean up of the former Tomteboda Motel site on the western end of Grand Marais.

The discussion began with City Administrator Mike Roth recommending acceptance of a low bid for the work from Veit, at a cost of $92,000, which is $34,584 less than the other bid received.

Roth asked councilors if they would like to wait to have Veit begin the demolition, as the city could apply for grant funding from Iron Range Resources for cleanup. However, the city won't know if it received the funding until the end of July, so clean up would be delayed until later this summer. 

The council debated and ultimately decided to proceed. Councilors noted that this is an eyesore for visitors entering the city.
Councilors also expressed concern about someone being hurt at the site, which is now somewhat hazardous. It was noted that the city could be financially responsible if someone was injured there.

Councilor Kelly Swearingen said although she is a “finance person,” she feels the potential savings is not worth the risk.
The council directed Roth to ask Veit to proceed with clean up of the site as soon as possible.

In other business, the city reviewed a contract with Energy Concepts, Inc. as the contractor to install a photovoltaic (solar) power system at the city’s new public works building. The proposal for the work is $139,818.
After discussion of the payback for the work, there was a consensus that this is important to the city for more than any savings the city would receive.

The council also approved two of three requests from American Legion Post 413 for temporary liquor licenses at events this summer.

The first approved is for a beer garden in Boulder Park over the 4th of July holiday. The beer garden will be operated by Grandma Ray’s and manager Justin Bystrom was at the council meeting. He explained a fenced beer garden would be set up at Boulder Park on July 4-7.

Another temporary liquor license was approved for July 26-28 in Bear Tree Park for the North Shore Music Collaborative’s “Star of the North” concert.  That event will also be coordinated by Grandma Ray’s.

The American Legion had also requested permission to also set up a beer garden at Boulder Park during the August Fisherman’s Picnic, but Bystrom said the organization wants to see how successful the July 4th event is first. He said he may return to the council later if the Legion and Grandma Ray’s opt to proceed.

The council accepted the Grand Marais Park Board recommendation to hire Brandy Erickson to work as a seasonal staffer at the front desk at the Grand Marais Municipal Campground.

Wyatt and Andy on their 125-mile crossing of the Florida straights. At times they encountered 8-10 feet waves.

Andy Cochrane kayaks from Cuba to Key West

Andy Cochrane, a Cook County High School graduate, is a freelance writer and photographer. He has been living life "on the road" and on the water. He recently joined a group of men who kayaked from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida. 

Rhonda Silence visited with Andy to learn about this kayak adventure and about what's next. 

Click on photo to see more of the Cuba to Key West adventure. All photos by Johnie Gall. 



Dr. Kristine Woerheide with one of her more unusual patients

Ely's Dr. Kristine has local ties

Many students from Cook County schools have gone on to great adventures and interesting careers. One such graduate is Kristine Woerheide, who is now a veterinarian at the Ely Veterinarian Clinic. 

Rhonda Silence caught up with Kristine to talk a bit about what it takes to become a veterinarian and what she's been up to. 


Lutsen citizens gather at the town hall for meetings on the third Tuesday of each month

Lutsen gets fire and rescue, field reports

The monthly Lutsen township meeting was on Tuesday, June 19. The township supervisors heard an update from Lutsen Fire and Rescue, about 4th of July plans, about upgrades to the Lutsen ball field and more. 

WTIP's North Shore Morning host Bob Pajeski learns more from Andrew Beavers of the Lutsen Township.