Listen Now
Pledge Now



 
 

North Shore News Hour

  • Monday 12-1pm
  • Monday 5-6pm
  • Tuesday 12-1pm
  • Tuesday 5-6pm
  • Wednesday 12-1pm
  • Wednesday 5-6pm
  • Thursday 12-1pm
  • Thursday 5-6pm
  • Friday 12-1pm
Genre: 
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:
James "Sporto" Ford and staff are back at work at South of the Border after a temporary closure. File photo Rhonda Silence

South of the Border reopens after COVID precautions temporarily close doors

In August, WTIP reported on the temporary closure of a Gunflint Trail business, the Poplar Haus, because some of the employees had potentially been exposed to the coronavirus. Another local business--South of the Border Cafe--recently went through the same process. 
 
South of the Border owner James "Sporto" Ford told WTIP that several employees at South of the Border were exposed to someone who later tested positive for COVID-19, so the decision was made to close the cafe. Four staffers were tested and were quarantined for the recommended period. All of the workers' tests came back negative, as did Ford. 
 
Ford said the restaurant was cleaned in accordance with public health guidelines and the doors are open once again, hopefully to stay open; however, Ford added that nothing is certain in this pandemic. 
 
As always, WTIP reminds the public of the precautions put forward by national and local health officials. As cases spiked in the county, with four active cases reported over the weekend, Public Health Supervisor Grace Grinager reminds people to stay home and seek a COVID-19 test if you feel even mildly sick with COVID symptoms, stay six feet apart from those outside of your household, wear a mask and wash your hands regularly.
 
WTIP's Rhonda Silence spoke with James "Sporto" Ford, owner of the popular local hangout for breakfast or a burger, to learn more.
Listen: 

 
School District 166 buses ready to pick students. File photo Rhonda Silence

School board gets report on first day of hybrid model for K-3

Thursday, October 22, was a very busy day for School District 166. The district re-opened its doors to students from kindergarten through third grade in a hybrid learning model and in the evening held a school board meeting.

The meeting was one of the shortest held in months and included a report from Megan Myers, principal, and acting superintendent, about the “pivot” that took place earlier that day. Myers said things went remarkably well. She said parents dropped off students appropriately; students had their lunches and wore their masks and respected the social distancing guidelines. She said it was different, but “it felt like school.”

Board member Carrie Jansen said credit for the smooth first day goes in part to the Zoom meeting for parents conducted by Principal Myers. She said walking participants through what returning to school would look like was very helpful. Jensen said the school board has talked about improving communications and this is a great example of how that could happen. She suggested that meetings like these continue, even after the pandemic.

Myers also reported on the devices being used by students in school and during distance learning days. Every student has their own device. She noted there have been some broken devices and said the school’s decision to obtain devices under a lease program was wise. She said if a device breaks, it is replaced at no charge to families, at least for the first incident.

Board Member Rena Rogers expressed concern that having to pay to replace a device could be a hardship for a family. Myers agreed and assured the board that the school would work with families who may find this a hardship.

The board reviewed a draft resolution that gives the superintendent and the school’s Incident Command Team the authority to make changes to the school model (in person, hybrid, or distance) without having to call a special school board meeting. This was discussed and a consensus was reached on this at the last school board meeting on October 13, but the resolution makes that decision official.

Board Member Rogers said she believes there is a great representation on the Incident Command Team and she said they have been doing good work. She noted that Cook County had just released information on the fourth COVID-19 positive case in a week, which she said demonstrates the importance of having the Incident Command Team.

The board noted the latest information on un-enrollments. As of October 21, there have been 61 withdrawals. Some new students came into the district, so overall enrollment is down 51 students from 431 in September 2019 to the current number of 380.

Board Member Jensen asked Myers if she knows what choices the students who left the district had made. Myers said 10 families choose an online school option, 21 were homeschooling, and 22 children went to area charter schools.

In other business:

  • At the start of the meeting, the board heard a report from student representative Hazel Oberholtzer. She spoke about going to the recent football game to watch her younger brother play and about the volleyball team back in action. She said having these activities has given a sense of normalcy to these student-athletes. The school board asked her how she thinks students are doing with the distance learning model. Oberholtzer said students are tired of the COVID-19 restrictions, but it seems that most understand it is necessary.
  • In his report later in the meeting, Assistant Principal Mitch Dorr agreed that students were very excited about being able to participate in sports. He said it is apparent how important interaction with their peers is and he said the school is working to plan other activities for students to take part in safely.
  • There was a letter of resignation from bus driver Terry Backlund. Backlund said he was resigning because he has become too busy with his realty business. He said he greatly enjoyed his time as a bus driver and added that he appreciated the leadership of school maintenance director Tom Nelson. The board accepted his resignation with regrets and appreciation for his service.
  • In related news, the board approved hiring Andy Keith, who was recommended by Backlund, to take over his school bus route.
  • Finally, the administration reported on the work of the school food program. Myers said over 300 meals, breakfast and lunch, are being prepared each day. The board thanked them for their efforts.

 
 
 


 
Cook County Sheriff's Office squad car, responding to an emergency - WTIP file photo

A look at the August law enforcement log

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office’s busy summer continued in August.  The sheriff's office shares a brief report of calls made to the Cook County Law Enforcement Center throughout the month with WTIP Community Radio.

WTIP requested more information on a number of the incidents logged by law enforcement dispatchers in August 2020. In addition to these calls, there were dozens of business and residence checks; traffic stops; medical calls; crank or misdialed 911 calls and more. Sheriff deputies also participated in Operation Stonegarden, a joint patrol effort with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. They also conducted all-terrain vehicle patrols and assisted the U.S. Forest Service and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on calls. 

Look for more law enforcement briefs for September soon.

August 1
1:41 a.m. A party in Grand Portage thought they saw a person with a warrant for arrest from Carlton County. A deputy checked, it was a case of mistaken identity.
6:19 a.m. There was a report of hotrodders on County Road 7 in Grand Marais. Surveillance was conducted until 6:30 a.m., no engine sounds were heard other than normal traffic.
7:15 a.m. A party came into the law enforcement center to talk to a deputy about his neighbor making complaints about his vehicle being too loud. The deputy inspected the vehicle. It is not unreasonably loud.
7:54 a.m. Three yard signs went missing from a yard in Grand Marais. The property owner said they are getting a camera and will let the sheriff’s office know if they get any pictures.
8:43 a.m. A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer informed the county that they had just advised some campers on the beach on East Highway 61 that they can’t camp there.
11:33 a.m. A party on East Highway 61 to report that their 3 ½ month old puppy had run into the woods and disappeared. While on the phone, the person’s neighbor walked over with the missing dog.
11:52 a.m.  A caller from Grand Marais wanted to speak to a deputy about a hit and run. They are not sure when it occurred, they just noticed the damage.
12:12 p.m. A party in Grand Marais said they had a staff member who was very sad and might hurt themselves. A party was transported to North Shore Health.
3:19 p.m. A party reporting a big white pickup truck parked on the yellow stripes on Broadway Avenue for over an hour. The party called back at 4:00 to say the truck had just left.
3:56 p.m. A caller in Grand Marais said six cars are parked in an area that is blocked off by sawhorses. A deputy advised all parties to move their vehicle. The wooden barriers were put back in place.
5:32 p.m. A medical alert button went off at a residence in Grand Marais and the service is unable to reach the person. A family member is on route and asked for a welfare check. The party was transported to North Shore Health for an injury.
7:15 p.m. A caller reported some ATVs ripping around the rec park in Grand Marais. A deputy located the people and gave them a warning for hot rodding. They will be parking the ATVs for the day.
7:51 p.m. There was a report of a white Ford F-150 pickup in the ditch on East Bearskin Road. Gunflint emergency responders were paged. On arrival they found no one in the vehicle. The vehicle owner, a man from Stanchfield, Minn., called from Grand Marais to report that he was heading northbound on the Gunflint Trail when he swerved to avoid hitting a bear and went in the ditch. A tow was called.
9:19 p.m. A party called with a complaint that her neighbor has been yelling all day. They said this is an ongoing thing, complaints have been made in the past. A deputy monitored the apartment from outside and inside the building for about 15 minutes. The noise from the apartment was no louder than any others in the building. The deputy spoke with the party and advised them of the complaint.
9:33 p.m. A person staying at a local lodging facility is locked out. Cook County was able to reach the manager who would go help the guest.

August 2
3:37 a.m. The two Lions Club tents blew down in the wind. A deputy took them apart and put them by the Lion’s raffle trailer. Both tents appeared to be damaged.
7:51 a.m. A caller reported a lost dog, a medium-sized black lab female named Foxy.
8:12 a.m. A party in Hovland called to say people are camping by the Chicago Bay dock. The party told them they are not allowed to camp there and they responded there is nowhere else to camp. When a deputy arrived at 8:44 a.m., the parties were packed up and ready to leave.
8:29 a.m. There was a dispute between a party at the market by the Beaver House and a musician. The musician has a restraining order against the party and seems to be singing in the area to provoke the person. A deputy spoke with the party and the owner of the Beaver House, who will ask the musician to leave.
1:21 p.m. A citation was issued for a Canadian citizen at the Grand Portage/Pigeon River Port of Entry for possession of 30 grams of marijuana.
3:48 p.m. There was a conflict between campers at Devil Track Campground over who was at a campsite first. The reporting party left and is staying at Two Island Campground as they did not feel safe at Devil Track after the encounter.
3:57 p.m. The sheriff’s office received a second-hand report of a sexual assault on the Gunflint Trail. An investigation was initiated.
4:41 p.m. An individual came into the law enforcement center requesting information on obtaining a restraining order. They were advised they need to go to the courthouse to do that.
8:26 p.m. A party in Grand Marais called to say that while they were walking up the hill toward the courthouse, a party in a maroon pick-up truck went by, trying to start a fight. The reporting party said they were unsure what they did to upset the person. A deputy drove around the area and was unable to locate the vehicle.

August 3
7:47 a.m. A party called from West 5th Street in Grand Marais to report a nuisance bear near their home. The call was transferred to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
12:26 p.m. The sheriff’s office received an inquiry about shooting at gravel pits by Caribou Lake. The caller said there are trucks hauling, but would it be okay to target practice in the evening?
3:57 p.m. A city worker driving a 2005 Chevrolet was emptying trash at the municipal campground and backed into a camper. There were no injuries, but there is possibly more than $1,000 worth of damage to the camper. Photos were taken of the damage to both vehicles and a report was given.
1:18 p.m. A party saw someone looking in the windows of a small cabin in Grand Marais. It was not the owner of the cabin. The property owner was contacted and said he had asked the person to keep an eye on his residence as he was gone for a while. The sheriff’s office will add the house to its residence check list.
2:13 p.m. SX Blasting applied for an explosives permit for the Highway 61 construction project. A copy of the permit was mailed to the State Fire Marshal.
 
August 4
1:39 a.m.
A party came in to the law enforcement center to turn in firearms for a distressed person.
10:28 a.m. A motorist said they were at the blocked highway near Fall River Road and they didn’t know how to get to Grand Marais. Cook County gave the party information on the detour.
 10:32 a.m. A motorist heading north on West Highway 61 in a white 2010 Jeep Wrangler reported that a rock was thrown from a semi and created a 12-inch hole/smashed area in their windshield.
 12:53 p.m. The Grand Portage National Monument reported possible theft of license plates off of a federal vehicle.
 1:11 p.m. A caller reported a small bear cub hanging around between 8th and 9th Avenue West.
4:18 p.m. There was a report of harassment by a former employee.
6:36 p.m. A party in Grand Marais asked for a welfare check for a family member on drugs. The individual made some comments that made the family think they might hurt themselves. The party was located and was coming down from being high. The party declined an offer to go to the emergency room and said they would contact their social worker.
 
August 5
11:05 a.m
. A two-vehicle accident was reported in Grand Marais. A First Responders and the ambulance were paged, but cancelled as there were no injuries. The Indiana driver of a gray 2014 Subaru Outback was cited for failure to yield to the other motorist in a 2008 red Chevrolet HHR.
3:34 p.m. An emergency 911 call came in from the Temperance River area. Cook County was able to reach the party on call back. There was no emergency, they accidentally hit the emergency button.
4:08 p.m. A party on the Gunflint Trail reported another incident of someone damaging their Black Lives Matter sign. They have a white Dodge pickup with a camper in the bed on camera. The registered owner of the truck said he doesn’t remember hitting the sign, but remembers going onto the shoulder of the road. A citation for failure to drive with due care was issued and will be sent by mail. See related story here.
4:16 p.m.  A party brought a child into the YMCA after finding her on the street. The mother was looking for the child when contacted and is on her way.  The child used to go to the YMCA daycare, so the mother said she thinks the little one wanted to go see friends there.
4:17 p.m. A party found a four-wheeler stashed in the woods off a trail in Lutsen. It has no plates. A deputy located the vehicle which was found to belong to the US Forest Service. It was legally parked.
4:30 p.m. A driver called to report that they hit a power box on their property. They wanted to make sure the box was okay. Arrowhead Electric was contacted and inspected the utility box. They said it is fixed.
9:56 p.m. A call came in reporting a possible domestic disturbance in Schroeder. A deputy responded and found a loud party taking place. The group was advised of the time and asked to keep it down. During the visit, one of the parties involved in the alleged domestic violence left the scene and the other went to the hospital emergency room for treatment after being hit with a bottle.
1:13 p.m. A party in Grand Marais asked for help dealing with a difficult guest in a lodging unit. When a deputy arrived, the unwanted person had left.
3:00 p.m. A party from St. Paul called to report that the boat he was towing came of the ball and went into the woods. A tow was on scene by 4: 30 p.m.
6:59 p.m. There was a report from West Highway 61 of a semi with a blown out tire. It is stopped on the lake side of the road, partly in the lane. A deputy stayed and provided lights until the truck was mobile again.
 
August 7
2:31 a.m.
There was a report of an assault in Grand Portage after some rough-housing got out of control. A party was charged with 5th degree assault.
11:41 a.m. A motorist on West Highway 61 reported hitting a deer. The deer was dead and there were no human injuries.
 11:45 p.m.  A caller reported a Snapchat picture and video showing three males in a Tofte gravel pit “playing” with an excavator. The pit is a Forest Service pit, but other contractors store equipment there. A deputy recognized the men from the video and a citation was issued for tampering with a motor vehicle.
3:57 p.m. The National Park Service called about ATVs driving in restricted areas of Grand Portage National Park and speeding on the road. They are looking at putting rocks there to block things off.
 
August 8
11:21 a.m.
There was a report of a black Infiniti Q60 on fire on Clearwater Road. The Gunflint Fire Department was paged. There were no visible flames or smoke when the deputy arrived. The motorist from Maryland told a deputy that the car had sprung a leak and started smoking. The car was towed by Cook County Towing.
11:26 a.m. A medical alert went off at a residence in Grand Marais. A party had fallen, but refused medical treatment. They were assisted in getting up.
11:28 a.m. A party on Cascade Beach Road in Lutsen reported the theft of a Black Lives Matter sign.
12:01 p.m. A property owner in Hovland asked for the number for Judge Magney State Park as people keep driving to his place and turning around. He would like the park to put up better signs.
12:25 p.m. A caller reported that their front license plate had been stolen sometime in the last 24 hours.
5:20 p.m. Proctor police contacted Cook County about a possible stolen vehicle in Grand Portage. The vehicle was located and the party who allegedly took it was not found. The car was released to the owner.
6:44 p.m. A party in Grand Portage said he was being harassed.
8:46 p.m. There was a report of a dog running down the road on Wisconsin Street in Grand Marais. The owner of the dog showed up during the call and got the dog.
 
August 9
7:55 a.m.
There was a report of people camping on the beach near Linnell Road. A deputy found two vehicles and white tent. There are no “no camping” signs at that location.
8:22 a.m. A party in Grand Portage reported that some tools were taken from a vehicle and tires flattened. The vehicle owner did not want to press charges, but a family member of the youths involved wanted the police involved. They are willing to pay damages for vandalism.
9:08 a.m. A party called to get veterinarian contact information as their dog had met a porcupine and has about 40 quills in his muzzle.

August 11
12:52 a.m.
A party in Grand Portage reported a possible break in.
9:15 a.m. An All Lives Matter sign was stolen on the Gunflint Trail near the Maple Hill Fire Department.
10:06 a.m. A party in Grand Marais reported receiving lewd photos of a naked man. The sender’s face was not visible, but reverse lookup showed a number. The party was contacted and admitted that the photo “could have” been sent from his phone. He was advised not to send any additional photos.
11:02 a.m. There was a second hand report of a possible sexual assault. The caller was given information for the Violence Prevention Center.
12:25 p.m. There was a report of some suspicious events in the Lutsen area.
2:20 p.m. Two vehicles met on Murmur Creek Road in Lutsen. One vehicle went into the ditch and needed a tow. There were no injuries.
3:06 p.m. A deputy was flagged down by a group of people looking for a ride back to their car. A local transportation service was contacted to give them a ride back to Cascade.
3:14 p.m. There was a report of three horses that escaped in Tofte. One with black spots, one with brown spots and one white horse.
5:37 p.m. A motorist in a Toyota Camry reported that a semi kicked up a rock and broke his windshield. The party was advised that since there was no vehicle-to-vehicle contact, it did not constitute an accident.
7:10 p.m. Two parties in the midst of a divorce got into an argument over a package that had been sent to the female’s house. A family member was given information on obtaining a restraining order.
7:36 p.m. A 911 call came in that was meant for Anoka County. Cook County made the connection.        
8:14 p.m. There was a report of an unwanted party at a residence in Grand Portage. The party left when they became aware that the sheriff’s office had been call. The party was advised to stay away or be arrested for trespassing.
9:40 p.m. There was a call from South Gunflint Lake that one of the fire trucks is on fire. Responders found that the brakes had caught fire. The fire was extinguished by 9:50 p.m.
 
August 12
12:04 a.m.
A party reported a pole barn door open and light on at a building in Grand Portage. A deputy made a check of the area and closed the door. The Tribal Council will be informed and asked to check out the building to make sure everything is in order.
11:35  a.m. A party reported receiving calls from someone in Cook County claiming to be with Google business.
12:20 p.m. A party came into the law enforcement center with questions about the mask ordinance after being asked to leave the Co-op.
5:23 p.m. The theft of a Black Lives Matter sign was reported on County Road 7.
5:43 p.m.  A party reported a bite in his left shin by a black lab.
 
August 13
11:35 a.m.
Arrowhead Electric reported damage to power poles on Hall Road in Lutsen. Someone took a chainsaw to the poles. 
11:38 a.m. A party in Grand Marais called to report that a dirt bike has driven through new landscaping several times. Cook County suggested that the reporting party put up a game camera.
5:53 p.m. A call came in reporting a fire in a utility room on Ski Hill Road. Lutsen Fire Department and First Responders were paged. A guest was able to put the fire out before the fire department arrived. The fire department ensured the fire was out and all responders were clear by 6:50 p.m.
6:17 p.m. There was a report of a car in the ditch on Clearwater Road.  A tow was called and the car was removed. No injuries or sign of impariment from driver.
 
August 14
9:45 a.m.
A party in Grand Marais called to report that someone had made a hand/arm gesture as if they were shooting at their child. Their supervisor will be informed.
10:46 a.m. A party called to report damage to their mailbox in Grand Marais. It looks like it was hit by a baseball bat.
1:16 p.m. There was a report of an intoxicated person laying on the ground on East Highway 61. A deputy did a welfare check and the person was camping on the beach. They were intoxicated but not going anywhere.
3:50 p.m. A motorist called to report a shredded tire all over on West Highway 61 near mile marker 95. A deputy cleared the debris offf the road.
5:24 p.m. A party hanging out at the Grand Marais Rec Park campground was making people uncomfortable. The person is not a registered guest. The park manager agreed to trespass the individual.
5:59 p.m. A caller on East Highway 61 reported an ATV trespassing on his property.
9:03 p.m. A stray dog was spotted behind Sven & Ole's. The dog was not located.
9:58 p.m. A UPS driver called to report hitting a horse. It was raining and they didn't see the horse until it was too late. There were no human injuries, but the horse was badly injured and died. There was damage to the front left fender, hood and headlight. The driver was sober and Minnesota Department of Transportation was contacted.
10:00 p.m. A party called from Grand Portage to report that a 4-wheeler had been stolen. They woke up and heard it zooming off. The party called back at 9:00 a.m. to report that they had found the ATV. It was out of gas.
 
August 15
9:03 a.m.
A party reported that some young kids were seen climbing on the heavy equipment in the construction zone on Highway 61. The equipment belongs to KGM Contractors.
10:44 a.m. A party called to report damage to three mailboxes on County Road 7. It looks like someone sideswiped them.
12:11 p.m. A caller reported finding a five-year-old with a life jacket at the boat landing on Poplar Lake. The father of the child was located.
9:28 p.m. a small pug/Chihuahua was found at the Grand Marais Rec Park campground. The owner was located at 10:00 p.m.
9:45 p.m. A motorist called from the west side of Grand Marais. She did not see the construction detour signs and wanted to know if she could still drive through to Grand Marais. Cook County explained that she could go through as it is local traffic only. The party was thankful for the information.
 
August 16
2:06 a.m.
A party in Lutsen reported inappropriate touching, possible criminal sexual conduct.
6:04 p.m. A party in Grand Marais reported that their neighbor was racing up and down the road on a dirt bike. A deputy stopped the biker who said the dirt bike had just been purchased. A deputy explained because they do not have a driver’s license and the bike is not insured, they can not drive it on the street. The party was given a warning and told to get a license.
7:24 p.m. An explosives permit was requested for construction on Ball Club Road.
8:29 p.m. A caller on West Highway 61 reported a suspicious person who said they were a census worker. They had legitimate looking paperwork, but it seemed odd they would come around on a Sunday. Cook County advised that they do work on Sundays.
 
August 18
10:39 a.m.
A party wanted to make a report of criminal sexual conduct by a fellow camper on a hiking trip.
1:55 p.m. A party reported being bitten by a dog while at Kadunce River.
8:26 p.m. Deputies were called to respond to a dispute between neighbors about storage of a pontoon boat. They were advised this is a civil matter.
8:54 p.m. There was a report of an assault in Grand Marais. No ambulance was needed, but the party wanted to make a report of the incident.
 
August 19
8:36 a.m.
A party flagged down a deputy on the Gunflint Trail reporting a vehicle in the ditch up the road. Cook County assisted with getting a tow.
11:27 a.m. A small dog got off its leash. It is a small, female, lab-type mutt. The dog was found at 12:13 p.m.
 
August 20
7:35 a.m.
There was a report of damage to the community center pavilion and playground. People were climbing on the roof and there are now holes in it. The reporting party requested more patrols at night to prevent further damage.
8:13 a.m. A bear being a nuisance was reported in Colvill. A party asked for a conservation officer. The phone number was given.
11:49 a.m. A party called from Lutsen with a punctured tire. The person believes it was done by a neighbor after a dispute about shooting red squirrels. The party took the tire for repair and it was found to have a nail in it.
12:24 p.m. A party on East Highway 61 called to report that his neighbor had cut down bushes on his property. The party called two additional times and when a deputy arrived, the caller seemed intoxicated. The party was assisted inside.
2:41 p.m. A caller reported hearing second hand that someone was going to assault him.
3:10 p.m. A female dog that looks like a German long-hair pointer named Rosie learned how to escape her kennel and is missing. The party left a phone number in case someone finds her.
7:09 p.m. There are campers on the beach and woods on East Highway 61, in a no camping area. A deputy responded and advised the campers they needed to move.
9:00 p.m. A business in Grand Marais called to report that they had just kicked a person out of their parking lot for being vulgar. The party is now across the street yelling things. A deputy responded and was unable to locate the person, but will look around.
 
August 21
3:02 p.m.
A hit and run on East Highway 61 was witnessed by a party, who left a note on the vehicle that was hit. The suspect vehicle was an older, blue and white truck. They backed into a car and drove away. The witness was contacted and the registered owner of the truck will be contacted.
4:28 p.m. A party reported hearing from a child that their parent was smoking things, possibly drugs. The matter will be referred to Public Health and the court.
4:30 p.m. A party in Grand Portage called with concerns about an intoxicated person that had not been seen since the night before. The party was found safe.
5:38 p.m. A call came from the Black Lives Matter protest in Grand Marais, by Java Moose. A pickup truck purposely blew black smoke from its exhaust as it passed the protesters. See related WTIP story here.
5:46 p.m. A blue Chevy Suburban was spotted in the ditch. It didn’t look like there was an accident, but the car was stuck. When a sheriff deputy arrived, the owners were in the process of pulling it out of the ditch.
8:43 p.m. A party called from St. Louis County with concerns about a family member with dementia who had driven somewhere, possibly up the Gunflint Trail. All Cook County units were advised to watch for the person. The family called back at 2:57 a.m. The individual had been located in Rice Lake.
11:54 p.m. A group of campers on the West End reported one of their group was intoxicated and aggressive. The party was located and in addition to being intoxicated, the individual had a possible sprained ankle. The deputy separated the person from the rest of the party to sleep in a car.
 
August 22
9:18 a.m.
There was a call of a black husky with white paws running around on East Highway 61. The owner was contacted and will come get the dog.
12:44 p.m. A motorist reported being rear-ended on Highway 61 on East Highway 61. There were no injuries. The call was transferred to the State Patrol.
4:11 p.m. A call came in reporting a person peeing on the side of a local business. The business owner said it didn’t matter if the individual was cited or not, they just want to make sure it never happens again. The deputy talked to the man, who admitted he had to go to the bathroom while waiting for his spouse. He apologized.
4:33 p.m. A party in Grand Portage reported damage to a sign.
10:04 p.m. There was a report of some campers at the municipal campground yelling at and being rough with their kids.
 
August 23
12:15 a.m.
There was a report of illegal camping at Blaze’s Pit in Grand Portage. The party was verbally warned for illegally camping on reservation land. They packed up camp.
12:25 p.m. A bus broke down on the Gunflint Trail near the Trout Lake Road. A tow was called and the family in the bus was transported to Grand Marais.
12:30 p.m. A party reported damage to several mailboxes on Devil Track Road.
12:57 p.m. A call came in reporting two people with flashlights walking around in the yard of a house on Cascade Beach Road.
1:10 p.m. An 11-year-old King Charles Cavalier named Charlie ran off into the woods on Pike Lake Road. The dog’s owner called back at 7:45 a.m. the next day. Charlie was found.
7:27 p.m. A motorist in a Cadillac Escalade called for assistance getting a tow. North Coast Towing was reached and assisted.
10:30 p.m. A party on County Road 7 in Grand Marais called to report vandalism to a political sign. Someone spray painted an X on the sign. See related WTIP story here.
10:30 p.m. A call came from a party on County Road 7 reporting someone trespassing. The party is in a white car. Another call came from the party in the car that said they had pulled over to take a photo and the property owner was verbally abusive to them. They tried to leave but the property owner stepped in front of the vehicle. A deputy arrived and the landowner decided they did not want to file any charges.
 
August 24
2:23 a.m.
There was a report of a party camping at The Point in Grand Marais. The party was reprimanded for illegal camping and they left.
10:43 a.m. A party called the sheriff’s office claiming that he had been falsely arrested and abused by the court. It was determined by the court that he needs a psychological evaluation and he wants a cease and desist against the court. He also requested that the sheriff’s office ask the county attorney to cease and desist the 50-year protection order on file against him. The party was advised to contact a private attorney.
 
August 25
11:06 a.m
. A party on County Road 7 reported the theft of a Black Lives Matter sign. This is the second sign taken this month. The party was advised to put up a game camera.
12:09 p.m. Cook County Public Health received a report that employees at a business on West Highway 61 were not wearing masks. A deputy visited the business and all employees were wearing masks except one who had a face shield. The manager was advised of the complaint.
12:38 p.m. A party called to report an accident the night before. They said they were driving up the Gunflint Trail near Poplar Haus. A car missed the turnoff to Poplar Haus, stopped and back up into them. The reporting party’s vehicle has significant damage and they need an accident report.
3:19 p.m. There was a minor collision at the gas pumps at a West End business. The parties exchanged insurance information.
5:20 p.m. A caller reported seeing a black and white collie-type dog along West Highway 61. The party was advised to call Arrowhead Animal Rescue.
6:12 p.m. A party called to report finding a light-colored dog loose on West Highway 61. Two girls are keeping it distracted at the moment by rubbing its belly. The dog was put in the Grand Marais pound and the owner was contacted. The owner paid the $25 pound fee and claimed the dog.
7:26 p.m. A party visiting Grand Marais called to report a set of keys lost the lake. The key fob has a Christian fish symbol on it.
7:35 p.m. The pastor from the Lutsen church called seeking assistance for a person who was picked up by a Cook County resident near Two Harbors. The person is from Sudan and was working in the county. The person needs a place to stay. The sheriff’s office suggested contacting Public Health, but they are not open. The church will try to find a place for the person to stay.
 
August 26
8:24 a.m.
There was a report of a motor home stuck in the road construction near mile marker 114 on East Highway 61.
9:30 p.m. Two calls came in from Grand Portage reporting a person was outside, yelling and being threatening. Medical assistance was provided.
 
August 27
6:59 a.m.
A customer at Holiday was short a dollar for their purchase and threw change at the cashier and screamed at them. The party was not wearing a mask. This person has been abusive to staff and other customers in the past and Holiday would like her barred from entering the store. The paperwork to do so will be completed and delivered to the sheriff’s office.
11:28 a.m. There was a report of some two- to three-inch rocks covering the road on West Highway 61. The sheriff’s office cleared the rocks from the road.
9:08 p.m. A caller said a friend who has an order for protection against their spouse is staying with them. The caller had questions about the protection order. They were informed that the protection order covers their residence.
 
August 28
8:09 a.m.
A party called to report a red Ford truck with a topper parked at the lakeside wayside rest at Cascade for several days. It hasn’t moved, so seems suspicious. The sheriff’s office inspected the vehicle. There is camping gear inside, so it is likely the party is camping somewhere in the Cascade State Park area.
11:50 a.m. There was a report of an intoxicated person at Judge Magney State Park. The party thought they were in Wisconsin. The party was located and found to have two firearms. The person does not have a Minnesota permit to carry and was taken into custody for observation.
12:44 p.m. The Grand Marais Recreation Park called to report that a person who had been trespassed from the campground was there. The party was located and informed of the trespass order and told they could be arrested if they kept going there. They were cooperative during the conversation and left the Rec Park.
1:04 p.m. A party called to report that their neighbor’s dog was in their fenced yard. This has happened before and they just want this on record that they do not want this dog in their yard.
9:47 p.m. A motorist hit a bear on West Highway 61. The call was transferred to Minnesota State Patrol.
9:50 p.m. The Grand Portage Pigeon River port of entry called to report a motorist with a revoked license. The sheriff’s office responded and transported the driver to a nearby residence.
 
August 29
5:15 a.m.
A party called from Minneapolis multiple times requesting welfare checks for family members in Grand Marais. Welfare checks were made and it appears this person is having psychological problems and the Bloomington Police Department was contacted.
11:16 a.m. A party came into the law enforcement center with a note that was given to an underage girl with a strange Biblical message. The sheriff’s office talked to the party who said the message was not threatening, he just likes to hand out scripture to people. The party was advised to be aware of other people’s beliefs and not to give cards to those who do not want them.
12:36 p.m. A call came in from North Bearskin about an intoxicated person throwing things. The party is not wanted at the cabin. The intoxicated person was transported to a hotel in Grand Marais.
6:55 p.m. A party came into the law enforcement center to report that the No Trespass signs that he put up were torn down and his neighbor is still cutting down trees on what he believes is his land. This is an ongoing neighbor dispute.
7:10 p.m. There was a call reporting a child screaming. The reporting party talked to the child who said she had been hit. When the sheriff’s office responded, there was no sign of abuse. The child was playing “pirate” and sounded happy. There was no sign of any injuries.
9:19 p.m. A family called to report a suicide attempt. The party was transported to North Shore Health.
10:05 p.m. A party called from Grand Portage to report an incident of indecent exposure.
11:18 p.m. There was a report of a domestic disturbance at Kimball Lake campground. A man struck a woman and she sprayed him in the face with bear spray. The male party was arrested.
 
August 30
3:20 p.m.
A party at a Gunflint Trail campground reported a suspicious vehicle driving around. A deputy responded and the party said they were just looking for firewood.
5:05 p.m. The party from Minneapolis with psychological issues called back again with more requests for welfare checks. The people were talked to after the last calls and it was determined they should not be disturbed again.
 
August 31
4:13 a.m.
A sheriff’s office squad car went into the ditch on the Clearwater Road. The car hit a phone box. The squad car received significant damage and a tow was requested and Cook County Towing will respond with its flat bed truck.  CenturyLink was notified.

The Cook County Sheriff's Office can be reached with non-emergency questions at 218-387-3030. In emergencies, dial 9-1-1.

 
 
 


 
A Trump Rally was held along Highway 61 in Grand Marais on September 18. Photo by Rhonda Silence

Two demonstrations--BIPOC and Trump Train--line Highway 61 in Grand Marais

For several months, a demonstration has been held at 5 p.m. each Friday along Highway 61 in Grand Marais with participants holding signs calling for justice and equality for the BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) community. In recent weeks, another group has lined the highway with its own message supporting President Donald Trump, the military, and the police. 
 
The BIPOC group has numbered from 20 to 100 participants each week. Hear a related story about their first gathering on May 29. The newer group, with large American flags and Trump 2020 flags numbered about 25 on Friday, September 18. 
 
WTIP's Rhonda Silence visited the scene and spoke with one of the participants who said the Trump supporters did not decide to demonstrate on Friday evenings to antagonize the social justice group. Colton Thompson of Grand Marais said Friday is the only evening when he is off before 6:30 p.m. 
 
Thompson said he will be on the sidewalk alongside Highway 61 to show pride in America every Friday, as well as Saturday, at least until the upcoming presidential election on November 3. He invited any like-minded individuals to join his group. 
 
Thompson explained that the Trump rally was launched after Gary Radloff, Sr., the Grand Marais Municipal Campground host was asked to remove his “Thin Blue Line” flag at his campsite. Radloff willingly removed the flag when he was informed that he could not fly a political sign at his campsite, which is technically city property. See the related story here.
 
After that incident, a handful of people have gathered almost every Friday to show solidarity for law enforcement. The group has grown and has now become an endorsement for President Donald Trump. 
 
Asked what he would say to anyone who may be intimidated by the group. Thompson said the Trump supporters don't disagree with them. He said they all support justice for Breonna Taylor and he was glad to hear the Taylor family had received some justice. He said many of his group also press for police reform in such cases.
 
As far as trying to cause conflict, Thompson said, "We're not trying to start anything. We just like to voice our opinion as this is America and it is a free country."
 
 Although there was a call to the Cook County Sheriff's Office about possible conflict, the only police presence was seen when what appeared to be a car club went through, with about five muscle cars revving engines and speeding past the protest. A sheriff's office squad car pulled out of a side street and pulled one of the vehicles over. 
 
Otherwise, it was a relatively peaceful evening, with the two demonstration groups standing apart from one another. 
One lone participant was on the corner by Java Moose. Tim Ramey of Hovland wasn't joining either group, but held up a sign saying, "Jesus' love matters." 
 
Here's WTIP's Rhonda Silence in conversation with one Trump Rally participant, Colton Thompson of Grand Marais. 
Listen: 

 
The welcoming wall at Cook County School District 166 - File photo

Levy, childcare and clean air on ISD 166 agenda

The September 17 meeting of the School District 166 school board started on a high note, with a report from the school's student representative, Hazel Oberholtzer.

Oberholtzer shared the results of an informal study she had done with her fellow students after the first day of school, asking if things are going better with distance learning compared to when it was first instituted last spring. She had a response of 46 students, who felt positive about the start of the new school year. Oberholtzer said she asked what was better and students replied they felt they had more interaction with teachers and a better schedule to follow.

Oberholtzer said she gave the option for survey takers to give comments and she said the main response was "Why are we not in school?" She said students pointed out that School District 166 is a small school and there are much larger schools around the region that are in session, either in person or in a hybrid model. Oberholtzer noted that she has no answer for those students.

School Board Chair Dan Shirley said distance learning will be held until at least midquarter, in October, when the safe learning model will again be reviewed.

School sets levy at maximum allowed
In financial matters, the school board agreed to set its levy as the maximum amount allowed. School Financial Director Lori Backlund said just what that number will be is not yet available, as the school is awaiting revenue numbers from the Minnesota Department of Education. However, she said, based on the school's financial data the levy would be 7 percent lower than last year.

Backlund stressed that the school's financial data is unknown at this time, but advised setting the levy at its maximum in case that amount is needed.

The school board asked about the impact of students withdrawing from ISD 166 on school finances and Backlund said it is not yet known. For budgeting and levy purposes, schools use the population of the previous year. The impact of students leaving the district will not be felt until later in the school year.

According to the principal report in the school board packet, as of September 15, there have been 50 un-enrollments. There have been a few new students, making the overall enrollment drop 45. The school has gone from 431 students in September 2019 to 386 today. The elementary and middle schools saw the decline. High School enrollment is actually up one as students enrolled in post-secondary education opportunity programs still count as an enrolled student in the district.

School and YMCA collaborate on child care offering
While ISD 166 planned on offering childcare for nearly all parents considered “”emergency” and “essential employees” on the list provided by the State of Minnesota back in August, the most recent directive from Governor Tim Walz changes who is eligible for this childcare support.

The previous order allowed for support for “Tier 1” critical workers, such as healthcare or public health, law enforcement, judicial, educators and childcare providers, but also for a “Tier 2” list of frontline workers. The Tier 2 list included employees such as food distribution workers, utility workers, waste management, etc.

At the beginning of September, Principal Myers and the school district safe learning task force worked to set up a system for providing care for children of Tier 1 and Tier 2 students at no charge to those families. The care was to be provided during regular hours.

The school is close to being filled with students whose parents fall in the Tier 1 category, Myers told the school board. To help the parents in the other “Tier,” who no longer qualify for the free childcare through the school, a partnership has been formed with the Cook County Community YMCA.

Because there is a charge for that student support, the school has heard from many distraught parents.

Board member Lunde said she empathized with those parents. She noted that if school was open, as could be allowed under the MN Department of Health guidelines for opening schools, these parents would not have to pay for their child to be in school during the day.

Lunde asked how the YMCA could charge for this childcare, noting that the school is paying the paraprofessionals that are with the students. Board Member Deb White also questioned the fees. Principal Myers said the fees go to the Cook County Youth Agency Coalition (CYAC), not the YMCA. That coalition supports community children.

Myers added that the school and the YMCA are doing the best they can to provide financial assistance. There is a sliding scale for childcare, based on the free and reduced lunch criteria. And scholarships are available, using the COVID-19 pandemic CARES Act funding.

Myers said the school has no other option. She said it either had to work with the YMCA to help provide childcare assistance under this format, or close the program to just the families whose workers fall under the Tier 1 category.

She added that having the expanded childcare program also benefits school paraprofessionals who otherwise might have been laid off.

The board thanked Myers for explaining what was happening. Board Member Carrie Jenson said she had heard from many parents who were confused and frustrated by the change in childcare options. She suggested having some sort of question and answer session with parents.

Myers said many parents had reached out to her and she believes she has been able to answer their questions. She invited parents to call her at the school at 218-387-2273 or email her at mmyers@isd166.org.

The board again thanked Myers and school staff for their hard work during this difficult time. Jensen noted that the program is the best it can be in the current parameters.

Investment in air purifying system approved
There were many questions about the purchase of an AtmosAir Solutions air-purifying system for the school building. The cost to install such a system in the entire school building would be $214,639, but School Maintenance Director Tom Nelson recommended making the installation in phases, covering classrooms, the halls and cafeteria first for a cost of $77,335.

The remainder of the system is for the school gyms, which, Nelson said are large enough and have a sufficient air turnover that it is not critical to install at this time.

There was considerable discussion about how the air system would be paid for. Options include school health and safety funds, long-range building maintenance funding and CARES Act funds, which cover expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was agreed that some of the CARES Act funding should be used, but Board Member Sissy Lunde noted that the school should hold some of the coronavirus-related money in case it is needed at some point in the future.

Nelson said that would be wise and pointed out that part of the funding was in the budget already, under health and safety as the school was already considering the air purifying system. He said last year 30 percent of the student body was absent at some point because of the flu. The air purifying system would help prevent that, as well as allay some COVID-19 pandemic concerns.

The school board voted unanimously to move ahead with the purchase of the first two phases.

In other business:

  • The board considered the employment contract with Principal Megan Meyers for her temporary appointment as superintendent in the absence of Superintendent Dr. Bill Crandall for medical reasons. It was agreed the school attorney should review the contract. Once the attorney makes his decision, a special school board meeting will be called to make the final approval. The contract will be retroactive to when Meyers took on the position.
  • The school board reviewed the student and staff handbooks and voted to approve them for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • The school board set its Truth-in-Taxation hearing for December 17, 2020 at 6 p.m. at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts. That may be changed to a virtual meeting via Zoom, depending on community health conditions at that time.
  • The board accepted the resignation of Alpine Ski Coach Charles Lamb with great regret and many thanks for his dedication--and time spent in bitter cold at the ski hill.

 
 


 
Election 2020 - courthouse flag.  Photo by Rhonda Silence

County Auditor talks mail ballots and election security

A reminder went out to postal customers last week, reminding anyone voting by mail-in ballot to allow plenty of time for their ballot to make it to its destination and be counted. 
 
Cook County has been conducting mail balloting for most of the county since 1997, so it is fairly routine for many local voters. 
 
However, for citizens of Grand Marais precincts, there have been polling places open on election day, at the Cook County courthouse and at the Cook County Community Center. That is still an option for the November 3, 2020 election day. However, anyone who would rather not vote in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, mail also vote by mail ballot. They simply have to apply to receive a mail ballot. 
 
WTIP’s Rhonda Silence spoke with Auditor Braidy Powers, who oversees the elections here in Cook County and he said his office has received more requests for mail ballots than ever before. 
 
For that reason, WTIP reached out to Auditor Powers, to talk about the need to return those mail ballots in time. 
 
WTIP also asked Powers for his thoughts on President Donald Trump’s comments at a recent rally suggesting that people vote twice to test the system. Powers urges voters not to do so, noting that to try to vote more than once is a felony. 
 
WTIP also asked Powers about the president’s advice that voters go to the polls and ask to see if their ballot was received and counted. Powers said citizens can do that, but he added that his office would prefer a phone call. The phone number for the auditor’s office is 218-387-3640.
 
Powers said in Minnesota, voters can also track their ballot online at MNvotes.org
 
WTIP’s Rhonda Silence talked about all this with Auditor Braidy Powers in this interview. 
Listen: 

 
Cedar Grove Business Park - File photo, Rhonda Silence

EDA asks city to consider adding "services" to business park allowed use

It seems that zoning in some form or another comes up at every meeting of the Grand Marais City Council. At the Tuesday, September 9, council meeting a request for a zoning ordinance change within the Cedar Grove Business Park was discussed.
 
The Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) oversees the business park. EDA Executive Director Mary Somnis attended the council meeting to answer questions. Somnis explained that the requested change to the city's ordinance would simply add services to the list of allowed uses at Cedar Grove Business Park.
 
The need for the change came up because of a purchase offer to the EDA for a business park lot from Brad Shannon with the nonprofit organization NorthPoint. Shannon would like to create a youth center on a lot abutting the Gunflint Trail. He is looking at a small lot to the west of the Como Oil and Propane lot.
 
After an offer and counteroffer, an agreement was made for Shannon to purchase the lot in question for $25,000, including closing costs.
 
However, it appears the youth center concept does not fit in the business park under current city zoning ordinances. Somnis said for the EDA, the youth facility falls under services, which is an allowed use in the business park covenants.
 
Somnis said the ordinance change was being requested to align the city's ordinance with the business park covenants, which would then allow Shannon to proceed with the proposed teen facility under the services moniker.
 
There was considerable discussion of what is allowed in the business park and about the original purpose of the business park. Councilor Kelly Swearingen asked for more time to consider the request.  Councilor Craig Schulte also said he would like some more time to do some research.
 
Grand Marais City Administrator Mike Roth noted that the lots have been sitting vacant at the Cedar Grove Business Park for a long time. He suggested that the city would benefit from a lot sale to any entity, nonprofit, or not.
 
Roth said, “Think about if we don't sell this lot to anyone. The special assessment that is paying for the water and sewer that was constructed for this will continue to be paid by county and city property taxes. And the use, the maintenance of those water and sewer pipes will continue to be paid by other ratepayers.
 
“If we do sell this property, irrespective of whether they pay property taxes, the sale will support the bond that was used to pay for the construction of the water and sewer. The use of the water and sewer then will be paid with rates. There could potentially be employment that's created as well.
 
“So it seems to me, even if we're concerned about this being supported with public dollars, that it being sold for actual cash, then developed and used by anyone is a better situation than not being sold and the EDA continuing to own it, and continuing to pay the special assessment for the water and sewer with city and county property taxes,” said Roth.
 
Councilor Tim Kennedy serves on the Grand Marais Planning Commission, which recommended approving the change. Kennedy noted that the ordinance change would better match the existing conditions at the business park, which includes mainly businesses that offer some sort of service, not any manufacturing.
 
Kennedy talked a little bit about the original plans for the park and noted that many local businesses, such as road contractors, heavy equipment companies, etc., reserved lots for equipment storage and warehouses.
 
However, that did not happen, said Kennedy, adding, “And then the economic decline happened and pretty much none of those businesses ended up performing on their reservation agreements and unfortunately, the park had gone ahead and made decisions and here we are today.”
 
Kennedy said, “We all know the struggles that we've had over the years to try to get occupancy in the park and you know, we have some good businesses in there paying taxes.  They’re providing services there, you know, employing people, it's beginning to work”
 
In addition, Kennedy noted most of those existing businesses are “service-type activities.”
 
Kennedy noted that Shannon hopes to move ahead with his lot purchase but deferred to his colleagues and agreed to wait to review more information on the history and the use of the business park. As far as the EDA vision for the business park, Somnis said yes, the hope is that the park will fill with commercial enterprises.
 
Somnis noted that during the discussion a couple of people mentioned the vision of the EDA and what sort of businesses are wanted there. She said, “What we want in the business park is people that have some kind of commercial use. You know, we're not out looking for nonprofits, that isn't a vision. It's a response to the inquiries that are coming in."
 
Somnis said the EDA would continue to work toward the goal of more commercial establishments in the business park and talked a little bit about the inquiries that she had had recently.
 
Somnis agreed to provide a map of the business park as well as the covenants for the councilors and return to a future meeting. The council will consider the request again at their next council meeting,
 
Listen to this report on news from the city of Grand Marais with WTIP reporter Rhonda Silence.
 

Listen: 

 
Mary Sanders and Nancy Koloski checking out the progress at the Serenity Garden at North Shore Health. Photo by Rhonda Silence

Work is underway at Serenity Garden at North Shore Health

Construction of a "Serenity Garden" is underway at North Shore Health. In what was a barren spot between hospital and care center wings, landscaping is taking shape. The purpose of the Serenity Garden is to provide a natural healing space for patients to observe out their windows or to visit with their families. 
 
WTIP's Rhonda Silence got a tour of the future garden on a rainy September 3. The progress was evident, with forms ready to be filled with concrete and pavers by S&C Masonry. 
 
Mary Sanders and Nancy Koloski were the committee members giving the little tour. They were delighted to talk about the design, the drainage and the future plantings.  Planting will not happen until spring. 
 
They were also pleased to share the news of their "Pave the Way" project, which gives the public the chance to purchase a paver to engrave with a special message. The message can be a memorial or an honorarium or a meaningful statement. 
 
The deadline is coming fast--anyone interested in purchasing a paver must do so before September 11. For more information on purchasing and engraving a paver for the Serenity Garden, contact Nancy at nancykoloski@gmail.com or 218-663-0147. 
 
The garden planners are also hoping to form a group of Serenity Garden friends, to assist with thank you notes and to help maintain the greenery. Anyone interested in becoming a Serenity Garden friend may contact Mary Sanders at marylsanders@mail.com or call Mary at 218-387-1729. 
 
WTIP's Rhonda Silence learns more about the Serenity Garden in this interview. 
Listen: 

 
The Governor's Cabin and a camper at WunderBar are on the auction block. Images courtesy of Auction Masters.

WunderBar campers, cabin, and building contents up for auction

The WunderBar Eatery and Glampground opened in 2017 with hopes to revitalize the building that was once the Harbor Light Supper Club. However, in August 2019, the owners of the Wunderbar, Chris and Teri Downing, doing business as Heart Rock LLC, were in bankruptcy court. Financial troubles plagued the business which brought the concept of “glamping” to the North Shore, offering stays in several revamped campers and elegant Lotus Belle tents.

The glamping model was well received and WunderBar received a great deal of media attention around the region. The funky atmosphere and frequent live music nights made the Wunderbar a popular destination for many locals. However, according to Chris and Teri Downing, keeping the WunderBar open year-round was a struggle.

WTIP spoke with the Downings in August 2019, who said Heart Rock LLC was in the process of restructuring. A GoFundMe site was established and the Downings raised approximately $50,000 to keep the eatery afloat. The couple thanked the community for its support at that time. Listen to that interview here.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the WunderBar had to shut down operations, although Chef Chris Callendar continued to offer meals, free of charge and/or by donation to the public until the WunderBar announced it was closing its doors permanently in June 2020.

The final chapter for the WunderBar is taking place this week, with an auction of the contents of the building and the campers and cabin in the yard. Auction Masters & Appraisals is conducting an online auction now through Tuesday, September 16.

On the auction list is a 1957 Mallard camper trailer, two 1963 Winnebago camper trailers, a log cabin once owned by Minnesota Governor Jacob Preus, picnic tables, a couple of televisions, a professional smoker with propane tank, an expresso machine, seasonal décor and much more.

The auction catalog also includes some of the items that were in the bar when it was Harbor Light Supper Club, owned by Doug and Sandi Rude, such as a jukebox, pool table and furniture. WTIP contacted Auction Masters to confirm that those items were included in the sale. Greg Christian of Auction Masters said the Rudes no longer own any of the items on the list.

To see the catalog of auction items or to register to bid, visit the auction website here

The Rudes still own the Harbor Light building, which once had a purchase offer from Dollar General. That sale fell through in 2016 after public opposition over the proposed discount franchise and the city of Grand Marais’s issuance of a moratorium on construction of any commercial retail development over 5,000 square feet along the highway on each end of town. The moratorium passed in February 2016 remained in effect for one year.

So for now, the future of the Harbor Light Supper Club building is once again uncertain.
 


 
Kat's Tats - Katie Bissell, or Kat, at work. Submitted photo

New business in Grand Marais offers tattoos and piercings

A new business has opened in Grand Marais--Kat's Tats, offering tattoos and body piercings. Kat is Katie Bissell and her new business is the first of its kind in Cook County. 

However, she is familiar to some North Shore residents. She visited Grand Marais several times in the past with her mobile tattoo parlor, staying and working at the Wunderbar and at Trailside Cabins in Grand Marais. Asked if that means there are people here in Cook County with a tattoo or piercing by her, Kat laughed and said, "Yes, there's actually many!" 

WTIP wondered what Kat would say to someone who doesn't like tattoos or piercing. She said people should be open-minded. 

Kat works out of her mobile trailer at her residence on County Road 7 in Grand Marais. And because of COVID-19, there are some additional safety measures. Appointments are necessary. 

More information can be found about her business under Kat's Tats on Facebook. 

WTIP's Rhonda Silence spoke with Kat about what it took to become a tattoo artist and to start her business in Grand Marais. 

If you know of North Shore business owners who should be featured, give us a call at 218-387-1070 or email: Rhonda@wtip.org. WTIP would love to tell their story!

 
Listen: