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North Shore Morning

AM Community Calendar/photo by masochismtango on Flickr

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News and information, interviews, weather, upcoming events, music, school news, and many special features. North Shore Morning includes our popular trivia question - Pop Quiz! The North Shore Morning program is the place to connect with the people, culture and events of our region!

 


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Adult female rusty blackbird

Field Notes: Rusty blackbird

Field Notes with Molly Hoffman can be heard every Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning between 8:00 and 10:00 from April through October. Support for Field Notes comes from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

(Photo courtesy of Seabrooke Leckie on Flickr)

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Lutefisk!

West End News: October 29

The umpteenth annual Lutefisk and Ham Dinner at Zoar Lutheran Church in Tofte is scheduled for Saturday, November 14, from 5-7 pm.  This very popular fundraiser has deep roots, going back to the arrival of the original Norwegian immigrants on the North Shore.  In fact, it really goes back to pre-historic Scandinavia when fish had to be preserved for longer periods of time than simple drying would allow.
 
Lutefisk is dried cod fish that is soaked in a lye mixture for two days at which point it is dangerously corrosive.  An additional 5 days of soaking in cold water, changed daily, makes it edible – at least according to some people.
 
The directions for making lutefisk specifically warn against leaving it in the lye mixture for too long because saponification of the fish fats may occur.  This led me to Wikipedia where I learned that saponification is the process that produces soap, usually from fats and lye.  Saponification is a great vocabulary word, but not one that you usually see in a recipe.
 
Of course, the most notorious fact about lutefisk is - what I will politely call - its “distinctive” odor.  The taste is surprisingly mild though, especially when slathered with melted butter.  The mouth feel is a bit strange.  Think fish-flavored Jello and you’ll be close.  If lutefisk isn’t for you, the good cooks at Zoar make plenty of ham, which is an equally traditional dish for Norwegian-Americans. 
 
This year, for the first time, the church is asking people to make reservations for the dinner and the number of diners will be limited to 100.  All you have to do is call the church at 663-7925 to leave a message with your name and how many people you are bringing.  You can pay the night of the dinner.
 
This is a quick reminder to return your ballots for the general operating school levy referendum before November 3. You can also vote in person on November 3 at the courthouse in Grand Marais.
 
The West End lost two of its most vivid citizens this month.
 
Rob McCampbell died at home in Tofte on October 19.  Since moving to Tofte, Rob spent most of his years at his beautiful cabin on Pancore Lake.  When the Cross River Café was still in business in Schroeder, Rob was a regular, driving all the way down from Pancore to hang out with his friends.  He had an outgoing personality that served him well as he developed a retirement business of selling Turkish rugs.  He ran the Uhller ski lift at the hill for several years.  He would keep detailed and interesting conversations going with multiple people as they cycled through the lift, demonstrating his keen mind and sharp wit.  He was deeply in love with his wife, Perihan.
 
Bernie Sajdak, from Schroeder, died on October 18.  Bernie was a renaissance man with a brilliant mind and a wide range of practical skills.  He did many jobs through his life, including a busy lawn care business most recently.  Bernie also planted many thousands of trees on contract with the Forest Service.  He was an unstoppable tree planter, who loved to work long hours alone.  For many years afterward, he would visit his planting areas to check on their progress and was pleased with the big contribution he had made to the future of our forests.
 
Perhaps Bernie’s greatest passion was his skill as a trapper.  He was an old-school trapper who ranged deep in the woods, where he plied his trade based on his vast and detailed knowledge of animal behavior.  Bernie loved working by himself in the woods.  He always said that his dog never argued with him about when and where they went.  He was one of a small number of people who have been trampled by a moose, although he always made it clear that he didn’t blame the moose. I doubt if there are many left who understand the woods like Bernie did.
 
Bernie always expressed his gratitude for the love shown him by his beautiful and resourceful wife, Bobbie, and his talented and successful children.  I’m sure the whole West End joins me in wishing them our deepest condolences.
 
The West End will never be quite the same without Rob and Bernie among us.
 

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Birch Grove Community School

School News from Birch Grove: October 28

Sophia and Kalina report the latest School News.

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USFWS Midwest

North Woods Naturalist: Spawning coasters

In the streams and on the shoals, the Coaster Brook Trout are busy. WTIP’s Jay Andersen talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about spawning coasters.

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Emerald ash borer likely to spread along North Shore

Emerald ash borer was discovered in trees last week in Duluth. This is as far north as the invasive insect has been reported in Minnesota, raising concern that it will eventually spread throughout the North Shore. WTIP News Reporter Joe Friedrichs hears what experts have to say about this.

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{Eddie~S /Flickr}

Bullying Awareness and Prevention

If you see something, say something.  Bullying is not okay, for kids or adults.  North Shore Morning hosts Randy Eastlund and Sherrie Lindskog spoke with Sara Hadley of Cook County Public Health and Human Services.

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Wildersmith on the Gunflint: October 23

Since our last radio visit, my self-imposed criteria was met in regard to declaring autumn history, in spite of what the calendar says. Winter at Wildersmith happened a few days ago when after a cold night, the following daytime high temperature failed to rise above the freezing mark.

Furthermore, this neighborhood had several mornings of hard frost before recovering in the early part of the week. And to take the cold even more seriously, the area had a forecast one evening featuring the “s” word; however, none of the white stuff is known to have materialized. A mediocre rain fell in concert with a blast of nighttime winds bringing our color show to an abrupt end, ushering in the aforesaid cold spell. Yep, most all leaves have blanketed the wilderness landscape.

This has left the forest with eerie skeletal remains reaching up into the territorial heavens. To view from afar, across our valleys to the surrounding granite hillsides, our denuded trees look to be a mass of gauzy cobwebs with a ghostly cast. How appropriate “Mother Nature” is so casually playing a key role, in adding to the Halloween mood.

As the deciduous part of the forest met its demise, the last character of autumn is glowing radiantly out this way. It's “tamarack time” along the Trail. This final act of the growing season finds our golden coniferous spires brightly lighting up the byway. It’s almost to the point of a blinding blur against a sunlit backdrop. Sadly, these luminous needles don’t last long, and they’ll be raining down with the next gush of pre-winter flurry. In the meantime, this sylvan spectacle is one to behold!

The cold being such, I’ve broken out the winter Carhartt. As I put finishing touches on “getting ready for winter" chores, I must say keeping the warmth in felt pretty good to the creaky old bones!

Speaking of wearing apparel, a mystery of such is ongoing after a recent laundry drying incident. On one of these last days where clothes could be hung out on the line to dry, my wife dispatched a few items, giving no thought about what might happen, other than fresh-smelling garments at day's end. Following several hours in the sun and a fall breeze, she proceeded to retrieve her hangings. Unpinning the last item (a black t-shirt of yours truly), the unit was found to be tattered beyond belief in two locations where it was attached to the line. The mystery is how this did happen? The shirt was in mint condition when hung up. To date there are no substantial answers. The notion is some tight-wire trekking critter is to blame. Conjecture around the house, as well as with neighbors, focuses on either squirrels, chipmunks or woodpeckers. The answer may never be confirmed, but my best guess is, it was a squirrel in need of winter quarters nesting material.

It wouldn’t be the first time around here one of the red rodents has made off with some man-made materials. On one occasion, I observed a red gnawer running off with a cotton glove I had left out. Then at another time, I watched one of the varmints untie a swatch of hemp-like twine from a winter-tethered shrub. The twine, incidentally, ended up as part of a nest in the HVAC unit of my vehicle (a costly fix to be sure). So my assumption possibly has substance, nevertheless, I’m out one of those nice (but not cheap) Duluth Trading Co. shirts.

On a final note, in regard to last week's comments about the energetic chickadees swarming me anytime I’m outside, the lady of the house has now been adopted by a pair of the dainty birds. They won’t leave her alone since she started offering an open hand full of seeds. It’s so amusing to observe this moment in nature as they pluck one seed at a time from her hand, zip off to a nearby branch, hold the seed down with their mini-clawed toes, crack it open, munch it down and zoom back for another. What a ritual! This newly acquired friendship is the “best of all worlds” in terms of pet/human relationships. They really don’t need you, but they’ll be your pal and entertain you -- for a treat of course. And, they can be left alone without the neighbor having to care for them.

This is Fred Smith, on the Trail, at Wildersmith, counting the days ‘til the forest becomes crystalline!

 

( Photo by Larry Krause on Flickr)

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Herring numbers likely to impact DNR's Lake Superior fishery plan

Herring numbers are low in Lake Superior, according to the Department of Natural Resources. This could impact the way the lake is managed in the future as a fishery. News reporter Joe Friedrichs takes a closer look at this issue.  

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Superior National Forest Update: October 23

Hi.  I’m Bre Schueller, Fire Management Specialist for the Gunflint and Tofte Ranger Districts, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation here on the east side of the Superior National Forest. For the week of October 23rd, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
Most of what has been happening is the annual shutting down.  The water has now been turned off at all the fee campgrounds.  This means that you will have to pack in your own water, as well as pack out your garbage.  You can’t make camping reservations any more, but you also don’t have to pay a camping fee.  Campgrounds and outhouses remain open for use year round, but they are not plowed out or maintained through the winter.
Another part of the preparation for winter was the removal of docks from water accesses.  Boat ramps remain usable, but you’ll have to manage without a dock if you are headed out for some late season fishing.
The fall color tour signs are coming down too, as the fall color season is mostly over.  The weekly color reports and photos will still be on the web through Halloween, but there should be fewer people in the woods as we shift from fall to winter.
One of the few things opening instead of ending is the new bridge over the Temperance River on the 600 Road near the Sawbill Trail.  The bridge is now open for traffic, and will allow the North Shore Snowmobile trail to return to its usual route this winter.
Speaking of Halloween, we are participating in an attempt to set a world record for the most bat houses built in a day.  At sites across the nation, people will be building bat houses on October 31st to help support our bat population.  Right now, bats are dealing with a disease called white nose syndrome, which kills them in large numbers.  One way to help is to provide roosting sites for healthy bats in the form of bat houses.  You can help bats and set a world record by joining us at the AmericInn in Silver Bay during their annual Trick or Treat event.  From 3 to 6 pm on Halloween, you can build a bat house from a free kit, and then take the house home with you to put up where you want more bats and fewer mosquitoes.  This program is made possible with a generous donation of lumber from Hedstrom’s Lumber Mill, and the cooperation of Tettegouche State Park and AmericInn Silver Bay.  Supplies are limited.
In keeping with the season, snowy owls have been sighted in the area.  These beautiful owls are active during the day and like open areas, so they are more easily seen than most owls.  It also helps that they are bright white!  Watch for them along roadsides and other openings, but also watch out for them flying low over roadways in pursuit of mice.   
Brush piles are being burned by our fire crews at several locations throughout the Forest as weather permits.  You may see smoke from these fires, but if you are unsure where smoke is coming from, it is always worthwhile to report possible wildfires to the Forest Service.  There was one small wildfire on an island in Sawbill Lake this past week which started from a campfire.  Make sure any fires you light during the fall are kept under control, and left only when they are completely out.

Timber hauling is taking place in the same areas as last week.  Hauling on the Gunflint District is taking place on the Murmur Creek Road, the Caribou Trail, The Grade, the Bally Creek Road, the Greenwood road, the Firebox Road, the Shoe Lake Road, the Old Greenwood road, the South Brule River Road, the Lima Grade, and the Gunflint Trail.
In Tofte, watch for trucks on the Sawbill Trail, in the vicinity of Jack Lake with hauling on FR 369 (Sawbill Landing Road or Trappers Lake Road) down to Hwy. 1 at Isabella, and on The Grade. 
Enjoy the end of our fall, and get out in the woods before winter sets in!  Until next week, this has been Bre Schueller with the Superior National Forest Update. 
 

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Cook County Schools

West End News: October 22

We were thrilled to have a visit from the Superior National Forest leadership team this week. The team is about 30 Forest Service employees who hold the higher administrative jobs at the Forest Service headquarters in Duluth and in the District Offices around the Forest. They were taking a full day to tour various parts of the Tofte District, which includes most of the West End.
 
The Forest Service plays a large role in our lives here in the West End, as they administer the vast majority of our land base. Their multiple-use mandate provides business opportunities in timber and recreation of all types. They are also important employers in their own right. As if that isn’t enough, they provide a lot of the recreation opportunities that we all enjoy, including trails of all types, fishing docks, campgrounds and hunting land, just to name a few.
 
The individuals on the leadership team are out and about in the forest on a daily basis, but it’s also valuable for the whole team to get out together, so they can discuss and ponder future policy decisions while looking at the actual effects of their past decisions.
 
It’s easy to make fun of any big organization like the Forest Service, but the reality is that they do a great job administering the public lands that provide for the lifestyle that makes us all want to live here.  In my long experience with the Forest Service, I’ve invariably been impressed with the intelligence and dedication of the employees. They do a lot for us and we shouldn’t take them for granted.
 
The Bloodmobile is returning to Tofte on Monday, November 16, from 2:30 until 6 pm.  It parks at Zoar Lutheran Church with registration taking place just inside the church. Long-time blood drive volunteer, Julie Rannetsberger, is organizing things this time around, so give her a call at 663-7111 to schedule a time to donate.
 
I almost never miss an opportunity to donate blood, but I’ll have to pass this time because I’ll be on vacation in Hawaii. Someone is welcome to take my place though – at the blood drive, not in Hawaii!
 
I usually don’t report local births, because if I do one, then I have to do them all. But I’m making an exception for the birth of Freja Tofte Hedstrom last week. Freya is, I’m told, the first child born of a union between the Toftes and the Hedstroms, two of the  largest and most prominent pioneer families in Cook County. Congratulations to the parents, Abby Tofte and Sam Hedstrom, as well as the grandparents, Brian and Kelly Tofte, and Ed and Kris Hedstrom.
 
The election ballots are out for the operating levy referendum for the Cook County Schools, also known as Independent School District Number 166. 
 
In my opinion, the correct vote on this issue is “yes.” Without this authorization, our largest school district will be crippled in its efforts to educate our children.  
 
Education is the key to almost everything in a civil society. I could provide examples all day, but the bottom line is that our tax dollars spent on public education provide a return on investment that would be the envy of any Wall Street hedge fund.  Failure is not an option here. We can pay a little now or pay a lot later.
 
Aside from the financial sound financial reasons for voting yes, it is also just the right thing to do. What kind of community would we be if we didn’t invest in the well-being of our children? 
 
Thanks in advance for doing your part to keep the West End a wonderful place to grow up and a great place to raise a family.
 

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