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News & Information

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!


What's On:

Wildersmith on the Gunflint: October 9

The celebration of autumn during week one of October has been splendid. Our borderland weather conditions just couldn’t be much better. Sunny daytime skies and a blitz of starry crystal nights have seen several segments of morning frost followed by warm pleasant afternoons in the 50 degree range.

Our world is in an ongoing never-ending tragedy of violent, self-serving man against man, but beauty and peace in the wilderness surrounding this little house enables a Utopian escape. This is especially true this time of year.

Unfortunately the pleasant atmosphere has left the area on the dry side. It’s going on two weeks since this neighborhood has had any rain. The lack of moisture seems to be taking a toll on the color show with many leaflets wilting in drought-like stress and falling off without maxing out their fall pageant. Should the rain gods not loosen up and substantially wet the forest down before ground freeze-up, conditions will not bade well for zillions of trees come next spring. Like a few years back, if the forest goes to bed bone dry, we might expect some serious evergreen winter burn if hard freezing comes after initial thaw commences.

Recent cold evenings have prompted the first fire in the wood-burning stove at Wildersmith. With the coziness of a warm fire, I caught up on some reading in a couple periodicals. Two informative articles in the fall edition of INTERNATIONAL WOLF provided additional insights into Canid Lupis management and another, on the moose decline in northeast Minnesota. If listeners are not subscribers to the wolf magazine, I suggest locating a copy at your local library -- interesting information. Then our own MINNESOTA CONSERVATION VOLUNTEER (September/October issue) had two scribings which are suggested reading, too. One features discussion of maladies and predation affecting our moose herd, while a second story entitled SPLENDID FLIERS addresses particulars of avian migration. Hope you can get hold of this great bimonthly DNR publication.

Word is out now from the County Highway Department in regard to some serious road issues in the curvy section of the Trail alongside Swamper Lake. We are told deteriorated (collapsing) culverts under the road surface merit immediate attention (before winter). We are therefore notified construction will begin before the end of this month, and to expect traveling delays as the fixes are made. Projections are for completion about two weeks after work commences.

Another Trail issue has come to travelers’ attention with the recent installation of directional signage for ATV (4-wheeler) usage. In compliance with recent County Commissioner action to allow usage of such vehicles on certain portions of the Trail (to connect with off-trail paths), there are signs, signs, everywhere, we’ve got signs.

Although these signals of information are well intended, numbers of such Byway regulatory intrusions are mind boggling. It would seem there’s a great deal of overkill, perhaps to the point of being confusing for a visiting ATV user, while local 4-wheel riders certainly are in the know as to where they can go to access their trail-riding system under the new policy. I believe it prudent to review the issue of continual proliferation of this state and national Byway treasure with unnatural emblems to supposedly protect humans from themselves. This being said, when segments of our society can’t read, don’t read or pay little attention to regulations anyway (thinking the rules are only for the other guy), couldn’t this signage issue be rethought? Amen, I step down from my soap box!

On a final note, long time Trail residents and fishing/hunting clients from Gunflint Lodge will remember Kevin Walsh. Kevin moved from the area several years ago to south-central Minnesota. As you may recall, he was a gardener extraordinaire, even here in the North Country’s short growing season. His skills at raising veggies have expanded now that he is located where they have real dirt. This past growing season he decided to work on one of those giant pumpkins. Remembering his skill at growing extreme zucchinis, one would expect he would have big success with a pumpkin. That he did! He recently entered his huge squash family member in a contest down in Ames, Iowa. The entry from Kevin’s garden weighed in at 1,293 pounds. Wow, that sounds enormous! Regrettably, his “fat Amy” as he called her, was out-done by six others with the winner coming in at over 2000 pounds. I wouldn’t look for Kevin to take this sitting down. I could see him being challenged to even bigger and better pie-making fruit next year.

This is Fred Smith, on the Trail, at Wildersmith. The technicolor Gunflint show is tumbling earthward, better get up here soon!



Great Expectations Charter School

School News from Great Expectations: October 8

Sylvia and Annie report the latest School News.


This is what the campaign trail looks like in the beautiful Legislative District 3A

West End News: October 8

It’s good to be back writing the West End News for the best radio station in the world, WTIP.  I took some time off from this job while I made an unsuccessful bid to become the legislative representative for the beautiful and massive District 3A.
Contrary to popular belief, being a candidate for public office is a lot of fun.  Your job is to get yourself out in the community to listen to the hopes, fears, concerns and dreams of as many people as possible.  It turns out that this is a very affirming and interesting job.  Everyone I talked to was friendly, well informed, and often funny.  Even the people who would said they would never vote for me invariably had a smile and a word of encouragement.
The most affirming though, are the volunteers and supporters who commit wholeheartedly to a common vision for the future of the state.  I can assure you that there are many, many of our friends and neighbors willing to work hard for prosperity, justice and the common good.
I was disappointed to lose the election.  But, beyond my own bruised ego, I was more disappointed for the hundreds of dedicated volunteers, supporters, donors and thousands of voters who put their trust and faith in me.  On the other hand, I know that I worked as hard as I could and, at the end of the day, that’s all a person can do.
As a side benefit, the campaign came at a perfect time to enjoy the fall colors as I drove from Grand Portage to International Falls and back several times.  I saw a ton of wildlife, including half a dozen bull moose, several wolves, including a curious a adolescent, several lynx, the same set of bear cub twins four times, a fisher and too many deer, eagles, fox, hawks, owls and migrating warblers to count. Northern Minnesota is a great place to live!
All the resorts, restaurants and stores along the North Shore have been swamped this fall as the beautiful weather has extended the popular fall color season to the latest date in modern history.  The extended season, combined with the annual gap between shifts of foreign student workers, has created a serious employee shortage all up and down the shore.  Owners and management are bussing tables and cleaning rooms, while the wage workers who are still on the job forgo days off and work a lot of overtime.  It’s a classy problem to have, but a problem nonetheless.  It should ease up in a couple of weeks when the leaves drop and the next crop of seasonal workers arrive and get settled in.
I am pleased to report that the wonderful Clair Nelson Community Center in Finland has two advocates trained to provide services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, including legal advocacy or assistance if you are in crisis. Those in need are welcome to walk in during the Center's regular office hours from 10am - 4pm on Tuesdays and Fridays and ask for Honor or Joni.
Brulé, with its spectacular Native American stage production of “SIGHT, SOUND & SOUL,” is performing Saturday, October 24, at 7:00 pm at the William Kelley High School Auditorium in Silver Bay.
Hailing from South Dakota, Brulé thrills audiences with a fusion of cultural rock, traditional sound, and theatrical dance with insights to share about our connections to others, to the land, and to the living things around us. Brulé’s electrifying show includes a five-piece rock ensemble with traditional Native American instrumentation and dancers.
The Northern Lake County Arts Board sponsors Brule’s concert, with financial support from the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation, Cultural Arts and Heritage Fund and the Silver Bay Tourism Association. For information and ticket reservations, just search the Internet for the Northern Lake County Arts Board, or contact WTIP.
When and if you do get a minute of free time, be sure to enjoy the spectacular foliage, or the brilliant northern lights, or the wonderful meteor shower in progress this week.  There is never a shortage of world-class quality experiences here in the beautiful West End.


Northern waterthrush

Field Notes: Northern waterthrush

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


Alisa Magallon

Library features "Stories Sing!" presentation by the Minnesota Opera on October 12

The Minnesota Opera will be bringing opera to children in a special program at the Grand Marais Public Library. WTIP volunteer Mark Abrahamson talked with Alisa Magallon of the Minnesota Opera on North Shore Morning. 

The ‘Stories Sing!’ presentation will be at the Grand Marais Public Library on Monday, October 12, at 10:30 am. All ages are welcome. More information from the library at 387-1140 or online at




Fall events and activities at the Grand Marais Public Library

The Grand Marais Public Library offers activities for all ages. WTIP volunteer Yvonne Mills spoke with library director Steve Harsin on North Shore Morning.

More information on events and activities at



"Care Giver Coffee" sessions offered by Care Partners

Care Giver Coffee get-togethers and volunteer training are some of the offerings at Care Partners this fall. WTIP volunteer Yvonne Mills spoke with Kay Grindland of Care Partners on North Shore Morning. 

More information on Care Partners activities/event at 218-387-3788 or



Events offered by the Violence Prevention Center

 "Speak up, even when your voice shakes!" is the topic of tomorrow’s Brown Bag lunch sponsored by the Violence Prevention Center. WTIP volunteer Mary Manning talked with the Center’s Jodi Yuhassey on North Shore Morning.

Brown Bag Lunch on Wednesday, October 7, from 12-1 pm at East Bay Suites, Stone's Throw Room
Special Guest Speaker Sue Hakes, on leadership

October 8 in the Harbor Park at 7:00 pm

CONTACT: Violence Prevention Center
PHONE: (218) 387-1262



Fungi noose

North Woods Naturalist: Predatory fungi

Fungi are an important part of the earth’s scheme of decomposition. But do they hunt and kill? WTIP’s Jay Andersen talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about predatory fungi.



Stage Door: End of the season

‘Stage Door’ takes us behind the scenes at the Grand Marais Playhouse. It’s a chance to meet the artists involved in our local theater…in addition to the people involved in production at the Playhouse.
Stage door is produced by Tina Krauz for the Grand Marais Playhouse and WTIP.