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North Shore Morning

AM Community Calendar/photo by masochismtango on Flickr

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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:

Peter Mayer in concert, Saturday May 16

The North Shore Music Association hosts Peter Mayer in concert this weekend at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts.  WTIPs Jana Berka spoke with Kate Fitzgerald of the North Shore Music Association on North Shore Morning.  Tickets available at the door or in advance at tix.com.  Peter's website is petermayer.net.

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Minnesota State Capitol {MCAD Library /Flickr}

'Indians and Public Art: Changing the Image' reception May 14

‘Indians and Public Art: Changing the Image’ is now open at the Grand Portage Community Center.  A reception with the artists is Thursday May 14th from 3 to 5pm. WTIP volunteer Julie Carlson spoke with art instructor Belle Janicek about the young artists and the larger project.  More information from Belle at Oshki Ogimaag at 475-2112.

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{VerdeSam /Flickr}

Care Center Celebrates: Anniversary Gala, Volunteers and more

This May the North Shore Care Center is celebrating their 50th anniversary with a Gala on May 11th; and celebrating their volunteers, current and former, with a reception on May 20.  Staff Helena Blake, Kay Rosenthal, Hilja Iverson and resident Bernice LeGarde all share the month's activities.

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Superior National Forest Update: May 8

Hi.  I’m Paulette Anholm, Information Receptionist on the Superior National Forest, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. For the week of May 8th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
First off, this is the start of our real recreation season.  The fee campgrounds on both the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts have their water systems turned on, which means that they are also now accepting reservations and collecting fees for camping.  Of course, the rustic campgrounds are still free, but have no water supply.  We want to remind people that campsites must be occupied the first night.  No putting out your stuff ahead of time to claim a site for the weekend, then going home to sleep.  There is also a fourteen day limit for campsites, except for a few long term sites which are available.  If you like camping with all the comforts of home, be aware that quiet hours are from 10 pm to 6 am, which means generators and other noise making equipment need to be off during the night.
A lot of the campers this weekend will probably be fishing.  It is the opener, and it looks like a good one.  Ice has cleared off even Gunflint and Saganaga Lakes.  Almost all of our campgrounds are near good fishing spots, and barring unforeseen problems, all the docks should be in the water this weekend.  Many of our lakes are free of invasive pest species.  Be sure to clean your boat and trailer between lakes to keep them that way.
On your way to the lake, you may start to encounter logging traffic.  At the time this was recorded, weight restrictions were still keeping the trucks off the back roads, but those should be lifted soon.  Expect trucks near the timber operations at Harriet Lake and at Shoe Lake as soon as the restrictions end.
Our fire people have been busy.  An 80 acre fire spread over 5 miles was on the west side of the Forest near Sand Lake.  This fire was small patches along a road, leading to the thought that something traveling the road started the fire patches.  Despite occasional small showers, the forest is dry and things haven’t started to green up fully.  That means it is easy for fires to start.  Green is beginning to appear though, and if we get through the next few weeks, the fire conditions will become a lot better.  Some of the fires on the Forest this past week have been intentional prescribed burns.  This is a good time of year for fire crews to use prescribed burning to reduce the amount of fuel on the ground for wildfires.  It may seem strange to start a fire to prevent a fire, but it is a method that works very well.  You may want to check at a ranger station for prescribed burns coming up so you know where you may see smoke, and you can avoid driving through the middle of an operation.  On Monday, May 11th and Tuesday, May 12th you can attend a fire open house to learn more.  Those are from 4 to 6 pm at the Gunflint Ranger Station on Monday and at the Poplar Lake Fire Hall on Tuesday.
Fire crews aren’t the only busy ones in the spring.  Wildlife biologists are surveying all sorts of species.  Two surveys that started this week are woodcock counts and frog surveys, and fish surveys will begin soon as well.  We get volunteer help from citizen scientists for some of these counts, so we’d like to thank all our wildlife, and other, volunteers.
Even if you aren’t an official wildlife counter, this is great time to get out in the woods and set up a tent, or drop a line in the water, and listen to the birdsongs, grouse drumming, frog choruses, and all the other sounds of spring.  Have a great weekend!
Until next week, this has been Paulette Anholm with the Superior National Forest Update.
 
 
 
 

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Sierra Club shares concerns about coal burning on the North Shore, meeting May 12

There will be a public meeting with the Sierra Club, Tuesday May 12th from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at the Cook County Community Center, to discuss the health and environmental costs of burning coal in northeast Minnesota. There will also be an opportunity for citizens to weigh in on decisions about the future of the Taconite Harbor coal plant.  WTIP volunteer Joey Detrick spoke with Jessica Tritsch, Senior Organizing Representative with the Sierra Club.  
 

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Trails for Tails, Saturday May 9th

Trails for Tails is a Troop 4070 fundraiser for Arrowhead Animal Rescue.  It's Saturday May 9th, registration at 9am at Sawtooth Mountain Elementary in Grand Marais.  WTIP volunteer Marnie McMillan spoke with Girl Scouts RaeAnne Silence and Riley Goettl on North Shore Morning.  
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The Girl Scouts are sponsoring a "Trails for Tails Fun Run/Walk" to benefit Arrowhead Animal Rescue, on Saturday, May 9. Everyone is invited to participate with or without a pet. The event starts at the Sawtooth Elementary School parking lot, with registration beginning at 9 am, blessing of the animals by Pastor Kris Garey at 9:45 am, a 2k race at 10 am, and a half-mile race on paved trails at 10:15 am. More information is available from troop leader Michele Silence at 370-9958, or on facebook.

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Black Bear (wanderlingnome /Flickr)

West End News: May 7

 
Recently, I looked back in the WTIP archives of West End News for this week in 2010 when my dad, Frank Hansen, was still the West End correspondent.  Among other things, he wrote about the Commercial Fishing Museum and the temporary Post Master position in Tofte.  Five years along, both those stories are still in the news.
 
The Commercial Fishing Museum in Tofte recently held their annual meeting and elected a new board of directors.  They are looking for a couple of more directors, so if you’re interested in local history, stop in at the museum and let them know.
 
Also at the annual meeting, long-time museum director Don Hammer announced his retirement from the museum.  If you know someone who is interested in a part time job preserving the history of commercial fishing in the West End, have them keep an eye out for the upcoming job listing.
 
Five years ago, Frank also reported that an announcement of a permanent postmaster for Tofte was due any day.  That day has yet to come as the U. S. Postal Service struggles with providing rural postal service all across the country.  Our current temporary postmaster, Edward Taylor, has been on the job for a couple of years now, but he tells me that the new permanent postmaster will be arriving any day.  Morgan Johnson, who has been the temporary postmaster in Lutsen, will be taking over in Tofte – possibly by the end of the month.
 
I’m sure I speak for many in the community when I say that we will miss Edward when he leaves us.  Even though he commutes in from Two Harbors, he has established himself as a friendly and helpful member of the West End community.  Edward isn’t sure what his future holds.  He has a couple of more years before he can retire from the postal service, but is at least looking forward to a long, well deserved vacation when his duties in Tofte end. 
 
The Birch Grove Community Center is Tofte has started up the popular weekly pizza parties that have been happening during the summer months since the outdoor, wood-fired pizza oven was constructed a couple of years ago.  Every Wednesday night, from now until September 30th, starting at 5 pm, the pizza oven will be hot and ready to go.  The dough and sauce are provided and you just bring the toppings that you prefer.  There is a small dough-nation suggested to cover the costs. You can enjoy your pizza rain or shine thanks to the beautiful timber framed picnic shelter.  It is a good idea to let them know that you are coming by calling 663-7977 or email bgf@boreal.org.
 
The woods are in a state of suspended animation right now as dry weather has held off the green-up temporarily.  The up side is that without the leaves out, you can see into the woods and spot animals that are normally hidden.  This week I’ve seen a fisher, one cow moose with a collar and one without, and yesterday a little bear eating grass along the roadside.  It was so absorbed in it’s meal that it didn’t hear my truck as I coasted up to within 20 feet or so.  I quickly broke out my phone and recorded the sound of my dog, Roy, barking and video of the startled bear running off.  Roy continued to mutter about the bear for about another ten miles down the road. He gets pretty concerned when he sees a bear.  I suspect he’s had some close encounters that we didn’t ever know about.
 
Even though Roy sees them as a dire threat to public safety, I like having the bears around.  It’s a big part of what make life here in the West End so sweet.
 
For WTIP, this is Bill Hansen with the West End News.

{click here to see a short video of the bear}
 

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Hydra (Helen Cook /Flikr)

Northern Sky: May 2

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Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota. She authors the Minnesota Starwatch column, and contributes to WTIP bi-weekly on the Monday North Shore Morning program through "Northern Sky," where she shares what's happening with stars, planets and more.

Full Flower Moon on May 3rd; Jupiter traveling westward, Venus, Saturn and a rare glimpse of Mercury; and Hydra, the water serpent, the longest of constellations.


 
Bike Safety Rodeo (Trailnet /Flikr)

Bike Safety Rodeo, May 7th

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Bike safety benefits the whole community.  WTIP volunteer Sherrie Lindskog spoke with Maren Webb of Safe Routes to School about this year’s Bike Safety Rodeo.
 
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The Grand Marais Safe Routes to School group invites all kids and parents to the annual Bike Safety Rodeo on Thursday, May 7th from 3 to 5 pm at the Cook County Community Center. Join in the fun, with bike checks and helmet fittings, slow bike races, helmet decorating, ride the course, and food. Bring your bike, helmet, and signed permission slip. For more information or to volunteer, call Maren at 387-2330 or email maren@sawtoothmountainclinic.org
 

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Superior National Forest Update: May 1

Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen, interpretation and education specialist on the Superior National Forest, with this week’s edition of the National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. For the week of May 1st, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
As you’re driving, you’ll find that the county spring load restrictions are still on.  That means that while there are a few timber sales going on on Tofte and Gunflint, there’s no hauling.  It’s not just the roads which have restrictions, some ATV routes are not open due to spring muddy conditions.  Driving your ATV on muddy trails not only risks a few hours digging it out, but it will damage the trail and create a whole lot of work for someone later to rebuild it, so drive with caution even if the route is theoretically open. 
Soft roads aren’t the only thing that could affect your travel.  You also might run into some of our spring prescribed burns.  You might encounter smoke, vehicles, and fire crews on the roadway.  Areas where this is occurring will be clearly marked, so please take it slow as you pass since visibility might be restricted and there could be pedestrians.
Speaking of fire, there will be open houses on fire safety and awareness on May 4th at the Finland Volunteer Fire Department, May 11th at the Gunflint Ranger Station, and May 12th at the Schaap Community Center on the Gunflint Trail.  All those open houses are from 4 to 6 pm.  You will be able to learn what our 2015 fire outlook is, what prescribed burns are planned, and more about wildfire and fire preparedness.  They are open houses, so you’ll have plenty of time to ask questions and talk to our fire personnel. 
Some of the prescribed burns happening now are to maintain wildlife openings in the forest.  Many kinds of animals from butterflies to moose benefit from these opening.  The shrubs that grow up in openings are also great for our migrating birds, more of which are arriving daily.  The dawn chorus of bird song seems louder all the time.  One voice in that chorus, the one that has the bass line, isn’t a migrant, it is the ruffed grouse doing a drum solo.  Our wildlife people have been conducting grouse drumming surveys, and the preliminary results seem to indicate that this has been a pretty good year for grouse, climbing toward a peak in their cycle. 
In addition to burning, planting begins this week.  White pine and some red oak are being planted along the North Shore in an effort cooperatively funded by a Conservation Partner’s Legacy grant and partnerships with the Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.  Additional partners include the Sugarloaf Stewardship Association, The State of Minnesota, The Nature Conservancy and the North Shore Forest Collaborative.  To minimize deer browsing, these trees will be fenced, so this planting will take a lot of effort.
Opening fishing weekend is coming up.  Ice is out of most area lakes, though some of the lakes up the Gunflint Trail and to the northeast are still ice covered.  Most of that ice is pretty rotten though, and should go soon.  As the lakes open, docks are being put in, and campground water supplies are being turned on and serviced.  The fee season for campgrounds should start in the next week or so with the turning on of the water.  Check our website or at a ranger station to find out the current status of our campgrounds when planning on a trip. 
If it is a Boundary Waters trip you are planning, today, May 1st, marks the start of the quota season.  You will need a permit issued at a ranger station or cooperating business for overnight travel in the Boundary Waters.  Self-issued permits are still available at entry points for day use. 
As you can tell, there is a lot happening on the Forest in the spring.  Check our website and ranger stations for current conditions and updates, and then get out there and enjoy the spring!  Until next week, this has been Steve Robertsen for National Forest Update.
 

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