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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:

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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Zebra Mussels

Aquatic invasive species workshop offered May 5 & June 13

There will be several workshops on our region’s invasive species that will be offered by the Cook and Lake County Invasive Team. WTIP volunteer Marnie McMillan spoke with Laurel Wilson, Cook and Lake County Invasive Species Coordinator, on North Shore Morning. 

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The Cook County Invastive Team (CCIT) will host an aquatic invasive species workshop from 5 to 6 pm on Tuesday, May 5, at the Cook County Community Center, with Marte Kitson of the Minnesota Sea Grant. Attendees will learn how to identify and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species that are threatening Minnesota water resources. More information is available from Laurel Wilson, CCIT coordinator, at 387-3772.

(Photo by D. Jude, Unversity of Michigan)
 

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Lyrid Meteor Shower (Phillip Chee /Flikr)

Northern Sky: April 18

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.
Venus a bright evening star in the west; Saturn in the morning; Lyrid meteor shower, April 22nd and 23rd; and Walpurgisnacht April 30th.

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Hamlet (Kevin T Houle /Flikr)

Memorization Made Easy, April 22 & 23

Rose Arrowsmith Decoux and Jackson Nickolay share the details of their upcoming class with North Shore Morning host Matthew Brown.  
More information and registration with Sue at 387-1284, extension 2 on online.

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Superior National Forest Update: April 17

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Hi.  I’m Brie Schueller, fire management 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 April 17, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
Currently, roads are fairly clear of snow and ice, but they are still pretty soggy from the meltwater.  County road restrictions due to the soft roads have stopped most timber hauling operations on the Forest.  Some cutting of timber is still going on, but the work is mostly within the units and doesn’t involve hauling on the roads.  That means that these spring days are nice for exploring the Forest without having to be too concerned with large truck traffic.  You do have to be concerned with the same road conditions that have kept the trucks off the roads.  Soft shoulders and mud are the obvious problems, but a recent drive showed just how alert you need to be while driving.  On that short drive, in two spots, trees whose roots had loosened in the soft soil had blown over across the road.  In other spots, the road had sunk sufficiently to create an area that was less a bump and more of a jump ramp.  Drive with care, road conditions vary greatly and hazards appear with very little forewarning this time of year.
If you are looking for early camping, you need to know that while snow is off most major roadways, many smaller camping areas still have snow over campsites and access roads.  Camping is possible, but in the spring before our fee season begins, campers will not have water or garbage pick-up in campgrounds, and outhouses may not be accessible.  The fee season begins when the water systems can be turned on, usually around mid-May.
Spring migrant birds are coming through in larger numbers each day.  Juncos, vultures, robins, and grackles are just a few of the birds that have arrived over the past two weeks.  Red winged blackbirds are calling in the Twin Cities, but I have yet to hear one up here.  Bears are awake and walking about.  People who are feeding the migrating birds need to make sure to bring in bird feeders and store bird food securely so they don’t end up feeding the bears.  The best way to deal with bear encounters is to avoid them in the first place by making sure food, garbage, and other attractants are not where bears can get them.
It is the mud season, and the spring bird season, but it is also the spring fire season.  Conditions remain dry throughout Minnesota and multiple red flag warnings have been issued this week in our area.  A red flag warning is issued when there are weather conditions that can cause extreme fire behavior.  These conditions include a combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures.  On these red flag days, people need to be extremely careful with fire.  Most people are not aware of it, but there have already been multiple small fires on the Superior this spring, and most of these were somehow ignited by human activity.  You may not think of fire danger because you can still see some patches of snow in the woods, but open areas with brown dry grass will readily carry fire.  There are many of these areas along the Lake Superior shoreline.  During spring, as the last of the snow melts and before the trees green up, is a prime time for fire, particularly in the absence of rain.  Our fire personnel, along with state DNR and local firefighters, will be monitoring conditions closely, but it is up to you to help by reporting any possible fires to 911, and by preventing any accidental ignitions.  Right now, the Superior National Forest has firefighters and engines assisting the Chippewa National Forest to the west in their firefighting efforts but we also have crews on standby locally, just in case. 
Enjoy our spring weather, and until next week, this has been Brie Schueller with the National Forest Update.
 


 

Molly Thomas heads to Down Under Sports: special event April 18th

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Family and friends of Molly Thomas are hosting a special event; it’s a fundraiser to help Molly travel to Australia for the Down Under Sports Tournament.  All are invited to the Grand Marais Art Colony Saturday April 18th for music, treats, a silent auction and more.  WTIP volunteer Yvonne Mills spoke with Molly and Leah Thomas on North Shore Morning. 
 

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