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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:

Sunny's Back Yard: Bittersweet summer

Summer has arrived in the north woods...accompanied by biting insects, colorful wildflowers and ruby-throated hummingbirds. But it's a bittersweet time for Sunny -- a reminder of things lost and why we can still be grateful.

Sunny has lived off-grid in rural Lake County for the past 17 years and is a regular commentator on WTIP. Here she shares what's been happening in Sunny's Back Yard.

(Photo by Catherine Mullhaupt on Flickr)


Photo by Eli Sagor on Flickr

North Woods Naturalist: Pine pollen

The yellow dust you’ve been wiping off your outdoor furniture or grill is really pine pollen, and there’s a good deal more to it than meets the eye. WTIP’s Jay Andersen talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about a most amazing, and small scale reproductive process.



Annual planked trout dinner hosted by the Cook County Historical Society on July 11

There’s a lot happening at the Cook County Historical Society in July and August, in addition to their annual planked trout dinner on Saturday, July 11, at the Grand Marais RV Park Recreation Hall. WTIP volunteer Yvonne Mills spoke with Carrie McHugh of the Cook County Historical Society on North Shore Morning. 



Wildersmith on the Gunflint: July 3

The Wildersmith two are back on the Trail. After a quick run to steamy Iowa for a visit with our daughter, it’s great to be home in the “cool” north land.

The flora is oh so brilliant this time of year. Whereas the purity of crystal white in the winter goes unmatched in terms of elegance, our blooming summer has a special moment of its own.

A “technicolor” spectacular is in full array along this historic 60-mile trek through the wilderness. The rainbow of wild blooming things dazzles the visual senses. Both native and non-natives are in combination creating a “Disney”-like fantasy land.

A drive up to the black-top end at Chik-Wauk will provide a soul soothing encounter. One might even catch a glimpse of a moose or a bear, adding to the adventure.

With June having passed us by, month seven is dishing up a double whammy of lunar happenings. If it wasn’t noticed, our first day of July presented the first of two full moons during the month. Yep, it’s “blue moon” time. The second full “orb of night” will occur on the last day of our seventh yearly segment.

Our Ojibwe neighbors labeled our “big cheese” the “halfway” moon, but I don’t know to which this moniker should be applied. Meanwhile, Algonquin tribes tab the first as the “full buck” moon while the second is known as the “thunder” moon. Whatever name is applied, they will both be majestic wonders of the northern sky. A twofold celestial occurrence such as this only happens on the average every two-and-a-half years.

Speaking of other night sky wonders, the first fireflies have started flitting about this neighborhood. If this territory isn’t already a “heaven on earth,” these wonders of the beetle species make the darkness come alive as if the cosmos had settled earthward.

The Gunflint Community’s dance card is nearly full for the next two weeks. If residents and visitors can’t think of anything to do, they are not trying very hard. The first of many coming events kick off this Independence Day weekend up at the end of the Trail (Seagull Lake Community Center).

The Gunflint Trail Historical Society is celebrating its tenth anniversary of existence. At the same time, the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center is marking its fifth full season of exhibits to the public. The gala is a catered fundraising affair on Sunday, July 5, beginning at 5:00 pm. A limited number of dinner reservations remain and a call to Chik-Wauk Museum at 388-9915 will reserve yours.

The next happening involves not only the Gunflint Trail but the “world-wide” listening audience of this extraordinary radio station. The summer membership drive commences this coming Wednesday, July 8. Both new and old listener members won’t want to miss this “Feelin’ Groovy” time to show support for this valued community resource.

Monday, July 13, will find the Gunflint Trail Historical Society holding its monthly meeting. The gathering will be at the Schaap (mid-Trail) Community Center beginning at 1:30 pm. The program will feature Memorial recognition of Trail friends and neighbors who have passed from our midst over the past year. Refreshments will again be served following the meeting.

The Gunflint Trail Canoe Races hit the Gunflint Lodge waterfront on Wednesday, July 15. This is the 39th year of the event which provides support for our Trail Volunteer Fire and EMS crews. Race activities begin at 6:00 pm with food service opening at 4:30.

The grand prize for this year's Canoe Races drawing is a super kayak from the Wenonah Canoe Company. Tickets are on sale throughout the area.

The busy Gunflint area events calendar then continues into August with two more annual happenings. The third Gunflint Woods, Winds and Strings chamber music concert takes center stage on Sunday, August 9. Once again the site will be the Schaap Community Center at 4:00 pm with a reception to follow. Ticket reservations can be made with Susan Scherer at 388-9494 or by e-mail at beginning July 8.

A few days later, the yearly mid-Trail bash to benefit the GTVFD will take place at Schapp Community Center on Wednesday, August 12, beginning at 1:00 pm. Mark your calendars and look for more information on both events in coming Wildersmith reports.

That’s the scoop from Wildersmith on the Trail. Come on up and savor a summer trip along the historic scenic byway! Happy Birthday America!



Superior National Forest Update: July 3

Hi.  I’m Amber Humphrey, Information Specialist, 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 July 3rd, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.
It is Fourth of July weekend!  It looks like it will be a beautiful weekend out on the Forest to enjoy the holiday.  Remember that NO fireworks of any kind are permitted on the National Forest, not even fireworks that maybe legal within the state of Minnesota.  Fire danger is low due to recent rains and high humidity, but even in these conditions fires can get out of control.  We actually had to put one out last week.  A very small, room sized wildfire that had started from an unattended campfire.  One potential fire starter is a type of firework called a fire balloon.  These are small hot air balloons lifted with a candle, and seem to be getting more popular every year.  Normally, the candle burns out before the balloon lands, but they will sometimes crash while still burning, causing an obvious fire hazard.  In addition to possibly starting a fire, they become litter after landing.  Of course, like all fireworks, these are not legal on the Forest.
If you want fireworks, there are some great displays along the North Shore all the way from Two Harbors to Grand Marais.  The parade in Tofte this year will have a certain bear in attendance, making sure everyone knows that only you can prevent wildfires. 
While fire danger is low locally, it is high in the drought stricken west.  Sixteen of our fire crew will be spending their holiday assisting with wildfires that are burning in other states.  Keep them and all the other firefighters in your thoughts this weekend.
As we get into July, driving in the Forest may involve more encounters with large RVs.  Or, maybe you will be the person driving the RV.  Either way, be aware that these vehicles take a lot of space on our narrow Forest roads.  Be patient, and pass only in safe areas, and if you’re the RV driver, pull over and allow others to pass in safe places, especially if you are going slower than the traffic flow.  Don’t get frustrated.  Realize that there really isn’t any rush to get where you are going, and five miles an hour speed increase will not change your arrival time very much.
There may be more RVs, but there are going to be fewer logging trucks on the Tofte District this next week.  We have only two active timber sales right now, one on the Dumbbell River Road, and another off of The Grade near the Temperance River.  Visitors can expect to see trucks hauling on the Trappers Lake Road (FR 369), the Wanless Road (FR 172), the Dumbbell River Road (FR 174), Lake County road 7 near Harriet Lake, and the Four Mile Grade near Wilson Lake.
If your drive takes you up the Gunflint to Chik-Wauk, you could stop in at 2:00 pm on Tuesday for a Forest Service naturalist program about moose.  Check our website for all the other naturalist programs offered every week, or on the Fourth, stop by the Point where we always have a naturalist on location from 1:30 to 3:30 Saturdays.
Have a great weekend, and enjoy the Forest.  Until next week, this has been Amber Humphrey with the Superior National Forest Update. 


House wren

Field Notes: House wren

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.

(Photo by Tony Morris on Flickr)


Dee and Steve Hedman of Duluth

West End News: July 2

Polly Erickson, the West End’s favorite blood collector, is once again asking for volunteer donations when the bloodmobile is in town on Tuesday, July 21.
Donating blood is a very important community service, saving and improving the lives of our loved ones, friends and neighbors. It is also a lot of fun to visit with the staff and the other donors in the bloodmobile.
One of the less pleasant, but necessary, parts of the blood giving experience is the lengthy interview that determines if you are eligible to be a donor. Now days, you can go to the Memorial Blood Center website and complete the questionnaire online. It speeds things up on donation day, both for you and for the staff.
The large, colorful, converted RV will be at Zoar Lutheran Church in Tofte from 2 pm until 6 pm on Tuesday, July 21. Call Polly at 663-7398 to make an appointment.
North Shore Area Partners, the excellent program based in Silver Bay that provides in-home services for seniors and disabled folks in eastern Lake County, is holding a public event during the Bay Days Celebration next week. They’ll be at Reunion Hall from 9 am until 4 pm on Saturday, July 11. Stop by, learn about the program, buy some food, make a silent auction bid - and please thank the many volunteers for their valuable community service.
Camp Menogyn, the famous YMCA camp on West Bearskin Lake on the Gunflint Trail, is offering some open spots in their canoeing, backpacking and rock climbing trips to local kids at a reduced price. The trips start next week, so you need to act fast if you want to take advantage of this huge opportunity.
If you are entering grade 7 through 12, get in touch with Fred at the camp right away. A Camp Menogyn experience can literally change your life. Menogyn is Ojibway for “together” and is spelled m-e-n-o-g-y-n.  If you can’t find it online, call WTIP for contact information.
Steve Gendron, from Minneapolis, has been volunteering to count loons on a selection of West End lakes for more than 20 years. He reports his careful counting to the DNR where they are combined with the efforts of hundreds of other volunteers to track the loon population in Minnesota over the long term.
This year, Steve brought along his new dog, Bode, along on the trip. Bode is a husky mix and came to Steve through a rescue organization just a couple of weeks ago. On Monday, as he was crossing the portage between Smoke and Burnt Lakes in the BWCA Wilderness, Bode was spooked by some thunder and ran off into the woods. Despite two days of searching, Steve and his family could not find him.
On Wednesday, the Gendrons had to return to Minneapolis with heavy hearts. Signs and pictures at the Sawbill entry point are alerting people traveling in that direction to keep their eyes peeled, and by Wednesday evening we had several reports of Bode sightings.
We would be more despairing for Bode’s fate if it weren’t for an almost identical situation two summers ago. That dog, also spooked by a storm, was missing for more than two weeks before it showed up at a campsite and was enticed into captivity with an offer of food. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for the same outcome for Bode.
Back in 1958, my parents hired a lovely high school girl from Duluth named Dee Sampson. That same summer Sawbill Lodge, our next-door neighbor, hired an awkward boy of the same age named Steve Hedman. I was only five years old, but I distinctly remember that whenever he wasn’t working, Steve would come over and stand in the corner of our store and look miserable. I tried to talk to him, but he could barely string a sentence together in his painful shyness.
As the summers rolled by, Dee continued to work for us and became a treasured family friend. Steve continued to hang around and act weird, but slowly worked up his nerve and started talking to Dee.
One day, I rounded a corner unexpectedly and caught Steve and Dee kissing. I was shocked by this wild behavior, but apparently I was the last to know that the two had grown quite sweet on each other.
In 1966 they were married and, of course, took a BWCA Wilderness canoe trip for their honeymoon. We decorated their canoe with “Just Married” signs and tied tin cans to the stern.
On July 2, Steve and Dee celebrate their 49th anniversary. They have three children and more grandchildren than I can keep track of. They are visiting Sawbill to relive the wonderful memories that they created so long ago.
By the way, Steve overcame his shyness, got a degree in genetics, and had an illustrious career as a professor at UMD. Dee is well loved in Duluth for a lifetime of community involvement and acts of kindness.
While other people looking at them may see an older couple when they look at Steve and Dee, after all these years, I still see the awkward boy and beautiful girl slowly falling in love.


Mural by David Gilsvik

Anishinaabe Way: Butch Deschampe

Grand Portage Band member Butch Deschampe comes from a long line of fishermen, including his Grandfather Joe and his father Sam Deschampe. In this segment he tells the story of fishing for herring in the frigid winter weather on Lake Superior, the time he swamped his fishing boat, and how his son, Joe, is carrying on the family fishing tradition. The interview with Butch was recorded by Bob Pratt and Carrie McHugh from the Cook County Historical Society.

(Photo of Butch with lake trout, courtesy of Butch Deschampe and the Cook County Historical Society; mural of Butch and his son, Joe D., in their fishing boat by David Gilsvik, courtesy of Beth Drost, NPS)



Summer nature explorations offered by Sugarloaf Cove

“There’s No Place Like Home” is a series of summer nature explorations offered through Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center. WTIP volunteer Mary Manning spoke with Sugarloaf Cove naturalist Margie Menzies on North Shore Morning.


There's No Place Like Home: Explore Cook County
1 pm, June 26- August 7, and August 21

Featuring an opportunity to have a more in-depth exploration of Cook County's special places with your neighbors. Each week will feature a new unique habitat or location which participants will explore with Sugarloaf's naturalist.

June 26 - The Bog/Black Spruce Tamarack forest

July 3 - The Boreal Forest/Spruce Fir forest

July 10 - The Maple Hardwood forest

July 17 - The Aspen/Birch North Shore forest

July 24 - The Pine forest

July 31 - Rock and Cliff Environment

August 7 - Inland Lakes

August 21 - Lake Superior


Yvonne Caruthers

Full Moon Music Celebration features cellist Yvonne Caruthers on July 1

Rain or shine, there will be a musical celebration of July’s Full Moon this Wednesday at Drury Lane Books in Grand Marais. WTIP volunteer Mark Abrahamson spoke with cellist Yvonne Caruthers on North Shore Morning. 

Cellist Yvonne Caruthers will perform Wednesday, July 1, at 8pm on the lakeshore at Drury Lane Books for a Full Moon Music Celebration.  More information at 387-3370.