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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:

Split Rock Lighthouse offers class on peregrine falcons

Jennifer Niemi, program manager at Split Rock Lighthouse, talks about a class on peregrine falcons being offered at Split Rock Lighthouse on Saturday, April 22.

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Northern Sky: April 15 - 28

Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota, where she authors the Minnesota Starwatch column.

The moon is bright in the morning sky; clearly seen at nightfall is the constellation Leo, containing the quckly-rotating star, Regulus. West of Regulus is the star cluster known as the Beehive. Jupiter is bright in the southeast, and in the west, Mars is dim and low on the horizon.

Saturn can be seen before sunrise. The Lyrid meteor shower is expected to peak on April 22 or 23.

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April brings us brilliant spring sunsets.

Wildersmith on the Gunflint: April 14

Gunflint territory heads into the third week of month four having just passed the Ojibwe “maple sugar moon” (Iskigamizige Giizis).  Spring is in full command now and has been sweet as the sugary juice running into collectors’ buckets.

Warming really grabbed this area last weekend with brisk southerly winds leading the way. Winter character has vanished with exception of manmade heaping and some areas deep in the forest where sunshine struggles to peek through.

Ice meanwhile has loosened from its shoreline connections on the sun-drenched northern sides of area lakes, and is taking on the gray color of solidarity under stress.  There’s a good chance some of the more shallow lakes will be open as this scoop hits the air.

Here on the Gunflint, although ice is still tight against the granite south shore at Wildersmith, it’s a good bet we’ll be seeing open water within two weeks, assuming there are no cold setbacks.  This assumption being said, large bodies like Poplar, Loon, Seagull and Saganaga lakes are likely on the same timeline.

Speaking more of ice under stress, hooray for some heroes over on Hungry Jack Lake for taking a big risk to save the life of a yearling moose. For those of you not already aware of this exploit, it seems the gawky youngster wandered onto the ice and after a short distance broke through.  The scene required quick strategizing by those involved in the rescue attempt.

Struggling for many minutes to climb out of the icy liquid, the moose was near motionless (just kind of floating) when the folks, using canoes, got to its side and began the dangerous task of bringing the frightened critter back onto safe ice. After much tugging and pulling, the exhausted animal was finally rolled back up on the ice. Probably in shock, it took some time before the youngster regained its feet. Apparently none the worse for wear, it eventually ambled off into the woods.

I wonder if the iconic beast will remember the valiant efforts of some great northwoods neighbors who gave it another chance on life.

See photos of the heroics on the web at WTIP.org.

Mountain streams and rivers are on the move as melting snow is racing lakeward. Last week on a trip to end of the Trail, it was a joy to see a liquidation of winter raging over the mini-falls on Larch Creek near the US Forest Service guard station. While small by comparison with other falls in the county, it is nevertheless a picturesque setting nestled back in the forest.

Driving the Trail a couple times in the past week I found several byway ponds and wetlands have succumbed to spring's ways. Already showing off sparkling tea-colored liquid, under several bright sky days of late, mirror images reflected double exposures of natural photo ops. Regardless of the still muted wilderness hues, the magic of wildland images on a medium of quiet water goes unmatched in aesthetic accomplishment.

On a negative note, some not-too-beautiful things forever seem to appear this time of year. As snow has left the roadside ditches, the ugliness of an uncaring segment of our user society has been revealed. I’m talking of litter!      

I find it hard to understand how some users of this magnificent place can treat it with such disrespect. The unsightly casting out of beverage containers and other debris is simply beyond belief, confirming we have too many self-serving, shameless folk who just don’t give a darn. In answer to this dirty problem, it behooves all of us common sense people (residents and caring visitors) to get out and do the annual spring house cleaning.

On a cheerier note, there are many moments in time, when one is surrounded by the natural world. With daylight minutes growing by leaps and bounds, another such fleeting moment was emulated last Sunday evening as I keyed this Gunflint news. I’m talking of a sunset like none I’ve ever witnessed here in border country (and I’ve seen a few Canadian sunset beauties over the years).  

The uniqueness of this flaming inferno, which came in the circumvention of our skyline from due north, clear around to the southwest. Thin, deep pink clouds caught fading rays from both the southwest and north points on the compass, converging at “old Sol” who is just beyond due west, in a colossal “hot pink’ explosion, beyond comprehension.

The piercing illumination was one of those timely moments to be etched in memory as the best ever, perhaps forever. But while all good things have to come to an end, this celestial spectacular faded quickly to twilight orange and peach just before daylight gave way to darkness.

Brief, yes, but what an uplifting encounter!  It was great. I hope listener/readers were residing in an area where they got to see it, too!

Finally, two reminders to area residents. First, bears have to be near so get those temptations put away. And second, as it remains abnormally dry, get the wildfire sprinkler system lines into the lake ASAP after ice-out and fire up the pump unit to be sure it’s in operating order.

For WTIP, this is Fred Smith, on the Trail at Wildersmith, where every day is great, with the splendors of nature right outside our doors.

Photo courtesy of Michele/Flickr

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Great Expectations Charter School

School News from Great Expectations: April 14

Sylvia and Aram report the latest school news.

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Superior National Forest Update: April 14

Hi. I’m Tom McCann, resource information specialist, with the National Forest Update for April 14th - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. For the middle of April, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.

Every week brings more and more ‘firsts’ of the year. The first geese, the first loons, the first mergansers, the first juncoes, the first truck stuck in the mud. Spring is an exciting time in the north as things reappear from the winter. Not only are birds back, but butterflies and other insects have begun to be seen as well. Our rivers have shaken off the ice, and if you haven’t gone to visit any of the waterfalls along the shore, you really need to take the time to do that.

But, along with the good comes the bad. If you haven’t yet, it is a good time to start treating your dog with a tick repellent and tucking in your own socks as well. Bird feeders which are hung where they can be bear attractants need to be taken in at night, and garbage cans need to be stored in closed garages.

Our Forest roads are very mushy right now. There is a four ton weight limit which minimizes truck traffic, but you don’t have to weigh four tons to get into trouble. One of the hidden dangers is undermining, where moving water can wash away the base of the roadway, leaving a thin layer of apparently safe road at the surface. Avoid the edges of the roads, and beware of dips where small drainages could have undermined the roadway. If possible, avoid traveling at all on the smaller roads where you can leave ruts behind that will be with us for the entire summer.

While not as bad as last year’s ‘snowdown’ event, the winter did topple a few trees across the roads, and the soft soil in spring will drop a few more. Watch for fallen timber, and also be very careful if you attempt to clear any material off the road. When you cut a deadfall and change the balance, parts may fly into the air, or fall onto the ground. It can be very dangerous, and it is better to report fallen trees to have them professionally removed.

This is also the beginning of the fire season. With less than normal snow cover, and early melting, we have areas which have dried out before the spring green-up has begun. This is particularly true in forest openings where last year’s grass has become this year’s fuel supply. Inland, shaded areas and deeper snow minimize the fire danger, but along the shore and at the southern edge of the Superior National Forest, some areas are starting to see some higher fire potentials. Please check on fire conditions and possible restrictions before you begin any burning. These conditions have made it possible for us to begin our prescribed burning season. We maintain several openings in the Forest for wildlife use, and these smaller “less-than-20-acre” burns are best done in the spring before the grass gets green and less flammable. We post notice of prescribed fires on our website, so you can check there to see if any will affect your plans, or to check on possible causes for smoke you see or smell. If there is any question of a suspected fire, let us know. It never hurts for us to check it out.

Keep an eye out for more signs of spring, and watch out for those muddy roads! Until next time, this has been Tom McCann with the Superior National Forest Update.

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North Woods Naturalist: Migrating birds and artificial light

Migrating birds and artificial light are not just a big building metropolitan problem. Any lighting appears to distract the migrators. WTIP’s Jay Andersen talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about lighting and migration.
 

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Sawtooth Mountain Elementary School

School News from Sawtooth Mountain Elementary: April 13

Katie, Abigail and Hazel report the latest School News.

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Star-nosed mole

West End News: April 13

Happy Easter from the West End. We’ve had lots of seasonally appropriate rabbit visitors around our place this week. None of them have come bearing chocolate yet, but we remain hopeful. Along with the surplus of bunnies comes more frequent lynx sightings. If you are hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive Canada lynx, a drive on the Sawbill Trail is a good bet.

If you’re on the hunt for Easter candy, then Lutsen is the place to be this Easter Sunday. On Sunday, April 16, at 9 am Lutsen Mountains is hosting a Giant Easter Egg Hunt. Kids of all ages are invited to search for 500 eggs hidden all over the slopes. You do need a lift ticket to get out there, where eggs filled with candy and prizes await you.

Next weekend is the 7th Annual Fingerstyle Guitar Masters Weekend, featuring Richard Smith. This year, the music and workshops will take place at Bluefin Bay in Tofte. There’s something for everyone at these weekends, as long as you’re either a music lover or player, but in Cook County, who isn’t? Friday, April 21, at 8 pm is the free informal evening of listening. On Saturday, April 22, at 7:30 Richard Smith will be playing and tickets are $20. Saturday at 10 am, there are two workshops. Gordon Thorne and Richard Smith will be leading the Fingerstyle Guitar Workshop. Tom Shaefer will be leading the fiddle workshop. Both cost $60 and are open to all ages. If you’re under 18 you’re in luck as there’s no cost. Lunch is included and preregistration is requested. For tickets to the concert or to register for a workshop, call Gordon Thorne at 218-353-7308. So come on down to Tofte, enjoy the atmosphere of camaraderie and treat yourself to some good tunes at Bluefin next weekend.

Also next weekend, the third annual Midwest Extreme snowmobile event will take place at Lutsen Mountains. There’s hillcross on Saturday, April 22, from 9 am - 6 pm and cross-country on Sunday from 9 - 4. Both nights will have an after-party at Papa Charlie’s, but if you go on Saturday night you can catch my personal favorite Cook County band, The Plucked Up String Band. Tickets to the event are $20 for one day or $30 for both.

The ice on Sawbill is eight inches thick but no longer safe to travel on. This lesson was learned the hard way by one unlucky star-nosed mole this week. Our ice technicians found the frozen fella floating just offshore in between the landing and the ice. These curious little creatures often run amok in the spring, enthused by the thaw and in search of a partner, but often bumbling since their eyesight is poor. One year Bill even had one run up his pant leg. So keep your eyes open for the funny looking moles while you're out driving the backroads, and don’t be like the Hungry Jack moose or the Sawbill mole - stay off the lakes for now and spend that time digging out your paddles and PFD’s from their winter storage instead.

For WTIP, I’m Clare Shirley with the West End News.

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North Woods Naturalist: Closing in on spring

The sap is running, buds are budding and birds are molting. WTIP’s Jay Andersen talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about closing in on spring.

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Birch Grove

School News from Birch Grove: April 12

Arlo, Kalina and Sophia report the latest School News.

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