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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:

Superior National Forest Update: July 25

USDA_SNForest_Update_Larson_20140725.mp34.39 MB

Hi.  I’m Nancy Larson, District Ranger for the Gunflint Ranger District with this week’s edition of the Superior National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. 
For the week of July 25th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
Recent storms have reminded us all to keep weather in mind while out on the Forest.  If you are out on the water and see a storm approaching, get off the water and find a safe place to sit out the storm.  Remember that lightning strikes often occur on the leading edge of a storm, before it actually starts to rain.  When setting up camp, look up and check the surrounding trees.  Don’t pitch your tent under dead or unstable trees, and try to avoid roots that can conduct lightning strikes.  Plan ahead before an extended trip by leaving an itinerary with someone at home, but don’t endanger yourself by traveling in bad weather just to keep to a schedule.  Most of all, use common sense and be prepared. 
Travel in the Forest should be pretty easy this weekend with many of the roads having been graded recently.  There are still washouts in some places that create narrow places on some smaller roads, such as the Kawishiwi Lake Road.  The recent windstorm left many trees down across roads, and while we have been working to clear them off, there may still be some across less traveled routes.  You may run into logging traffic near Harriet Lake and the Four Mile Grade on the Tofte District.  Timber work is beginning off the Pine Mountain Road, but truck traffic should still be minimal this week.  Timber work is finishing up on the Sawbill Trail where truck use should be decreasing as compared to last week.  Logging trucks will also be on roads near Greenwood and Devil Track Lakes and on the Caribou Trail on the Gunflint District. 
Fire crews are running wood chippers at East Bearskin Campground as they finish fuel reduction work there, while the same process of clearing undergrowth is starting at Baker Lake Campground.  The result will be a forest better able to resist major wildfires.  With our wet weather, there is little fire danger locally, so fire crews from our Forest are headed out to the northwest to help with wildfires there.
Moose sightings seem to be up in recent weeks.  There are thoughts that the wet and buggy weather has kept moose on the move resulting in more of them being near roadways.  While it is great to see a moose, it isn’t so great to hit one with a car.  Always be aware while driving that there could be a moose or other wildlife on the road, just around the corner.  And, if you stop to take pictures, make sure you are pulled over in a safe location.
For up to minute information on topics such as fire restrictions, be sure to check our website or at a Ranger Station. 
Hope you enjoy another week in the Forest and on the water.  Until next week, this has been Nancy Larson with the National Forest Update.

Muddy Hike (Steven Depolo/Flikr)

Recommendation: slog through the mud

USDAFS_SloggingThru_Cable_20140724_live.mp38.03 MB

While it's tempting to skirt around muddy spots, the savvy hiker comes prepared to slog through it and stick to the main trail.  North Shore Morning host Marnie McMillan spoke with Assistant District Ranger Suzanne Cable of the USDA Forest Service, exploring one aspect of responsible hiking trail use. 




West End News: July 24

WEN_20140724_finalcut.mp35.58 MB

As Cindy and I stood at our patio doors at 3:30 in the morning on Tuesday, I thought, “Here we go again.” 
The 100-foot-tall red and white pines in our backyard were bent halfway to the ground and the rain was whipped into a white, sideways froth filled with branches, leaves and needles flying by at 60 miles per hour.  Massive lightning bolts were creating a disorienting strobe effect, brilliantly lighting the landscape one second and plunging into cave-like blackness in the next.
As I was lost in a flashback to the catastrophic 1999 blow-down, Cindy’s voice brought me back to the present by announcing that someone was at the door. 
We opened the door to the bedraggled Bagnato family, Greg and Ellen, along with their young children, Mia and Taj.  Ellen was a Sawbill crew member 15 years ago and they were camping on the Sawbill Campground for the night before beginning a canoe trip.
As we hustled the bedraggled family into dry towels, they informed us that a tree had fallen on their tent, landing on Mia’s legs.  Although the tent is a total loss, x-rays at the emergency room in the morning revealed that Mia did not have any fractures, just large, colorful bruises to show for her frightening experience.
We ended up with nine large trees down in the campground, including some huge white and red pines.  Four of them fell within feet of people sleeping in tents. 
Mia’s bruises turned out to be the only injuries from the storm in the Sawbill area, and the blow-down didn’t materialize, but both were very close calls.
Weather disaster was already on my mind, as earlier in the day I had attended a workshop on climate change hosted by the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center.  The University of Minnesota, North Carolina State University and Carleton College have teamed up to study how Minnesota’s North Shore can adapt to climate change.
The workshop was attended by representatives from government, non-profits, tourism business and academics.  The project will study how climate change will affect the North Shore and what strategies will help us deal with those changes as they come.
Ironically, one of the prime topics of conversation at workshop was increasing frequency of extreme weather, in the form of floods, droughts, wind storms, and wild variations in seasonal temperatures.  The examples are too numerous to ignore, including the ’99 blowdown, the Ham Lake and Pagami Creek fires, the Duluth flood, the record early ice-out in 2012 and the polar vortex last winter, just to name a few.
The climate change adaptation project will be active on the North Shore over the next year, interviewing stakeholders and collecting data of all kinds.  I applaud their efforts, but I also think we are far past the time for the world to come to grips with this important issue. 
I often hear the argument that our economy can’t afford to slow down climate change, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious, here on the West End, that we can’t afford not to deal with climate change.

Cook County Senior Center

Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser for the Cook County Senior Center, July 25

spaghettifundraiser_repack_20140723.mp34.56 MB

During the North Shore Dragon Boat Festival, the Senior Center will be hosting a spaghetti dinner as a fundraiser. The dinner will be July 25th from 5 to 7 p.m. WTIP spoke to Warren Anderson and Kristen Anderson of the Senior Center about the event.



eBook workshop at the Grand Marais Public Library, July 23

LibraryTech_Harsin_Pranis_20140722.mp312.24 MB

E-books have not yet made libraries obsolete, but they can be handy.
WTIP's Matthew Brown spoke with Steve Harsin, director of the Grand Marais Public Library, and Bob Pranis, broadband commission member and library liason.

The library hosts a workshop on eBook readers on Wednesday, July 23, at 6:30 pm. Bob Pranis will discuss how reading technology is evolving, the advantages of eBooks, how to get the most from eBook devices, how to download books to e- readers, and considerations in choosing the right device. Those with all types of readers, and at all levels of experience and ability, are welcome. No advance sign-up is necessary.


Cook County Community Education offers activites and classes for youth

New Cook County Community Education Youth Director

CommEd_Lilienthal_Shuler_20140717.mp36.75 MB

Cook County Community Education and the YMCA have joined together to hire a full-time Youth Director. The new director Jen Shuler and Andrea Lilienthal of Community Education talked to WTIP about upcoming youth classes and events.



Grand Marais Library

The Grand Marais Public Library subscribes to Minnesota Grantmakers Online

mngrantmaker_repack_20140721.mp33.82 MB

The Grand Marais Public Library recently became a subscriber to Minnesota Grantmakers Online, a program that gives library patrons access to information on grantmakers in Minnesota. In order to learn more, WTIP spoke with Kaitlin Ostlie of the Minnesota Council on Foundations.


Net (alvez/Flikr)

Registration open for 38th annual Fisherman's Picnic Tennis Tournament

TennisTourney_Bergstroms_20140721.mp310.67 MB

Tennis anyone?  Lee Bergstrom, president of the Cook County Tennis Association, invites everyone to join in this year's tournament.  WTIP volunteer Marnie McMillan spoke with Lee and David Bergstrom.

2014 Fisherman’s Picnic Tennis Tournament
July 31-August 3rd.
Seniors: Thursday through Friday
Juniors and Adults – Friday through Sunday.
Registration deadline is July 26 for Seniors/Adults and July 27 for Juniors
For online registration, draw information and schedule go to and search for
Adult Tournament # 550014914 / Junior Tournament # 555106914.
For tournament information contact: Bill Thomas at


Superior National Forest Update: July 18

USDA_SNForest_update_20140718.mp33.18 MB

Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen with the Superior National Forest Update  -  information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Forest. 
For the week of July 18th, here’s what’s going on around the Forest.
Much of the Forest is still pretty wet.  This is really helping lower fire danger, as well as making it a very green spring so far.  When you’re hiking or boating though, you’ll probably encounter signs of high water.  Familiar water routes may be a bit different than in other years with lower water level.  While driving, you should watch for soft shoulders and water on the road after rains as there isn’t a lot of space for quick drainage.  You may also run into logging traffic near Harriet Lake, the Four Mile Grade, and the Sawbill Trail on the Tofte District, and near Shoe Lake, Greenwood Lake, and Devil Track Lake on the Gunflint.  Gravel trucks are hauling gravel for construction along the Caribou.  There are crews out grading Forest roads over the next few weeks, and other crews brushing ditches in the Tofte District.
Fire crews are still working on fuel reduction at East Bearskin Campground, so there will be people there cutting and removing undergrowth.  This operation will move to Baker Lake Campground later this week.  All of this work will help to reduce the amount of fuel available for wild fires and to help create a more natural forest structure.  Two fire crews from our Forest are headed out west to help with wildfires in Washington, so we will wish them luck!
We are working with seasonal crews from the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa.  These hard working young people are working on lots of different projects on the Forest from trail maintenance to timber marking and gaining hands on experience that could help them in careers in resource management.
This next week, they may be finding plenty of blueberries as they work as well.  Blueberries seem to be abundant and on the edge of ripeness this week.  We’ll see what the weather is and if the crop lives up to its promise.  Remember if you are picking berries, stay away from any areas that might have been sprayed for weed control or insects.  Wildlife biologists conducted the last of the spring frog surveys as our amphibians wind down their spring chorus.  Birds still are singing though with our cool weather and lengthened spring.
For up to the minute information on topics such as fire restrictions, be sure to check our website or at a Ranger Station. 
Hope you enjoy another week in the Forest and on the water.  Until next week, this has been Steve Robertsen with the National Forest Update.

The Grand Marais Playhouse

Nunsense in Studio A

nunsense_repack_20140716.mp37.48 MB

WTIP had cast members of the Grand Marais Playhouse's production of Nunsense in the studio to talk about the upcoming play, and for a preview of the songs.