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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:
Lighthouse (Andrew Smith/flikr)

'By Way of Water: Our History with Lake Superior' opens July 29

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Cook County Historical Society has a new exhibit at the museum:  “By Way of Water: Our History with Lake Superior” opens today at 8 South Broadway in Grand Marais. Before a highway made the North Shore accessible to automobiles, people came to Cook County by boat. The exhibit shares the story of how the lake shaped the people and communities of this region.

The Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays 11 to 4.  More information at 387-2883. 

In the exhibit you'll learn about: Grand Marais Harbor and East Bay as ideal locations for settlement, the docks that steamships visited regularly, the shipwrecks America and Stranger, the United States Coast Guard, and the people and boats that passed through Cook County. Featured in the exhibit are the Fresnel Lens from the Grand Marais Lighthouse; the wheel from the S.S. America; multimedia stories about Isle Royale, heroic fishermen, and the lighthouse keeper’s family; and wonderful local art depicting a time when life depended on the Big Lake.  

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Documenting Renovation: the Bally Blacksmith Shop

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Not only are renovations under way on the Bally Blacksmith Shop in Grand Marais, but the renovations and history are being documented.  WTIP volunteer Randy Eastlund spoke with Leah Thomas and Michael McHugh of the Cook County Historical Society.

The Cook County Historical Society hosts the Bally Blacksmith Tent most Saturdays from 10am to 2pm.  Everyone is welcome to learn about the renovation of the old blacksmith shop, identify mystery artifacts, share stories and enjoy coffee and cider.  The tent is behind the Bally Blacksmith Shop on the corner of Broadway and 1st St.  More information from the Historical Society at 387-2883.
 

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Geotourism in the Heart of the Continent

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‘Geotourism’ is the idea of sustainable tourism — that destinations should remain unspoiled for future generations — while allowing for ways to protect a place’s character.
 
Area organizations and attractions are being considered for inclusion in a National Geographic ‘mapguide’ celebrating the Heart of the Continent.  WTIP’s Audrey Summers spoke with Jim Dion of National Geographic Maps.  For more about the project or to nominate your local favorites, here's the website.

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Library Friends hosts an annual book sale every Fisherman's Picnic

Fisherman's Picnic Annual Library Friends Book Sale

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Every year during Fisherman's Picnic, the Library Friends have a large book sale at the Cook County Community Center. WTIP spoke with Library Friends board member, Duane Hasegawa about the event, which starts with a special member-only preview sale on Thursday, July 31, and continues through Saturday.

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It's almost time to go school shopping!

Back to School on a Budget

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Sara Hadley of Cook County Public Health and Human Services talked to WTIP about how to do back-to-school shopping on a budget. More information and tips are available at 218-387-3603.

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Red Squirrel (Bob MacInnes / Flikr)

Wildersmith on the Gunflint: July 25

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            Summer has stepped up, though not with a vengeance, while I begin this week’s Gunflint scoop. Guess it’s about time as we’re headed into the last stanza of July.
            With the increased heat and bright sunshine walleyes are being driven into deeper, darker places so there’s likely to be some angler angst. Thus it’s “smallie” time, they’re fun too. In addition to whining from yours truly, the moose will also be headed into darker places too.  A little of this sultriness goes a long ways toward making one appreciate minus 40-something!
            Our rainy times have dwindled over the past seven with just a little over 1/2 inch claimed in the Wildersmith gauge. In fact, the last serious rain was just over 10 days ago.  That is, until the heavens were cracked open with some July fireworks early Tuesday morning.  Until then back country roads were starting to choke in dust, and green as things may be, the wilderness duff was getting crunchy in a hurry.
            The drier conditions of late have been a blessing to the construction crew, which is in the final stages of resurfacing a section of the Trail out this way. For those of us traversing this paradise pathway on regular basis, early trips on the new ribbon of blacktop are almost too much to believe. Thanks go out to the County Highway Department for administering and rapidly expediting a great improvement!
            As August creeps toward our horizon, summer seems right on cue. The perennial lupine crop is fading fast and is being replaced by a more favored native, fireweed. Meanwhile the bird’s foot trefoil has surged to front and center in place of hawkweeds and daisies to be next in line among non-native floral luminaries.
             I noticed the other day wild rose blooms along the Mile O Pine have grown into hips, although the fruit are far from mature. And, it is hard to fathom, but a few moose maples are already blushing with a faint tint of something other than green.
            All these natural happenings are signaling the coming of berry season. A couple ripe raspberries were plucked a few days ago with many in the final stages. A friend shared she got her first cup of early blues (berries) from her favorite patch, with oodles more just days away.  I can almost smell the aroma  of fruits of the forest pies wafting from cabin kitchens through the pines.
            Berry time will also favor a gang of north woods growlers who will be equally grateful. Bet those bears can hardly wait to get off their sunflower seeds and garbage compost menus of the past few months.
            I hesitate to get too enthused, but it seems as though the biting surge of insects has backed off somewhat. It could happen, that hearing of my opinion, a news release via the “moccasin telegraph” will summon a second or third generation of mosquitoes to prove me wrong.
            A bear paid another visit to our deck while the Smiths were away. Apparently, Pappa or Momma bear was miffed at there being no goodies. It took a swipe at my grilling ashes collection can and knocked the lid off.
            The woolly one must have got into the dusty stuff with both forefeet, and I suspect, also got a good snoot full before it tramped across the rain-soaked deck, leaving big gray footprints. The trail of paw reproductions led to the edge of the deck where the animal either fell off or managed an acrobatic dismount. Being a rather inconsiderate woodsman, it definitely left a trace.
            There’s three red squirrels who have adopted me as their guardian for the past couple months, in spite of my not stocking the usual feeders. In order to minimize inviting bears, I scatter three small patches of seed on the ground away from the house.
             These miniature rodents are so enthused each day when I come outside, I’m often met at the door and they run into my wood shop where the supply can is located, prancing around like kids at Christmas. They are worse than little puppies, under foot to the point where I have to almost boot them out the door to avoid stepping on one.
            The handouts allocated are quickly consumed, leaving no trace to bring in the bears. If any seed morsels are missed, their chipmunk cousins are soon on the scene, cleaning up any scraps.
            It would seem the squirrely creatures might be big as bears since the threesome are about to finish off a second 50-pound bag of sunflower seeds since the warm season commenced. It probably won’t be long before stashing for winter will get under way, if it hasn’t already.
            Paddling is a way of life in these parts. Last week the Gunflint Trail Canoes Races took center stage and this week it’s the Dragon Boat Festival down on the harbor. Come and enjoy the weekend festivities beginning on Friday evening with race competition starting Saturday morning. It’ll be a fun time, and will benefit three worthy county nonprofits: the North Shore Health Care Foundation, North House Folk School and “THE” community radio station.
            Keep on hangin’ on, and savor some time on the Gunflint!
 


 

Superior National Forest Update: July 25

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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

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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. 

 

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West End News: July 24

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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

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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.

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