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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:
full moon (AMHenriette/Flikr)

Northern Sky: January 24

NorthernSky_20150124.mp35.63 MB

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

A full Snow (or Hunger) Moon on February 3rd; Jupiter in opposition while followed by Regulus on February 6th - the same day that Earth laps Jupiter; and not to forget Imbolc or Groundhog Day on February 2nd.


Superior National Forest Update: January 23

USDA_SNF_Update_Robertsen_20150123.mp33.56 MB

Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen, interpreter on the Gunflint and Tofte districts of the Superior National Forest, and this is the National Forest Update for the week of January 23rd.  If, or hopefully when, you get outside to explore the Forest during this this last week or so of January, here’s some things you may want to know.
It’s no news that we have less snow than last year.  While we have less snow, right now most cross country ski trails are open and either groomed or hand tracked.  That may change, there is sleet and freezing rain in the forecast.  The best source for information is our website with its links to our individual trail partners who do the grooming.  It is probably worth a quick check before you head out, just so you know what to expect.
Skiing on lakes has been excellent though.  Most lakes have a thick ice layer, and there is minimal slush.  I did say “most” and “minimal” though.  Whenever you are on ice keep your wits about you and be ready to deal with slush pockets, pressure ridges, and other potential hazards.  Bring your ice picks, rope, spare clothes, and if at all possible, a partner to ski with.
Sharing the lakes with the skiers are the people ice fishing.  With warmer temperatures and less snow on lakes, it is a pretty good winter for fishing.  If you are driving to the lake, keep a couple of things in mind.  One is that while there is less snow, there is enough now that even large pick ups will get bogged down and stuck on unplowed roads.  Don’t take chances - if the road isn’t plowed, it means no one will be driving down it to rescue you.  When you do park your vehicle, make sure that you don’t block the road.  We’ve also had some “rogue plowing” going on.  You are not allowed to plow Forest Service roads without a permit.  Permits are free and can be obtained at the Gunflint or Tofte Ranger Stations, and help us keep track of the road system conditions.
If a road is plowed, it probably means a timber sale is going on.  Watch for truck traffic near Mark, Pike, and Thompson Lakes in the the Gunflint District, and near White Pine and Outlaw Lakes in Tofte. 
Starting January 25, the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon will bring mushers and spectators into the woods as well.  There will be road signs indicating race crossings, as well as for lots of pedestrians in some areas.  And of course, there will be dogs as well - this event is a great reason to get out and see some wonderful canine athletes.  Best of luck to all of them.
You can start reserving Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness entry permits for the summer on January 28th at   Right now, if you go into the Boundary Waters, you still need a self-issued permit, available at the entry point, but it is not too soon to start planning for your summer trips.

Keep thinking snow, and enjoy the winter.  Until next time, this is Steve Robertsen for the Superior National Forest Update.

Venus, Jupiter and the Moon (Dave Schumaker / Flikr)

Northern Sky: January 10

NorthernSky_20140110.mp34.98 MB

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

The planets are at play this month:  Venus and Mercury in the evening, Jupiter most of the night, and Saturn in the pre-dawn sky.


Superior National Forest Update: January 9

USDA_SNF_Update_robertsen_20150109.mp33.3 MB

Hi.  I’m Steve Robertsen, interpreter on the Gunflint and Tofte districts of the Superior National Forest.  It’s a new year, and time for a new edition of our National Forest Update.
Even though it has been a light snow winter so far, there is getting to be enough of the white stuff to have some fun outside.  There is less snow along the shore of the big lake, but inland there is enough for skiing.  Even some of the trail systems nearer the lake are beginning to be packed even if not groomed.  There are convenient links to most of our trail partners’ websites from the Superior’s National Forest website, providing you with a fast way to find up-to-date information on trail conditions.  We’ll hope for continuous improvement in the snow department as January goes on.  There was enough snow for a successful run of the Gunflint Mail Run dog sled race, and we have our fingers crossed that later this month we’ll see a good running of the John Beargrease dog sled race as well.
If you are traveling by snowmobile instead of dog sled, be aware that you need 4 inches of snow cover to travel cross country.  Many of the local trails are closed or only in poor condition, but a few are listed as fair condition according the Minnesota DNR website.  We have links to those trail conditions as well.  Watch out for those exposed rocks as you ride - the snow cover is pretty inconsistent right now.
With the light snow cover, driving in the Forest is a whole lot easier than it was last year.  Be aware that if a smaller Forest Road is plowed, it is an indication that there is logging activity ahead and there may be trucks.  The Forest Service itself doesn’t plow the roads, so a plowed road means something is happening ahead.  As always, make sure you are prepared with a winter safety kit in your vehicle.
I’ve recently seen a repeated post in social media complaining “Why do I live where the air hurts my face?”  Well, the answer to that is winter is what you make of it.  There is breathtaking beauty in the winter woods, from crystal clear stars at night to snow laden pine trees during a snow fall.  There are plenty of things to do outside in the winter, and if it is too cold, it provides the perfect excuse for curling up with a book and hot chocolate.  Our winters here may sometimes hurt your face, but they are worth it if you make the effort to enjoy them.  You can see other posts about winter and the Forest, with no complaining, if you visit the Superior National Forest’s new Facebook page while you’re sitting there with the hot chocolate.  It’s another way you can be part of the Forest, even if you‘re in your family room at home.
Keep thinking snow, and enjoy the winter.  Until next time, this is Steve Robertsen for the Superior National Forest Update.


Cook County YMCA celebrates First Birthday and the new year

The Cook County YMCA is celebrating one year of service to the community and looking forward to a great new year.  WTIP volunteer Yvonne Mills speaks with Branch Executive Director Emily Marshall.

The Open House Birthday celebration is Sunday, January 4 from 1 to 4 pm, and includes new group fitness class samplings, snacks, open game room, open swim with water slide, and open gym.
The  YMCA hosts a job fair Monday, January 6, from 6 to 7:30pm. Program staff will be on hand to answer questions about jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities in aquatics, sports, health & wellness, marketing, childcare, and organizational management.
More upcoming events are on our Events and Announcements page.


Full "Wolf" Moon (Rick Leche / Flikr)

Northern Sky: December 27

NorthernSky_20141227.mp37.08 MB

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

A full Wolf Moon on January 4th; a G-formation of bright winter constellations to the south; Earth at perihelion; and the Rosetta probe and the history of water.

ISD166 School Nurse Kay Borud

Cook County School News: Influenza

SchNews_CC_influenza_20141218.mp34.7 MB

The spread of influenza-like illness (ILI) is making news across the state. Locally ISD166 is having its own struggles.  Not sure when to keep your child home?  Wondering why the whole school doestn't close?  School Nurse Kay Borud reports on current recommendations.  
And Cook County Schools remind parents to update emergency contact information on record in the school office. If you have changes to report, the number to call is 387-2271. 


Superior National Forest Update: December 19

USDA_SNF_Update_Botner_20141219.mp34.73 MB

Hi.  I’m Anna Botner, Wilderness Specialist on the Gunflint and Tofte Districts of the Superior National Forest.  We’ve got a bit more snow, and as it accumulates, so do the opportunities for winter recreation on the Forest.
Light snow cover means that some roads that are usually impassable this time of year look fairly drivable.  But, watch out!  Appearances can be deceiving!  It is easy to get stuck at the bottom of a hill if you are in a conventional two wheel drive car, even in small amounts of snow.  Make sure the safety equipment in your car includes a strong tow strap, shovel and sand, just in case.  Cat litter, by the way, isn’t recommended for traction.  Spinning tires can heat up the snow under it enough to create water, that will simply dissolve the litter. If you bring a cell phone, don’t forget a charger, but remember there are lots of places on the Forest where it will not work.
Do you need a Christmas tree still?  Our three million acre Christmas tree lot is still open.  Pick up a permit at a District office for five dollars, and then go pick your tree.  There are some simple guidelines to follow concerning where you can harvest a tree, and an expedition into the woods in search of the perfect balsam fir is a great tradition to either follow or start with your family.
While driving, you’ll discover that there isn’t a lot of logging traffic right now  except for the Sawbill Trail, the Grade, the Pine Mountain Road, the Pike Lake Road, and the Bally Creek Road.  Though truck traffic is light, remember that they will have a harder time stopping on snow covered roads.
There is enough snow to ski in some areas, but most trails are not being groomed as yet.  Presently, the recommendation is to use older skis, as you may be skiing on rocks some of the time. This is also a good time of year for lake skiing.  As always when traveling on ice, watch for weak spots and be prepared in case you go through with ice picks, rope, and a change of clothing, in a waterproof bag.  The best thing to bring with you when traveling on ice is a partner - rescues with a friend are a lot easier than by yourself.
If you’re snowmobiling, 4 inches of snow cover is required for cross country travel.  For trail conditions, check the Minnesota DNR website. As of December 18th, most area trails are either closed or in poor condition.
Fat tire bicycles have been in the news recently, as more and more people take up the sport.  There are no specific fat bike trails in the Superior National Forest, but they are welcome on Forest Roads.  Bikers need to remember that they are sharing the roads with vehicles, and possibly snowmobiles.  Bikes are not allowed on trails with other use designations, such as ski trails, snowmobile trails, or snowshoe trails.
Think snow, and enjoy a safe holiday season!  This has been Anna Botner with the Superior National Forest Update.

Leo (jah~ /Flikr)

Northern Sky: December 13

NorthernSky_20141213.mp36.97 MB

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

Saturn, Jupiter in retrograde and Leo; the Winter Solstice; Algol in Perseus visible in deepest eclipse on Dec 15th and 18th.


Medusa (Manuel M Almeida / Flikr)

Northern Sky: November 29

NorthernSky_20141129.mp36.25 MB

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

The Long Night's Moon, full on December 6th; the constellation Perseus and the winking eye of Medusa; and earliest sunsets followed by latest sunrises.