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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:
Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church near Grand Marais, known locally as the “Chippewa City Church.”

Cook County Historical Society plans for the future

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The Cook County Historical Society has just completed a long-range planning project for the Society's four historic sites in and around Grand Marais.
There will be an open house at the museum in downtown Grand Marais on Saturday, November 16th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. to present the long range plans and seek volunteers to serve on task forces for each of the historic sites.

The sites include the Lighthouse Keeper's House (museum), Chippewa City Church, the Bally Blacksmith Shop, and the Replica Fish House and Fishing Tug "Neegee."

(Click on audio mp3 above to hear an interview with Carrie McHugh, Dick Gillyard, and Leah Thomas of the Cook County Historical Society.)
More information is available online at  

(Photo by jonathunder via wikimedia commons)

Crowd gathered at Cook County Courthouse to hear Special Prosecutor Thomas Heffelfinger. Photo by Carah Thomas

Change of venue granted in Scannell case

Cook County Attorney Tim Scannell appeared in court this morning in Grand Marais for a Rule 8 hearing, after being indicted on Thursday, October 31, on two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. The hearing comes several months after the Attorney was accused of an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
Attorney Joe Tamburino represented Scannell at the hearing. Tamburino asked for the next court date to occur sometime in January. 6th Judicial District Chief Judge Shaun Floerke presided over the hearing. Floerke denied the two previous motions by the defense, including a request to dismiss the indictment, as well as a request that no 6th district judges preside over the case.
The defense and prosecution requested a change of venue to Duluth at the hearing. The prosecution also asked the judge to continue the conditions of release, including no contact with witnesses about the case.
Floerke granted the change of venue and the prosecution’s request. The judge also stated that they would convene at a later date to determine the following court date, which will occur in January.

Willard Nelson and WTIP's Carah Thomas at Hillhaven senior housing in Grand Marais, MN.

Moments in Time: Willard Nelson of Lutsen

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In this edition of Moments in Time, we visit with Willard Nelson, grandson of the founders of Lutsen Resort, Swedish immigrants C.A.A. and Anna Nelson, a few days before his 99th birthday, November 11, 2013.  Produced by Carah Thomas.

Science Workshops

Calling Science Educators -- Real Stories in Research: The Lake Superior Edition

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Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center near Finland is hosting two workshop for educators on Friday, November 15.  The workshops are part the Science Institute for Educators’ series.  WTIP spoke with Minnesota Sea Grant education specialist Marte Kitson about the series.

(Click on audio mp3 above to hear the interview.)

The workshop series is also being offered at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth.  
More information and registration available at

2013-2014 Science Institute – Real Stories in Research: the Lake Superior Edition
Workshop 1 - Planning & Design 
Is the Lake Superior Food Web Balanced?
Presented by E J Isaac, Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Tuesday, Oct. 15, 4-6 p.m. at Great Lakes Aquarium (353 Harbor Dr., Duluth, Minn.)
Friday, Nov. 15, 12-2 p.m. at Wolf Ridge ELC (6282 Cranberry Rd., Finland, Minn.)
Workshop 2 - Collecting
Bringing the Forest to the Fish        
Presented by Bethany Bethke, MNDNR
Tuesday, Nov. 12, 4-6 p.m. at Great Lakes Aquarium
Friday, Nov. 15, 2:30-4:30 p.m. at Wolf Ridge ELC
Workshop 3 - Modeling
Changing Design of Culverts Over Time     
Presented by Jessica Olson, Barr Engineering
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 4-6 p.m. at Great Lakes Aquarium
Friday, Feb. 7, 12-2 p.m. at Wolf Ridge ELC
Workshop 4 – Measuring
Artificial Stream Simulation in Natural Settings
Presented by Jason Butcher, US Forest Service
Tuesday, Jan. 14, 4-6 p.m. at Great Lakes Aquarium
Friday, Feb. 7, 2:30-4:30 p.m. at Wolf Ridge ELC
Workshop 5- Visualizing
Understanding the Evolution of North Shore Streams
Presented by Dr. Karen Gran, UMD Geological Sciences Department and Natural Resource Research Institute
Tuesday, Feb. 11, 4-6 p.m. at Great Lakes Aquarium
Friday, Mar. 28, 12-2 p.m. at Wolf Ridge ELC
Workshop 6 - Synthesizing & Communicating
Fish CSI: Connecting the Dots         
Presented by Joel Hoffman, USEPA, UMD
Tuesday, Mar. 25, 4-6 p.m. at Great Lakes Aquarium
Friday, Mar. 28, 2:30-4:30 p.m. at Wolf Ridge ELC


The Lake Superior Project / logo by Lauryl Loberg -Photo by Ken Lewis via Flickr

LSProject: Adapting, A Year Later

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A year ago on the Lake Superior Project, we spoke with several people around the lake—environmental advocates, policy makers, residents, and others—about climate change. Most of these people stressed the need to adapt to the changes that are happening here—including lower lake levels, warmer water temperatures, and less winter ice cover on the lake. So, a year later, we were curious. How are folks around the lake adapting to climate change? Some of their answers may surprise you. In this edition of the Lake Superior Project, we talk with folks and communities around the lake who are adapting to climate change...with a positive twist.

Sawtooth Mountain Clinic

West End News: November 7

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The Schroeder Historical Society is holding its annual Holiday Bazaar Saturday, Nov. 23, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Cross River Heritage Center in Schroeder.  Once again this year, there will be drawing for a beautiful handmade quilt.  The drawing will be held at 2 p.m.  Call 663-7706 or e-mail if you need more information.
I am pleased with the news that the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic in Grand Marais has added a staff person to help Cook County residents get enrolled in MNSure, which is the new online health insurance exchange created under the Affordable Health Care Act.  Rachelle Christianson is scheduling information sessions around the county.  She plans to have a couple of sessions in the West End, so watch for information about when and where as it becomes available. 
The MNSure exchange is for people who either don’t have health insurance or are underinsured.  If you get health insurance through your work, or if you are on Medicare, you don’t have to be concerned with MNSure.  Judging from her interview here on WTIP, Rachelle seems to have a very firm grasp on the details of MNSure and will be able to give you clear and helpful advice.  If you don’t want to wait for the public information sessions, you can contact her directly at the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic at 387-2330.
I’ve been very annoyed by the irrational and inaccurate misinformation campaign surrounding the Affordable Health Care Act, which is sometimes called Obamacare.  I can’t even begin to list all the nonsense that has been said about the Act, because it would take too long. 
From my perspective, Obamacare will be very useful to my family and small business.  We have been among the underinsured population for many years.  As an independent small business, we’ve been forced to buy our insurance on the open market as individuals.  In order to keep the expense within our means we’ve had to carry disaster insurance featuring very high deductibles, large co-payments and scary exclusions for expensive illnesses.  On top of that, many insurance companies have made it a standard practice to drop people from coverage on some flimsy pretext if they actually became sick, to avoid having to pay the claim.
In other words, we’ve been paying a small fortune for insurance that didn’t really protect us and might not cover us at all.  Even if our insurance worked as advertised, the reality was that if two members of our family became seriously ill at the same time, we could lose our home and business to bankruptcy – just for being unlucky.
The Affordable Health Care Act is a big step toward making sure that all Americans are treated fairly by their health insurance.  You can no longer be denied insurance for having a pre-existing condition.  You no longer can be dropped from your insurance just because you get sick.  All health insurance policies are now required to offer solid, across the board basic care without requiring you to lose your life’s savings if you get seriously ill or injured.
That said, I believe the Affordable Health Care Act is a flawed solution to how health care is paid for in America.  All you have to do is look around the world to see that a single payer system of health care is the way to go.  It is simpler, far more efficient and would improve the overall health of Americans. 
There is no perfect system for something as complicated as health care, but we can do much better.  A logical, well-run, single payer health insurance system could allow full choice of which doctor you see, make the paperwork much simpler, help hold down costs and let business unleash its entrepreneurial spirit.
In my opinion, we should give Obamacare a chance, but it’s not too early to be thinking about the next step forward.
At this writing, Sawbill Lake is still completely free of ice, but I don’t think that will last much longer.  All the leaves and needles are down now and the woods have that dark, austere November look.  Every time the wind switches to the north, I can practically smell the snow and ice creeping inexorably nearer and nearer.

Whurl photo by Stephan Hoglund

Local Music Project: Whurl

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Derek Smith, Erik Lastine and Will Seaton are making a unique and original style of music that defies definition.  In this edition of the Local Music Project we learn more about the Cook County based band Whurl. 


LUNAFEST short film festival Saturday at ACA

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LUNAFEST is a traveling film festival of award-winning short films by, for and about women.  This year, the festival will travel to over 150 cities and screen in front of 25,000 people. 
LUNAFEST is coming to the Arrowhead Center for the Arts in Grand Marais on Saturday, November 9th at 7:00 p.m., sponsored by the Violence Prevention Center.

(Click on audio mp3 above to hear an interview about the festival with Jodi Yuhasey and Lucy Perpich of the Violence Prevention Center in Grand Marais, MN.)


Established in 2000 by LUNA, the makers of the Whole Nutrition Bar for Women, LUNAFEST connects women, their stories and their causes through film. This traveling film festival spotlights the work of a diverse array of talented women filmmakers with intelligent, funny and thought-provoking themes.  

Each year, various organizations bring LUNAFESTs to their communities and raise funds for their local non-profits as well as the festival’s main beneficiary - Breast Cancer Fund
See more at:
This season’s program of nine selected films is incredibly diverse in style and content, united by a common thread of exceptional storytelling - by, for and about women.
WATCH THE LUNAFEST TRAILERTake a peek at the films selected for the 2013-2014 Season
Date with Fate
by Venetia Taylor
When it comes to blind dating, some things are meant to be—whether you like it or not.
First Match
by Olivia Newman
A determined female wrestler prepares for her first co-ed high school match.
Flying Anne
by Catherine van Campen
A young girl with Tourette’s syndrome takes “flight” to navigate life with her tics.
Granny’s Got Game
by Angela Gorsica Alford
Seven fiercely competitive women in their seventies bond and play winning basketball, proving you are never too old to do what you love.
Maria of Many
by Alexandra Liveris
Meet María—Mexican immigrant, domestic worker, committed mom and activist.
Running Dry
by Dimitra Nikolopoulou
A woman impacted by economic hardships journeys into contemporary Athens.
by Celia Bullwinkel
A woman walks through life, confronts her changing body and learns to love herself.
Sounds Shadows
by Julie Engaas
Enter a world where sound gives shape to space.
Tiny Miny Magic
by Danielle Lurie
When Sam and her mailman exchange presents via her mailbox, an unexpected love connection blossoms.

See more at:

Erik Hahn performing with Frozen Britches

Local Music Project: Erik Hahn

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This edition of the Local Music Project features multi-instrumentalist Erik Hahn. 

Photo (from left to right): Erik Hahn, Tom VanCleve and Briand Morrison performing as Frozen Britches at the 2013 Radio Waves Music Festival. 

frosty mornings

Wildersmith on the Gunflint: October 25

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[click above for audio]

            October got back on track in the upper Gunflint this past week. After wandering aimlessly for the first couple stanzas while holding hands with late summer, month ten kicked up her heels with a little winter preview.
            A couple frosty mornings found gauzy fog hanging over the warmer Gunflint Lake waters. Then clouds globed together late in the night of our full “falling leaves” moon, and by morning of last Saturday snow was flying.
            The mid-trail area received a pretty good dose while I was down in those parts for a rummage sale.  The white stuff was sticking to everything and in not too many minutes the Trail was coated for my first stab at winter driving conditions. This impromptu winter wonderland made our beautiful autumn quickly fade into a distant memory.
 Here at Wildersmith our snow was not quite as intense, nevertheless it provided us with the first coating of the season. By afternoon a few peeks of sun and a still-warm ground made it all disappear in spite of temps hanging out in the low to mid-30s.
With the temperature not getting above the freezing mark this past Monday and snow whipping about most all day, I’m invoking my self-imposed criteria that it ‘s now winter in these parts. You may recall from years past that a daytime high temp below the freezing mark at this time of the season gives me license to make such a bold proclamation.
Speaking of the Gunflint Gal, I ran a check of her water temp and found “warmer” to be only relative with the column of mercury diminished into the high 40s, brrrr! On another note regarding the lake, several rains late this summer and into the fall have brought the lake level up to the highest I’ve seen at this time of year in over a decade.
This in mind, the area must be finally coming out of the drought that has plagued us for  too many years to count. It was a great summer for growing things, and thank goodness, the trees are going into winter with fairly wet feet. Now if only Old Man Winter remembers to pile on the snow!
Back country roads twist and turn as we head through October. I find it uniquely artistic the way in which, with only minimal traffic, our fallen leaves are churned up and then banked in neatly windrowed roadside borders.  It’s almost as if they are plowed into formation to act as cushion for the layers that will be piled upon them in the months to come.
The times of daylight are noticeably shorter even with that nonsensical daylight savings gaffe. Darkness is now closing in on us by late afternoon, and it’s barely twilight at seven in the morning.  So our limitless bright sky of a few short weeks ago is now consumed by ever lengthening darkness. Nevertheless, our extended evening time grips us with crisp soft air and the reverent smell of wood smoke. It’s a time of peace, perhaps the quiet before the storm.
All critters in our northern universe are busy securing places to hole up for the cold times ahead. Over the years, we at Wildersmith have been spared the influx of those tiny rodents seeking a warm spot (knock on wood). However, tight as the place seems to be, those creepy spiders are finding ways to slither inside. I know I’m probably not winning the battle against the wriggling arachnids, but if they show themselves they’re mine.
All avian feeders have been reinstalled on our deck-side cafeteria. However, I’m still using caution in regard to going full bore on serving the winged critters for fear of inviting a hungry Bruno. Further, since the brown earth is still providing morsel opportunities, and with the cost of seeds, it won’t hurt too much to wait a while longer for the excitement of a feeding frenzy to commence.
We do have several airborne visitors coming by on a daily basis to check things out. Besides our feathered friends, another reunion of sorts is announced with the return of our furry old friend Piney, the marten. Mr./Ms. Marten has been in absentia since last spring, but apparently remembers a nice piece of chicken will be available in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, it has been munching on some sparse daytime-issued sunflower seeds that keep the chattering squirrels off my back.
The “All Welcome” WTIP fall membership drive is in full swing as we visit this week. We need your continued support!  So give us a telephone buzz or internet click to keep this northern marvel going and growing, and thank you very much!
Keep on hangin’ on, and savor the coming of the “great northern express”, there’s a light comin’ round the mountain.