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North Shore Morning

AM Community Calendar/photo by masochismtango on Flickr

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:
Spring stream

North Woods Naturalist: Spring buffet

Spring is in full force. The sights, smells, and feel of the season. WTIP’s Jay Andersen talks with North Woods Naturalist Chel Anderson about the spring buffet.


The Lake Superior Project/Logo by Lauryl Loberg

LSProject: How a 3-year-old boy found an ancient artifact on a Grand Marais beach

In late October of 2010, much of North America experienced a huge storm complex, known as an extratropical cyclone. Minnesota experienced the lowest barometric pressures ever recorded. Winds from this storm created wave heights of up to 27 feet in northern Lake Superior.

Shortly after the storm ended, Tammy Cefalu and her 3-year-old son, Juniper, were walking a beach near Grand Marais. Juniper noticed an unusual object that turned out to be an ancient Native American artifact.

WTIP's Martha Marnocha spoke with Tammy and Juniper about this remarkable find, along with Bill Clayton, an archaeologist from Grand Portage National Monument.

See slideshow for photos of the projectile point, currently on display at the Cook County History Museum in Grand Marais.



Birch Grove Elementary - School News - May 30, 2018

This is the last School News report of the year from Birch Grove Elementary School's Tamarack Room class.
We'll hear from Isabel, Jack, Nataliya, Deja, Tori, Dayne, Atlas, Signe, and Daniel!



Talking Books - May 2018

"Talking Books" is a monthly feature on WTIP's North Shore Morning.
Gwen Danfelt will discuss books she's reading, new and hot titles, and more.



Wildersmith on the Gunflint - May 25

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith     May 25, 2018    

May is heading into the final lap, and the green-up continues. It’s almost all things spring and nearly summer as early wild blooms are bursting with splendor. All sign of winter is gone. Official summer is less than a month away, as the Ojibwe, “budding flowers” moon bids the fifth segment of ’18 farewell.  
The wild sunny gold of Marsh Marigolds and Dandelions in concert with domestic Daffodils is blazing our Trail with yellow fever. Add in a twinkling of purplish Squill along with a few Violets and we’re having a bloomin’ good prelude to the warm season color show. And we know “Mother Nature” has more blossoming adventures in the weeks to come.  
Leaf out continues its momentum as Quaking Aspen tokens are exploding by the moment. It is hard to fathom how these trembling leaflets expand in the few hours from morning until evening. I’ve been making daily trips to the Chik-Wauk Campus and the growth of this green Aspen maze is simply magical. Meanwhile, birch and maple buds have yet to catch their Poplar cousins, but their day is coming. 
Complementing the green wave is a surge of hummingbirds and robins into the territory.  Furthering the spring explosion, in any area of standing water, peepers are singing a happy tune. Yep, springtime has the spotlight!    
Mentioning Chik-Wauk, a few lines ago finds preparations for this weekends’ season-opening are buzzing just like things out of doors. The ninth season of telling the Gunflint Trail story through the Museum and Nature Center begins at 10:00 am Saturday. The facility is open each day until 5:00 pm.   
The temporary museum exhibit of the Ham Lake fire has been expanded to include “The Gunflint Green-up” in honor of the tenth anniversary of this massive tree planting event prompted by the 75,000-acre fire. You won’t want to miss it.            
If that isn’t enough, visitors will get the first peek at the timber frame structure designed to eventually house the historic watercraft exhibit. The terrific timber framing team completed the raising just days ago. This work of historical construction in itself …is architectural magnificence. It was hand hewn and pegged together by 19 residents and friends of the Gunflint Trail Community.  Under the guidance of Peter Henrikson through the North House Folks School, visitors have to see this as well. See a picture with my WTIP column at 
A couple manicuring efforts are underway along the Scenic Byway. Firstly, residents and travelers along the Trail and on back country roads have probably observed blue paint markings on trees and slash. If you haven’t already chased down the reason, its’ all part of Arrowhead Electric Coop’s right of away clearing processes. If you observed a blue “X” the tree inside the easement is being recommended as a removal candidate. A blue “dot” means the tree, needs work, and it is scheduled for pruning. Blue on brush means complete removal of the slash and very small trees.    
Residents should not panic at this as the contractor will visit with each property owner personally or through communication avenues to seek permission to work on the row across their respective property.  AEC does not contemplate any spray applications this year. If you have any further questions, contact AEC @ 218-663-7239.      
The second is a spruce up of the Trailside ditches. The GT Scenic Byway Committee has been working with lake homeowner groups to do a Trail clean-up. The task was completed during the past few days by many area residents. In cooperation with the Cook County Highway Department, collected trash was picked up from various roadside locations a day or so ago. So if you observed an assortment of black bags and larger items of trash along the roadside that was what it was all about. Big thanks to all in the great Gunflint Community who pitched in to clean-up, after those who pitch out!   
On a closing note, I received word about a wolf/beaver confrontation awhile back. The predator/prey drama played out while the area lakes were still under ice. From the sound of things, it was quite a fracas over on Leo Lake before the cantankerous beaver finally succumbed to the hungry Canid. I’m betting the beaver made this more of a battle than Mr. Wolf envisioned before the attack.    
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as all things emerald, engulf our Northern Riviera.                                                                                                                                              



Great Expectations School News - May 25, 2018

Great Expectations School News with Addie and Emma.
May 25, 2018


June Sky

Northern Sky: May 26 - June 8

Northern Sky  –  May 26 – June 8, 2018
May closes out--almost--with another full moon, the full flower moon. The moment of fullness arrives at 9:19 a.m. on Tuesday, the 29th. But by then the moon will already have set, so if you want to see it, go outside at sunrise. It'll be over in the west, looking pretty against a pale sky.
If you're up even earlier that day, say, 90 minutes before sunrise, you'll have a great view of stars and planets. Like Jupiter getting ready to set in the west. Or the moon right above the crown of Scorpius, a more or less vertical curved line of three stars very low in the southwest. Just southeast of the moon you'll see the scorpion’s red heart, Antares, the rival of Mars. East of the moon are two bright objects. One is Saturn. It's just above the Teapot of Sagittarius, a lovely star pattern that actually looks like a teapot. These mornings it tips its spout as if to pour tea on the stinger of the scorpion. Earth is catching up to Saturn in the orbital race, and on June 27, we lap the ringed planet, and it'll be at its brightest.
The other bright object is farther east, and that's Mars. Mars is already starting to dazzle us with its growing brilliance. That's because, as I've been saying, it, too, is going to get lapped by Earth soon. At the end of July, in fact--just a month after Saturn. Above Mars, the Summer Triangle of bright stars twinkles away. And, wouldn't you know it, gaining altitude in the east is the Great Square of Pegasus, an autumn constellation.
After full moon, the moon continues its way eastward. On June 1, it'll be between Saturn and the Teaspoon, a curved line of stars hanging down over the handle of the Teapot. On the 2nd it'll be between Saturn and Mars, and on the morning of the 3rd it hovers over Mars; these two objects will look like a big pearl above a small ruby. After passing Mars, the moon glides through a relatively dim starfield on its way to becoming new.
In the evening sky, we have Jupiter again. It's up in the southeast by nightfall, very bright but no match for Venus. The planets I mentioned earlier follow Jupiter into the sky, but not all of them make it during the evening—that is, pre-midnight—hours. As for Venus, it continues to blaze away in the west. During the first week of June the Gemini twins Pollux and Castor drop toward the planet. The brighter twin, Pollux, is the one closer to Venus. During the last several days of May and into June, the twins and Venus form a triangle that starts out long and thin but then shortens and flattens as these three objects shift positions. By Friday, June 8, they'll have formed one of the flattest triangles in history. The twins are among the last of the winter stars to head into the sunset, but they'll all reappear in the morning sky by late summer.
Turning a little to the north from Venus, you may see Capella, a gorgeous multicolored winter star. It's the brightest in Auriga, the charioteer, but with so many bright stars up in the winter, it may get kind of lost in the shuffle.
Also after nightfall, we have Spica, in Virgo, the next bright object west of Jupiter. If skies are dark, you might want to grab a star chart and try to trace the form of Virgo. Spica is the constellation's only bright star, so it can be a challenge to find Virgo the first time.


Maple Hill Church by Bryan Hansel

Magnetic North - May 23, 2018

Magnetic North 5/14/18
Cemetery Competition 
Welcome back to Magnetic North, where winter’s grip is but a memory, albeit one leaving a few bruises. Just when green grass and the melody of spring peeper frogs at dusk enters our world, so too does the annual search for the stuff we put away last fall - or did we throw it away or donate it? You know, the rakes, gardening tools, bug hats and so forth. 

Living for years with a fastidious man of Norwegian descent only made my seasonal treasure hunt more torturous… Mr. Take-and-Put was my nickname for Paul. He relished packing up gear to a fare thee well, with yards of duct tape encircling boxed items in the style of Egyptian mummies. The parcel would then be labeled with black magic marker in big uppercase letters. “GARDEN TOOLS: TROWEL, HAND RAKE, DANDELION ROOT GRABBER...” and so on. But then came the fatal flaw in his otherwise brilliant moves.

He stowed the boxes and promptly forgot where they were. The barn, the garage rafters, the back forty cabin, any one of five sheds? One year we replaced 75 feet of garden hose before finding the neatly coiled, taped and labeled sections in the old outhouse next to the chicken coop. Why there?  Why not there, he asked, adding that his Norwegian grandmother always said that “When you come to where a thing is, you find it.” Clearly, something had been lost in the translation.

And, even though it has been five years, this past week since Paul’s passing, I still have not “come to where” certain things he stowed away are on the farm. .So when I visited his grave last week, I hoped for some insight or clues as to where certain missing items might be tucked away. Paul’s and my parents' graves at Maple Hill Cemetery are in a lovely spot tucked under the sloping branches of a thirty-foot red pine and overlooking the picture postcard old white clapboard church.

Every big day, like birthdays, holidays and such, I visit and leave a box of DOTS candies, his favorites on the marker stone. The stone is nothing fancy. Flush with the ground, as is required for grass cutting, with Paul’s name and dates of birth and death and the inscription, “A life well loved”. It’s a place of peace and memories for me. And sometimes answers. Both large and small.

This year, as in years past, I wondered aloud about the location of such farm items as the fence tightening tool. But before I even got out of my car on the steep little hill running by the gravesite, I was struck by two things that irked me. First, the shepherds crook plant hanger was gone and second, Paul’s plot looked positively naked in comparison to the plots to the left and right of his. Both of these had been planted with daffodil bulbs, now in full bloom. All Paul’s and my parents’ monuments had for adornments were dead pinecones and a box of candy. And just like that, my sweet nostalgia morphed into the green-eyed monster of envy, accompanied by her faithful sidekick, resentment.

Bad enough that someone swiped the plant hanger, I stewed. But what really got my nanny were those oh-so-perky and delightful daffodils. It was all I could do to refocus on the reason I’d come to the place, even as I slurped down Paul’s favorite, strawberry malted began reciting Shakespeare’s sonnet, one hundred sixteen - now an annual ritual for birthday visits. You know, the one that begins, 
“Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove”

But not even the bard could restrain my thoughts from fastening on the stolen plant hanger. “What kind of person would rob a plant hangar from a grave?” I fumed mid-stanza. “The kind who had never heard of karma, obviously!” 

But back to Shakespeare…
“O, no! It is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.”
“Oh Yeah,” my resentful little mind butted in. “TAKEN is the word, alright. Maybe I should install one of those remote cameras.  On the red pine and catch the miscreant in the act.”
And then, back to the sonnet,
“Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.”

And with that, I blew my nose, finished the strawberry malt and said my farewells. Three days later, though, I was back, with a lavish basket of shade tolerant indigo blue flowers that I know will bloom their little hearts out all summer long.
I chuckled as I place the basket on the headstone-the shepherd’s crook hanger is on order. “I’ll see your daffodils,” and raise you one cascading extra-large lobelia basket.”

Then, I watered the ridiculously lavish basket, just the kind Paul would have splurged on, and finished Shakespeare’s lines about what love is and is not. 

If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.”

Driving out of the little cemetery this time, I was smiling with pleasure, even as I wondered aloud where my Mr. Take-and-Put stowed that fence tightener.  Ah, well, when I come to where the thing is, I’ll find it. Right?
For WTIP, this is Vicki Biggs-Anderson with Magnetic North.


White crown

North Woods Naturalist: White-crowned sparrows

They are harbingers of spring, but they don’t stay around long.. WTIP’s Jay Andersen talks with North Woods Naturalist Chel Anderson about white-crowned sparrows.



Wildersmith on the Gunflint - May 18, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith     May 18, 2018

May is rapidly moving along, surpassing the half-way point heading into this weekend. Warm season rituals continue occurring with each fleeting day.                                                               

Out this way, the most exciting tradition of late has been the final days of hard water on the larger lakes. Gunflint Lake is one of the last to bid ice farewell out. Sure enough, Sunday afternoon (May 13), somewhere between one and two o’clock, the big ice cube took a dip, not to return.   
The prelude to final crystal disbursement is music to our ears. Gnashing of the honeycombed chards always plays a remarkable chiming tune of northern lakes delight. 
On another delightful note, the happening couldn’t have come at a better time for yours truly. The Smiths’, and perhaps other north woods residents have been fretting powerful ice flows for several days as it can play havoc with our lake water systems, shoreline, and some permanent docks.                                                                                                                                                    
Unless one has proficiency in ancient glacial activity, this is an annual contemporary thing of which most folks from “Urbania” have no concept in regard to the “might” of an ice shield, being propelled by even the slightest of breezes. But we are breathing easier now as the ice chunk only moved the heavy steel piping about six feet and did not tear out the system yielding us life’s liquid sustenance. The whole scene makes one feel pretty helpless knowing the solidarity of “Mother Earth” and the power of “old Sol” are the only ice stoppers.                                                                                                                                            
Approaching the end of springs’ month two, our re-birth is not ready for “prime time” just yet. However, the impeccable ability of “Mother Nature” to start anew has the deciduous “green-up” at the point of explosion. Buds are bulging with enthusiasm as verdant hues are serving up a blur of lush haze on Sawtooth Mountain sides. Leaf out should be completed on schedule by the time we get to June. While our timber flora is unfolding, at ground level, green shoots are piercing the recently frozen earth along the Trail with new energy.                                                                                                                                               
In spite of the happy days at hand, the last character of our long winter has not disappeared entirely. At the time of this scribing, man-made piles of snow and mini-back woods glaciers, hidden deep in the shade along the Mile O Pine and other backcountry roads remain as memories of the season past.                                                                                                                                                                
Although the 2017-18 snow accumulation out this way was not severe in-depth numbers, it nevertheless has displayed staying power. Around Wildersmith, we’ve had snow of some consequence on the ground since October 27th, a total of two hundred four days so far!  Be assured, I will notify when all sign of winter is gone.                                                                                                                         
Taking this brief bit of cold season trivia further, bitter cold was not really severe by past North Country measures. But a sampling of what its’ been like, the day our Gunflint Lake ice went out,( last Sunday), the night before still saw a skimming of ice on the quiet open water strip along our shoreline. So however people define cold, include “persistent” with the descriptors.                                                                                                                                                            
Getting back to warmer spring thoughts, “skeeters” are back in the picture. Both Smiths’ have recorded the first itching nip of 2018. Meanwhile with snowmelt in many places still running lakeward, such is harboring habitat for black fly hatching so we can expect those torturous beings sooner rather than later. One can also add ticks to the list of our disgusting annoyances.                                                                                                                                                                      
And, speaking of other creeping, crawling critters, members of the arachnid family are spinning their nighttime web of intrigue as noted in the fiber network glistening through the early morning forest sunshine. Verifying the intricate phenomena, unfortunately, I seem to interrupt the networking every day on my first outdoors trek, by walking headfirst into the invisible filaments.   
While a few bear sightings have been reported, we at Wildersmith can now confirm a first sighting too. Happily, it was not in the yard or up on the deck, but along the Trail.    
Our recent fox visitor made another stop during the past few days. I find it interesting, but not surprising the hungry fellow takes a while to consider consumption of left-over seasoned, cooked meat. It’ll eat it grudgingly, but much prefers its protein raw, like a chicken part. Seems beggars shouldn’t be so choosy.   
On another foxy note, I see where one of this guy’s cousins was not spared by a vehicle in the mid-Trail area. Trail travelers need to give our “wild neighborhood” critters a “brake” particularly as inexperienced babies start exploring the warm blacktop.         
In closing, the territory remains moisture depraved. With all ice out, I can’t say enough about getting those wildfire sprinkler systems ready. Seeing increased visitor traffic due to early paddlers and the opening of walleye season, more human’s mean chances for an accidental fire being set are increased substantially. Since there is no burning ban, residents and businesses have to be ready on their own. Yours truly can attest the water is very cold, but my systems stand ready.                                                                                                                                                                      
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, in every season.