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North Shore Weekend

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  • Saturday 7-10am
Genre: 
Variety
Host CJ Heithoff brings you this Saturday morning show, created at the request of WTIP listeners.  North Shore Weekend features three hours of community information, features, interviews, and music. It's truly a great way to start your weekend on the North Shore. Arts, cultural and history features on WTIP’s North Shore Weekend are made possible with funding from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

 

 


What's On:
New Horizons Mission to Pluto {NASA /Flickr}

Northern Sky: June 13

Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota. She authors the Minnesota Starwatch column, and contributes to WTIP bi-weekly on the Monday North Shore Morning program through "Northern Sky," where she shares what's happening with stars, planets and more.

The distance between Venus and Jupiter shrinking; New Horizon spacecraft closing in on Pluto; The double dwarf system of Pluto and Charon; and the teaspoon of stars hanging above the teapot of Sagitarius.

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Wildersmith on the Gunflint: June 5

As Gunflint Country bid adieu to May, an exasperated “old man winter” took a brief swipe at the area. A couple mornings found low temps in the twenties at some locations. And believe it or not, a couple snow squalls blew through the Seagull/Sag/Gunflint Lakes around eight hundred hours on Saturday.               

The cold had many gardeners on edge for sure. At Wildersmith, we skimmed some ice on the bird-watering shell, and I overheard one fellow’s comment about the cold snap, suggesting “he guessed we’ve had our summer.”

Since that time, conditions have upgraded as our month of the full “strawberry moon” closes in on week one. It seems hard to grasp we are into month six, and his “lunar highness” is already into the books.  What a beautiful moon it was.                                                                                                                                              

We had some swell days, most of which ended with those magnificent “Canadian Sunsets” over Gunflint Lake. Those molten iron beams from “old Sol” as he called it a day in our land of “sky blue waters” remain spell-binding. There aren’t enough descriptors to duly honor the fiery reflections rippling up the lake during warm season evenings.

A couple miniscule showers over the past week helped put the finishing touch on border land green-up.  We are now consumed with foliage to the point where one can no longer look into the woods and see some critter looking back. All sorts of wild perennial blooms are popping out, and we’ve harvested rhubarb from the Wildersmith yard.

More moose sightings have come in than I’ve heard in several years. This is good! One fellow tells of counting six north woods icons in the past week, all being in varying locations along the “Trail” so they obviously were not the same one.

A couple reported seeing a cow and her calf in the swamp opposite side of the road from Mayhew Lake. Meanwhile a gal residing on Leo Lake had a young bull casually wander through her yard and briefly step out onto her dock for a little sight-seeing. If she’d been calling for “all hands on deck” this was surely more than one could expect. I’ve included a digital of this gawky guy with his velvet head dress along my website column at WTIP.org.

Other babies are now coming into the world, notably, whitetail fawns. Folks are reminded to leave them alone if found lying quietly in apparent abandonment. Momma deer often leave them for short periods of time, and are generally not too far away. In other words, don’t fool with “Mother Nature.”

Members, residents/visitors are reminded of the first summer meeting for the Gunflint Trail Historical Society. The gathering will be held at the Seagull Lake Community Center this coming Monday, June 8.

Beginning at 1:30 pm, after a brief GTHS business meeting, Mr. Steve Elliot, Director of the Minnesota State Historical Society, will speak about issues related to the Gunflint Trail. As usual, treats and conversation will follow.

GTHS members and friends are invited to the second annual “Shrimp Boil.” This fundraising event, which will include a bake sale, was a delicious success last year so mark your calendars for Sunday, June 14, and don’t miss it! The event will be held at the Seagull Lake Community Center beginning at 4:00 pm.

Keep on hangin’ on, and savor some Gunflint magic!

(Photo by Lee Zopff)

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Venus, Jupiter and the Moon {Dave Schumaker /Flickr}

Northern Sky: May 30

Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota. She authors the Minnesota Starwatch column, and contributes to WTIP bi-weekly on the Monday North Shore Morning program through "Northern Sky," where she shares what's happening with stars, planets and more.

Lots of activity for Venus; the Beehive Cluster; the Gemini 'triplets'; plus a full Strawberry moon on June 2nd.

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White Pine "Topping"

West End News: May 28

 
For the last year, our Sawtooth Mountain and Grand Portage Clinics have been cooperating the Minnesota Department of Health on study of mercury exposure from eating fish in Cook County. 
 
Several years ago, it came to light that newborn babies on the North Shore have a higher level of mercury in their blood than newborns in the rest of the Midwest.  The current study is aimed at learning the fish eating habits of women in their childbearing years along the North Shore.
 
The study, which started last May, is attempting to interview and test the blood of 500 women, ages 16 to 50, before the end of June.  Although this seems like an ambitious goal, they have already tested more than 450 women, so the goal of 500 is definitely within reach.
 
If you decide to participate, you just schedule a short visit at the clinic in Grand Marais or Grand Portage.  You will be interviewed and a small amount of blood will be drawn.  You will learn the level of mercury and fatty acid in your bloodstream.  An important part of the study is learning the methods for eating fish in the healthiest way. 
 
All information will be kept strictly confidential.  You do not have to eat fish to participate.  All participants who complete the study receive a $50 Visa card.
 
This is an important study that will lead to healthier lives for all of our children, so please help to reach the goal of 500 participants.  I would, if I were eligible!
 
To schedule your appointment, call Sawtooth Mountain Clinic at 387-2330 or Grand Portage Clinic at 475-2235.
 
If you haven’t stopped in to the Birch Grove Community Center in Tofte recently, you owe it to yourself to pay a visit.  The place has evolved into a vital gathering spot for the whole West End.  The building and facilities look good and a wide variety of opportunities and programming for West Enders of all ages is offered.  Wood fired pizza parties, community and senior lunches, fitness equipment, a lending library, farm fresh produce, pickle ball, community education classes and the list goes on and on.
 
If you have an idea for something you want to see at Birch Grove, talk to director Caroline Wood or one of the board members.  This vital community resource belongs to all of us, from Silver Bay to Grand Marais and beyond, so stop by and take a look.  I guarantee that you’ll find something to like.
 
According to a new report from the Minnesota think tank, Growth and Justice, income inequality in Minnesota is wide and growing.  The percentage of all income going to the richest one percent is the highest that it’s been since the 1920s.  Today the richest one percent of Americans own more than 40% of the nation’s wealth.
 
The brand new report, which you can see at growthandjustice.org, offers a look at Minnesota income inequality county by county. 
 
For Cook County, it is the proverbial good news, bad news scenario. 
 
The good news is that Cook County’s median income is right in the middle as compared to the statewide average.  Although average may not sound that good, we are actually much better off, income-wise, than other small, rural Minnesota counties.
 
The bad news is that we are among the highest Minnesota counties in income disparity.  This should be no surprise to anyone who understands the financial geography of Cook County.
 
In my opinion, the current level of income inequality is unnatural and unfair.  It’s not the result of free market forces, but the outcome of more than 40 years of so called trickle down economic theory.  It’s well past time to abandon that failed policy, get the big money out of politics and return to a system that fairly compensates people for their work. 
 
I sense that most employers in Cook County would like to pay their employees better, but competition keeps them from doing it on their own.  This is problem that needs to be solved at the national level.  We all need to keep this in mind during the next election.
 
The Forest Service has been doing a lot of work in the wilderness now that weather has turned summer-like.  On Wonder Lake, which was hit hard by the blow-down in ’99, they were concerned about some giant old white pines with dead tops.  They were afraid that if the tops broke off, they could potentially land in a campsite.  Normally, they would just cut down the hazardous trees.  This time though, they brought in some firefighters who have been trained in the art of topping trees.  They climbed the mighty pines and cut the tops off, leaving the magnificent tree for people and wildlife to enjoy.
 
My hat is off to people with the skill for that kind of work.  You just never know what kind of unique people we have here in the West End.
 
For WTIP, this is Bill Hansen with the West End News.
 
 
 

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Black Bear (wanderlingnome /Flickr)

West End News: May 7

 
Recently, I looked back in the WTIP archives of West End News for this week in 2010 when my dad, Frank Hansen, was still the West End correspondent.  Among other things, he wrote about the Commercial Fishing Museum and the temporary Post Master position in Tofte.  Five years along, both those stories are still in the news.
 
The Commercial Fishing Museum in Tofte recently held their annual meeting and elected a new board of directors.  They are looking for a couple of more directors, so if you’re interested in local history, stop in at the museum and let them know.
 
Also at the annual meeting, long-time museum director Don Hammer announced his retirement from the museum.  If you know someone who is interested in a part time job preserving the history of commercial fishing in the West End, have them keep an eye out for the upcoming job listing.
 
Five years ago, Frank also reported that an announcement of a permanent postmaster for Tofte was due any day.  That day has yet to come as the U. S. Postal Service struggles with providing rural postal service all across the country.  Our current temporary postmaster, Edward Taylor, has been on the job for a couple of years now, but he tells me that the new permanent postmaster will be arriving any day.  Morgan Johnson, who has been the temporary postmaster in Lutsen, will be taking over in Tofte – possibly by the end of the month.
 
I’m sure I speak for many in the community when I say that we will miss Edward when he leaves us.  Even though he commutes in from Two Harbors, he has established himself as a friendly and helpful member of the West End community.  Edward isn’t sure what his future holds.  He has a couple of more years before he can retire from the postal service, but is at least looking forward to a long, well deserved vacation when his duties in Tofte end. 
 
The Birch Grove Community Center is Tofte has started up the popular weekly pizza parties that have been happening during the summer months since the outdoor, wood-fired pizza oven was constructed a couple of years ago.  Every Wednesday night, from now until September 30th, starting at 5 pm, the pizza oven will be hot and ready to go.  The dough and sauce are provided and you just bring the toppings that you prefer.  There is a small dough-nation suggested to cover the costs. You can enjoy your pizza rain or shine thanks to the beautiful timber framed picnic shelter.  It is a good idea to let them know that you are coming by calling 663-7977 or email bgf@boreal.org.
 
The woods are in a state of suspended animation right now as dry weather has held off the green-up temporarily.  The up side is that without the leaves out, you can see into the woods and spot animals that are normally hidden.  This week I’ve seen a fisher, one cow moose with a collar and one without, and yesterday a little bear eating grass along the roadside.  It was so absorbed in it’s meal that it didn’t hear my truck as I coasted up to within 20 feet or so.  I quickly broke out my phone and recorded the sound of my dog, Roy, barking and video of the startled bear running off.  Roy continued to mutter about the bear for about another ten miles down the road. He gets pretty concerned when he sees a bear.  I suspect he’s had some close encounters that we didn’t ever know about.
 
Even though Roy sees them as a dire threat to public safety, I like having the bears around.  It’s a big part of what make life here in the West End so sweet.
 
For WTIP, this is Bill Hansen with the West End News.

{click here to see a short video of the bear}
 

Listen: 

 
Hydra (Helen Cook /Flikr)

Northern Sky: May 2

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Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota. She authors the Minnesota Starwatch column, and contributes to WTIP bi-weekly on the Monday North Shore Morning program through "Northern Sky," where she shares what's happening with stars, planets and more.

Full Flower Moon on May 3rd; Jupiter traveling westward, Venus, Saturn and a rare glimpse of Mercury; and Hydra, the water serpent, the longest of constellations.


 
Lyrid Meteor Shower (Phillip Chee /Flikr)

Northern Sky: April 18

Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota. She authors the Minnesota Starwatch column, and contributes to WTIP bi-weekly on the Monday North Shore Morning program through "Northern Sky," where she shares what's happening with stars, planets and more.
Venus a bright evening star in the west; Saturn in the morning; Lyrid meteor shower, April 22nd and 23rd; and Walpurgisnacht April 30th.

Listen: 

 
Venus (J. Gabas Esteban /Flikr)

Northern Sky: March 21

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

The end of Mars, a waxing moon, a bright Venus with its runaway greenhouse effect; and a total lunar eclipse on April 4th after moon set.


 

The Marvelous Imagination of Katie Addams: Chapter 4

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Chapter 4: Eyes in the Darkness

(Photo courtesy of Loren Kerns on Flickr)


 
Ultraviolet Saturn (NASA, Hubble, 2003 /Flikr)

Northern Sky: February 21

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

In the West, Venus and Mars less than one full-moon-width apart; use the crescent moon to find the little blue dot of Uranus; Saturn in the morning sky; and March 5th, a full moon at apogee.