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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:
Wind turbine

North Woods Naturalist: Wind

Wind has certainly been in the headlines locally this month.  WTIP's CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about the perhaps, surprising, importance of wind to our forest ecosystems in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.
 

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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - October 12, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith       October 12, 2018   
 

Since our last visit on the radio, atmospheric conditions have not changed much. Dreary would be the best descriptor of the past several days.  
                                                                                   
With the sun on sabbatical, about the only thing to brighten the daytime hours have been our on-going color extravaganza. Even at that, the autumnal sonata has been tempered somewhat as a couple days of pre-winter snippets reminded us of what life can be like at forty-eight degrees north.   
                                                                                                                                                 
One night found the gales of November battering the county a few weeks early. Then twenty-four hours later, the first measurable snow laid a luster of purity on the northern landscape.                                                                                                                                                                            

Folks in the upper Trail dodged a bullet in regard to the howling wind storm. While the village and both directions along the Superior Shore were bashed with downed trees and massive power outages, damage out this way was minor in comparison. Nevertheless, branches were down and intermittent flickers in our power service kept us border country folks on edge for several hours. The gusts in the pines along the Gunflint Lake shore were convincing enough to send the Smith’s to the lower level for a time. Luckily, the big whites around here stood firm, green tops up.                                                                                                                                                             

Almost in a case of not to be out-done, another climactic character stepped up during the next diurnal segment. Although the weather service gave hints of such, few would have bet the forecast of white would occur. This time the prediction was right.                                                                          

Last Friday morning broke with a fresh coating of white with the flakes still coming down in this neighborhood. When all was said and done, a few hours later, two plus inches of the wet heavy stuff was recorded.                                                                                                                                                             

I have no reports from the mid-Trail snow zone, but I suspect folks residing in this area got even more, as they usually do. Friends reported the driving conditions on the Trail were treacherous as they headed into civilization, nearly prompting a turn-around to cancel their trip.                                                                                                                                                                                    
Some of the fall tokens have called it a year, but in spite of the early season weather oddities, the fall leaf spectacular has shown some true grit. A trip along the backcountry blacktop remains simply stunning, with a blur of birch and aspen gold flanking the Trail for most of the fifty-seven-mile journey.                                                                                                                                                                                     

My plans for getting some winter chores done during this mayhem were set aside temporarily as walks, steps and the deck had to be shoveled. How about that for October 5th? Although it’s been nothing to write home about, a slight warming has occurred since, and the white is gone.                                                                                                                                                               

With that, I’m back at the “getting ready for winter” list. Tasks are getting crossed off slowly. The most noteworthy jobs are finished, that being the boat and dock, and now the winterizing of the Wildfire Sprinkler Systems this past weekend. This being said, I was back into the lake water for the second consecutive weekend, leaky waders and all, burr! So now if the “great spirit of the north” wants to get serious about ice making, he can have at it!                                    

Speaking more of things fall, the last membership drive of the year for “the voice of the north,” is but days away. By this time next week, WTIP will be in the middle of their autumn fundraising endeavor.    
                                                                                                                                                                   
As in every audience canvassing and new member recruitment, this time remains as critical as the last in order to stay on budget for the year, and continue providing the quality programming radio listeners and cyberspace users have come to expect.    
                                                                                              
The theme for this dollar pursuit is all about Sssssports!  Join the team and be a WTIP “All-Star.”                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The Wildersmith guy hopes all will be ready to open those wallets and purses as the excitement of another WTIP fund drive gets underway this coming Wednesday, October 17th. It’s easy as a click on the keyboard (WTIP.org.), or toll-free telephone call (at 1-800-473-9847).       
                                                
On a final note, with “Moose Madness” just a week away, it’s appropriate to announce one of the iconic “twig eaters” has been making some marketing appearances up the Trail. I last observed the big guy in the wetland near the road to the old Blankenberg pit. Others have seen him too and are raving about the big rack hanging overhead.                                                                                        
It would seem a good time to get a little more Trail “leaf peeping “in, make a stop at the Chik-Wauk Campus and maybe by chance, catch a glimpse of this wonder of the woods.  I’m betting your chances are better at seeing Mr. Moose than they are at winning the current monster Powerball!                                                                                                                                                
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, whether cloudy or clear!
 

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starwatch1018.jpg

Northern Sky: Oct 13 - 28, 2018

Northern Sky - by Deane Morrison
October 13 - 28, 2018

Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota.        
 
She authors the Minnesota Starwatch column, and in this feature, she shares what there is to see in the night sky in our region.

Deane Morrison’s column “Minnesota Starwatch” can be found on the University of Minnesota website at  astro.umn.edu. 

 

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Superior National Forest Update - October 12, 2018

National Forest Update – October 11, 2018.

Hi.  I’m Jake Todd, information assistant with the Superior National Forest and this is the National Forest Update.  Every week, we feature the information people headed out into the woods need to know, so if you are planning a visit or just want to know what’s up out there, this is for you.

Chances are good that if you are in the woods, you will be using a trail.  It may be a portage, or a hiking trail, or a biking trail, or later in winter a ski or snowmobile trail.  Trails are what give us access to the forest, and without them, we’d be, well, literally lost.  Some of our trails were established long before the National Forest existed by Native Americans and later fur traders.  Others were created only in the past few years.  Whatever the trail, they don’t maintain themselves, much as we wish they would, and many of our trails are maintained by volunteer trail organizations.  If you are interested in any of our trails and are considering volunteering to help keep them in good shape, the Northwoods Volunteer Connection will be hosting a ‘Trails Roundtable’ at the Voyageur Brewing Company in Grand Marais from 5 to 7 o’clock on October 24.  Anyone who is interested in volunteering on trails is welcome to attend.

High wind and ground softened by rain have made work for our trail crews recently as they clear deadfalls and downed branches.  They report that while there haven’t been large amounts of damage, there are some trees and branches down and hikers should wear good footwear in anticipation of needing to possibly detour over and around deadfalls.  With all the water, there are some very muddy trails out there too.  Rather than walk around muddy spots and widen the trail by use, we encourage people to walk through the mud and keep the trail narrow.  The trail crews would also like to remind people, through bitter experience, that even it if isn’t currently raining or snowing, snow and rain on branches will sometimes dump right on your head – so dress accordingly.

This a prime weather for hypothermia.  In winter, people usually dress for cold, but in wet fall weather, people often underdress with the hope that maybe it isn’t quite time to break out the stocking hat and mittens.  I’m sorry to say that it’s time to admit winter is coming and find the cold weather gear so you don’t end up hypothermic in the woods.  Wear layers so you don’t overheat, choose fabrics that stay warm when wet, and top off your outfit with something waterproof.  Finally, don’t forget your hunter orange – it’s the color of the season.

Our road system is in fairly good shape.  While we’ve had a lot of rain, we haven’t had the sort of torrential rain which overwhelms drainage systems.  There are some wet spots and soft shoulders, so drive carefully.  Fall color season is winding down, but still, expect slow moving vehicles on our main fall color routes and back roads.  Logging haul trucks are using the Frank Lake Road, Trappers Lake Road, the Dumbell River Road, the Wanless Road, Lake County 7, the 4 Mile Grade, The Grade, the Caribou Trail, and the Murmur Creek Road so be careful in those areas.

We are continuing to shut down water systems at the campground and put them into non-fee status.  Iron Lake, East Bearskin, Flour Lake, Kimball Lake, and Devil Track have all had their water systems put to bed for the winter.  Two Island Lake Campground has a portable water tank, but if the weather is cold enough, the faucet may freeze.  Though the campground water system is shut down at East Bearskin, water is still available from Bearskin Lodge so they will still be collecting nightly camping fees and providing garbage service until the cross country ski trails are groomed.  Campgrounds in a non-fee status are still open for use, but you will have to supply water and pack out your garbage.  Later, when there is snow, these campgrounds will not be plowed out and outhouses may not be accessible.

But, this week, before there is too much snow, be sure to take advantage of those breaks in the rain to get outside and enjoy some of the final days of fall. 

Until next time, this is Jake Todd with the National Forest Update.
 

Listen: 

 
Red Rock Variation - George Morrison

Closing the Circle: Artist George Morrison

"Closing the Circle: Artist George Morrison"
 
George Morrison was an internationally known artist. He grew up outside of Grand Marais in an Ojibwe village called Chippewa City. Although he lived most of his adult life in a variety of large cities – he eventually returned to Cook County in his later years. Producer Martha Marnocha spoke with George Morrison’s former wife, Hazel Belvo, along with their son, Briand, in this feature about the artist’s life-long connection with Chippewa City and Cook County.

This feature was produced by the Cook County Historical Society in collaboration with WTIP and the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Fund.
 

Music for this feature was provided by Briand Morrison from his "Musical Impressions: The Art Of George Morrison" CD.  

Photo: “Red Rock Variation” by George Morrison, 1985

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Photo credit Roxanne Distad

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - September 12, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith       October 12, 2018   
 

Since our last visit on the radio, atmospheric conditions have not changed much. Dreary would be the best descriptor of the past several days.     
                                                                                
With the sun on sabbatical, about the only thing to brighten the daytime hours have been our on-going color extravaganza. Even at that, the autumnal sonata has been tempered somewhat as a couple days of pre-winter snippets reminded us of what life can be like at forty-eight degrees north. 
                                                                                                                                                   
One night found the gales of November battering the county a few weeks early. Then twenty-four hours later, the first measurable snow laid a luster of purity on the northern landscape.                                                                                                                                                                            
Folks in the upper Trail dodged a bullet in regard to the howling wind storm. While the village and both directions along the Superior Shore were bashed with downed trees and massive power outages, damage out this way was minor in comparison. Nevertheless, branches were down and intermittent flickers in our power service kept us border country folks on edge for several hours. The gusts in the pines along the Gunflint Lake shore were convincing enough to send the Smith’s to the lower level for a time. Luckily, the big whites around here stood firm, green tops up.                                                                                                                                                             
Almost in a case of not to be out-done, another climactic character stepped up during the next diurnal segment. Although the weather service gave hints of such, few would have bet the forecast of white would occur. This time the prediction was right.                                                                          

Last Friday morning broke with a fresh coating of white with the flakes still coming down in this neighborhood. When all was said and done, a few hours later, two plus inches of the wet heavy stuff were recorded.                                                                                                                                                            

I have no reports from the mid-Trail snow zone, but I suspect folks residing in this area got even more, as they usually do. Friends reported the driving conditions on the Trail were treacherous as they headed into civilization, nearly prompting a turn-around to cancel their trip.                                                                                                                                                                                    

Some of the fall tokens have called it a year, but in spite of the early season weather oddities, the fall leaf spectacular has shown some true grit. A trip along the backcountry blacktop remains simply stunning, with a blur of birch and aspen gold flanking the Trail for most of the fifty-seven-mile journey.                                                                                                                                                                                     
My plans for getting some winter chores done during this mayhem were set aside temporarily as walks, steps and the deck had to be shoveled. How about that for October 5th? Although it’s been nothing to write home about, a slight warming has occurred since, and the white is gone.                                                                                                                                                               

With that, I’m back at the “getting ready for winter” list. Tasks are getting crossed off slowly. The most noteworthy jobs are finished, that being the boat and dock, and now the winterizing of the Wildfire Sprinkler Systems this past weekend. This being said, I was back into the lake water for the second consecutive weekend, leaky waders and all, burr! So now if the “great spirit of the north” wants to get serious about ice making, he can have at it!                                    

Speaking more of things fall, the last membership drive of the year for “the voice of the north,” is but days away. By this time next week, WTIP will be in the middle of their autumn fundraising endeavor.                                                                                                                                                                       

As in every audience canvassing and new member recruitment, this time remains as critical as the last in order to stay on budget for the year, and continue providing the quality programming radio listeners and cyberspace users have come to expect.                                                                                                  
The theme for this dollar pursuit is all about Sssssports!  Join the team and be a WTIP “All-Star.”                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The Wildersmith guy hopes all will be ready to open those wallets and purses as the excitement of another WTIP fund drive gets underway this coming Wednesday, October 17th. It’s easy as a click on the keyboard (WTIP.org.), or toll-free telephone call (at 1-800-473-9847).                                                       

On a final note, with “Moose Madness” just a week away, it’s appropriate to announce one of the iconic “twig eaters” has been making some marketing appearances up the Trail. I last observed the big guy in the wetland near the road to the old Blankenberg pit. Others have seen him too and are raving about the big rack hanging overhead.                                                                                        

It would seem a good time to get a little more Trail “leaf peeping “in, make a stop at the Chik-Wauk Campus and maybe by chance, catch a glimpse of this wonder of the woods.  I’m betting your chances are better at seeing Mr. Moose than they are at winning the current monster Powerball!                                                                                                                                                

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, whether cloudy or clear!
 

Listen: 

 
Snow & Needles (Eli Sagor/Flickr)

North Woods Naturalist: Hint of winter

WTIP’s CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about the first hints of winter that we've seen on the North Shore in the past week in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.

Listen: 

 

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - October 5, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith       October 5, 2018
 
Here’s October! She banged at the door. We let her in, and there’s no turning back. It seems almost unimaginable, but the Universe is nearly one week into the final quarter of ’18.                                                                                                                                                                                 
 Also unthinkable was waking up to white on the ground in the Wildersmith neighborhood and other places in the upper Gunflint on the last Saturday of September.   Although such a winter preview is not totally unheard of, the dusting to a half inch in places was a surprise.  Most snow melted by mid-day, in concert with the warm earth and peeks of sunshine.  Intermittent sunshine through-out the day alternated with banks of clouds and rainy-snow showers on the heels of gusty “Nor westers”, so conditions didn’t feel very autumn like.                                                               

In spite of the day remaining quite raw, escapades of another north woods spectacle were shared by friends over on Hungry Jack Lake. Rainbow after rainbow crossed the lake through countless squalls as the spirit of “Sol” beamed through the elements. The color marvel crowned the heavens in awesome spectrum until setting in the southwestern sky.                                                                                                             

Needless to say, for listener/readers outside the territory, as one would expect, it’s been cold. The Smiths’ have had a fire in the wood burning over half a dozen times prior to the calendar turning over. This is unprecedented during our nineteen years in border country.                                                     

The good news is our dock and boat have been brought ashore and put to bed. It wasn’t an easy chore as air temps colder than the lake water, and rough seas made the task not too pleasant. We Smiths’ were blessed to have a good friend, and his buddies from Metropolis, who braved the elements to help get the job done. By the way, the water temp, at the time was in the low to mid-fifties, so there was a definite incentive to get in and get the equipment out.     

More glad tidings come from the beautiful Mile O Pine as the sugar maple spectacular is lighting up our lives. In spite of not having the billions of such trees found in the highlands above Lake Superior, we nevertheless cherish the gold to scarlet radiance afforded us. This years’ short-lived natural majesty seems to be the best ever. However, I’ve probably said this before.                                                                                                                                                                                               
The crimson of the forest in this neighborhood is not limited to maple tokens. A few days ago, my red fox friend stopped in for a visit once again. It had not been around for a couple weeks.                                                                                                                                                                                     

The cool to cold conditions have brought on remarkable changes in the foxy critters’ apparel. Boy, has it ever bulked up with the winter coat while the tail is fluffy and wide as its body. Overall, it looked like it had just come perfectly groomed from a salon, nothing like the mussed, scrawny fellow of a few short months ago.                                                                                                                                     

This visit was more than the usual grab and go scene. On this stop-over, it spent all morning with me, following like a puppy dog begging for a treat. When I was busy, and not paying it attention, the handsome red dude would lie down and wait until I moved on.                                                                                                                                  

On a couple of occasions, it would come to my wood shop door and give me a forlorn look, as if to say, don’t you see me. These moments were a special up-close experience as I looked into its penetrating amber eyes. The look in those golden spheres was piercing and yet, a soul-stirring reverent sense of beauty.                                                                                                                                                           
I’m uncertain if we have adopted each other permanently, but for several hours, the company of man and beast was unexplainably curious and trusting.                                                                                                                                  

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, amongst the charm of “Mother Natures’ favors.
 

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Superior Reviews by Lin Salisbury - William Kent Kruger

Superior Reviews by Lin Salisbury.
Lin reviews William Kent Krueger's newest book "Desolation Mountain".

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Birch Grove Elementary - School News - October 3, 2018

School News from Birch Grove Elementary with Whitney, Atlas, and Niranjan.
October 3, 2018

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