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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:
Winter frost. Image from Unsplash online

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - January 15

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
January 15, 2021    

All is quiet on the northern front heading into the second half of chapter one in ’21. The recently new, “Great Spirit” moon is in crescent over “Chinook” like conditions. “Old Man Winter” has remained AWOL for another week in border country.                                                  

One has to wonder if this is the best “he” can do, it will likely prompt the first garden seed catalogs, definitely a call to spring with winter not even a month old.                                                     

In spite of winter being relatively subdued, the past week has featured several days of crystal beauty throughout the forest. Atmospheric warm air inversion has trapped low level cloudiness, producing nighttime fog and accumulation of moisture freezing on contact with every component in our natural world.                                                                                                    

Better known as “Rime Ice” in meteorological circles, they say it is not the same as “hoar frost,” which happens on bitter cold nights with just the right humidity. Nevertheless this frozen magic is equally elegant. North Country photographers have no doubt been in heaven, capturing memories of the fragile cut-glass dendrites adorning our mountain high coniferous spires.                                                                                                                                                   
We’ve seen little of “old Sol” along the international border for days, but territory is still sparkling. And any breathe of air brings a blizzard of the feathery splinters showering down in ghostly veils.                                                                                                                                              
A venture out and about the upper Trail region during this time has been the most breathtaking I’ve ever observed. I swear that every one of these “Jack Frost” spectacles seems to be better than the last, they kind of fit into the same category of those best ever Canadian sunsets in the summer time. However, his current icing performance tops them all, so far!              

Being able to exit into the Gunflint world of frosty majesty has been a welcome distraction from the grim reminders mankind has been enduring for way too many months.                   

Besides scenic viewing, another aspect of cold season fun will be added to the list of north woods activities this weekend. The trout fishing opener will bring an onslaught of visiting anglers to their favorite drilling spots on area lakes.                                                                                
We’ve added no additional snow over the past week, to further insulate lake surfaces. With only a couple semi-cold nights, and mostly mild daytime temps, little has happened assist in firming the slushy sandwich between existing snow and truly hard water in most places.                    

In any event, this is always an exciting time to drill a hole in the ice, sit on a bucket (or in a warm shack) and wet a line to tempt a denizen of the deep. Good luck to all and be safe!         

The unusually warm days since the week before Christmas seem to have altered critter behavior. I’m not seeing as many birds around the feeders, even those annoying blue jays have become scarce, and the regularity of neighborhood pine martens visits has ground to a halt. The only hangers-on are squirrels, and they are content with un-interrupted access to all the cafeteria stations. And the friendly fox is leaving only a trace of having been here in the dark, being invisible during the day.                                                                                                                       

So, will the “wild neighborhood” and the great spirit of the north” return the north woods to winter normal, only time will tell.                                                                                                  
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, along the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, and abundant with wonder of days gone by!


Blue Light Project to honor frontline workers in pandemic. Image from Unsplash online

Blue Light Project to honor frontline workers in pandemic

North Shore Morning host, CJ Heithoff talks with Alexis Eliasen about the Blue Light Project - a joint initiative of Minnesota's northeastern counties which aims to recognize all frontline workers that are working together to keep our communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the week of January 24-30, she is asking individuals and business owners to put a blue colored light bulb in exterior lights of their homes, businesses or both. 

More information is available at 218-370-9009 or


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Norpine Fat Bike Classic update for 2021

North Shore Morning host, CJ Heithoff talks with Phil Larson of Superior Cycling Association about the 2021 Norpine Fat Bike Classic. It won't be a race this year due to the pandemic but participants can still register and ride the groomed Norpine trails between January 23rd and 31st.


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National Day of Racial Healing

North Shore Morning host CJ Heithoff talks with Grand Marais Public Library Director, Amanda St John about the National Day of Racial Healing - the day following Martin Luther King, Jr Day. 


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North Shore Health Care Foundation - January

North Shore Morning host Mark Abrahamson talked with Valerie Eliasen for a report on the North Shore Health Care Foundation Board meeting.


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The Retrievers - January - Amy Addy

North Shore Morning host, Mark Abrahamson talks with Amy Addy with The Retrievers / Missing Pets in the Northland.
She shares the best protocol to follow when our pets go missing.



Superior Reviews - Lin Salisbury "Have You Seen Luis Velez?"

In this edition of "Superior Reviews", Lin talks about Catherine Ryan Hyde's book "Have You Seen Luis Velez".



Superior Reviews - Lin Salisbury "Little Faith"

In this edition of "Superior Reviews", Lin Salisbury reviews Nickolas Butler's book "Little Faith".


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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - January 8

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
January 8, 2021    
Week one is into the books and “old man winter” has taken a sabbatical from border country. Just when winter cranked up for Christmas with snow and more seasonal temps, conditions have gone wimpy once again.                                                                                                   

The upper Trail has been experiencing meltdown tendencies since our last meeting on the radio. While these day to day weather ups and downs can happen, with the cumulative affects over the past few decades, such is further confirmation this area is not immune from on-going climatic alterations all over the planet.                                                                                        

My residency at Wildersmith has extended just over two decades. Since those early years of this span, increasingly warmer temps during all seasons, and extended periods of minimal precipitation are clearly noticeable.                                                                                        

Trail residents are likely happy with the climatic trends making for reduced heating needs and snow removal costs. However, conditions as they have be going, don’t bode well for maintaining river and lake levels, and ever present wildfire danger throughout the BWCA and Superior National Forest.                                                                                                
According to one longtime resident, Gunflint Lake froze at the lowest level observed in his lifetime. Unless, there is an unexpected turn around, it could take several years for the area to recover adequate moisture levels both on land and lakes. The on-going drought makes me fearful for what it will be like come April and May.                                                                                       

A measurement of ice depth on the Gunflint last weekend found it to be nine inches, mostly. However, some strange things have evolved in a couple places along our shore. Whereas there are no inland streams entering nearby and no known bottom feeding springs, two areas were discovered to be less than one inch thick and one had a softball sized hole in the thin crystal. Maybe these are ever present, but they have never been found in these locations before.                                                                                                                                              

If there are these, there are likely more, so as caution always suggest, no ice is ever completely safe. This is confirmed with a number of instances where individuals have gone through the ice on upper Trail lakes since ice on commenced several weeks back.                               

In another rare natural experience, the “spirit of the north” has been born once out again. This subject involved is the Christmas tree adorning the Smith house. The will to live beyond my culling it from the forest did not diminish with the last swoosh of my saw blade. Since being brought into the warmth of the room and given frequent drinks of water, the stately conifer has sprouted new growth from buds once frozen in the waiting state.              

Knowing this is only short lived the verdant being is soon to go outside, returned to the earth from whence it came. Nevertheless, “the little tree that could” has been energizing as it sprung to life in man-made warmth like the blooms of spring, sharing its beautiful zest for life with us two legged folk. See a pic of the green new birth alongside my column on under the Community Voices drop down menu.                                                                                     

Many of we Gunflinters are saddened by the necessity to cancel the 2021 Gunflint Mail Run sled dog races. As the COVID pandemic continues to sicken, destroy lives and alter all forms of normal, the tough decision to call off this festive activity is understandable. With respect for the lives of all involved, I’m confident that missing this years’ edition will inspire enthusiasm for renewing in 2022, and likely explode into a bigger and better event than ever.                                              

With a related closing thought, the cancellation could turn out a wise choice, since “winter” cannot make up its mind about who it wants to be. The current warm soggy conditions facing the canine athletes and their mushers would be considerably more strenuous than with the usual cold and dry powder. So the Trail looks forward to the great Gunflint race next year! Go Dogs!                                                                                                                                                       

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, along the Gunflint Trail, where every day is celebrated, with awe-inspiring spirit!


Scott Oeth - Photo via Facebook

Money Matters - Scott Oeth - January

North Shore Morning host, CJ Heithoff talks with Scott Oeth about what financial lessons we can learn from 2020 in this edition of "Money Matters".