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North Shore Morning

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:
Star Map July 2019 by Deane Morrison

Northern Sky: July 20 - Aug 2

NORTHERN SKY - Deane Morrison
July 20 - August 2, 2019

Today, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing on July 20, I’d like to talk about how it happened and why it was scientifically important.
On July 20, 1969 the moon was a waxing crescent in the evening sky. The Apollo 11 astronauts had a landing site all picked out near the border with Earth’s shadow, where it was just past sunrise. As the computer aboard the lunar module, the Eagle, guided them down, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin watched the moonscape go by below them. At about 33,000 feet, an alarm suddenly went off. Nothing in their training had prepared them to figure out what it was. They spent several minutes trying to identify it before Mission Control finally told them not to worry; it was just the Eagle’s computer reacting to being overloaded.
While the astronauts were chasing this wild goose, the lunar module used a lot of propellant fuel, and when the fuel tank dipped to half full, the propellant started sloshing around and knocking the module every which way. The sloshing also set off a “low fuel” alarm prematurely, and so the crew thought they had less time to land than they actually did.
These issues also kept Armstrong from checking out the landing site visually. At about 2,000 feet, he finally did, and he saw that the site was a boulder field—not smooth ground at all. At about 540 feet, Armstrong took manual control of the spacecraft. Despite the disruptions, he was able to guide the lunar module past the boulder field and set it down with just 20 seconds left before they would have been forced to land wherever they were or abort the landing.
Apollo 11 brought back 46 pounds of moon rocks. In all, 842 pounds of moon rocks came back on Apollo spacecraft. The oldest are 4.5 billion years old, same age as Earth. They indicated that the moon, like Earth, was also once covered by an ocean of magma. But unlike Earth, which has an iron core, the moon has very little iron and came from the same stuff as Earth’s mantle. These findings support what was once a radical idea: that the moon didn’t condense out of the same cloud of solar system material as Earth, nor was it captured later by Earth, but it formed when another planetary body collided with an infant Earth that was still molten. The collision knocked out material from Earth’s mantle, and perhaps from the other body, and this material coalesced to become the moon.
Also, moon rocks record impacts from collisions, and the number of impacts apparently spiked around 700 million years after Earth and the moon formed. An explanation for why so many more objects should have been flying around the solar system and hitting the moon—and Earth, of course—at that time is part of a leading theory of how the solar system formed. Simply put, it says that early on, gravitational interactions between Jupiter and Saturn destabilized the entire solar system and pushed the orbits of Saturn, Uranus and Neptune farther out. This changing gravitational landscape disrupted the orbits of numerous small bodies far from the sun, collectively called protoplanetary debris, and scattered them throughout the solar system. The result was an outbreak of collisions that lasted until most of the debris was cleared. And this outbreak, called the late heavy bombardment, left its signature in the spike of impacts imprinted in the moon rocks.

Scientists are still debating exactly how the moon formed and what the moon rocks tell us. But by any measure, these rocks are among the most valuable items of all time.
Deane Morrison writes the Minnesota Starwatch column for the University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics.

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International Wolf Center Update - July

North Shore Morning host, Brian Neil talks with the International Wolf Center's Communications Director, Chad Richardson for the July update.


CampAndCoffee PhotobyScottOeth (450x338).jpg

Pack & Paddle - Scott Oeth - July 16

Pack & Paddle with Scott Oeth of Bull Moose Patrol

In this edition, Scott talks to us about making that perfect cup of camp coffee.

Scott is a Registered Maine Guide, an Eagle Scout and Minnesota Master Naturalist.  He’s an instructor for the Okpik National Cold Weather Leader School.

You can follow his adventures at


Wildersmith_Photo by Fran Smith

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - July 19

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
July 19, 2019
Commencing this weeks’ Gunflint scoop finds the weather outside’s been frightful. Hot and humid has quite a few of us thinking of frost, including the moose. The land of natural air conditioning is on the “fritz.”                                                                                                                                       

One positive about the atmospheric conditions was the territory at long last got a dose of rain. Amounts were spotty from the few reports received with the mid-Trail area getting the most. In this Gunflint Lake neighborhood, the Wildersmith gauge gathered just shy of eight tenths of an inch. Then another round dumped a half inch or better just a few days ago.                                                                                                                                                                      

Although we can always use more, it soaked up the forest floor to ease wild fire danger somewhat. One thing it didn’t do was add much to the watershed whereby declining lake levels might be stabilized.                                                                                                                                                                       
So with lake water temps going up, surface levels are still going down. By the way lake water temps here on the Gunflint Gal are hovering around the seventy-two-degree mark.                              

A related rain note comes with a minus sign. The moisture seems to have energized, excited and enraged the mosquito population. Couple this blood-sucking component with the stickiness, and conditions have made for less than human comfort.                                                                     

It’s hard to tell if the rain did the wild berry crops any good. I’ve been getting a few discouraging reports on the blueberry crop, and my observation of June Berries looks about the same.                                                                                                                                                                                   
While thinking of the sweet berry harvest, those thoughts probably seem a little premature. However, my speculations of autumn were awakened a few days ago on a trip up toward end of the Trail.                                                                                                                                                             
Hidden in a few select locations, I observed golden leaves on some juvenile birch trees. It could be the dry conditions are responsible, but maybe not as the daylight minutes have diminished since the solstice, sending a signal to some green things. I’ll get a lot more excited about the autumnal coming when I see Dogbane turning gold along the roadsides.                                                                                                                           

In related flora notes, as the summer calendar completes the one-third segment, early blooms of the invading Hawkweed and Lupine are beginning to fade and rosehips have cast off those rosy-pink petals in a number of places. In the mid to late summer categories, I see Cow Parsnips and Fireweed making initial appearances along with that nasty sweet white clover, so perhaps the juvenile birches know something we don’t                                                                                                                                                                                  
All of us at WTIP are in a recovery mode after a great six day run for the “Radio of 2000 Lakes” summer membership drive. What a sensational showing of love and support for North Shore Community Radio.                                                                                                                                          
The Board of Directors, staff and dozens of volunteers are indeed grateful for the pledges by new and renewing members and business underwriters to keep this radio “phenom” going full speed ahead. Thanks so much!                                                                                                                                        
Joining the WTIP family can still happen, so if anyone listening missed their chance to pledge, it can still be done with a call or a click.                                                                                                                                                                                 

Final results of the forty-third Gunflint Trail canoes races are yet to be revealed as the event completed a paddling extravaganza this past Wednesday. I’ll have details in next weeks’ news.                                                                                                                                                                                
In the meantime, folks along the Gunflint should mark their calendars for the next big Community happening. The annual Mid-Trail flea market, gift boutique and auction will be held on Wednesday, August 7th, at the Schaap Community Center.                                                                                                

I’m told the 2019 quilt edition is another beauty, and tickets are on sale throughout the area. So one and all should get their tickets, you can’t win, if you don’t enter. The drawing for this grand prize will end a day of fun and fundraising for the GTVFD.                                                                            

I just received word from the Nature Center at Chik-Wauk about a natural world exhibit that not many humans get to observe. A live display of Monarch caterpillars in the chrysalis stage of development has been brought in from a milk weed patch in the north woods. It will be interesting to watch their progress toward the day when they can be released as orange & black beauties. Visitors better not delay getting up there to see this marvelous exhibit “Mother Nature” will not wait.                                                                                                                                                                
Sunday programming at the Chik-Wauk Nature Center resumes this weekend. The Campus welcomes back David Battistel, Gunflint Researcher/Historian from Thunder Bay. David will talk about “LeeBlain…Ghost Town of the Gunflint.” The program will commence at 2:00 pm, all are invited to hear this seldom heard chapter of Gunflint history.                                                                   

A reminder that Tuesday, “Kids Day” at the Nature Center continues 11:00 to 4:00, and Tuesday USFS presentations also happen up at the Museum beginning at 2:00pm.                                                

Also next week, look for new programing on Thursday afternoons, beginning the 25th. Campus visitors can take a trip through the “Nighttime Galaxy” with Joel and Josh in the Nature Center, beginning around the three o’clock hour.                                                                                                        

This is the first event in a pilot of exploratory partnership between the GTHS at Chik-Wauk, the USFS Gunflint Ranger District and the University of Minnesota Duluth. More information will be forth coming.                                                                                                                                                                              
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as the buzz of summer takes on many meanings!


Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update - July 19

Superior National Forest Update
Steve Robertsen
July 19, 2019

Midsummer.  Warm days, sun, mosquitoes, and thunderstorms.  It’s a time of year for all kinds of outdoor activities, and the busiest time out in the Forest.  People who have been out have been asking the Forest Service a lot about outbreaks of spruce budworm in several places around our side of the Superior National Forest.  This is a species of moth whose caterpillar specializes in eating the buds and needles of spruce, although in reality, it is more often found eating balsam fir instead of spruce.  It will first cause the ends of the branches to go brown, then strip the needles from the tree, then create large silk bags which shelter several of the insects while they pupate and change to the adult moth.  It is a native species, not an invader.  Like the eastern forest tent caterpillar, known locally as army worms, spruce budworm has outbreaks where a certain area on a certain year will host huge numbers of budworms.  Trees will recover if they are in good health to begin with and if they are not defoliated two or three seasons in a row.

On a forest scale, outbreaks are usually left to run their course, ending once the food supply has been reduced.  Dead trees after an outbreak can be a wildfire hazard, so we often do some type of management to reduce fuel in afflicted areas.  Individual trees, like a favorite in your yard, can be treated with the insecticide Bt.  This insecticide is effective, but also kills other moths and butterflies which are both lovely and beneficial, so it is best used in a limited way to save specific trees.

Of course, there’s more than just budworm out there though.  The Heck Epic mountain bike race takes place this weekend.  The course runs from Two Harbors to Grand Marais and back.  Bikers will be fairly well spaced out, so watch for individual bikers on roadsides. You should also be watching for log trucks because there is a fair amount of log hauling going on.  In Tofte, haulers are on the same roads as last week – the Dumbell River Road, Wanless Road, Lake County 705, the Four Mile Grade, the Grade, and Cook County 27 and 8.  On the Gunflint District, hauling is happening on the Lima Grade, South Brule Road, Greenwood Road, Firebox Road, Blueberry Road, Cascade River Road, Pike Lake Road, and Cook County 6 and 7.  There is also hauling across the Superior Hiking Trail southeast of Cook County 6.

Beginning this week, culvert replacement will be happening on the Grade’s east end from Brule Lake east to Two Island Lake.  I’m planning on staying out of this area entirely for a while.  Not only will the driving be difficult, but you can expect waits of up to thirty minutes when the culvert is installed.

Some people are using this time to do their own road work by clearing roadways leading to their cabin or favorite area.  If you plan to clear brush from a remote Forest Service road, please stop by the office and pick up a permit first.  The permits are free, and we appreciate the help, but we need to keep track of when work was done on what road, so just take a couple of minutes to grab a permit before you begin.  The Gunflint office will also have information on permits for burn piles to dispose of the slash you generate when you brush the road.

Speaking of burn piles, a large bear was sighted in several places this past weekend.  He was carrying a shovel and wearing a ranger hat and was riding on a Forest Service truck in the parade for Bay Days in Silver Bay, and also was hanging around up in Grand Marais getting ready for Fishermen’s Picnic.  If you see this bear, don’t worry, he’s friendly.  He sure gets around a lot for an almost 75 year old bear, and he’s getting ready for his birthday party in August.  He did stop by to thank everyone who has been out on the Forest this year – we are all doing a good job of being careful with fire so far in 2019, and had a fire free Fourth. 

Keep up that good work, enjoy summer on the Superior, and remember what the bear says: “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires”!


Photo by Fran Smith

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - July 12

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith     July 12, 2019    
Month seven is cruisin’ along the Trail as we inch toward its’ half-way mark. The territory has remained in a summery way over the past week.                                                                                   

Going into this weeks’ scoop, the hot temperatures and humidity of July’s first segment have mellowed into to more normal North Country ranges. While the human comfort level has improved, folks in some areas of the upper Trail are getting increasingly tense about the dry landscape.                                                                                                                                                                              
The Gunflint Lake neighborhood and northward went another week with scant precipitation. At Wildersmith moisture recorded could not reach the tenth of an inch mark on the gauge. Couple this measly amount with less than two tenths from the week previous and a crunchy forest fuel load is easily understood. Meanwhile spotty sections down the Trail got a good dose just around firecracker day easing concerns down that way, for the time being.                                                                                                                                          
With wild fire danger approaching the extreme level, it would seem governing agencies should invoke complete burning bans before someone or something sets the forest on fire. Adding to nervous thoughts regarding our dry situation have been several days of smoke in the air. While smellers were taking note early in the siege, it came to full bore last Sunday when billows came rolling southward from fires in the NW of Ontario.                                                                

In lieu of waiting for rain to fall and smoke to lift, I would suggest area residents do some preparedness work by wetting down their properties every couple days or so with the wildfire sprinkler system. Building an umbrella/dome of humidity within the systems perimeter offers a good measure of protection.                                                                                                             

Border country heads toward the monthly mid-point with the Ojibwe, “half way” moon in a few days (the 16th). Along with this monthly lunar celebration, the Gunflint Community is looking forward to excitement of the forty-third annual Canoe Races.                                                      

Wednesday the 17th is the big day on the waterfront at Gunflint Lodge. Activities get underway at 4:30 with the food tent opening, presentation of silent auction items and a six o’clock call for the first race.                                                                                                                                                                           
Organizers are hoping for a big turn out once again, as the event works to raise funds in support of our great volunteer fire and EMS crews. Tickets for the grand prize drawing remain on sale throughout the business Community and during the night of the event. This years’ winning ticket holder will take home a splendid Wenonah Kayak.                                                                                                     

Just as this event takes center stage, another highly important happening will be ending its run. However, as this scribing hits the air, the “Radio of 2000 Lakes”, summer membership drive is in the middle of its’ six day journey.                                                                                                                       

If listeners haven’t already re-upped or plan to join anew, the time has come to take the plunge into the cool of Northland Community Radio. Dive-in, broadcasting opportunities are beckoning for your support!                                                                                                                                                                                          
It is to join online; toll free @ 1-800-473-9847; 387-1070 locally or stop in at 1712 West Highway 61 to make your pledge. Don’t wait, keep the WTIP radio connection at the top of its game, every contribution matters!                                                                                                         

Un-scheduled activities continue along the Trail. Most noteworthy have been some recent larcenous reports of bears in mid-Trail neighborhoods. I’m told bear break-ins have been confirmed at a number of residences.                                                                                                        

It’s a good bet the hungry bruins are being tempted by human carelessness of some sort. Everyone can help in this matter by taking in those bird feeders, and securing odorous refuse. Remember bears will not be a problem, if we are not a problem.                                          

Other reported animal goings-on have not been so raucous and have often made for interesting photo ops. Included are sightings of wolves, fox, coyotes, moose, beaver and white tail fawns.                                                                                                                                                                                        
A report came to me telling of a big wolf stroking a long distance swim on Gunflint Lake, while a subsequent  sharing told of two beavers doing some unusual saplings harvest along the shore just down lake from Wildersmith. Yet another happening involves the Wildersmith wood chuck who was caught dining among a quartet of squirrels the other morning, what a remarkable five some!                                                                                                                                                                                    

The Gunflint Community is mourning the loss of two neighbors. Longtime residents Paul Kelnberger and Robert Einsweiler have recently passed from our midst. Both of these gentlemen were deeply respected and involved in the Community. To their survivors and friends, sincerest of condolences are extended from our Gunflint Trail family.                                                                                  
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, in the calming of forest green.


Chel Anderson photo via MBS.jpg

Meet Chel Anderson

WTIP's North Shore Morning host, CJ Heithoff talks with North Woods Naturalist, Chel Anderson to find out more about Chel herself. 
Not one to talk much about herself, this was a rare opportunity for WTIP listeners to learn more about their favorite naturalist.


Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest - July 12

National Forest Update – July 11, 2019
Hi.  This is Renee Frahm, visitor information specialist on the Superior National Forest, with the National Forest Update for the middle of July, and in fact the middle of the summer.  We hope you’ve been out on the Forest enjoying some of the really nice weather we’ve been having!  With the Fourth of July having past and other town celebrations such as Bay Days in Silver Bay and Heritage Days in Two Harbors this weekend as well as Fisherman’s Picnic coming up in a few weeks, it’s a great time to enjoy the outdoors with your extra family in town. 

Those nice days though mean that there’s been little rain over the whole forest for the last few weeks.  However, there have been spotty showers or downpours in some locations.  While much of Minnesota is suffering from too much water, we are on the edge of too little.  The dry conditions have caused the Smokey Bear sign in front of our ranger stations to raise his finger to the ‘High’ fire danger rating.  In the definition of High Fire Danger are the phrases “unattended campfires are likely to escape” and “fires may become serious and difficult to control”.  This means that it is very important for you to make sure your fire is dead out and cold to the touch before you leave the area – even for a short time.  The easiest time to control a fire is when it is still a campfire, so don’t allow your fire to escape and become a serious incident.  It is also a good time to keep an eye on possible fire restrictions if Smokey ends up pointing at an even higher fire danger ratings as the woods continue to dry. 

Adding to the fire concerns has been an outbreak of spruce budworm.  Several people have stopped by our office asking about fir trees they have seen with brown branch ends and silky masses at the ends of the twigs as well as entire stands of dead firs.  These are signs of spruce budworm, which actually attacks more fir trees than spruce.  The budworm is the caterpillar stage of a moth and is a local, not an invasive, species.  It tends to have population booms and busts, and there is currently an outbreak in some areas of the forest.  The caterpillars spread when the adult moths fly and lay eggs in new areas, and also when the caterpillars themselves ‘balloon’ away on a long thread of silk.  Once on a tree of their choosing, the budworms eat primarily new needles at the ends of the branches.  It is possible for them to defoliate entire stands of trees, similar to what the eastern forest tent caterpillar or army worm does to aspen and birch.  The tree can recover from this, but if it is defoliated two or three years in a row, it will probably die.  The dead trees then become a fire hazard.  There’s no large scale treatment for budworm – usually an infestation is left to run its course, though thinning stands of trees and removing dead trees is done to curb the worms and reduce fire danger.  It is possible to treat individual trees with insecticides such as BT and save a particular tree in your yard, but BT kills all caterpillars so treating a large area would be harmful to the other butterflies and moths we all enjoy and benefit from.

Dry weather also makes it impossible to grade roadways.  We’ve been dry long enough that some of our forest roads are showing considerable washboarding.  Drive with care – going fast over washboards will really reduce your traction and make it easy to run right off the road on a curve.  If you are using a less used Forest Service road to access your cabin or a remote lake and want to clear the road or brush the roadside, be sure to get a permit from us first.  The permits are free; but we need them in order to keep track of what maintenance is being done where on the road system.  You can also pick up a permit to dispose of the slash you generate at a Forest Service burn pile.  Contact the Gunflint office for the permit and location of the pile.

There is a fair amount of log hauling going on.  In Tofte, haulers are on the same roads as last week – the Dumbell River Road, Wanless Road, Lake County 705, the Four Mile Grade, the Grade, and Cook County 27 and 8.  On the Gunflint District, hauling is happening on the Lima Grade, South Brule Road, Greenwood Road, Firebox Road, Blueberry Road, Cascade River Road, Pike Lake Road, and Cook County 6 and 7.  There is also hauling across the Superior Hiking Trail southeast of Cook County 6.

While we are talking about roads, our field going people have noticed a lot of turtles on the gravel roads.  This time of year, turtles are nesting and walking from ponds and lakes to sandy areas to dig nests and lay eggs.  Please watch out for these slow pedestrians.  You can help turtles to cross, but don’t set them back on the side they started from.  They are stubborn and will just set out across the road again. 

So, set out on your own adventures, enjoy the summer, go on a picnic, get out and fish or take a hike but certainly take advantage of the warm weather while it lasts.  Until next time, this has been Renee Frahm with the National Forest Update.


Sawtooth Mountain Clinic. WTIP file photo

Sawtooth Mt Clinic - Topic of the Month - July

North Shore Morning host, Gary Latz talks with Hartley Acero for the July  Topic of the Month - "Humble Heroes: Secret Super-Powers of Everyday Foods".


Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update - July 9

Superior National Forest Update with Steve Robertsen, education and interpretation specialist - Superior National Forest.
July 5, 2019