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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:
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Canoe Poling - Scott Oeth

North Shore Morning host, Mark Abrahamson talks with Scott Oeth from Bull Moose Patrol about Canoe Poling.

Scott is an Eagle Scout, a Minnesota Master Naturalist, Wilderness First Responder, and a Registered Maine Guide.



Dick & Joan Crosby_Image provided by Joan Crosby.jpg

Superior Reviews by Lin Salisbury - Joan Crosby "Tucker Lake Chronicles"

Superior Reviews by Lin Salisbury.
In this edition, Lin reviews Cook County author, Joan Crosby's new book "Tucker Lake Chronicle: Thirteen Months in the North Woods".



Summer Food Program for Children

North Shore Morning host, Brian Neil talks with Lori Backlund about the ISD 166 - Summer Food Program for kids age 18 and younger.  It's a free program beginning June 10th through August 22, 2019 serving breakfast and lunch Monday through Thursday.



YMCA Update - May 13, 2019

North Shore Morning host, Gary Latz talks with Cook County Community YMCA's Betsy Blaisdell, support services specialist, for the YMCA update.


Barb Gervais, longtime Tofte township clerk - Photo by Rhonda Silence

Tofte Clerk Barb Gervais steps down

 Tofte resident Barb Gervais served as township clerk at her last meeting on Thursday, May 9. After more than a decade, Gervais has stepped down and Tofte Supervisor Craig Horak and his colleagues say she will be missed. 

The town board shared cookies and coffee with the outgoing clerk, expressing appreciation for her service. Gervais was also recently honored for her work by being chosen as the Tofte township 2017 Citizen of the Year. 

Filling the rest of the term for the town clerk position is Kay Burkett.

WTIP volunteer Jane Alexander spoke with Tofte Supervisor Craig Horak about Gervais’ departure and other township matters.


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Northern Sky: May 11 - 24, 2019

NORTHERN SKY  by  Deane Morrison                May11-24, 2019

Here in mid-May, we have two planets that are fairly bright and busy moving into prime viewing position. Those planets are Jupiter and Saturn, and they’re rising in the southeast earlier every day, but still pretty late. Jupiter makes it up before midnight, but Saturn doesn’t; it follows Jupiter around two hours later. You can also see them in the predawn sky, say 4 to 4:30 a.m. Jupiter is the brightest thing after the moon, and Saturn the next brightest thing to the east of Jupiter.
The planets are about 27 degrees apart, which isn’t very far. Not coincidentally, Earth is getting ready to lap both of them in the race around the sun. Jupiter on June 10, Saturn on July 9. When we lap an outer planet, it’s up all night, which is ideal for viewing. However, summer’s coming, our hemisphere is tilting away from the night sky, and the sun has stolen a big chunk of it. Right now, we can only see Jupiter and/or Saturn very late in the evening or ridiculously early in the morning.
On top of that, between May 11 and 24, the period this broadcast covers, the moon will be big and bright enough to wash out a lot of the stars that form a backdrop for the planets.
Well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Let’s look at what the moon can do for us. The evening of the 11th, it’ll be at first quarter phase. This is a good time to pull out your binoculars or small telescope and have a look at the moon. During quarter phases, the moon is 90 degrees from the sun, and lunar features, like craters, appear in sharp relief. Just east of the moon, you’ll see Regulus, the brightest star in Leo, the lion. Regulus is the dot in a backward question mark of stars called the Sickle, which outlines the lion’s head.
A night or two later, on the 12th or 13th, the moon will have moved farther east in Leo. The lunar features will still stand out, and a famous one will now be lighted. That’s the Tycho crater, which was named after the great Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, who died in 1601 at age 54. The crater is near the south pole of the moon and is about 53 miles across. It’s remarkable for the long bright lines radiating from it; these are where material was thrown during the collision with whatever space rock came along and gouged out the crater. The crater has been estimated to be about 100 million years old, which is young for a lunar feature.
Between the 15th and 16th of May, the moon passes between Spica, the only reasonably bright star in Virgo, and brilliant Arcturus, in Bootes, the herdsman. Spica will be below the moon, and much closer to it than Arcturus.
May’s full moon rises over Grand Marais at 8:27 on the evening of the 18th. It crosses the night sky above Antares, the red heart of Scorpius. Over the next several days, the waning moon sweeps past Antares, then Jupiter and Saturn.
In the north, the Big Dipper hangs more or less upside down at nightfall. The two stars at the far end of its bowl—that is, farthest from the handle—point down to Polaris, the North Star. Flanking Polaris, but closer to the horizon, are two bright stars. On the left is Capella, in Auriga, the charioteer, and to the right is Vega, the brightest of the Summer Triangle of bright stars. And if you follow the curve of the Big Dipper’s handle, it’ll take you to Arcturus again.
Deane Morrison writes the Minnesota Starwatch column for the U of M’s Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics.


Photo by CJ Heithoff

Sawtooth Mountain Elementary - School News May 9, 2019

Sawtooth Mountain Elementary - School News with General and Ethan.
May 9, 2019


Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update - May 10, 2019

Superior National Forest Update – May 9, 2019.
Hi, this is Renee Frahm, Visitor Information Specialist on the Superior National Forest.  After a pretty depressing May snowfall, it looks like things are finally starting to turn away from winter and toward summer.

Trails and roads are still in somewhat lousy, but typical, spring condition, much as they have been for the last several weeks.  Expect soft shoulders along most of the roads, as well as soft spots in the road and possible washouts on the less frequently traveled roads.  There is still a big drift of snow across the Four Mile Grade, so while there is access from both ends, you can’t get through on that road.  Wet soil can also loosen trees, so there are occasional deadfalls across the road, even without high winds.  More frequently on the road though are deer.  Deer love the green grass along the roadsides, and seem to be very abundant this spring.  Friends counted 50 deer by the road when driving from Grand Marais to Silver Bay one night last week.  In the Forest, you may also find moose on the road.  Moose are smart animals, and given the choice between walking on a nice clear road or through brush and old snow in the woods they’ll usually choose the road.  We’ve heard a lot of reports of moose this spring, so keep your eyes peeled for moose, deer, or any other animals on the roadway.

Spring migration of birds is in full force right now.  International Migratory Bird Day is this Saturday, May 11th.  You can celebrate by feeding these hungry migrants.  Be sure to clean your feeders frequently this time of year.  Wet bird seed can go bad and transmit diseases to birds, so keep it dry and empty the wet seed out of your feeders frequently.  Hummingbirds are very close to us now as well.  They usually appear up here around Mother’s Day, which is this Sunday.  I don’t see a lot of flowers blooming, so they are really going to need your help by filling and maintaining your hummingbird feeders.  Be sure to clean these as well and keep them stocked with fresh sugar water.  And, to avoid feeding the bears, take all your feeders in at night and store them in a safe place.

Many of our lakes are open, and we’ve put the docks in at almost all of the Forest Service boat landings.  Some of the lakes are still iced over, but the rest are out in the water.  By the time you hear this broadcast, maybe the other lakes will be open too.  Saturday is fishing opener, so we are hoping for liquid water at all our favorite fishing spots.

Campground water systems though are pretty sensitive to freezing.  We still don’t have the water on at our fee campgrounds, so for now, they are still free campgrounds.  Be aware though that also means they have not been plowed out, and some are still not accessible by car.  You would also be wise to pack along your own toilet paper, just in case.  Garbage is not being picked up either, so you’ll have to follow the ‘pack it in, pack it out’ rule and bring your garbage out of the campground to an appropriate disposal site.

One sign of spring is that hundreds of seedling trees have been delivered to our tree coolers in Tofte, Grand Marais, and Isabella.  Over the next several weeks, contract crews will be planting these trees and creating the forest of the future.  It is always fun on tree delivery day to realize that the brown bag of white pine seedlings you are unloading might become a grove of giant white pines to picnic under, or the site of a bald eagle nest, or in a hundred years or so, it may become the rafters of someone’s home.

May 18th is the date of the running of the Superior Spring Trail Race, which uses the Superior Hiking Trail as their course.  Runners will be leaving from Caribou Highlands Lodge at 7 am that day, and you can expect to encounter runners on the Hiking Trail in that area throughout the day.  For more information and maps, visit the Superior Spring Trail Race’s website.

It looks like we are in for some nice weather, so whether you are running in the woods, listening to spring peepers, or doing some early season camping, it’s going to be a good week to get out and enjoy the Forest.  Maybe you’ll even take your Mom fishing on Saturday or on a picnic on Sunday.  Good luck fishing and I hope you have a Happy Mother’s Day. 

Until next time, this is Renee Frahm with the National Forest Update.


Fran & Fred Smith - Photo by CJ Heithoff

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - May 10, 2019

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith   May 10, 2019    
The Smiths’ are back in the woods following a jaunt to Iowa for a visit with our daughter, many old friends and a weekend at America’s Athletic Classic, the Drake Relays. It’s always great to be home in the serenity of forty-nine degrees north. The mayhem of traffic and humanity in semi-organized civilization is culture shock for us woods dwellers.                                                                                                                     

While spring has been stumbling along in the northland, it was a delight to see green grass and trees trimmed in a new generation of leaves in the Hawkeye State.                                                 

With my partiality toward winter, it was disappointing to miss the beauty of the brief cold season resurgence while away. However, I have no regrets about not being around to move the wet heavy stuff. “Mother Nature” had taken care of snow removal by the time we pulled onto the Mile O Pine, leaving me with only minimal sidewalk scooping. A side effect finds melting the recent eight or so inches of snow has given mud a boost on back country roads, and further complicating growing pot holes.                                                                                                                                                         

Spring might have her act together in border country as we head into this Mothers’ Day weekend, and the Minnesota angling opener. Our good earth is mostly bare, with the only snow remaining being that heaped up in winter plowing efforts. By this time next week, we may be able to close the winter chapter along the Mile O Pine. I’ll let you all know when observing 2018-19 winter character is no longer possible, remembering there has been snow on the ground in some fashion since the last days of October.                                                                               
Meanwhile rivers and streams are gushing abundantly toward lakes, ponds and wetlands with cold mountain run-off. Pussy willows buds are puffing with zest and green tipped buds are showing on a few birch and aspen.  Early season sprouts of rhubarb and chives are piecing the top soil on the sunny side of the Wildersmith house and daffodils are up in other warm confines.                                                                                                                                                                                         
On a not so positive note regarding the soon to bloom season, I was found to be under surveillance of the first mosquito a couple days ago. It was one of those big “daddy’s,” just buzzing by checking me out, and likely headed back to headquarters for a report to the troops on my availability as a blood donor.                                                                                                                                         
Although I’ve been out of the area for the better part of two weeks, going into this report, I have yet to hear of any bear annoyances. They have to be out and about though so care is being exercised to not tempt them into making bad decisions. In the meantime I’ve observed a couple other wintertime nappers, those being chipmunks and wood chucks. Every critter and everything is in the wake up mode.                                                                                                                                                                           
With dreams of catching the “big one” this weekend, fisher people can relax in regard knowing ice is out on most lakes of the territory. As I commenced this scribing last Sunday evening, the Gunflint Gal was still a big ice cube although it has broken from the shore, west to east, as far as this mid-lake neighborhood. For the record, the Gunflint has been under ice cover for five months (since December 6th).                                                                                                                                 

All conditions being considered, it’s a good bet this body will be open too as watercraft are launched to kick-off the season. Good luck to all with a word of caution, as the water is dangerously cold. Make good decisions and take no chances in boat or canoe.                                                                                                                                            

A recent interview with WTIP news director, Joe Friedrichs, and the County Planning and Zoning Administrator, revealed consideration for amending the Gunflint Trail ATV usage ordinance. The plan involves changing the current limited travel portions to open/unlimited usage from Grand Marais to the west end of County road 92 at Iron Lake (some 35 miles).                                                                                  
Public comments on the issue to the P & Z (Planning Commission) are being accepted with a public hearing expected in June (though no date has been set). It can be assumed after P & Z examines and listens to public comments the issue will be passed on to County Commissioners for a future agenda.                                                                                                                               
Interested parties, either in support of, or in opposition to this ordinance amendment, should make their feelings known ASAP to the Planning & Zoning office in the Courthouse (in writing or by email). An expression of your opinions on this issue to our district Commissioner would seem prudent too.                                                                                                                                   

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, even more so on the opening day of fishing season!


Shannon Brunette-photo by Elisha May Photography

Shannon Brunette - Grand Marais Art Colony Class

North Shore Morning host, Shawna Willis talks with artist, Shannon Brunette about her upcoming class and artist talk at the Grand Marais Art Colony.