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North Shore Morning

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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:

Of Woods and Words: Serving Up Resolutions

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Last year, I really only made one New Year’s resolution. I resolved to throw out less food. Sure, plenty of petrified limes and lettuce slime escaped my best intentions, but by performing “fridge triage” on a regular basis, I was able to save plenty of food and associated food dollars from going the way of the compost bucket.

It seemed like a resolution worthy of carrying into this New Year too. In fact, one of the easiest ways to lead a greener life is to keep things from turning green in the fridge. But like most New Year’s resolutions, my resolve faced stiff adversity as I rounded the corner into 2012.

The holiday season gives us an excuse to buy all sorts of food items we would never buy any other time of the year. By early January, some unusual items had set up residence in my fridge…namely, a package of lefse and a paper-wrapped portion of smoked fish.

You won’t find lefse or smoked fish in my fridge on a regular basis because I don’t like them. While I’m sure both items were enjoyed by others during the holidays, now I was left with the leftovers. I didn’t want to throw them away, but I knew for a fact I wasn’t going to nosh on either item as a snack anytime soon. What could I do with them to make them appetizing enough to get them eaten?

Meanwhile, we’d also reached the point in the winter where I start to wonder what exactly I’m going to do with those canned goods I put up back when the days were long and the sun was warm. Sure, the pickled jalapenos sounded like a good idea in August when we were up to our ears with the spicy peppers, but I don’t have any recipes that actually call for pickled jalapenos. My mind rambled as I turned over the half pint can of jalapenos in my palm. You know what lefse looks a lot like, I thought: tortillas.

Bam. Smoked fish lefse enchiladas were born.

It was sacrilege, I knew. Most persons of Scandinavian descent who I know think ketchup is spicy. And here I was, about to take two profoundly Scandinavian items south of the border. I’d figured I’d take the fish, shred it and sauté it up with some onions, jalapenos, cumin, and chili powder, then roll the mixture up in the lefse. A white sauce, what I suppose people who aren’t Midwestern might call a Béchamel, would hold it all together. After it came out of the oven, I’d smother it with chopped tomatoes and avocados and a liberal dose of salsa verde.

As I chopped, sauteed, and whisked, things smelled promising. Still, I fretted after I popped the entrée in the oven. I wondered what I could whip up quickly for dinner if the dish turned out to be absolutely awful. On the first bite, we found a smoky, creamy concoction. The lefse “tortillas” made for a fluffy, subtle binder. It was actually really good. I relaxed as Andy went back for seconds. The enchiladas received the true mark of culinary success at our house the next morning when the leftovers were all eaten for breakfast.

Whatever your own New Year’s resolutions are this year, may you find them inspiring and rewarding. More importantly, may they make you thankful for the things you already have and allow you to see things in a new light.

Airdate: January 18, 2012

Photo courtesy of Kelly Bailey via Flickr.


Northern Sky: Capella, Antares & the Latest from NASA

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Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota. She authors the Minnesota Starwatch column, and in this segment, color is the theme. Venus and Jupiter draw closer to eachother this month, allowing us to better compare theirs, and the star Capella is prominent as well, which has a very special hue to check out. Antaries is another object to search for as January comes to a close, and Deane shares the latest news from NASA.

Read this month's Starwatch column by Deane.

Photo courtesy of Mouser Williams via Flickr.


West End News Jan. 12

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Election filings for township officers are currently open. The township system of government in Minnesota is the closest form of government to actual people. It is truly where the rubber meets the road. As a former township officer, I won’t lie to you - it’s quite a bit of work and responsibility. On the other hand, it is crucial to our civil society that thoughtful, committed people fill these positions. The townships have a real impact on our lives. Service on a township board can be very fulfilling.

In contrast to hotly contested national, state and county elections, the township elections are really more of a confirmation of those willing to serve, especially the clerk position, which arguably requires the most work and brainpower. In township government, if the supervisors are the head, then the clerks are the heart of the town. I would like to take this opportunity to directly thank all the township officials for their service to the community.

One of the unique aspects of township government is the annual meeting. Everyone in town is invited to the annual meeting and many of the big decisions, including the annual budget, are made by a direct vote of the people present. This is a wonderful example of grassroots democracy in action. The meeting isn’t even chaired by the township board members. Anyone in the room can be selected to run the meeting.

Years ago, I was selected to run the annual meeting in Tofte, which is normally a pretty straightforward task of inviting motions, facilitating discussion and calling for votes. In this particular year, a township supervisor seat actually had two candidates. Steve Krueger, who had helped establish the township and served as supervisor for many years, was being challenged by a young whippersnapper, Tim Norman. The votes are cast throughout the day, just like any other election, but they are counted and the results announced in the evening during the annual meeting. This time, the election judges headed off to count the ballots and were gone for an unusually long time. When they returned, they announced that the election was a tie. Suddenly, my responsibilities as the meeting chair became more serious and complicated. After consulting with the candidates, it was agreed that the election would be decided by the flip of a coin. Steve Krueger won the flip, which seemed to please everyone, including Tim, who saw the close vote as an affirmation of Steve’s long service. In the next election, Steve chose not to run and Tim was easily elected. I was later told that flipping a coin was not the legal way to solve the problem, but nobody complained, so all was well.

Last week, my wife Cindy and daughter Clare talked me into walking out on Sawbill Lake late in the evening to howl for wolves. Sometimes, if wolves are close by, they will start howling in response to human howling. If nothing else, it’s good for a few laughs to see three adults standing in the dark howling like banshees. Cindy has an acknowledged knack for getting the wolves to answer, so we let her go first. But on this particular night, in spite of a full moon, we got nothing but silence in return. That night, just before dawn, a light dusting of snow fell. When we ventured outside early the next morning, we were surprised to see wolf tracks all over our property, including right up to both doors of the house, the doors to the store and all over the driveways. It appeared as though a large pack had come through and checked us out just before dawn. She may not have provoked them into howling the night before, but we’re giving Cindy full credit for calling them in.

We’ll be hearing a lot more about wolves this year as the state takes over responsibility for their management from the feds. Personally, I like having wolves around, even though they do present some danger to our pets. I hope the DNR’s determination to have a wolf hunting and trapping season won’t run them back to near extinction. Like all of the predators, I feel like they are more valuable to our economy loose in the woods than as a rug in someone’s den.


Lutsen native Jacob Schmidt and his band, Gentleman Hall

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Lutsen native Jacob Schmidt and his band “Gentleman Hall” performed in December at Papa Charlie’s in Lutsen. We’ll hear in interview with Jacob taped backstage just before the performance.


The Lake Superior Project / logo by Lauryl Loberg

LSProject: Voices from the Lake

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In our broadcast area, we sit on one of the biggest resources in the world: Lake Superior. The lake means different things to different people, whether it's a spiritual connection, a source of income or a favorite place to fish. In this first segment, Voices from the Lake, we explore some of ways in which the big lake is significant to people.

This project is funded in part by the Coastal Zone Management Act, by NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, in cooperation with Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program.



West End News Jan. 5

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I was pleased to read that Tofte Township was moving ahead with plans for a new cell tower. The same article mentioned that a new cell tower is also being planned for Taconite Harbor. Hopefully, the two new towers will finally bring reliable cell service to the West End.

When I was in Africa last year, the village I visited had no electricity, no running water and most people were subsistence farmers living on less than $300 per year. But, they had excellent cell service, with a choice of three providers and good service everywhere. Almost everyone I met had a cell phone. They had to take them to a shop with a generator to have them charged and bought their minutes in small quantities on scratch-off paper slips, but they used them constantly, including a clever system of transferring money between people by cell phone. My African hosts were shocked to hear that I did not enjoy reliable cell service at home. They think of the United States as being technologically advanced and they also wondered how I could possibly live with the inconvenience of no cell service.

Seven or eight years ago, I had a chance to visit Norway House, Manitoba, a town about the same size of Grand Marais, located way up at the north end of Lake Winnipeg. Everyone in Norway House seemed to have a cell phone and used it frequently. Everyone seemed so comfortable and adept with cell phones that I was moved to ask how long they had enjoyed cell service. To my surprise they informed me that it had only been five months and they couldn’t imagine life without it.

Here at Sawbill we have a long-standing tradition of inviting our crewmembers back to enjoy the New Year’s holiday with us. We get a good crowd every year, mostly current crewmembers, but also a few who have moved on to what they call “the real world.” They are a very easy group to have for company because they have all lived here, so they just move back into their old rooms and pitch in with the cooking, cleaning and daily chores. They also entertain themselves, making music, playing games and especially playing outside. Every year, they adapt themselves to whatever the weather offers them. Some years it’s been ice fishing, other years it’s been skating, skiing, sledding, fox and hounds, snow cave building and even a polar plunge through the ice. This year the highlighted activity was broomball. They spent half a day shoveling and resurfacing a rink on the lake. The main game started late on New Year’s Eve and ended with champaign on the lake at the stroke of midnight. Cindy insisted that they all wear helmets for safety, so we scrounged every bike and ski helmet that we could find. We didn’t have enough, so one fire fighters helmet and one antique motorcycle helmet were pressed into action. The brooms were also a ragtag collection of whatever could be found. It would have been a strange sight for any passing fox or wolf to behold.

I was very distressed to observe the level of spending - and the effectiveness of that spending – by the so called super-PACs leading up to the recent Iowa caucuses. In a nutshell, the United States Supreme Court ruled on a case last year that now allows corporations to campaign independently for or against political candidates with no limit on spending and no disclosure on who is contributing to the campaign. Judging by the millions spent by super-PACs in Iowa, we are in for a barrage of negative advertising this election season, unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. In my opinion, this is a terrible development for American democracy. Already corrupt politicians now have a virtually unlimited source of money. Even honest politicians will be forced to play this big money game, making them beholden to the money, rather than their constituents. I don’t want to be cynical, but I can’t imagine that foreign governments and corporations, who now are prohibited by law from contributing to American campaigns, will abide by that law when they have an easy and untraceable conduit to pump money into our elections. In the face of this terrible decision, we are in real danger of losing the democracy that the founders dreamed of. History clearly tells us that the founders specifically wanted our public policies to be driven by the concept of one voter, one vote, rather than one dollar, one vote.


Gunflint Notebook: Running With Moose

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In this edition of the Gunflint Notebook, Steve delves into a story about his morning routine that’s anything but ordinary. Many people start their day with a jog, but not too many folks can say they’ve run with moose!


Northern Sky: What To Expect This January

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Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota. She authors the Minnesota Starwatch column, and in this segment, she explains exactly what there is to see in the night sky in January, and gives us something to mull over on these dark winter days.

Read this month's Starwatch column by Deane.

Photo courtesy of Glass_House via Flickr.


Moments in Time: Northern Cleaners & Laundry

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Vi Wonser and her husband Gordon operated Northern Cleaners & Laundry from 1947 to 1981 in downtown Grand Marais. In this editon of Moments in Time, Vi shares her memories of the business.

Photo courtesy of W.E. Vilmer via Wikimedia.


Northern Sky: A Cosmic Smirk, Demon Star & More

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Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota. She authors the Minnesota Starwatch column, and in this segment, she talks about "a cosmic smirk" that will be visible this month, the story of Algol (known as the "demon star") and more!

Read this month's Starwatch column by Deane.

Photo courtesy of Mark Kilner via Flickr.