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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!

 


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Frog

North Woods Naturalist: Wildlife adaptation to cooling temperatures

WTIP’s CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about how different wildlife survive the winters in our woods and waters.

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Birch Grove Elementary - School News - October 31, 2018

Birch Grove Elementary School News with Jack, Nataliya, and Whitney 
for October 31, 2018.

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Magnetic North by Vicki Biggs Anderson

Magnetic North by Vicki Biggs Anderson                   10/23/18
When a Tree Falls
 
Welcome back to Magnetic North, where recent high winds took a toll on nearly every road and property. I was out of town during the storm and got home so tired from travel that it was almost a week before I notice the 60-foot poplar lying along the back edge of the yard... And but for my five goats clambering among its limbs, I might well have missed it until the spring.
 
The poplar, which stood throughout its life in obscurity among the spruce and jack pine by the old dog kennel, now became a fabulous treat for a small herd of bark loving goats.
 
Watching the goats clamber among the now-reachable branches of the downed tree made me think about how, depending on a tree’s place, either in the landscape or one’s history, it’s falling can be cause for so many emotions, from annoyance, to fear, to grief. And for goats and deer, celebration.
 
During the 28 years that I’ve lived, nestled on three sides by typically tangled Northern woods, and looking out on a six-acre meadow to the south, only once has a certain tree fallen to earth and left a permanent bruise on my heart by its absence. It wasn’t even the most iconic of the trees on the acreage; The one where all the critters are laid to rest when their time comes. It stands at the East end of the meadow. One towering White Pine, which is, as far as I know, the only one left standing by the subsistence immigrants who claimed this land, living by logging, fishing, hunting and farming little more than root vegetables.. And although I call this lone giant “mine.”  I know better. So many times over the years, wind, fire and even human carelessness let me know that all I call mine is merely on loan.
 
The big pine came close to being felled by a lightning strike during a ferocious storm right before 9/11. Paul and I watched a pin cherry tree take a bolt of lightning and burn like a torch, even in the pouring rain, The next strike was within feet of the white pine, but a birch took the worst of the fiery blow, while the pine to this day bears a scar over 30 feet long on her trunk. “If that tree goes,” one of us said watching the smoke across the meadow that night. But that night, it stayed and so did we.
 
The first fallen tree that truly hurt my heart was a gnarled and spreading red pine that stood behind the chicken run. The axle and wheels of an old buggy were so deeply sunken in the loam around the tree trunk, that roots had begun entwining the buggy wheel spokes. Paul and I would sit there watching the chickens - chicken videos we called those times - stroking our barn cat Mitten, one of the East County14 six-toed clan. I think Mitten got taken by an owl one winter night, but the tree survived her for years ....until one night, it fell. 

The morning after it fell, I carried water and feed in buckets to the coop as usual, only realizing that the massive branches and trunk were now horizontal behind the run, instead of standing guard and swaddling it in its limbs. 
I know Paul would have grieved with me that day for the loss of the chicken video tree, but his time had come too,  just months earlier.

Of course, when most trees fall in a place like this, no one notices and only a few feel bereaved by the absence of any one of them. And then there are ones like the Washington Pines white pines, senselessly downed by vandals, that everyone seems to know and care about deeply. The chainsaw downing of some White Pines in the beloved stand on the Gunflint Trail was grotesque and senseless. Some saw it as a finger in the eye to all “tree huggers.” Others chalked it up to intoxication. And though the perpetrators were caught and punished that didn’t put the trees back. That didn’t take away that hurt.

All this happened in the year before North House Folk School had their first class, a kayak building, taught out in the Coast Guard building off Artists Point. I covered the class for the local paper and discovered that the butchered Washington Pines trees were being used. Instructor and folk school founder, Mark Hansen, salvaged much of the wood for use in those first handmade crafts. The pines got a second life, many second lives, really,  through all the people who used that beautiful wood in their kayaks. The sheer perfection of that outcome still makes me smile.

However, sometimes in a county of trees and can-do folks, a tree falls and someone gets hurt... Earlier this month, this is what happened to a friend of mine and many others, as he tried to cut down a poplar behind his workshop in the town of Grand Marais. The results were many. For our friend, a brain injury and physical pain for a man used to great health an agile mind. For his family, the absence of normalcy, of just another day-ness. Precious things taken for granted, until normal seems like something only other people enjoy... With hard work and time, the prognosis is good for our friend. Best wishes for all good things to Jeff and Jenny and their beautiful boys in this new, unexpected journey.

John Lennon lamented back in the day, that “life is what happens while you’re making other plans. So it was with my brilliant idea to use a downed tamarack branch to make a wreath for the front of the house. Making it took me three hours and wire puncture wounds on both hands, but at last the big golden circle was done and I hung it between the garage doors, a thing of beauty and a joy forever; Forever, in this case being one night. My five goats found it and finished off their poplar lunch with a tamarack late night snack. But did I get angry? Not me. I got even. I made another Tamarack wreath and doused it with hot sauce. Let’s face it, Mother Nature isn’t the only one who can dish out the surprises.

For WTIP, this is Vicki Biggs-Anderson with Magnetic North. 
 

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Superior National Forest Update - October 26, 2018

National Forest Update – October 25, 2018.
Hi.  This is Steve Robertsen, forest interpretation and education specialist with our weekly National Forest Update, information for everyone visiting the Forest this week. 

We’ve definitely shifted gears from “fall” to “late fall”, or maybe “fell”.  The leaves have pretty much fallen, and are on the ground just waiting to be raked up.  Well, actually, they aren’t waiting at all, they are blowing around making raking a pretty futile effort right now.  Nobody rakes the forest of course, and in a maple woodland, those leaves are a very important part of the ecology.  During the summer fishing season, we make a big deal over invasive earthworms, and that layer of leaves is the reason we do.  Worms are not native to our area, and they eat the leaf litter.  Researchers have found that the leaf litter the worms are eating is important for our spring wildflowers and for forest regeneration.  In maple woods heavily infested with earthworms, there are fewer wildflowers in spring, and fewer young maples to replace the old. 

In our yards though, you may not want all those leaves.  You can bring your leaves for compost in the Grand Marais area to the recycling center, or create a compost pile of your own.  It is amazing how quickly a giant pile of leaves in the fall is reduced to a layer of soil. 

The governor of Minnesota, along with governors of other states in a national effort, has declared October 24th through October 31st to be BatWeek.  This year, the theme of BatWeek is to “Be a Bat Hero”!  Our bats are in trouble from white-nose syndrome, but also from simply being misunderstood creatures.  Help spread the message during BatWeek that bats are our friends…because anything that eats as many mosquitoes as a bat is a friend for sure!  Right now, most bats in northern Minnesota are either going into hibernation in caves and mines, or migrating south for the winter.  Those going into hibernation are the ones at risk for white nose syndrome, a fungal disease that strikes sleeping bats during hibernation.  While people are working on cures and methods to control the disease, right now it is still capable of wiping out over 90% of bats in a cave, and has even put a common species like the little brown bat in danger of total extinction.  White nose has been found in two large hibernacula in Minnesota:  Soudan Mine, and Mystery Cave.  At Soudan Mine, it killed 70% of the bats, which is a huge blow to an animal which reproduces slowly and can live over 30 years.  We’ll cross our fingers for our bats this winter season and wish them a safe and happy rest, and hope to see them all again next spring when the mosquitoes appear.

If you’re visiting the Forest, chances are good that you won’t be flying around like a bat, you will be on the ground.  If you’re driving, you’ll want to watch for logging traffic on the same roads as last week.  Those are the Frank Lake Road, Trappers Lake Road, Dumbell River Road, the Wanless Road, Lake County 7, the 4 Mile Grade, the Grade, Caribou Trail, Murmur Creek Road and the Hall Road.  You also should watch for road work being done along the 600 Road west of the Temperance River Road.  That road work also includes heavy truck traffic on the Two Island River Road.  Overall though, the road system is in good shape, but the rainy fall has caused potholes and soft shoulders in some places, so keep an eye out for those.

Keep an eye peeled for deer as well.  Fall and spring are prime times for deer/car collisions.  Deer are moving around as food sources dry up and mating season begins, and they are very well camouflaged when standing at the side of the road right before they jump into traffic.

Speaking of jumping, I saw a snowshoe hare the other day jumping down the road.  His body was still summer-brown, but his big feet and legs were white in his winter fur.  Like the hare, we are in transition to winter.  This late fall season, between the fall colors and the snow, can be a great time to enjoy a quiet Forest with few visitors, so pack a lunch, head out the road, and see if you can spot a hare, a flock of snow buntings, or other signs of the winter to come in the woods. 

Until next time, this has been Steve Robertsen with the National Forest Update.
 

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Great Expectations School News - October 26, 2018

Great Expectations - School News with Grace and Mary June.
October 26, 2018

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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - October 26, 2018

Wildersmith  on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith       October 26, 2018    

As we gather once more for a view from the Gunflint, atmospheric conditions have turned more October like. A couple of days were really upbeat with temps soaring into the fifties, but have since settled back into cold nights and comfy days even though one still needs a vest or jacket.                                                                                                                                                                 

About the only climate negative has been the relentless wind. The direction of gusty air hasn’t mattered as leaves and branches have been coming at us from every point on the compass. Appropriately, with the Ojibwe, “falling leaves” moon beginning to wane, the dispatching of foliage is fading into whispering silence. There are few tokens left on the deciduous spires in this neighborhood.                                                                                                                                    

One shining moment of autumn has hung on for another week with the tamaracks in glorious array. However, the gales have taken a toll on some of them too. The golden needles are trickling off three beauties here at Wildersmith.                                                                            

Interestingly enough, the needle drop occurs along the Mile O Pine where they can be easily distinguished on the gray-brown surface. From a short distance away, if one didn’t know better, you’d swear it was “gold dust.”                                                                                                                                

It’s thought-provoking to think, it was the idea of striking it rich in precious minerals that prompted the iconic pioneer prospector Henry Mayhew to clear the first pathway to what is now the Gunflint Trail.  Amazingly at this time of year, we who live here have really struck it rich. The gold we cherish is not of geologic deposit, but of remarkable short-lived aurous tokens valued for brightening life around us. How great it’s been this fall!                                                                                                                                                                   

As October enters the final stanza, the warm season for Trail visitors is winding down. This in mind, the Gunflint Trail Historical Society has closed the doors and locked the gate at the Chik-Wauk Campus as of last Sunday.  The Society and the Museum/Nature Center staff and volunteers sincerely thank everyone who visited this happening place in 2018. Nearly 8400 people ventured fifty-five miles into this wildland to learn more of the Gunflint story and experience this natural wonder. All can look forward to 2019 when two new facilities will be open telling more of life in days long ago from this historic setting.                                                                                                                                           

Wonders never cease in the forest. Our friendly fox was here last Sunday for an afternoon snack. I had just been wondering if would be back for lunch after spending breakfast at Wildersmith when I turned around, and there it was.  Since I have been trained well by this hungry critter, I obliged by tossing out a triple serving of poultry morsels.                                                                                                                                                          

Now, “Brother Fox” always tries to take at least two pieces simultaneously, but often can only manage one in the mouth at a time. This leaves the remaining servings exposed while it trudges off into obscurity to consume the first carry-out.                                                                                                                                       

Obviously, there are other folks watching, in particular, the gray and/or blue jays. It’s become rather comical to see these feathered friends zip down with the thought of getting a treat too. The size of my barnyard provisions are such these avian just can’t get airborne in their larcenous attempts. One can almost imagine the frustration going on in their little bird brains as they struggle to secure a meal, only to be dispatched into emergency take-offs when the foxy guy returns for a second serving. I’m waiting for the day when Mr. Fox has jaybird for dinner, it’s bound to happen.                                                                                                                                                              

A huge hurrah for you WTIP All-stars! Congratulations to the entire community radio team for meeting the recent membership support drive goal, of $20,000.00. Once again you have confirmed a great “team effort” can achieve remarkable rewards. Thanks to all new team members and hundreds of returning letter-winners.  “You are the champions, of the north!”                                                                                                                                                               

In closing, with the pre-winter being interrupted over the past few days, my getting ready for winter chores list has dwindled by a couple more. Perhaps by next week at this time the list will find its way to the recycle basket.                                                                                                            

The most important item for this week was to get summer wheels changed to winter. I’ve been slip-sliding down the Trail on three or four occasions already, and enough is enough. It’s probably a good bet when my winter rubber finally hits the road, winter will back off for a while.                                                                                                                                                                                                

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as the mysteries of seasonal transition continue!

Happy Holloween!
 

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Sawtooth Mountain Elementary - School News October 25, 2018

Sawtooth Mountain Elementary - School News with Aurora and Wyatt.
October 25, 2018

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Talking Books - October 2018

Gwen Danfelt, manager of Drury Lane Books, joins North Shore Morning host, CJ Heithoff to "Talk Books".

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Paradise Beach by Stephan Hoglund

North Woods Naturalist: Winds and waves

WTIP’s CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about the recent big winds in our area and how that affects our lakes in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.
 

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Throat singers Nina Segalowitz and Taqralik Partridge - Photo courtesy of Sivertson Gallery

Sivertson Gallery busy with Inuit Premiere

Throat singers Nina Segalowitz and Taqralik Partridge will again help Sivertson’s Gallery in Grand Marais celebrate its Inuit Premiere. The women will perform at 3 p.m. on Friday, October 26 at North House Folk School and at 1and 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct 27 at Sivertson Gallery. 

Throat singing is a traditional activity of the people of Nunavik, Canada. Often two women perform together and combine rhythmic tones from both inhaling and exhaling.
Taqralik Partridge is an Inuit poet and spoken word artist from Kuujuak, Canada. She describes throat singing as a game, “You have two people who play with each other and echo each other and the object of the game is to make the other person stop either by exhaustion, laughing or losing the rhythm.”
Nina Segalowitz was born in the far north and grew up in Montreal. She says, “Throat singing is for me a way to bridge two worlds.” She has performed as a throat singer for over 20 years. 

To find out what else is happening during the Inuit gathering, see the complete events schedule here.

WTIP volunteer Jane Alexander learns more about the gathering in this interview. 

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