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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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Wildersmith-submitted by Fred Smith

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - February 22, 2019

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith    February 22, 2019    

It seems completely crazy our days should go by so rapidly. We gather around the radio this week with month two fading into its last chapter. Next week at this time, the planet will be MARCHing into month three.                                                                                                                                                                 

As I began the weeks’ report last Sunday evening, its hard telling what will be going on in our up north atmosphere by the time my Gunflint scoop hits the air. A summation of weather over the past week can be highlighted in three words, pretty much nothing.                                                                                

Our Gunflint heavens provided the most excitement since we last tuned in together. How about that bright “sucker moon” of February. The “super big cheese” boldly illuminated our deep winter in beautiful bluish splendor and eerie forest shadows, the likes of which mysteries might be authored. What a wow factor!                                                                                                                  
With exception of one windy evening and beautiful azure daytime skies, temps have been about normal, and this neighborhood has been just about snowless. Nighttime lows have been below the nothing mark with some serious cold earlier this week. President’s Day morning saw minus 32 on the Wildersmith thermometer.                                                                                             
Meanwhile, with growing solar power, this sunny warmth during daylight hours has provided exceptional opportunities for folks to get out and enjoy in the snow activities. Our great weather, in concert with the long weekend, found droves of Gunflint enthusiasts trekking the blacktop to favorite Trail locations.                                                                                              

Perhaps the biggest event took place over on Hungry Jack Lake where the Cook County Ridge Riders Snowmobile Club held the annual drag races. A perfect day of fun in the winter sun drew a big crowd with over thirty entries in the three engine classes. For races results and pictures of the winners, go to the Ridge Riders Facebook page. Thanks to Hungry Jack Lodge and Club organizers for all the hard work in putting this happening together.                                                                                                                                       

At this time next week, WTIP will be in the middle of its winter membership drive. The theme is “Wide World WTIP”, recognizing listeners from un-countable points on the globe who make our WTIP world go ‘round.                                                                                                                                         

The drive for 2019 membership renewals, along with an on-going quest for adding new family members, gets underway next Wednesday the 27th and runs until noon on March 4.                               

From Wildersmith, I urge all of our 1300 plus members to be ready for re-upping when the phones and online opportunities spring to life for this crucial start to the New Year. And if you’re a listener who’s not yet committed to the WTIP family, now’s the time to join in and share in the success of this great Community Radio endeavor. Let’s make March really come in with a Lion’s roar for WTIP!                                                                                                                                                                           

As sure as winter commences in October/November, spring is certainly going to be here eventually. This in mind, The Gunflint trail Historical Society and Chik-Wauk Staff are busy organizing for the 2019 visitor season.                                                                                                                                            

Excitement is mounting as two new chapters in Trail history will be opening on the Chik-Wauk Campus this summer. The long awaited historic Watercraft exhibit and Interpretive Cabin are entering the final stages of completion in hopes of being ready for opening day on May 25. In addition, a new temporary exhibit in the Museum will feature “Tommy Banks, Gangster of the Gunflint.” Folks will not want to miss these exciting new installments of the Gunflint story.                                                                                                                                                   

On a related GTHS note, the addition of two facilities finds the Society Leadership in a position of needing extra staff to manage the Watercraft exhibit facility. A job description and application instructions are posted on Interested applicants should check it out, as applications close soon.                                                                                                                                                    

As our daylight minutes increase with each passing day, I find it interesting how the winged folk around here are taking it all in by dining much later.                                                                                

Until I moved to this northern paradise, I paid minimal attention to our fine feathered friends. Now that I’m here, I’m intrigued, at avian flock behavior around the feeding trough as the sun begins to settle near the horizon.                                                                                                               
Bulking up for the long cold night ahead seems to create near hysteria. With arrivals and departures so frequent, such chaos reminds me of video shopping reflections on “black Friday.” I’ve come to understand the hysteria, as the energy expended to be ready by the roosting hour is truly a matter of life and death if those tummies are not filled. By its own nature, this frenzy is an elemental survival exercise for all in the “Wild Neighborhood”, and a joy to observe their zest for life.                                                                                                                                                                                

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, each enriched by the natural wonders around us!


Paulette Jiles - photo by Jill Gann

Superior Reviews by Lin Salisbury - Paulette Jiles

Superior Reviews by Lin Salisbury.

Is this edition, Lin reviews Paulette Jiles book, "News of the World"


Lake Superior Winter by Bryan Hansel

North Woods Naturalist: Types of ice

Did you know that there are many different types of ice that can form on our lakes?

Naturalist Chel Anderson tells WTIP's CJ Heithoff how to tell the differences between all the different varieties of ice in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.


Great Expectatiions School

Great Expectations School News - February 15, 2019

Great Expectations School News with Liv and Claire.
February 15, 2019


Feb MNStarwatch.jpg

Northern Sky: February 16, 2019

NORTHERN SKY – Deane Morrison
February 16 – March 1, 2019

In the second half of February, most of the astronomical action is still in the morning sky.
Venus is heading toward the sunrise while Saturn is climbing up away from it. Between the 17th and the 19th, the two planets pass each other. They come closest on the 18th, when Saturn will be one degree, or two moon widths, below Venus, which is by far the brighter planet. For the rest of the month, the distance between them widens, and by March 1 they’ll be 10 degrees apart.
Saturn is following Jupiter, and now these two outer planets are rising earlier every day as they sail westward across the morning sky. Jupiter is brighter than Saturn, but in case you’re not sure which object is which, a fat crescent moon will be right above Jupiter on February 27th. A thinner crescent will be near Saturn on March 1, and Venus on March 2.
What makes the outer planets move westward across the sky—and the stars, too—is Earth’s orbital motion. But the outer planets’ own orbital motion makes them drift eastward with respect to the background of stars. Jupiter drifts eastward faster than Saturn, and now, that motion is carrying it toward Saturn. Late next year, Jupiter will pass Saturn—and very closely, which will be a lot of fun to watch. 
In the evening sky, Mars is still in the west after nightfall. It’s the vlodrdy of the outer planets, and moves the most rapidly eastward against the stars. It is dropping westward, but so slowly that it seems to be holding its own as the stars rush past it. Right now, that’s what the group of bright winter constellations is getting ready to do.
One of those constellations is Gemini, the twins. Its two brightest stars are Castor and Pollux, the heads of the twins. Gemini’s other stars are dimmer, but still, this constellation looks like what it’s supposed to be: two human figures. Pollux is lower and slightly brighter than Castor. Pollux is a large star with at least one large exoplanet, but Castor, not to be outdone, is a system of six stars. It has two main stars that orbit each other.
Each is a little bigger than the sun, and each has a small companion called a red dwarf star. And associated with this system is a pair of red dwarf stars that orbit each other and also appear to orbit the two main stars, albeit very slowly. Multistar systems are common, and needless to say, they can get complicated.
On the 16th, a bright waxing moon will be near the Gemini twins. Two nights later it’ll be near the backward question mark of stars that outlines the head of Leo, the lion. Early the next morning, at 3:03 a.m. on February 19th, the moon reaches perigee, its closest approach to Earth in this lunar cycle. Not quite seven hours later, it becomes full. Because it will be so close to us, this full moon qualifies as another supermoon, so it’ll be especially large and bright.
There’s just one little fly in the ointment, a common one when full moons come in the morning. On that day, the 19th, the moon sets over Grand Marais at 7:18 a.m.—a couple of hours before fullness. So if you want to see a supermoon at its biggest, roundest and brightest, go outside at least half an hour before moonset, which would mean by 6:45 a.m. And you’ll need a clear view of the western horizon. Or, if you’d rather watch a super moonrise, try the one right after full moon, on the evening of the 19th. It will still be pretty big and beautiful.


Pine Marten by Yankech Gary via Flickr.jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - February 15, 2019

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith        February 15, 2019    
Celebrating loved ones’ on Valentine’s Day passed us with sweetness. Meanwhile our love story with the Gunflint is ritualized in daily magic.  This northern land of white remains enchanting, and has not shown much change since last week, in spite of adding a few days of some nuisance snow falls.                                                                                                                                           

I define nuisance in this case as not being prolific in accumulation. However, snow has fallen enough to require removal from drive and walk ways. Nevertheless, most folks know, if one resides in these parts from October to May, you’d better love it, as snow in any amount is a fact of life.                                                                                                                                                                                          
I was chatting with a friend down the road and each of us reflected deep appreciation for the character of winter. Though fact is, after the past week, we both admitted to getting tired of moving snow on consecutive days, especially when amounts were in the puny two, three or four inch range. Yours truly shoveled, plowed and cranked up the snow blower four out of five days during the stretch.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
While this neighborhood has not accumulated amounts like other big snow zone areas along the Trail, mounds of white crystal around Wildersmith have still grown to the point where it’s hard to find a place to pile it. Thank goodness for the invention of mechanical means, as it makes the physical shoveling part minimal.                                                                                                                                              
Temps in the territory have mellowed from the bitter cold of a couple weeks ago. Nonetheless, the mercury around Wildersmith has tinkered with zero and below for a number of days leading up to this news report. Anyone who says it can’t snow when it’s been around zero has obviously not spent extended time in border country. 
Whereas we may have snowier days ahead of us, enthusiasm for things of spring is budding. I’ve received my second seed and plant catalog, while the green thumb gal residing over on Loon Lake has ordered her seeds. At this point, when it seems greenery might have forgotten about chlorophyll, I suppose many folks along the Trail remember green-up come June, and are dreaming of getting their hands back in the dirt.   
On a related note, our increase in daylight minutes is becoming increasingly conspicuous. By the next time we meet, winter will be heading into the final stanza on the calendar. And, we’ll be moving along under the waning spell of the Ojibwe, full “sucker moon.” Whether one is a winter zealot or not, folks not in tune with our deep white landscape can take heart, there’s more cold and snow season behind us now, than in front.    
A newcomer to our deck side critter cafeteria happened by in the past week. Whereas one pine marten is often hard to distinguish from another, this new one is easily set apart from the others. Considerably smaller, perhaps a yearling, and “cute as a button”, the mini fur ball was so diminutive, its jaws had difficulty opening wide enough to get a good bite on my poultry provisions. 
Not only hungry, it was quite curious. A morning or so ago it climbed up on a lawn chair folded against the house, snooping around the window sill. For a few moments, its nose was against the glass, a daytime, “peeking marten” mind you.                                                                                

Fortunately, I happened to be looking out at the time, and we met face to face with only clear plate between us. It looked in and I looked out, eye to eye before it climbed down, maybe wondering what, or who was this gawking guy all about.                                                                                                                                                                 
On a couple of other days, this omnivorous weasel cousin sat on the feeding rail munching seeds and peeked in some more, perhaps absorbed by my movements about the kitchen. The Smith’s look forward to continuing visits from this youngster and watching as it grows up.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, regardless of what nature delivers!  


School by Andy Simonds.jpg

Sawtooth Mountain Elementary - School News February 14, 2019

Sawtooth Mountain Elementary School News with Alivia and Liliya.
February 14, 2019



Birch Grove Elementary - School News - February 13, 2019

Birch Grove Elementary School News with Nataliya, Jack, and Roland.
February 13, 2019


Superior National Forest Update

Superior National Forest Update - February 8, 2019

National Forest Update – February 7, 2019.
Hi, this is Steve Robertsen, education and interpretation specialist with the Superior National Forest, bringing you the first National Forest Update of 2019! 

It may seem strange that this is the first Update of the year, but this has been a somewhat strange year so far for us government agencies.  We’d like to start this Update with a big thank you to all of our partners who kept trails groomed and open during the recent government shutdown.  We’d also like to thank the public.  There have been stories of vandalism and other problems at other Forests and Parks, but not here.  People did a great job of leaving no trace, and they made our jobs a whole lot easier when we returned to work.  Also, thank you for your patience in realizing that being furloughed for a month can’t help but result in delays on some actions.  We’re making up for lost time as fast as we can.

February is really the heart of winter.  This is the best time to get out and play in the snow.  Snowshoeing, skiing, fat-tire biking, sledding, mushing, snowmobiling, skijoring, ice fishing, or just driving around looking at snow on trees – this is the time to do it.  We’ve been getting lots of snow, so trails for snow sports are in great shape.  In fact, the only problem may be that you’ll have to wait for the trail to be groomed because of more snow.  Links to sites with condition reports can be found from the recreation pages of our website so you can get up to the minute news on conditions.  New to our website this year will be georeferenced pdf trail maps.  These are digital maps that can be downloaded to your phone or mobile device and are designed to be used with wayfinding apps such as Avenza.  Once downloaded, you don’t need a cell or internet connection, and your phone will put a dot on the map showing exactly where you are on the trail.  Right now, only the Flathorn Gegoka Ski Trails have a georeferenced pdf available, but we are working on adding them for the rest of our ski trail systems.  You can also get georeferenced pdf versions of our Motor Vehicle Use Maps on our website, and a georeferenced version of the Visitor Map showing roads in the entire Forest is available for purchase through the Avenza map store.  Of course, printable simplified maps of Gunflint and Tofte ski and snowmobile trails are available on our website, with links to locations with more detailed maps.

All the snow may make driving difficult though.  After a snow event, roads in the Forest are cleared by several different groups.  County and state roads are cleared by the county and state, but plowing on some interior small county roads may lag considerably behind plowing on major county roads outside of the Forest.  Many Forest roads are not plowed in winter.  Those that are plowed are plowed by contractors, and often by businesses involved in timber sales taking place along those roads.  Response time is widely variable, depending on the level of activity on those timber sales.  If you are out driving, be sure to be prepared with winter survival gear for you, and a shovel and traction material for your vehicle.  When you are out on the roads, be watchful for log trucks hauling on the Wanless Road, Lake County 7, and the Greenwood Road.  Be especially careful on Firebox Road, which is a dual-use road with snowmobiles. 

Do get out though.  We live in a place with a great winter, and everyone should take the time to enjoy it. 

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


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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - February 8, 2019

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith      February 8, 2019    
What a difference a week can make! The frosty “Grinch” of the northland loosened its grip since our last WTIP visit.                                                                                                                                               

This part of the world felt almost balmy when the mercury finally crept above the zero-mark on our nations “Super Bowl” weekend. Whereas the relief in this area has not been of the melting variety, it has mellowed enough to get people out and moving again.                                                                                                            

Cold as it has been there is still magic in our land of white. A trip down the Trail last Sunday found the “great cold spirit” had joined hands with “Jack Frost” to fashion yet another regal work of crystal spires. With warm moist, low hanging clouds hanging over the bitter cold landscape, conditions were ripe for “Plein air” artistic elegance on every woodsy appendage.  
Inasmuch as these hoarfrost happenings occur with some regularity, each one can appear classier than the previous observation. This one seemed over the top with not enough descriptors to do it justice. You just had to be here to feel the majesty of mini-cut- glass chards clinging to everything in creation.                                                                                                                                   
The warm-up was timely for the Cook County Ridge Riders Snowmobile Club last Saturday. Their annual lodge to lodge “fun run” brought out countless power sledders. So the woods were alive with sudden bursts of howling machines, clouds of blowing snow and pale blue exhaust haze.                                                                                                                                                         

It’s assumed all had a swell time with exception of one rider who was truly blazing a trail. I received a report of a unit catching fire during a sprint through the mid Trail area. Flames were actually coming from under the sled as it sped along until the driver finally realized there was a problem. Upon pulling to a stop somewhere near Trail Center, it became fully engulfed.  Guess it was quite a fire at that point. Fortunately, the rider, escaped uninjured, with only some melting on one leg of his protective sledding suit. Cause of the fire in the 2016 model is unknown.                                                                                                                                                                       

With another note to howl about, I received word on the siting of a large wolf pack in the Lullaby Creek locale. There was no reported interaction between the observer and the 10 count Canid crowd. Unusual about this grouping is the numbers. Wolf researcher information tells us the average pack is around four to six. It makes me wonder how they find enough venison to fill all those bellies.                                                                                                                                                                             

One more quirky Northwoods item was sent my way when a gal found a magnificent bull moose in her path along the Trail. Although it may or may not be noteworthy, this big fellow was still supporting both objects of his regal headdress. One would think these cartilaginous trophies would have been shed weeks ago? Guess the antler spread was colossal.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
In recent days, yours truly was surprised by a return visit from my red fox buddy. It’s not that it was AWOL, I was simply not out when it was around here. There were tracks almost every day after a few dustings of new snow, but the two of us were just not in sync to meet. I threw out some poultry morsels occasionally, but apparently, Pine Martens may have beat foxy to the treats. Anyway, the handsome red-head came up on the deck to greet me and do a little begging, and I was thrilled to oblige. What a guy, fox, and feeder!                                                                                                          

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is “super”, and we’re back below zero around this great white way!