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AM Community Calendar/photo by masochismtango on Flickr

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:
Deer In Winter by Scott Herrly

North Woods Naturalist: Deer in winter

White-tailed deer can be found across almost all of North America, and our area is no exception.  However, the North Shore climate creates some unique challenges for deer, particularly in the winter.

WTIP's CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about how deer manage the snow and other wintry conditions in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.



Superior Reviews by Lin Salisbury - Angie Thomas' "The Hate U Give"

"Superior Reviews" by Lin Salisbury

In this feature, Lin reviews Angie Thomas' book "The Hate U Give"


StarMap Jan2019.jpg

Northern Sky: January 19 - February 1, 2019


Deane Morrison         

 As January heads into the home stretch, the morning show, starring Venus and Jupiter, is still going strong. Brilliant Venus has begun a descent into the sunrise, as it does whenever it’s getting ready for another trip behind the sun. Meanwhile, Earth is gaining on Jupiter in the orbital race, and this makes Jupiter climb through the morning sky. On Tuesday, January 22nd, Jupiter slides past Venus on its way up. At the end of the month, Jupiter and Venus will be about nine degrees apart.

 Also on January 31st, you’ll see a waning crescent moon close to Venus. And, if skies are dark, the red star Antares, in Scorpius, off to the right of Jupiter, at about the same distance as Venus. On February 1st, a thinner crescent moon appears below Venus. If you imagine a line from Venus to the moon and extend it down toward the horizon, you may spot Saturn. Earth is catching up to Saturn, too, so the ringed planet is also on its way up in the morning.

But the real show happens in the evening sky on the night of Sunday, January 20, when we get a total eclipse of a supermoon. This full moon deserves that name because it’ll be less than 24 hours from perigee, its closest approach to Earth in a lunar cycle. When the moon rises over Grand Marais—at 4:17 p.m.—you may notice that it’s bigger and brighter than your average full moon. Now, here is a play by play of the eclipse. 

 At 9:34 p.m. the moon’s leading edge makes contact with the Earth’s umbra, or dark inner shadow,  and the shadow starts to spread.

 At 10:41 p.m. totality begins. The moon is now completely engulfed in the umbra. An observer on the moon would see a total solar eclipse, due to Earth blotting out the sun.  The observer may also see a ring of fire around the Earth. The red ring comes from Earth’s atmosphere bending red light from sunsets and sunrises into the umbra, and some of it hits the moon. From our point of view, this light often turns the moon’s face reddish—what we call a blood moon—during a total lunar eclipse.

 At 11:12 p.m. the moon passes closest to the center of the umbra, and it’ll be in deepest shadow.

At 11:43 p.m. totality ends. At this point, the leading edge of the moon breaks out of the umbra.

At 12:51 a.m. on January 21, the moon frees itself from the last vestiges of umbra and the show is over.

 During the height of a lunar eclipse, if you can see the darkened moon or at least remember where it was with respect to the stars when it disappeared, you can use it to find astronomical objects that otherwise would have been washed out by moonlight. This time, you may find the dim but lovely Beehive star cluster. Look to the lower left of the moon, about 12 moon widths away.

 The Beehive is a feature of Cancer, the crab. It’s between Gemini, one of the winter constellations, and Leo, the quintessential spring constellation. To the naked eye it’s just a fuzzy spot, but with binoculars, you can make out the stars. In 1609 Galileo was the first to observe the Beehive telescopically. He counted 36 stars, but there are actually more like a thousand. The Beehive’s Latin name is Praesepe, or manger. The cluster is framed by two stars called Aselli, which are donkeys feeding at the manger. The Beehive’s stars were all born in the same stellar nursery and have stayed together for the approximately 600 million years of their lifetime.

Rolf Skrien - photo by ChikWauk

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - January 18, 2019

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith      January 18, 2019    
As the old-time western hero, Gene Autry, once sang, “I’m back in the saddle again.” Though it’s a feeble analogy, I’m really back at the keyboard again.                                                                    
Another trip to Iowa completes the Christmas season with our daughter, along with a visit to some longtime Hawkeye friends, and the Smiths’ have returned to this pure white paradise. Our wintertime traveling was uneventful, and one doesn’t have to go too far south before a little yucky urban snow and mostly browns of autumn extends as far as the eye can see.                                                                                                                                                              
Guess we are pretty lucky to have what we have here in border country. Mistakes of “Mother Nature” and the “excesses of mankind” can leave the landscape pretty ugly when its’ not covered with snow or hidden by foliage.                                                                                                                                                      
It’s for sure the word is out amongst power sledding fans regarding the areas’ snow cover. During our drive north up highway 61 last Sunday, if I met one, I may have met ten thousand snowmobile units being toted back toward Metropolis.                                                              

The woods must have been howling with sledding traffic last weekend. Suppose there will be more activity around here until other areas of the state get some attention from “old man winter.” In the meantime, one has to be happy for area businesses catering to our snowmobiling visitors as conditions have been a bit late taking shape.                                                                                                                                                                                
In contrast to those speeding along the Trails, our great snow cover is also accommodating those who prefer the peace and quiet of swooshing through the woods. The now deep snowpack has allowed groomers to have the ski trail system in what looks to be terrific condition.                                                                                                                                                       

Perhaps not too happy with all the borderland white were the anglers who hit the ice for the trout opener last weekend. After early ice on, and near perfect ice thickening situations, big snows of late have cast a deep cover of insulation and weight on lake surfaces. Such has hidden annoying slush and water above a foot and more of ice.                                                                                 
Anglers’ angst, in addition to spotty catching, was exacerbated by having to dig equipment and sleds out of the gooey slop. Of all equipment needed for the fishing excursion, high boots appear to have been the most important!                                                                                                                                                       
Not much snow was added in the upper Gunflint territory during my absence (maybe an inch or two in the Wildersmith neighborhood).  In spite of recent accumulations being on the lean side, depths along the Trail range from knee to waist depending upon where one steps. In fact, the buildup on my roof is getting me to think of pulling it off in case another big dose comes our way, thus making the job more difficult than it is presently.                                                                                        
At this scribing, temps are relatively warm for these parts. We’ve yet to be on the receiving end of one of those bitter cold, below zero January streaks. It would seem if the area gets by the next two weeks and into February, we may be home free from a bone-chilling “Polar Vortex” for the season. To miss one of these breath freezing happenings likely wouldn’t make too many folks unhappy, although bragging rights for who was the coldest will be left hanging!       
With the Ojibwe, “Great Spirit” moon of January lighting up the northern skies in the wee hours of Monday AM, it’s hard to imagine month two is in the conversation already. Although winter is barely a month old according to the calendar, we head into week four with seed catalogs in the mail, packets of garden renewals on display racks and “green thumbers”visioning seed pods and grow lights.                                                                                                           T

The cold of winter can often bring sadness, and such is the case in the Gunflint Community once again. Some reader/ listeners may already be aware of the passing of perhaps the last Gunflint pioneer icon.  It’s with remorse I report the loss of Rolf Skrien at age 97.   Rolf departed from our midst on January 2nd.                                                                                                                              
He first came to the Gunflint Trail in 1929 on a camping trip with his father, and so fell in love with the territory, he returned in 1946 after serving his country in World War Two. He called the end of the Trail home for most of his life until settling in Apache Junction, Arizona during his later years.                                                                                                                                                                                         

A celebration of Rolf’s life will be held this Sunday, January 20, visitation at 1:00 pm, service at 2:00 in the Bethlehem Lutheran Church. The Gunflint Trail Community offers condolences to his surviving family and many friends. More of Rolf’s story can be found in his obit on                                                                                                                                                                     

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, regardless of cold, warm or season of the year!


Photo by João Neves via Flickr

North Woods Naturalist: Snow and snow fog

The North Shore has received significant snowfall over the past few weeks.  WTIP's CJ Heithoff checks in with naturalist Chel Anderson to learn how this snow affects our wildlife. Chel also explains the rare wonder of snow fog in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.


The SplinterTones, pictured here at WTIP's Radio Waves, will be at the Hovland Town Hall on January 19

North Shore Music Association hosts SplinterTones in Hovland concert

The SplinterTones, which has been dubbed a "high-octane dance band with rousing rythmic grooves, vibrant harmonies and a colorful stage presence," will be appearing at the Hovland Town Hall on Saturday, January 19, from 7-10 p.m.

The event is hosted by the North Shore Music Association and WTIP's Jana Berka speaks with Music Association Director Kate Fitzgerald about how this dance came about, as well as what's ahead for the music association.

Here's their conversation. 



Superior Reviews by Lin Salisbury - Karen Babine's "Water and What We Know"

Superior Reads - by Lin Salisbury

In this segment, Lin reviews Karen Babine's book, "Water and What We Know"



Sawtooth Mountain Elementary - School News, January 10, 2019

Sawtooth Elementary School News with Ruby and Amber.
January 10, 2019



Magnetic North - January 10, 2019

Magnetic North  -  by Vicki Biggs-Anderson 
January 10, 2019

"Too Much of a Goat Thing"

Welcome back to Magnetic North, where all creatures, great and small, have been dutifully preparing for deep winter snow and below zero cold for months. Oh, not by stocking up on flashlights, or making sure there’s a shovel by every door, but by physically preparing to meet and beat the elements  - I speak not of exercise, but of the age-old custom of carb loading, handed down to us from our elders, who looked upon being slender as a sign of either poverty or illness.

Thank goodness times have changed. From hot dishes to pasties, to pasta and breads in all shapes and sizes and textures, we consume what we must to survive the elements.

And for those of us who tend critters, thought must also be given to their diet, along with deeper hay to sleep in and heated water buckets for all. 

As luck would have it, carb loading for critters doesn’t mean that I have to prepare hot dishes or bake focaccia for them daily. No, it just means adding something called “scratch” to the chicken, duck and goose feeders. And....until this winter, offering a handful of the stuff to each of my five goats as they push and shove each other around their daily ration of hay.

Scratch, for those of you who are not conversant in farm-speak, is a toothsome combination of cracked, rolled, or whole grains such as corn, barley, oats. Sounds rather dull to us, I know, but to a chicken or goat, scratch is akin to what we humans call “crack.” One beak full of the stuff and you have created a glassy-eyed addict. As for the goats, more than once I’ve been caught in a  goat vortex while doling scratch from a bucket. 

So, why not just pour it into a feeder? Simple, unlike birds, for goats, too grain doesn’t make them fat. It makes them dead.
Sadly, grain is inherently foreign to a goats’ fiber loving digestive system, which consists of four stomachs, the first of which is the rumen. Hence, goats, sheep and cows are......ruminants! 

As anyone with tummy trouble can imagine, having four stomachs puts goats at major risk of eating the wrong thing, like grain. They can have a bit of it to add calories to their fibrous hay diets in winter, but  too much and they develop a fatal condition called bloat. Sadly, my milk goat, Hart, died of it some years back, after she sneaked into the garage and nosed open the feed can filled to the brim with scratch. 

Nevertheless, this year, I decided that instead of handfuls of scratch each day, the goats would get Goat Chow, an all purpose grain and fiber in pellet form. My motive; to avoid dealing with 60 bales of hay in the garage.

And so it was. I set out three big feeding tubs on the other side of the backyard yard fence and poured enough goat chow int each to feed five goats. And doing so,  nearly killed my big boy goat, Bosco.

You see, Bosco is Boss, King, Almighty Goat God to his four does. And, as such, he eats first. That meant that he gobbled most of the grain in all three feeders, the equivalent of four coffee cans full of food. I knew his piggish streak, but for whatever reason, I didn’t’ monitor the new feeding system thinking that  I’d placed the tubs far enough apart to allow the does to feed uninterrupted by Bosco. I couldn’t have been more wrong...

The next morning, when I looked out on the meadow I saw something amiss immediately. Four goats, not five, were nibbling on the dried grasses sticking up through the snow. Bunny, Bitsy, Biscuit, and Poppy, but no Bosco.

After calling and calling him, I hoofed it out to the barn only to find the big link sitting down. The old adage, “when a goat goes down, they stay down,” went through my mind as I petted his head and put my head next to his belly.  The usual gurgling of a healthy rumen was barely perceptible. Bloat.

So I did what 28  years of having to vet goats myself have taught me to do. I grabbed a Sven saw and headed for the willow swamp off the driveway, where I sawed down a smallish tree -and hauled it out to Bosco. The other goats followed behind me into the barn, and I expected to have to beat them off the tree en route, but not one of them tried to steal the medicine tree away from their guy. 

When Bosco took that first sweet twig into his mouth and began to eat it, I held out the slimmest of hope that he would pull through.

And pull through he did. As if to allay my worst fears, Bosco was standing at the fence at sunrise the next morning, a bit early for him to be up but I figure he was after more of that grain. Fortunately, I was able to get a special delivery of sweet, green hay that afternoon and Bosco and his girls have had their fill of it each day ever since. There is no way a goat can OD on hay.

The other critters are tucked in for winter properly, with some comfort additions to the coop and the shed attached to the garage. The bantam chickens have a heated water bowl this winter and an anteroom all to themselves - no ducks to muddy the water. The ducks and geese have a ten-gallon heated water bucket, too massive for even Thema and Louise, the big Buffs Geese to knock over. These two heated additions may drive up my electric bill, but doing a cost/benefit analysis, so crucial for women of a certain age like myself, I decided that avoiding lower back strain from carrying frozen water buckets is worth every penny spent.

At least, it WAS until my big lab/golden mix tore his left back ACLl AND tested positive for Lymes. Apparently, ticks live and bite all year long now. So one visit to the vet and two to go, plus meds to clear up the Lymes, is making me reassess the cost of heated water buckets. My core could definitely use some work and as for those upper arms, well, three months of bucket workouts should whittle down those flab flaps just a bit.

My world is complicated by such ups and downs because I chose to share the place I love most of all with so many domestic critters, who, like us, get sick or gimped up on occasion.

But for my trouble, I get fresh eggs, cashmere fleece from the goats, angora fiber from the rabbits and love approaching worship from the two dogs and two cats. From my perspective, that’s one heck of a deal and far more interesting and joy-filled life than I ever dreamed would one day be mine.

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



Birch Grove Elementary - School News - January 9, 2019

Birch Grove Elementary-School News with Jack, Atlas, and Roland.
January 9, 2019