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North Shore Morning

AM Community Calendar/photo by masochismtango on Flickr

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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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Photo by Andrew Everett via Flickr and Creative Commons

North Woods Naturalist: Eagles kettling

Despite the cold, some eagles do stay along the North Shore during the winter months.  WTIP's CJ Heithoff talks with Chel Anderson about what those eagles are up this time of year in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.

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Northern Sky: January 5-18, 2019

Deane Morrison's "Northern Sky"  -  January 5 - 18, 2019

 
Early and mid-January are great times for star watching because skies are dark, and the winter constellations are bright. It may get a little nippy, but you don’t have to be outside very early, very late, or very long to see the main features.
 
The morning sky is especially good right now because the sun is rising about as late as it ever does. In the southeast, Venus and Jupiter are drawing closer every day, getting ready to pass each other on the 22nd. Venus is the brighter and, for now, the higher of the two. And to complete the predawn picture, the bright red star Antares, the heart of Scorpius, is just to the west of Jupiter.
 
In the evening, the winter constellations are up in the southeast after nightfall. They’re grouped pretty close together, so if you’re not familiar with them, you really should have a star chart to sort them out. But the most recognizable constellation, Orion, is easy to find because of the three stars that form his belt. 
 
Hanging from Orion’s belt is a line of stars that represent his sword. About halfway down the sword, binoculars will give you a glimpse of the sprawling and colorful Orion Nebula. The Orion Nebula is an immense cloud of gas and dust where new stars are forming. It’s about 1300 light-years away, and an estimated 24 light-years wide. Orion is also home to the famous Horsehead Nebula, which you need a telescope to see. But you can find lots of images of the Horsehead Nebula, and the Orion Nebula, online.
 
Orion’s left foot is Rigel, a blue-white star. Rigel and Betelgeuse, the red star at Orion’s right shoulder, are the brightest stars in Orion and among the top 10 in the whole sky. Rigel is a multiple star system, and overall, it’s estimated to be 40,000 times brighter than the sun. Betelgeuse is a gigantic star, estimated at 1,000 times the width of the sun. It’s less than 10 million years old—a mere child—but it’s aged rapidly and is now close to the end of its life. It’s expected to die in a spectacular supernova explosion. That may not happen for a million years, or it could blow up tomorrow.
 
In astronomy news, on New Year’s Day NASA announced that its New Horizons spacecraft, which gained fame by sending back stunning images from Pluto, has just completed what its principal investigator calls “the farthest exploration in the history of humankind.” It performed a flyby of an object in the Kuiper Belt, a doughnut-shaped ring of icy worlds beyond the orbit of Neptune. The object is called Ultima Thule, and it’s 4 billion miles away. The first pictures have just been released, and Ultima Thule looks, in the words of mission scientists, like a reddish snowman, something they’re now sure is the result of two spherical bodies that came together and stuck. Mission headquarters at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory says, “the two spheres likely joined as early as 99 percent of the way back to the formation of the solar system, colliding no faster than two cars in a fender bender.”
 
Ultima Thule is 19 miles long, and its two spheres are 12 and 9 miles wide. Scientists hope this object will clear up some mysteries about how our solar system formed. They want to know, for example, how small objects came together to form larger ones, and how they’ve been bombarded by meteor-like objects, although no impact craters are obvious on Ultima Thule.
 
Mark your calendars for Sunday, January 20th, when we’ll have a total eclipse of the moon. The show starts at 9:34 p.m., and I’ll have more on that in the next broadcast. 

Deane is a science writer at the University of Minnesota.
She authors the Minnesota Starwatch column which can be found on the University of Minnesota website at astro.umn.edu.
 

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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - January 4, 2019

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith       January 4, 2019    
 
The planet has made the turn into another year, and we at Wildersmith wish everyone a happier and less turbulent year than the one just past.                                                                                                           
 
This being said, the Smiths’ are back in the woods after a quick jaunt to Iowa for a Merry Christmas with our son and his family. The stay was short as weather forecasts’ for this part of the world shortened our time together. Nevertheless, it’s always a sweet time with those grandsons regardless of their no longer being little guys.                                                                                                                         
 
Staying just ahead of the pending storm, we hit the Mile O Pine only hours before the first flakes. In spite of the countless times we’ve returned to this border country Riviera from our southerly journeys, the phenom of this special place invariably radiates a fresh and untamed sensory response.                                                                                                                                                      
 
This unexplainable experience is real and so immensely enchanting, especially in the deep of winter. When reaching the top of the hill above Grand Marais, one is easily overcome with the serene majesty of a snow-covered world, knowing this is one of the few places on earth where mankind has minimized the plunder of creation into seemingly irreparable misery.                                          
 
With winter in a passive state for the better part of month twelve, many of us with a passion for the white and brittle cold of the forest has been in a mild state of despair. Not to be kept down too long though, finally the “great spirit of the north” regained a grip with a whiz-bang close to 2018.                                                                                                                                                              
 
The Gunflint Trail was not spared this time as the forecasters’ hit the mark. I’m not hearing of snow totals from the mid-Trail snow zones, but this neighborhood and along the south shore of the Gunflint recorded up to twelve inches.                                                                      
 
Everybody that deals in winter business opportunities have to be smiling, especially, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and snow removers. Our world is blanketed with the solitude of white, and yours truly enjoyed every moment of the four-plus hours it took to heap the stuff around Wildersmith out of the way.                                                                                                                                                     
 
Taking this first ten days of the actual winter season a step further, the day of clearing roads and driveways saw temps dip to more seasonable expectations. The mercury slipped by the hour and by next morning, temperatures fell into the twenties to near thirty below the nothing mark. Thankfully, winds in this neighborhood were not too unbearable. Since last weekend, and except for New Years’ eve and daytime, things have yo-yo’d up to less bitter readings.                                                                                                                                                           

Organizers of the Gunflint Mail Run Sled Dog races have breathed a sigh of relief with the cool snowy additions. Thinking there might not be enough snow-base on the race course, it was feared the races might have to be canceled. The issue is mute now as they are set to get underway as scheduled, Saturday morning.                                                                                                            

As always, the excitement of barking dogs, colorful handlers and steam-breathing mushers will take-over the mid-Trail area around Trail Center Restaurant & Lodge from late Friday night through late morning Sunday. Races will start at 8:00 am featuring an eight dog, 65-mile race and a twelve dog, 100-mile event.                                                                                                                              

Winners and awards will be presented around 10:00 am Sunday at the Trail Center race headquarters, all are welcome. The best spectator viewing locations will be at the Trail Center start line, Big Bear Lodge, Rockwood Lodge and Blankenberg Pit where the 100-mile race loops back down the Trails toward the mandatory layover.                                                                                                                                 

All residents and visitors are urged to get out and give a cheer to these athletes in action!                                                                                                                                                                                  

For WTIP, this Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, all decked out in the crystal of the season!
 

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The exciting start of the Norpine Fat Tire Classic - Photo courtesy of Rob Hasse Photography

Bikers preparing for the Norpine Fat Tire Classic

The Norpine Fat Bike Classic is in its third year and the popularity of the event seems to grow each year. Race day is Saturday, January 5, but events start on Friday with music and beer and wine tasting during registration packet pickup, from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Superior National at Lutsen Golf Course club house. 
 
The racing starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday and spectators are invited to come watch the start at the golf course club house. It's a mass start so there is plenty of action. The Hall Road in Lutsen is also a good spot to catch the action, as well as just west of Cascade Lodge. 
 
For more information on the race, WTIP volunteer Mark Abrahamson talked to Mike Larson. Here’s their conversation. 

And for more information or to register, click here. 

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Night Sky

North Woods Naturalist: Winter Lights

January is the darkest month of the year, and that means there are great opportunities to view the night sky.  WTIP's CJ Heithoff talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about what to look for in the sky this month in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.

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Grand Marais Library is offering a Winter Reading Program - Photo courtesy of the Library

Pajama Party kicks off the Winter Reading Program at the Library

The Winter Reading Program kicks off with a pajama party at the Grand Marais Public Library!

Festivities begin with an interactive story time for all ages, then a visit from Aspen the R.E.A.D. dog. The conference room will be reserved for teens and stocked with craft supplies. Kids of all ages can pick up materials to track their reading and earn prizes. The library invites you to come as you are. Bring your favorite blankets, pillows, and stuffies.

The folks at the library invite everyone to make the library the coziest place in town, from 10:30 to 1:30 on Saturday, January 5.

WTIP volunteer Jean Grover spoke with Erika Ternes from the library about this event and the Winter Reading Program. 

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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - December 21, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith       December 21, 2018    
 
This weeks’ Gunflint scoop finds me listening to howling winds swooping down Gunflint Lake. Over the past days, they’ve been blowing with warm winter wishes and for certain, not the usual biting zest of December. The calendar says winter is here now, but one would hardly know it at the moment.                                                                                                                                                                      

For over a week, these air currents have ushered in another degenerating sample of our pending climate catastrophe. At this time, it feels like we have jump-started March at Christmas time. Local snowmen have been dripping with worry, and a minority of us with affection for serious winter character are downcast.                                                                                                                                                                     

An added note finds Gunflint Territory with our wintertime drought extended into yet another week. Since Thanksgiving, this neighborhood has received little to no precipitation. Coupled with the spring-like air of recent days, the snowpack has withered to just a few inches.                                  

With the “Gunflint Mail Run” sled dog races but two weeks away (January 5 & 6th), the upper Gunflint needs winter to get back on track pronto!                                                                                          

By the way, “Mail Run” organizers are still looking for volunteers to help administer the various aspects. If you can help, get on the website, “Mail Run Sled Dog Race 2019” and sign up now.                                                                                                                                                                                         
Early in the month, our lake freeze fashioned a perfect storm in regard to providing ice skating opportunities. In just days after our “ice on”, folks were enjoying the best gliding conditions in years. I’ve heard of people raving about skating for  miles.                                                                                                             

It is hard telling what the recent warmth has done to the ice. I’m guessing safe conditions could be suspect in places where the intensity of “Sol” glanced across the surface. The Gunflint Gal is even showing black ice from its middle on to the Canadian shores at this scribing. It might be this “old icy gal” could open back up if things don’t cool down in short order.                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Besides the effects of “Sol’s” assault, the hard water body outside our back door has been moaning for days as she heaves and splits under pressures of these abnormal happenings. Water is certain to be seeping onto the surface so we could expect complications for “on ice” activities from this point forward.                                                                                                                                                                     

Enough of this cold season sadness, visions of Saint Nick are dancing in our heads. Along with the glitz of the season, spirits of our days and nights have been brightened as “out on the blacktop, moose have appeared.”                                                                                                                                                  
It seems I haven’t talked to one person who hasn’t encountered at least one or more of the massive north-country icons. They’re out lapping up road salt and often blocking traffic. Some have mentioned mini herds of as many as five at one time in those traditional moose zones.                                                                                                                                                                                               

If we’re not all observing the same ones, perhaps it’s been a good year for newborn survivals, causing a renewed surge in moose residents. With a lot of moose on the loose, drivers beware. To this point, I’ve not heard of any moose/vehicular contacts, let’s keep it this way!                                                           

The rulers of our Gunflint predator population have been out and about too. A number of wolf sightings have been reported up and down the Trail over the last week. Tracks and scat have been found along the Mile O Pine too.                                                                                                                                  
I received word of a recent wolf episode where shortly after the Gunflint Lake freezing, one of the few deer, living out this way, made a dreadful decision. Whereas it ventured or was chased, onto the slippery surface, the local pack cashed in for a venison dinner, sad, but this is the way of the wilderness, wolves have to eat too.                                                                                              

Casting aside our dismay over this current winter debacle, celebrations are the order of life for the next several days. Enjoy the Solstice, the sun will soon be nudging back northward; the “little spirit moon” will be casting a luster of mid-day onto us earthly beings and the “birthday of all birthdays” will hopefully spread at least a few moments of peace over our ravaged planet.                                                                                                                                                                                  
 In closing, during this holiday time, it saddens me to report the death of longtime Trail resident and member of the business community, Irene Baumann. Passing a week ago today (Friday, December 14th) after a period of hospitalization. Irene was Matriarch of the three-generation Baumann family operation of Golden Eagle Lodge. Gunflint Community condolences are extended to her family and many friends.                                                                                                                               

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as the Smith’s wish all, safe and merry holiday times.
 

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Sawtooth Mountain Elementary - School News - December 20, 2018

Sawtooth Mountain Elementary - School News with Lauren, Mariya, and Patience.
December 20, 2018

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Great Expectations School News - December 21, 2018

Great Expectations - School News with Wilhelm and Sophia.
December 21, 2018

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Christmas Blues - Carly Puch

North Shore Morning Host, Bob Padzieski talks with Community Education and Outreach Advocate, Carly Puch for the Violence Prevention Center about holiday stresses.

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