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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:
North Brule River at Greenwood Road. Photo by Gary Siesennop

North Woods Naturalist: Spring Changes

In this edition of North Woods Naturalist, Chel Anderson talks about the on and off again spring we've been experiencing over the past few weeks.


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PHHS - Financial Assistance Programs

Cook County Public Health and Human Services (PHHS) Financial Assistance Supervisor, Allison Plummer talks with North Shore Morning host, Mark Abrahamson about the financial assistance programs available to Cook County residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

For questions about assistance programs, email:  IM@; or call 218-387-3620

Listen below:


Help available locally through Cook County PHHS:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program that helps Minnesotans with low income buy the food they need for nutritious and well-balanced meals. Benefits are available through EBT cards that can be used like money. 
    • The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act allows SNAP households who are not currently at the maximum allotment to receive additional food benefits. The additional benefits are the difference between what they already received and the maximum allotment for their SNAP household size. The supplement is available for two months (March and April). The program for these supplements is Emergency SNAP or E-SNAP.
  • The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) and Diversionary Work Program (DWP) are Minnesota’s income assistance programs to help families with low incomes move to financial stability through work. Families and pregnant women who qualify for these programs receive employment support services and job counseling and help with food, childcare and other basic needs. 
  • General Assistance (GA) and Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA) are Minnesota’s income assistance programs for adults without children, seniors, and people with disabilities. GA is a monthly cash payment for adults who are unable to work. MSA is a small extra monthly cash benefit for adults who are eligible for federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  
  • Emergency Assistance can help with shelter expenses, such as past due rent, a damage deposit, or emergency shelter to prevent homelessness. Emergency Assistance also help pay for utilities when there is threat of disconnection. Utilities include electricity, heat and water.

Apply for these programs online at You can also call or email PHHS to request a paper application. Paper applications are also available outside the PHHS offices on the ramp at the north end of the Cook County courthouse. You may also apply over the phone with PHHS for SNAP and other income assistance programs.

  • For questions about assistance programs:
    • Email:
    • Call: (218) 387-3620
    • Fax: (218) 387-3020
    • Mail:  Cook County Public Health and Human Services

411 W. 2nd Street Grand Marais, MN 55604

  • A drop box is also located on the ramp on the north end of the Cook County courthouse.

Other Available Assistance Programs:

  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) authorizes stimulus payments to be made to many people in the U.S. Payments will be distributed beginning in mid-April and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. The payments are available to many people, even those who do not make enough money to file taxes. Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return do not need to take any action; and they will receive their payment directly to their bank account. The amount of these payments varies depending on your one’s financial situation. The IRS will update this page as more information becomes available. You can also find more information and FAQs here.

For more information on other community organizations and non-profit agencies that can provide help during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Cook County COVID-19 Hub provides current and accurate information, maps and resources about the community wide response to the coronavirus. Information shared here is compiled from a variety of sources. The Health and Community Service Agency map includes information on local non-profits and service agencies that can provide support in the areas of food and nutrition, health and wellness, mental health, transportation, senior services and more. This information is also available by calling Cook County PHHS and requesting a printed copy of the Cook County Services Directory, a guide compiled by Cook County PHHS that includes information on local food shelves, financial resources and supports, and other services.



Star Map - May 2020

Northern Sky: April 25 - May 8

NORTHERN SKI – Deane Morrison
April 25-May 8 2020

In late April and early May, we get to watch Venus sink into the sun’s afterglow. To see our sister planet at its best and brightest, we have to wait for a dark sky, and this time of year the sun is going down later each night. And the longer we wait, the lower Venus gets. 

On Saturday, April 25, a waxing crescent moon appears below Venus and next to Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus, the bull. The next night, Sunday, April 26, a fatter moon appears at about the same level as Venus. Both these solar system objects will be between Betelgeuse, the gigantic red star in Orion, to the lower left, and Capella, the brightest star in Auriga, the charioteer, to the upper right. On the 27th and 28th, the moon moves through the stars of Gemini. On May 1st, the moon is just past first quarter, and it appears above Regulus, the brightest star in Leo, the lion. The moon will also be part of the backward question mark of stars known as the Sickle, which outlines Leo’s head. The moon may wash out the stars of the Sickle, but they’ll be easier to find in several days, after the moon has moved on. Between the 4th and 5th of May, the moon passes over Spica, the brightest star in Virgo, the maiden. 

May’s full moon arrives at 5:45 a.m. on the 7th. It’ll be big and bright, another supermoon. You might want to look for it the night before or the night after, even though it’ll be somewhere around half a day before or past full. If you go out the morning of the 7th to see it at its roundest, be advised that from Grand Marais the moon sets, in the west, at 5:59 a.m. 

The morning sky continues to brighten earlier and earlier, turning into some kind of insomniac’s wonderland. These days you really have to get out by 5 a.m. to see Jupiter, that’s the big bright light in the southeast, and especially Saturn and Mars, before sunlight starts extinguishing them. If you haven’t been following them, Saturn is not far to the left, that is, east, of Jupiter, and Mars is even farther away to the east, and lower. You may notice Mars getting higher from day to day, but the more noticeable change is Saturn and Jupiter moving westward. As the month progresses, the gap between Mars and Saturn gets really wide. 

The Summer Triangle of bright stars is also up in the predawn sky. Above Jupiter and Saturn is Altair, in Aquila, the eagle. Moving up from Altair, we have the brightest star in the Triangle, Vega, in the constellation Lyra, the lyre of Orpheus. And moving down from Vega and a bit east, there’s Deneb, in Cygnus the swan. Also, the Milky Way forms a ribbon stretching from south to northeast. 

The end of April and beginning of May have some good dates for spotting the International Space Station in the morning sky. The sightings run from April 26 to May 1. The most spectacular will probably be the last one, on May 1, when the ISS makes its appearance at 4:32 a.m.,18 degrees above the southwest horizon. It’ll be bright and visible for four minutes, and it gets as high as 60 degrees, or two-thirds of the way to overhead. For a list of the exact dates and times near Grand Marais, search for “spot the station,” click on “sighting opportunities,” go to the map of Minnesota and click on the Grand Portage National Monument icon. 


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Superior National Forest Update - April 24

Superior National Forest Update with Steve Robertsen.
April 24, 2020



Wildersmith on the Gunflint - April 24

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
April 24, 2020     
Views of spring continue, far different than the majority of Americans have ever experienced. At the same time, the natural world in Gunflint territory is moving on uninterrupted.                                                                                                                                                   
Seasonal rituals of the manmade sort are taking place at Wildersmith, indicating I’ve conceded winter is over. Vehicle wheels and tires have been removed in lieu of the summer version, bird feeders have been removed in consideration of bear vandalism and the snow scoop is stored ‘til next November.                                                                                                                                                                 
On the natural scene, snow melt continues to trickle from hills through the woods to streams and on into lakes still under the ice cover. Growing pot-holes are the character of back country roads and coniferous needles are brightening from the cold weather drab.                                               
In the “wild neighborhood,” I recently observed a moose momma and her yearling son along the Trail. They too were in a ritual of shedding winter apparel and looking pretty ragged. And a flock of common grackles had been harassing the neighborhood jaybirds, causing much unrest until I terminated feeding facilities.                                                                                         
Minding the “stay at home order” often gives one time to reflect on a variety of people goings-on. During my tethered time lately, I’ve been thinking about the countless complications COVID has put upon us. This evil virus has us reeling to the point of not knowing where to turn in many situations.                                                                                                                                 
It is certainly a wake-up call with regard to what is really important. Whereas a glut of Americans live beyond their means, this crisis might be a golden opportunity to begin sorting out legitimate needs from wants. These words are two with which many would have difficulty distinguishing a difference, particularly during this viral intrusion.                                                                                                                       
Needs are in the eyes of the beholder, but the basics of clean water, clean air, and nutritional sustenance coupled with love of family, caring others and a legitimate livelihood far outweigh any of the material items we are told we need by the marketing world.                                                                                   


It’s time to stop jabbing each other, and recognize the genuine need to do things right, in order to get through these tumultuous times.                                                                                                         
As I step down from my soapbox, it is so disheartening that countless Americans are facing hard realities. In the days/weeks ahead, we NEED to stop for a moment reflecting on those 40 to 50,000 American people no longer having the miracle of taking another breath. The sacrifices we NEED to make in getting beyond this world wide catastrophe are pretty small compared to the suffering hundreds of thousands. We can do this, keep on hangin’ on!                                                             


Living in one of the great green places on the planet, the fiftieth birthday of “Earth Day” this past Wednesday renews the real meaning of environmentalism. We Gunflinter’s live it every day! Caring about not only our own wild land back yard, but the entire global ecosystem, is a matter of “justice, security and political economy, let alone being essential for survival of civilization. We should show sympathy for everything that lives.” (Britton-Purdy, Sierra). For all of creation, every day should be an “Earth Day.”                                                                                                           


As fire tragedy struck the village on April 13th, mourning for the loss to those business owners extends far beyond the town limits. Residents in Gunflint territory know about terror of wind and fire. We are mindful of the devastating effects on people lives, and share the sadness not only for the owners but for the entire Grand Marais Business Community.                                                 


Solidarity of the entire County is behind each owner family and their employees. Everyone wants to see these businesses rise from the ashes to again be a part of the “coolest town in America.”                                                                                                                                                                     
In a closing, THE Gunflint Trail Historical Society has had to make some difficult decisions as they relate to the unknowns of COVID-19. The season of 2020 at the Chik-Waik Museum and Nature Center is going to be much different.                                                                                                   


Risks of exposure to the virus have everyone in a new mode with personal distancing, disinfecting and group congregating limits influencing the order of living.  For these reasons, in order to be protective of staff, volunteers and thousands of visitors, the 2020 opening of Chik-Wauk is postponed until July 10 with the possibility of this date being extended if necessary.                                                       


Campus hiking trails will be open, but parking is limited to outside the Campus entry gate. The GTHS requests trail users follow CDC guidelines regarding social distancing. Trail maps are available at the gate.                                                                                                                               
All May and June events for the Society and Chik-Wauk Campus are cancelled, and the July 4th tenth Anniversary celebration is postponed. GTHS members can look forward to the annual Newsletter arriving in the mail box soon, including information on the 2020 Board of Trustees election and a return mail voting ballot procedure.                                                                                     


The GTHS is working on a plan to create a virtual Campus during this time of delay. Check the Chik-Wauk website to keep up on these happenings and more.  I’ll have more information in the coming week/s as to how members and friends from around the world can help in sustaining this historical gem at end of the Trail in these uncertain days.                                                                                                                                                     
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, with the Gunflint Community, distancing, together! 


Safe Routes To School - Andrea Orest

Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) Coordinator, Andrea Orest, details changes to the Safe Routes to School and Bike Rodeo due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Pack & Paddle - Scott Oeth - April 20

Pack and Paddle with Scott Oeth is a monthly feature on North Shore Morning.
Scott talks about "Wilderness Skill Building at Home" in this edition of Pack and Paddle.


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North Shore Health Care Foundation Update - Valerie Eliasen

North Shore Morning host, Mark Abrahamson talks with Valerie Eliasen, North Shore Health Care Foundation Executive Director about the NSHCF April board meeting.


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Superior Reviews by Lin Salisbury - Staci Drouillard's "Walking the Old Road"

"Superior Reviews"  by Lin Salisbury.

In this edition, Lin reviews local author, Staci Drouillard's new book, "Walking the Old Road: A People's History of Chippewa City and the Grand Marais Anishinaabe".



North Woods Naturalist - April 14

Chel Anderson is a botanist and plant ecologist and she joins us periodically to report on what she’s seeing in our woods and waters right now.