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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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Indian Pipe. Photo by Sherlock Holmes via Flickr and Creative Commons (

North Woods Naturalist: Indian Pipe

Monotropa uniflora, known to many as Indian Pipe or Ghost Plant is a perennial wildflower found throughout the United States.  However, according to the U.S. Forest Service, it's not a commonly encountered wildflower.

There have been some sightings of this white wildflower in our area recently.  WTIP's CJ Heithoffs talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about Indian Pipes in this edition of North Woods Naturalist.


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In the Spirit of Medicine - Dr. Arne Vainio "Promise of a Warrior"

In the Spirit of Medicine by Dr Arne Vainio
"Promise of a Warrior"

Dr. Arne Vainio is an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and a family practice doctor on the Fond Du Lac reservation in Cloquet. His essays on life, work, medicine and spirit are published in "News From Indian Country”.


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YMCA Update - June 10

North Shore Morning host, Jana Berka gets the YMCA Update from Cook County Community YMCA, Branch Executive Director, Emily Marshall.


Star Map June by Deane Morrison

Northern Sky - Deane Morrison June 8 - 21

by  Deane Morrison
June 8-21 2019
In the second two weeks of June, planets and stars are on the move. But the sun seems to be standing still, as it always does for about two months around each solstice, a word that literally means “sun standing still.” The summer solstice arrives at 10:54 a.m. on Friday, the 21st. At that moment, the sun will be over the Tropic of Cancer, and an observer in space would see the Earth lighted from the Antarctic Circle up to the North Pole, then beyond to the Arctic Circle on the dark side of our planet.
In the west, Mercury has popped into the evening sky. Mercury never gets very high, but if you look at nightfall from night to night, with binoculars if necessary, you may be able to see it climb away from the west-northwestern horizon. It heads straight for Mars, which is extremely dim, and on the 18th it passes only about half a moon width above the red planet. Above and to the right of the planets are the Gemini twins Pollux, the brighter one, and Castor. After their close encounter, Mars and Mercury go their separate ways. And all these objects get lost in the sunset by the end of June.
On the 10th, we lap Jupiter in the orbital race. At this moment Jupiter is said to be at opposition, because it’s on the opposite side of Earth from the sun and thus opposite the sun in the sky. At opposition, an outer planet rises around sunset and stays up all night. Jupiter is a brilliant beacon, and it rises in the southeast right behind the constellation Scorpius. The scorpion’s heart is Antares, a gigantic red star a little below and west of Jupiter. Saturn follows Jupiter into the sky by about two hours.
The evening of the 15th, a bright waxing moon appears between and above Jupiter and Antares. The evening of the 18th, a bright waning moon rises right below Saturn. For the next several days, Jupiter and Saturn get to shine against a darker sky at nightfall because the moon rises later each night while they rise earlier.
In the east, look for the Summer Triangle of bright stars. The brightest is Vega, in the constellation Lyra, the lyre of the mythical Greek musician Orpheus. With binoculars you can easily see the parallelogram of stars that outline the body of the lyre. Vega is only about 25 light-years away, and it has a great claim to fame, thanks to Earth’s habit of wobbling on its axis like a top. This wobbling makes the North Pole point to different stars in sequence as it traces out a circle every 26,000 years. The North Pole now points toward Polaris, but once it pointed toward Vega, and in about 12,000 more years, Vega will again be the north star.
When the sky gets dark, Vega and Jupiter form a big, bright triangle with the brilliant star Arcturus, in Bootes, the herdsman. Arcturus is west of Vega and marginally brighter. Grab a star map and look between Vega and Arcturus. Next to Vega is the upside-down form of Hercules, and next to Hercules is a semicircle of stars called Corona Borealis, the northern crown.
The night of the 16th to 17th, the moon takes a low trajectory across the night sky and reaches fullness at 3:31 a.m. The low trajectory happens because a full moon is always opposite the sun in the sky. Therefore, when we’re this close to the summer solstice and our hemisphere is tilting strongly toward the sun, it must also tilt away from a full moon, leaving it low in the sky. 
Deane Morrison writes the Minnesota Starwatch column for the University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics.


Sky Map_June 2019 by Deane Morrison

Northern Sky: May 25 - June 7, 2019

NORTHERN SKY  by Deane Morrison
During the last week of May, the moon wanes away in the morning sky, starting with the last quarter phase on Sunday, the 26th. Last time, I mentioned that the quarter phases are good for moon watching because that’s when lunar features like craters stand out in sharpest relief. So on the 26th, you may want to grab your binoculars again. One small caveat: In Grand Marais, the moon doesn’t rise that day until 2:09 a.m., which may be somewhat inconvenient. On the other hand, if you’re a night owl, the last quarter phase gives you the best chance to explore the part of the moon that isn’t visible at first quarter phase.
If you are up at that hour, you’ll see the Summer Triangle of bright stars above the moon as it rises in the east-southeast, plus Jupiter—the brightest dot—in the south and Saturn to the lower left of Jupiter. But you don’t have to wait till the middle of the night to see those planets. Earth is about to lap them in the race around the sun, and they’re rising earlier every night. We lap Jupiter on June 10, and by the end of the first week in June, Jupiter will up in the southeast by 10 p.m. Saturn follows Jupiter by about two hours. Just west of Jupiter is the red star Antares, the heart of Scorpius.
You might want to try watching Jupiter from night to night. Earth is already starting to lap it, and this makes it moves westward against the backdrop of stars. If you grab those binoculars again, you may detect Jupiter inching westward with respect to several rather dim stars that are near the planet.  
And back to the moon for a second. As it wanes, it rises later every morning. If you’re up around 4:30 on June 1 and you have a clear view of the eastern horizon, you may see a very old and thin crescent rising to the lower right of Venus. Moonrise on June 1 is at 4:27 a.m., which is scarcely half an hour before sunrise, so both the moon and Venus will be awash in the sun’s foreglow. 
In the evening sky, Spica, the brightest star in Virgo, the maiden, is in the south at nightfall, well below the brilliant star Arcturus. Spica’s not all that bright, but then it’s about 260 light-years away. It’s not a single star, but at least two big ones that orbit each other very closely. Only 11 million miles apart, which is about one-fourth the distance of Mercury from the sun. The strong gravity between these two stars has pulled each of them out into an egg shape, and it’s thought that they spin around like two gigantic eggs with their narrow ends pointed at each other. And they spin really fast: It takes them only four days. This would be incredible to watch if we could get close and look down on these stars.
In the west, Mars is resisting being swallowed by the sun as Earth leaves it behind. Mars is as dim as it gets, but have a look around 40 minutes after sunset on June 4. Mercury will be very low in the west-northwest, a young crescent moon will be just to the left of it, and Mars will be almost directly above the moon. Above Mars, the Gemini twins Pollux, the brighter, and Castor are dropping as they make their seasonal exit from the evening sky. This year they’ll leave in the company of Mars and Mercury.
Deane Morrison writes the Minnesota Starwatch column for the University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics.



YMCA Update - May 13, 2019

North Shore Morning host, Gary Latz talks with Cook County Community YMCA's Betsy Blaisdell, support services specialist, for the YMCA update.



YMCA Update - May 6, 2019

North Shore Morning host, Jana Berka talks with Cook County Community YMCA Branch Executive Director, Emily Marshall for this week's update.


Sawtooth Mountain Clinic. WTIP file photo

Sawtooth Mt Clinic - Topic of the Month

North Shore Morning host, Jana Berka talks with Sawtooth Mountain Clinic's Community Health Specialist, Hartley Acero about this month's Topic of the Month, "Positive Psychology:  The study of what makes life worth living".



YMCA Update - April 29, 2019

Cook County Community YMCA Branch Executive Director, Emily Marshall talks with North Shore Morning Host, Jean Grover about the many events and classes coming up at the Y.


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Northern Sky: April 27 - May 10, 2019

NORTHERN SKY  by Deane Morrison
April 27-May 10 2019

Here we are again, moving from April into May, and the winter stars are disappearing in the west. But they’re not all gone yet. Case in point, a little while ago, a friend asked me about a couple of bright stars he had seen in the west around nine thirty the night before. Both were about the same distance above the horizon. So I took a good guess, and went out that night, and sure enough, what had caught his eye was the winter stars Procyon, in Canis Minor, the little dog, and Capella, in Auriga, the charioteer. Right now these two stars are getting ready to set for the season. If you haven’t seen them but you’d like to, go outside as soon as the sky gets dark, and you should see two bright stars not far above the western horizon. Procyon is on the left, Capella on the right. Above and between them are the Gemini twins, Pollux, that’s the brighter twin, and Castor.

This winter I’ve talked about all these stars except Capella. It’s a beautiful star, and when it’s low in the sky, Earth’s atmosphere often acts like a prism and makes it twinkle red and green. From the latitude of Grand Marais, it’s a circumpolar star. That is, it travels in a circle around the Pole Star, Polaris, and never sets, although in summer it gets a little too low to see very well. The stars of the Big and Little Dippers are also circumpolar. If you could follow a circumpolar star all day long, you’d see it complete one circle around Polaris every day. And if you noted its position at the same time every night for a year, you’d see it circle Polaris then, too.

Capella is also a multistar system. It has a close pair of big yellow stars, both a lot brighter than the sun and with about 2.5 times its mass. It also has a pair of little red dwarf stars orbiting the big yellow stars at a distance of about 10,000 times the distance of Earth to the sun.
The name Capella refers to the “little female goat” that the charioteer is carrying. Below Capella you may be able to make out three fainter stars that form a narrow triangle. These are called the Kids.

On May 7, Capella will be part of a string of objects lined up diagonally from lower left to upper right at nightfall, but not much longer afterward. Starting at the lower left end, we have Betelgeuse, in Orion; then a young crescent moon; then Mars, and finally Capella. On the evening of May 9, a heftier crescent moon will be between Procyon and Pollux.

And speaking of evenings, sundown on April 30 marks the beginning of the astronomically based Celtic holiday called Beltane. It was one of four cross-quarter days falling midway between an equinox and a solstice. Beltane marked the end of the dark half of the old Celtic year. The dark half began at Halloween, when all the evil spirits were set loose upon the world to vex humankind for the next six months. And that made sense; winter is the time when hunger, cold and diseases like flu run rampant. But when the end of April rolled around, things changed. At sundown on April 30, the nasty spirits came out for a last fling. Then, at sunrise on May 1, the party was over, and the spirits were again banished until sundown on October 31. The night of April 30 is also called Walpurgis night, but only because May 1 is associated with St. Walpurga, who had nothing whatsoever to do with any of this.