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North Shore Morning

AM Community Calendar/photo by masochismtango on Flickr

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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 Woods Naturalist: Snowpack

With the freeze and thaw and rain we’ve had earlier in the winter, a crust has formed beneath the snow…and it’s hard. WTIP’s Jay Andersen talks with naturalist Chel Anderson about this year’s snowpack.

(Photo by Steven Bratman on Flickr)

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Peach

Gus' Wild Side: A dog named "Peach"

In this edition of Gus' Wild Side, we'll hear about Peach - a strong, but not-too-bright dog.

Gus’ Wild Side is a regular feature on WTIP. Gus writes about our connections to Nature as he explores wildness from the High Arctic to his own backyard along the North Shore of Lake Superior.

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Northern Sky: March 18 - 31

Venus drops out of the evening sky during March, and on the 31st a crescent moon can be seen near Taurus, the Bull. The winter stars are starting to fade; Sirius - the brightest star - can be seen in the southwest after nightfall, with Jupiter ascending in the southeast. Spring arrives on March 20, with day length increasing in a northward direction.

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Superior National Forest Update: March 17

Hi. This is Renee Frahm, administrative assistant, with this week’s National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the east end of the Superior National Forest. For March 17, here’s what’s going on in the Forest.

It’s a holiday weekend! While most of the country is excited about St Patrick’s Day, around here we are also celebrating St Urho’s Day. March 16th celebrates the day St Urho chased the grasshoppers out of Finland and saved the wine crop. There will be a parade on Saturday, March 18, which will shut down Hwy. 1 in the town of Finland at noon. Even when the parade is not happening, expect people to be on the road in that area as well as vehicles parked on both sides of the street.

Joining the people on the road are lots of deer. With the shift to daylight savings time, your morning or evening commute may have shifted into prime deer time. Traveling at 55 miles per hour from Grand Marais to Silver Bay is only 5 minutes longer than traveling at 60 miles per hour, and it will reduce your chances of hitting a deer considerably. It will also reduce your chances of hitting an owl, and increase your chances of seeing one. There have been several great gray owls along the roadways. They like hunting along roads where there is a nice open area to swoop down onto mice. Unfortunately, part of the open area is the road itself, which puts the bird in danger of being hit by cars. Driving slower means you can avoid hitting these birds, and give yourself a chance to take a picture instead.

You’ll see a lot of other bird activity as well, particularly in the ravens and crows. They are fixing up nests and establishing pair bonds, so you will see them flying around right now with large sticks and doing displays for both their potential mates and their rivals.

Off the highway, on the Forest roads, you’re going to also want to slow up. The freezing and thawing that has been happening have left some roads literal ice rinks. Signs have been posted in some places, but there are plenty of icy spots which are unmarked. The Greenwood Road on the Gunflint is particularly glacial. If you must travel in these ice covered areas, use extreme care. We recommend using alternate routes if possible.

Greenwood has the added hazard of truck traffic. On the Gunflint District, trucks are on the Greenwood, Shoebox Roads, and Gunflint Trail. On the Tofte District, trucks are on The Grade, Cook County 3, the Sawbill Trail, Trappers Lake Road, and Lake County 7. The logging operation is finished on the Honeymoon Trail, so that is now free of most truck traffic.

Enjoy your holidays! Even if you are not Irish or Finnish, it is great time to celebrate the winding down of winter and the beginning of spring in the Northland! This has been Renee Frahm with the Superior National Forest Update.

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Fishing success

Wildersmith on the Gunflint: March 17

March seems to equate with madness, and although the Gunflint Trail is endowed in a semi-calm state most of the time, we residents are not excluded from at least some connection to the delirium. At this moment we are caught up in bedlam of some sort, from many of life’s manifestations.  One has to wonder if the spirit in the “crust on the snow moon” might have cast a spell of chaos over us to muddle up month three.
Of note in this territory, weather “madness” continues to up end daily routines. Bouncing back from the early March meltdown, where we experienced warmth, thunder, lightning, pea-sized hail and rain, we have seen winter regain a foothold with a little snow, gale force winds, blizzard conditions and bitter cold for several days going into and through last weekend. And I see spring tinkering around once again as this report hits the air waves.
As a matter of seasonal character, this roller coaster warm and then cold is really accelerating the build-up of mini glaciers at many frozen back road culverts and low lying water ways. The process is likely to get even worse until running water and warmth can line up allowing liquid to find its way back underground, where it belongs. 
In this neighborhood, the winds were scary as those straight line episodes in the summers of 1999 and then again in 2016. They blew in some degree of rage over four days. Blowing at such force, at times I felt I would surely lose some “old growth” white pines. Fortunately, they showed their grit and remain vertical after bending in a tenuous state through the turmoil. Unfortunately, a couple centuries old cedars, right off our lakeside deck didn’t fare so well. Luckily they went down away from the house.
So now it’s just a matter of clean up when winter is no more.
Added to our northland atmospheric madness, many things are going on about us so life is literally in a whirlwind. Whew, from excitement of the full March moon; to the nonsense of humankind manipulating time pieces; to thoughts of the coming Vernal Equinox; to the fervor of hoops, hockey, wrestling; and more, it will be nice to see March give way to the calm of April and mud season.
As the trout season nears months’ end, Gunflint Lake has been abuzz with anglers screaming up and down the ice to get in their final jigging reps. On a related note, the ice depth on Gunflint is hanging in there at two feet plus, easily accommodating all modes of vehicular use.
A family down the road on Mile O Pine was here last weekend to join in the fishing fun. Included in the group were two young grandsons. The oldest, a five-year-old, jigged right alongside Dad and Grandpa.  Wouldn’t you know it this little guy was a hero for the day pulling in a fine eight pound trout? No doubt, if fishing wasn’t already in his DNA, this young fellow is now probably hooked for life!
By the way, this catch would have easily won the recent trout derby over many veteran anglers.
It seems apparent our neighborhood fisher (the animal) is making the Wildersmith place a routine stop on its sustenance quest. The lush animal has made several visits over the past week both day and night. Sporadic visits earlier this winter found the grizzly character easily spooked, but recent calls have found it less alarmed by our gawking out the window. Guess hunger has power over common sense for all critters of creation, even if survival safety is jeopardized.
Speaking of common sense, which seems not so common anymore, I remind listeners it makes “good” sense to get on board with the grass roots effort going on right now at WTIP. This independent community station is in the midst of its’ “GRASS ROOTS” spring membership drive. Continuing funding resources are necessary to help further quality programming, and it takes us listeners to make it happen. Our north land treasure is for members, by members and about members!
So to pledge give operators a call at 218-387-1070; 1-800-473-9847 or click and join at wtip.org.                     
For WTIP, this is Fred Smith, on the Trail, at Wildersmith where every day is great, and full of unexpected natural grace. Have a happy day for the wearin’ of the green!
 

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West End News: March 16

If you, like me, have been a little stymied by the strange midwinter thaw and are in need of some entertainment out in the community, might I recommend heading to Lutsen this weekend. Papa Charlie's, up at Lutsen Mountains, is hosting their annual DuLutsen music weekend this Friday and Saturday. DuLutsen is a weekend chock full of Duluth’s top musicians playing way up North of North, as they say. This is a great opportunity to catch some good tunes from our neighbors to the South right here at home. This year you can hear groups like Black-Eyed Snakes, Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank (featuring Ryan Young of Trampled by Turtles), Jillian Rae, Sarah Krueger, Rich Mattson & The North Stars, and Brothers Burn Mountain. Tickets are $12 at the door and music starts at 8:30 both Friday and Saturday.

If that doesn’t entice you out of your midwinter stupor, listen to this! This year marks the 42nd annual St Urho’s day celebration in Finland. St Urho, of course, is famous for chasing the grasshopers out of Finland, thus saving the grape crop. Folks, this is a three day event. It kicks off with the Miss Helmi Talent and Beauty Contest from 6-8pm on Friday the 17th. There’s a parade through Finland on Highway 1 that starts at noon on Saturday, March 18. There’s music around town throughout the day Saturday as well as a craft fair, games and lunch at the Clair Nelson Community Center. If you’re still standing, you can win some door prizes at a raffle drawing at 3pm on Sunday. St Urho may be made up, but this party is for real. So put on some purple and we’ll see you in Finland!

If you need something slightly calmer, the woods are lovely right now. The thaw and freeze has made for a very solid crust that keeps a person on snowshoes right on top, making for easy travel all over the place. The inland lakes are pretty icy, but if you don’t mind a little slipping, you can usually find a ribbon of windswept snow along the eastern shores to carry you along on skis. Traveling so close to shore has given me insights into the winter woods I otherwise would have missed. Like the scattered remnants of an otter’s lunch, blue and orange shells adding to the illusion created by ocean-like ripples the wind has made in the snow.

So there you have it. Good tunes, a parade, and peaceful wilderness, all out our backdoor this week in the West End. I feel better already.

I would be remiss if I didn’t add that this week I am especially grateful for WTIP. In addition to all the wonderful things WTIP does for our community, which I’m sure you’re hearing about during this membership drive, I’d like to add one very personal thank you note. Years ago, my Grandpa Frank Hansen transitioned his newspaper column, the West End News, to WTIP. While I always enjoyed it when I heard it, I never fully appreciated the lasting impact of those recordings. Now, years after he’s left us, I can still listen to his voice recounting history and news as though I were in his living room anytime I want, just by clicking a button on WTIP’s website. It’s one of the only places his voice is recorded to my knowledge. So thanks WTIP, for capturing the voices of our community, what a gift.

For WTIP, I’m Clare Shirley with the West End News.

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Sawtooth Mountain Elementary School

School News from Sawtooth Mountain Elementary: March 16

Juniper and Wyatt report the latest school news.

Click here for more school news.

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Cook County culinary arts at work

Community gathers to support school -- and to eat!

The Grand Marais campus of Cook County Schools/ISD 166 was a busy place on Thursday, March 9. It was the site of the Cook County Education Foundation EATS (Enriching Academics Through Sustenance) annual event .

Dining establishments taking part this year were:

Blue Water Cafe
Gunflint Mercantile

Java Moose
Cook County Whole Foods Co-op
Lutsen Resort Restaurant
My Sister's Place
Skyport Lodge and Raven Rock Grill
The Crooked Spoon
Sven and Ole's
Cascade Lodge and Restaurant
 
And of course taking part were the Cook County High School Culinary Arts Class, taught by Jason Gesch

In addition to food, there was live music—this year members of the Cook County High School band performed as well as the Plucked Up String Band. And Silent Auction items lined the school hallways for friendly fundraising competition. 

Rhonda Silence was there and she shares this report. 
 

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Raven in Snow

Wildersmith on the Gunflint: March 10

The upper Gunflint has been in the midst of another grappling match between winter and spring. Commencing this week’s report finds the usually mild mannered “sweetheart" of spring out of character, by having “Old Man Winter” in a choke hold.

Now he’s escaped again!

Fact is, our month three full lunar orb on Sunday could easily be better heralded as the “mush (not crust) on the snow” Ojibwe moon.                                                                                                                              

The grizzly “Great White Spirit” just can’t keep a grip in his ’16-17 rendition and is slip sliding into oblivion while we border country residents continue trekking about on softening slush and greasy ice. At the moment of this release though, it’s back to subzero and wind-blown snow. Guess the “old” part of his “Old Man Winter” designation confirms he just can’t command things as in days of yester year. It’s a “bear” getting old, for all of us!

A forecast of temps reaching into the 40s and rain drops instead of snowflakes earlier this week, finds us Gunflint folk uttering disgusting remorse at the cold season's passing.  So it’s onward and upward toward buds, blossoms and new forest babies.

Enough cold did hold on for the Cook County Snowmobile Club’s trout derby last Sunday on Gunflint Lake. Once again the “one day” shack community development sprung up on the lake ice with several hundred folks snowmobiling and milling about while some 70 serious hard water anglers tried to trick a trout, into taking a bite.

At derby’s end, few finny were taken, but everyone had a good time getting together.  The old adage that about ten percent of the fishermen catch 90 percent of the fish prevailed once again as the “fishing was great, but the catching was not.”

By late afternoon, shanty town was gone, leaving nary a trace.

The winning catch for 2017 was hooked by Shirley Heinz. Her four pound- three ounce specimen won the grand prize of $500 while Parker Slanga came in second at four pounds one ounce and Connie Rasmussen took home the bronze at three pounds six ounces. Congratulations to all who took part and to the great group of organizers for putting on this swell event in the upper Gunflint territory.

The spotlight was to be shining back at mid-Trail this Sunday with the “Dog Days of Winter” on tap. However, bad winter remains after last weekends’ meltdown and rain have caused a cancelation for this year.

Night time visitors to the Wildersmith place over the past week included the regular pine martens and their fisher cousin, along with some flighty flying squirrels. Meanwhile, in the day time, we enjoyed some winged folk as they frenzied over a roasted chicken carcass from the Smith kitchen. In the end, several species got a sample before Mr. Raven called a halt to the tasting by lifting off with the boney morsel.

Further down the Trail, during a trip to the village, we were confronted by a trio of moose. It was the first we had observed in many weeks so it was quite startling when we came over a rise and there they were two gawky yearlings and their mom. It was not a close call, so the engagement was pleasant. Yes Virginia, there still is a moose, or three, in the woods!

A couple notes in closing, first a reminder is offered to “spring forward” with clocks once again. Don’t forget to set time pieces ahead before retiring Saturday night or mankind will leave you behind by Sunday morning. Will we ever come to understand, you needn’t mess with the universe, as it was intended?  Oh well!  

Secondly, next week at this time the community Northshore radio station will be into its spring membership drive. This amazing broadcast phenomenon is all about grass roots, being built from the ground up. So yours truly is encouraging one and all to keep it growing by joining anew or re-upping with a pledge of devotion to keep WTIP on the right track. Please consider investing your “green” where it will reap a huge return for this “Grass Roots” funding effort.

For WTIP, this is Fred Smith, on the Gunflint Trail, at Wildersmith, where every day is great, energized by the miracles of nature!
 

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Great Expectations School

School News from Great Expectations: March 10

Hailey and Charlet report the latest School News.

Click here for more School News.

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