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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:
Birch Grove Community School

School News from Birch Grove: May 10

Tucker, Gus and Sophia report the latest School News.

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Student-created art from the 2016 Oshki Ogimaag 'Public Art Project'

Oshki Ogimaag "Public Art Project" exhibit on Thursday, May 12

Jana Berka spoke with Oshki Ogimaag's Belle Janicek about Oshki's participation in the “Public Art Project” which features artwork created by Oshki Ogimaag students.

An opening reception will be held at the Grand Portage Community Center on Thursday, May 12, from 3 to 5 pm, and the artwork will remain on display at the community center for several weeks.  The Grand Portage Community Center is open Monday through Friday, 6 am to 9 pm; Saturday, 1 to 9 pm; and Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm. More information is available from the community center, by phone, at (218) 475-2653.
 

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A Year in the Wilderness: May 6 - Ice-out

Cook County adventurers Dave and Amy Freeman are spending a year in the wilderness. On a regular basis they’ll be sharing some of their experiences traveling the BWCAW.

(Photo courtesy of Dave and Amy's Facebook page)

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Wildersmith on the Gunflint: May 6

April has given way to May, and week one is into the books. The Wildersmith two are back in the woods following a trip to Iowa for my annual officiating duties at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, in addition to visiting our kids and re-connecting with many dear friends.                                                     
The Gunflint wilderness seems so quiet and welcoming after what was a hectic time of helping our daughter prepare to re-locate, and experiencing the never ending turmoil of human interaction in metropolis. We are surely blessed to have the better of two worlds, one being the ability to re-connect periodically with the civilized world; and two, being able to escape urban hubbub for the serenity of life in un-organized territory. No wonder this place has such magnetism!                                                                                                                                                       
My last day at the Relays event proved to be record setting in terms of miserable weather endurance. A day in Iowa with rain, forty degree temperatures and thirty mile per hour winds made a brisk forty below January segment in the north woods seem not too bad at all. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt such a bone chilling, and that’s saying a lot for a guy who enjoys winter as I do.                                                                                                                                                                     
Speaking of winter, it’s pretty much put to rest as of this scribing. But we can’t count it out, for yet another couple weeks. Remnant splotches of snow in roadside ditches and shadows of the forest, along with broken tree branches, a few downed telephone poles and sagging phone lines linger as the only reminders of our past season.                                                            
A further note on the areas’ advance toward seasonal re-birth, declares the ice is out on area lakes. Here on Gunflint, the progression of open water took the better part of a week with final hard water disappearance at the east end occurring on April thirtieth (30th). So it lasted just about as I thought it would. I’m indebted to a friend down the road who stepped up to make the official “ice-out” call in my absence.                                                                                                                         
The water now lapping against our granite shore is every bit as joyous, as is the anticipation of those first freezing crinkles each November/ December. It’s just pretty darn energizing! And for angling enthusiasts there will be no worry about ice in 2016 for getting after those walleyes next weekend.                                                                                                                                           
Back country roads are drying readily as run-off is back into drainage swales and culverts. In fact, my return trip found the vehicle kicking up dust instead of “mud season” goop!        
Meanwhile, the forest landscape is drab as it awaits renewal of chlorophyll production. The deciduous part of the forest is barely into the budding stage. However, coniferous cousins have regained the verdant twinkle as their juices are already running.                                                          
Signaling spring is in full swing, snowshoe hares have just about completed their warm season wardrobe transition. One crossed our path on the county road during last Sundays’ return. It was sporting the usual dusty summer coat with the only reminder of winter garb, being its’ snow white socks.                                                                                                                                                                         
In a closing tidbit, it’s always a relief to get back home after a time a way. I was amused while beginning to un-load the vehicle, as a couple of resident squirrels came by to greet me.                                                                                                                                                      
Obviously they wanted a hand-out as they scurried about, chattering food service orders. Following me like a canine pet, until I threw out some seed morsels, one excitably came close to running into the house while I carried in luggage. It sure is nice to be wanted!                                                                                                  
This is Fred Smith, back on the Trail, at Wildersmith, savoring the Gunflint charm!

(photo by Enzik via Wikimedia Commons)
 

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Superior National Forest Update

Hi.  I’m Paulette Anholm, information receptionist, on the Gunflint and Tofte Ranger Districts, with the National Forest Update - information on conditions affecting travel and recreation on the Tofte and Gunflint Districts of the Superior National Forest. For the week of May 6, here’s what’s happening on the Forest.
Things are really starting to pick up for spring.  Starting on May 1st, Forest Service offices have gone to their summer hours, 8 to 4:30, seven days a week.  That means that we have new summer seasonal staff like me starting, so stop in and say hi.  Part of the reason for the change of hours is the yearly start of the quota permit season for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.  From now until October, you will need an issued permit for overnight trips into the Boundary Waters, available at Forest Service offices or various cooperating business.  Day trip permitting doesn’t change.  Day trips will still need a self-issued permit, available at entry points or offices.
Lakes in the Boundary Waters, along with lakes everywhere else, are mostly open.  Some bays may still have ice, making some portages difficult to access, but even that should be breaking up soon.  Outside of the Boundary Waters, we are in the process of preparing campgrounds for the fee season, which will start around May 13th with the fishing opener.  Docks are next on the spring to-do list.  Most are sitting on shore at this point, but the boat ramps are usable as soon as the lake is open whether the dock is in or not.
Getting to the lake may actually be the hardest part.  Roads are still soft, and some have crumbling shoulders and potholes.  Many of the roads which were not plowed in the winter have downed trees across them from the heavy snow ‘snowdown’ event this past winter.  We are making progress opening up these roads, but it takes time, and there are many roads which are still impassable in sections.
The counties have partially lifted the spring weight restrictions on roads.  There are links to their websites from our Current Conditions webpage.  Forest Service roads still are under spring weight restrictions, but that will probably be changing in the next few weeks as things dry up.  Until then, there is still minimal truck traffic in the woods.
The drying out is also starting to affect fire danger.  This time between green up and snow melt can be dangerous.  It has been 9 years since May 2007 when the Ham Lake fire on the Gunflint Trail burned 76,000 acres and a number of homes and structures.  We don’t want a repeat of that, so please be careful with fire this spring.  Before you start a fire, check what restrictions are in force currently, and get a burning permit if required.
One of the least welcomed signs of spring is the emergence of ticks.  They are starting to be active and looking for meals.  The nymphs of the deer tick are very tiny and hard to spot, so the best thing to do is try to prevent getting any.  Put on repellent, and make a fashion statement by tucking your pants into your long white socks.  We know you’d rather wear sandals and shorts, but you really don’t want to get any of Minnesota’s tick borne diseases, and covering up is one of the best ways to prevent infection.
Despite their stingers, bees are much nicer than ticks, especially the fuzzy slow buzzing bumblebee.  There are 18 kinds of bumblebee in Minnesota, and citizen science is being used to keep track of them.  Not much is really understood about these pollinators, so on this Saturday May 7th, there will be a workshop 10 am to 4 pm at the Gunflint Ranger Station to learn to identify bumblebees and help create the Minnesota Bee Atlas.  There is a $20 registration fee, call our office for further details.
So, take the time and get out and enjoy this beee - utiful spring, and until next time, this has been Paulette Anholm with the National Forest Update.
 

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Great Expectations Charter School

School News from Great Expectations: May 5

Addie and Mary June report the latest news from Great Expectations Charter School in Grand Marais.

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Wild onion

West End News: May 5

I’m very excited to hear about the expansion of Fika Coffee in the Clearview complex in Lutsen. Fika, which can be roughly translated as the Swedish word for “coffee break,” has been roasting and distributing coffee in Grand Marais for several years. The shop in Lutsen, which will be in the old liquor store space, will also be a regular espresso and coffee shop where you can enjoy the aroma, the taste and the camaraderie of sharing coffee.

It is especially gratifying to see young entrepreneurs expanding their businesses across Cook County. The owner of Fika, Josh Lindstrom, is a participant in a program called “Ensure Cook County” run by the Entrepreneur Fund. It is a Cook County-specific program that connects people who want to grow their businesses with training, technical help and local angel investors. I love it when good intentions actually result in tangible results that make all our lives better.

Also, I can’t wait to hang out, drink some coffee and gossip… I mean, discuss the issues of the day.

All the important signs are pointing to the turn of the season. Every lake in Cook County is now free of ice. Sawbill Lake officially became ice-free on April 28, which is pretty close to the average over the last six or seven decades.

As of last Saturday, skiing operations at Lutsen Mountains came its seasonal conclusion. The final day included sunshine, balmy temperatures, live music outside on the deck and, by all reports, excellent skiing conditions. That same Saturday, the first rounds of golf were played at Superior National. A reliable source reported that a few people skied and golfed on the same day.

There is a little time to draw a deep breath before we plunge into the summer season, which is still the busiest time of year by far, up and down the North Shore.

The Onion River in Tofte earned its name from the wild onions that can be found nearby. They are really the first wild edible that can be gathered in the spring. They are also called wild leeks or ramps. They have a strong onion and garlic flavor that makes a nice addition to salads. Native West Enders used to render them into a concoction that induced vomiting, but don’t let that put you off.

Fiddleheads are another delicious spring delicacy that should be ready by the end of the week.

Steelhead fishing is at its peak right now, judging by the number of pickups parked along the highway at each stream crossing.

If you want to know more about the natural abundance that surrounds us, now would be a good time to register for the annual Master Naturalist Volunteer training that is offered by the Sugarloaf Nature Center in Schroeder. The class, which is being held in partnership with North House Folk School, starts in early June. The five-day immersion course is a whirlwind of biology, ecology and geology, specific to our own back yard. You can contact Sugarloaf Nature Center or North House Folk School for specific information and registration.

Several young moose have been spotted recently that are obviously two-year-old calves that have been rejected by their mothers. When a cow moose prepares to give birth, she forcefully sends her previous calf out on its own. For the first couple of weeks after this happens, the adolescent moose is sad and insecure to the extreme. I know it’s dangerous to anthropomorphize wild animals, but these guys are so woebegone, that it is obvious at a glance.

If you see one of these depressed moose on the road, be kind and gentle. The last thing they need is to be chased by a scary vehicle. Sad as they are, they will soon buck up, become adults and join the greater community that is Cook County’s West End.

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A Year in the Wilderness: April 29 - Barking at waves

Cook County adventurers Dave and Amy Freeman are spending a year in the wilderness. On a regular basis they’ll be sharing some of their experiences traveling the BWCAW.

(Photo courtesy of Dave and Amy's Facebook page)

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Transit of Mercury

Northern Sky: April 30 - May 13

Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota, where she authors the Minnesota Starwatch column.

The spring sky features Leo, Jupiter and Virgo; Mars and Saturn are rising in Scorpio near midnight; the cross-quarter day of Beltane; and Mercury transits the sun on May 9.

(photo by Tomruen via Wikimedia Commons)

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The Lake Superior Project/Logo by Lauryl Loberg

LSProject: Pharmaceutical toxins found in northeast Minnesota lakes and fish

Pharmaceuticals and other human-produced chemicals are appearing in northeast Minnesota's water and fish - even in remote and pristine lakes. In this edition of The Lake Superior Project, Dr. Seth Moore, director of biology and environment with the Lake Superior Band of Chippewa, talks about a new study on these emerging toxins.

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