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North Shore Morning

AM Community Calendar/photo by masochismtango on Flickr

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Genre: 
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:
Higher Education

Financial Aid Information Night at Higher Ed, Wednesday February 25

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Help is available locally for sorting through financial aid for higher education.  North Shore Morning host Julie Carlson learns more in this interview with Kirstin van den Berg of Cook County Higher Education; Haley Brickner, the Director of Education for the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; and Amanda Burggraff, academic and career guidance counselor for Cook County schools, about Financial Aid Information Night.

Financial Aid Information Night is scheduled for February 26 from 5:15pm to 7:00pm at Cook County Higher Education’s North Shore Campus in Grand Marais.  

Cook County Higher Education in collaboration with Cook County High School and the Grand Portage Department of Education are pleased to bring you Financial Aid Information Night: Completing the FAFSA and Paying for College.  It's an opportunity to learn about changes to the 2014 – 2015 FAFSA and ask Financial Aid Director LaNita Robinson questions about the financial aid process.  

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Birch Grove in the West End

West End Community Conversation, Wednesday at Birch Grove

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Every community offers opportunities and challenges.  This Wednesday evening there’s a chance for West End folks to gather for discussion.  North Shore Morning host Jana Berka learns more from director Patty Nordahl.

The Birch Grove Foundation and Tofte Township will host a "West End Community Conversation" on Wednesday, February 19, at Birch Grove Center. All are invited to share ideas and experiences about opportunities of and challenges to Cook County’s West End. A chili and salad dinner will be offered from 5:45 to 6:20 pm. The community conversation will take place from 6:30 to 9 pm. More information and reservations are available from Patty Nordahl at 663-7977 or bgf@boreal.org.

Program: 

 
Grand Marais Ole Opry

Local Music Project: The Grand Marais Ole Opry

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The North Shore Music Association presented the first ever Grand Marais Ole Opry on Saturday, February 15, 2014.  WTIP Classic Country host, Carl Solander, emceed the event which featured four acts performing before a nearly packed house.  Carl had a chance to visit with all of the performers backstage before the show.  In this edition of the Local Music Project we’ll hear those interviews as well as a few segments from Saturday’s performance.


 
Snowmobile race

West End News: February 13

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One of the fun things about surfing the internet is stumbling across a random news story that hits home for one reason or another.  This morning, I was delighted to find a television news feature story about Jerry Gervais, better known as the Snowmobile Doctor of Tofte.  It ran a couple of weeks ago as part of the “On The Road with Jason Davis” series that the Twin Cities TV station KSTP has been doing for what seems like a hundred years.
 
The story highlighted Jerry’s success as a pioneer snowmobile racer in the early 1960s.  Jerry was a big part of the racing scene when it was just getting started.  His daring and skill quickly brought him to joining the Polaris Company racing team.  I remember what big news this was back in the day, and how Jerry, who went by the nickname “Red” in those days, was quite the local celebrity. 
 
I was about nine years old at that time and I remember a Tofte resident telling me, with a mixture of horror and pride, that Jerry sometimes went 60 miles per hour on his Skidoo.  When I expressed my desire to do 60 on a Skidoo myself, I was told that Jerry had just broken his leg while riding at high speed at the Tofte airport.  I think the word maniac may have been used.  It didn’t diminish my desire to race snowmobiles, just like Jerry.  Fortunately, I never had the opportunity, which kept my skeleton mostly intact.
 
Jason Davis also covered Jerry’s current skill as a snowmobile mechanic and his passion for vintage snowmobiles. He pointed out that Jerry’s shop is located in the middle of nowhere.  As proof, he noted that it was located just off the Sawbill Trail.  He did admit that the shop is located immediately adjacent to a major snowmobile trail.
 
Davis also mentioned that if you go to Jerry’s shop, you should plan a little extra time to hear Jerry tell a few stories.  I don’t think I’ve ever spent less than an hour in Jerry’s shop, even when I’ve just stopped by on a minor errand. 
 
You can see the story for yourself by going the KSTP website, or google “On the Road: Snowmobile Doctor.”
 
If you have a big dog and want to have some fun, you should attend the first annual “Best In Snow” Ski-joring race, scheduled for the first Saturday March at the George Washington Pines ski trail, just a few miles north of Grand Marais on the Gunflint Trail.  Ski-joring is basically harnessing your dog to pull you on cross-country skis. 
 
This event is being sponsored by Go Dog North Shore, which is a new non-profit organization based in Grand Marais that aims to promote healthy and active human and dog relationships on Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior.  Plans include a 2-mile and 4-mile race, with a limit of one dog per skier and each race capped at 15 teams. If you don’t know how to ski-jor this would be a good way to see if it’s for you and your dog.
 
You can find details at godognorthshore.org, or contact WTIP for full contact information.
 
Last week, I mentioned my epic fall off the peak of my house.  I got a number of emails and comments about my inventing the new Olympic sport known as roof diving.  It got me to thinking about other West End winter sports that could be included in future winter Olympic Games.
 
One event could be Cold Weather Dog Walking.  This would be judged on the dog’s form and skill at walking while holding one or more freezing paws off the ground.  Points could be awarded for maintaining speed while walking with one, two, or at the pinnacle of skill, three paws in the air.  Extra points are awarded for successfully “taking care of business” with one or more paws off the ground.
 
Another sport could be competitive car starting.  Athletes would each be provided with a 1992 Toyota Camry with two hundred and thirty thousand miles on it and a four-year-old battery, cooled down to 32 degrees below zero.  Points would be awarded for the least time elapsed from leaving the house to pulling out of the driveway.  Style points would be added for combinations of starter fluid, gas pedal pumping and application of jumper cables. Needless to say, at the Olympic level, only batteries with the tiny little side-mounted terminals would be allowed.  Points would be deducted for failure to make a solid connection or having the jumper cables pop off just as you turn the key.  You are disqualified if you leave your choppers sitting on the air cleaner when you slam the hood.
 
The final new event could be that ultimate test of speed, agility and strength that we call roof shoveling.  Points would be awarded for speed and style, with extra points being added for the size of each block of snow pushed over the edge of a low pitch cabin roof.  The judges will want to see a few graceful roof diving moves, with points being added for the length and loudness of the scream and the gracefulness of the landing.  Veterans of this Olympic sport, like me, would delight the crowd with our perfect belly flop techniques.
 
This all gets me to thinking that the West End should submit a bid to host the 2022 winter games.
 
For WTIP, this is Bill Hansen with the West End News.
 
 


 
Northern Sky looks at what's happening in our night sky this month (John 'K'/Flickr)

Northern Sky: February 10-24

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

In this edition of Northern Sky, Deane talks about the winter constellation, Taurus, and its orange star. 

Read this month's Starwatch column.


 
gypsy moth

Gypsy Moth Quarantine Proposed for Lake and Cook Counties

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The state of Minnesota is planning to impose a quarantine to limit the spread of destructive gypsy moths. This will affect residents and travelers in Northeast Minnesota. North Shore Morning host Ann Possis spoke with Lucia Hunt, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Gypsy Moth Program Supervisor.

Public hearings about the quarantine are being held Tuesday, Feb. 11 in Two Harbors, and Tuesday, Feb. 25 in Grand Marais as part of the County Commissioner board meetings.

More information about gypsy moths and the proposed quarantine are available from the Minneosta Department of Agriculture.

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Care giver support

CarePartners offerings

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Care Partners has a lot to offer.  WTIP volunteer Sherrie Lindskog spoke with Kay Grindland of Care Partners on North Shore Morning.

Care Partners’ Caregivers Support Group will now be held every 2nd Wednesday of the month, from 11 am – 12:30 pm at the Fireside Room of the Congregational Church. Vicky Biggs and Tyler Howell will be the group facilitators.
The next Caregivers’ Group will be Feb 12.
 
Care Partners’ Group Respite Program is held at the same time & location to give you more freedom to join the group. You could bring your loved one to the lower level of the church at 11 am, attend the support group and still have time for errands before you pick them up at 3 pm. Participants must pre-register so call Jeannette if you are interested at 387-3787.
The Group Respite is held twice a month to offer a safe and enjoyable social setting for seniors with early memory loss or other long term illness. This gives the family caregiver several hours of independent time. It is held the 2nd Wednesday & 4th Friday from 11 am to 3 pm at the lower level of the Congregational Church.  Participants must preregister with Care Partners.

Other upcoming programs:

Care Partners Companion Volunteer Training will be held March 3, 4 and 11 from 4:30 pm to 8 pm for those who want to provide friendly visits, respite care, or presence at end of life.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers will be offered for six Thursdays beginning March 20 from 5 -7:30 pm. 

Care Partners at 387-3788, carepartners@boreal.org

Program: 

 
Here’s what the divot made by a radio commentator falling 22 feet looks like.

West End News: February 6

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There is great news from the Section 7 High School Alpine ski meet that ran on Tuesday at Giant’s Ridge.  West Ender Will Lamb, who has deep roots in Schroeder, placed seventh overall in a field of 120 skiers.  This earns Will, a 15-year-old freshman, his second consecutive trip to the state meet at Giants Ridge on Feb. 12.  Last year, he went to state when the team placed highly enough to go as a group. 
 
This year, neither the boys’ nor girls’ team placed high enough to qualify for state.  However both teams are very young and did extremely well in a competitive field.  The girls were sixth out of 18 teams and the boys were fifth out of 20.
 
Seventh-grader Riley Wahlers, from Grand Marais, also qualified for state, finishing an incredible 11th overall out of 114 of the region’s best skiers.
 
Coach Charles Lamb reports that he has many young skiers who are improving fast, which bodes well for the future.  There can be no doubt that the Junior Ski Team program sponsored by Lutsen Mountains Ski Area is working well to develop top-notch high school skiers.  It’s wonderful to have such a world class facility here in the West End and even better that they offer such generous support to local kids.
 
Speaking of local kids, I urge everyone to attend the community conversation get-together at the Birch Grove Community Center Wednesday, Feb. 19. This is a fun brainstorming session to identify the opportunities and challenges for the future of the whole West End community. Anyone with an interest, or ideas about the community center and how it can enhance our quality of life, should attend.
 
The event kicks off with a community meal at 5:45 p.m., followed by a structured discussion.  The goal is to identify and prioritize the three- to five-year goals of the Birch Grove Community Center.  RSVPs are encouraged.  Call 663-7977 or email bgf@boreal.org.
 
As of Feb. 5, the Canadian Ice Service has declared that Lake Superior is officially frozen over.  This is a relatively rare phenomenon, happening only about once every 20 years on average.  The last official freeze over was in 1997, although 2003 came very close.
 
I well remember the ice-box year of 1982, when the big lake not only froze over, but developed a swath of smooth ice, safe for skating, from Two Harbors to Grand Marais. On the night of the February full moon that year, nearly every resident of the West End was out skating. It was a peak moment in West End history. Sadly, it doesn’t look like it will be smooth on such a large scale this year.
 
I am particularly happy to be able to report the West End News this week, because by all rights I should be either be in an intensive care ward or attending my own funeral. 
 
Last Wednesday, I fell off the peak of my roof, plunging 22 feet straight down on to rock-hard frozen ground. 
 
I was up there to clear a frozen sewer vent, which is something that a lot of West End residents have been doing lately.  To access my roof, I climb the latticed radio tower that is bolted to the high peak of my two-story home. At the peak, there is a steep eave about 18” wide that I have to step over to reach the much flatter main roof area.  When I committed my weight in that first step, the snow on the eve broke loose and avalanched down and off.  I wasn’t too worried because I still was holding the tower with both hands and my other foot.  Unfortunately, the physics of the avalanche took a large chunk of dense snow off the flat part of the roof with it, including my foot that was buried within it. The huge mass of the moving snow plucked my hands off the tower like you would pluck a mosquito off your arm.  Meanwhile, the foot that was still on the tower became momentarily wedged in the latticework and in the blink of an eye, I was spun around and launched into mid air 22 feet above the unforgiving earth.
 
I’m here to tell you that good old gravity accelerates a falling object frighteningly quickly.  It’s one thing to observe an object dropping from the heights – and quite another thing to be the object.
 
I’ve often wondered what would pass through my mind if I were facing sure death with only a few seconds to ponder my fate. Would my life flash before my eyes? Would I think of my children, spouse, family or beloved friends? Would I feel regret or fear? Well, now I know. I had one thought and one thought only as the ground rushed toward me. Calmly and without fear, I thought to myself, “This is really going to hurt.” – and it did.
 
As it turned out, I was incredibly lucky to land a perfect belly flop on absolutely flat ground that was covered by 25 inches of soft snow.  Thanks to the cold weather, I was wearing multiple layers of thick clothing. That combination saved my life. I had the wind thoroughly knocked out of me, but once I recovered from that, I had only a moderately sore shoulder and foot to show for my adventure.
 
The experience definitely did change my outlook on life. I was stupid, then lucky, and that’s a combo that you don’t get to repeat too many times in one life.  After the fall, you can be sure that I’ve thought often about my children, spouse, family and beloved friends. And I am so grateful to say…for WTIP, this Bill Hansen with the West End News.
 
 
 
 


 
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie

Secretary Mark Ritchie explains state caucuses

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Caucuses are the grass roots of the democratic process regardless of the party you choose.  North Shore Morning host Mark Abrahamson spoke with Secretary of State Mark Ritchie about the Tuesday caucuses.  More is available online at mnvotes.org.  The site links to the secretary of state website, includes caucus details and locations, and lets you confirm or change your voter registration.

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Propane gas flame.

AEOA Offers Financial Assistance for Heating Costs

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On Monday, Governor Mark Dayton issued an Emergency Executive Order declaring a Peacetime State of Emergency in Minnesota in response to a severe shortage of propane and other home heating fuel supplies statewide.  WTIP volunteer Sherrie Lindskog recently spoke with Mary Heilman of the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency or AEOA and Cook County resident Jana Berka about receiving financial assistance for home heating .