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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:
Dogs prepare to hit the trail of the 2014 Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race.

The 2014 Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race is Underway!

2014 Gichigami Express Start FINAL.mp312.39 MB

The 2014 Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race is currently underway.  WTIP’s Cathy Quinn made a trip to Grand Portage on Saturday morning to watch the start of the race and to visit with a few of the folks involved with this year’s event.  Cathy first spoke with the President of the Gichigami Express, Jack Stone about trail conditions after receiving 8 inches of new snow on Friday.


Cook County Community YMCA celebrates Grand Opening

YMCA_opening_Marshall_Mueller_repack_20131230.mp310.31 MB

WTIP volunteer Mark Abrahamson spoke with Emily Marshall and Colette Mueller of the Cook County Community YMCA on North Shore Morning about this weekend's Grand Opening festivities and more.

Grand Opening ¦ Ribbon Cutting
105 W 5th Street, Grand Marais, MN 55604
 January 3-4, 2014
January 3, 2014 ¦ 6:00-8:00pm
. Last chance to join as a charter member!
. Open Game Center and Kid’s Club
. Live music, great food and fabulous prizes!
. Presentation and toast
. Games in the gym
. Open Swim and Swim Lesson Assessments
. Sample Group Exercise Classes
January 4, 2014 ¦ 9:30-11:00am
. Open Game Center and Wii Bowling Tournament
. Live Music, Scones, Muffins, Fruit, and Coffee
. Sample senior fitness classes
. Pickleball
January 4, 2014 ¦ 1:00-4:00pm
. Open Game Center
. Carnival games in Kid’s Club
. Group Exercise Sampler
. Gym games and youth program sampler
. Formal ribbon cutting ceremony and presentation
. Healthy Snacks
. Open swim, swim lesson assessments, and pool games
. Door prizes
. Live music
. Program registration
. Tours


Hour 1 of the "Bringing Out the Best of the Ourselves" airs Thursday, January 2, at 7 p.m.

Introduction to the series with the show's producer

BBOO_preview_Hyatt_repack_20140101.mp312.25 MB

"Bringing Out the Best of Ourselves" launches in January of 2014. In this interview, Marcia Hyatt, the show's producer, introduces and explains the series and what she will be discussing during the four-part program.


Rachelle Christianson

Not too late to MNsure

MNsure_update_Christianson_repack_20131226.mp35.82 MB

It’s not too late to find affordable health care coverage for the New Year.  And help is available here in the community.  WTIP volunteer Marnie McMillan spoke with MNsure navigator Rachelle Christianson on North Shore Morning.

Rachelle Christianson is a patient support/enrollment specialist at the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic in Grand Marais.  She's available to help individuals & families make informed decisions with the MNsure Marketplace.

218-387-2330 ext. 153



little black kitten (December 17th)

Arrowhead Animal Rescue: a good first stop when looking for a pet

AnimalRescue_O'Donnell_repack_20131224.mp37.39 MB

Looking for a pet?  Consider contacting Arrowhead Animal Rescue ( to see who might be waiting for a home.  
WTIP volunteer Mary Manning spoke with Gay O’Donnell of Arrowhead Animal Rescue on North Shore Morning.

{photo from Arrowhead Animal Rescue}


John Morrin

Grand Portage Vice Chairman discusses new White Earth constitution

Finalcut_JohnMorrin_WhiteEarth_20131211.mp312.27 MB

On November 19th, almost 80 percent of the voting members of the White Earth Nation, part of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, approved a new White Earth constitution. The new constitution, among other things, establishes a new rule for determining tribal membership. The White Earth Nation would be the first band in Minnesota to do away with the so-called “blood quantum” law for tribal membership. WTIP’s Kelly Schoenfelder recently spoke with Grand Portage Tribal Council Vice Chairman John Morrin about the implications of the decision.

Part of LTV's taconite processing plant, which Polymet plans to use for processing copper and other minerals (Joel Dinda/Flickr)

Polymet publishes SDEIS, public comment period opens

JohnMyersPolyMet_121313.mp322.13 MB

On Friday, December 6, Polymet released their Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) for public comment. Duluth News Tribune reporter John Myers has been following the Polymet story for several years, and he joined WTIP's Jay Andersen on Daybreak to tell us more about Polymet's plans and what's next for the project.

The Lake Superior Project / logo by Lauryl Loberg

LSProject: "A thoroughfare for tar sands crude oil shipping?"

Finalcut_LSP 26_20131209.mp35.97 MB

Coal. Iron ore. Grain. Limestone. Cement. Salt. Wood pulp. Wind turbine components. Steel coil. All of these commodities and more, at one point or another, have made their way out of the Duluth-Superior port and onto the open waters of Lake Superior aboard ships. In a few years, another commodity could possibly be added to that list. Calumet Specialty Product Partners, a petroleum refiner located in Superior, Wisconsin, has been moving forward with the first steps of a process to construct a crude oil loading dock in the port. In this edition of the Lake Superior Project, we speak with Lyman Welch of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, about the potential for shipping tar sands oil on the Great Lakes.

A simple garbage can does the job

Remembering Kristi Downing

KristiFinalCut_102411.mp314.04 MB

Kristi Downing, a well-known artist from our area, passed away the week of December 1, 2013.  This edition of Artist Open House featuring Kristi originally aired in October of 2011.  In addition to all that is presented about her in this feature, she was a long-time participant in the Crossing Borders Studio Tour.  

Kristi Downing’s studio is set back from Lake Superior in a sheltered grove of trees. This is where she creates her raku pottery. Each piece distinctive, no two alike.  WTIP’s Jay Andersen recently visited Kristi for another edition of Artist Open House.

We thank Greg Nichols for sharing additional photos of Kristi, taken in July of 2013 at North House Folk School. 

Wooly Bear Caterpillar

Magnetic North: All hail the Wooly Bear

Finalcut_MagNorth_20131207.mp36.44 MB

Welcome back to Magnetic North, where my faith in the wooly bear caterpillar has turned to rock solid belief.
Some months back I found a solid black wooly bear caterpillar on the chicken coop steps.  Reporting this stunning news in my radio commentary brought the usual comments -all denying that caterpillar colors do not a winter foretell. Well, you scoffers, let’s have a little respect for the little guy now!
Remember that bone-splitting cold snap last month, huh? And now? Now, as we are caught with our mukluks still in mothballs? Mother Nature dumped an inch of snow an hour on us in some spots along the shore. My personal best  - drift-wise - was only 18 inches. But that was before my snow plower pushed close to 3 feet of compacted snow up against both garage doors. Love the clean driveway. Just wish I could get the car out. Hint. Hint.
But am I bitter? Heavens no.
I love snow and cold. It’s just that being of a certain age, I am fed up with those downer warnings on the radio about how I should conduct myself when faced with 2 feet of snow and 5-degree weather. You know the drill:
Cold air in one’s lungs mixed with excess muscle exertion is the prime cause of heart failure among middle-aged and older adults.
Translation: Geezers, save your breath to cool your soup and get some nice neighbor kid to wield that shovel.
Well, my chickens and ducks and goats and geese need food and water and reassurances that, all evidence to the contrary, death is not imminent. Not for them. Not for this kid.
I do love winter, though. Everything looks so fresh. Clean-sheet fresh and new. The evergreen trees seem to march forward out of the forest, standing guard over their bare naked brethren until their leaves come back from the dry cleaners or wherever they’ve gone.
My mallard ducks, the ones who choose to stay the winter once the pond freezes, are true winter warriors. The small flock of nine - six drakes and three females - move around the house, choosing the least windy locale, preferably close to the heated water trough and the round blue plastic kiddy sled mounded high with chicken scratch.
One drake is a holdover from two summers back, an outcast really. He wintered in the chicken coop where he was fed well and kept warm but his plumage got dull and frowsy.
No wonder the wild birds chased him off last spring. And even though, living outside on the pond, he got just as handsome as the other drakes, still they kept him at a distance.  Night after night, throughout the summer and fall he parked himself outside the coop, not wanting in, but not welcome with the wild flock wherever they got to. Then the cold and snow came.
Being a compulsive fixer, especially of critters, whether they need fixing or not, I tried for three cold nights to catch him. In the process, I named him Marty, after the old movie starring Ernest Borgnine, about a homely guy who pines for love and spends his life pretty much alone.
Well, Marty proved mighty sprightly, even taking to the air at times to avoid my clumsy grasping. Eventually, after landing face-first in a pile of snow, I gave Marty a piece of my so-called mind and gave up the effort.
Then lo, one starry night, Marty was not alone.
The smallest female mallard in the wild bunch sat next to him in the snow by the steps of the coop. He gave me that sideways, “Yo! Wassup?!” duck look as I shone the flashlight beam at him and his sweetie. She averted her eyes shyly and snuggled a titch closer to her new best friend. They’ve been an item now for a good week. Right through the blizzard.
Although in the worst of it, they took to shacking up on the deck between the house and garage. In the way of all outcasts, old Marty has grown some serious survival chops. And it looks like at least one of the wild bunch appreciates that. Plus, his plumage does fairly glow after his summer in the sun.
Time compresses in these deep winter depths. Time to really notice the critters, let alone water and feed them. I’ve hardly finished the morning chores before tuck-in time looms. Just when I have less time, everything takes more of it.
Water buckets stand in the back hall thawing. They never completely do, so a mound of ugly ice blocks is forming by the wood shed. And, instead of a simple push of a door or gate. I need a shovel most days to get into the goat corral and coop.
And even though I do love the long nights inside, after the two dogs have their last run, I put them in and wander into the dark again. If it’s a clear night, I’ll take the kick sled and do a few loops down the driveway or around the snowblown paths. Most times, I end up in the side of the garage where my three geese and retired chickens are housed in luxury amidst dozens of bales of sweet-smelling new hay.
Sitting on an old lawn chair, I wait for the geese come over, taking little nibbles on my shoelaces and at last allowing me to pick them up, one at a time, to be warmed and fussed over. Oh, they protest, but in less than a minute, a long gray neck lays languidly over one of my shoulders and one of them settles on my lap.
Imagine a goose down pillow that makes soft murmuring sounds - call me crazy, but I feel like one of the blessed of this life to be allowed this delight. I forget the shoveling, the wall of snow blocking my car, the doomsayers on the radio. And I bless the all-black wooly bear for giving us such a wonderful early Christmas gift.