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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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West End News - March 8, 2018

West End News 3/8/18
March is here and with it some of the best skiing weather. Longer hours of sunlight, temperatures in the positive twenties instead of the negative twenties, and dedicated groomers all make for primetime ski time. Whether it’s downhill or uphill, this is the time to get out there. The sugarbush cross-country ski trails have a great packed base between 6 and 12 inches, and all the groomed trails are open and in good condition. The downhill scene is just as good. Lusten Mountains has at least 30 inches, and as much as 60 inches of snow base on all their primary runs.

Another good reason to visit Lutsen is another Family Fun Night, coming up on March 31st. Families get to take a ride on the Summit Express Gondola up to the top of Moose Mountain where they can enjoy a delicious dinner and all sorts of entertainment. There will be a magician, art projects, kids music with koo koo kanga roo, all culminating in some fireworks. Call Lutsen Mountains or hop on their website for tickets.

You can head right back to Lutsen the following morning for Lutsen Resort’s annual Easter brunch buffet. An early Easter year, on April 1st the Resort has seatings at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m.

Birch Grove’s monthly community lunch will be happening on Tuesday, March 13th at Noon. Everyone is invited to come, it’s 5 dollars for adults and 3 for kids. This is a great opportunity to have lunch with your neighbors and kiddos.

While we’re talking food, start planning ahead to attend Bluefin Bay’s 2018 Spring Food and Wine Lover’s Weekend. This year, on May 4th through the 5th the resort is partnering with Guest Chef Steven Schulz from the Toasted Frog in Fargo. Friday night is a four-course dinner with wine pairings, and Saturday features an afternoon wine tasting and a five-course dinner with wine pairings. Reservations can be made by calling the Bluefin Grille at 218-663-6200.

If you’re more of a beer than wine person, do check out Caste Danger Brewery’s season spring IPA. Dubbed the White Pine project IPA, this is a beer with a purpose, so you can feel good about drinking it. White pines were once a staple in the landscape of the North Shore, Castle Danger Brewery is working to help reinstate the white pine population here in our own backyard. Proceeds from the sales of this beer will go directly to planting targeted areas along the North Shore. The hope is that these stands will thrive for future generations to enjoy. So do the earth and the North Shore a favor and stock up on some beer.
For WTIP, I’m Clare Shirley, with the West End News.


Vicki Biggs-Anderson

Magnetic North - March 7, 2018

Magnetic North 2/18/18
Snow Follies and Pratfalls

Welcome back to Magnetic North where we who refuse to fly away in winter have many a tale to tell of how we dealt with, or were laid low by, the recent snowfall. Some say as much as two feet. Others three. There may have been those who had more, but methinks they are still tunneling out and may not be heard from for a while. If ever.
I shovel by hand to the coop and back yard where I throw hay for the goats. Snowplowing is not for this girl, so my big bully boy blower sits in the woodshed and my lightweight girlie girl worthless rig adorns the front deck. I hate them both. The firs one t because it is as hard to push through snow as a dead buffalo, and the second one because it makes a path barely big enough for a garter snake to wiggle through. 
Thankfully, not all paths need to be made by me on the farm. After the big snow last week the little herd of five goats had quite a time pushing their way through the several feet of new snow covering the 300-foot path between their barn hay feeding area.. I used to take the hay to them. Then I got hurt doing that and got smart. Goats can make paths as well or better than I can. And they don’t snap tendons in their ankles doing it either.
After about 20 minutes of standing about like statues, goat by goat, they came. First, Brownie pushed a few feet, then stopped. Then Poppy edged around her and took up the lead, adding a few more feet to the effort. My big strong wether, Bosco, much to his shame, hung back and was the fourth one to do the heavy pushing and plodding, but eventually all five were snarfing down sweet hay, having left a serpentine path behind them that no snowblower could match.
As for the chickens and ducks and geese, most are either in a chicken coop or in a part of the garage where I store hay bales. Two banty hens are in the house with the angora rabbits - don’t judge! - I have good, solid reasons for this outwardly bat crazy move, beyond the obvious one which is I can feed and tend to them without hoisting a shovel.
But that last snow was more than I could manage when it came to shoveling a path from the driveway to the coop. The sheer depth of the drifted snow brought back memories of Paul’s and my first winter with chickens, I tried snowshoeing to the coop, assuring him that he needn’t both with making a path because I would do it “the old fashion” way. 
The first time I fell --the snow was over two feet deep - was the dogs; fault, Our twin Labs, Ollie and Jubilee, were excited to see mom wearing what looked to them like big dog toys on her feet and so naturally enough bounded up behinds me and jumped on the tails of my snowshoes. After spitting out at least a cup of snow, I began the near impossible task of righting myself and finally took off both gloves and one snowshoe to do it. My shrieks and screams alerted Paul to take the dogs inside and I stamped on to the coop, triumphant in my swift progress. This is when I realized the value of thinking a plan through. I got in the ante room door alright, but upon sticking one snowshoe into the coop, all hell broke loose.
Chickens do not like surprises, and the sight of the webbed wooden monster on my foot sent them into a panic of flying and squawking, which was only heightened by the appearance of my other snowshoe. After a few minutes of standing still and removing feathers from my face and mouth, I figured it was safe to move again. I could not. My snowshoes were simply too big to allow me to turn around. So much for the old fashion way. Bless Paul’s heart, he never said a word when I asked him to snowblow the path later that day

Nowadays, when I have a treacherous or physically taxing task staring at me, I apply a simple test, something akin to thinking it through. This test applies to getting on ladders, making extra trips up and down the stairs, etc.
In the case of the path to the coop, I simply asked myself, should I shovel and risk injury thus spending months in physical therapy? or should I call for help, even if I have to pay for it?
In winter, or anytime really, erring on the side of caution is of more use than the finest parka, mukluk or machine. If I hurt myself, my critters will be in worse shape than if they have to wait a while for grub. And I will be out more than a few bucks.
That said, I still manage to burn a few calories on chores, especially when things go wrong. Frozen shut doors require salt and a crowbar. Doors that open, but not all the way because frozen goose poop is blocking it, call for the half-moon hoe judiciously and furiously applied. And a few words to the thoughtless goose as I swing the tool. Wood needs splitting, feed bags need hauling and buckets of frozen water need schlepping inside to thaw. 
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. These are the things I choose to do in winter, rather than sit on a beach or in an RV park in a warm place. As for why I would make such a choice,, one might just as well ask why I have chicken s and rabbits in my old furnace room. So I’ll just trot out the favorite spousal reply that has driven, mostly husbands, mad since time began, “If you have to ask, you simply wouldn’t understand.”
For WTIP, this is Vicki Biggs-Anderson with Magnetic North


Frank Moe

Frank Moe gives CPR to dog at CopperDog Trail Race

Hovland-based musher Frank Moe was racing in the CopperDog Trail Sled Dog Race in Michigan on March 4 when he came upon Anny Melo's team. Melo was bending over a dog that had gone into respiratory arrest. 

Moe tells CJ Heithoff about how he gave the dog CPR, which led to a happy ending.


Wildersmith (375x500).jpg

Wildersmith on the Gunflint - March 02, 2018

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by    Fred Smith       March 2, 2018 

February’s last few days saw winter finally assert itself. So if March is going to roar in like a lion, month three is going to have to go some to upstart the ending of its’ predecessor.
Speaking of March, it’s another of those “blue moon” months, so the northland will be blessed twice by “his lunar highness.” Interestingly, by months end, we will have experienced four full moons in just three months.                                                                                                                                                       
For the second weekend in a row, the liquid component of the season, which had been lacking for most of the time, came down by the scoop full. Another thirteen inches of white buried the Wildersmith neighborhood, and decorated the evergreen forest with mounds of marshmallow puffs.                                                                                                                                                                   
This brought our two week accumulation here to twenty-five inches, and our seasonal total to a more respectable seventy and one-quarter.  Although there can never be enough snow in these parts for yours truly, it has put my old body to the test. Moving the stuff was complicated by a snow plowing equipment failure. Luckily, my back-up snow thrower saved the day, or should I say two days. Even at that the snow shovel barely had time to cool down between the two storms fury.                                                                                                                                                           
Since this inland area of the Gunflint is usually on the short end of such heavy snows, I assume the usual snow zone places back down the Trail got even more. The new powder should be a thrill for folks in the snow removal business as well as CC skiers and power sledders. I visited with a neighborhood couple who indicated a snowmobile trip down the Gunflint Lake ice was a spectacular ride on waves of soft snow.                                                                                                   
With the trout derby coming on Sunday, clearing the ice roadways onto Gunflint Lake for contestant vehicular access would seem to be more difficult than in recent years. However, those Ridge Riders are experts in managing snow, so there should be no fear about things being ready. For folks planning on drilling the ice, remember, entry registration happens between nine and eleven Sunday morning. Snow or shine, it’ll be a fun day, catching or not, fishing is always great!                                                                                                                                                                       
Notice is given for another event to be held over the Gunflint Lake ice next weekend. Saturday, March 10, Gunflint Lodge is sponsoring a “Fat Bike, International Run for the Border.” The biking trek will extend through forest trails and then across the border ice into Canada and back. A Remote Area Border Crossing Permit is required, so bring yours along. Also bring your own bike or rentals are available. A short loop on the U.S. side will be available for youngsters. The event will run from 10:00am until 2:00pm. For more details, contact Gunflint Lodge at 218-388-2294.                                                                                                                                                                
Activity around WTIP is now at fever pitch. Going into this weekend, studios will be jumping as the spring fund raising campaign enters days two and three. The theme, “still the one” couldn’t be more fitting, as our family of listeners are “still the ones” who have made north shore radio what its’ become.                                                                                                                        
As the station approaches twenty years of community programming excellence,                                                                                                             the need for resources is forever, in order to sustain our broadcasting distinction. WTIP needs your continued supporting commitments more than ever before. So if you are new to our listening audience or a long-time family member now is the ,oment to step-up. Give operators a call; stop by and see us; or click and join, in the fun.                                                                                                                                                      
It’s a long ways to our goal, but as the old Orleans song lyrics remind us, “we’ve been together since way back when, and we’re still havin’ fun, you’re still the one.” WTIP is counting on all to keep great radio alive and well.                                                                                                                                                        
For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, on the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, in our winter wonderland!



Superior National Forest Update - March 2, 2018

National Forest Update – March 2, 2018.

Hi.  I’m Renee Frahm, Visitor Information Specialist, with this week’s National Forest Update, a round-up of everything that for the next two weeks may affect your visit to the Superior.

Thanks to Mother Nature, it’s a different world out there.  Is it too early to say if March will come in like a Lion or a Lamb?  We know February sure went out with a bang. In the past week and a half we have gotten anywhere from 8 to 30 inches of fresh snow from Silver Bay to the top of the Arrowhead and up the Gunflint Trail and more is expected early next week.  If you haven’t made time yet, it’s time to get those snowshoes or cross country skis out and hit the trails and enjoy what has been given to us.  My suggestion would be to stay on the trail, because it’s deep!  If you are one that likes to compete in a good old fashioned cross country ski and you missed signing up for the Birkebeiner last week, this Saturday, they are having the Sugar Tour ski challenge on the Sugarbush Ski trail system out of Tofte.  Meet at the Oberg Parking lot and they will take registration starting early Saturday morning.  The event begins at 10:00 and goes until 2:00 p.m.  They are offering a 5k, 8k, and 18k distance skis along with some other events for the whole family.  If you are one that prefers the motorized approach to winter recreation, the snowmobile trails are groomed perfectly for a nice, smooth ride.  With the warmer temperatures, you will be in for some great snowmobile trail riding.  The different trail groomers have been extra busy this last week keeping all of our trails in tip top shape.  Thank you so much!
If you are planning a winter camping trip, travel across lakes by ski’s or snowshoes is becoming more difficult with the amount of snow we have.  Being that the weather is warmer, overnight winter camping is picking up.  If you go, make sure you pay attention to leave no-trace camping techniques or stop in a Forest Service office or check out the BWCAW trip planner on the Forest Service website and get a refresher on what to do if you go.   

This week, the Forest was visited by a film crew that was taking footage of outdoor recreation sports on the Superior National Forest.  One of your friends or relatives may be highlighted in a National Forest commercial within the next year that spotlights the beautiful Superior National Forest.  A big thank you goes out to the Cook County Visitors Bureau for their help with this.   
For those of you traveling back roads, remember, reports from the locals on the Gunflint trail are that the moose are still hanging around the roadside and licking salt off the roads, so please travel with care.   There are probably more critters than the moose hanging out on the road.  If you have stepped off the beaten path, it’s tough moving around out there, and even tougher for them to jump over the big road banks to get back where they belong.  There is no need to race where you are going, take your time, drive slowly and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.   People have reported seeing boreal owls and great gray owls in the Forest and even in their yards.  This new snow will make dinnertime a challenge for them, so you may see more owls hanging around your bird feeders looking for an easy meal of mice.
Travel in the Forest should be pretty good, though as Minnesotans we all know that depends on the weather.  In years past, the road restrictions have gone on as early as mid-March, but as late as into the month of April.  Warmer temperatures will determine when restrictions are put in place.  At this time we have no idea how soon or how late they will occur, it will all depend on that big yellow thing in the sky.  We will also be springing our clocks ahead on March 11th so it won’t get dark so early. 

As for now, the roads are in good shape.   On the Tofte District there are no active timber sales, so there is no log truck traffic. There are a few places on the Gunflint where you may find logging activity and trucks.  Watch for hauling in the same places as the last few weeks on the Greenwood Road, Firebox Road, and Greenwood Lake Boat Access Road.  Also, for the next couple of weeks, there will also be hauling on the Homestead Road off of the Caribou Trail, and on the Caribou Trail itself.  The Homestead Road has a ski, bike, and snowmobile trail parking lot, so people accessing that facility should be cautious.  As always, be careful on the roads that are also snowmobile trails, like the Firebox Road.

Enjoy the winter, it sure looks like we will have it around at little while longer.  Until next time, this has been Renee Frahm with the National Forest Update. 



West End News - March 1, 2018

West End News 3/1/18

Rumor has it that the sap has started running in the West End. The syrup producers, commercial and individual, have been hard at work setting their taps in the sugar maples. For the big commercial operations, this means two full weeks of tromping through the woods, tapping thousands of trees and checking miles of lines. With so much snow this year, it’s quite the aerobic task.  Of course, that’s just the beginning of the hard work. Boiling the gallons and gallons of sap down into syrup is not for the faint of heart. After you see how much hard work goes into making that delicious liquid gold, you’ll come to judge people by how much they leave behind on their plate.

Mark your calendars for March 16 through the 19th for this years annual DuLutsen music and ski festival in Lusten. Sponsored by The Current and Bent Paddle Brewing this years North of North celebration will feature the likes of the Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank, Two Many Banjos, and Charlie Parr, among others. DuLutsen celebrates the convergence of the vibrant North Shore music scene with the talented artists from Duluth. It’s a great way to shake off that cabin fever!

This year marks the 20th anniversary of our beloved WTIP radio station. To kick off the membership drives we have Still the One this week. I grew up with WTIP everywhere in my life. It was in our house, in our business, in the car. I took it for granted that having local voices delivering everything from music to news to sports broadcasting was something that everyone must have. When I moved away from home, I soon learned, this is in fact NOT something you can find just anywhere.

When I moved back to Cook County I was happy to hear even more local programming making its way onto WTIP’s airwaves. Even more personally, WTIP has given me the opportunity to carry on my grandpa Frank’s West End News. It’s a weekly reminder for me of all the good he did for his community.

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. One of my favorite parts of WTIP is the archived West End News’s on their website. There, I can find a treasure trove of my grandpa’s voice talking about news, history, and, of course, telling stories. Not only is WTIP enriching our daily lives, they are creating a living record of our county’s voices.
Of course, they can only do this because of those same voices who also show their support for the station by becoming members. This station is truly by the people for the people. If you’d like to join the community, it’s easy, just give them a call or drop by the station this week, everyone is welcome.

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


March 1 Sky.jpg

Northern Sky: March 3-16, 2018

Northern Sky -  March 3-16 2018

During the first half of March, the moon wanes away to the thinnest of crescents and then to a new moon on the morning of the 17th. In the process, the moon moves across the morning sky and gives us more moon-free time to enjoy the evening sky. 
These days we can see Venus and Mercury together above the sunset horizon. Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, and so it never appears very far from the sun, and the sun’s glare often makes it hard to catch Mercury. To see Mercury and Venus, look low in the west shortly after sunset—maybe 30 minutes after. Venus is by far the brighter planet, so it's easy to tell the two apart. Mercury climbs up and passes closest to Venus on the 3rd, when the planets will be about two moon widths apart. Mercury gets higher until the 15th, when it will be at its greatest angular distance from the sun, and then it rapidly falls into the sunset. Whenever Mercury or Venus falls into a setting sun, that's the beginning of the planet’s next trip between Earth and the sun. When it emerges from that trip it reappears in the morning sky.
Mercury was, of course, the messenger of the gods. And it's easy to see how it got that name. From our point of view, it's always racing back and forth between the evening and morning sky, never sticking around for very long. As for Venus, right now it’s also climbing in the evening twilight, but slowly, and it will stick around for several more months.
If you're out after the sky gets good and dark, enjoy the bright winter stars in the south and southwest. Next month they'll begin setting in the early evening.
In the morning sky, the predawn sky, we have the three outer planets that are visible to the naked eye lined up in the southeast and south. From left to right they are Saturn, Mars and Jupiter. Between Mars and Jupiter is Antares, a gigantic red star that marks the heart of Scorpius. But the real star of the show is Mars. If you can get out and watch every day, or every other day, you can see it moving eastward against the background of stars, away from Antares and Jupiter, and toward Saturn.
Starting on the 7th, that waning moon I mentioned comes in handy for telling all these objects apart. As it wanes, the moon sweeps from east to west across the morning sky. On the 7th, the moon is close to Jupiter. On the 8th, it appears above Antares. On the 9th, it's approaching Mars, and on the 10th, it's passed Mars and sits between Mars and Saturn. And on the 11th it has passed Saturn and appears near the bowl of the Teaspoon, which is a curved line of stars above the handle of the Teapot of Sagittarius. Over the next few mornings, the moon will be thinner and closer to the sun, and that may make it an even nicer companion to the planets and stars.
The Summer Triangle of bright stars is also up, high in the east, before dawn. And high in the south to southwest is Arcturus, the brightest star in Bootes, the herdsman, a lovely kite-shaped constellation.
With the moon mostly absent from the early evening sky, we have another chance to find the elusive zodiacal light an hour or so after sunset. It appears as a faint finger of light pointing up along the sun's path. The zodiacal light is the result of sunlight reflecting off dust in the plane of the solar system.



TXT4LIFE - Meghann Levitt

Meghann Levitt is the Northeast Minnesota TXT4LIFE Coordinator.
She talked with Julie Carlson on North Shore Morning about the TXT4LIFE program.



West End News - February 22

West End News 2/22/18

The recent winter storm has breathed some life into the mid-winter in the West End. If you haven’t been on the slopes at Lutsen Mountains in a while, now is the time to go! Lutsen got hit with about 13 inches of snow in the last storm and they know how to make the best of it. The snowmobile trails are also in excellent shape. The Lutsen Trailbreakers Snowmobile Club is hosting its third annual vintage snowmobile ride at Cascade Lodge on Saturday, February 24. Registration starts at 10 am and the ride begins at 12. It’s $10 per sled for the 20 mile trail ride with prizes for best-of-show and both the winner and loser of the fun run.

The cross-country ski trails are also in prime condition. On Saturday, March Third the Sugarbush Trail Association is hosting the Sugar Tour. From 10 am to 2 pm at the Oberg Mountain Trailhead in Tofte, there will be fun non-competitive ski routes set up with activities and personal challenges. Adults and children can choose a loop of 5, 8 or 18K. There will, of course, be treats and hot chocolate waiting for you back at the trailhead.

With March peaking over our shoulders, it’s time to start gearing up for the annual St Urho’s Day bash in Finland. Featuring a parade, music, and general merriment, St. Urho’s is a great excuse to go explore our neighbors to the west. The Clair Nelson community center has put out a call for vendors for the Urho’s day craft fair. It will be held on March 17th from 8 am to 3 pm and vendors can rent an 8foot display space for $20. If you’re interested in selling, call them at 218-353-0300 to reserve your spot.

There is also a Clair Nelson vocational scholarship available for anyone about to start a 2-year vocational program. The deadline to apply is March 1st so you still have a few days if you’re heading to vocational school and could use some extra help, check out friends of finland dot org to apply.

 Coming up on March 8th Bill Blackwell, Jr. will be leading a Social Justice Conference in Grand Marais. This talk is aimed at preparing parents and the community to continue the conversation around race, identity, and culture. The talk is free and begins at 6:30 at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts. I know, personally, that it is difficult to motivate yourself out the door and all the way into town on a Thursday evening. If you have kids in the school system here or have an interest in how our community handles these conversations, then you should make the effort to be there.

Bill Blackwell Jr is a member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the executive director of the American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji State University and a graduate of Cook County High School. Recently, he has been the recipient of the Distinguished Diversity Leadership Award from the Minnesota state colleges and university’s academic and student affairs division and the Martin Luther King Commitment to Service Award.

Conversations surrounding race, identity and culture are important to have across our county. I hope to see many of us come together for this important step in moving that conversation forward.
 For WTIP, I’m Clare Shirley, with the West End News.



"Saving Snow" Film Screening

Staci Drouillard talks about the film "Saving Snow" that documents the economic and cultural changes to our northern winters.  She also explains Cook County Local Energy Project's involvement in bringing the film to our area.