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North Shore News Hour

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  • Monday 12-1pm
  • Monday 5-6pm
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News

The North Shore News Hour includes up-to-the minute weather, North Shore happenings in local news, sports and entertainment, as well as a variety of features from WTIP staff and volunteers. If you miss the North Shore News Hour at noon, tune in for a replay Monday through Thursday beginning at 5:00 p.m.


What's On:

Sunny's Back Yard: Early summer in the Superior highlands

Sunny has lived off-grid in rural Lake County for the past 18 years and is a regular commentator on WTIP. Here she talks about what's been happening in Sunny's Back Yard, and shares her love of early summer bird calls.

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Gus' Wild Side: Thoughts on nature and modern life

In this edition of Gus' Wild Side, we'll hear Gus' thoughts on the natural world....and the possible costs of modern life.

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.

Photo courtesy of Robert Breckenridge on Flickr

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Northern Sky: July 8 - 21

Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota. She authors the Minnesota Starwatch column, and contributes to WTIP bi-weekly with "Northern Sky," where she shares what's happening with stars, planets and more.

Photo courtesy of Matthew Prosser on Flickr

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Fred Smith, Wildersmith on the Gunflint, on the grill at the WTIP summer pledge drive

Wildersmith: July 7

It’s hard to fathom, but the universe is into the second half of year 2017. This weekend confirms such in Gunflint territory with Aabito-Niibino Giizis, the Ojibwe “half-way” full moon early Sunday morning.  
                                                                                                                                                       
Also known by the Algonquin as the “full buck” moon, this lunar experience kicks summer into full gear although some express opinion summer begins waning after Independence Day.                                                                                                                                                                    

Nevertheless, sunny days are here again! Out this way, we finally got out of the rainy weekend rut that had many residents and business folks gloomy for most of June. Temps have remained near perfect recently for us critters who have affection for natural air conditioning. We can only hope like conditions hang on through the next 60 days, getting us into early autumn.                                                                                                                                                                                           

The abundance of moisture in the last 30 days has sure raised lake levels. Here at the Wildersmith dock, the DNR lake level gauge shows a rise of a good eight inches on the Gunflint since Memorial Day weekend.  The added precipitation and cool clouds have kept the water temp in the low 60ss at this locale as my scoop comes your way.                                                                                    

Confirming summer is full speed ahead, the WTIP “Summer of Love” membership canvas is into overdrive as I speak.  I hope everyone listening will show their love for this broadcast gem of the north, by stepping up with another renewal of support, and further encourage new members to join the WTIP family.                                                                                                                                                               

In these times of questionable continuing governmental support for our community radio, it is critical for those who cherish our communication endeavor to stand tall and not waver. WTIP needs you! Call or click and join now!  

As the territory rolls into month seven, week two, Gunflint Trail Historical Society members, Trail residents and visitors are reminded of the second summer meeting for the Society. This gathering will be held on Monday, the 10th in the Seagull Lake Community Center, beginning at 1:30 p.m.                                                                                                                                                         

After the usual business meeting, the program feature is our remembrance tribute to family, friends and neighbors who have passed from our midst during the past year. This celebration of their lives closes another chapter in ongoing Gunflint Trail History. All are invited to be there and share in looking back on how these folks played a part in the Gunflint of today. Sweet treats, coffee and conversation will follow.  

Forest enhancement continues, and times are intriguing as “Mother Nature” extends her hand at growing things. New flowering items are waiting in the wings.  And I’m captured by how quickly the candles of new growth that appeared just a couple weeks ago, have suddenly become almost full-fledged branches in the coniferous forest.                                                                                        

Sweetness is coming on too as fruits of the forest begin to ripen. Wild strawberries have been picked in this yard and a fellow up the Trail tells of picking his first blueberry. So pickers get ready, including you bears. Life is always a joy watching woodsy rituals come and go.   

Not only is border country flora busy doing its thing, so too are forest animals, all in the interest of survival. I’ve had a couple reports of beaver activity on and along the Trail. “Beaver and Beaver Builders” must be in the process of upgrading lodge facilities in a pond location south of the Laurentian Divide.                                                                                                                                                   

Apparently construction materials in their immediate locale have become scarce as they were recently observed dragging new timber cuttings across the Trail black top. Then again, the fresh aspen trimmings could have been for the food shelf. Whatever the mission, their work ethic is tenacious.                                                                                                                                                                           

Another recent account came from a couple of Iowa fishermen who were thrilled at the sighting of an osprey over on Hungry Jack Lake. The excitement of observing such was the birds’ fish catching skill.    

I’m told they saw the exercise in avian angling sequence, from its location high in the sky to the jet-like approach, the splash down entry, the catch, and then lift off, in search for a dry dining location. I don’t know of their finny catching success that day, but the fellows sure caught a neat glimpse of life on a north country lake.  

Once again, don’t forget the “Summer of Love,” call now at 218-387-1070 or 1-800-473-9847; or click and join at WTIP.org ; or stop by the studios at 1720 West Highway 61 to pledge a little love for our Community Radio.                                                      

For WTIP, this is Fred Smith, on the Trail at Wildersmith, where every day is great, charged with the touch of wilderness spirit!
 

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Superior National Forest Update: July 7

The Superior National Forest Update helps you keep up to date with Forest activities that you might encounter while driving, boating, or hiking in the Superior National Forest’s Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts. It includes road and fire conditions, logging and other truck activities, as well as naturalist programs and special events.  

This week's update features Steve Robertsen.

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Tofte Trek

West End News: July 6

Clare Shirley owns and runs Sawbill Canoe Outfitters at the end of the Sawbill Trail in Tofte with her husband Dan. Clare was born in Grand Marais and grew up in Tofte. Clare is a third-generation Outfitter, and third-generation West End News writer. Clare follows in the footsteps of her father and grandfather, Bill and Frank Hansen, long time West End News columnists.

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Recent rains have brought out an abundance of wild flowers

Wildersmith on the Gunflint: June 30

Rain on the Gunflint! It’s another weekend washout as Trail news spews from my keyboard. However, since “water is life,"  life is just swell out this way.                                                                 

Territory streams and rivers are gushing, lakes are rising and wildfire danger remains subdued. Our most precious natural resource has cascaded from the heavens for the second straight week, thus, kicking off month seven on a wet note.                                                                               
Along with soggy conditions, temps have been cool, much to the chagrin of early season vacationers, but have me and the moose smiling. On another note, it’s a good bet, but bad news, mosquitoes will find the abundance of new standing water to their re-productive delight.     

While rivers are roaring with liquid, on the few sunny days we’ve had during the past seven, our Scenic Byway ditches are running what looks like “rivers of gold.” Canadian hawkweed, buttercups and other blooms of yellow have intensified into a flowing mirage of ground level sunshine. About the only thing interrupting the waves of golden hue are patches of orange hawkweed cousins, daisies and invasive lupine. It’s summer complexion at its best!                                                                                                                                                                                
Speaking of things wet, I can’t help but recommend reading The Nature Conservancy summer edition. This periodical delves into “rethinking water on a thirsty planet.”  I found several articles vexing in consideration of humans taking our most critical resource for granted through greedy, wasteful practices.  There’s a lot of bad stuff going on!    

The overall magazine theme concerns our misuse/management of this life sustaining element. The subject matter is even more disturbing when I read of state and federal government representatives putting the quality of northland clean water in jeopardy for the benefit of big money investors and a select segment of voters, in order to get re-elected.                                                      
Then again, isn’t what a lot of things, elected officials do, about ego fulfillment in concert with extending lifetime careers as self-anointed “servants” all on the public's tab?                  

Enough “soap boxing”, this Nature Conservancy reading is good stuff, cover to cover, with implications for all area folk and WTIP website readers/listeners who cherish our land of pristine waters. It sure can catch one’s attention!                                                                                                                                                                                  
he Northshore Health Care Foundation (NSHCF) held its’ annual fundraising barbeque this past Sunday at Gunflint Lodge. I’m told it was the best turnout in history of the event. Congrats to the NSHCF organizers, the Gunflint Lodge staff and all who braved the heavenly deluge for a fine gathering and a worthy cause.                                                                                                                                     
As the calendar turns to July this weekend, the Gunflint Trail Historical Society is inviting all to an open house at Chik-Wauk this coming Sunday. The event is being held in recognition of the Ham Lake fire 10th anniversary, and to formally show off the museum's summer exhibit of the historical tragedy. Special guests from the US Forest Service will be stationed near the display to talk about and answer questions in regard to yet another chapter in Gunflint Trail history. Cake and refreshments will be served from 11:00 a.m. until 4 p.m. on the nature center patio.                                                        
Planning for the 40th Gunflint Trail Canoe Races has been going on behind the scenes for several months. The July 19 date is now in sight, and its full speed ahead to have all components ready.                                                                                                                                                                 

This big community happening needs the help of about 100 volunteers so if area folks haven’t signed up yet, get on the phone with Chair Arden Byers ASAP at 388-9475.                                    

Kayak and general raffle tickets are on sale at Trail Center Restaurant, Chik-Wauk Museum and several businesses along the Trail. There are several ticket selling slots open for sales at Trail Center on various dates starting today and running until just before the 19th, so give Arden a call and lend a hand! All proceeds go to support the GTVFD and RESCUE squad, so WE NEED YOU!                                                                                                                                                            

Friends down the road report the momma bear and her quadruplets are back hanging out. The recent visit comes two weeks after they were dispatched following several hours of turmoil in the tree tops by a pair of the young’uns. This time all four of the fluffy varmints displayed tree climbing skills, however they were more easily coaxed down when resident warnings were issued.                                                                                                                          

As the “dog days” of summer approach, here’s hoping everyone has a safe and sane national birthday celebration. Happy Fourth of July…and don’t forget, WTIP’s “Summer of Love” membership drive is coming next week too!                                                                                                                                                

For WTIP, this is Fred Smith on the Trail at Wildersmith, where every day is great, as “Mother Nature” beckons for our heavenly and earthly stewardship!
 
 

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Superior National Forest Update: June 30

Hi. I’m Cathy Peterson, administrative support assistant in Tofte, 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 July 1, here’s what’s up out there.

July 4th is here already, and with it comes the annual message about fireworks on the Forest. That message is “No, None, Never.” Fireworks are prohibited everywhere on the National Forest, including gravel pits and over lakes. This includes all types of fireworks. Please don’t release any of the popular fire balloons either. These are plastic bags with a candle which work like hot air balloons. While pretty, they are both a source of litter and wildfire ignition, so just say no. You don’t have to be without fireworks though. There are great fireworks shows in Grand Marais, Tofte, and Silver Bay, so grab a lawn chair and head to town for the 4th. 

While we’re on the subject of safety, it is also the time of year to be reminded of water safety. Almost every year, there seems to be drownings or near drownings in our local rivers around the 4th of July. River swimming is always dangerous to some degree, and with the high water from rain, it is particularly dangerous this year. Moving water is powerful, and even a slow-moving river can push a strong swimmer off their feet and into faster water from which there is no escape. Many drownings involve at least two people - the original swimmer and the person who tried to rescue them. Even if you feel confident risking your life, realize that you are also risking the lives of the people who will try to save you. If you do get caught in an undertow going into Lake Superior, or you’re caught in a hydraulic which pulls you under below a waterfall, the correct thing to do is to head for the bottom. Swim along the bottom parallel to the shore for an undertow, or away from the falls for a hydraulic. But, it is best to avoid the problem in the first place and swim only in approved areas.

If you are heading into the Forest this July 4th, there is some logging activity. On Tofte, there will be hauling on the Trapper’s Lake Rd, Lake County 705, Cook County 33, the Sawbill Trail, and The Grade. On Gunflint District, hauling is taking place on Greenwood Road, Firebox Road, the Gunflint Trail, Forest Road 1385, and the Trestle Pine Road.

With the rain, there’s not much in fire news. Some of our fire people are headed out west to help with wildfires there, and we wish them success in controlling those fires. 

While our fire crews are helping in the west, our recreation shop has had a lot of help clearing trails from the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa. Take advantage of our renewed hiking opportunities and go for a walk this week. If you notice any blocked trails, make sure to report them to our offices so we can take care of them while we have our extra summer help.
If you are more in the mood to sit by a fire instead of hiking, our naturalist programs are in full swing with two presentations every night from Tuesday to Saturday. You can enjoy a campfire, check out a resort that you may never have visited, and learn a little about our natural history. These programs happen rain or shine with an indoor location during the rain, so it is a good rainy day activity for camping families looking to dry off for a while. The complete schedule can be found on our website.

Have a great 4th of July! There isn’t a better place to celebrate a national holiday than on a national forest. Public land is part of what makes America a wonderful country, so celebrate America’s birthday on the Superior – three million acres of forest owned by all Americans.

Until next week, this has been Cathy Peterson with the National Forest Update.
 

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LSProject/Logo by Lauryl Loberg

LSProject: Mons Hanson - The life and death of a Hovland pioneer

In the early 1900s, many Scandinavian immigrants settled along the North Shore of Lake Superior.

In this edition of The Lake Superior Project, WTIP's Martha Marnocha tells the story of a Norwegian immigrant named Mons Hanson who homesteaded in the Hovland area.

See slideshow for more photos of Mons Hanson. 

Special thanks to Virginia and Duane Johnson, Judy Falc, and the Cook County Historical Society for their contributions to this feature. Photos of Mons Hanson courtesy of the Historical Society.

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Moon, with the constellation Auriga

Northern Sky: June 24 - July 7

Deane Morrison is a science writer at the University of Minnesota. She authors the Minnesota Starwatch column, and contributes to WTIP bi-weekly on the Monday North Shore Morning program through "Northern Sky," where she shares what's happening with stars, planets and more.

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