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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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North Shore Health Care Foundation Update

North Shore Morning host Mark Abrahamson checks in with Valerie Marasco Eliasen, executive director of the North Shore Health Care Foundation following their April board meeting. 


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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - Apr 16

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
April 16,2021    

April days can always amaze folks in the North woods. From blizzards to blazing heat with most everything in between.                                                                                                        

This past week or so, it’s been “Mother Nature” to the rescue. In the nick of time, the old gal has been a “drought buster” with some much needed rain. Though the days have been dismal gray with cool temperatures, spirits have been raised along the Trail with a good soaking.                                                                                                                                              

Going into this weekly writing exercise, the Wildersmith rain gauge has collected over two inches since our last radio gathering. While this may not seem like much compared to other places in the country, the amounts in this neck of the woods are healthy and gratefully accepted anytime.                                                                                                                          

The heavenly liquid pretty much closed the season on remaining snow cover. Further, it got the dry creeks running into area lakes, and eased frost from the ground allowing for firming up of sloppy backcountry roads. One night of heavy downpours even did a wash-out job on the busy County Road 20 (South Gunflint Lake Road) requiring some serious maintenance work by County Crews. Those of us who travel this road frequently appreciate the quick response to fixing the overnight creek creation                                                                                       

Smaller lakes are beginning to loosen from shorelines while wetlands and swamps along the Byway had opened entirely as my last trip into the village revealed. I’m not hearing from Poplar, Seagull or Saganaga Lakes as to their ice conditions, but outside my door, the Gunflint still looks pretty solid. With more rain and warmer conditions, it would be my prediction the big ones will be open in the next week.                                                                                                                       

My ice out prediction might be considered in opposition to other components of the natural world. I crossed paths with a snow shoe hare just days ago, and this little bunny was still snow white. It stood out in stark contrast to the brown earth under its’ scampering feet.                  

Having not started the winter to summer apparel transition, one might wonder if this lagomorph knows something we don’t about weather in the coming days/weeks. Could there be one more gasp of winter on the way? Just in case, I have not put my snow shovel away, but I did have the vehicle winter wheels replaced with the summers’.                                                       

Natural world adventures in Gunflint Territory happen with almost daily regularity. There was no exception to this statement with a memorable visit from a Wildersmith neighborhood pine marten. While the weasel family kin make frequent appearances to our deck side feed trough, this stop-over was different as the lush fur ball did not eat and run as is usual. It did eat, but did so in a leisurely fashion and in an unusual manner, over an entire afternoon. The entertaining element for us observers was the contortionist abilities demonstrated by the little guy/gal.                                                                                                              

To further explain, a number of various eatery structures are available for different critters; birds, squirrels and martens. In this instance, the marten stations are not currently being outfitted with protein to reduce bear temptations. The only items available presently are sunflower seeds in the bird trays and in the squirrel lunch boxes. Upon the marten’s arrival, the seed trays had been scarfed up by other critters, leaving the lunch boxes as the only eateries.                  

An interesting side to this saga is these mini-shed like rodent feeders are less than six inch cubicles. For listeners not familiar with a marten, they are about the size of a cat, and surely have no business thinking they might get inside one of these units. If you could wad one up into a ball, it would look to be big as a Cantaloupe or maybe one of those mini-watermelons.                   

On this particular day, the hungry marten was a combination of curiosity, ingenuity and dexterity. It was not to be denied entry for lunch. In unexplainable fashion, the animal contorted its body, climbing inside the cubicle, and munched the afternoon away, occasionally sticking its head out for surveillance of impending danger.                                                                       

In twenty-two winters here, we have never seen such antics. It was a three hour, one act performance, one we might never see again.                                                                             

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, along the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, just waiting for the next chapter in a Gunflint story.



Cook County Historical Society Update

Cook County Historical Society Board President, Marja Wiinanen talks with North Shore Morning host, CJ Heithoff for this CCHS / Johnson Heritage Post update.  



Chik-Wauk prepares to open for 2021

Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center prepares to open for the 2021 season. North Shore Morning host CJ Heithoff talks with Site-Manager, Bonnie Schudy about their planned nature programs, exhibits, Covid-19 safety protocols, new staff and volunteer opportunities.   


Jess Koski

Notes from Reservation River - Jess Koski

Writer Jess Koski is a Grand Portage tribal member and dispatches his “Jessays,” from his home on the shore of Lake Superior, in Chi Oni Gaming.

Enjoy this edition of Notes from Reservation River  - "Well Worn Path".


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Backpacking 101 - April

"Backpacking 101" with Michelle Schroeder is a monthly feature on WTIP's North Shore Morning.
In this edition, Michelle talks with NSM host, Mark Abrahamson about how to navigate early Spring hiking trails, particularly with the dry conditions and elevated fire risk the Northland finds itself in this year.


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Wildersmith on the Gunflint - Apr 09

Wildersmith on the Gunflint     by     Fred Smith
April 9, 2021    

Skies have been sparkling along the Gunflint Trail on the first weekend of month four. Temps have been warming steadily after the minus two experienced at Wildersmith on April “fools” day morning. Since then, spring has swallowed a big gulp of winter since our last gathering on WTIP.                                                                                                                                              

Border country landscape still has patches of winter memories, but is now in various shades of brown. A good deal of windrowed snow remains along back country roads where the sun is shadowed by coniferous shade. It’s a good bet this too could be gone in a week or so with the rather unusual April heat.                                                                                                             

There is increasing talk of ice out on area lakes. As I keyed this weeks’ scoop last Sunday evening however, the big ice cube on Gunflint looks to be pretty tight along the shore at Wildersmith.                                                                                                                                

Remembering the last two years, Gunflint Lake ice was going out during the day of the Walleye opener on the second Saturday of May. It’s a good bet the hard water will easily be gone before months’ end at the rate things are going.                                                             

Other signs we have turned the corner are noted with pussy willow buds popping like corn in a hot pan, a couple reports of rhubarb and daffodil sprouts have been reported peeking out of the warming earth and needles of the coniferous forest are suddenly, brighter green.                   

On a cautious note, the territory went yet another week with no precipitation. And our first thunder of the spring echoed down the lake earlier in the week, but boasted more “bark than bite,” dropping a mere quarter inch of rain. We are thankful for the dampening and hopeful of more by the time this report hits the air.                                                                                          

Several days have been quite breezy and coupled with the now dry forest duff and brush, wildfire danger has many of us on edge. An example was noted in a fire that could well have been disastrous last Saturday in the southern part of the county along highway 61.                    

With ice still on, getting wildfire sprinkler systems set to go is complicated at best, so ice out soon is critical. In the meantime, since about 98% of Minnesota wildfires are ignited by careless humans, Gunflinter’s encourage any and all throughout the County to self-impose their own burning ban. We should do this in the absence of a governmental decree. There’s no need for campfires or any refuse ignition until we get wet.                                                                                   

Speaking of breezy days, a couple area fishermen had a couple get away not long ago as the trout season wound down. While it is not unusual for finnies to get away under this ice, this angling expedition is one for the books.                                                                                          

It was during the last days of March when the two ventured out on a gusty day to set-up and drill for a little jigging. They had no sooner set-up their ice houses than a gust of wind caught the units and sent them sailing off across and down the Gunflint ice. Tethering to their four wheelers was not enough as connections gave way to “Mother Nature’s ire. Luckily the shanties were not occupied.                                                                                                           

Thoughts of angling suddenly turned to search and rescue. Not knowing where the shacks would end up in the blizzard like conditions, one could only imagine where the units might be found along miles of shoreline.                                                                                                           

So the four wheeler quest began. Eventually one unit was re-possessed in a small bay about a mile across the lake. At this time it is unknown if the other shack was ever found. It will likely be retrieved at some point in time, but perhaps in the trees somewhere along the shore.                    

An interesting tidbit related the temporary fishing hut was found to be good condition after the wild ride. Propane heater/tank, tackle and bait containers and all other gear was intact.                                                                                                                                                     
So once again the fishing intent was great, and even one (fish shack) was caught, but in the end, another (shack) got away. It seems hard to escape that at least something always gets away or lost in every deep water excursion. Another fishing story for the ages!                                                

For WTIP, this is Wildersmith, along the Gunflint Trail, where every day is great, as life picks-up anew in the wild land forest.                                                                                             


Scott Oeth - Photo via Facebook

Money Matter - Scott Oeth

North Shore Morning host, CJ Heithoff talks with Scott Oeth about "mental traps" that can cost people money, or lead to poor decision making and ones that he sees as especially relevant in today's market in this edition of "Money Matters"


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Magnetic North - "Retro for Radio"

WTIP commentator, Vicki Biggs Anderson is producing a "Retro for Radio" segment of her Magnetic North feature. Vicki is selecting and reading from her columns written in the 1990's for the Cook County News Herald. 
This column was titled "My Bobbins and Tub Runneth Over".  Enjoy!


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GM Parks Board Meeting Report

Grand Marais Parks and Recreation Manager, Dave Tersteeg talked with North Shore Morning host, CJ Heithoff about the April Parks Board Meeting in this interview.