Thursday, December 27, 2007

Aaron's take on Iron Range politics, pt. 2


originally posted at MNBlue.com and Aaron Brown's blog...this is the 2nd in a series about the political climate on the Iron Range of Minnesota.

How to win the Iron Range

Last week I talked about how Range politics centers on personal relationships. The region blends social conservatism with economic liberalism to create a unique environment that plays a big role in state politics and a bigger role in state DFL politics. Though the only Iron Ranger to hold statewide office was Gov. Rudy Perpich, the region has influenced the path of every Democrat and/or Farmer-Laborite elected to statewide office in Minnesota since Floyd B. Olson. But like the statewide DFL, any path to victory must include coalition building.

There are three big factions that make up the DFL’s majority coalition on the Iron Range. This configuration might also apply to many other parts of Minnesota (and the nation, for that matter) but I am focusing on the Range because I’ve run campaigns here. Apply this to your neighborhood how you see fit.

LABOR
Most people associate the Range with labor for good reason. The labor movement has its roots here. I don’t just mean Minnesota’s labor movement. I mean THE LABOR MOVEMENT. There were Wobblies and red flags in the streets here in 1907.

Today’s labor faction on the Range includes old powers like the Steelworkers, Teamsters and all the building trades, but increasingly the word “labor” on the Range refers equally to professional and service workers like AFSCME and Education Minnesota. They usually endorse and work for the same candidate in a primary (notable exception: the Steelworkers and AFSCME on the Iron Range are currently split between Al Franken and Mike Ciresi, respectively, for U.S. Senate).

Labor also represents a steady, though not enormous, source of political financing for local candidates and parties.

PROGRESSIVES
The current progressive voters on the Iron Range are strongly motivated by the Iraq war issue, but they’ve been around a lot longer than that. In fact, this faction has existed since the beginning of the Range and was in the 1910s and ‘20s an offshoot of the Republican Party. They are moralistic, pro-environment and generally refuse to compromise with those in power on issues important to them. Today they vote DFL (and sometimes Independence or Green). For example, Becky Lourey’s gubernatorial campaign in 2006 drew much of its strength from 8th CD progressives. This group fights with the Iron Range legislative delegation all the time, usually behind closed doors but sometimes out front. (Conservative DFL State Rep. David Dill’s 2002 and 2004 primary challenger Bill Hansen was DFL endorsed, due in large part to progressive activists … but Hansen lost both times … more on that later).

Like labor, the progressives are good at making things happen during a campaign but unlike labor they won’t work for candidates they don’t love. Similarly, progressives can raise lots of money if they really like a candidate but raise nothing for those they don’t like.

OPINION LEADERS
Past and present state legislators, party leaders, mayors, city councilors and county commissioners, and – increasingly – lobbyists, consultants and developers. Add to that newspaper editors/publishers, prominent citizens and anyone else who holds more sway on the street than Joe or Jane Ranger. I’d include bloggers if I weren’t the only political blogger I know of on the Iron Range and if my blog got more than 200 hits a week. In the old days, this collection of people would get together and form what we used to call a political machine. There are vestigial remainders of “machine” politics on the Range, but by and large this group is neither unified nor organized. When they DO get together on a candidate or issue, they can sometimes overrule the will of the labor and progressive factions within the DFL (That’s how David Dill beat Bill Hansen twice). However, when they are divided, a unified labor and progressive coalition can beat the conventional wisdom. That’s how State Rep. Tom Anzelc beat Bob Anderson in the 2006 DFL primary for District 3A even though Anderson had the same last name and is related to outgoing State Rep. Irv Anderson. (I ran Tom’s campaign).

Opinion Leaders hold a bit more sway than any other faction because opinion leaders often control the greatest amount of public influence and campaign funding, the latter disproportionately influenced by the aforementioned lobbyists, consultants and developers.

Oh, and Opinion Leaders are not necessarily Democrats. They only trend that way because of the power structure on the Range.

The Republicans have their factions as well.

SOCIAL/RELIGIOUS CONSERVATIVES
This is the core of the Republican Party on the Iron Range (and the entire 8th Congressional District, for that matter). Deeply pro-life and anti-gay marriage, this group also rivals labor unions in their ability to organize. Unlike labor, their numbers grow each year – even on the Iron Range. I think there’s a ceiling on that, but it’s worth noting.

BUSINESS LEADERS
Business owners, bank managers, stock brokers and others like them have trended Republican since the beginning of the Iron Range. When all the immigrant laborers couldn’t vote – in the 1900s and ‘10s, the Iron Range was a Republican bastion. The last Republican elected in the core of the Iron Range was the late former State Rep. Carl D’Aquila, a Hibbing businessman, who served in the 1950s. Unlike social conservatives, business leaders will cross over to the DFL if the Democrat is more moderate (especially in local races).

LIBERTARIAN/GUN RIGHTS
Democrat or Republican, a NRA endorsement will move 10 and sometimes 20 points in your favor in the general election. Gun rights are a major issue here. The rural edges of the Iron Range – the places where I grew up and currently live – hold a disproportionate number of “libertarian” style voters who distrust government, oppose gun control and vote accordingly. They will vote for gun rights DFLers, but seldom vote for the Democrat in a presidential election.

As I said last time, by the numbers the Iron Range is a solid but improbable DFL stronghold. However, like another Democratic stronghold – the South of the early- to mid-20th Century –the Iron Range elects conservatives and liberals same as anywhere else. We just do all our campaigning in the primary. Business Leaders and libertarians will cross over under the right circumstances, which is why guys like House Majority Leader Tony Sertich will sometimes outperform the DFL’s statewide ticket by 10 or 15 points.

I’ll continue this series in a few days with a piece about the challenges of keeping the positive aspects of Range political tradition while modernizing the parts that no longer work (or never worked). No easy task. One commenter posted that my analysis glosses over the Iron Range’s “cult of personality” that overshadows issues and genuine progress. There’s something to that. I’ll explain.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Aaron Brown blogs about the Iron Range

You might recognize Aaron Brown from his weekly essays on KAXE's Saturday morning program Between You and Me or his contributions to the Morning Show.

Aaron is a man of many hats and along with being a father of 3 under 3 he is an instructor at
Hibbing Community College, a columnist with the Hibbing Daily Tribune, a blogger who is involved in DFL Iron Range politics and a writer. You can find more on him on his introduction from his new postings on MNBlue.com. MNBlue.com is described as: providing analysis of, coverage of and snark about Minnesota politics.

Aaron is writing a series of postings about the political culture of the Iron Range on
MNBlue.com - check it out:

The Range: where "poli sci" is some kind of ethnic dish and potica is political
Submitted by
Minnesota Brown on December 15, 2007 - 12:07pm.
This is the first part of a series of cross-posts about Iron Range political culture for MNBlue.com and the MinnesotaBrown blog.

The first thing you have to know about the Iron Range is that you need to cast aside the conventional wisdom on "rural vs. urban" political trends. The Range is often considered to be a rural area by those who haven't spent much time here. But in truth the Iron Range is an industrial area, larger than Duluth but spread out over a long string of small- to medium-sized mining towns. A local college history instructor, Pam Brunfelt, first explained this analysis to me and it's the best I've encountered. These towns operate much the way neighborhoods function in a large city but the geographic isolation has preserved the kind of rivalry that most cities escape after their first few decades.

At the same time, parts of the Iron Range -- such as the part where I now live in Itasca County and the part where I grew up near Cherry -- are classically rural. But in all cases you can't make the assumption that rural areas naturally break to conservative trends and urban areas naturally skew liberal. For instance, my home township -- Balsam -- tilted just slightly for George W. Bush in 2004 and is home to a strong evangelical Christian community like what you'd expect in a "red" precinct. But state DFLers, because of tradition and personal connections, still do very well here. And then my native Cherry -- which is one of the few legitimate farming communities on the Range -- is solidly liberal (and was home to many socialists at the beginning of the 20th Century, including famous communist Gus Hall).


The cities of the Iron Range are mostly 3-1 DFL towns. Places like Chisholm and Keewatin run about 80 percent DFL in local races. Some of the larger towns -- especially Hibbing, which is the mine managers used to live and control politics back in the pre-WWII era -- have larger communities of Republicans, but the vote totals still tilt 2-1 DFL. In all cases, local DFL candidates run about 10-20 percent better than statewide DFL candidates.

Why? The first rule of Iron Range politics is the importance of personal relationships and sincerity. Traditional modern politicking -- the kind you see from Hillary Clinton or Mitt Romney at the national level -- don't jive around here. The Range is (generally though not exclusively) socially conservative and economically liberal. I know several pro-lifers whose opinion on taxes and spending would be considered socialist in the suburbs.

People often wonder why Paul Wellstone did better on the Iron Range than anywhere else when his politics ran slightly to the left of most Rangers. The reason is because the Range will forgive political differences if people perceive the politician's motives as sincere and if the candidate visits often and listens well. So Wellstone thrived here while others have not.

You have to know people, the ara and the history. Political conversations don't begin with "Do you support the Whatsit Bill?" They begin with "I was talking to Eddie Skavich the other day ... ya, he's Bobby's brother ... no they never did find Bobby's thumb ... ya, they found the finger. That was in Buhl ... so ya, are you for the Whatsit?" Now, if you are good at the personal touch, it matters much less if you are for or against the Whatsit bill. Wellstone was a master at this. All the good local pols were born for this stuff.

In future posts I'll talk about the factions that make up the DFL and Republican political spectrum on the Range.
~ MinnesotaBrown




Friday, December 21, 2007

Chef Billy's recommendations for Sarah

Today we talked with our buddy Chef Billy from Cooking Light magazine. Sarah from Grand Rapids called in to ask how she could spice up the sloppy joes she'd be serving on Christmas. He had some great ideas!

1. Instead of using ground beef, use some stew meat, or cubed meat for a chunkier, more rustic concoction. Throw it into the crockpot with onions and tomato sauce/ketchup and herbs of your liking. Use a little extra sauce than you normally would to cook the cubed meat more...

2. Add some corn and/or black beans before you are ready to serve. Not too much - it's a sloppy joe, not a chili.

3. Instead of potato chips try roasted parmesan potatoes. Billy said to NOT wash the potatoes and cut them into wedges. Throw them into a bowl with a little oil (olive or your choosing) garlic powder, pepper and parmesan cheese (salt isn't needed because of the parmesan cheese). Toss these all together and then line them up, point side up, on a cookie sheet with parchment paper - all separated and not touching each other. Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown. If you want them crispy he said about 4 minutes longer after they are golden brown.


4. Do the same thing with cauliflower. Cut up your caulifower and toss with oil, garlic powder and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees and add the parmesan cheese AFTER they are golden brown and out of the oven. (Be careful when opening the oven door Billy said, there will be lots of steam!


Billy also had some recommendations for appetizers during the holidays. He said that pigs in a blanket are the most popular appetizer. Or cows in a blanket, your choice... He suggested getting some really good hot dogs, some puff pastry from the freezer section... wrap a hot dog once with the puff pastry and seal it with a little egg wash. Bake and serve with mustard.


Billy's best advice for ANY cooking around the holidays - DON'T COOK STUFF THAT YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO! KEEP IT SIMPLE!


Chef Billy also gave us a little sneak peak into cooking trends for 2008 - he said it's the year of the meatball. EVERYONE LOVES MEATBALLS. Or non-meat vegetarian alternative balls. mmm.....meatballs.....
what are you making for the holidays?

Ganabaj Wii-zoogipon

The Ojibwemowin weather phrases for us this weekend are:

"Ningwakwad"
it's cloudy
"Ganabaj wii-zoogipan"
it might snow
Leslie Harper (Saagajiwe) used this phrase in her Ojibwemowin weather forecast this week.
"Aaniin" is a very useful word. It's often used as a greeting around Leech Lake, but can also ask what, how, why or where depending on the context.


"Aaniin ezhiwebak agwajiing noongom?"
What's the weather today?

"Ningwakwad. Ganabaj wii-zoogipon"
It's cloudy. It might snow.


Our language lessons will continue Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:35 on 91.7 KAXE's Morning Show.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tune in for the Northern Cheapskate

Christina Brown is a KAXE member who is a mom of 3 boys under 3.

Yes, that means 3 diapers in use at all times in the Brown household.

Christina has made it her mission to find every deal she can out there and live a debt free life with she and her family in the woods of Northern Minnesota. She's started blogging about it - check out Northern Cheapskate - and tune in Monday mornings at 6:50 for the radio version of Northern Cheapskate.
Christina helps us take a look at what we are spending, and with a little extra effort, how we can save a little.

Give us your 2 cents about how YOU have learned to save a buck or two in Northern Minnesota.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

John and Harry's Phenology notes for Tuesday, December 18th


The Winter Solstice arrives this Friday. The sun sets about the same time this week. After this Friday, the 21st, the sun will begin to set a little later later each day. At first we only gain a few more seconds of daylight because the sun will continue to rise a little later each day until around January 1st. After that, the sun rises a little earlier and sets a little later each day until the Summer Solstice in June.

You can find more information about the solstice and other heavenly topics at the Earth and Sky web site and listen to Earth and Sky every weekday morning at 6:06 and 8:06.




Harry's top picks for birding field guides are the Sibley Guide for Birds of North America, the Fifth Edition of the National Geographic Field Guide for Birds of North America, and the large print edition of Peterson's Field Guide for Birds of Eastern North America for someone who has trouble with the small print in the regular field guides.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ojibwemowin: Gichi-noo-din!


We've made some new friends on the morning show. Leslie Harper and Adrian Liberty are teachers at the Nigaane Bug-O-Nay Ge Shig Language Immersion School between Cass lake and Bena. They are eager to bring the language and culture of the Aniishinaabe to the airwaves. For those of us who don't speak Ojibwe, they will give us some insights into the language and teach us a few words and phrases. We'll post the language lessons on our web site. Look for audio highlights at the bottom of KAXE's web site.


Last Monday (12/10) and Thursday (12/13) on the morning show, Leslie (Saagajiwe) did our weather forecast in Ojibwe and gave us a brief lesson in Ojibwemowin. Thursday it was very windy, and the phrase for the day was "gichi-noo-din" - it's windy.


We are looking forward to more visits with Leslie and some of the students and elders in the Nigaane program. In addition, we are working with some of the faculty at Leech Lake Tribal College to do other features related to the language and culture of the Aniishinaabe.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas book suggestions from Heidi

It's hard for me to choose just a few books, but here are some Minnesota books that really stand out from the last year or two of interviews/reviews that might be good for gifts this holiday season.

Travel books:
Catherine Watson's books are wonderful - she is the former travel editor of the Star Tribune and has collected her essays in two volumes "Roads Less Traveled" and "Home on the Road". Her writing is like sneaking into her suitcase and joining the trip.

Minnesota/Midwest history:
Barns 0f Minnesota by photographer Doug Ohman and story by Will Weaver. This is more than just a coffeetable book, this is a great story accompanied by amazing photos that chronicle our state and our vanishing barns. His other books "Cabins of Minnesota" "Courthouses of Minnesota" "Churches of Minnesota" and "Schoolhouses of Minnesota" are wonderful as well.

900 Miles from Nowhere: Voices from the Homestead Frontier by Steven R. Kinsella. It's the chronicle, through photos, diaries and letters, of the people who came to the Midwest for a better life.

Sweetland - this is the independent film based on Will Weaver's short story "A Gravestone Made of Wheat". If you haven't seen it, run - don't walk - to the store for a copy. I just took the time to watch the extras and I fell in love with it all over again. The rerelease of Will's short story (along with others) is good too.



Non-Fiction:

Broken by William Cope Moyers. William is the son of veteran journalist Bill Moyers and the vice president of External Affairs at Hazelden Foundation in Minnesota. Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption is gritty and honestly shows the allure of addiction.

The Dog Says How by Kevin Kling. It's a collection of his stories heard on NPR's All Things Considered. Kevin tells a story like no one else can - with a Minnesota twist.


Fiction:
Torch by Cheryl Strayed. A family story of how you keep going when you lose the person that keeps you together. KAXE has a bit part in this one, the mother is a volunteer programmer.

Keeping the House by Minnesota native Ellen Baker. This novel is set in WWI and WWII and examines the roles of women during wartime.

The View from Mount Joy by Lorna Landvik. Set in Minnesota beginning in the 70's, it's the tale of Joe Andresen, a real good guy. This book has sex, drugs AND rock and roll!

Novels for Young Adults:
Will Weaver's Defect - the story of 15 year old boy who was born "defective" and is taunted by bullies until he starts going to an alternative school.
William Durbin's El Lector. Set in Florida, Bella wants to be a lector at a tobacco just like her grandfather. He reads books and newspapers to the cigar rollers until machines take over and the lector isn't needed anymore.
Alison McGhee's Falling Boy - Teenager Joseph is paralyzed and working in a bakery in the heat of the Minneapolis summer. A young girl, Enzo, sees the world through superheroes asking questions like "Did you really rescue your mother from a fate worse than death on a cliff overlooking the sea?"
Mary Casanova's The Klipfish Code. A historical novel set in WWII in Norway, 12 year old Marit's life changes drastically when Norway is occupied by Nazi Germany.

What were your favorite books of the year?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Take a Cup of Kindness

KAXE member Gord Prickett is a member of the Aitkin County Water Planning Task Force. Gord recently wrote this article for the Aitkin Independent Age:

The turbulent year comes to its final month - a few weeks to go. The globe is warmer. A busy metro bridge is rubble in the river. Local schools beg for money. One searches for something to agree about. One child, one youth, one person matters. 'Tis a season to give thanks, sing, pray and promise. Never again - in Darfur or the Gulf Coast. Conserve, preserve, protect, think into the future. What size footprints, and where are we going to leave them?


In a short time we will clock another lap for our spinning earth - the end of 2007. I prefer to think about what good and kind things have happened recently and not dwell on the year's tragedies and disappointments, without forgetting them. The best we can do should be our goal - the kindest gift to new generations hurrying toward us. And to me, this focuses the Aitkin Lakes Area on its waters. Our "Waterworks."


Protecting our waters

For a year some of us have tried to get the attention of the county officials responsible for shoreland protection and water quality. We have asked the Commissioners to examine and adopt new standards most suitable for Aitkin County from those prepared for our five-county area, which three of our own leaders helped to write.


The good news is that some of the officials showed up at a shoreland conference in June where the standards were examined. In September we got new shoreland standards on the board agenda, but many who showed up for the meeting had no chance to enter the boardroom or be heard. The issue of shoreland protection has been put off into the winter and next spring.

Whenever I bring up the subject of ordinances, rules and regulations, the current leadership of our government tells me that they (and those they listen to) think there are already enough or too many rules about shoreline development. Their rights to do as they please with "their property" adjoining the public waters is "their business." I will continue to make the case for better protection of those shallow, fragile lakes with little or no development as yet.


Recent subdivisions put in at Birch Lake and Spectacle Lake in Hazelton Township are examples where "Natural Environment" rules are not sufficient to preserve lake quality, in my opinion. A new classification and safeguards for such vulnerable lakes is one of the Alternative Standards that I consider the most valuable legacy we can create for Aitkin County. Perhaps the name of this classification can be shortened to "PROTECTED LAKES." If this matters to you, tell your Commissioner.

Carbonated

Thursday, December 13th, the Brainersd Area Environmental Learning Network will host a program on carbon trading. It's one in a series of programs about "Living Lightly In Our Communities". The program will be from 3 to 5 o'clock at the MN PCA Office in Brainerd. John Harting from the U of MN's Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Ag Mgmnt, will discuss how carbon trading may help protect and improve water quality, and lead to more sustainable land use options in rural MN.


On Monday, December 10th, Al Gore got the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to persuade global warming doubters and raise world wide awareness about climate change. The same week, environmental ministers from around the world areat the global climate change conference in Bali. Gord and Jean Prickett's son, Glenn, is at the conference in Bali We hope to hear from Glenn when hegets back. Efforts to enact a variety of measures that would begin to address some of the climate change climate changeput U.S. public policy The U.S. Congress is probably one of the last placesaking steps

Cooking in the KAXE kitchen

The sun is just coming up over the Mississippi River in Itasca County - the frosted trees and the steam rising is so breathtaking that it's almost haunting. It's as if there's a protective bubble over everything. I didn't relish getting up so early and getting out into the nearly 20 below morning to come to KAXE - but I can't wait for what's going to be happening in the kitchen - there's rumor of Finn biscuits with cardamom and puff pastry.

Iron Range cookbook author Mona Meittunen Abel is going to cook with us in about an hour and a half...her cookbooks are not just recipes, they are stories of life on The Range. "To Mom with Love: Ethnic Recipes and Family Favorites" and "To Dad with Love: Ethnic Recipes and Family Favorites." Mona is also looking for stories and recipes from kids or about kids in this neck of the woods. Email her your submissions....
Here's a recipe from "To Dad With Love"
SARMA BALLS
Sister-in-law Tammi Meittunen's recipe. She brought these to our Meittunen reunion this summer and they were a hit.
1 lb each of ground beef, ground pork and ground ham
1 c. minute rice, uncooked
1 egg
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 c. water
1 onion, chopped
1 bag sauerkraut
1 can chicken broth
Butter
Mix first 3 ingredients and shape into meatballs; place 9x13" pan. Saute onion in butter, add garlic. Remove from heat and add sauerkraut, chicken broth and water. Pour mixture over meatballs and bake covered for 1- 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees.

Mona will be signing books at Howard Street Booksellers in Hibbing on Saturday and at the Village Bookstore in Grand Rapids from 12-2.
-Heidi


Friday, December 7, 2007

Local Food Beat...LEFSE!


from Maggie Montgomery


On Tuesday this week (December 4th), I had the honor of serving as a judge for the third annual Lefse Festival Cook-off, a fundraiser for the Beltrami County Historical Society. It was a snowy night, and I was subbing for KAXE’s Member Services Manager, Jennifer Poenix who couldn’t make it because of the bad weather.

Eight teams/individuals competed in the cook-off, held at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Bemidji. There were demonstrations, snacks, extravagant candies and baked goods for sale, pumpkin soup, wild rice, and door prizes. There was a three-piece band that included a tuba and sometimes veered from the Norwegian theme into a distinct oom-pah-pah!

Some competitors dressed in costume. All had long lefse sticks, patterned rolling pins, cloth-covered lefse boards for rolling, and electric lefse griddles. At one point the cooking was temporarily halted when all those griddles heating up at once blew fuses! The competitors brought their dough either completely mixed or else they added the flour at the last moment. One dipped from a big metal bowl with a favorite spoon. Others made patties or loaves.

One of the best things about lefse is that it can be made almost entirely from local ingredients. Most recipes contain russet potatoes, butter, cream, flour and salt. Some people include a little sugar to help the lefse brown.

We four judges got to taste all the lefse. We ate it plain and we ate it slathered with butter and sprinkled with sugar. We didn’t know whose lefse was whose. The tasting was an education, and the more experienced judges passed along some hints as we went along. Some lefse was too dry and floury. Some had a greasy feel in the mouth. Some was thick, and some very thin. Some was browned perfectly and some not enough. The smell of good lefse is heavenly!

Our unanimous choice for the winner was Jason (Jay) Seitz, a plumber from Bemidji. He and his young son wore camouflage and worked from an unassuming deer-stand-turned-lefse-stand at the back of the conference room. Jay also won the people’s choice vote! Jay said he learned the art of lefse making from his mother-in-law. His family is getting together to make their holiday lefse this weekend.

I don’t have Jay’s recipe but I do have two others. The first is from Carol Bauer. The second comes from Anita Norden. It is her mom’s recipe

Carol Bauer’s Lefse
8 cups riced potatoes (5# russets—only use russets)
1 stick butter
1 T salt
½ c. cream
3 c. flour

Cut up and boil the potatoes. Put them through a potato ricer and mash. Add cream, butter and salt. Put them on your porch or another cool place until they get COLD. Then mix in the flour.

Form into “loaves.” To make the loaves, gradually add flour to the potato mixture, then roll and mold with your hands until they form loaves. Carol generally makes 4 loaves.

Use one loaf at a time while you are grilling the lefse—leave the others in the refrigerator, covered.

Slice off a chunk, roll to a thin 8 or 10” round (on a cloth board sprinkled liberally with flour, using a textured lefse rolling pin), pick it up with a lefse stick, and bake it on a hot lefse grill (465-475°), flipping once or twice.

Put it on a plate under a cloth, fold into fourths, serve with butter and sugar or anything you’d like!

Irene Keit’s Lefse
Cook Russet potatoes (10# makes about 4 qt., 35 lefse)
Salt pretty heavy. Don’t let them get too done or they pick up moisture and potatoes become too “wet”. While warm, rice the potatoes, measure them and add:
4 qts. Riced potatoes
¾ c. lard (if using Crisco, add 1c.)
Mix up and cover with a damp dishtowel and allow to cool

When cool: Mix 1qt. Potatoes, ¼ c. whipping cream and 1c. flour
Mix with hands (like meatloaf) and form into small balls
Keep the balls cool and covered with the damp cloth.

There is definitely a trick (or two or three) to this, but here’s one big hint—don’t let the lefse sit on the board too long or it will stick!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Stephanie Rose's Traditional Gifts

this is from Stephanie, our Underwriting Manager:

I got my mum and sister and me matching jammies and slippers with spice drops on them. We do this every year. But we like to put them on (we keep them buttoned, unlike THAT naughty girl) and dance around and lip synch "I Will Survive" into hairbrushes and/or wooden spoons. I don't know how these traditions get started. I guess I blame my sister.

Mary Casanova

Tomorrow morning Minnesota children's author Mary Casanova will be talking with me and John at 7:40. We'll talk about her book "Some Dog" - a beautiful children's book about a basset hound named George. John, parent to Lloyd the basset hound, practically cried when he saw it! Check out Mary's website to see all of her books.

In "Some Dog" George saves the day. Has your dog or cat ever saved the day? Let us know!

Later in the Morning Show we'll talk to Dr. Michael Fox. He'll take your pet questions! Call and join us between 8:15-8:45 for our monthly call-in pet program.

Speaking of Minnesota Christmas gifts, Mary and Dr. Fox are Minnesotans with new books available on their websites!
-Heidi

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Harry Hutchins Gift Suggestions

Harry Hutchins gives us his gift suggestions this holiday season.


1. The Better World Shopping Guide by Ellis Jones



2. Don't Forget the Duct Tape: Tips and Tricks for Repairing Outdoor & Travel Gear by Kristin Hostetter -How to fix your outdoor gear in the field


3. National Geographic 5th Edition Field Guide to Birds of North America. Much updated with many new paintings, maps and all US birds. Birding hotspots also included.



4. Midwest Skiing - A Glance Back
A great set of pictures from Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois skiers.



5. Momentum: Chasing the Olympic Dream by Pete Vordenberg . Autobiography by former US ski team member and current head coach of his experinces from age 10 to present day. It is funny, a lot of UP stories and a great read.

6. 50 lbs of birdseed

7. Shopping bag - can be found at Ogle's in Grand Rapids, 2 for $3

What gifts do you recommend this holiday season?

Local Christmas presents

Thanks to Maggie, we're all thinking a little bit more about where it is we get our food from, and where we spend our money. Even if you aren't going to overhaul your diet completely or buy only locally produced products, I think everyone agrees that buying from local businesses and local producers is a good thing to do for our community.

Here's some ideas for MN Christmas presents:

CHEESE
We just sampled some smoked Gouda cheese from Green Pastures Dairy in Carlton, Minnesota. It was great! Green Pastures Dairy is a family-owned, grass-based farm producing "naturally healthy" Minnesota Farmstead™ cheeses. They milk in the spring, summer, and fall, using intensive rotational grazing, which means their cows are moved to fresh green pastures daily.

WINE
Forestedge Winery is located in LaPorte, Minnesota and produces 7 to 8 thousand gallons of wine in small batches every year. Their signature wine is their rhubarb wine which has won many international awards as well as the 2005 Best Minnesota Fruit Wine.

Minnestalgia wine is produced in McGregor, Minnesota. They also sell locally produced jellies, jams, syrups, honey and other products.

CLOTHING
Wintergreen Northern Wear of Ely produces outdoor clothing. They are one of the largest private employers in a small remote town where jobs are scarce but garment-making talents and pride in workmanship are in abundance. They are one of the last full-line outdoor clothing makers in the U.S.

Bemidji Woolen Mills produces a line of woolen clothing and blankets. Since 1920 they have been producing clothing for life in the cold north. Bill and Bob Batchelder are 4th generation owners/operators who continue in their great grandfather's footsteps. The Batchelders set out to produce the highest quality, authentic outdoor woolen apparel for the early logging era in Minnesota and surrounding states. They are known for their Paul Bunyan style authentic plaid.


Caleigh Capes are custom crafted wool capes made in Bemidji. They recently made capes for the Team USA Women's Curling team.


LOCAL ARTISTS
MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids has a December marketplace selling the artwork of local talent in media as diverse as birchbark, jewelry, soaps, pottery, cards, photography and paintings.

Jacques Art Center in Aitkin has their annual holiday marketplace with a wine and cheese tasting fundraising event on Thursday December 6th from 5-8pm.

The Franklin Art Center in Brainerd is a renovated high school that houses artist studios. You can walk in anytime or go to their community open house the second Saturday of every month from 10am-4pm.

Bemidji Community Art Center is a member supported art center with three galleries. They also sponsor the First Friday Art Walk in Bemidji.

KAXE PRODUCTS
We've got the 2008 Phenology calendar for sale ($20), live Bill Miller CDS for ($10), KAXE t-shirts, mugs and waterbottles. Call us for more information! 218-326-1234.

Books are always a great gift - check out this list from KAXE callers to Between You and Me for children's book ideas.

Do you have ideas on holiday presents that support the community? Email us!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Moravian Spice Cookies from the KAXE Kitchen


Penny and Dan were in for Between You and Me on Saturday and made Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies and Moravian Spice Cookies. Penny got the recipe from The Food Network and passed it on....

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg yolk
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper and mustard together in a medium bowl.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until just combined and lightly fluffy. Beat in the molasses and egg yolk. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix together on low speed until dough is just combined and still crumbly, about 3 minutes. Give dough a few turns with a spatula to bring together.

Lay out wax paper on a clean work surface and put about 1/3 of the batter on top. Lightly press down and top with another sheet of wax paper. Using your hands or a rolling pin, gently pat into a rectangle. Roll out with a rolling pin until dough is as thin as possible without breaking, no thicker than 1/16 inch thick. This is the key to these cookies: they really can't be too thin. Gently peel back the layer of waxed paper and then replace it loosely.

Transfer rolled batter to a flat baking sheet and freeze until firm and can easily be peeled away from the waxed paper, about 30 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Cut dough using a small (2- to 3-inch) fluted round cookie cutter and return to the freezer for 15 minutes to set. Transfer frozen cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until crisp and lightly, evenly colored (but not brown), about 10 minutes.

Busy baker's tips: Store baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 10 days. The dough can be frozen, between sheets of waxed paper and well-wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 weeks. Baked cookies can be wrapped in plastic wrap then aluminum foil and frozen for up to 1 month.

Cook's note: Don't be intimidated by how many cookies this recipe makes. This dough freezes well, and you can roll out far in advance -- so when you need cookies, you can cut and bake as needed, which is a great holiday timesaver.

Copyright 2007 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved

Add your cookie recipe to the blog, or email us!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Think Healthy this Holiday Season


This email came in from KAXE's girl in the woods, baker and public health advocate, Amber:


I definitely enjoy baking during the winter months, however I usually make yeast breads and lefse, and rather few treats. As for the cookie question, I'm a big fan of spritz cookies with almond extract used as flavoring. Many listeners are probably familiar with these, they are a traditional variety made with chilled dough and the use of a press. It is important to use real butter for these cookies, for the flavor.

I want to remind listeners that while they are making treats this baking season, it's important to take care to use healthy, or healthier oils and fats. Any margarine or vegetable shortenings that contain "hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils" are the worst and should be avoided at all costs. While health experts generally recommend REDUCING saturated fat intake to very small amounts, they also recommend ELIMINATING trans-fats, or those hydrogenated vegetable oils. This is because these fats are made in a lab, and are not found in nature, thus our bodies cannot metabolize them, and they affect our blood and cholesterol in a way much more severe than even animal fats and saturated plant fats (the traditional villains). This is why butter is preferable to margarine. Many recipes that call for margarine can also be made successfully with liquid vegetable oils, such as olive, walnut, grapeseed, canola, soybean, etc. If using olive oil in sweet treats buy a very light colored light flavored variety. There are also non-hydrogenated margarines available, and are generally marketed as such. "Earth balance", and "Smart balance" are two brands I know of. Always always read labels. This goes especially for snack foods.
It's really important to do all that we can to avoid coronary heart disease. Eliminating hydrogenated oils is essential. Remember ANY alternative found in nature is better for you. The holidays are a good excuse to bake some more wholesome homemade treats that are much better for us than those industrial packaged goods that tempt people from grocery store shelves! More information on dietary fats, and specifically hydrogenated oils, can be found on the Harvard School of Public Health Website

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/fats.html


Thanks for listening everybody, take care!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Groceries on a Local Food Diet


One of the questions Dennis and I are asked most often about our local food diet is “How much do you spend on groceries?”

I admit that we haven’t been tracking that very well, but we believe we spend much less for groceries now than we used to. Last summer we probably spent more on food than usual. We bought seeds, bought bushels of tomatoes and other veggies at the farmers’ markets, and wine at Forestedge Winery, among other things. But now that the harvest is in, we’re mostly living off the larder.

This morning I looked through my checkbook for the month of November, trying to get an idea. I write all our debit card purchases in the checkbook as if they were checks, so that’s included, but Dennis may have made some cash purchases (mostly eggs).

I found 6 food-related entries. We spent $47.09 on butter and milk from Dahl’s dairy (this was actually for October and paid on October 31). That was a higher-than-average month for dairy. There was also a $30.67 check to Harmony Food Co-op (mostly for the thanksgiving turkey, but all food-related). Otherwise we spent $18.79 at Lueken’s and $31.61 at Teal’s. Those last two are supermarkets. We buy laundry detergent, fabric softener, dish soap, paper towels, and other non-food items there. I remember buying 2# wild rice at Teal’s and some local onions there. We get cream and milk from Blackstar Dairy at Lueken’s. The bulk of those purchases were non-food items though.

The other two entries were from dining out. We ate some pizza on our way home from a day in Brainerd ($22.04) and I bought lunch for myself and some other folks at the Effie Café this week during a work-related trip ($55.74). We also ate out with friends one time when we went to see a concert, but we paid cash that evening (I estimate $60 for the night, including drinks???).

So that’s it!

Eating out for any reason is a big expense, but we still do it from time to time, if we’re away from home, working, or spending time with friends.

Indians, Racism and Sports

a
That's a picture of Charles Bender on the left and Louis Sockalexis on the right. Both of them were Native American ballplayers who played in the major leagues between 1897 and 1915. In the 1890s and early 1900s there were a lot of Indian athletes in college and professional sports. They endured intense racial abuse, most of them were nicknamed "Chief" as in Chief Bender, Chief Meyers and Chief Sockalexis, but unlike blacks, they weren't explicitly banned from the games.

Charlie Bender was an Anishinaabe born and raised in the Brainerd area. He was an outstanding pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics, helping them win three World series before World War I. Before Dave Winfield in 2001 and Paul Molitor in 2004 were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Bender was the only native born Minnesotan in the Hall of Fame.

Louis Sockalexis had a much shorter major league career. He was born in Maine, a member of the Penobscot tribe there. Sockalexis was a good-hitting, mediocre outfielder who played three years (1897-99) for the Cleveland team, then known as the "Spiders".

Most Indian athletes blend in easily with the multi-ethnic sports scene today. Twenty-two year old Winnebago, Joba Chamberlain (below), made a big splash as a rookie pitcher with the Yankees this summer. But look closely at the pictures of Charles Bender, Louis Sockalexis, and Joba Chamberlain and consider the dominant images of Indians in sports today: the Cleveland Indians and the Washington Redskins.


For seventy years the professional football team in Washington, D.C. has been called the Redskins. I'm amazed this "mascot" identity has lasted that long. There are positive and even noble meanings associated with "Braves" and "Warriors". I've never heard the word "redskin" spoken in way that didn't imply a prejudice toward Indian people. It's a racial slur. As we followed the tragic story about the Washington pro football player who was shot and killed last Monday, I was reminded how comfortable most sports reporters are using the nickname. A "White, Brown or Black-skins" mascot sounds absurd and no doubt would offend a lot of people. Most ethnic slurs common before 1960 would offend today. So why is "redskins" still OK? Certainly it's not OK with a lot of Indian people. The Indian population is relatively small and widely dispersed around rural America. Perhaps offending Indian people isn't bad for business or politics.

Another take on the same subject: When I was growing up in Missouri in the 1950s, the image white America wanted me to have of African Americans was that of a bright-eyed, big-smiling happy people content with their lives of second class status. That image was shattered in the 1960s, but when I recently saw the Cleveland Indians logo on their caps and publicity material, it was the same happy, buck-toothed image in red face instead of black.

We give lipservice to respect and tolerance, but commercial and political consequences are still the most powerful agents of change, and I guess Native Americans don't have enogh clout in either of those spheres. Are sports reporters as naive and clueless as many of the young athletes they cover? Or do many of them feel the same commercial and/or social and political pressure to not make waves about such flagrant symbols of racism in sports?

Prosperity on the Range

The Range is trying to get ready for prosperity. It was really hard to write that sentence with conviction. Over the last 26 years, most of the economic news on the Iron Range has been about how people and communities have struggled to ride out the boom and bust times that have characterized the economy of the Range since World War II. Since the 1980s over ten thousand good paying jobs in the taconite industry have disappeared. Now, during a downturn in the U.S. economy, it appears the world steel markets have created a window of opportunity that may dramatically transform the Iron Range. For the first time since iron ore was discovered on the Range, the new Minnesota Steel facility near Nashwauk will produce steel here, rather than ship processed ore to the blast furnaces in Chicago, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Mesabi Nugget near Hoyt Lakes will produce an enriched steel pellet that opens up new markets for our ore. I still won't say this will happen for sure, but it seems closer than ever.

The challenge for Iron Range communities is to prepare for the influx of new workers. The new prosperity will create challenges that will strain our ability to recruit, house, and educate a whole new workforce. Thousands of people will move here for the jobs. Will we welcome the new arrivals? Or will their arrival cause social, cultural, or even racial tensions? Wayne Nelson has more on the story in the December edition of Business North.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Brine and Bouillabaisse


During our conversation with Chef Billy from Cooking Light magazine today he talked about a maple syrup brine he used on HIS thanksgiving turkey. It sounded really good....

I asked him advice on things to do with venison, since we have an abundance of it at our house. He suggested a bouillabaisse. It sounded really good, but afterwards I realized I didn't know how to make a bouillabaisse. I've been looking online and so far have only found fish based bouillabaisse. I may try this and just subsitute venison. Has anyone else tried it?

How about other good ideas on what to do with venison?
-Heidi

Thursday, November 22, 2007

How was your Thanksgiving?


Was there lots of turkey? Stuffing? Cranberries? What will you do with the leftovers?

Was your turkey dry? Was the gravy lumpy?

Tune in for Chef Billy from Cooking Light magazine on the Friday Morning Show at 8:10. If you have a question for the Chef, email us!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Maggie's Local Food Diet


Here's a posting from Maggie's Local Food Diet.

Local Food Thanksgiving

Today’s the day before Thanksgiving. Already! Happy Thanksgiving everyone! There really is so much to be thankful for.

Dennis and I are doing ok on the local food diet. We ate out with friends last night and saw a great music concert at Brigid’s Cross Irish Pub in Bemidji. I think Dennis is at home right now cutting up a quarter of a deer (a gift from Tom and Heidi—Dennis didn’t get a deer this year).

Pretty much all of our garden is in now, except for a little kale and a few “volunteer” suiho greens. Once they’re gone the garden will officially be put to bed. That’s one thing to be thankful for—being done with gardening for the year! It’s fun work, but time-consuming. However…after this our fruits and veggies will come out of the cellar or the freezer or a jar (except for some cilantro in pots, and some seeds to sprout).

Dennis pulled up the parsnips yesterday. They’re in a wheelbarrow on the porch, waiting to be scrubbed and put in the cellar. This is the first time we’ve ever grown parsnips. Joel Rosen said that for maximum sweetness we should wait until there have been temperatures in the teens before picking them. That was a little tricky, because when the temperature heads to the teens the soil starts to get a little stiff (as in frozen). But it worked, and they’re in the wheelbarrow now.

I’ve cooked parsnips before, but just a little bit, mainly adding them to stir-fries or putting them in soup. This morning on the radio I asked if anyone knew how to cook parsnips. Don Boese said to peel them, slice them thinly, and caramelize them in butter. Missy Roach sent some recipes from a Williams Sonoma website that looked great—including mashed potatoes with parsnips and horseradish, glazed parsnips and carrots with sherry, and parsnip and carrot soup.

Ann Sliney from Bemidji sent the following:
When I was a little girl, my mother peeled parsnips, parboiled them, sliced them lengthwise in flat strips, and sautéed them in butter until they were a lovely brown. I thought they tasted so good, they could be served as dessert.

Ann continued: Are you familiar with Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables by John Peterson and Angelic Organics? Bill and I discovered it when several recipes from it appeared in the Park Rapids Enterprise. We liked them so well, we ordered the book from Amazon. I see that Farmer John has quite a bit on parsnips...

Today on the Morning Show Scott and I got to talk to local food producer Roger Hanson of R & R Hanson Turkey Farm in Aitkin County. Roger and his brother have the only remaining commercial turkey operation in Aitkin County (although in the past Aitkin County had many turkey producers—hence the name of the Aitkin High School mascot—the Gobblers).

They just shipped out the last of the 136,000 turkeys they raised this season. Some of their turkeys are “natural’ (meaning they are not fed meat-based feed and are not treated with conventional antibiotics) and some are conventional (the feed contains meat and bone meal and if necessary the conventional birds are medicated). The Hansons sell their natural birds to Trader Joe’s.

Turkeys are harder to raise than other fowl because they are more susceptible to certain illnesses. The Hansons have a confined turkey operation. Roger says confinement keeps the turkeys from picking up diseases from other birds and wildlife. Minnesota produces more turkeys than any other state in the nation. According to Roger, this is because of our proximity to sources of feed and Minnesota’s perfect turkey-rearing climate. The Hanson farm is a “small” operation. Some farms in this state raise millions of birds.

Friday, November 16, 2007

KAXE's Winter Stringer Service


The KAXE Winter Survival Service needs listeners to help us get timely information on the air - local weather and road conditions, school closings (we have 37 school districts in our listening area).

A lot of times we are an hour or two late with this information by the time we get it from typical news sources.

Also, if you have a special passion for a winter activity - skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, dog sledding, curling to name a few. - we'd like to have updates on ice conditions, trail conditions, and special events related to those activities.

Click here to sign up for KAXE's Winter Stringer Service (name, home town, phone number, and e-mail, areas of interest).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wenger Potpourri tomorrow



Yes, it's true, we're letting the madman/staff physicist Aaron Wenger on the Friday morning show tomorrow. And we're letting him pick the topic. Granted, he doesn't have control of the board...call in your question for Aaron at 8:40. Or email!

Also, at 8:10, we're talking with Sonny Brewer. Sonny's dog Cormac went missing in San Fransisco while he was on a book tour. One month later, Cormac showed up in Connecticut, neutered, renamed Cognac and waiting to be adopted. We'll find out the real story behind the wayward Cormac tomorrow.

Steve Martin's children's book on Morning Edition


I'm a big Steve Martin fan, are you? Even though I didn't get to interview ol' Steve, this morning NPR did a story on Steve Martin's new children's book "The Alphabet from A to Y With Bonus Letter Z". Steve, along with New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast, has created rhyming couplets, "I tried to put in words ... that sound like the letter but aren't the letter and also use different expressions of the letter". Like, A...

Ambidextrous Alex was actually axed
For waxing, then faxing, his boss's new slacks.


You can listen here to the interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep. You can hear Morning Edition every weekday on KAXE starting at 5am. And tune in for Weekend Edition on Saturday and Sundays from 7-9am.

Maybe someday Steve Martin will be our guest on Realgoodwords!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Friday we're talking Fish Houses!


Kathryn Nordstrom will be joining us tomorrow to talk about her new book that celebrates that crazy thing we do in winter in Minnesota - put houses on frozen water! Kathryn's new book is published by Dovetailed Press and is a photographic journey that shows the ordinary and the extraordinary fish houses. From the Aitkin Fish House Parade to the Brainerd Ice Fishing Extravaganza to the shanty you can see from your window, it's a great exploration of Minnesota's culture of life on the ice. There's fancy fish houses that look better than some of our own houses to the basic no fuss variety. Tune in at 8:10 for a conversation about ice houses.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

LEFSE in the KAXE Kitchen!


Carol Bauer (John's mom) will be in the KAXE kitchen tomorrow to teach us about the tradition of making lefse...Maybe you aren't from around these parts, and didn't get to partake in the family tradition of lutefisk (yuck!) and lefse (yum!) at Christmastime. Remember when Grandma Holtan would have all those plates of bars? And how that one year Cousin Randy took all the cornflake wreaths? Wait, maybe that was just in my family...

We've been talking about CLOSE TO HOME during this fundraiser - what foods remind you of home? Are there Minnesota foods?

Tune in to tomorrow's morning show for the lefse extravaganza, and of course, Maggie's update on her local diet and Don Boese's European Reflections and Classical Corner.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Jay and Molly on the Morning Show

Monday at 8:40 Scott will be talking with folk musicians Jay Ungar and Molly Mason. They'll be performing at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids on Sunday October 21st at 7:30pm.

You might know their music from Ken Burn's documentary, The Civil War. THe soundtrack won a grammy award and was nominated for an emmy.

Jay and Molly have been playing music together since the late 1970's. They play timeless renditions of hard-driving Appalachian, Cajun and Celtic fiddle tunes as well as Civil War classics and songs from the golden age of swing and country.

Tune in Monday morning at 8:40 when Jay and Molly join Scott Hall on the Morning Show.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Online Tree and Forestry Resources


My Minnesota Woods is a great new source for information about Minnesota forests. It's designed to help private forest landowners make good decisions on how to manage their forests. The site will keep you up to date on forestry issues, connect you with professional foresters, and focus special articles on specific tree species.

There is also a site that will help you figure out what trees will grow well on your property, when to prune them, how to deal with disease and other tips about trees. It's called MN Trees.

Energy Issues on the Brain


We're getting ready for the "Close to Home" fundraiser that's starting on Monday (10/8). Local is what KAXE does best, and our fundraiser will highlight the people of Northern Minnesota.

Scott and I are thinking about energy issues in terms of next week's Morning Show. On Monday morning, he and I will be talking to Mike Demchik. Mike is an Assistant Professor of Forestry at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Mike participated in a Wood Biomass conference in northern MN last August. Many are getting interested in the ideas of using trees and other forest resources for energy. But there are still unanswered questions about the economics and forest management options required to create a sustainable source of energy from wood. Mike will bring us up to date on the current thinking about the potential for using wood for energy.

We are also working on a story about a couple of KAXE members, Janet and Gary Hill, who live on Raspberry Island in McGregor. They moved there full time in 2006 and live off the grid, using solar, wood and some propane.

Did you know that every hour, more energy from sunlight strikes the Earth than is consumed worldwide in a year? The U.S. Deptartment of Energy has estimated that a net 10 percent-efficient solar energy farm covering 1.6 percent of the U.S. land area (roughly the size of Iowa) would meet the nation's ENTIRE domestic energy needs!

John Bauer and I took our microphones and cameras and went for a visit to Janet and Gary's "off the grid" life. We got the full tour of their beautiful island - chickens and all. You'll be able to hear the first of this tour next week on the Morning Show.

Janet and Gary donated some solar panels to KAXE and we're hoping to get them installed sometime soon. A radio station takes a lot of power, so it might not make a huge difference in the scope of things, but it's a start.

Do you use alternative energy sources? Are you thinking about it? What stops you?
-Heidi

Friday, September 21, 2007

Grateful in Remer


Today on the Morning Show John and I talked with Larry Mackey from Remer, from his hospital bed at St. Mary's Hospital in Duluth. Larry had a close call last week.

Larry fell 20 feet from his bear stand in the woods by his home on the evening of Monday Sept. 10th, injuring himself so much that he thinks he was unconscious for a couple of hours.

That couple of hours in the woods, on the floor of the forest, lasted until FIVE DAYS LATER when his grandson found him.

Larry was in the same spot for most of the time, as he broke his femur, pelvis and had many other injuries including a laceration on his head. He had no water,no food, and no warmer clothes....so he stuffed his coat with grass, leaves and moss, and tried to stay warm, and stay positive. Larry told us he knew he couldn't fall asleep, with the threat of hypothermia on those chilly nights.

What did he do to stay awake? He sang songs to himself. He also watched a mother bear and two cubs and some timberwolves.

His grandson Lucas arrived from the Twin Cities on Friday night but didn't realize his grandfather wasn't in his bed until the next morning. As soon as he realized it, he jumped on the four wheeler and found him right away.

"He's a great young man" Larry told us, "I love him very much."

Larry also told us he's going to be safer the next time he's out in the woods alone, and will carry a cell phone with him. Larry's got a long road to recovery ahead of him, but with friends and family looking out for him, and his positive attitude, he's hoping he'll be able to bear hunt NEXT season.

What do you carry when you are out in the woods alone? How do you think you would have reacted?

Thanks to Northland Press for their coverage of Larry's story. We're all pulling for you Larry!

-Heidi

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Are you a reptile killer?

We got this talkback from Charles:

Can you provide me with information about the study you mentioned where 3% of motorists will intentionally run over amphibians? I'd like to read the whole paper. A sad situation! Thanks.


Last week on a Talk on the Wild Side Harry Hutchins and John Latimer reminded us to be watchful of the roadways for animals and critters. From that comment some interesting information on a Canadian study came up.

According to a Human Dimensions of Wildlife study "Incidence of Intentional Vehicle-Reptile Collisions" almost 3% of motorists intentionally hit the fake turtle and fake snake that were set up on the roadway for the study.

Do you avoid reptiles? Have you ever seen someone intentionally hit a critter?

What do you think of the the whole issue?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Community Journalism and KAXE


KAXE is holding some upcoming trainings for you to learn about and become a community journalist.

WHAT IS COMMUNITY JOURNALISM?

It's a good question. Here's one definition:

We choose to define it as the reporting of news and information for a certain geographic area... a community, if you will, with the purpose to serve the best interests of that certain group.


In many ways, KAXE is a prime example of community journalism. KAXE's mission is to build community. We bring you stories of issues in this region of the world. As media changes and traditional journalism has become controlled by large corporations, real people talking about real issues is needed more than ever. KAXE relies on a network of people all across Northern Minnesota to give us their knowledge and viewpoints and connections. People like Bonnie the Plant Lady, Marshall Helmberger, Pam Perry...John Latimer. John has been reporting on the Phenology of Northern Minnesota for the last 25 years, with the help of the KAXE listening audience.

KAXE wants to take the idea of community radio a step further.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
KAXE has been in Northern Minnesota for over 31 years now. The founders of KAXE would have never expected to one day have live audio streaming on the internet for the whole world to hear, or a website that enhances the programming of KAXE. But what about the future? How will we receive our news, music and information? How will we connect with each other?

KAXE has been working on a community website project that aims to include and reach outside the boundaries of KAXE's on-air community. You can find almost anything you'd ever want on the Internet, except what is happening in your local community. In some ways we are connected to a global world, and increasingly unconnected from the communities where we live. If you live in a very small town, how do you find the scores of the volleyball game or wrestling match? How do you find local businesses? How do you find out about jobs in the local area? How do you find your lost dog?

In looking to the future, we know that radio will be used if not less, in different ways than it is now. So we're looking ahead, in hopes of putting together an internet project that will serve the needs of our community now and in the future.

WE NEED COMMUNITY JOURNALISTS LIKE YOU!
Are you already involved in your community? Are you a writer? A photographer? A video journalist? Maybe you are someone who is community minded and wants to make a difference. KAXE's new community web project is the place for you. In conjunction with Bemidji State University and Itasca Community College, we've got some free, community journalism training sessions coming up with Doug McGill, a former New York Times bureau chief who is at the forefront of what he calls "glocalism".

Glocalism is the idea that our local worlds are rich with global connections that support our comfortable way of life, our health, our homes, our hobbies, our livelihoods, our future prospects, and our very lives.

McGill will teach community journalism on Friday October 5th in Grand Rapids and Saturday October 6th in Bemidji. Think of it as Journalism school in a day. These classes are open to the public - and no previous journalism background is required. What is required is a desire to be involved your community. Here's some examples of community or citizen journalism in local communities:

Northfield
Twin Cities Daily Planet
Brattleboro, Vermont
MN Monitor

Contact KAXE to sign up for the class, comments@kaxe.org or call 218-326-1234. You can also register online.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Memories of Phil


To say Phil Collins was a friend to KAXE is an understatement. Phil was a friend to all that heard him on the airwaves of KAXE - whether it was his maple syrup report from Pengilly, his Harry Potter trivia questions from his grandchildren on Green Cheese or his stories of his life on Between You and Me, Phil was a part of this community we call home.

Behind the scenes of KAXE Phil was a board member and a volunteer at almost all the KAXE functions. We could always count on Phil and his daughter Beth to set up the Maple Syrup cotton candy and Maple Syrup popcorn stand when we needed it. And, Phil Collins was a damn good drummer for his former band Genesis.

Phil's funeral will be held Wednesday September 5th at 2pm at the Peterson Funeral Home in Coleraine, with visitation 1 hour before. Phil's family has asked that memorials to go to KAXE, Boy/Girl Scouts, or your favorite charity. Call KAXE if you need more information, 218-326-1234.

Life at KAXE won't be the same without Phil, we miss him already and send our condolences to his family. We'd love to have you post your memories or stories of Phil here in the days and weeks to come as we celebrate Phil Collins.

-Heidi

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

This Friday we talk with Princess Kay...


of the Milky Way for 2007-2008, Ann Miron.

Ann Miron, a 19-year-old college student from Hugo, was crowned the 54th Princess Kay of the Milky Way in an evening ceremony at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds August 22. Tune in to the Friday Morning Show at 8:40 this week John and Heidi will find out what she will do with her butterhead.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Meat on a Stick!

This morning on the Morning Show the Mom of Pop Culture (Julie Crabb) was talking about the festival/small town event circuit she's on as a presidential candidate. There is always meat on a stick available. Do you like your food on a stick?

Tomorrow on Between You and Me we're talking about the fair - county and state. Do you go? What do you remember? What's your favorite food? The Minnesota State Fair is known for it's food on a stick - watch this video to see the insanity.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Low Water Levels and Campgrounds in N MN


John O'Leary, Headwaters Operations Manager of the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers, joined us on the Morning Show today to talk about the lack of rain this summer. June's rainfall amounts were 1-2 inches short of the average amount of precipitation. The Corp. has established summer operating bands for the dams at Leech Lake, Sandy Lake, Gull Lake, Lake Winnibigoshish and Pokegama.

The lake levels as of July 23rd are lower than normal -
Leech Lake/Federal Dam -4.8 inches
Sandy Lake/McGregor -4.6 inches
Gull Lake/Brainerd -3.6 inches
Lake Winnibigoshish/Deer River -2.3 inches
Pokegama/Grand Rapids -1.2 inches

In addition to tending dams which controls a watershed that covers an area of 4,535 square miles, the The Headwaters Lakes Project with the U.S Army Corp of engineers operates and maintains 6 recreation areas which include campgrounds including the Gull Lake Dam and Recreation Area near Brainerd, Minn.; Cross Lake Dam and Recreation Area in Crosslake, Minn.; Sandy Lake Dam and Recreation Area near McGregor, Minn.; Leech Lake Dam and Recreation Area in Federal Dam, Minn.; Pokegama Dam and Recreation Area in Grand Rapids, Minn.; and Winnibigoshish Dam and Recreation Area near Deer River, Minn.

Have you spent time at these recreation areas? Tell us about it!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tomorrow's Morning Show


Tune in at 7:20 for the continuing story on Maggie's 100 Mile Diet. She'll talk with Chef Matt from Prairie Bay restaurant in Brainerd. He's made an effort to put as much local food on their menu as possible.

At 7:50 Maggie and Don Boese are talking with Associate Professor Ian Alexander Greaves. He'll be speaking at the Grand Rapids Area Library on Thursday night at 7pm. His topic is Mesothelioma and Mineral Fibers on the Iron Range.

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is almost always caused by previous exposure to asbestos. Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles, or have been exposed to asbestos dust and fiber in other ways, such as by washing the clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos, or by home renovation using asbestos cement products. Unlike lung cancer, there is no association between mesothelioma and smoking.

To date, there have been 145 deaths from mesothelioma on the Iron Range of Minnesota, including 58 Iron Range miners. Iron Rangers and elected officials are calling for the resignation of MN Health Commissioner Diane Mandernach. Many believe that information about deaths linked to mesothelioma was suppressed.

In March 2006, the MDH found out that 35 of the 58 workers had mesothelioma, but it did not release these statistics for a full year. The Minnesota United Steelworkers and eight lawmakers are urging the state legislature and the Attorney General to begin a criminal investigation into the delay. “It is unconscionable, unethical and probably criminal for a public agency to withhold information about a potential health risk to workers,” commented Bob Bratulich, Director of District No. 11 of the United Steelworkers, which represents many miners in the Iron Range. (Post Bulletin, June 19, 2007).

Dr. Greaves was a consultant on the mesothelioma study, and has publicly criticized the Department's decision to withhold the findings.

The talk is at the Grand Rapids Area Library at 7pm on Thursday, July 26th. It is free and open to the public.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Picture perfect day!

Last Saturday, the Mississippi River was alive with people and music! It was a near perfect day, with only a tiny blip of thunder and lightning at the end of Shannon Curfman's performance.

What did you think?

Anything we could do differently?

Tell us a story about your experience at the 91.7 KAXE 2007 Mississippi River Festival... whether you met people or ate 8 brats, tell us about your day with KAXE!

and THANKS for being there. You are definitely NOT square.

Next KAXE event: 10th annual Green Cheese picnic. Bring your photos and memories of past picnics. Starts at 5pm on Saturday August 25th. Be THERE or be SQUARE!