Friday, December 19, 2008

John Bauer's first appearance in a commercial

Marshall Helmberger's weekly stories from NE Minnesota

Every Friday morning at 7:20 we check in with Marshall Helmberger from the TimberJay newspaper in North Eastern Minnesota. Marshall and his staff were watching the minute by minute changes online of the Coleman-Franken recount... check out the up to date information from the Star Tribune.

Marshall also talked with us about the final closing of the Ainsworth plants in Cook, Grand Rapids and Bemidji. They have been closed for awhile but especially for the town of Cook, Ainsworth really made it a vibrant community. Now, even if it reopens, there are no job guarantees.

One of the stories Marshall has been following closely is Governor Pawlenty's budget cuts. Almost certainly will be cuts to LGA, local government aid. Marshall said the question is not IF there will be LGA cuts but how big they will be. He told us how a town like Ely is really impacted by these cuts.... Ely was supposed to get an increase in LGA this year and had levy limits imposed. That money they were counting on is in jeopardy now. Many cities fact this too - payments they thought they would be receiving on December 26th may not be forthcoming. Stay tuned for more on what exactly the Governor is proposing. Marshall mentioned that the League of Minnesota Cities lists information on the LGA cuts and how cities and towns will be coming. Click here for more information.

And, as always, give us your thoughts on these topics!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cereal, Salt and Democracy in Action

Today on The Morning Show Maggie Montgomery talked local foods with Keith Aho from Homestead Mills in Cook, Minnesota. They produce homegrown, hearty cereals and pancake mixes and sponsor our Friday morning "What's For Breakfast" segment on The Morning Show. For past conversations about local food see our website!


They also had a conversation with John Bray from the MN Department of Transportation about salting the roads. Did you know that if the temperature is below 10 degrees, salt will not work on the roads?

But that temperature is not the AIR temperature, it's the temperature of the actual pavement. Asphalt then, is often much warmer (if it is sunny) than concrete.

The Department of Transportation has spiffy, high-tech snow plow trucks with infrared technology that allows the drivers to know the temperature of the roadway at all times. If the temperature dips below 10 degrees, magnesium chloride is used. Magnesium chloride is effective to at least -12 degrees and has the benefit of kind of rust-proofing your car. When temperatures reach as low as they have this week, like -20 and -30 degrees the DOT uses a mixture of abrasive road salt that is prewet with magnesium chloride and sand. The DOT uses 28,600 tons of road salt, 16,000 tons of sand and 53,000 magnesium chloride.

John reminded us though, that as is always the case (and especially in the subartic weather) drivers need to drive with care.



Scott and Maggie talked with Ross Williams from KAXE's community journalism project (Northern Community Internet) and Daniel LeClaire from the Cass Lake Times about e-democracy in Cass Lake. E-democracy is described as the world's most experienced online citizen engagement initiative.

E-democracy has created a space online to discuss local issues of importance. It is a safe and civil space with rules about posting only 2 times a day and using real names.

E-democracy is up and going in Cass Lake, Minnesota thanks to Daniel LeClaire. It works especially well in their community for many reasons - transportation is difficult for many around Leech Lake/Cass Lake - and finding a meeting space is also of issue. Online, through e-democracy, those barriers can be bridged. There will be a e-democracy get together on December 28th at the North Star Coffee Bar. It's a family get-together with a showing of the movie "Dreamkeeper" as well as chili. Afterwards, there will be information on e-democracy where hopefully even more people will get involved.

Bemidji is also working on e-democracy and they need more members (100 people must be involved in a community) and there will be a community meeting next Tuesday December 23rd at the Grand Rapids Area Library from 5:15-6:15 to start the process in Grand Rapids. Brainerd and Hibbing are also getting ready to launch e-democracy.

For more information on e-democracy in your area, email us, Or call 218-326-1234.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Great Minnesota Fish Book

Tom Dickson joined Scott on the Morning Show today to talk about his new book "The Great Minnesota Fish Book" published by University of Minnesota Press.

Illustrated beautifully by Joseph Tomelleri, Tom Dickson described Joseph as the preeminent fish illustrator because along with his artistic abilities he is a fisheries biologist and has the technical skills to create amazingly realistic reproductions.

Along with the fish we know about in Minnesota like walleye and smallmouth bass, "The Great American Fish Book" has information on those fish most of us have never heard of like the Freshwater Drum. Most people think they are a sucker fish....but they are actually related to the Saltwater Drum and as Tom said, "they taste great... in fact they taste almost exactly the same as walleye." They can be big fish, up to 30-40 lbs in warmer waters in Southern Minnesota like the Mississippi River... but you can find the Freshwater Drum all the way up into Northern Manitoba.

Tom Dickson's favorite fish is the Channel Catfish. "It's a beautiful fish - great food fish that is super strong with a deeply forked tail.... very fun to fish for..."

Many believe that smaller fish are the best eating. Tom agreed, "With smaller fish there is less time to bioaccumulate things like toxins and other bad tasting things in the water." There's a trade-off though he went on to say, with a smaller fish - say a Northern Pike Hammerhandle - you've got a lot of Y bones to fillet. Most people think the perfect fish for eating is a 18" walleye.

What do you think? What is your favorite fish to eat?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dodger: Cello Love

I have cello love. I bought a cello in June. Lessons followed. I can proudly say I’m
almost done with Suzuki Book 2 with many more Suzuki Books to go. This week my cello and I will take the stage of the Reif Center with the Beginning Orchestra of the Itasca Orchestra’s Strings Program to perform “Old MacDonald,” “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas,” “Jingle Bells,” and several more works of a minute or more in length. It will not be Bach or Ma, but me and this lovely, shiny wooden instrument only a foot shorter than I. We will join Jade, Eddie, Hannah, Kaitlyn, and David, the 6 to 13 year olds in my very own cello section. The seven or so songs will take 15 minutes, if that, and we will leave the stage a bit better or not after our first concert.

Day one last June with my cello, I enthusiastically broke two strings in my desire to learn how to tune. Then I quickly learned that I was not going to sound good for at least a year, if that. Next was the physical challenge of playing. You can actually injure yourself playing violins, violas, cellos, and basses. My chiropractor, after a few adjustments, showed me how to stretch and prepare for practice. Now I am focused. My yoga and weight lifting will make me the cello musician I hope to be some day. It’s not about just exercising anymore. It’s about strengthening my right arm, neck and back. Getting into the zone. Zen cello.

I now hear cellos everywhere, the “minimalist” cello strains in the film There Will Be Blood, and the music of Cloud Cult, the Sparrow Quartet, and Ben Sollee. Last month, I took a field trip to the Cities to see Brit cellist Steven Isserlis perform “The Protecting Veil” with the Minnesota Orchestra. In this piece the cello takes the role of the Virgin Mary lamenting. The cello lamented for a good 42 minutes as Isserlis’s fingers dripped off the end of the finger board. The high pitched wailing was mesmerizing, but the man sitting in front of me used Mary’s lament as background music for reading his concert program. How could he have been so clueless? It was a cello up there crying its heart out. I wanted to rip the program from his indifferent hands and tear it to shreds. A bit irrational I would say.

Love is not rational. Cello love. Watch out.

Kathy Dodge co-hosts KAXE Morning Show on Mondays and is the Executive Director of the Itasca Symphony Orchestra. Feel free to comment on "Cello Love", but be sure your syntax and spelling are correct!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Breakfast with Chips!

No, it wasn't with Ponch or John from the California Highway Patrol.... and it wasn't breakfast with a bag of Doritos either.

Today we had a healthy breakfast thanks to CHIPS, the Coronary Health Improvement Project in Itasca County. Five folks from CHIPS showed up in our kitchen and served us with not only a healthy meal, but a tasty meal!

We had Biscuits and Gravy, Joyce and Arthur's bread, fruit & Rice Pudding. And best of all, we created a little community in our kitchen and in our conference room, people talking about changing eating habits, feeling better - both physically and mentally. Here's some of the recipes from the feast today. Look here for more!
Biscuits and Gravy

"Buttermilk" Drop Biscuits
3/4 cup plain soymilk or rice milk
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tb canola oil
1 Tb frozen apple juice concentrate (or other liquid sweetener)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour soymilk into small cup or bowl and stir in lemon juice. Let it sit for 10 minutes to sour.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Place oil and juice concentrate in small cup and beat with fork to combine well. Add this to flour mixture and cut it in with fork until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
Add soymilk and stir batter with wooden spoon. The batter will be thick. Mist the baking sheet with nonstick spray and then drop dough onto it by larkge rounded spoonfuls to make 10 biscuits.
Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until golden. Transfer to a cooling rack. Best served hot or warm.
(From Vegan Vittles)

"Sausage" Gravy

1 cup water
½ cup raw cashews
2 cups water
1/3 cup flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp chicken or beef-style season (vegetarian options include McKay's and Bill's Best)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 Tb nutritional yeast flakes
½ bag Morningstar Farms Sausage or Griller Crumbles (vegetarian soy product)

In a saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to boil. Blend the remaining ingredients, except sausage crumbles, until creamy (best to add flour at the end of the blending). Take blended mixture and add it slowly to boiling water, stirring with a whisk until the pot returns to a boil. Stir in crumbles and serve hot over biscuits.
Alternate Biscuit Recipe

1 cup whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tb baking powder
3 Tb Smart Balance or Earth Balance, cold
1 cup soy, rice, or skim milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix flours and baking powder. Quickly cut in Smart or Earth Balance while cold. Add milk and mix lightly with a fork. Do not overmix. When mixture has almost come together, pour out on a floured board. Gently press about ½" thick (may need to flour the top a little if it's sticky). Take a cup dipped in flour and cutout biscuit rounds. Reshape scraps to get another biscuit or two out of the dough. Spray a shot of Pam where each biscuit will sit on a baking tray, and put in hot oven for about 15 minutes. Best served hot out of the oven. Makes about 10 biscuits.

Rice Pudding

3 cups cooked brown rice

3 cups soy, almond, or rice milk

4-6 oz. coconut milk (optional)

1 Tb cornstarch

1½ Tb maple syrup

Zest of ½ lemon

Zest of ½ orange

2 tsp vanilla (less if you use vanilla soymilk)

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp cardamom

¼ tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup raisins

3 Tb sliced almonds

1 tsp sugar

Combine everything in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle the top with almonds and sugar. You may then, if you wish, broil the mixture for about 8 minutes to toast almond and sugar topping. This step may be skipped. Best if chilled thoroughly before serving.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Guido Comments on Arts and The Economy

December 11, 2008

I want to step out of the guide role here for a few year-end moments, to turn a reflective eye, if you will, on the arts---on Capital-A Art---and on what it all means for us here in this community of communities we call KAXE-land.

The first thing that strikes you is how lucky we are, all across the listening area, from Brainerd-Nisswa-Pequot Lakes-Deerwood-Aitkin to Bigfork, Bemidji to the Iron Range, and pretty much every place in between: as we’ve seen, month after month, there’s a lot of Art happening in this big neighborhood, and much of it is very, very good. Whether it’s local school-kids doing a watercolor mural celebrating human rights or protesting hunger and homelessness---or a troupe of professional jazz dancers from Chicago---opportunities to create and witness Art around the northland abound, not equally everywhere, but wherever you are you’re within driving distance of most of those opportunities.

We’ve been documenting for thousands of years what creative self-expression (aka Art) does for the human body and spirit. It flat-out makes us healthier, and safer. People with backgrounds in the arts are more tolerant of diversity. They’re more flexible, more adaptable in unfamiliar circumstances. Their areas of reference are wider and more user-friendly. As students, they perform better provably on everything from achievement tests to college entrance exams. As employees, they’re more desirable for all of the above reasons; also, their communication skills are generally well developed, either broadly or in one or two modes or media in particular. In this total global environment, the only thing more critical than artful communication is cool water.

Recently, we’ve been documenting what Art does not only for quality of life but for the state’s economy, in studies commissioned by the McKnight Foundation and implemented mainly by Minnesota Citizens for the Arts. Art in Minnesota accounts for almost $840 million in annual economic activity, generating nearly $100 million in state and local government revenues. In the Arrowhead Region alone, it’s $30-plus million in commerce, accounting for $17 million in household income in northeastern Minnesota. Every dollar the state invests in Art---by way of the State Arts Board or the Regional Councils or any other way---every dollar guarantees a return on investment of $11. When was the last time you heard your Economic Development Agency talking about Art in their incentive and stimulus discussions? And remember: the McKnight Foundation is not in the habit of funding smoke-and-mirrors research; this math is strict input/output analysis, using Nobel Prize winning economic-theory models.

Another calculation: when someone comes to your town, even from just a few miles away, to see your community theater group or orchestra or a world-famous touring production, they’re going to spend on average $45 per person, and that’s not counting show tickets. It’s food and lodging and gas, locally handcrafted coffee mugs, a touristy/novelty necktie for the geezer uncle back home. Shopping. Even the locals will drop $20, before tickets, when they go out to a play or concert or ‘Bambi on the Hood’.

But to me what’s most fascinating, most telling, about Art is this: Art outlives us. It’s what we leave behind, our marker. It connects us to what’s past and what’s next. Our cities fall down, or get bombed or buried by volcanoes. Our political institutions morph and implode. Faiths go up in smoke. Celebrities are forgotten. But Art survives: we’ve got it from as far back as we go, as a species, and if we ever lose sight of this…I can’t even finish that thought.

To all my friends and colleagues at the Edge Center in Bigfork, Ironworld and Range Arts and Lyric Opera House, Crossing Arts Alliance, Ripple River Gallery, Jaques Art Center, Bemidji Community Art Center and the too-numerous-to-mention other venues in that gifted town, MacRostie Art Center, Brewed Awakenings, Itasca Orchestra and Strings Program and Community Chorus and Children’s Theatre, Grand Rapids Players, to everyone who’s ever crossed the Reif Center stage or exhibited in our lobby, to all the organizations and people I talk about every month, and to all the organizations and people I’ve forgotten to talk about: best of the holidays to you and yours from me and mine, and, Scott-Hall-willing, I’ll do this again in 2009.

Steve Downing, a.k.a. Guido, is the Development Director at The Reif Center in Grand Rapids

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Great Christmas Tree Debate

This morning Scott Hall talked with Eli Sagor from My Minnesota Woods about the top 5 stories in Forestry in Minnesota this year. They included passage of 2c managed forest land tax classification, market downturns - community and landowner impacts, emergence of carbon markets, biomass - biomass - biomass, and the passage of the legacy amendment.

At the end of their conversation Scott asked Eli his take on a real v. artificial Christmas trees. Eli talked about his family's tradition of going out to cut a tree every year. Eli mentioned the smell being part of the allure of a real tree.

What's your take? What kind of tree is in your house? Post your comments here!

Check out this photo slide show posted on My Minnesota Woods to see one family's tradition of cutting down their own Christmas tree. Or better yet, send us a photo of YOUR Christmas tree!

If you are looking for a local tree farm to cut/buy a Christmas tree from, check here!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Morning Show, Monday, December 8th

This Monday, we meet Cloquet native, Brian Krohn. Brian recently became one of only thirty-two Americans to receive a Rhodes Scholarship to study two years at Oxford University in England. He is a senior at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. He’ll graduate with a degree in chemistry and minors in mathematics and biology. Brian has already done cutting edge research on biodiesel fuels.

Also, the People and Culture of India are coming to the Iron Range.
Essar Steel of India is building a new ore-to-steel plant near Nashwauk.
This Monday, Hibbing Community College teacher, Chuck Lyons will preview “Focus On India”, a conference at HCC next Thursday, December 11th. The president of Essar Steel Minnesota, Madhu Vuppuluri, India’s Minister of Commerce, Banashri Bose Harrison, and Governor Pawlenty will be part of this day-long conference.

And: the Minnesota sports roundup with Jack Lavaliere, a new video game review from the Binary Boys, and Tornado Bob’s forecast round out the Monday morning schedule.

Dr. Michael Fox's dog Batman

is wearing booties from Ruff Wear. Dr. Fox's dog Batman is originally from India and doesn't like Minnesota's cold winters. As Dr. Fox told us this morning, Batman lifted his paws as if to say "Daddy I don't like this!" That's how Dr. Fox knows that winter is indeed here....

He also mentioned a couple of pet food companies he likes - The Honest Kitchen and Restoration Raw.

Dr. Fox puts Ruff Wear's booties on Batman to combat the cold.

varied thrush in Ely reports Marshall Helmberger

Marshall Helmberger reported this morning of a Varied Thrush siting in Ely.... Check out The TimberJay newspaper for more information!

Marshall also talked about ski conditions in Northern St. Louis County - they have about 3 inches and he's done a little skiing on the lakes.... see the new Ski Talk blog on our website.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Samantha Smith

Congratulations to Brainerd High School Diver, Samantha Smith.
Samantha earned all-state honors at the state swimming and diving championships at the University of Minnesota pool this Fall. She was the highest finisher of all northern Minnesota athletes at the state swim meet this year. Samantha also won 13 of the 15 meets she competed in this year. Thanks to Mike Bialka, sportswriter at the Brainerd Dispatch, for the picture of Samantha in flight!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

About Brussels Sprouts...and Two Upcoming Workshops

Joel Rosen sent us this letter about Brussels sprouts. He also told us about some upcoming workshops. Below Joel’s letter is a good Brussels sprouts recipe!—Maggie

“Fall garden harvest is nearing the end. Everything is done here except Brussels sprouts, which have reached peak sweetness in the past 10 days. The trick this late in the year is finding a time to pick them. If you pick them when they're still frozen, you need to peel a couple of outer leaves and eat them shortly after they thaw out (cooked or raw). If you can find a window of opportunity where they thaw in the afternoon sun on the stalk, they can still be kept for several days in a cool place before eating without loss of quality. Once we've experienced temperatures of -5F or colder, the texture goes pretty rapidly with the variety I grow. I consider it a bonus when we can still eat Brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving (likely this year).

Some people like to dig up the plants roots attached and store in the root cellar. They do keep reasonably well this way, but if you wait as long as I do, you'll never get them out of the ground unless you mulch heavily (at least 6" of straw) or get an early heavy snow cover…

A heads up for anyone you know interested in organic and/or sustainable farming: two very well know personalities will be keynoting events in Minnesota this winter. Eliot Coleman, innovative market gardener from Maine and author of several indispensable books for organic growers, is keynoting the Minnesota Organic Conference on Friday, Jan 16 in St. Cloud. He will also be conducting a breakout workshop on High Tunnels (For those interested in organic row crop farming, Fred Kirschenmann, probably the nation's best known organic grain farmer will delivering the Saturday keynote in St. Cloud)

On Saturday Feb 21, Joel Salatin, for many years a renowned innovative grass/livestock farmer and even better known since Michael Pollan's book, will be keynoting the Minnesota Sustainable Farming Association's Annual Conference in Northfield at St. Olaf College. Salatin will also be conducting a breakout workshop.

These individuals will no doubt attract a lot of attention, so anyone interested should register for the session/day of their choice soon. I can provide more information/links for interested parties.

--Joel Rosen”

A Good Brussels Sprouts Recipe

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and uniformly sliced
2-3 T butter
2 T sliced almonds
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large deep skillet over low heat.
Add the almonds to the butter in the skillet and cook slowly in the butter until the almonds are toasted. Increase heat to medium. Add the Brussels sprouts and garlic and quickly toss to coat with the hot butter. Sprinkle the red wine vinegar over the sprouts and toss again to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until sprouts are wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

High Expectations and Other Post-Election Thoughts

by Scott Hall

On a taxi ride recently, I asked the young driver how his business was doing.

"It's slow", he said, "but it's going to get better next year."

"Really, what makes you think so?", I asked.

"Obama", he said. ("Wow!, that's high expectations", I thought.)

"Hope you're right", I said. I hope he is right. And I wish I were that charged up and optimistic.

The day after the election this response came to KAXE from a posting by Birdie Lyons on the Cass Lake e-democracy forum:

Wow! I am a simple 55 years young and I have seen much history in those
short years but I never thought I would see the day we would have a
president that was not white, let alone a black president. I spent most of
my time in Oklahoma as a youth in the boarding schools and I use to run away
to the 'shanty' town for protection.

Back then the south was still very segregated and the shanty towns were so named because they were communities where only black people lived. I was there when it use to say "whites only" on signs in front of stores and that was as recent as the early 60's! When the store signs said "blacks forbidden" that meant Natives too.

I was stunned to hear Obama mention the 'Native Americans' in his speech
last night and I made sure I heard it because the news station will never
let that be heard again unless they air the whole speech again.
I wonder what this man's presidency will hold for the Native people of this
country. This country was built on the white values and it remains a white,
black, Latino, Asian and finally Native country. We are always last on the
ladder but hey! that keeps us closer to Mother Earth or more grounded in our
values and lives, right?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Scott's Big Weekend

We went to Minneapolis Saturday to see Calexico, a band led by guitar and vocalist Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino. I first heard Calexico on KAXE 6 or 8 years ago. I like music with Mexican and Southwestern U.S influences - Los Lobos, Brave Combo, The Mavericks, Flaco Jimenez, TX Tornados, Ry Cooder, Chris Isaac and Calexico. There's a lot of energy, driving rhythms and melodrama, rock 'n roll, and fun about the music. Burns and Convertino are from Tuscon, Arizona and surround themselves with four great musicians, Jacob Valenzuela and Martin Wenk on horns, accordion, and vibes, Paul Niehaus plays an eerie pedal steel. He's from Nashville, and also does some delightful Dick Dale and other style guitar licks. And Volker Zander on bass.

The concert was at The Fine Line in downtown Mpls. Tickets were 17 dollars - a good deal for sure. They were "limited seating" tickets meaning we stood for three hours squeezed in with about two or three hundred other, much younger people. The opening act was The Acorn, an interesting band from Canada, but by the time their set was over my legs ached and there was no relief except walking in place. About 10:30 Calexico started up and all was forgiven. The last number of their encore was the polka, "Corona", and so a perfect ending. My ears still ring...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Righteous Ice: David McDonald from Rainy Lake 7 Miles East of International Falls

Friday, November 21

My dog Hilwa and I are up at the Lake making sure no raccoon or bear
have moved into a cabin (none have... all is good up north).
Jackfish Bay on Rainy Lake is iced over but it can't be very thick.
There is just an inch or two of snow here and there. It was a clear,
sunny, still, beautiful, cold day so I went down to the dock at sunset
(which is around 4:15 now) at looked north across the bay. There was
no wind and everything was so quiet that I could hear a faint rumble
from the mill in town to the west and a dog barking off in the
distance to the east. The loudest sound was Hilwa's paws on the
squeaky snow.

So I stood there for a moment enjoying the calm when all of a sudden
there was a loud sci-fi rippling noise that seemed to race from one
end of the bay all the way to the other in less than a second. Yes,
it was uber freaky and unexpected partly because there was nothing
visual... it was just a sound from under the frozen surface of the
lake. I am told it is the sound of the ice forming and following a
path of least resistance and making noise as it expands and hits other
ice. I suggest you get a better source for the science but that is
what I think was happening.

I waited and a few minutes later a completely different sound came
from another part of the bay. It was very cool and impossible to
describe. I stood there for about 10 minutes and heard a bizarre
collection of maybe ten different sounds from all over Jackfish Bay.

So then I closed my eyes and tried to get into a total audio zone. I
was standing at the end of the dock so the faint mill rumble was to my
left and the distant dog barking was to my right. I told Hilwa to
shut up so she wandered off and was making less noise behind me on the
shore. After a few moments another ice sound came from the lake and
it was righteous. I got more and more in the zone with each new and
different sound, sort of feeling exactly where it was coming from in
the bay. Some were pops, some were squeals, and others were the
rippling kind that travelled. Righteous.

Then I heard a different continuous noise coming from behind me and
it seemed to be quickly heading right at me. I wasn't sure what it
was so I opened my eyes just as an eagle flew overhead at about the
height of the trees heading north over the lake. The sound I heard
was its wings flapping in the quiet of dusk. Righteous.

- David McDonald

Friday, November 14, 2008

November Thoughts

No Leaves
No Sun
No long bike rides
No shorts, bare feet
No swim in the lake

No vember

But that’s about all I can say bad about November. It can get us down and dark, but judging by the all places to go and things to do and see, the arrival of winter doesn’t diminish the amazing array of traditions and fun we have when it gets cold. For a lot of us – Bill Berg and Harry Hutchins come readily to mind – this is the first of five months of winter revelry. Ski swaps, holiday celebrations, and musical events, cultural traditions like lefse, ice fishing, snowmobiling, skiing, skating, basketball and HOCKEY! (my emphasis there - Fred Friedman and I are old friends, but when it comes to hockey, he’s from Mercury and I’m from Jupiter).

Except for the most gung ho, Winter gets long and we usually need to get away for a week or so. I’m planning to visit my brother in San Jose, CA in February. He and I will go for a some bike rides, and we’ll also check out a few stages of the Tour of California. It’s an eight day bicycle road race through the wine country, mountains and along the beautiful California coast. Lance Armstrong is in it this year so the crowds will be big and the hotels will fill up.

Please tell us what winter means to you and tell us about your special traditions and plans for this winter.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Guido's Guide and Arts Roundup For November and December (Check Out The Garcia Tie. He looks even sharper at 6 in the morning!)

In and around Brainerd: the Franklin Arts Center is currently hosting the Brainerd Area Art Club Holiday Art Show; Stroia Ballet will do “The Nutcracker” at Tornstrom Auditorium tomorrow (11/14); Greater Lakes Performing Arts opens “Bye Bye Birdie” tomorrow (all through next week) at Pequot Lakes High School; on 11/25 the Central Lakes College Concert & Jazz Bands will perform; on the 29th the Lakes Area Concert Association presents “Trumpet Invasion” at Tornstrom; and there’s more, of course---for times & other details:

Ripple River Gallery near Deerwood: Bob and Amy aren’t doing anything particularly holiday-ish this year, but they’ve got the usual “wide range of really good work” (Amy’s words) on the walls and shelves.

Jaques Art Center in Aitkin: the Jaques Christmas Marketplace starts tomorrow (11/14), where bidding opens on items in the Annual Dinner & Silent Auction, which will be Saturday, 11/22 at 5. Also: they’ve got St. Nicholas Tea and English Tea parties scheduled, the usual 3rd Thursday Brown Bag Lunch next week (11/20) with “Watercolor: A Mind Of Its Own” (Bev Abear). And let’s don’t forget the World Famous Fish House Parade in Aitkin on 11/28.

To Bemidji. At BCAC through 12/21, “It’s Only Clay”, their annual national juried ceramics competition and exhibition. Plus Judith Selby at Dunn Brothers, plus Cyrus Swann at Wild Hare, plus the Christmas Boutique at Gallery North, plus Mary Therese Peterson at Neilson Place, plus “Nuncrackers” coming up at Wild Rose, and so on. Plus: Bemidji Symphony Orchestra, “Miraculous Fanfares” Sunday 11/23 at 3 at the High School, and a Holiday Concert and Messiah Sing-A-Long at BSU on 12/9 at 7:30. Also at BSU the 40th Annual Madrigal Dinner in the Beaux Arts Ballroom the 1st 2 weekends in Dec. and music department concerts one after another.

In Bigfork at the Edge Center their Holiday Gift Show & Sale is up in the lobby through 12/14; in the theater, 12/5-12/7 “What Do I Do With My Hands? One Vaudevillian’s True Confessions”, comedy, songs and stories by Brian Kent Johnson; and on 12/14 at 2 it’s the Blandin Male Chorus, free.

Over on the Range it’s still “In The Dark” at Ironworld, through 1/4, and the Festival of Lights 12/4-12/7 (Xmas trees, food, music, egg decorating, wagon rides, etc.). At Hibbing Community College Ragamala Dance Company performs Thurs. 12/11 at 7:30, South Indian classical dance, as part of the Cultural Events Series. On 12/20 at 2 & 7 Reif Center Dance Company tours their “Nutcracker Sweets” to HCC. Info on classes/workshops in Hibbing, some Xmas-themed, at

Grand Rapids. MacRostie Art Center’s Nov. exhibitors, sponsored by LuAnn & Frank Hanson, are Samuel Johnson from St. Ben’s/St. John’s, functional pottery, dark wood-fired and white-glazed work, and drawings by Krista Matison. At Brewed Awakenings it’s nature photos by Judith Kustelski. At Reif we’ve got a five-artist exhibit in the lobby: Liz White (also serving as the curator), Dorothy Hall, Deb Page, Diane Rutherford, and Mary Shideler. On stage at Reif: Next week, music: middle school bands Mon. & Tues. at 7:30 at Reif, then Itasca Orchestra, first with a gathering at Rivers Thurs. at 5:30 with Soprano Hope Koehler and Itasca Orchestra’s Executive Director Kathy Dodge, and the Fall Concert at Reif on Sat. (11/22) at 7:30 (Dvorak’s 8th, Sullivan’s Overture to Yeoman of the Guard, Handel’s Rinaldo, and, featuring Ms. Koehler, a suite of Puccini arias that Dodger promises you will leave the theatre humming, in part because they’re so memorable, in part because they’ll be done so well). Funding by the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council through an appropriation by the MN State Legislature.

Out of town: in previews, at the Belasco in NY, a revival of David Mamet’s signature “American Buffalo” with a terrific cast (Cedric the Entertainer, Haley Joel Osment & John Leguizamo).


See that mountain of kale? Before it got to be a pile by the sink it had to be picked, the large veins removed, then chopped and washed three times in sinks filled with cold water.

The next step was to plunge it into boiling water for two minutes, then let it cool in another sink full of cold, cold water. Then you drain it and pack it in freezer bags.

The boiling water makes the kale wilt and turn dark green.

When it was all over, that big pile of kale fit easily into two, one-quart bags.

That’s the bummer about kale. Since I was a girl it’s been my very favorite vegetable. But it takes a lot of work to get a little kale.

All the greens are like that. Chard, beet greens, mustard…it doesn’t matter. It takes a lot to make a little.

Some things are just like that.

Greens are awesome things. They’re packed with vitamins (no wonder—when they’re condensed like that) and they taste…wonderful!

Kale is sweet and mild this time of year. And the plants themselves are amazing! The kale that’s still in the garden is still standing and edible even after several nights with temperatures in the teens (it would have been better if it was all picked now, but processing takes so much time!). Joel Rosen, from the Lake Superior Chapter of the Sustainable Farming Association, told me frost signals the plant to send sugars from the roots into the leaves.

I cook kale in salted water until it gets tender (kale can be tough sometimes), and then add vinegar or soy sauce when I eat it. My grandmother used to cook it with ham. Any way you do it, it’s yummy!

(P.S. the third photo is Dinosaur kale, aka Italian kale—it looks totally cool!)

-Maggie Montgomery

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Second BIG CARROT Found - and it's BIGGER!

Unbelievably, another huge carrot has been found in East Nary, at the residence of Dennis and Maggie Montgomery. The carrot, weighing in at 1# 8.5 oz, smashed the previous East Nary carrot record by 2.5 ounces.

“I couldn’t believe it when I weighed it,” said Maggie Montgomery. “It’s a lot uglier than the other carrot but quite a bit bigger!”

When asked if this carrot would be stuffed and mounted, Montgomery said, “It’s too late. We ate it. Just that one carrot was all we needed for a big pot of stew.”

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Legislative Races: House Districts 4A, 4B, and 12A

House District 4A is an open seat. DFL incumbent, Frank Moe, is not seeking a third term. The district includes parts of Beltrami, northern Cass, and western Itasca counties, including Bemidji, Cass Lake, Remer, and Deer River.

DFL John Persell

Republican John Carlson

Independence Sharatin Blake

Report on 4A race: Bemidji Pioneer article

* * *

District 4B includes southern Cass County, half of Hubbard County and the northern part of Crow Wing County. Cities in the district include Akeley, Pillager, Longville, Walker, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore, Breezy Point and Cuyuna.

Republican incumbent, Larry Howes from Walker, is seeking his sixth term. He's opposed by DFLer Meg Bye from Pequot Lakes.

Republican Larry Howes

DFLer Meg Bye

Brainerd Dispatch article by Renee Richardson

Meg Bye, DFL candidate from rural Pequot Lakes, is challenging incumbent Larry Howes, Republican from Walker, for the District 4B seat in the Minnesota House. Howes, who was first elected in 1998, is seeking his sixth term. Bye, a former mathematics teacher, is a 12-year veteran of the Duluth City Council.

Looking at a predicted state deficit of $1 billion to $2 billion, candidates were asked what they would list as a priority and what they would cut. Howes said the state has to do what families do - live within its means. With today's financial uncertainty, Howes said: "This is simply not the time to raise taxes." Bye said to be fair people with incomes more than $400,000 should pay an additional one percent in taxes.

Bye and Howes differed on support of the JOBZone program, with tax breaks to attract businesses to specific locations. Bye said the program was a gimmick and was more about moving jobs around the state than increasing the economic base. Howes said the JOBZone program was not a gimmick and he said the biggest reason for job loss in the region coming from cuts in the forest industry and from the housing market.

Both Bye and Howes support the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment on the ballot this Nov. 4.

In regard to K-12 school funding, Howes said getting school levies off the property taxes would create a better economic system and he is impressed with plans coming forward. Bye said school funding should come through the state and not property taxes.

"We should stop pretending we can have good schools and not pay for them," Bye said.

Regarding a statewide single-payer universal health system, Bye said one was needed and people are ahead of the politicians on this issue. Howes said he somewhat supports a single-payer policy but not a universal one, saying health management systems have been the biggest curses for health care in the state. Bye agreed HMOs haven't worked and said health care needs to get away from being a commodity.

Candidates may have been the most animated when they asked questions of each other. Bye asked Howes why he voted against an energy bill that favored items like solar panels. Howes suggested it was a "gotcha" moment and he didn't remember the specifics of a particular bill. Bye said Howes voted against ever improvement to the energy policy. Howes countered asking Bye about her tax increase and questioned how that would affect small business. Bye said she didn't think many people in the district would be affected.

Bemidji Pioneer profile of House 4B race

* * *

District 12A includes most of Crow Wing County including Brainerd, Baxter and Crosby. DFL incumbent John Ward is opposed by Republican, David Allan Pundt.

John Ward

David Allan Pundt

Brainerd Dispatch article by Matt Erickson

Ward, Pundt weigh in on issues facing Legislature
Staff Writer

When the Legislature convenes in 2009, whoever is representing Minnesota House District 12A will have a lot of work to do.
A $1-$2 billion state deficit, education funding reform and health care reform are just the tip of the iceberg of issues facing candidates Republican David Allan Pundt of Baxter and Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd.

On Thursday, the two used a debate sponsored by Lakeland Television as a job interview of sorts, and both offered their ideas on what they would do in St. Paul.

On the deficit, Pundt suggested cutting legislators per diems, overhauling the state's welfare system concerning travel and requiring every state department to start each year with a zero based budget.

"As far as any other cuts, they're all on the table," Pundt said.
Ward agreed with all possible cuts being considered. He said reforming health care may add additional revenue and advocated a study of the state's tax system.
On education, Ward noted the writer's of Minnesota's constitution stipulated education must be adequately provided for, while Minnesota currently is 20 percent behind in its funding formula.
"We have to have funding in Minnesota that's fair, adequate, equitable and timely," Ward said.
Pundt said the state is using a 1940s system for 21st century students. He proposed merit pay for teachers and students going to school for more days of the year, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., five days a week.
"Let them treat it like the job it is," Pundt said.
On health care, Pundt said state mandates should be reduced and competition encouraged. Ward said costs could be cut by up to 80 percent through health programs.
"Health care should be right for all, not just the few, the rich, whomever," Ward said. "We need a health care system that's universal, comprehensive (and) affordable ..."The two issues most separating the two candidates Thursday were the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Dedicated Funding Amendment voters will decide on the Nov. 4 ballot and the possibility of raising minimum wage.
Ward was in favor of both issues, Pundt was against.
On the amendment, Ward said he was supportive of it because it gave people the choice to decide. He said the environment was critical to District 12A and needed to be preserved to pass on to future generations.
While not against clean water, air or restoring habitat, Pundt said he was against the amendment because dedicated funding for 25 years. He said things should be done with recurrent money.
On raising the state's minimum wage, Pundt said he was opposed because it would force businesses to raise prices or cut employees.
Ward said he was in favor of raising it to meet the federal minimum wage standard.
"It would put people closer to an actual living wage," Ward said.
In a twist from most debates, Pundt and Ward were able to ask each other one question.
Ward asked Pundt what he would do if the Republican party leaders demanded he vote the party line. Ward referenced last session's vote on a transportation bill in which six Republicans voted with Democrats and were punished by their party. Pundt responded that he would vote according to his conscience and constituents wishes.
Pundt asked Ward how he could say he was a pro-life candidate when he voted to elect pro-choice Rep. Margaret Kelliher as Speaker of the House. Ward defended his pro-life declaration, saying he's been so since he was a child and will remain so to the grave.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

First Local StoryCorps story on KAXE

Tune in this Monday morning at 6:50 for the first locally produced StoryCorps segment. You'll hear an excerpt of the conversation that Rick and Kathleen Blake of Grand Rapids had in the StoryCorps airstream trailer. They took their 40 minutes to remember their son Michael, who passed away when he was 8 from leukemia.

Kathleen tells the wonderful story of how telling her "Micahel the Elephant" story helped Michael get through his treatments.

It's the Fall Fundraiser at KAXE - the Northern Observer. What better way to support local media like KAXE that gives you real stories that matter. If you pledge your support at $10/month - $120/year - you can get "Listening is An Act of Love" - the first StoryCorps book as an EXTRA thank-you gift. Pledge online or call 218-326-1234/800-662-5799 to pledge your support.

And stay tuned to 91.7KAXE for more local StoryCorps stories. You'll hear the people in your community telling the stories that mean the most to them.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's The Means, Not The Ends: Colleen and Chuck Weigh In On Funding Clean Water, Wildlife Habitat, and the Arts

By Scott Hall

Few people question the value of public funding for clean water and wildlife habitat. The arts enhance our quality of life. But over the last fifteen years there have been many proposals in the MN Legislature to increase funding for these causes, mainly by raisng the sales tax by three eights of a penny. All of these proposals failed, so this year the Legislature decided put it to voters in the form of an amendment to the State Constitution. We asked our political commentators, DFLer Colleen Nardone, and Republican, Chuck Marohn, to tell us how they will vote.

The amendment on the November 4th ballot reads as follows:

Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to dedicate funding to protect our drinking water sources; to protect, enhance and restore our wetlands, prairies, forests, and fish, game, and wildlife habitat; to preserve our arts and cultural heritage; to support our parks and trails; and to protect, enhance, and restore our lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater; by increasing the sales and use tax rate beginning July 1, 2009, by three-eights of one percent on taxable sales until the year 2034?


I will vote NO. While these issues may be important, they are obviously not important enough to survive the legislative process. This is bad government. It is the legislature admitting that they cannot do their job and then allowing "the voter" to be the bad guy. If we vote this down, then they will say it is not important and they are justified in not funding it. If we approve it, they will claim to be leaders by setting this aside. It is a political sham.

I am also against because I believe much of the money would be wasted. If you look at the "trust fund" from the lottery proceeds, while some good work has been done, nothing proportionate to the money spent. For the most part, it has actually been a way to defund programs (they can go to the trust fund) or prop up agency spending in light of other budget cuts.

It is smoke and mirrors and bad government. We have enough of that already.


Variations of this amendment have been proposed many times. I have opposed them for some of the same reasons that Chuck opposes this one. If the issues of clean water, wildlife habitat and, in the case of this amendment, arts funding are such a high priority - which I think they are - then the Legislature and Governor should be providing the kind of sustained funding they need. In general, I don't like restricted, specific funding for specific causes, especially in the form of Constitutional amendments.

Having said all that, I'm probably going to vote for the amendment this time. We have gone a long time now without adequately funding wildlife habitat and clean water. Plus I'm a big advocate for the arts because they contribute so much to the quality of life for us here in Minnesota.

Observe: The Big Carrot

by Maggie Montgomery

Yes, it’s just a carrot. But it’s a honker!

I’ve been away from home a lot this week, and will be away a lot more, but last night had a chance to take a quick tour of our late fall garden. It’s a little daunting to go out there, because it’s a scene of neglect right now. But the garden always makes me feel peaceful and grateful.

It was kind of cold out there, and breezy. The rain gauge showed that we had gotten 3½ inches of rain last weekend! After a few minutes Dennis came out and poked around with me.

The beets are covered with old sheets because Joel Rosen warned us last year they were susceptible to frost. Some will go in the cellar. Beets keep like champs! I’d like to pickle some too, in chunks.

The chard is getting frost damage around some of the leaves. I picked two bunches and took them in to steam on the cookstove while I canned some pints of tomato puree.

There are some little broccoli shoots to pick, and some of the brussels sprouts are big enough to eat or freeze. A few late cabbages are still growing. The tomato house is about half emptied. There are a couple stout celery clumps, also covered. The few parsnips might just have to wait in the ground until spring.

My favorite vegetable, kale, looks marvelous, although we haven’t had a chance to taste any yet! It’s lush and various shades of deep green—three varieties in one row! It gets sweet after a frost. We generally freeze it and bring it out for holidays.

While I was picking the chard, Dennis pulled a few carrots. I planted carrots four times this spring. The first three times, cutworms mowed them down. When I talked to our neighbor Michael Schumaker about his CSA operation on KAXE’s Morning Show yesterday, he mentioned that carrots are particularly sweet and tasty this time of year.

“Whoa! Look at that carrot!” Dennis exclaimed suddenly. He pulled one out of the ground. The garden had produced a whopper! We took it and a few other carrots inside with the chard.

We each ate a normal, delicious carrot. I photographed the big carrot on the counter, in my hand, and with Dennis. I’m not sure what else to say about it, except to observe that it’s BIG.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Guido's Arts Roundup for October

The BSU Theatre Dept presents five performances of "No More Peace", a satire by Ernest Toller. The play is set in the small European country of Dunkelstein in the era between World Wars One and Two. It's a comical look at lame efforts to make peace among nations that have a history of going to war. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays, October 17th & 18th, 24th and 25th, at 7:29, with a matinee Sunday, the 26th, at 3 o'clock. Tickets $8 adults, $4 students & Srs, at Bangsberg Box Office; 755-3863.

Hibbing Community College Theatre presents "The Visit", a critically acclaimed drama set in a small town after World War Two. A wealthy woman seeks revenge against people in her home town that did her wrong many years before. The method of her revenge and the townspeople's reaction raise thought-provoking questions about justice, the nature of revenge, and the pressures of wealth and poverty. There will be eight performances of The Visit from October 23rd thru November 2nd.
Show times: Thurs, Fri, Sat 7:30, Sundays 2:30; $10 general adm, $8 for students, $5 HCC students; Box Office 262-7377

Over in Bemidji: Studio Cruise, 10/17, 18 & 19: participating artists in the Bemidji area invite you into their studios to reveal tricks, cleaning habits, peccadilloes---and to do commerce. Free and open to all. More info at 218.751.6767 or Paul Bunyan Playhouse: the season’s over, but auditions for summer 09 are 11/15, details at (get ready for The Who’s “Tommy”). At BCAC it’s still Sandra Haff/I Love A Parade, Gege Holden and Sean McCroy ( Plus there’s always art at Dunn Brothers, Wild Hare, Gallery North, Glazed and Amused, Neilson Place, and lots of other places in town.

Jaques Art Center, Aitkin: now through 11/8 Stephanie Mirocha (acrylics & watercolors) and “Turning Trail” (woodcarvings) by Tom Larson. Today (10/16) it’s the regular 3rd Thursday Brown Bag Lunch discussion: “Wildlife Stamps” presented by Judy Mans. Also: advanced photography workshop this Saturday (10/18) with Dee Kotaska.

Ripple River Gallery: through 11/2 Diane Rutherford/batik & Bob Carls/woodturning. SEE THIS SHOW.

Around Brainerd: 10/17-18: Fine Art Sale at the Nisswa Community Center, 10-5. At Franklin Arts Center, 10/21, 10-4, Lake Country Journal Featured Artists Exhibit, details at In Pequot Lakes, 10/24, 7:30, 25th Anniversary of Greater Lakes Performing Arts: Claudia Schmidt.

Range Creative Art Center/Hibbing: classes & workshops in woodcarving, watercolors, pastels, glass, oil painting, and more.

At the Edge Center in Bigfork: through 10/25, “Natural Perspectives”---pottery, drawing & prints---by Concordia art faculty members Keith Williams, Marko Fields & Stephanie Hunder. Adjust your calendars: folk rocker Kevin Steinman, scheduled for 10/24, re-scheduled to March 13. N.B.: any artists who want to be included in the annual Edge Holiday Show (opens 11/6) SHOULD contact Lynn Nachbar yesterday (10/15).

In Grand Rapids, the High School Drama Club is doing “Shout” at Reif, 10/30-11/1.

MacRostie Art Center: in the MacRostie Gallery, sponsored by Kristen & Ed Anderson, a group show by the juror & award winners from MAC’s 2007 Juried Exhibit: Marlon Davidson (juror), Jay Jones, Dorothy Hall, Anna Shallman, and Natalie Himmirska. Back in the Minnesota Gallery: baskets and containers: curator and artist John Zasada has done it again. Words fail. For upcoming classes & workshops:

At Brewed Awakenings: on the walls this month Mitch Mickelson, on stage next Thurs. (10/23) at 6: Sam Miltich, Pat Downing, Jon Dallas: jazz standards. And High Bongo here at KAXE the following Thurs. at 6.

To Reif: tonight (10/16) at 7:30, sponsored by ICC and an anonymous underwriter, the Rose Ensemble. Ancient Mediterranean vocal music, with some string and percussion accompaniment. Ensemble Founder and Artistic Director Jordan Sramek will be doing a pre-show presentation at Rivers at 5:30. Then Saturday (10/18) at 7:30 it’s “Marilyn/Forever Blonde”, sponsored by Travel Leaders; i.e., Laurie Passard, who was a classmate here in Grand Rapids of Sonja Peterson, who became Sunny Thompson, who becomes Marilyn Monroe in this much acclaimed one-woman show. Next Friday (10/24) at 7:30 it’s American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, direct from NYC, sponsored by Rivers Wine Bar & Bistro, and there’ll be a pre-show event at Rivers that night, too, as well as a demonstration/lecture the next morning at Reif---call 218.327.5780 for more info about any of this. On the 23rd it’s “Stone Soup”, 2 daytime shows for schoolkids sponsored by Sara Swanson Law Office. On the 28th it’s Golden Dragon Acrobats, sponsored by Lake States Tree Service, on Nov. 7th Omaha Children’s Theatre doing “Harry the Horrible” sponsored by Target, the next night “Mama’s Night Out/Bambi On The Hood” sponsored by Jerry’s Warehouse Liquors, the Sawmill Inn & Country Inn.

Two recommendations should you find yourself in New York in the near future: “A Man For All Seasons” at Roundabout Theatre (raves for Frank Langella as Thomas More) and “The Tempest” at Classic Stage Company (raves for Elizabeth Waterston as Miranda).

Friday, October 10, 2008

How Are You Handling The Big Bad News?

The "big news" these days is too important to ignore, but I was glad to wake up to the Friday Morning Show knowing there would be a little relief. The Mom of Pop Culture, Talkbacks, the Border News with Marshall, What's For Breakfast, and other locally-produced segments gave us a break from the repetition of election reportiing and the doom and gloomy economic news.

I can't fault NPR editors for pouring so much time and energy into the election and economy, but I reached a saturation point by mid week. I know some of you are news junkies and can't get enough of the many different ways to look at these momentous events. I also know some of you would be happy with a headline news service and more music. We all have different puke points. What's yours?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Killing Frosts: A Letter From Joel Rosen

The effects of frost are often misunderstood by gardeners. Generally, climatologists and agronomists classify frost as light, moderate, or hard. Light frost (29-32) will usually kill or damage warm weather annual foliage and stems (basil, cucumbers, and melons are especially sensitive). Moderate frost (25-28) will damage or destroy the fruits of the warm weather annuals like squash, tomatoes, etc (especially if their protective foliage has already been destroyed in a previous frost). Hard or severe frost (24 or below) may cause damage to some of the less hardy coles like cauliflower and may induce at least temporary dormancy in grass and clover.

Of course most root crops, cole crops, and hardy greens will survive and in many cases improve in quality following temperatures in the 18-24F range. Further complicating the issue is the level of available potassium in the soil, which will increase even tender plants' frost resistance. I have on numerous occasions seen squash, pumpkin, tomato, and pepper foliage frozen as stiff as cardboard, only to thaw out in the sun with little significant damage. The amount of dew frozen around the foliage (acting as insulation) also provides some protection, while wind in sub-freezing temperatures will increase the level of damage. The heat stored in the soil also can make quite a difference to growth within 6" of the ground, so a late August frost when soil is still warm will often show less damage than a late September frost with the same temperature. Duration of frost is also a significant factor. Finally, the placement of a gardener's thermometer may cause confusion. A thermometer attached to a house wall or inside a porch will nearly always register significantly warmer temperatures in calm conditions. An accurate reading of 37F from a porch thermometer may be less than 100 yards away from a garden where everything is frozen stiff. The nearby unprotected garden in a low area could easily be 10 degrees colder than that porch reading on a still morning, enough frost to damage quite a variety of garden crops.

One final caveat. While warm weather fruits and vegetables may survive light frosts, gardeners need to decide if they are worth covering and saving. Basil begins to blacken and deteriorate after the first night or two of temperatures in the 30's and the quality of vine-ripened tomatoes deteriorates markedly once nights begin to dip into the 30's, epecially when the days remain cool. Due to its higher sugar content, a ripe tomato will "survive" more frost intact than a green one, but it may not taste a whole lot better than those green tomatoes many gardeners wrap in newspaper and ripen in warm places in the fall. Once the weather turns cold, I like to focus on enjoying the things that are starting to taste really good, like carrots, broccoli, cabbage, fall apples, etc.

Joel Rosen is a gardener and frequently contributes his weather information to John Latimer's Phenology Show. Joel lives on Park Lake near Matowah in Carlton County. The growing season and phenology in Joel's neck of the woods can be different from other parts of the KAXE listening area due to the influence on weather from Lake Superior

Friday, October 3, 2008

Debates, Questions and Coded Messages

Fickle Framing
This is the third election season I’ve been a panelist for debates on our local Public Television station. I prepare by spending a few hours asking other journalists and people who follow the Minnesota legislature what issues they think are important and what questions they would ask. I try to frame a question in a way that will not only make the candidates show what they know and think about an issue, but also make them show how much they know about the people they want to represent.

Candidates deflect, avoid or misinterpret debate questions all the time. So, from a journalist’s perspective, debates will be a disappointment if you expect wide-ranging responses that explore the various angles you imagined in your question.

For example, before one debate a few years ago, I had a some conversations with business people in the area. All of them said that the cost of health insurance was going up fast, and the insurance products they could afford had such high deductibles that they weren’t much use to their employees unless they got real sick.

So I decided to frame a health care question in economic terms. It went like this:

“If the state were to assume some of the health insurance costs of Minnesota workers, what impact would that have on the business climate in the state?”

I expected the answers would range from reducing the cost of doing business and improving the business climate (good things) to concern over how the state would pay for the insurance. However, all of the candidates saw the question as an opportunity to give their standard response to the “health care question”. I was sorry they didn’t answer my question, but it wasn’t a waste because at least viewers and listeners heard their ideas about health care reform.

Huh? You Gotta Know The Territory!
Some journalists only ask questions they already know the answers to. However, even if you think you know the answer, some candidate responses are so vague or evasive I think they are trying to disguise their ignorance. But that's not necessarily true. They may be using language people in their district understand that I don't because I don't know the territory well enough. For years candidates have used coded rhetoric for talking about hot button issues like taxes, race and abortion.

A Grand Stand
The first debate I ever worked featured Rudy Perpich and Warren Spannus. They were going against each other in the DFL primary for Governor. I think it was 1982. Spannus was the DFL's endorsed candidate. So Rudy was bucking his Party's will. During his closing remarks in this debate Rudy picks up his tax return and slaps it down on the podium and that's becomes the story of this debate. I'm sure the tremendous downturn in mining was one of the big issues of the day. But what was he saying with his gesture? That he's got nothing to hide? That he's not corrupt? Did this grand stand affect the outcome? I don't remember, but he won the primary and the next two general elections to become the longest-serving Governor in MN history.

Politics in KAXE's broadcast range: There are all or part of at least seven Senate Districts in the KAXE listening – districts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 12. Each District sends one Senator and two Representatives to St. Paul . That’s up to 21 legislators in all from our area. This year there are no Senate races. So we will elect Representatives to fill about 14 seats in the House.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Baseball To The Rescue

A pennant race is a welcome diversion from the high anxiety of Wall Street and the election. At least the games are a welcome diversion.

Hit the mute button. Sports talk on the radio and TV isn't all that different from political and economic commentary. It's shrill and self-important, delivered with an urgency that suggests you've got a hundred dollars bet on the game and only ten dollars in your pocket. The style is the substance. All the hype doesn't approach the tension from needing a two-out hit with the tying run on second base. The chatter, stats and posturing mean you care, but, to quote Yogi: "In baseball, you don't know nothin". What Yogi means is all the thought and analysis and preparation doesn't predict the outcome.

It's hard to ignore the crash on Wall Street, but don't you think the Seattle Mariners should get some of the bail out?...and the whole National League too, except "da Cubs". It's been 63 years since the Cubs were in the World Series. They lost to the Tigers in 1945 and 1935, the Yankees in '38 and '32, the Philadelphia Athletics in 1929, the Red Sox in 1918 (Babe Ruth pitched and won 2 games for the Red Sox). A hundred years sinced they won it! They beat the Tigers in 1907 and 1908. I think they're going to make it to the World Series this year. However, "in baseball you don't know nothin".

Twins comeback against the Rays last Thursday night made Friday dawn brighter. Friday and Saturday the starting pitchers got smoked early. Liriano to the rescue on Sunday, and it was bombs away last night in the first game against Chicago. Twins win, 9-3. Twins are young and fun, but their inexperience has been a weakness down the stretch. It's no coincidence that Mauer and Morneau are the most consistent hitters. They are the "old" guys who been through the pressure before. Over the last six weeks their good young pitchers have been inconsistent and run out of gas early. Blackburn tonight, Slowey on Thursday. Can they win the division? Sure they can; however, in baseball you don't know nothin'.

Best baseball book ever: "The Glory of Their Times" Lawrence Ritters' collection of stories told by baseball players who played between 1890 and 1920.

Sports Page Fallout, Gopher Football: Tom from Hibbing called last Thursday morning after the Sports Page: "C'mon, Scott, how can you and Fred not know who the Gophers are playing this weekend? It's Florida Atlantic! You guys gotta be on stuff like that!" Before I got deeper in Tom's doghouse by asking who is Florida Atlantic and why are the Gophers playing them, Tom reminded me that they beat Minnesota last year. Oops...
BTW, Gophers won,...Ohio State this week. The Gopher are big underdogs, however, in football you don't know nothin'.

In October, John Bauer starts his eighth year as coach of the Itasca Community College Women's Basketball team. His teams are well-coached, always hustle and will probably be one of the top teams in the state again. However, in basketball, you don't know nothin.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Guido's Arts Roundup


Over at Ironworld: re: the Night Sky Observation, originally scheduled for last Thursday. It’s tonight (9/18). Representatives from the Paulucci Planetarium and the Hibbing Community College Astronomy Club will be there to show you how to use telescopes to pick out any number of items-of-interest passing by in the night sky. This accompanies the main exhibit, “In The Dark: Start Seeing Things”, now through 1/4/09, where you can actually get a context-expanding sense of what life is like for a mole or termite. Then 10/2, in the Film Series, it’s “Seeing In The Dark” by Timothy Ferris, 7 pm in the theater. More info:

At Range Creative Art Center in Hibbing, fall classes are now gearing up---woodcarving, pastel portraits, fused glass, and

Up in Bigfork at the Edge Center, check out “Natural Perspectives” in the lobby gallery---pottery, drawing and prints---by Keith Williams, Marko Fields and Stephanie Hunder, and on 10/11 it’s Sam Miltich and the Clearwater Hot Club, at 7 pm. Details at

Bemidji Community Art Center, through 10/25, in effect three shows: “Natural Motion” by photographer Sean McCroy (slow shutter speeds, long exposures, turning nature surreal); “Color Studies” by GeGe Holden (fabric art, featuring seasonal themes); and “The Dolls: Homeless Women Telling Their Stories Through Art” (autobiographical dolls, each one with a unique narrative)---this, by Sandra Haff and the artists at I Love A Parade, and some of those folks will be on hand 10/3, as part of First Friday, 5-7 pm. These dolls will tell stories, some of them heartbreaking, all of them thought provoking.

At Jaques Art Center in Aitkin it’s still the western and Native American displays (Barb & Rod Furan, Linda & David Hommes) through 9/27. Coming soon: “Apples to Abstracts” by Stephanie Mirocha (watercolors) and “Turning Trail” by Tom Larson (woodcarvings); opening reception on 10/8 4-7 pm. Brown Bag Lunch (3rd Thursday) today, 9/18, at 12:15.

Ripple River Gallery: closing out this weekend, “Imaginary Friends”, paintings & collage art by David Norstad, dolls & toys by Tracy McMan. Up next, 9/24-11/2, Diane Rutherford (batik) and Bob Carls (wood turnings). And on 10/4 a very special event: an open house and raku pottery demo/firing with Jim Loso---the raku guru---for more:

MacRostie Art Center, GR: two September exhibits, sponsored by Hawkinson Construction. In the MacRostie Gallery, “Dysphoria” by Jesse Albrecht (a must-see) and in the Minnesota Gallery, mail art, another very cool Paula Brandel idea. The reception for this is actually a closing reception, a week from tomorrow, 9/26, 5-7 pm. Lots of fall classes starting in October: paper, pottery, drawing & painting, woodcarving, gift-making---check out the whole list at And next month as part of the October Minnesota Gallery exhibition John Zasada & Tina Fung-Holder & others will be doing demos of baskets & containers, functional & not, with birch bark, twine, twigs, grass, and other stuff that grows in your yard.

‘Goods From The Woods’ this Sat. (9/20) 9-5 & Sun (9/21) 9-3 at the IRA Arena---the 6th annual---always a showcase of art and artistry and exceptional how-to demonstrations.

At Reif: tonight, 9/18, “A Fine & Pleasant Misery”, Pat MacManus, sponsored by Arrow Embroidery/Photo Express, 7:30; tomorrow, 9/19, “James & the Giant Peach”, sponsored by Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital, 7 pm; Saturday, 9/20, Jayme Stone, sponsored by Grand Rapids GM, 7:30; a week from Saturday, Riders in the Sky, over in Greenway, sponsored by Ogle’s Marketplace Foods, 7:30; 10/4, Glenn Miller Orchestra, sponsored by Woodland Bank, 7:30; 10/12, Cathie Ryan, sponsored by Timberlake Lodge, 7:30; 10/16, the Rose Ensemble, sponsored by Itasca Community College and an anonymous Reif donor; 10/18, 7:30, “Marilyn: Forever Blonde”, sponsored by Carlson/Wagonlit/Rapid Travel, featuring Sunny Thompson, aka Sonia Peterson when she was in high school here in GR. for tix, calendar, links, & more. In Reif’s lobby, through 10/12: photography by Mark Harlow, large-format, up-close pictures of very wild animals, land- & sky-scapes.
Other/Fabulous Category: 9/27, 8 pm, at Ted Mann Concert Hall (U of M, West Bank): Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra---legendary, cutting-edge, unabashedly political, not PC---do the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) walk in the Minnehaha Park neighborhood, then go to this show. A great day. Guaranteed

Friday, September 12, 2008

1 woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 3 minutes in the U.S.

KAXE member from Grand Rapids, Anna Johnson was our guest on the Morning Show today. Anna is a 1 year survivor of breast cancer. In Anna's case, they caught it very early, and she is doing well.

But her life was changed by her diagnosis, and Anna is doing something about it.

On September 19th, Anna will join hundreds of other women and men in Minneapolis to walk 20 miles for 3 days. At night they'll camp in tents.

When we talked with Anna this morning she asked us to take a moment to think of someone we know who has been affected by breast cancer. She said everyone knows someone and almost everyone knows MORE than one person affected by it.

The funds that each walker collects for the 3 Day walk benefit the Susan G. Komen foundation.

Since its inception, the Breast Cancer 3-Day has raised more than $300 million that has been invested by the beneficiaries, Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund, for breast cancer research, education, and community outreach programs.

Eighty-five percent of the net proceeds from the Breast Cancer 3-Day benefit Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest and most progressive grassroots network fighting to end breast cancer. Fifteen percent of the net proceeds from the Breast Cancer 3-Day benefit the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund, a special field of interest fund that provides ongoing support for breast cancer initiatives including research, treatment, prevention and education.

You can make a donation in Anna's name by going to Click on Donate Now and search for Anna Johnson from Minnesota.

Walk Tall Anna! We're all rootin' for you!

Friday, August 29, 2008

some scenes from the first day at StoryCorps

It was a magical first day! Have you signed up yet?

The StoryCorps Airstream, in Northern Minnesota, is a once in a lifetime opportunity! You come in with someone you know (a friend, loved one, coworker) and have a conversation. Maybe you know the story you want to talk about, but maybe you'll ask questions like,

What was the happiest moment of your life?

What were your grandparents like?

What was your favorite job?

What did you think you would be when you grew up?

What is your biggest regret?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mary the Kayak Lady and her mother Goldy

As we get ready for StoryCorps coming to town next week, Mary the Kayak Lady and her mother Goldy stopped by to do a little recording of their own. Goldy is leaving town before the booth gets to town, so we tried a KAXE version of StoryCorps.

Mary and Goldy came in and we sat together for 40 minutes while Mary asked her mom some questions. Britta Arendt from the Grand Rapids Herald review was there, and we all enjoyed hearing the feisty Goldy tell her stories of conquering her bucket list.

Goldy is 86 and determine to try new things. Here's just a few things that Goldy has done in the last few years:

jump out of a plane
ride bucking bronco
drive a race car
ride a jetski
ride in a helicopter

I knew that I would enjoy this pre-StoryCorps session, but I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did! There was something utterly inspiring about sitting across the console from a 4'5" 86 year old woman that not only wasn't afraid to try new things, but LOOKED for them. You could see the pride in Mary's eyes and the surprise in her face at some of the things her mother said.

Hope you can be a part of the StoryCorps project, here in Grand Rapids, Minnesota August 29th-September 20th. Call us for more information! 218-326-1234