Monday, January 28, 2008

The Big Read of THE MALTESE FALCON begins!

91.7 KAXE is a partner with the Grand Rapids Area library for the second Big Read in Northern Minnesota!

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to revitalize the role of reading in American popular culture.

Did you ever read this Dashiell Hammett mystery? How about the movie? Remember swarthy Humphrey Bogart and creepy Peter Lorre?

The novel is set in San Fransisco and takes places over a six-day period in 1928. Sam's Spade's partner, Miles Archer, is killed along with a thug named Thursby. Sam and Miles had never been close, but Sam says "when a man's partner is killed he's supposed to do something about it."

Throughout the month of February we'll be talking about "The Maltese Falcon" and mysteries in general. It all starts Wednesday night on Realgoodwords when I talk with Brian Freeman about his latest gritty mystery "Stalked". Set in Duluth, Jonathan Stride is back in his hometown and trying to solve the mystery of the murder of his partner's husband. I'm also going to talk with J.A. Jance about her latest mystery "Hand of Evil". This time Jance is writing about ex-television journalist Ali Reynolds. Set in Sedona, Arizona it is gritty too - looking at the world of the Internet and sexual predators.

Friday in Grand Rapids is the opening of the Itasca Historical Museum's mysterious exhibit "The Mystery of the Itasca Helmet". That evening at the Lakes Inn, the Grand Rapids Players will present the Mystery Dinner Theater production of "The Maltese Crow". Reservations are needed for this, call The Reif Center for tickets - 218-327-5780.

There are many many more events happening throughout the month, including the Saturday evening screening of "The Maltese Falcon" with conversation from University of Minnesota Film professor Robert Silberman. It's a free showing of the John Huston classic film noir at the library, beginning at 6pm. You can also see the movie on Thursday February 7th in Bigfork at the Edge Center for the Arts, hosted by Jack Nachbar.

Hope you join us in talking about the book and movie of "The Maltese Falcon". For more info, contact KAXE by email or 218-326-1234.

Some photos from the Annual Meeting

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

More from Minnesota Brown

Floods are bad, mmm-kay

I promise: Last bonding bill post for the week.

I forgot to mention an item yesterday. The Canisteo Mine Pit is still perched like a big, wet mountain lion over the town of Bovey on the Western Mesabi Range. However, Gov. Pawlenty did not include mitigating the problem in the bonding bill. I spoke with Tom Anzelc and he believes they'll need $4 million to drain the water elsewhere. There is $15 million for flood mitigation in Pawlenty's bonding bill, so Range can hope to get some of that along with other funding to fix the problem. Between the DNR, Mineland Reclamation and bonding, this must get done this year. I don't know that an Iron Range town has ever been destroyed by a flood and 2008 seems a rather stupid time to break that streak.

-to read more from Aaron Brown, see his blog.

Aaron Brown on the 2008 Bonding Bill released by Pawlenty

This is taken by permission from Aaron Brown's blog at

Gov. Tim Pawlenty released his proposal for the 2008 bonding bill in the Minnesota State Legislature. (See MPR's coverage). This is the plan he would like to see pass, though he will be working with a DFL House and Senate that will have different priorities for borrowing and spending.

Two encouraging things for northern Minnesota: 1) He includes $30 infrastructure for the proposed Essar Global/Minnesota Steel mill near Nashwauk, and 2) there is money for Duluth's DECC expansion. I don't normally get involved in Duluth's DECC issues, but they've been trying so long I kind of feel like they should get some sympathy. Ru-dy! Ru-dy!
Itasca County and the DFL Iron Range delegation want more than twice as much money as Pawlenty proposes for the steel mill infrastructure, so there will be some bartering on that issue. I need to see exactly how the money is going to be applied to roads, rails and sewers before I say who has the more accurate proposal. The fact that there is any money at all from this governor is encouraging.

Meantime, lots of haggling will occur over the transportation funding for bridge and road repairs and mass transit in the metro area. That's an area that could absorb most of the bonding bill if legislators vote on regional lines.

Stay tuned ...

more on the bonding front...
If you don't like reading about steel or bonding bills, sorry, today's not your day.

As expected, Range leaders came out today stating that Pawlenty's amount proposed for the proposed Nashwauk steel mill was too low. What I didn't realize earlier was that more than 2/3 of his proposal involves money from the 21st Century Minerals Fund or other permanent mining funds, not actual bonding. This project is about mining, but also about value added mining with the addition of a steelmaking operation. I think there's a good argument that such a transition in the steel industry would be worth a more substantial bonding investment by the state. There is going to be heavy negotiations on this issue before the final bill comes out, but it seems something will come together ... so long as the company is fully with the program (as of now, this is unknown).

-see more from Aaron Brown on his blog.

Ojibwemowin: Nigaane and Gimiikawaadiz

bOn the Morning Show today, Naabakwa told us about the origins of "Nigaane", the name for the language and cultural immersion program at the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School. It's a phrase that interprets as "the one who leads". The name was chosen by Johnny Mitchell, an elder and advisor to the program.

Another phrase from today's program, "Gimiikawaadiz", is one they say to the children every day. It means "you are beautiful".

A couple of other phrases we've learned:

"Apegish mino-ayaayan noongom" - hope you are doing well today

"Mino-giizhigad" - it's a nice day

You can hear our Ojibwemowin weather and language lessons Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 8:35, or listen on-line at our web site,

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Local Dining in January

It’s January. Happy New Year! January is month 7 of Dennis' and my local food diet.

With the addition of 2 lambs from Erling Lofthus in Guthrie last week, our larder is now overflowing. We have sources for local eggs and dairy. I am in the habit of baking sourdough bread each week and making tortillas, noodles, and sour cream often. The work of preserving the garden is done. I plan to experiment with making cheese and using a pasta machine as soon as time on the weekends clears up a little bit.

Last night, Dennis and I were discussing what to say for a local food report on KAXE on Wednesday morning. It didn’t seem like much was happening.

“Why don’t you just say what we had for dinner tonight?” Dennis suggested.

That sounded reasonable!

Here’s the menu:
Appetizer: Pickled golden beat slices (refrigerator pickles—because our homemade vinegar is of unknown acidity), sliced smoked gouda and aged gouda cheese from Green Pastures Dairy in Carlton County. Homemade sourdough bread.
Main course: Sunfish from Pimush Lake dredged in flour from Natural Way Mills and fried in butter from Dahl’s Sunrise Dairy in Babbitt
Green beans from this summer’s garden
Cabbage salad with shredded carrots, apples and beets. The dressing was a mixture of homemade wine vinegar and honey
Steamed sweet corn from our garden
Baked garden potatoes with butter and homemade sour cream (made from Blackstar Dairy cream from Solway)
Wine: We each had a glass of rhubarb wine from Forestedge Winery in Laporte

Here’s the sour cream recipe:
Sterilize a pint jar and lid by boiling them for 10 minutes (use a saucepan that has high enough sides to immerse the jar).
Fill the sterile jar with a little less than 2 cups of cream from Blackstar Dairy (it is RBGH-free and does not have any additives—you can use whole milk too, but real sour cream is awesome).
Put a vegetable steamer in the same saucepan to keep the jar off the bottom and stand the jar of cream in the hot water (you can also use a double boiler for this).
Heat the cream until it reaches 180 degrees (use a dairy thermometer if you have one—the temperature is important! Put it directly into the boiling water to check for accuracy (should be 212°) and adjust accordingly (my thermometer is about 10° off, and this affects the consistency—“stringiness”—of the finished product).
Cool the jar to room temperature in cold water.
Add 2 or 3 T fresh (freshness is important!) buttermilk to culture the cream (because it has been pasteurized, it lacks the natural bacteria to spontaneously culture itself properly). Stir and put the lid on the jar.
Leave the jar on the counter for 2 days. When it’s thick, stir and put it in the fridge for a day before using. It keeps for about 4 weeks.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

William Cope Moyers and Addiction

Tomorrow (Thursday January 10th) we'll be joined by William Moyers at 8:10am. He's the son of veteran journalist Bill Moyers and vice president of external affairs for Hazelden Foundation in Minnesota. We'll open up the phone lines for your comments or questions, 218-326-1234. You can also email us your thoughts.
We'll talk with William about his book "Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption". It's a gripping, honest account of how a kid who has everything can end up jeopardizing his family, his career and his life with drugs and alcohol.
For the past decade, William has committed himself to helping people, families and communities understand the power of addiction and the promise and possibility of recovery. Moyers uses his own personal experiences to carry the message to policy makers, civic groups, churches and schools across America.
Here's an excerpt of "Broken"

“My shame and my drug use ran along parallel lines until they eventually merged and became one. I drank because I was ashamed, and I was ashamed because I drank. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? I’m not sure I will ever know the answer to that question, but at some point “want” became “need” and I drank and used not to feel better but to feel normal. It wasn’t just about lack of self-esteem, childhood trauma, right and wrong, or making good choices -- something deeper and more insidious than feeling bad about myself was going on. I needed to get high and that need became so deep and strong that I was powerless before it. When want became need – and, truthfully, that transformation is only clear to me in retrospect -- the nature of my problem changed from using too much and too often to not being able to stop using. From the outside, I still looked like a healthy, balanced, ethical young man. On the inside, however, I was raging against everything and everyone, especially myself. I didn’t understand what was happening to me and because no one else could see it or name it for what it was, I was left alone with my tormented self. All my energy became focused on one goal – to keep the inside from showing on the outside, to hide the truth of my misery and my shame from others and even from myself.”
From Chapter 5, “Free Fall”

Moyers joined Hazelden in 1996 after a 15-year career in journalism. He also served as president of the Johnson Institute Foundation in 2000-2002.
Moyers lives with his wife, Allison and their three children, Henry, Thomas and Nancy, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Changing Climate Change

KAXE member, Gordon Prickett, is a member of the Aitkin County Water Planning Task Force. This essay first appeared in a recent edition of the Aitkin Independent Age.

Something happened last year. Even before the "UN Bali Climate Conference" showed up in the December news. The year 2007 featured severe ice storms and floods. Wildfires, drought, and mudslides increased on the North American continent.

We saw strange weather patterns, and migrating birds changed their destinations. Even a federal administration that won't end a war could end a campaign of climate-change denial that Exxon had already stopped funding. Maybe the globe was warming and just maybe human activity was a factor.

With a daughter and a son working at jobs in storm water management and biodiversity conservation, respectively, I paid attention to the news from Indonesia about the two-week conference on global climate change. More than 10,000 participants from 187 nations were meeting to frame the response that much of the world now knows is urgently needed.

Healthy climate, dead planet?
Our son was quoted recently (NY Times, Dec. 23) from Indonesia about biodiversity and species extinction. Just as the world outside of the American White House is realizing the urgency of global climate change, here is something more to think about:The world is rightly focused on climate change. But if we don't have a strategy for reducing global carbon emissions and preserving biodiversity, we could end up in a very bad place, like the crazy rush into corn ethanol and palm oil for biodiesel, without enough regard for their impact on the natural world."If we don't plan well, we could find ourselves with a healthy climate on a dead planet," said Glenn Prickett, senior vice president of Conservation International.We the peopleWe the people can still speak and act and bring change.
On Feb. 5, some of our Minnesota neighbors will travel to the 7 p.m. political party caucuses at locations announced in newspapers and available from county auditors, locally, 218-927-7354.In this grassroots action a few hundred of us in Aitkin County will help choose the delegates who will nominate the next U.S. President. If you are not there Feb. 5th, don't bother to complain about the choice in November.This still is a democratic country with a republican form of government. So ask the candidates who will be your delegates how they will protect our waters, our climate and our life forms.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

John and Harry's Suggestions for Starting Your Own Phenolgy Journal

If you have been thinking about keeping a journal of the nature around you, here's a list of John and Harry's suggestions for things to look for when you are getting started. You can begin any time recording daily temperatures, snowfall amounts, birds at you feeders, and so on. This list includes things that are easy to spot and common benchmarks as the seasons change. A number of them are noticable as Winter gives way to Spring.

1. Right now, listen for the first fee-bee calls of the chickadees. They are beginning to think about setting up their territory for Spring.

2. Soon woodpeckers will begin hammering away their percussive beats, again an early sign of beginning to establish a Spring territory.

3. The emergence of the light green buds on the Trembling Aspen, usually in late April or early May, and two or three weeks before the Big-tooth Aspen.

4. The flowering of Cowslips, a.k.a Marsh Marigolds, in the ditches and bogs in early Spring.

5. The budding of Red Maples

6. The flowering of Wood Anemones

7. The arrival of Red Wing Blackbirds: easy to hear and easy to see.

8. The return of Redstarts, Yellow-Rumped, and Chestnut-sided Warblers

9. Ice-in or ice-out on area lakes: John has found Ice-in dates to be a more reliable benchmark; also keep track of the number of days your lake is covered with ice.

10. If you see a specific tree or plant everyday, us it as your personal measure of the changing seasons.