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!