Lisa Johnson

Morning Announcer

Lisa Johnson started her broadcast career anchoring the television news at her high school and spinning country music at KWWK/KOLM Radio in Rochester, Minnesota. She was a reporter and news anchor at KTHI in Fargo, ND (not to mention the host of a children's program called "Lisa's Lane") and a radio reporter and anchor in Moorhead, Bismarck, Wahpeton and Fergus Falls.

Since 1991, she has hosted Northland Morning on KUMD. One of the best parts of her job includes "paying it forward" by mentoring upcoming journalists and broadcasters on the student news team that helps produce Northland Morning.  She also loves introducing the different people she meets in her job to one another, helping to forge new "community connections" and partnerships.

Lisa has amassed a book collection weighing over two tons, and she enjoys reading, photography, volunteering with Animal Allies Humane Society and fantasizing about farmland.  She goes to bed at 8pm, long before her daughter, two cats, or three dogs.

Ways to Connect

Tingey Injury Law Firm/Unsplash

2020 continues it's relentless series of challenges; the latest, the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday at the age of 87.

In March of 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refused to hold a hearing for then-President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court, saying voters should decide which presidential candidate should pick the new justice.

In a statement coming just over an hour after Ginsburg's death was announced,  McConnell vowed to bring to a vote whoever President Donald Trump nominates.

Photo by Autumn Mott Rodeheaver on Unsplash

This is the final weekend of summer, what with next weekend's autumnal equinox and all.

The BWCA was named, not just the newest dark sky sanctuary but the largest

Lots of migrants passing through Hawk Ridge, but non-winged ones (like snakes) are on the move as well.

Plus some suddenly develop wings (giant water bugs), infant snapping turtles are out, and it's color, color everywhere.

PETA. Used with permission

With Duluth's Animal Allies Humane Society one of the shelters leading the nation when it comes to finding homes for dogs and cats, it's easy to forget that's not the case everywhere in this country.

Former Animal Allies volunteer and 2000 East High School graduate Emily Allen is the Senior Director of PETA's Community Animal Project.

Freelance illustrator and University of Minnesota instructor John Owens didn't grow up heading to the Boundary Waters every summer, but once he went, he was hooked.

John Owens talked about how different artists capture inspiration, the fragility of stepping outside your comfort zone, and how you know when you have something good, this week on MN Reads.

John also mentioned a "teachable companion" to his book and you can find it here.

Haley Diem

Haley Diem was a little embarrassed this past weekend.

The One Vegetable, One Community coordinator (it's a new position this year at the Duluth Community Garden Program) had just covered every flat surface of her kitchen with home-grown produce and had only one thing left before she began her annual salsa-making operation: getting some canning jars.

Long story short, Diem returned home sans jars and had to start dumping out condiments and Mason-jar vases in order to start canning.

Cheryl Reitan

Members of Black Men Serving Excellence, photographed earlier this month
First row: (l to r) Michael Kirkendoll, Javien Versey Chamere Thomas, Jackyse Jacox, Barry Moreland
Second Row: Joshua Brown, Dayvia Gbor, Treyvon Cahalan, Corey White Jr., Justic’e King
Third row: Marcus McLin

UMD assistant football coach Marcus McLin wanted to see more Black men as leaders,  and represented that way on campus and in the community.

Lisa Johnson

 (This episode was originally aired April 27, 2020)

In this episode, we meet Cindy Hale of Clover Valley Farms, accidental farmer, educator, and now producer, educator, and infrastructure coordinator for the Finland Food Chain.

It's hard not to think, in the midst of our pandemic-challenged lives, that this whole "how am I gonna get food" thing would be a lot simpler if we could just go back in time about 80 years.

Tom Kasper. Used with permission.

Someday, Tom Kasper wants to find a grant that will help him build small gardens for folks who couldn't afford it otherwise.

Aaron Kloss

It feels like at least six years in Pandemic Time ... but in actuality it's only been six months. 

But artists have been hard at work responding to these times through their art, trying to figure out how to survive financially, and how to maintain their creative and economic health.

Some are doing a canvas a day to keep their artistic and marketing chops honedd, but even if you're not an artist yourself, Annie Dugan is suggesting you take a look at your social media feed through the lens of art.

Wisconsin Historical Society

Skip Sandman is one of our spiritual leaders and he spoke for the pipe.

Eltjo Poort/Flickr

The autumnal equinox isn't until next week, but Larry says frost on the pumpkin - or spider web - and temperatures in the 30s means fall.

But stay on the lookout for birds, butterflies, and dragonflies at Hawk Ridge; insects buzzin' in the goldenrod; apples, high-bush cranberries and more getting ripe; mushrooms and yes, tiny, tiny snapping turtles.

The repercussions on society from the pandemic are usually pretty grim.

But Duluth's poet laureate, Gary Boelhower, says poetry reading began a resurgence a couple of years ago, and while no one has surveyed it since the start of the year, he thinks more and more people are finding it an accessible art form that can express the depth of our experience.

After all, Gary says "poetry saved my life."


When you think about mental health and police work, it's hard not to let your imagination flash back to the books, movies and TV shows that portray tough-guy (and gal) officers refusing to see a departmental counselor after some traumatic event.

Duluth's Dr. Heather Rose-Carlson laughs when she describes the counselor, usually depicted running down a hall after the fleeing police officer.

Filip Mroz/Unsplash

It's not just couch potatoes that the Great Lakes Gear Exchange wants to get outside.

Maybe you feel like the only person in the Northland who doesn't know how to cross-country ski and you're a little shy about admitting that.

Maybe your budget can't stretch to equip yourself with brand-new gear for a brand-new hobby.