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

©Lisa Johnson. All rights reserved.

For Larry Weber, winter is about to arrive.

Air temperatures won't break zero through the end of the weekend, overnight lows will be in the double digits below, and the windchill index will hover around that strange point where the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales reach agreement: -40.

But there is a silver lining: Larry point out that these cold snaps usually only last about four days.  So that's a mere 100 hours of "polar vortex."

Then-22 year old Natalie Warren and her friend Ann Raiho took a 2,000-mile journey by paddle from Minneapolis to Hudson Bay in 2011.

But ten years later, the biggest challenge Natalie says she faced might surprise you.

Duluth Police Department/Facebook

Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken is proposing to amend the city charter and add a third deputy police chief, a position which would include, among other things, oversight of police accountability.

A group of Duluthians who have been studying and working toward police reform think that's a fine idea, but they have a bigger plan they'd like to propose, a community-based plan to respond to 911 calls, where appropriate, with unarmed civilian first-responders and non-violence.

Zeitgeist Community/Facebook

The below-zero temps and double-digit-below-zero wind chills of February can make the annual Winter Bike Week a hard sell some years.

But this year?  As we head into the second year of social distance and Covid precautions?  Plenty of folks are already taking to the trails on their fat tire bikes - now the trick is reminding them to take advantage of the nice temps (before Saturday, that is) and walk or bike to work or maybe just to run an errand or two.

©Kyle Krohn. Used with permission.

The first woman since Jamie Nelson in 1998 is the 2021 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon champion .. and what a ride it was.

© Jason/Shirley Rice

Veteran handler but first time musher Erin Letzring sprinted across the finish line for her first Beargrease Marathon win, followed literally three seconds later by two-time Beargrease champ Ryan Redington.

Daniel Lincoln/Unsplash

The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon has us thinking more (if that's possible) about our dogs and how we peacefully coexist - or don't - with them.

Master gardener Tom Kasper says there are all kinds of ways to design your garden space with good things to eat for dogs and humans, and also to make sure "no one has to get yelled at and no one has to get angry."

© Jason/Shirley Rice

Mushers are leaving the Skypoint checkpoint this morning heading to Mineral Center.

Then it's a four-hour mandatory layover, a 30-mile loop, and it's back to Mineral Center for the race finish - probably this afternoon.

Musher, Beargrease champ and KUMD's race reporter John Stetson has the details.

© Jason/Shirley Rice

Warm temperatures, "punchy" snow ... trail conditions for the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon were less than idea coming out of the chute at Billy's yesterday.

Race reporter and long-time Beargrease volunteer Jason Rice gives us the rundown on the other Beargrease races, plus some strategies to look for in the full marathon.

Hakan Nural/Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic has been with us for almost a year. In that year businesses have closed and people have lost jobs. Wearing masks and keeping social distance have caused deep divisions among us. 

  There are scare stories and myths on social media and other places about the vaccines and many people believe these myths. Fear has always been a powerful tool and has long been used to cause division. Fear is being used now and it isn't always easy to know what to believe.

© Jason/Shirley Rice

It's one thing to say the mushing community is like a family, but there are six mushers in the race this year for whom the Beargrease is, indeed, a family affair.

Brian Barber/www.brianbarber.com

Annie Dugan says, if anyone is channeling the voice of the Northland, it's Brian Barber; a voice of quirky, dry, twisted humor, as she describes it.

If some dry, quirky, twisted humor sounds like just the ticket, you can join in tomorrow (Tuesday, February 2) night at 6 pm for Brian's episode of UMD's Visual Culture Lecture Series.

Audrey/Flickr

There's romance in the air if you're a wolf, coyote, fox, or squirrel.

If you're a groundhog, you want to be left strictly alone on Tuesday - no exceptions.

And for the rest of us who pay attention to such things, we're about halfway through that period of time between the December solstice (December 21; shortest day of the year) and the vernal equinox (March 21; day and night are of equal length).

©Lisa Johnson

In years past, folks at the start of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon had to shout to be heard above the baying of the sled dogs.

That is, until the dogs were given the command to move.

Then they fell utterly silent as they threw their weight into the traces ... and the crowds took over with whooping and cheering and yes, cowbell. 

This year will be a lot different.

QPAWS (Qrill Pet Arctic World Series)

At the beginning of March 2020, the organizers of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon were pretty much sitting on top of the world.

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