Northland Morning Interviews

Lisa Johnson

Outdoorspeople, in particular, decry our modern dependence on technology and electronics.

When an apple grower in Bayfield ended up with 39,000 pounds of apples they had no where to store, Second Harvest Northern Lake Food Bank was happy to step in. 

Probably because the idea of a food bank conjures a mental picture of boxes and cans of food sitting on shelves, Second Harvest wants people to know that almost a third of the food they provide is fresh produce. 

And they're looking for new partners.

Emily Baxter/We Are All Criminals

We've all been there. 

People of a certain age laughing with our friends about our wilder days and the things we got away with.

But those "wild oats" don't define us; don't move through our lives with us or in front of us, telling landlords or employers who we are, years - even decades - after the incident.

At least, they don't for most of us, as long as we're not homeless or mentally ill or living in poverty.  Or a person of color.

How would your life be different if it was defined by a single act - indefinitely?


Maybe no one saw it coming. 

Maybe no one connected the dots between an increase in prescribing pain medications to addiction to the search for a lower cost, easier to access replacement.

Maybe no one figured that replacement would be heroin.

Maybe no one saw every chemical dependency treatment program in Minnesota "completely overwhelmed," with waiting lists of six weeks or more.

Maybe no one saw an epidemic where sufferers might not even live that long.

KUMD's Audrey Summers has the story.

©Joseph Yetman Photography

A photographer who cancelled on a shoot and a 6-year-old changed Joe Yetman's life.

The former UMD student is a professional photographer ... but on November 21, 2015, he found his vocation. 

"I feel like I've packed about 100 years of living in the last few months" says Yetman.  "My heart has learned lessons I never imagined. 

Steve Rhodes/Flickr

You can't put yourself - or your kid - through college with a part-time job and student loans on a $20-a-month payback anymore.

UMD Chancellor Lendley Black remembers those days, too, when states picked up 60-70% of total funding for colleges and universities.

Minnesotans' hearts broke as one September 3 when the remains of 11 year old Jacob Wetterling, missing since his 1989 abduction, were discovered on a Paynesville farm.  The longtime suspect in the case, Danny Heinrich, led authorities to where the boy was buried, and three days later, confessed to abducting, molesting and killing Jacob.

Here in Duluth, there are almost 300 sex offenders living in our community, but thanks to the Wetterling Act, more and better information about them is available to law enforcement and communities.

Photo provided by Arne Vainio

When Arne Vainio set out to write articles on the epidemic of Native youth suicide for Indian Country Today and, he put out a call for names of people who had taken their own lives.

What the Finnish-Ojibwe family medicine practitioner on the Fond du Lac reservation didn't expect was 109 names, including four from one family.

Dr. Arne Vainio sees the effects of poverty, substance abuse, tribes without the resources to provide programs for young people.  Factors as far back as the BIA boarding schools and as current as social media contribute to despair that can sometimes drive Native youth to suicide.

But Vainio is in a unique position to see more than one side of the story:  his father took his own life when Vainio was four years old.

Eleni Pinnow

"Aletha Meyer Pinnow, 31, of Duluth,  died from depression and suicide on Feb. 20, 2016."
That was the first line of Aletha's obituary as it was printed in the paper.  Aletha's older sister joins us this morning to talk about Aletha's death and the decision - to talk honestly about her suicide - that got the entire country talking.

(the full text of Aletha's obituary is reprinted below)

Robert Young [via Flickr, modified]

Merry Renn Vaughan talks with KUMD host Chris Harwood about historical plays – not those that have made history, but rather those that represent historical events.  Whether the narrative is reworded creatively, like the popular musical Hamilton, or tied more explicitly to the actual words of the historical figures, like the 1959 play The Diary of Anne Frank, these histories remain relevant to modern times.

Minnesota Sea Grant kicks off a new season on Northland Morning with a look back at work from the summer.  The Minnesota Sea Grant summer intern Claire Freesmeier joins host Jesse Schomberg to share her work identifying our next potential invasive species threats like the golden mussel, Asian carp and others that lurk in the Great Lakes' future.

Catch The Sea Grant Files every other Tuesday at 8:20am on Northland Morning.

The Sea Grant Files

Kevin Hines

When he was 19 years old, Kevin Hines threw himself off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco.  Tormented by a variety of mental illnesses - in his own words - "haphazardly following his treatment plan - but really not" - he decided to end his own life.

SAMHSA/Ad Council

Native American teens experience the highest rate of suicide of any population in the United states, more than double that of the general population, according to the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute. And as is so often the case, alcohol factors into almost 70% of those deaths. 

The Mental Health Week on KUMD was made possible in part by the Human Development Center, Miller-Dwan Foundation and the St. Luke’s Foundation.

  Some wouldn't expect the League of Women Voters at an event highlighting sustainability, but you'll find them at this year's Lake Superior Harvest Festival. We speak with Ellen Wiss, a board member of the League of Women Voters, to tell us about their mission - at the festival and in general – to help voters register for the election and to help them learn about candidates and referendums on the fall ballot

  Sustainability can be found many places in Duluth, including UMD's campus. Since its start in 2009, UMD's Sustainable Agriculture Project has made a lot of positive changes on campus, especially in the dining hall.