A community tractor parade motors down a highway in Chisago County, Minnesota on Aug. 7, 2016. (Aaron J. Brown)

Dig a mile in another man’s skid steer

As khaki-wearing bloggers go, I interact with a unusually high number of people who operate heavy equipment. These people move dirt for fun and profit using machines that suck diesel fuel the way a dry horse drinks water. I owe part of this to family ties. My Grandpa Brown, now an octogenarian, uses his skid… Read More →

Construction continues at Essar Steel's new taconite plant near Nashwauk on Oct. 8, 2015. (Aaron J. Brown)

Essar owes $1.1 billion in bankrupcy

Bankruptcy proceedings began recently for Essar Steel Minnesota, the struggling subsidiary of the Indian company Essar Steel, which seeks to build a new iron mine in Northern Minnesota. The story draws rapt attention from residents and leaders on the Mesabi Iron Range. For good reason. The outcome of this case will determine if hundreds of new… Read More →

The brig USS Niagara at the Duluth Tall Ships Festival on Friday, Aug. 19, 2016

Teeming masses for Duluth Tall Ships

On Friday, the family and I made the trek down to Duluth for the 2016 Tall Ships Festival, which runs through Sunday. I love history. I love ships. Good times. I won’t lie, this event was considerably more crowded than the previous Tall Ships events we had attended. In fact, we attended our first Tall Ships by mistake. We… Read More →

Ojibwa humor writer, poet and Vietnam vet Jim Northrup died Monday after a battle with cancer.

Remembering the author and storyteller Jim Northrup

Jim Northrup was devastatingly funny. That means two things. He was a naturally funny writer and speaker, a gifted storyteller. But Northrup also used his humor to heal the devastation of mind, body and spirit. Northrup died Monday after battling cancer and other health ailments for the past couple years. If you’ve heard of Northrup, you’ve… Read More →

"You blew it up." Scene from "Planet of the Apes" (1968).

Bonding spat ends in election season splat

Last week, Minnesota legislative leaders and Gov. Mark Dayton abandoned hope of a special session this year. That means that the legislature’s failure to pass a bonding bill, and Gov. Dayton’s veto of the tax bill, will stand through this November’s election. This sort of thing can happen with divided government. Gov. Dayton is a… Read More →

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Essar owes $1.1 billion in bankrupcy

Bankruptcy proceedings began recently for Essar Steel Minnesota, the struggling subsidiary of the Indian company Essar Steel, which seeks to build a new iron mine in Northern Minnesota. The story draws rapt attention from residents and leaders on the Mesabi Iron Range. For good reason. The outcome of this case will determine if hundreds of new… Read More →