Calculating Minnesota’s 8th District DFL primary

As a hot, wet Northern Minnesota summer slogs into its dog days, so too does the DFL primary in the Eighth Congressional District. Less than a month away, the Aug. 14 primary election will send a new DFL nominee to face a well-financed Republican challenger backed vociferously by President Trump. That challenger, Pete Stauber of… Read More →

Science can solve mining risks, but only if we demand it

As a nerd who grew up on an Iron Range junkyard, I appreciate anything that combines groundbreaking science with homemade contraptions. That’s why I’m fascinated by a daisy chain of unobtrusive barrels floating in an old Erie Mining pit outside Babbitt, Minnesota. They may save our world. Jeff Hanson put them there. Hanson is an… Read More →

Another chance for western Mesabi mine

Billionaire Tom Clarke and his Chippewa Capital Partners will have a chance to finish the $2 billion Mesabi Metallics iron mine and pig iron plant at the former Butler Taconite plant in Nashwauk. On Wednesday, Gov. Mark Dayton announced that the state will restore mineral leases withheld from the project after the bankruptcy of its… Read More →

The mellow melee of Minnesota’s race for governor

So, consider this list: a senior member and prominent leader in the State House the attorney general of a prosperous state A successful congressman from a swing district Two of them are going to get sucked up some mystery tube. No one knows where the tube goes. The other one gets to fight a dragon… Read More →

Finland’s whitetail deer have Iron Range roots

Finnish-Americans gave Northern Minnesota saunas, labor activism and light switches that are on the outside of the room for some reason. But few here know they also gave the “old country” more whitetail deer than they can shoot. Right now about 100,000 whitetail deer roam the Finnish countryside. In 1934, that number was a cold,… Read More →

Boundless primary choices await Northern MN voters

Over the Fourth of July holiday political candidates marched in parades across Northern Minnesota. Each hoped to make valuable connections with voters during a tumultuous election cycle. But here on the Iron Range, this mushroomed into an ungainly number of candidates. This was particularly evident on the DFL side. With stacked primaries in Minnesota’s Eighth… Read More →

The soft focus of nostalgia

If the internet was a forest and we were a sleek-coated American mink, the trap set for us would surely be one of those “Remember when” click bait articles. We can’t lay off ‘em. And it really doesn’t matter how old you are. Sure, senior citizens keep their Christmas tree candles burning for the 1950s,… Read More →

Northern Lights brings Barber of Seville to Iron Range

Each summer the Northern Lights Music Festival brings a fully staged classical opera to stages across Northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. This summer, festival founder Veda Zupancic and her company bring Rossini’s Italian comic opera “The Barber of Seville.” The festival also backs chamber orchestra, instrumental trios and kids programming across the region. Events kick off… Read More →

Bovey seeks ‘Grace’ wherever it may be found

Not many states have an official state photograph, but here in Minnesota we do. Eric Enstrom took the picture “Grace” in 1918 at his studio in downtown Bovey, Minnesota. I wrote about the back story last year. This iconic image appears in homes and churches across the Christian world, so ubiquitous and replicated that people… Read More →

Mosquito memory: the science of the swat

Everyone loves Mother Nature until they realize how many ways she extracts your blood involuntarily. We’ve evolved to be mindful of larger animals that can eat us whole. But while we’ve been worrying about bears and sharks, tiny little animals have been plotting to raid our sweat, blood and skin. It’s like Oceans 11, only… Read More →