Should I stay or should I go: mobility and rural politics

When I was 18 I wanted to leave the Iron Range as badly as any of my classmates. Everything I wanted to do, the entirety of the life I wanted to live, could only be found elsewhere. In many parallel universes I surely did just that, now typing away at some suburban office or pouring… Read More →

Meanwhile in Minnesota, Ms. Smith Goes to Washington

Today, Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Lieutenant Governor Tina Flint Smith to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Al Franken until a special election next fall. Smith then announced she will run for the opportunity to complete Franken’s term, which expires two years later in 2020. Call it a cliche if you want, and one political… Read More →

Go North for a Bold New Future

In “Why Millennials Should All Move to North Dakota,” Sean Braswell of dives into a recent analysis of economic opportunity around the U.S. He finds that seven of the top 20 states in the opportunity index may be found in the Great Plains. They include Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and… Read More →

Ben DeNucci elected to Itasca County board

Voters elected Nashwauk Mayor Ben DeNucci as the next District 5 Itasca County Commissioner in a special election held today, Tuesday, Dec. 12. DeNucci carried 959 votes, or 58 percent, while his opponent  Lawrence Township Supervisor Casey Venema carried 691 voters, or  just shy of 42 percent. This according to a late night press release… Read More →

You could use a sauna right now

The Star Tribune’s Jenna Ross recently profiled the Ely Steam Sauna, a century-old public sauna in this Vermilion Iron Range city. It might seem counterintuitive for Minnesotans to go into a public steam room au natural. Or, for that matter, in the presence of those who most certainly are. We are known as a prudish lot. But… Read More →

Cleveland-Cliffs noses in with Nashwauk land buy

Earlier this year, Cleveland-Cliffs lost its bid to acquire the former Essar Steel Minnesota project in the Mesabi Iron Range town of Nashwauk, Minnesota to Chippewa Capital Partners. However, Business North reports that Cliffs is back on the scene today after buying land and mineral rights previously attached to that project. From that story: The… Read More →

Iron Range newspaper profiles early ‘silence breakers’

On Sunday, the Mesabi Daily News featured a major story about the #metoo movement with a special tie to Northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. Penned by editor Jerry Burnes and reporter Leah Ryan, “One of the First Silence Breakers” includes an interview with Lois Jensen, the original Eveleth Mines sexual harassment case plaintiff. This story is… Read More →

‘Holy’ Miles Lord echoes through Minnesota history

To some, judges are supposed to stay hidden in the chambers of Minnesota law, better forgotten than seen or heard. But we learn about one judge who relished the spotlight and used it well in “Miles Lord: The Maverick Judge Who Brought Corporate America to Justice.” This new book from the University of Minnesota Press comes… Read More →

Itasca County special election coasts to Dec. 12

On Tuesday, Dec. 12, voters will finally cast their ballots in the Itasca County District 5 commissioner special election called more than half a year ago. The seat opened with the resignation of Commissioner Mark Mandich on June 21. County officials scheduled a special election an insane six months later, with a primary in October…. Read More →

2018 becoming year of reckoning in Minnesota

Today, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) is expected to resign amid numerous credible accusations of past inappropriate behavior with women. This according to a report by Minnesota Public Radio. I wrote about Franken in the context of the larger issue of sexual harassment and abuse of power in a Nov. 26 column. In full disclosure,… Read More →