Party labels fail to capture political change

In 2021 politics projects an animated mix of theatrical despair. People seem hopelessly angry all the time, though typically without understanding exactly what’s going on or how anything works. We pick our favorite avatars and cheer them as they battle perceived enemies, hoping for a victory that, even if realized, never seems to change anything…. Read More →

At the end of a winter transformation

It’s been cold in northern Minnesota these last couple weeks. Not really record-breaking, so much as record-nearing. Kind of like running fast enough to read the number on Usain Bolt. Not the fastest, but still fast.  You might ask how it is that anyone or anything survives when the temperature hits 40 below, a cold… Read More →

Now is our only time

The other day my son Doug asked me a question. If I could live in any time in history other than our current time, when would I want to live? Doug loves starting conversations with training seminar ice breakers, even though he’s never been to a training seminar. (We suspect he’s on a management track)…. Read More →

Future of Hibbing mine tied to rapidly changing steel industry

Today, the Minnesota Reformer published my new column, “The clash of two big steel companies will help shape the future of the Iron Range.” The piece explores the issues behind Hibbing Taconite’s need for a new iron ore supply. I’ve written before about Cleveland-Cliffs’ new position in North American iron and steel. Now we’ll see… Read More →

The Super Bowl is stupid and that’s what makes it great

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, the most uniquely American holiday of them all. Today we celebrate millionaires committing violence upon one another for the enrichment of billionaires. And it’s not even on CNBC! What a day. Don’t get me wrong. I love Super Bowl Sunday. Always have. Most people watch it, and I love things that… Read More →

A primal howl from Wolf Island

I live in the woods. Sometime at night you can hear the wolves. I’ve heard many wolves over the years. And yet every time I hear a wolf howl I always look to the stars above the moonlit tree line, wondering if the sound is as close as it seems. My spine shutters. This same… Read More →

Community police challenges not just a metro issue

My latest column for the Minnesota Reformer, “Law and Order starts with peace,” weaves stories from my Iron Range grandpa’s time as Keewatin town cop with the unsettling trends in community policing today. This is a problem for all of us to face, not just the metro area. This piece refers to the killing of a… Read More →

Northern Minnesota has what you need

What do you need to live? You need air, of course. Food and water. Shelter.  Once you have these you may think about the other things you need. You need friendship, family and love. You need a sense of purpose, to believe that your efforts matter. And finally, once you have these things, you might… Read More →

Live broadcast ‘Celebrity Chef’ challenge to raise funds for Second Harvest

Well, folks. I might be rusty a year after the Great Northern Radio Show went on hiatus, but I’m getting back in the saddle for one night only. It’s time for some fancy live broadcast witty banter … for a good cause. This past year presented an enormous challenge for many of us, but none… Read More →

Legislature, mining & police

This year I’ll be offering occasional news analysis on WDSE’s Almanac North as part of the station’s “Voices of the Region” segment. My first segment was Jan. 8. If you missed it, here it is: I reviewed three topics. First, the legislature is in session now. Northeastern Minnesota lawmakers of both parties find themselves in… Read More →