The sound of footsteps in an empty mall

I like to walk. My “five miles or more per day” habit is about all that’s keeping me out of the Big and Tall stores these days. (And I ain’t getting any taller). Walking is probably the only good habit I’ve ever had. So when I had an odd free moment the other day I… Read More →

Breaking ice for the start of Duluth harbor spring

Today is the spring equinox. Here in Northern Minnesota, this event signifies something about daylight but little about weather. We’ve been having arguments with one of our boys about how the “first day of spring” doesn’t legally absolve you from wearing a jacket. But there’s another sure sign of spring on display in the Port… Read More →

Itasca conference aids navigation of ‘Post-Truth Era’

The peacock is really just a 12-pound pheasant with a fancy tail that is probably delicious. It evolved and lives today because potential mates and predators alike believe they are much larger birds with many, many eyes. It’s hardly the only species built on deception, but it’s a particularly successful one. It’s got nothing on… Read More →

Phifer scores early wins; DFL convention, primary loom

Local Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party delegates convened county conventions across Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District these past few weeks. Through hours of messy, complicated political wrangling, they elected delegates who will endorse one of five announced candidates at the April 14 DFL convention in Duluth. And Leah Phifer is winning. She hasn’t won. She doesn’t have the endorsement… Read More →

A Northern Minnesota movie comes home

No industry confounds the people of Middle America more than the entertainment business. Hollywood and New York stand as shining beacons of wonder, drawing the ambitions and hopes of our teenage thespians and aspiring new media pioneers. But buried beneath this extravagant reverie is a truth; we are typically the rubes shelling out for tickets… Read More →

Immigrant stories bring fresh energy to the Iron Range

With St. Urho’s Day honoring Finnish heritage today and the Irish fete of St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, we may reflect on the roots of many who live in Northern Minnesota. It’s been a long time, but not that long, since the Mesabi Iron Range was majority foreign born. Nevertheless, that happened. The melding of immigrant… Read More →

My thoughts on gun debate in Daily Yonder

Today, the rural American online magazine The Daily Yonder published a piece I wrote about guns. It’s more personal than political. This piece reflects what I think weighs at the heart of the gun rights/gun control debate. I know that many have tread over this controversial topic. My comments section stands ready to melt down… Read More →

Iron Range downtown revitalization projects on tap

You can’t legislate beauty. But you can clean a place up and take some pride in your community. You can also deploy public art as a way to change attitudes and outlooks. That’s the logic behind a small but growing movement to revitalize Mesabi Iron Range communities. The IRRRB announced their 2018 Downtown and Business… Read More →

2018 Minnesota High School All Hockey Hair Team

Nothing quite takes over the state of Minnesota like the annual high school hockey tournament. The quality of play resembles the Olympics. They sell out the arena for a week. And the hair flows free. That’s right, the Minnesota hockey tournament has its own spinoff sensations, including the Minnesota State High School All Hockey Hair… Read More →

Seizing real power in our times

Sometimes I have a great notion that a tall building could be erected on the corner of First and Howard in downtown Hibbing. Bustling with commerce, brimming with human progress, this grand edifice would become a beacon for a new age of internal improvement of our Iron Range city. We could restore the parks, scrub… Read More →