Bad ice on the rise

This winter, Minnesotans pursue an unrelenting quest for justice. Check that. Just ice. Just some halfway decent ice. This year’s January temperatures ran warmer than average. In addition, heavy snowfall during the early freeze produced poor, if not outright dangerous lake ice conditions across Minnesota. You know it’s rough because the requisite “area truck falls… Read More →

‘Dueling’ Iron Range realities at the Minnesota Reformer

Some news. I will now write occasional columns and long form pieces for the Minnesota Reformer. I posted this on social media a week ago, but am finally getting around to updating readers here at the blog. Read today’s column here. You know that I’ve been writing fewer posts these days while working on my… Read More →

Amy Klobuchar: the senator from Minnesota

I first met Amy Klobuchar in a back alley in International Falls, Minnesota, not far from a paper plant along the Canadian border. Looking back at that 2006 day gives us clues about her upcoming presidential campaign.

The power of stories, true or not

Human beings are more than just ambulatory bags of meat. We are ambulatory bags of meat with stories to tell. In fact, deep down, that’s what’s really separates us from other mammals. No matter our language or technology, we transmit wisdom through stories. That’s evident in the oral tradition of early humans. The mythology of… Read More →

No war will end all wars

One of the strongest contenders for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards is Sam Mendes’s “1917.” The movie combines a traditional war story with a remarkable filmmaking trick. The viewer follows two British soldiers on an important mission during the darkest depths of World War I. Editing makes it seem as though the film… Read More →

Et tu? Caucus revolt renders Shakespearian outcome for Bakk, Range DFL

State Sen. Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury) ousted Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk of Cook this afternoon at a Senate DFL caucus meeting. Ironically, the rebellion took place in a Carpenter’s Union hall, the kind of place where Bakk built his Iron Range labor credentials. Kent will lead Senate Democrats as the legislature reconvenes in ten days…. Read More →

Five NE Minnesota colleges move toward merger

On Wednesday, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees approved plans to merge five community and technical colleges in Northeastern Minnesota. After a two-year planning period the board will vote again on whether to go through with it. The new college organization, if approved, would be in operation by Fall 2022. These five… Read More →

Endless political season actually starts

The other day I flushed a public toilet and it just kept running. I’m not talking about one of those politely gurgling high efficiency toilets you might install in your house. This was an industrial model, the kind that can send a cantaloupe to the water treatment plant at the speed of sound. I wondered… Read More →

There was a peaceful school called Rock Ridge

Tonight the Eveleth-Gilbert Golden Bears and Virginia-Mountain Iron-Buhl Blue Devils renewed their storied Iron Range high school hockey rivalry. But this game was less about the final score (Bears won 4-1) than about the announcement made on the ice between periods. Last year, voters from both school districts authorized the building of a new shared… Read More →

‘Making It’ makes lovely tribute to Great Northern Radio Show

It’s been another busy stretch of work and writing so you haven’t seen much more than my weekly newspaper column here at MinnesotaBrown. I did want to share this episode of PBS North’s “Making It Up North,” produced by Karen Sunderman and Steve Ash. They followed us around for the whole day of our final… Read More →