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 →

Cure for waning political power is more people

It is again time to tabulate the U.S. Census, an incredibly boring task that affects every aspect of our state and federal government.  As with most complicated topics — taxes, First Century scrolls, technology — it’s easy for people to hold outrageous, illogical views without any real consequences. After all, who really knows? That’s why… Read More →

To think or not to think

For all its horrors, the pandemic allowed many Americans to finally experience what teachers do for a living. It’s certainly useful for parents to know that teachers aren’t just babysitters. Rather, the work teachers do at all levels remains complex and important.  However, the pandemic has also taught us where modern society falls short when… Read More →

What’s done is never done in 2021

The otter’s hot breath stirs me from my slumber. I do not know how long he’s been standing there. My eyes open to see him on his hind legs, his front paws dangling expectantly in front of his tiny burlap overalls. “Is time,” he whispers.  Behind the otter stands a black bear holding an empty… Read More →

MinnesotaBrown’s Top Posts of 2020

It’s time once again to share my most read posts from MinnesotaBrown for the previous year. 2020 may not have been a great year for many, but it was a memorable year, one that will become part the stories we tell for a long time. This year I’ve been working on my book “Power in… Read More →

2020 defied words, but created plenty of new ones

Major events alter the way we communicate. New words enter the language when the old ones fail us. You can’t find a better example than what we’ve experienced in 2020. Language marks changes in lifestyle. For instance, when I leave the house now my wife asks, “Did you remember your face mask?” If you told… Read More →

Every year is a Brown Christmas

I often tell people from outside Minnesota that the snow and cold don’t really become unpleasant until after Christmas. Everything before then is a crisp, cool puff of snowy magic.  But here along the Mesabi Iron Range we’ve received very little snow this month. As we approach Christmas Day we might have a brown Christmas…. Read More →

On economic class, urbanization, and chickens

My latest column for the Minnesota Reformer is up today. “Just Like a Century ago, there’s a class war in rural America, and the wrong side is winning.” This was quite the creative exercise for me. I had a few things on my mind when I wrote it. First, we seem mired in a hopeless… Read More →

The cat came back … again

Nineteen years ago I was the 21-year-old boy editor of the erstwhile Hibbing Daily Tribune. That year I wrote the most consequential article of my entire career. It wasn’t my best work. The story could have used another edit. Its journalistic veracity was thin, to say the least. But more people read this story than… Read More →