Activist Sorensen joins Minnesota 8th District race

Yesterday, Minnesota media reported on numerous tales of political intrigue as the state and federal candidate filing period closed. Here in the North, we learned that we’d have an unexpected Republican primary in the Eighth Congressional District, but we also got another candidate in the crowded DFL primary. Progressive activist Soren C. Sorensen of Bemidji… Read More →

Welty jumps in 8th District GOP race

Former Duluth School Board member Harry Welty jumped into the Eighth District race for Congress as a Republican Monday. Welty, who has run for office as a Republican and as an independent in the past, will compete with GOP-endorsed St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber for the Republican nomination. The Eighth District represents one of… Read More →

Wild conventions roil Minnesota governor’s race

The 2018 race for governor of Minnesota keeps unfolding like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, each flip of the page leading to some strange twist. The race was always going to hold some intrigue. Two term incumbent Gov. Mark Dayton, a popular if sometimes perplexing political figure, leaves office in January. The state’s Republican… Read More →

History echoes through Iron Range politics

In 1887, the Merritt Brothers and a crew led by Capt. J.A. Nichols discovered rich hematite ore under 14 feet of mud near the future townsite of Mountain Iron. After three years of wading through stinking mosquito swamps, alternating with hellish winter conditions, these men turned hope of discovering the Mesabi Range into reality. Almost… Read More →

Great Northern Radio Show in Grand Rapids June 23

On Saturday, June 23 we’re bringing the Great Northern Radio Show back to the Reif Center in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. If you’ve followed this blog, you know that every few months I fire up this massive, sputtering contraption and have some fun with live radio somewhere in Northern Minnesota. And I’d love it if you… Read More →

Bankruptcy petition mires Iron Range mine project

Creditors filed a petition last week to force Tom Clarke’s ERP Iron Ore into Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Meanwhile, Minnesota Power shut off electricity to the former Magnetation property. Clarke told the Duluth News Tribune that ERP would pay back most creditors this week and work out a solution to the impasse with Minnesota Power. ERP… Read More →

Summer brings 2018 Duluth-Superior Film Fest

The Duluth-Superior Film Festival opens Wednesday with a movie called “Virginia, Minnesota.” The film’s title refers to a character, not the Iron Range town. Nevertheless, this Minnesota-made film represents the creative spirit of this annual celebration of cinema here at the head of the Great Lakes. First, “Virginia, Minnesota” opens the festival with a special… Read More →

Hibbing Tourist Senior Center deserves a break

In Austin, Minnesota, Hormel operates the world-famous SPAM Museum. Like Hibbing’s Hull Rust Mine View, there is no admission. They’re actually on their third museum, expanding in 2001 and again just two years ago. I’ve been there. If you want to know how random pork squeezings get turned into nebulous canned meat, they’ll tell you…. Read More →

Rise of the rural recreation economy

Here’s an idea. Go outside. That’s a good idea for anyone on a personal level. But going outside increasingly forms a rural economic recovery plan, too. On Sunday, I wrote about the challenges of a changing economy. In particular, the retail sector is shedding jobs amid consumer trends. This has an outsized impact on rural… Read More →

How position politics stymies our legislature

I’m going to explain why the Minnesota legislature ends in a flaming pile of tractor scrapings every year, but first you have to watch this vintage footage of a 1980s bicycle sprint. The first minute or so will suffice. Bicycle sprinting is a unique sport. The overall time doesn’t count. The only thing that matters… Read More →