The prodigal eelpout festival returns

After flirting with a move to Bemidji, the International Eelpout Festival will remain at Walker, Minnesota, on the shores of Leech Lake after all. Bemidji, it turns out, didn’t want the ugly fish fete, forcing organizers to flop their way back to their old ice fishing holes in Walker. This is essentially the same experience… Read More →

Elections nudge Duluth political scene, but not much

Off-year elections generally only get attention because of “what it all means.” The year-round political speculation industry loves a taste of something real to add some heft to the conjecture. So we can look at yesterday’s election and say that Democratic success in New Jersey and Virginia means something. President Trump’s unpopularity seems to be… Read More →

Minnesota moose decline stems from spread of deer

Scientists say they’ve solved the mystery of the missing moose. The brain-eating bacteria that kill so many moose, and leave others more vulnerable to wolf predation, is carried by the spread of whitetail deer into Northeastern Minnesota. For the past several years, we’ve been wondering why Minnesota’s moose population — once a strong feature of… Read More →

A journey through time, to town and back

Just before the 20th Century a trip into town from Balsam Township in east central Itasca County took two days at full speed. The winding journey required paddling a canoe down the Prairie River, crossing several portages depending on the time of year. I imagine one might camp at the midpoint somewhere near the modern… Read More →

Homogenized media for a divided people

I’m not very good at self-righteous anger. It weighs on me. I torture myself with it. More often than not I end up doing no good at all when I respond in anger. These are tough, angry times. So I’ve been strategic in what I write about, trying again to spend my time in ways… Read More →

Competitive eaters pack away Indian Tacos in Tower

UPDATE: Results below. ORIGINAL POST: Four of the top ten highest ranked professional eaters, including world #1 Joey Chestnut, will compete at Fortune Bay Resort and Casino in Tower this Saturday for the World Indian Taco Eating Contest. Where to begin? Let’s start with Indian Tacos. These are tacos made with fry bread. Fry bread… Read More →

Mills opts out of MN-8 run, hints at GOP woes

Stewart Mills announced Wednesday he would not seek the GOP nod in Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District in 2018, ending the possibility of a Republican showdown in this tight swing district. Wrote Mills in a social media statement: I have decided not to have my name on the ballot this election cycle, this is not a… Read More →

Lake Superior wave breaks records

By now you’ve heard your fill of Gordon Lightfoot’s wonderful but perhaps overplayed masterpiece, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” The 42nd anniversary of the iron ore ship’s sinking in an early winter storm will be marked Nov. 10. The song’s iconic line “when the gales of November come early,” was on many lips this… Read More →

The marauding bog of All Hallow’s Eve

October, month of the dead. The leaves fall and the flowers die. Colors fade to gray, brown and a deathly yellow. Hence the annual debauchery of Halloween, one final howl before the virginal snow and holy days of winter. Which monster will haunt you this All Hallow’s Eve? Dusk bathes the shoreline of North Long… Read More →

The sky before snow

The first touch is warm. The heat of the incubator or mother’s arms. Tight swaddling keeps the heat in. The first sense. Touch. In the hours before the first snow falls, the sky warns of change to come. The sky reaches down to touch you. This embrace is cold. The cold air surrounds us today… Read More →