The true story of Minnesota Nice

Sometimes you hear a certain phrase in reference to Minnesotans. It’s particularly popular among visitors to our great state, but even locals use it once in a while. I’m talking about “Minnesota Nice.” On the surface, this sounds like a good thing. If you come to Minnesota you will meet nice people. Isn’t everyone nice?… Read More →

The power of getting together for the Iron Range Fourth of July week

Last week, Andrew Krueger at Minnesota Public Radio interviewed me about the Fourth of July tradition on the Iron Range. The piece aired last Saturday. Independence Day brings one of the most fun weeks on the Iron Range. I explain some of the origin story and cultural significance of this week’s activities in the interview…. Read More →

This Land is Our Land

Every Fourth of July Americans mark our Independence Day. It’s a day for us to set aside our many difference for several nonconsecutive minutes. We celebrate what unites us.  Red, white and blue. We learn as young children that these are America’s colors. It’s a funny thing about colors. They exist in nature. But we… Read More →

Glencore to take majority stake of PolyMet project

The preliminary results of PolyMet’s stock dilution scheme are in. Glencore, the world’s largest mining company and a lightning rod for labor and environmental criticism, will soon hold more than 71 percent of the Northern Minnesota copper-nickel project. “We thank all of our shareholders for their interest in and support for this project, and are… Read More →

Iron Range 4th of July parade, street dance & fireworks roundup

Click here for the 2019 Iron Range parade, street dance and fireworks lineup. The Fourth of July holds special meaning on Minnesota’s Iron Range. Part of it is patriotism, sure, but there’s a sort of midsummer primal yawp going on here as well. I could provide thousands of words of information about every little town’s… Read More →

Prairie River Minerals scrambles to scram while iron market hot

Last April, I was first to report about Prairie River Minerals, a new company formed to process iron ore stockpiles on the western Mesabi Iron Range. It was a story that fell in my lap because a friend of mine is involved in the project. Thus, I’ve mostly left the story alone since then. But… Read More →

Northern Minnesota’s own vampires

I’d like to start with a frank conversation about vampires. Vampires come from ancient folklore, but they’ve been a staple of pop culture for almost two centuries. You know the trope. Tall, Transylvanian type. Fangs. Allergic to sunlight. They used to be stuck-up and creepy; now they’re moody and hot. But whether you’re dealing with… Read More →

Census, redistricting will reshape Minnesota’s balance of power

I’ve seen a map that spells the end of the political balance most of us grew up knowing. Trends of the past 30 years will soon accelerate. A new future is nigh. The map details a recent state estimate of population trends within Minnesota’s legislative districts. Next year’s census will show little to no population… Read More →

Tune in for Dig Deep live call-in show

The Northern Community Radio political podcast “Dig Deep” will hold a live broadcast call in show Monday morning at 8:10. The podcast features Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns and myself. Heidi Holtan produces the show. Chuck represents the conservative perspective while I represent the liberal point of view. That said, our show is less about… Read More →

When a ditch is more than a ditch

One-hundred and four years ago, the iron mines around North Hibbing ran hot with thawing hematite while the early June weather proved every bit as unpredictable as today’s. The gates to the city seasonal parks swung open in torrential rain, but people still walked through them to sit on the benches. Because, after a long… Read More →