Drunk birds maintain Gilbert’s wet reputation

Some birds got drunk in Gilbert, Minnesota. They didn’t mean to. That’s not what they planned when they went out with their friends. But that’s what happened. And now their antics have reached the Washington Post. This isn’t the first time alcohol consumption has landed Minnesota’s Iron Range in the national press. Nor is it… Read More →

Glimmers of hope in Steelworkers negotiations

Late last week, the United Steelworkers reached an agreement with Cleveland-Cliffs on a labor contract. Broadly speaking, the talks between Cliffs and the USW seemed to go well. The company acknowledged the improving state of the domestic iron ore and steel business, and shared some of the success with its workers. However, more contentious negotiations… Read More →

MinnesotaBrown wakes up from California Dream

It’s been quiet the last few days here at MinnesotaBrown. It’s not that there isn’t anything to write about. Election 2018. Steelworker negotiations. The continuing saga of Northern Minnesota’s rough water landing in the future. But I had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco last weekend to conduct an interview for my book project… Read More →

Mapping new world, new climate

We learn in history class about the search for the fabled Northwest Passage. This coveted sea route between the East Indies and Europe promised untold riches to explorers and traders of the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries. They searched the Great Lakes, cut inland through Lake Vermilion, forging West. Always these aquatic prospectors crashed headlong… Read More →

Lake Superior generates cold wind, clean beer

Duluth brags about its local beer. Maybe too much. But brewers and scientists alike suggest that Lake Superior water really does aid the process of beermaking. Dan Kraker recently filed a story on this topic for Minnesota Public Radio. He talks to several local brewers who swear by the pure water available to them in… Read More →

LIVE: First major debate in Minnesota’s 8th District

This morning the three candidates in Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District face off in their first major debate. Democrat Joe Radinovich, Republican Pete Stauber and independent Ray “Skip” Sandman will talk issues. This brings welcome relief from a campaign marked by negative ads and low name identification. At 10 a.m., the Duluth Chamber of Commerce and… Read More →

Crowd questions Mesabi Metallics in tense meeting

Hundreds packed the Nashwauk Township Community Center Monday night to ask questions of Gov. Mark Dayton, state officials and the CEO of Mesabi Metallics. The governor called the town hall meeting after months of local criticism. A proposal to build a new mine on the site of the long defunct Butler Taconite site once carried… Read More →

DNR confirms Zebra mussels in Pokegama Lake chain

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources confirmed Monday it found invasive zebra mussels in the Blandin Reservoir along the Mississippi River near Grand Rapids. That means that several waters connected to the reservoir now enter the infested waters designation. They include: Lake Pokegama Jay Gould Lake Little Jay Gould Lake the Mississippi River from Lake… Read More →

Iconic ship slips past Duluth bridge

The retired iron ore ship William A. Irvin has been docked near Canal Park in downtown Duluth so long that it’s become part of the permanent landscape. Perhaps that’s why so many people stayed up practically overnight Friday into Saturday morning to see the immobilized ship move once again. This YouTube video by photographer Dennis… Read More →

Real hope for rural broadband on the Iron Range

Growing up I always lived just outside the towns of the Iron Range. Back roads. Cracked pavement and dirt roads. My family ran small businesses. Some lasted a while. Some not so much. Such is the nature of small business. The ‘80s were bad. They were for a lot of people. School changed my life…. Read More →