Critical thinking for automated times

I like to watch old black-and-white movies. In these films you see several scenes involving jobs that no longer exist. People appear very skilled at these jobs. We are led to believe they made a decent living off them. But practically no one makes the same living in the same jobs today. In most cases… Read More →

With final permit, PolyMet project enters ‘prove it’ stage

Today the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the last required federal permit for PolyMet’s proposed copper-nickel mine near Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota. With this permit, the company now enters the next phase of its development: proving that it has the capital and ability to execute its mine plan. Local news and Northern Minnesota social media… Read More →

What next for long-suffering Nashwauk mine project?

I drive past the former Butler Taconite mine site near Nashwauk, Minnesota, nearly every day. As such, I have ample time to join my neighbors, local leaders and international iron ore traders in wondering what might happen with the long-stalled construction of a new mine there. All this comes more than three decades after Butler… Read More →

Bankruptcy claims remaining ShopKo stores, including Duluth

ShopKo announced today that bankruptcy would force it to close all its remaining stores, including six in Northeastern and Central Minnesota, by June 16. Stores in Duluth, Ely, Two Harbors, Aitkin, Mora and Moose Lake are among those that will close. ShopKo’s woes are nothing new, and are in keeping with general problems in the… Read More →

When the levee breaks

Tailings basins are a key part of Mesabi Iron Range mining history, but are also making headlines across the world. Balancing responsible mining with environmental risk is a critical question going forward.

Arts provide economic, aesthetic boost to NE Minnesota

Last year I wrote about the economic impact of the arts in Northern Minnesota’s Iron Range region. An organization called Creative Minnesota explored the total reach of the arts, including the revenue generated within the economy and the number of jobs created. Today, the same organization released a new 2019 report as part of Arts… Read More →

After 10 years, final Minnesota ‘all hockey hair team’ video drops

Iron Range hopes for a state high school hockey championship fell just short with Greenway’s Saturday afternoon loss to St. Cloud Cathedral. It was an amazing run for the Raiders, though, with some great games, hearty effort and exciting play. And they placed respectably in the 2019 Minnesota State High School All Hockey Hair Team… Read More →

It ain’t over ’til it’s oven

We come here not to mourn the oven, but to bury it. Northern Minnesota author Aaron Brown relates the fiery final minutes of his family’s electric range.

Dylan monument at Hibbing HS to be revealed fall 2019

Like an eddy in a fast-moving stream, Robert Zimmerman matriculated from Hibbing High School in 1959. Just three years later, under a new name of his own design, Bob Dylan began transforming the musical world from the stage of Carnegie Hall in New York. Decades before I was born, Dylan lived in the same neighborhood… Read More →

Iron Range state hockey hopes skate with Greenway

The Minnesota State High School boys class “A” hockey tournament begins today, always a cultural touchstone in this part of the world. Living in the Iron Range region of Northern Minnesota means dwelling among fever dreams of this state competition. Men and women are driven mad by title hopes, and sometimes spend a lifetime rueing… Read More →