Things You Will See at Your First Iron Range 4th of July

Most every little hamlet in Minnesota claims some special Fourth of July tradition. After all, Minnesota was born in the patriotic fervor preceding the Civil War, swaddled in the stars and stripes and raised to feed, build and Bob Dylan-ize America. A territory founded on the cornerstone of community (and large, powerful railroads), the Fourth… Read More →

‘Sunday Liquor’ era arrives in Minnesota

This weekend marks the opening of a new era in Minnesota drinking. Oh, I suppose the drinking remains the same. I should say that Minnesota now enters a new more spontaneous age in “planning to drink.” Starting July 2, liquor stores across the state, including some here in Northern Minnesota, will open for business on… Read More →

West Range Itasca County race takes shape

Last week I reported a vacancy on the Itasca County Board after Mark Mandich resigned his District 5 seat on the western Mesabi Iron Range. Two candidates emerged over the past few days. Ben DeNucci Nashwauk Mayor Ben DeNucci said he was running for the Itasca County Board. DeNucci owns a bar in Nashwauk and… Read More →

Reina del Cid headlines July 6 concert in Chisholm

The Minnesota Discovery Center summer concert series continues Thursday, July 6, at 6 p.m. with Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter Reina del Cid and her band. This is one of my favorite Minnesota music acts. They’ve been on my Great Northern Radio Show twice, always a hit with the audience. Reina del Cid sings with a light, playful… Read More →

Community, cars, ticks highlight June 2017 Great Northern Radio Show

On June 17, 2017 my Great Northern Radio Show broadcast live from the Reif Center in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. We had more than 500 people packed into the Wilcox Theater to hear our brand of music, comedy and storytelling in what we dub the “big, big show from your hometown.” This show ended up sounding… Read More →

Vlad vs. Donald in Nevis Pig Races

UPDATE: Pig race results below. Last year, I highlighted the annual Nevis Pig Races in an essay previewing the 2016 election. In that race, a pig named Donald raced against a pig named Hillary to “settle” the ongoing political squabbling. No such luck. The race ended in a tie, so no one was satisfied. Then… Read More →

Car wash confidential

For me, one of the big realizations of summer is that my car is filthy. I don’t just mean dirty. No, I mean that I can grow potatoes in my undercarriage. I live at the end of a long dirt road in Itasca County, a place where the miles of dirt road exceed the number… Read More →

Iron Range readies for state’s tallest bridge

I’ve been covering the progress of the massive rerouting of Highways 53 and 135 on the east-central Mesabi Iron Range in Northern Minnesota. Though I’ve questioned the routing and expense of this quarter-billion dollar project, the massive 1,100-foot high bridge on Highway 53 now nears completion. And no matter your opinion, it’s a marvel. Officials… Read More →

FARGO, Season 3: “Somebody to Love”

The FX series “Fargo” takes viewers on a “true crime” adventure through the snow-swept landscape of Minnesota. Based on the Coen Brothers Academy Award winning film “Fargo,” each season of the TV series explores a new story cast from the themes of innocence lost, human failings, and the redemptive power of goodness. Northern Minnesota author Aaron J. Brown… Read More →

Itasca County commissioner resigns

Commissioner Mark Mandich resigned his seat on the Itasca County Board this week. The board accepted Mandich’s resignation at their meeting Tuesday. My sources tell me that Mandich cites health problems as his reason for stepping down. The Itasca County Board authorized a vacancy, instructing the county auditor to prepare a special election. Details on… Read More →