What next for Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation?

Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Walz launched his official administrative transition team this week. Walz and retiring Gov. Mark Dayton both hail from the Democratic Farmer Labor Party, so we can expect some continuity in policy and certain key staff positions. Nevertheless, many new people will hold high level state posts when Walz takes office in 2019…. Read More →

Iron Range districts eye shared school, new model

Student desks form even rows on hardwood floors. A chalkboard at the front of the room frames the teacher’s heavy, spacious desk. Heavy vinyl maps roll down from the ceiling. Most of us recognize this picture as school. In fact, this scene so imprints our minds that decades later we still dream about it. It’s… Read More →

Jim and Silent Bob pitch whiskey on Tonight Show

Bob Dylan’s hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota, marks the changes in his sprawling career with bemused resignation. Nevertheless, some folks still wonder what the boy they knew as Robert Zimmerman is up to. Earlier this year Dylan announced his new whiskey label, dubbed Heaven’s Door. And while his “never-ending” concern tour keeps rolling, Dylan has adopted the… Read More →

Your turn Player Two

Right about now parents across Christendom receive handwritten notes from their children explaining what they’d like for Christmas. Ostensibly these lists are for Santa Claus, but everybody knows Santa has helpers. Most of them are clerks at a store within driving distance. I’m kidding, of course. Santa’s real helpers are faceless Amazon drones that document… Read More →

Domino’s picks Duluth for pothole marketing scheme

Tonight, the Duluth City Council is poised to accept $5,000 from Domino’s Pizza to repair some of the city’s legendary potholes. You might have seen Domino’s “Paving for Pizza” nationwide television ad campaign that ran over the last several months. The premise is that potholes cause pizzas in the backseat of cars to go flying… Read More →

Architecture that holds up

Last night I hosted my radio show at the newly restored Hibbing High School auditorium. Workers spent months renovating this town’s “castle in the woods. Now it looks as resplendent as when it first opened nearly a century ago. I can assure you that words did the scene no justice. Some high school auditoriums are… Read More →

Celebrate with the Great Northern Radio Show

It’s been a wild fall here at MinnesotaBrown. An unexpected research trip to San Francisco. Election coverage that culminated with a live appearance on National Public Radio. And now I’m getting ready for Saturday’s Great Northern Radio Show at the historic Hibbing High School auditorium. It’s been a banner year for this mid-level regional writer…. Read More →

Fire destroys Cook store, but not community spirit

Last Sunday, my family struck deer camp a week early. I got sent home with a large amount of cheese curds, which is never a bad deal. My uncles always pick up the cheese from Zup’s in Cook. Monday night, a large fire destroyed the Zup’s Food Market, Cook’s only grocery store and heart of… Read More →

Northern Minnesota’s new political ethos

Rifle hunting season is almost over. That’s the sure sign of winter in Northern Minnesota. Though just a week ago, the hotly contested election of 2018 safely recedes into the past. The first weekend at deer camp was awash with political theorizing. But we spent last weekend arguing the merits and mechanics of mounting a… Read More →

More smoke than fire: Election 2018 on the Iron Range

For much of 2018, we labored under the premise that Northern Minnesota’s 8th District might be the pivotal race in all of the nation. This would be the place that single-handedly decided whether Democrats or Republicans would control the U.S. House of Representatives. In visions of late night counting and recounting, the eyes of America… Read More →