Diary of a Thanksgiving Turkey

[FREEZE FRAME] *record scratch* Yep, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I got here. It started the Friday before Thanksgiving. I was just chilling in my containment pen with a few dozen of my genetically selected pals. All of a sudden, one of the Grabby No Beaks yanks me up by the neck and drags… Read More →

New broadband grants include Northern MN projects

Today the State of Minnesota announced $26 million in grants for 39 projects in the Border to Border Broadband initiative. Almost 10,000 households will receive affordable access to high speed internet as a result of these investments. “It’s not fair when almost 20 percent of Greater Minnesota households don’t have the same high-speed internet connections… Read More →

Make or break moment for Iron Range mining projects

I’m part of a tortured, high-strung group of people who receive regular e-mail and social media updates about the mining business. It’s part of my duty to better understand the industry that shapes Iron Range history and its current economy. And in recent months the news has been far less depressing than usual. For instance,… Read More →

Don’t cry for me, Bloomington: MN loses World’s Fair to Argentina

The World’s Fair. One quickly imagines the art deco poster of the touchstone 1939 World’s Fair in New York. Heck, that poster hangs in my home office. Or maybe we recall the fact that Montreal named a professional baseball team after the fact that they had the World Expo in 1967. An American delegation from… Read More →

New project seeks the meaning of ‘Grace’ in Bovey

You’ve seen the photo. An elderly man bows his head in prayer before a modest meal of bread and oatmeal. A large Bible rests on the table, perhaps read after dinner. Eric Enstrom took this picture in Bovey, Minnesota, in 1918. The subject, a local peddler named Charles Wilden. Wilden was better known locally as… Read More →

Northern Minnesota already firing up the SAD bus

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but Northern Minnesotans already grow weary with an early winter. In fact, stories about Seasonal Affective Disorder, or “SAD” appear on the news, seemingly months ahead of schedule. SAD generates depression-like symptoms in people, primarily during short, dark winter days. The lack of daylight is one of the leading causes…. Read More →

1990 Minnesota election scandal parallels Alabama saga

It’s hard to remember sometimes, but there was a time when watching the news wasn’t actively disgusting all the time. But I do recall the first time a news story completely grossed me out. It was in 1990. I was just a kid, but I liked the news. That was the year the Republican candidate… Read More →

‘Cool view’ at the Iron Range’s new Highway 53 bridge

Though it’s been in use for a couple months now, I made my first trip to the other side of the Mesabi Iron Range to see the new Highway 53 bridge last week. An online contest gave this 1,000-foot-tall span the moniker “Taconite Sky Bridge.” (The legislature must act to make that official). What the… Read More →

The prodigal eelpout festival returns

After flirting with a move to Bemidji, the International Eelpout Festival will remain at Walker, Minnesota, on the shores of Leech Lake after all. Bemidji, it turns out, didn’t want the ugly fish fete, forcing organizers to flop their way back to their old ice fishing holes in Walker. This is essentially the same experience… Read More →

Elections nudge Duluth political scene, but not much

Off-year elections generally only get attention because of “what it all means.” The year-round political speculation industry loves a taste of something real to add some heft to the conjecture. So we can look at yesterday’s election and say that Democratic success in New Jersey and Virginia means something. President Trump’s unpopularity seems to be… Read More →