Koochiching County at the crossroads

Last Thursday, I was part of a panel for a “Policy and a Pint” forum about Northern Minnesota employment issues. The Citizen’s League and MPR’s The Current sponsored the event. One of the big themes to emerge from the dialogue was the idea that Northern Minnesota needs to attract people. Returning young professionals, yes, but… Read More →

Unique arts camp at historic Mesaba Park near Hibbing

In 1929, Finnish immigrants founded Mesaba Park, a cooperative park located on Northstar Lake between Cherry Township and Hibbing. They sought to provide a safe meeting place for workers and a low-cost recreational facility for their families. It was unique then, and even more so today having survived the decline of the cooperative movement elsewhere. The… Read More →

Itasca County shark? A mystery unsolved

Itasca County boasts plenty of critters that could eat you. Bears. Mosquitos. Turkey buzzards. But until now no one’s ever worried about a shark. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported May 17 about a father and son duo who fished a tiger shark jaw out of the Mississippi River near Grand Rapids. Tiger sharks can only survive… Read More →

Sue Hakes of Grand Marais to explore MN-8 bid

With Congressman Rick Nolan considering a run for governor, a potential Democratic candidate for his Eighth Congressional District seat announced her exploratory committee today. Sue Hakes, who previously served as Cook County Commissioner and Mayor of Grand Marais, will test the field as Nolan considers his future. “When I think about Minnesota’s Eighth District, I think… Read More →

Dylan Fest 2017 honors Northern MN’s own Bob Dylan

Every May, Bob Dylan’s shared hometowns of Duluth, where he was born, and Hibbing, where he grew up, celebrate music, poetry and culture in his honor. This year, Dylan is fresh off his Nobel Prize for Literature. And while the former Bobby Zimmerman isn’t expected to appear at this year’s festivities, a full lineup of… Read More →

2017 Northern Lights Music Festival to feature Tchaikovsky’s ‘Eugene Onegin’

The Northern Lights Music Festival will take place in Aurora and other Iron Range towns this July 2-23. The organization recently announced its lineup, including its featured opera production, Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin.” I wrote about the Northern Lights Music Festival in a 2014 column, exploring our region’s history as it relates to classical music: Every… Read More →

FARGO, Season 3, Ep. 5: “The House of Special Purpose”

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 →

Cliffs now producing ‘mustang’ flux pellets at Eveleth

After nine months of winter construction, today Cliffs Natural Resources started its new “mustang” pellet line at United Taconite in Eveleth. The $75 million investment will produce special order flux pellets. The “mustang” pellet is a iron ore product specially formulated for a particular method of making steel. It’s more like a traditional taconite pellet than higher… Read More →

Northeast Minnesota labor trends like a rummage sale

This week I’ll be taking part in Policy and a Pint, a discussion series sponsored by the Citizen’s League and MPR’s The Current. The event, titled “Talent Within the Range,” runs from 6-8 p.m. tomorrow, May 18, at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm. (Tickets are free; sign up here). In honor of the occasion, I’ll… Read More →

Aluminum and automation: our workforce confounded

This week I’ll be taking part in Policy and a Pint, a discussion series sponsored by the Citizen’s League and MPR’s The Current. The event, titled “Talent Within the Range,” runs from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, May 18, at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm. (Tickets are free; sign up here). In honor of the occasion, I’ll… Read More →