Duluth senate primary will document changing DFL coalition

It’s primary election day in Minnesota. And while there are some interesting races around the state — notably the 5th Congressional District DFL race for Congress in Minneapolis — only one merits significant attention here in the North. In the State Senate District 7 DFL contest Sen. Erik Simonson of Duluth faces a spirited challenge… Read More →

The politics of unemployment

My latest for the Minnesota Reformer is up. Here’s a taste: The extension of mining unemployment benefits is an ever-present Iron Range campaign issue and legislative priority. Now it could prove to be the biggest national campaign issue in the entire 2020 race.  Welcome to Thunderdome! I’m afraid to report the real winners are in… Read More →

Latest Power podcast episode connects desert car chase with Minnesota mines

The second episode of our podcast “Power in the Wilderness” dropped over the weekend. You can listen online now if you missed it. The episode is entitled “El Pulpo,” Spanish for “The Octopus.” Our show is a special production of KAXE-Northern Community Radio. It’s funded in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund…. Read More →

Media mergers in northern Minnesota and beyond

By now you may have seen the last column I wrote for the Hibbing Daily Tribune and the first that I penned for the newly merged Mesabi Tribune. Then last Friday I did a couple interviews about the merger of the Hibbing Daily Tribune and Mesabi Daily News. First I went on the KAXE Morning… Read More →

Wanna hear the most annoying sound in Duluth?

Hey, wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world? That would be the sound of the fully loaded freighter Presque Isle scraping the side of the canal on its way out of the Port of Duluth this morning. Nobody was hurt. Somebody, however, has a bad case of the Mondays. Related posts: No related… Read More →

125 years of iron ore from Hibbing’s Mahoning mine

At sunrise on Friday, July 3 workers raised a 44-star American flag at the edge of the the Hull Rust Mahoning Pit in Hibbing. The historic flag commemorated the day in 1895 when the first shovel lifted iron ore from the Mahoning Pit. “That open pit of course started with a single scoop of ore… Read More →

2020 Iron Range Fourth of July schedule battered, not beaten

As you might know, each year I enjoy sharing the schedule of Iron Range Fourth of July parades, street dances and fireworks displays. July 4 is a American holiday that holds special meaning here in the immigrant communities of northern Minnesota. This year we enter the Fourth of July holiday week with much more uncertainty… Read More →

The haunting truth of human nature

For the past couple years I’ve been reading old Hibbing newspapers for my book. I find that reading every paper from every year is exhausting but still the best way to research. This method provides context about everything going on in the community, including the national and international news that shaped people’s attitudes. So I’ve… Read More →

IRRR commissioner OKs contested water tower project in Brookston

On Thursday afternoon Commissioner Mark Phillips of the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation announced the approval of a contested $250,000 grant for a water tower in Brookston. The decision concludes a growing controversy over the project’s exclusion from a collection of public works projects funded by the unique state agency. The small… Read More →

Iron Range daily newspapers to merge

Today, the Mesabi Daily News and Hibbing Daily Tribune announced that the newspapers would merge operations beginning Wednesday, July 8. The new Mesabi Tribune will publish six days per week, making it the only remaining daily newspaper in northern Minnesota. Print publications have been reeling from lost ad revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic. These immediate… Read More →