This Week in Vikings Playoff Anxiety, Vol. 2 Miracle Edition

When I began this series I had no firm belief it would be a series at all. Generations of bad luck, boneheaded plays and inexplicable mental collapse conditioned me for the seemingly inevitable disappointment of any Minnesota Vikings trip to the playoffs. Indeed, that was the joke. And while I certainly wanted the Vikings to… Read More →

L.L. Bean ‘Bootmobile’ headed to the Iron Range

Growing up in the rural environs just off the Mesabi iron formation, I became accustomed to the machinations of the bookmobile. Well, now Iron Range residents can expect a new arrival: the Bootmobile. L.L. Bean, purveyor of fine boots and outdoor clothing and accessories, turned a pickup truck into a giant boot. Now they tour… Read More →

On the Cuyuna Range, the culmination of a plan

Last fall I had to go to Brainerd for a speaking engagement. My fellow presenter and I were chatting on the way down. We decided it might be fun to drive through Crosby and Ironton instead of bypassing them the way many motorists have for decades. Why? Well, there’s stuff going on in Crosby now…. Read More →

‘Making It Up North’ features Great Northern Radio Show

This year WDSE-WIRT Channel 8, the PBS station in Duluth, announced a new show. Karen Sunderman hosts and Steve Ash films the program called “Making It Up North.” They profile creative people across Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. I was honored that they chose to highlight my Great Northern Radio Show in one of their early… Read More →

This Week in Minnesota Vikings Playoff Anxiety

Picture, if you well, an envelope. It might have come in the mail. It might have been hand delivered by a Great Horned Owl. That is irrelevant. Inside the envelope is an answer to a question that has endured many generations. Will you forever be trapped in a repeating hell, or will you be eternally… Read More →

Remembering Bill Ojala, radical conscience of the Iron Range

Bill Ojala, a former Iron Range legislator and later gadfly social justice activist, died last Saturday at the age of 92. John Lundy of the Duluth News Tribune penned a good obituary (“‘A true son of the Iron Range’: Lawyer, politician Bill Ojala dies at 92“) in yesterday’s paper. Ojala, descended from Finnish-American immigrants on… Read More →

Iron innovation most vital mining challenge for Mesabi Range

I know, there’s plenty we could talk about regarding controversial copper-nickel mining projects in Northern Minnesota. PolyMet has a draft permit to mine. Ely’s Twin Metals got a symbolic boost from the Trump Administration. Persistent and largely meaningless slap fights between mining advocates and skeptics color the pages of the local press. But the truth… Read More →

Minnesotans to world: Ope! Sneak right by ya’

If there’s one thing that’s definitively Minnesotan it’s our dialect. Studied by linguists and fodder for pop culture, the way we talk developed uniquely among our immigrant farmers and laborer ancestors on the cold prairies and forests of our lake-festooned northern land. Howard Mohr wrote the definitive text, “How To Talk Minnesotan,” which he also… Read More →

Thoughts on improved Minn. population trends

For the first time in 15 years, more people moved to Minnesota from other parts of the U.S. than moved away. Added to immigration and a positive birth rate, Minnesota’s population is growing. Trends here are better than among our Midwestern neighbors. That’s the good news. The bad news is that all of this is… Read More →

Duluth Lakers play zone outside harbor

Basketball fans sometimes wonder, what the heck is a Los Angeles Laker? The well informed might know that this once venerated (now down-on-its-luck) franchise used to be the Minneapolis Lakers, though that still doesn’t tell most what a Laker is. A laker is a ship or vessel confined to a freshwater lake or lake system…. Read More →