How position politics stymies our legislature

I’m going to explain why the Minnesota legislature ends in a flaming pile of tractor scrapings every year, but first you have to watch this vintage footage of a 1980s bicycle sprint. The first minute or so will suffice. Bicycle sprinting is a unique sport. The overall time doesn’t count. The only thing that matters… Read More →

Remembering my old neighbor Jack Lynch

During my blogging hiatus last week I received word that my old neighbor Jack Lynch passed away May 16 at the age of 83. Jack was a longtime reporter and editor for the Hibbing Daily Tribune, technically retired but still a fixture in the newspaper. Kelly Grinnsteiner, editor of the Tribune, wrote a lovely story about… Read More →

In Ely, canoe rides 26.2 miles on YOU

I’ve never run a marathon. Further, I’ve talked to enough runners to know that I’m a good year from being able to do so without requiring medical attention or adult diapers. And I’m fine with that. I don’t want to run a marathon. Nevertheless, I’m always intrigued by the psychology of those who do. In… Read More →

Science warns that more cattails means more methane

Northern Minnesota is no stranger to cattails. These common reeds grow seed pods that look like corn dogs, but are, in fact, filled with downy fluff. (You only make that mistake once). In fact, during World War II Northern Minnesotans earned money harvesting cattails to replace cotton in pillows, furniture, life vests, seat cushions and… Read More →

Duluth, Hibbing ready for 2018 Dylan celebrations

This May 24, Bob Dylan turns 77. His twin hometowns of Duluth and Hibbing, Minnesota, prepare to celebrate with live music, tours and cultural activities. From May 19-27, the Duluth Dylan Festival brings something for fans of Dylan and the arts every day. The Hibbing Dylan Project also offers activities on May 19. Some of… Read More →

Remembering Ray Szmanda, the ‘Menards Guy’

Ray Szmanda, known to TV viewers of the Upper Midwest as “The Menards Guy,” died Sunday according to his son. He was 91. Growing up in the Duluth, Minnesota, TV market during the 1980s and ’90s meant watching this man sell home improvement tools and materials during nearly every local TV break. It wasn’t just… Read More →

New order unfolds in Minnesota’s 8th District

On Saturday, Republicans endorsed St. Louis County commissioner Pete Stauber for Congress in Minnesota’s Eighth District. Unlike the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s 10-ballot non-endorsement last month, Stauber won his blessing in a single-ballot coronation. Stauber does not expect to face a meaningful primary challenge. His DFL opponents, on the other hand, face a potentially bruising four-candidate contest… Read More →

Open legislative seat spurs Iron Range DFL primary

We sense many disturbances in the 2018 Iron Range political force. (Apologies. It is May the Fourth after all). Setting aside the roaming Death Star of Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District race, the Mesabi Iron Range also stumbled into an open legislative seat in District 6B. Current State Rep. Jason Metsa is running for the aforementioned… Read More →

Empire Mine backers pitch future project to Cliffs

Workers and local leaders in Northern Michigan want Cleveland-Cliffs to locate its next value-added iron plant in the U.P. rather than here on Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range. A community group in Marquette began organizing efforts to woo the mining company to its historic home in Michigan. This brings another twist to the ongoing saga over what… Read More →

Up in Smoke: Superior disaster reminds why we watch industry

Just six days ago the Twin Ports of Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin could have been blown to smithereens. A billowing fire engulfed the Husky Oil Refinery in Superior, encroaching just 150 feet from a tank of hydrogen fluoride. An explosion of that tank would have atomized Superior and released a deadly toxic cloud for… Read More →