Iron Range in isolation: talking COVID-19

Last week I appeared on KAXE with Heidi Holtan talking about the COVID-19 situation on the Mesabi Iron Range. Check it out. This was my first radio appearance since being sheltered in place with my family here in the woods of northern Minnesota. We make a couple trips to town each week for groceries and… Read More →

COVID-19 crisis threatens iron ore demand

NOTE: This post also appears in the Hibbing Daily Tribune as part of a content partnership. Economic effects of the global pandemic could reach taconite mines on Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range later this year. U.S. automakers Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler announced Wednesday they would close all American production plants in response to the… Read More →

Iron Range epidemics and the greater good

NOTE: This article also appears in the Hibbing Daily Tribune. It’s part of a new expanded partnership between this blog and the newspaper that runs my column. Frank Hibbing could sense iron nearby when he and his team camped beneath a grove of towering white pines on the western Mesaba Iron Range. Indeed, they would discover… Read More →

Five NE Minnesota colleges move toward merger

On Wednesday, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees approved plans to merge five community and technical colleges in Northeastern Minnesota. After a two-year planning period the board will vote again on whether to go through with it. The new college organization, if approved, would be in operation by Fall 2022. These five… Read More →

There was a peaceful school called Rock Ridge

Tonight the Eveleth-Gilbert Golden Bears and Virginia-Mountain Iron-Buhl Blue Devils renewed their storied Iron Range high school hockey rivalry. But this game was less about the final score (Bears won 4-1) than about the announcement made on the ice between periods. Last year, voters from both school districts authorized the building of a new shared… Read More →

MinnesotaBrown’s Top Posts of 2019

We’re closing a momentous year and a momentous decade here at MinnesotaBrown. For most of you 2019 probably did not provide the most riveting year of material from yours truly. You saw 1-2 posts per week. Much less political coverage. Fewer posts about Northern Minnesota arts and culture. It would have appeared to you that… Read More →

Hey Jenna Fischer, here are specific things to know about the Iron Range

As you may have noticed I’ve been blogging less to focus on my new book. So I wasn’t able to click-grab news about “The Office” star Jenna Fischer coming to the Iron Range to film a new hockey movie next month. That’s a shame. One of the most popular posts I’ve ever published was when… Read More →

Cleveland Cliffs acquires AK Steel

Iron ore producer Cleveland Cliffs acquired AK Steel in a deal announced today. It’s a seismic transaction that could have long-term implications for the Mesabi Iron Range. Cliffs will use its stock to buy $1.1 billion worth of AK Steel stock, assuming about 68 percent ownership of the Ohio-based company. Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves will… Read More →

Enter to win ride in giant pink mining truck

Here’s a fun item while I continue work on my book. The Hibbing Tourist Senior Center, operators of the famous and newly re-established North Hibbing Mine View, are running a contest with a very unique prize. You can enter a drawing to ride in a Hibbing Taconite production truck as it leaves the mine and… Read More →

Zebra mussels in Range mine pit raise questions

Northern Minnesota has been standing sentinel against zebra mussels for a number of years. We worry our freshwater lakes could be overrun by this invasive species. Typically, however, we imagine the pests arriving on the hulls of traveling boats and trailers. That doesn’t seem to explain why they showed up in an Iron Range mine… Read More →