No place like our place

Regular readers know that I push for economic diversification and independence on the Mesabi Iron Range. For too long we on the Mesabi have allowed our lives to be defined by outside forces. The most obvious external influences are mining companies. They’re the reason our towns exist but also the reason we live in a… Read More →

‘Taconite Sky Bridge’ now open to Highway 53 traffic

This week begins with commuters crossing the new Highway 53 bridge over the Rouchleau Pit for the first time. As we reported last week, local officials dedicated the bridge was dedicated on Friday, Sept. 15. However, the Minnesota Department of Transportation opted not to allow traffic through at that time due to rain. After the… Read More →

Highway 53 bridge opens this week

After a short delay from an optimistic August opening, the Minnesota Department of Transportation will open the new Highway 53 bridge this Friday, Sept. 15. This nearly quarter-billion dollar project reroutes Highways 53 and 135 on the east central Iron Range, creating the state’s new tallest bridge over the Rouchleau Pit outside Virginia, Minn. The… Read More →

Hibbing’s Hull Rust mine view on the move

I was trying to remember the first time I ever saw the Hull Rust Mine View in historic North Hibbing. I just couldn’t place it. For people who grew up in this part of the country, riding or pedaling up through the ghost town of the old village to the cliff overlooking Hibbing Taconite was… Read More →

Find Northern Minnesota fall colors

It’s time for the annual foliage report in Northern Minnesota. Autumn means fall colors, which typically arrive here in early September and remain (weather permitting) until mid-October. Deep, rich colors pop a little ahead of schedule here in Northern Minnesota, particularly in the woods just north of the Iron Range where I live. But wherever you’re traveling… Read More →

A Day in the Life of Biwabik

The Mesabi Iron Range city of Biwabik is making a bid for Minnesota Monthly’s “Best Minnesota Town” next month. Videographer Kim Sampson assembled this short film “A Day in the Life of Biwabik” for the occasion. Several Iron Range photographers contributed their work to the project. I think it’s a rich, sweet visual depiction of… Read More →

Iron Range ore to play big role in #Harvey recovery

By now we are familiar with the widespread devastation of Hurricane Harvey and the following tropical storm and torrential rain. It’s the single biggest rain event in the history of the contiguous United States. We may yet only guess at the totality of the storm’s terrible effect on the people of Houston, their property, and… Read More →

Nourishing new roots on the Iron Range

I found myself pacing through an Iron Range cemetery the other day, looking for a particular stiff. On my grim patrol I realized that the graveyard was laid out according to national origin. Eastern Europeans and Italians, Swedes and Norwegians, Germans and Irish could all be found in separate sections, at least until the 1940s… Read More →

Survey to spur high speed internet across Iron Range

I have fiber optic internet service direct to my home in rural Itasca County. Why? Enough of my neighbors filled out a survey and kept pressure on local leaders to get our area added to broadband expansion projects by Paul Bunyan Communication. Residents of the east central Iron Range will now have the same opportunity…. Read More →

Highway 53 bridge opening delayed

Though Bridge Daze celebrating the new Highway 53 bridge between Virginia and Eveleth will go on this week, motorists won’t cross the new tallest bridge in Minnesota until mid-September. On Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced that weather delayed their target opening date this week. Barring setbacks, officials hope to open the bridge to… Read More →