Make or break moment for Iron Range mining projects

I’m part of a tortured, high-strung group of people who receive regular e-mail and social media updates about the mining business. It’s part of my duty to better understand the industry that shapes Iron Range history and its current economy. And in recent months the news has been far less depressing than usual. For instance,… Read More →

‘Cool view’ at the Iron Range’s new Highway 53 bridge

Though it’s been in use for a couple months now, I made my first trip to the other side of the Mesabi Iron Range to see the new Highway 53 bridge last week. An online contest gave this 1,000-foot-tall span the moniker “Taconite Sky Bridge.” (The legislature must act to make that official). What the… Read More →

Minnesota moose decline stems from spread of deer

Scientists say they’ve solved the mystery of the missing moose. The brain-eating bacteria that kill so many moose, and leave others more vulnerable to wolf predation, is carried by the spread of whitetail deer into Northeastern Minnesota. For the past several years, we’ve been wondering why Minnesota’s moose population — once a strong feature of… Read More →

Blandin layoffs highlight divided economy

Wall Street is surging. Minnesota’s economy continues to add jobs. But in Grand Rapids, a set of layoffs reminds that the United States has two economies heading in different directions. On Tuesday, UPM-Blandin announced the impending closure of its Line 5 plant amid declining demand for its coated paper products. The move will cause 150 people… Read More →

Gov. Dayton OKs Chippewa Capital Partners plan

One way or another, a long awaited new taconite mine and iron briquette mill near Nashwauk, Minnesota, puts new meaning in the old phrase “take a slow boat to China.” On Saturday, Gov. Mark Dayton said he was satisfied with the financial package put together by Chippewa Capital Partners, the new owner of the former… Read More →

Iron Range STEM showcase Friday, Oct. 6

This Friday, Oct. 6, the Iron Range STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Showcase will again welcome area 6th graders and the general public to explore concepts and careers in science. First, during the school day, more than 2,000 sixth graders from 28 northeastern Minnesota schools will take part in more than 60 interactive activities… Read More →

Tuesday special election for Itasca County board

This Tuesday, Oct. 3, voters will select from three candidates in the District 5 Itasca County board primary election. The top two will advance to a Dec. 12 general election in the race to replace Commissioner Mark Mandich, who resigned due to health issues earlier this year. The Scenic Range News Forum previewed the race… Read More →

Young Range professionals seek to ‘Be the Change’

The Iron Range young professionals organization ReGen will launch a month of “Be the Change” events in October. The kickoff is Thursday, Oct. 5 at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm. That program features the Theater of Public Policy, a comedy act that blends good natured local and Minnesota political humor. Here’s how ReGen describes… Read More →

Northern Minnesota fall colors in full swing

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 →

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 →