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 →

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 →

Leaders scramble to save Hill Annex Mine State Park

Hill Annex Mine State Park is surely an oddity among state recreational facilities. You can’t camp there. Virtually every natural feature you see emerged from the wholly unnatural act of removing iron ore from the ground. Nevertheless, the Calumet, Minnesota, park represents a glimpse back into time, and provides important context to what happens to… Read More →

Time to let our Iron Range flag fly

These days, the Iron Range seems divided. Used to be the arguments were about pickup trucks, but now they’re about politics, culture and religion. That angries up the blood, alright. Hard to have a conversation. For as long as I’ve been covering the Range, nearly all of my adult life, certain problems seem ever-present. The… Read More →

Just nine miles remain on ‘Cross-Range Expressway’

I’ve told this story before, but my grandfather served on the Keewatin City Council in the 1960s. One of the most important pieces of city business at the time was largely out of his control. The state of Minnesota decided to rebuild Highway 169 as a four-lane highway, bypassing the city of Keewatin and many… Read More →

Ely maple sap spat may stop street taps

This year the city of Ely, Minnesota, forwent its traditional April Fools joke because Easter landed on the same day. Whether tourism officials wanted to avoid confusing the Resurrection with a practical joke or simply wanted to gorge themselves on deviled eggs, we’ll never know. But in keeping with the way of the world these… Read More →

Voters approve Grand Rapids, Brainerd school bonds

Updating my earlier post, voters in the Grand Rapids and Brainerd school districts approved a series of bond measures today. Late results showed a close, mixed result in Grand Rapids and an overwhelming passage in Brainerd. In Grand Rapids, taxpayers approved a question of raising $69 million to build two new elementary schools and remodel… Read More →

Critical school votes test Northern MN political climate

Today, voters in two Northern Minnesota school districts will render their verdict on separate school bond referendum measures. The result will speak greatly toward public attitudes about the economy, taxation and public education in rural Minnesota. Grand Rapids In Grand Rapids, voters will consider two questions that would cost taxpayers up to $74 million. The… Read More →