March 3 Great Northern Radio Show set for Bemidji

Hello, reader. It’s been a while since I’ve checked in with you. Somehow I’ve managed to keep a brisk output of posts here at this year while still working on my other projects. That’s something to celebrate as I bring my Great Northern Radio Show to Bemidji State University on Saturday, March 3. My… Read More →

IP touts Sandman candidacy in MN-8

Much has already been made of the contentious race in Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District. But it bears mentioning we’re still only in the first act of a long play that will feature an appearance by Ray “Skip” Sandman on the Independence Party ticket in November. The IP issued a statement Wednesday welcoming former Green Party… Read More →

Key takeaways from 2018 straw polls, precinct caucuses

Last night I joined a relatively small group of Minnesotans in attending my local party precinct caucus. I caucus with the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, so we met at the Balsam Township Hall. The Republicans met in Grand Rapids at the middle school. Six people attended my caucus, including myself. I was prepared to remark that perhaps… Read More →

Trading steel and sun in a changing world

The sun above our heads and the steel that comprises our highways, buildings, cars and appliances might not seem like they have much in common. But there’s a powerful truth behind the sun. The final stage of a star’s life happens when nuclear fusion produces iron at its core, causing it to explode. At once,… Read More →

The hidden importance of Tuesday’s precinct caucuses

With the Super Bowl in the state’s collective rear view mirror, Tuesday night brings the biennial tradition of Minnesota’s precinct caucuses. And while it might seem a precipitous drop-off in excitement, this year’s caucuses offer real world implications. Precinct caucuses are a strange quirk of this moralistic state that once placed tremendous value on grassroots… Read More →

200 miles north of the Super Bowl

The fighter jets patrolling the skies above Super Bowl LII also maneuver above my home 200 miles north of Minneapolis. Roaring ghosts chasing the horizon. I think this is where they turn around or refuel. Safe. Remote. Nothing down here but trees, lakes and us. In this way living 200 miles from the Super Bowl… Read More →

Duluth gains sharp new arts venue, promise of another

After several years and $18 million in renovation, downtown Duluth’s NorShor Theater reopened this week with a local production of “Mamma Mia,” the ABBA musical. That show is sold out for two weeks. And while ABBA is great, most folks in the Zenith City are just excited for the addition of a dazzling new downtown… Read More →

West Side Story: the high stakes Mesabi mining show

A proposed new mine near the western Mesabi Iron Range town of Nashwauk has proven to be a challenge to explain. Every time I go to write one piece, something new pops up, changing the story. I don’t even know what to call it. This thing is a folk story now. So let’s start from… Read More →

Enrollment decline poses new challenge to state colleges

Trying to read trends is difficult. You have to figure out what’s part of a normal cycle and what might be indicative of change. And then, if it is real change, you have to determine what’s causing the change. Is it inevitable or malleable? Are you causing it or is it something else? That’s the… Read More →

Mesabi Iron Range takes action on mountain bike trails

Last week brought a very busy Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board meeting. In addition to discussions of reform and school funding, the board also green-lighted the commissioner’s plan to fund three mountain bike trails on the Mesabi Iron Range. The almost $5 million grant package helps volunteer-based organizations and Giants Ridge develop three distinct… Read More →