The think piece on Dorothy’s ruby slippers you didn’t know you needed

The iconic film “The Wizard of Oz” is 80 years old. It’s such a cultural touchstone that at least five generations have now seen it so many times that they know the lines. And like “The Wizard of Oz,” we’ve well repeated the story of how a pair of costume ruby slippers worn by the… Read More →

Grandpa and the way home

At one time my grandpa kept a bar in his house in Keewatin, a small wood-paneled room full of 1950s and ‘60s sports memorabilia, Norwegian flags and light-up beer signs. In 1990 or so, I think I was around 10, he showed me the things on the shelves and said “I’m dying. One day all… Read More →

On comments

I’ve often spoken about my stint as the 21-year-old editor of a small daily newspaper on the Iron Range. You could argue I was too young, too inexperienced, and too pie-eyed for that whole thing to work, and that’s all objectively true, but I sure learned a hell of a lot. One of the duties… Read More →

‘Think spring’ with latest Great Northern Radio Show

You can now hear the latest podcast for the Great Northern Radio Show from our April 13 broadcast at the Chief Theater in Bemidji, Minnesota. It was the 30th variety show I’ve written, produced and hosted for Northern Community Radio, our fifth from the “First City on the Mississippi River.” It was the first time… Read More →

Radinovich to resign from Iron Range Resources post after hiring controversy

Joe Radinovich will resign his high-level post with the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation after last week’s report detailing irregularities in the hiring process. Radinovich is a former state representative from Crosby. He was the 2018 8th District DFL Congressional nominee. He previously served at the IRRRB as a politically-appointed Assistant Commissioner…. Read More →

Cliffs CEO ‘in no hurry’ to build 2nd HBI plant

These days, Cleveland-Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves seems positively jubilant in his quarterly earnings calls with investors and the media. And why not? The first quarter of the year is normally pretty slow. That’s when iron ore ships are docked until ice retreats from the Great Lakes. Nevertheless, Cliffs performed well ahead of expectations in the… Read More →

Report details irregularities in IRRRB hiring of former Congressional candidate

A recent investigative news story highlights the unusual way in which former State Rep. and recent Congressional candidate Joe Radinovich was appointed to a high level permanent job at the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation. Marshall Helmberger of the Tower Timberjay published the report Wednesday. The story quickly spread to media outlets… Read More →

In Duluth, spring returns with national champs and international shipping

After a temporary setback with last week’s winter storm, spring seems to have finally arrived … again … in Northern Minnesota. One sure sign includes the arrival of the first “saltie” into the Port of Duluth-Superior The Maltese-flagged Maria G arrived in the Port of Duluth to take on a load of grain early this… Read More →

When the vote fails, rural districts hold few cards

On Tuesday, voters in the Floodwood, Minn., school district rejected a $700,000 operating bond referendum by a vote of 352-336. This close vote in a small district will make a big difference. Teachers and officials suggest up to eight teachers could lose their jobs without the local funding. Elementary sections could be combined. Most electives… Read More →

Prairie River Minerals aims to restart scram mining on western Mesabi

Amid high demand and temporarily limited global supply, another new scram mining venture aims to reclaim natural iron ore on the western Mesabi Iron Range. Prairie River Minerals seeks to mine about 1.3 million tons of iron ore annually, mostly in Itasca County, hiring about 125 union workers in the process. The chief partners in… Read More →