Sweet summer’s last act, a pause

Sweet Summer’s Last Act Basswood leaves hang like dinner plates, flags drooping on the pole. The animals grow brazen now, I think that one’s a mole. Brown and white skinned road workers can no longer be distinguished. Last night’s maple log has yet to be extinguished. Biting flies rule the day; mosquitos rule the night…. Read More →

Spend a summer night with Great Northern Radio Show

You might recall that the Great Northern Radio Show broadcast from the Reif Center last month. I write, host and produce the show for Northern Community Radio. We just released the podcast episodes this week. The first episode is titled “Nostalgia.” We put together a collection of music, comedy and stories exploring that fuzzy feeling about a… Read More →

R-O-C-K in the Co-op, eh?

The Mesaba Co-Op Park sits on the border between Cherry and Hibbing. You can’t escape this place as a key setting for Iron Range history. This refuge for mostly socialist Finnish immigrants became a playground and a proving ground for 20th Century leftist politics in Northern Minnesota. And it’s still here! While the place continues… Read More →

Digging deeper into immigration debate

Immigration policy burns at the heart of the political and cultural battle presently tearing this nation asunder. So, it made for a great topic for our most recent podcast of “Dig Deep.” This radio/podcast hybrid features conservative commentator Chuck Marohn and myself, the liberal commentator. My friend Heidi Holtan produces the program for Northern Community… Read More →

Canadian company gives solar second chance on Range

Next month, a Canadian company will reopen a solar panel manufacturing plant in Mountain Iron, hoping to shake off the bad juju of a previously failed project. Heliene opens in August with plans of hiring 130 people by September. They’ll produce commercial-scale solar panels for sale in the North American marketplace. They enjoy the aid… Read More →

DFL candidates debate issues in Minnesota’s 8th District

In just three weeks voters decide which of five DFL candidates for Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District advances to a tough general election. Some candidates have more money than others, but relatively few ads have run on local television. I’ve analyzed the race. But I must also stress that this is a very fluid contest that… Read More →

Cliffs wins Nashwauk land case, deals blow to Mesabi Metallics

To paraphrase “The Simpsons” Episode #222: Everything’s coming up Lourenco Goncalves. It’s been a very good week for Goncalves and Cleveland-Cliffs. The company declared strong earnings. Netting $165 million in the second quarter, Cliffs is selling iron ore pellets at $112 per ton. That’s a dramatic increase from the doldrums of 2015 and 2016. Industry… Read More →

Niskanen brings Stanley Cup home on the Range

I was talking to a friend this weekend. He told me that he watched a hockey game earlier that day. Hockey, I said. It’s July. But I caught myself. Of course they’re playing hockey in July. It’s Minnesota. Right now thousands of minivans criss-cross our verdant summer landscape. Each vessel aims for a parking lot… Read More →

Harassment scandal roils governor, MN-8 races

Yesterday, MinnPost published a bombshell story by Sam Brodey about a top Rick Nolan staffer accused of harassing women who worked in Nolan’s office. Several women told Brodey that Nolan’s D.C. office legislative director Jim Swidirski harassed and groped them. Swidirski was allowed to resign quietly in 2015. Nolan then retained Swidirski as a campaign… Read More →

Steelworkers contract talks test strong market

This month contract negotiations opened between the United Steelworkers of America and two big steelmakers, U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal. Already, the union says the two sides are far apart. Workers hope for a better outcome than the last labor negotiations in 2015. That contract froze pay and added costs to retirees. However, it also held… Read More →