WWII anti-fascist film holds up disturbingly well

Like most folks, I’ve spent some time thinking about the flare up of white nationalist violence last weekend in the United States. For me, this is a disturbing continuation of trends we’ve seen in all corners of this country. Division, threats and death. What do I think? Why recreate what was so well articulated 74… Read More →

Nolan confirms re-election bid in MN’s swingin’ 8th

Ending weeks of parlor speculation, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN8) told the St. Paul Pioneer Press last week that he will run for re-election in his Northern Minnesota swing district. That news had been implied, but not explicitly stated, when Nolan announced he wouldn’t run for governor earlier this summer. On one hand, Nolan feels… Read More →

The high cost of inaction on rural broadband

Longtime readers know my position on rural broadband. In short, I view it as one important part of blended strategy to diversify the economy of Northern Minnesota. To extend the fastest and highest capacity delivery system would mean more fiber optic lines buried underground. This is the most obvious and also the most expensive way… Read More →

Northern MN Trumpism endures for lack of alternative

Every time President Trump tweets his distinctive brand of authoritarian chaos the world broils in consternation. The world maybe, but not most folks in the back woods of Northern Minnesota. In fact, ignoring Trump’s tweets (and all tweets, generally speaking) comes naturally out here. If you didn’t care about Russia, Trump’s erratic personal behavior, or… Read More →

Republican Pete Stauber to run for Congress in MN-8

(Post updated Monday, July 10) On Monday, St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber of Hermantown announces a run for Congress in Northeastern Minnesota’s Eighth District. He becomes the first Republican challenger to incumbent U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (DFL-Crosby) for the 2018 cycle. Stauber, a one-time West Duluth hockey star and longtime Duluth police officer, has… Read More →

‘Sunday Liquor’ era arrives in Minnesota

This weekend marks the opening of a new era in Minnesota drinking. Oh, I suppose the drinking remains the same. I should say that Minnesota now enters a new more spontaneous age in “planning to drink.” Starting July 2, liquor stores across the state, including some here in Northern Minnesota, will open for business on… Read More →

Itasca County commissioner resigns

Commissioner Mark Mandich resigned his seat on the Itasca County Board this week. The board accepted Mandich’s resignation at their meeting Tuesday. My sources tell me that Mandich cites health problems as his reason for stepping down. The Itasca County Board authorized a vacancy, instructing the county auditor to prepare a special election. Details on… Read More →

MN Power’s natural gas plant shows changing industry

Last week, Minnesota Power announced it would build a new natural gas power plant in Superior with Wisconsin-based Dairyland Power Cooperative as a partner. From a Brooks Johnson story in the Duluth News Tribune: “It’s really about giving customers affordable, reliable, less carbon-intensive energy,” Julie Pierce, Minnesota Power vice president of strategy and planning, told the… Read More →

Silicon Energy gone, new company moves in

Another vaunted Iron Range economic development project has quietly fizzled out. The Duluth News Tribune reported last week that Silicon Energy, a producer of solar panels, finally pulled out of its taxpayer-subsidized plant in Mt. Iron. This doesn’t come as a big surprise. Iron Range leaders have long murmured about the starts and stops of… Read More →

Leah Phifer explores DFL challenge to Nolan in MN-8

Rick Nolan might have ended his exploration of a gubernatorial run, but he returns to his Eighth District congressional race to find some intrigue. Leah Phifer, a FBI counterterrorism analyst from Isanti, announced Friday she would explore a run for the DFL nomination in MN-8. She’s making her decision in a unique way: a motorcycle tour… Read More →