Nolan to retire, but ‘political journey’ goes on

“Politics is not a destination, it’s a journey,” Congressman Rick Nolan told me this week. “It’s an American journey, and a beautiful one.” On Feb. 9, Nolan announced that his leg of that journey will end with his current term representing Minnesota’s Eighth District, creating a wide-open race in Northern Minnesota’s tumultuous political climate. I… Read More →

Arts shape our lives, our economy

When you hear the word “arts,” or especially its fancier cousin, “THE arts” we tend to think of snobs sniffing wine in front of a large drab painting. When I think about it, however, the word conjures a string of memories. Acting in my first play during 9th Grade at the Cherry School. The time… Read More →

Resiliency: the skill we all need to survive

Every living thing around us knows resilience. The snow-speckled maple out our window went dormant for the long cold winter, ready to release sap and resume life come spring. The chickadee stands on thin, nearly bloodless legs, all so these spritely little birds may flit among the branches no matter how cold the air. The… Read More →

America: self-made, but more

No U.S. president knew mining better than Herbert Hoover. The man made a generational fortune as a mining engineer using his remarkable ability to assess and improve the productivity of mines all over the world. Presidential historian Feather Schwartz Foster writes that Hoover bragged he could smell a successful mine the moment he entered it…. Read More →

Hate and power on the Iron Range

As the holiday commemorating the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. drew to a close last week, we were reminded that the hate he fought remains among us. In the Mesabi Iron Range city of Virginia, someone distributed flyers touting messages of white supremacy and racial resentment. The leaflets appeared in Britt… Read More →

Next generation ready for civility

Today’s high school students were born in the 21st Century. Like the millennials before them, they grow up with the internet. But not only that, smart phones, tablets and social media have been part of their lives for as long as they can remember. Anyone who communicates using social media knows the pros and the… Read More →

Oracle says future is mean in 2018

I dream of an old schoolhouse, a maze of stained oak trim and hardwood floors. Cavernous hallways and stairwells double back on themselves. I run the labyrinth. Not all footsteps are my own. I’m lost. Hissing bursts of steam punctuate a mechanized droning sound. I awaken in a small dark space. The dream ends, but… Read More →

Happy New Year from Central Standard Time

Happy New Year’s Eve from the Central Standard Time Zone! New Year’s Eve is a great time to party, even if the shiny ball already dropped in Manhattan an hour before the *real* New Year. Hey, big networks. Chicago. Houston. Kansas City. Minneapolis. These cities aren’t chopped liver. Why don’t they get a New Year’s… Read More →

Christmas Eve at ELF Power Unit 3

Name’s Earl. I’m an elf. Millwright up at ELF Power Unit 3. That’s the big one. If there’s one thing Santa needs to do his job, it’s a steady base load of about 250 megawatts. It swells some when they’re charging the new phones and tablets, but 250 will get you through the night. Listen,… Read More →

Should I stay or should I go: mobility and rural politics

When I was 18 I wanted to leave the Iron Range as badly as any of my classmates. Everything I wanted to do, the entirety of the life I wanted to live, could only be found elsewhere. In many parallel universes I surely did just that, now typing away at some suburban office or pouring… Read More →