Slide on up to Aurora for Saturday’s show!

In a short time I’ll be making my way across the Mesabi Iron Range to Aurora and Palo as I prepare for this Saturday’s Great Northern Radio Show. If you’d like to see the show live, perhaps after a day of Laskiainen fun in Palo, you need to be seated at the auditorium in Aurora… Read More →

Laskiainen 2016: the flax and the furious

(The complete Laskiainen schedule is at the bottom of this post) The winter doldrums of Northern Minnesota now roll over us with workmanlike routine. Don hats and gloves. Scrape the windshield. Warm up the car. Walk like a penguin. Repeat. Perhaps small comfort, but true the same, is how for millennia these same cold squalls… Read More →

Great Northern Radio Show coming to Aurora

I’m excited to announce that my next Great Northern Radio Show will broadcast live from the Mesabi East High School auditorium in Aurora, Minnesota, on Saturday, Feb. 6. A good Iron Range Finn would know the significance of that place and date: This will be our Laskiainen Show. Laskiainen is the Finnish Sliding Festival held the… Read More →

Paper shows PolyMet runoff could reach BWCA after all

While the proposed nonferrous Polymet mining project near Hoyt Lakes nears the end of its environmental review process, questions remain about the speed with which it could receive permits. One of the most fascinating developments I’ve seen recently is this Marshall Helmberger story in last week’s edition of the Tower Timberjay. According to a June 18,… Read More →

Aurora hit by loss of drug store

Aurora isn’t a very big town, but it’s a sweet little place on the eastern Mesabi Iron Range. It was among the towns most brutally hit by the closure of LTV Steel 14 years ago. While Aurora has carried on since it has also seen the gradual decay of its economy and population, as have most Iron Range… Read More →

What’s ahead for the Great Northern Radio Show

Since October 2011 I’ve produced, written and hosted a radio variety program called the Great Northern Radio Show on Northern Community Radio based in Grand Rapids and Bemidji, Minnesota. We’ve been fortunate enough to air on independent public stations around the state and even on the cable access channel in the Northeast suburbs of the Twin… Read More →

Northern Lights Music Festival brings classics back to Range

The Northern Lights Music Festival is returning to the Iron Range this summer with its annual classical music and opera tour across the region. Last summer, I spoke with Veda Zupancic, the accomplished musician and director from Aurora who founded the event. This year, the Northern Lights festival kicks off today and includes events that run through July 20…. Read More →

Range business, gov’t leaders call for summit

In Sunday’s paper, the Mesabi Daily News published a story about the fact that Minnesota Power (Allete) executive Al Hodnick, former State Sen. Doug Johnson and IRRRB Commissioner Mark Phillips were joining to call for an Iron Range economic summit. From the Bill Hanna story: Hodnik wants an Iron Range economic summit soon to provide… Read More →

Laskiainen Finnish Sliding Festival in Palo this weekend

This is an older post about Laskiainen. Click here for the 2016 information. This weekend, Feb. 7-8, the 78th Annual Laskiainen Finnish Sliding Festival will be held near the Loon Lake Community Center in downtown Palo, Minnesota. This annual Iron Range winter tradition originated with Finnish immigrants who settled places like Palo after they were… Read More →

Bringing aria to area: Northern Lights fest illuminates Range

Iron Range residents are often presented a simplified interpretation of the past: many of our ancestors came from overseas to mine the ore that built a nation. What is often missed in this description is why. Save for a handful of Cornish mining jacks, these men didn’t come here because they liked to mine heavy… Read More →