Mail voting safe, secure and simple

The first time I voted in a general election I was lying on a set of dorm room sheets that wouldn’t be washed until spring. Cigarette dangling from my lips, I marked my ballot for Jesse “The Body” Ventura as Minnesota’s next governor. Democracy prevailed. However you gauge the wisdom of my first ballot, it… Read More →

Sometimes it freezes in April

I walk every day, one of a few good habits that augment my shortcomings. Today, as I often do, I walked up the county road by my house toward the Prairie River. The river flooded its banks last week. It always does this time of year. I’ve seen it higher, but not by much. Acres… Read More →

New urgency for rural broadband

My family and I live down a long dirt road in rural Itasca County. Mud season reminds us of the challenges of rural life and the thin tendon joining our home to civilization. This world seems even farther away during the coronavirus pandemic sweeping our nation and the world, but it’s still there. We still… Read More →

Iron Range in isolation: talking COVID-19

Last week I appeared on KAXE with Heidi Holtan talking about the COVID-19 situation on the Mesabi Iron Range. Check it out. This was my first radio appearance since being sheltered in place with my family here in the woods of northern Minnesota. We make a couple trips to town each week for groceries and… Read More →

MinnesotaBrown’s Top Posts of 2019

We’re closing a momentous year and a momentous decade here at MinnesotaBrown. For most of you 2019 probably did not provide the most riveting year of material from yours truly. You saw 1-2 posts per week. Much less political coverage. Fewer posts about Northern Minnesota arts and culture. It would have appeared to you that… Read More →

When a boy becomes a snowman

One of the most obvious rules of parenting is not to put your baby in a snowbank. But what happens when your baby grows up to be a survivalist?

On cold times in cold places

We risk our bodies and minds to the effects of the deepest freeze of the year, a time when people sort themselves by coping language and poor decisions.

Oral history of this blog with notes

Earlier this week I appeared on the Duluth News Tribune Pressroom Podcast with co-hosts Christa Lawler and Brady Slater, produced by Samantha Erkkila. The podcast team and I had been trying for years to figure out when I’d be in Duluth on a weekday with time to spare. We finally found a moment after my appearance… Read More →

Northern Minnesota’s legislative linchpins

One of the prevailing trends during the Trump Administration is the ease with which we ignore other politicians or, really, political topics of any substance. For instance, two years ago I was the campaign manager for a DFL incumbent in a critical rural swing race in the Minnesota House of Representatives. We lost. Two years… Read More →

Further North: Back in the U. S. of A.

I’m back in the U.S.A. My family and I just returned from a week-long vacation in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We had a wonderful time in Canada. You know what’s on the news in Canada? Wildfires. Public policy (not politics … policy). Bears. Every day, the bears do something different. Sometimes they sneak into an old lady’s kitchen… Read More →