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 →

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 →

Spring brings a new world on foot

And suddenly the road is clear enough to walk. A little mud but less than usual. Spring came late to Northern Minnesota, but like the prodigal son we welcome it into our hearts. Last month’s winter lamentations hang like deflated balloons in faraway trees. Fresh spruce fingers reach beyond last year’s grasp. Small dumb flies… Read More →

200 miles north of the Super Bowl

The fighter jets patrolling the skies above Super Bowl LII also maneuver above my home 200 miles north of Minneapolis. Roaring ghosts chasing the horizon. I think this is where they turn around or refuel. Safe. Remote. Nothing down here but trees, lakes and us. In this way living 200 miles from the Super Bowl… Read More →

Rural Broadband: An Oral History

If you get a chance, read “‘If it were easy it would have been done by now’: Why high-speed internet remains elusive for many in rural Minnesota” by Tim Gihring of MinnPost. It’s a good story about a topic we cover here at MinnesotaBrown, but it also includes an almost embarrassing amount of press for… Read More →

Ben DeNucci elected to Itasca County board

Voters elected Nashwauk Mayor Ben DeNucci as the next District 5 Itasca County Commissioner in a special election held today, Tuesday, Dec. 12. DeNucci carried 959 votes, or 58 percent, while his opponent  Lawrence Township Supervisor Casey Venema carried 691 voters, or  just shy of 42 percent. This according to a late night press release… Read More →

A journey through time, to town and back

Just before the 20th Century a trip into town from Balsam Township in east central Itasca County took two days at full speed. The winding journey required paddling a canoe down the Prairie River, crossing several portages depending on the time of year. I imagine one might camp at the midpoint somewhere near the modern… Read More →

The sky before snow

The first touch is warm. The heat of the incubator or mother’s arms. Tight swaddling keeps the heat in. The first sense. Touch. In the hours before the first snow falls, the sky warns of change to come. The sky reaches down to touch you. This embrace is cold. The cold air surrounds us today… Read More →