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 →

Power poles like fingers to the sky

They’re putting in new power poles along the county highway near our dirt road in Balsam Township. The old poles, faded grey, lean askew like the bright orange temporary fence that tries and fails to prevent people taking a short cut to the portable toilets at a tractor show. The new poles lay alongside the… Read More →

MinnesotaBrown’s Top Posts of 2016

Goodbye, 2016. Hello, 2017. As we mark this turn of the calendar page, let’s look back at the year that was at This year I celebrated 10 years of blogging at Fifteen years of writing a column in the Hibbing Daily Tribune. Twenty years of work in Iron Range media, dating back to… Read More →

They say snow; it ain’t gonna snow hard

[One half of a composite of several recent conversations] They say it’s gonna snow hard. It ain’t gonna snow hard. You know how I know? The deer ain’t movin.’ Them deer know when a blizzard is comin.’ You see ‘em movin’ all over hell an’ back. It ain’t gonna snow hard. You remember that guy… Read More →

Celebrating 10 years at MinnesotaBrown

Polls just opened here amid the pine forests of Northern Minnesota and across the whole technicolor landscape of the United States of America. In this pause before the flurry of tonight’s election results, let me remark on 10 years of blogging. It was on this day in 2006, the day after the election, that I started posting original… Read More →

Top 5 races to watch in Northern Minnesota

Election Day 2016 arrives tomorrow. As in, within 24 hours of this post. It’s really going to happen. It’s really going to be over. You’ve got a lot of places to read speculation on the presidential race, but only one place to read speculation on Northern Minnesota’s closest down-ballot races. I’d love to diagram every seat… Read More →

Hunting for the heart of Northern MN

The firearms deer hunting season in Minnesota opens Saturday morning, kicking off a venerated November tradition in Northern Minnesota. This year’s season runs Nov. 5-20. How firmly entrenched is Minnesota’s deer hunting tradition? Behold this e-mail sent out to parents in my son’s 6th Grade class this morning: Attention Deer Hunters! If you are so fortunate to bag a deer… Read More →

The quarterlife crisis of the Information Age

Like most “kids these days” I keep my cell phone with me at all times. I post etherial tidbits to social media and turn to Google to find the lyrics to a song or the location of a restaurant. I’m writing this column in the “cloud.” Nevertheless, I’m conscious of the fact that I taught… Read More →

Northern MN co-op to further expand fiber network

As I pointed out in July, Paul Bunyan Communication continues working on its Central Itasca Fiber Project. In fact, this week they’ve been laying cable on the little dirt road that leads to MinnesotaBrown World Headquarters in Balsam Township. Readers know that I’ve long advocated for ubiquitous high speed internet as a means of economic diversification for… Read More →

Breaking Broadband: progress in rural Minnesota

  “If I were the hugging kind, I would hug you.” “OK, then.” I had clearly unnerved the surveyor on my township road, but I knew why he was there. He was mapping the route for new fiber optic cables near my home. You can see the little flags all over the Itasca County countryside…. Read More →