New project seeks the meaning of ‘Grace’ in Bovey

You’ve seen the photo. An elderly man bows his head in prayer before a modest meal of bread and oatmeal. A large Bible rests on the table, perhaps read after dinner. Eric Enstrom took this picture in Bovey, Minnesota, in 1918. The subject, a local peddler named Charles Wilden. Wilden was better known locally as… Read More →

Magnetation coming back, but Plant 1 in doubt

Like other Iron Range mining operations, Grand Rapids-based Magnetation was battered by the collapse in iron ore pricing and domestic steel demand last year. The homegrown Northern Minnesota company declared bankruptcy and lost ownership interest to a hedge fund amid financial restructuring. In 2014, Magnetation had four plants running, salvaging old mining waste from decades earlier and extracting… Read More →

On the Anzelc-Layman race in MN-5B

This week Republican Sandy Layman of Grand Rapids announced her candidacy for Minnesota House District 5B in Itasca and Cass counties. She will challenge incumbent State Rep. Tom Anzelc (DFL-Balsam Township), who last week announced his plans to seek a sixth term. Layman is the former commissioner of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board… Read More →

Golden opportunity for broadband on the Iron Range


Many people reading this have access to reliable high-speed internet access for less than $60 a month. You use this bountiful bandwidth to work from home, communicate with family, attend college, or help kids with homework. But for people who live in rural townships throughout the Iron Range this service isn’t available. They pay twice… Read More →

State to fund Itasca County rural broadband proposal

Company officials just announced that Paul Bunyan Communication received a nearly $2 million grant from Minnesota’s Border to Broadband program to bring high speed internet to underserved regions. Their proposal would connect 1,250 households in rural Itasca County to better, more affordable internet options than currently available. My friend Tom Anzelc, fellow Balsam Township resident… Read More →

Magnetation warns union of plant shutdown in 2016

Today, Magnetation announced it has warned its union that it will likely shut down one of its Iron Range iron concentrate plants on or after Jan. 31, 2016. Fifty More than 160 employees could be laid off or otherwise affected for longer than six months. Magnetation, based in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, is a scram mining operation on the… Read More →

Hockey’s iconic Hanson Brothers are ‘home’ on the Range

The Hanson Brothers — real life brothers and pro hockey veterans — are practically legend for anyone who follows hockey in Northern Minnesota. The cult classic “Slap Shot,” starring Paul Newman, cast Jeff, Steve and Jack Carlson to play themselves … along with Dave Hanson, an actor cast to replace Jack when he was called up… Read More →

Magnetation to reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Last week we reported the financial woes of Magnetation, the scram mining and iron ore processing company based on the western Mesabi Iron Range. Their partner and chief customer AK Steel declined to continue putting money into the company and Magnetation began working with financial advisors to keep the company afloat. Rumors were grim, to… Read More →

Ride a painted pony let the spinning wheel turn

I’ve been wresting with something. If you were a regional blogger with yet-unrealized ambitions for greatness living in the woods deep outside a decaying industrial frontier where whatever doesn’t fit in your mailbox has to be picked up at the post office in Bovey (which is one of the closest towns but still 17 miles… Read More →

Magnetation moves to drain pit for new mine

Lost in the din of bad news about Iron Range mines last week was this nugget: The scram mining operation Magnetation is a step closer to dewatering the Canisteo Pit near Bovey to begin mining untapped ore reserves underneath the adjacent Buckeye Pit. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is taking public comments on the project… Read More →