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 →

Rock and a hard place, change coming to the Iron Range

Some of life’s biggest myths are that 30 years is a long time, that today doesn’t matter, and that anything is permanent. Here on Northern Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range, the lessons of change that come from digging out the ground beneath our very feet have been hard learned. But what’s learned is so easily forgotten after those paltry 30 years…. Read More →

Report: Evidence of discrimination at Greenway school

Earlier this week I wrote a piece about the need for empathy amid racial discord on the Iron Range, mentioning the story of Isaiah Gatimu, a former Greenway student who faced racially-motivated harassment and later took his own life. The Scenic Range News Forum obtained a copy of the report from the Minnesota Department of… Read More →

A schoolhouse divided will not stand

Last week, the Nashwauk-Keewatin School Board voted to dissolve its shared services agreement with the Greenway School District on the western Mesabi Iron Range. Days later Greenway also backed away from most elements of the partnership. This marks the end of an experiment exposing many hard truths about the future of school and community collaboration on the Iron Range…. Read More →

Essar claims financing; Magnetation rolls pellets

It’s been a big week of economic news on the western Mesabi Iron Range. Late last week, Magnetation LLC, announced it was producing taconite pellets at its Indiana processing plant using iron ore concentrate recovered from Itasca County pits. “This first production marks another significant milestone in Magnetation’s history,” said Larry Lehtinen, CEO of Magnetation…. Read More →