Vlad vs. Donald in Nevis Pig Races

UPDATE: Pig race results below. Last year, I highlighted the annual Nevis Pig Races in an essay previewing the 2016 election. In that race, a pig named Donald raced against a pig named Hillary to “settle” the ongoing political squabbling. No such luck. The race ended in a tie, so no one was satisfied. Then… Read More →

Iron Range Fourth of July 2017

It’s time for another Iron Range Fourth of July in Northern Minnesota. Regardless of economic or political winds, the region always unites for its uniquely exuberant observation of Independence Day, which lasts several days (up to a month) as celebrated in local custom. Below is MinnesotaBrown’s 2017 Iron Range Fourth of July listing for parades, fireworks displays and street… Read More →

Nisswa night cops ‘rick-roll’ themselves

I used to work as an overnight disc jockey. I was also the editor of an afternoon newspaper. That meant that my day started before the end of what would normally be the “night shift” at the cop shop downtown. A strange feeling overtakes you as you realize that most people you know are sleeping, but… Read More →

Rural broadband grants reach far, but little in St. Louis Co.

This morning, the state of Minnesota unveiled its list of projects funded under the Border-to-Border Broadband rural internet expansion program. The grants total more than $34 million and will fund 42 projects throughout the state. Several Northern Minnesota projects made the list. Paul Bunyan Communication will continue its expansion in Itasca County, including new territory in Harris Township… 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 →

Milford Mine now a regional park

In 1924, the Milford Mine near the Cuyuna Iron Range town of Crosby, Minnesota, was the site of the worst mining disaster in state history. Forty-one miners died when a lake flooded the underground mine. I’ve written about the story before, and we explored the history in the Crosby edition of my Great Northern Radio… Read More →

Only time knows ‘truth’ of Great River

With more than 1,000 lakes and many rivers, Itasca remains one of Minnesota’s most watery counties. And like the old adage goes, “whiskey is for drinking, but water is for starting wars.” The word “Itasca” comes from the inner syllables of the Latin words “Veritas” and “Caput,” meaning “Truth” and “Head” of the Mississippi River…. Read More →

What makes Minnesota alligators different?

Passers-by found a baby alligator along a bike train near Brainerd earlier this week. A reptile handler from a nearby wildlife center retrieved the creature, the aftermath of which you can see in this YouTube video: Authorities believe it was either someone’s pet that escaped or was released illegally. It’s safe to say that alligators will… Read More →

Competitive 2016 races set in Northern MN

The filing period for federal, state and many local races closed Tuesday, May 31. Here in Northern Minnesota some interesting races have emerged alongside many sleepy contests. Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District No surprises here. Incumbent U.S. Rep Rick Nolan, a Democratic-Farmer-Laborite from Crosby faces challenger Stewart Mills, a Nisswa Republican. The only news from filing is that there… Read More →

Remer, MN: ‘Home of Bigfoot’

I have a nagging question about Sasquatch. If this giant ape-man of the northern boreal forests is real, where is he in the oral tradition of native peoples? Wouldn’t Sasquatch be all over those stories? It stands to reason that Sasquatch creatures would have been more plentiful and less inhibited in the days before industrialization, right?… Read More →