DeNucci, Venema advance in Itasca Co. primary

Ben DeNucci and Casey Venema advanced from a low-turnout Nov. 3 primary election to the Dec. 12 special election for the open District 5 Itasca County Board seat. DeNucci, the mayor of Nashwauk, won 757 votes to 449 for Venema, a Lawrence Township supervisor. Roger Weber of Nashwauk Township finished with 142 votes. The story… Read More →

Tuesday special election for Itasca County board

This Tuesday, Oct. 3, voters will select from three candidates in the District 5 Itasca County board primary election. The top two will advance to a Dec. 12 general election in the race to replace Commissioner Mark Mandich, who resigned due to health issues earlier this year. The Scenic Range News Forum previewed the race… Read More →

Moving mountains for an Iron Range future

Soon the Hull Rust Mine View in historic North Hibbing will be closed for good, set to reopen next year at a new location to the east. Shortly thereafter Hibbing Taconite will blow to bits the very mountain of taconite on which the viewing stand sits to send the iron ore on its way to… Read More →

West Range Itasca County race takes shape

Last week I reported a vacancy on the Itasca County Board after Mark Mandich resigned his District 5 seat on the western Mesabi Iron Range. Two candidates emerged over the past few days. Ben DeNucci Nashwauk Mayor Ben DeNucci said he was running for the Itasca County Board. DeNucci owns a bar in Nashwauk and… Read More →

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 →

Mining for Dinosaurs

For decades, Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range has labored under the belief that most of our fossils were walking around above ground, not buried below. Now scientists exploring a state park on the western Mesabi seek to turn this notion on its head. Most Iron Rangers know the Hill Annex Mine State Park in Calumet as… Read More →

Essar ramps up Nashwauk construction

Construction is accelerating at the long awaited $1.9 billion Essar iron mine near Nashwauk, while Essar now says it’s optimistic about producing direct reduced iron products here. In a tour of the site on May 21 with Mitch Brunfelt, Essar’s assistant general counsel and director of government and public relations, I took pictures and observed… 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 →

Scenic Range NewsForum expands web presence

The Scenic Range NewsForum on the western Mesabi Iron Range recently launched its new website, a mobile-optimized site that tosses aside its clunky PDF reader-style predecessor. Along with this comes news that the Scenic snatched the low bid for becoming Itasca County’s newspaper of record, leaving the Grand Rapids Herald-Review to this painfully defensive story. As… Read More →

Range town mergers could protect jobs, services

One of the under-reported outcomes of last Tuesday’s off-year local elections was the overwhelming vote by the northern Minnesota communities of Carlton and Thomson to merge. In local media, this was portrayed as the simple matter of tiny Thomson’s overworked mayor and staff. In practice, however, these towns are providing a blueprint for many small… Read More →