Talking Gus Hall at FinnFest

I’ll be leaning harder than ever on my 1/4 quotient of Finnish blood as I prepare to speak Sept. 21 at FinnFest in Minneapolis. Here’s how this sort of thing happens. You might recall that early last month I presented a talk about Gus Hall, the noted American communist leader who was born and raised… Read More →

Survey to spur high speed internet across Iron Range

I have fiber optic internet service direct to my home in rural Itasca County. Why? Enough of my neighbors filled out a survey and kept pressure on local leaders to get our area added to broadband expansion projects by Paul Bunyan Communication. Residents of the east central Iron Range will now have the same opportunity…. Read More →

Minnesota bug clouds tripping radar balls?

Here in Northern Minnesota, the deer flies are always bad this time of year. They’re worse this year. Everybody’s talking about deer flies. And they may have even showed up on radar. But first, some thoughts about radar. Every day I pass by the Nashwauk Radar Ball, a mysterious white orb overlooking Highway 65 north… Read More →

The generational trials of an ‘Xennial’ life

Generational labels, such as baby boomer or millennial, can mislead. Nevertheless, they identify common experiences shared by people your age. Consider the living generations today. The “Greatest” generation grew up during the Depression. They fought WWII and the Korean War and wore high waisted pants and hats that I envy. The Baby Boomers, born 1945-1965,… Read More →

A college journalist and the last interview of Gus Hall

Last week, I was the keynote speaker for the June meeting of the Finnish Americans and Friends club in Hibbing. I wish I could say it was because they were super impressed with my 1/8 Finnish heritage. Alas, that was not so. Rather, they wanted to know about an interview I conducted when I was… Read More →

Unique arts camp at historic Mesaba Park near Hibbing

In 1929, Finnish immigrants founded Mesaba Park, a cooperative park located on Northstar Lake between Cherry Township and Hibbing. They sought to provide a safe meeting place for workers and a low-cost recreational facility for their families. It was unique then, and even more so today having survived the decline of the cooperative movement elsewhere. The… Read More →

For peat’s sake: making the most of the moist

I grew up in the Sax-Zim peat bog in Northern Minnesota. This glorious 300 square mile swamp provides bountiful food and breeding ground for migratory birds the world over. It was also the site of my family’s ill-fated junkyard where, so far as I knew, all water swirled in rainbow hues. Growing up in a… Read More →

Government in the bag

At age 10, I controlled the government. It all started with a knock on the door of our trailer house. We lived on the family junkyard along County Highway 7, a couple miles south of Eveleth Taconite in the Sax-Zim bog. Such knocks came rare and usually involved directing toothless men back to the shop… Read More →

Oracle of Sax-Zim Bog warns of 2017 dangers

The beaver wears a pinstriped suit. That’s how I know things have changed in the swamp. This year’s visit to the Oracle of the Sax-Zim Bog will be unlike any before. Until now, my New Year’s journey to the Oracle had wound through the frozen marsh like the familiar bends of Stony Creek. The Oracle’s… Read More →

LIVE BLOG: Primary Night on the Iron Range

Welcome to the Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016 MinnesotaBrown primary election live blog. Your intrepid host Aaron Brown will provide analysis of Iron Range results throughout the evening. We’ll pay close attention to the House 6A DFL contest and St. Louis County commissioner races. 11:00: There will be more to write in coming days, but we can… Read More →