Redhead Mountain Bike Park looks wild

The manufactured landscape of the Iron Range looks like nothing else. It’s a cyborg. Half natural, half unnatural. Steep cliffs made by shovels, trucks, and explosives overlook deep, clear lakes that are not lakes. They’re pits dug through generations, reclaimed by a water table that once existed underground. Nature always stands ready to reclaim what… Read More →

Why livability is key to Northern Minnesota strategy

The Iron Range, all of Northern Minnesota, and most of rural America share many problems, while maintaining some unique ones. Nevertheless, we could all make good use of one potential solution: We need people. Our small towns and rural institutions were built for a certain number of people. Not a ton of people, but a… Read More →

Final MN-8 forum tonight amid release of controversial Stauber e-mails

A district judge in Duluth ruled this morning that St. Louis County must release e-mail messages exchanged between Commissioner Pete Stauber and the National Republican Congressional Committee using Stauber’s government e-mail address. UPDATE: St. Louis County released the e-mails this afternoon. The State of Minnesota previously issued an opinion that the e-mails were public records…. Read More →

Remembering George Perpich, special era of Range politics

On Sept. 26, former Iron Range State Sen. George Perpich died at age 85 in an Arden Hills, Minn., care center. He had suffered from Parkinson’s Disease for the past several years. Perpich was one of four brothers, sons of poor Croatian immigrants in Hibbing’s Carson Lake location. Rudy, Tony, Joe and George all became… Read More →

Real hope for rural broadband on the Iron Range

Growing up I always lived just outside the towns of the Iron Range. Back roads. Cracked pavement and dirt roads. My family ran small businesses. Some lasted a while. Some not so much. Such is the nature of small business. The ‘80s were bad. They were for a lot of people. School changed my life…. Read More →

Northern Lights brings Barber of Seville to Iron Range

Each summer the Northern Lights Music Festival brings a fully staged classical opera to stages across Northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. This summer, festival founder Veda Zupancic and her company bring Rossini’s Italian comic opera “The Barber of Seville.” The festival also backs chamber orchestra, instrumental trios and kids programming across the region. Events kick off… Read More →

Summer 2018 brings color to Range communities

I drive through Nashwauk, Minnesota, most days. It’s a nice little town, but a little worn down. That’s not unusual for the cities of the western Mesabi Iron Range. These boom towns bloomed in a white pine wilderness a century ago, each at the mouth of a specific iron mine. Now that mining is more… Read More →

Iron Range downtown revitalization projects on tap

You can’t legislate beauty. But you can clean a place up and take some pride in your community. You can also deploy public art as a way to change attitudes and outlooks. That’s the logic behind a small but growing movement to revitalize Mesabi Iron Range communities. The IRRRB announced their 2018 Downtown and Business… Read More →

The horrible, solvable problem of hunger

A mother flees an abusive husband with her four children. She hasn’t worked in a long time and her parents live out of state. She’s leaving the shelter soon, but isn’t on her feet yet. An retired contractor wracked with a bad back can’t pick up jobs anymore. He is alone. One day he finds… Read More →

Shuster Rink wins historic men’s curling gold for U.S.

Redemption makes the best stories. The hardest thing in life is to be knocked down and come back better than before. It doesn’t matter if it’s navigating relationships, recovering from injury, overcoming failure, or sliding a 40-pound stone across the ice. The U.S. Men’s Curling team, led by Chisholm native John Shuster, won the gold… Read More →