Iron Range hope more vital than nostalgia

On the Mesabi Iron Range, our society rests upon the achievements of this region’s fading youth. We speak of our ancestors’ hungry demand for better working conditions and pay. We memorialize their desire to build schools and small towns to elevate humans from the morass. Yes, we call this history and print it on our… Read More →

Reina del Cid headlines July 6 concert in Chisholm

The Minnesota Discovery Center summer concert series continues Thursday, July 6, at 6 p.m. with Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter Reina del Cid and her band. This is one of my favorite Minnesota music acts. They’ve been on my Great Northern Radio Show twice, always a hit with the audience. Reina del Cid sings with a light, playful… 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 →

The Pines to play MN Discovery Center June 22

As I wrote earlier this year, I was excited to see the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm schedule a summer concert series featuring several excellent Minnesota bands. The series opens Thursday, June 22 with The Pines. The fantastic Keith Secola will also play. The show starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $9 for adults and… Read More →

2017 Northern Lights Music Festival to feature Tchaikovsky’s ‘Eugene Onegin’

The Northern Lights Music Festival will take place in Aurora and other Iron Range towns this July 2-23. The organization recently announced its lineup, including its featured opera production, Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin.” I wrote about the Northern Lights Music Festival in a 2014 column, exploring our region’s history as it relates to classical music: Every… Read More →

Talking Iron Range workforce challenges at ‘Policy & Pint’

I’ll be bringing the panel discussion lighting and regional analysis thunder to an event Thursday, May 18 at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm. The Citizens League, in partnership with MPR’s The Current, will be presenting “Policy and a Pint” from 6-8 p.m. You can get tickets now. (Now free, thanks to grant support). The event… Read More →

Officials push new rails on the Iron Range to cut transport costs

Say, ladies and gents, the brass says someday an iron horse might reach across the whole Mesabi Iron Range. Ain’t that a corker! Wait until Mr. James J. Hill hears about this. Slang from the 1880s aside, local officials and elected leaders — at the behest of companies like Minnesota Power — are pushing for more… Read More →

To build Iron Range economic hopes we must keep working


The steam cloud pouring out of the stack at Keewatin Taconite once again guides my daily commute from the wilds of Itasca County into Hibbing. For nearly two years, the eastern sky bore only the unforgiving blaze of the sun. Now fluffy white billows remind that hundreds of miners are back at work. Unfortunately, KeeTac’s… Read More →

Author to share novel about 1916 Mesabi strike at MDC

Author Megan Marsnik will read from her novel “Under Ground” and discuss its setting amid the Mesabi Range Strike of 1916 Thursday, Feb. 23, at 6 p.m. at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm. The Discovery Center currently features the exhibit “Enough! The 1916 Mesabi Range Strike.” This is an absolutely necessary viewing for anyone… Read More →

New state basketball award named for Bob McDonald

Three generations of Iron Range basketballers know well the legacy of former Chisholm coach Bob McDonald. The winningest coach in Minnesota State High School League history, McDonald led hundreds of boys on a journey that was one part basketball skill and one part character-building. Now, new generations will come to know the name Bob McDonald… Read More →