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 →

Iron Range Fourth of July 2016

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 2016 Iron Range Fourth of July listing for parades, fireworks displays and street… Read More →

Radinovich to lead Nolan’s campaign

Last week, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN8) announced that former State Rep. and IRRRB assistant commissioner Joe Radinovich would helm his re-election campaign in 2016. This move has been in the works for some time, but the announcement was held until Radinovich had made official his departure from an administrative position at the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation… Read More →

Blazing trails to sustainable Iron Range economy

To quote a line from William Blake, “Expect poison from the standing water.” True of water. True of spirit. True of Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range. The kind of poison I’m talking about comes from hopelessness. Our Iron Range economy has suffered in recent months, years and decades. We have watched young people leave, and worse… Read More →

Biking the red dirt trails of Cuyuna for The Daily Yonder

Today is the day my big story about the Cuyuna Range is live on The Daily Yonder, a fantastic national publication dedicated to rural people and rural issues. The story is entitled “Pedaling New Hope for an Old Mining Town” and features a wide array of pictures, interviews and perspectives about a set of small… Read More →

Responding to the Cuyuna call

For months now, Aaron Hautala of the Cuyuna Cycle Crew down by Crosby and Ironton had been trying to get me to do a story on the changes related to their efforts to attract outdoor recreational visitors to these old iron mining towns. From mountain bikes to Yurts, paddle boards to SCUBA divers, the place has a… Read More →

Northern Lights Music Festival brings classics back to Range

The Northern Lights Music Festival is returning to the Iron Range this summer with its annual classical music and opera tour across the region. Last summer, I spoke with Veda Zupancic, the accomplished musician and director from Aurora who founded the event. This year, the Northern Lights festival kicks off today and includes events that run through July 20…. Read More →

Cuyuna cycling group sets goal of ‘3 days of riding’

We’ve written before about the Cuyuna Iron Range’s tremendous success rebranding itself for fat tire mountain biking instead of just as a “former mining region.” Late last week, the Cuyuna Bike Crew — the organization created to organize and advocate for mountain bikers and trails — announced its comprehensive plan. While the plan is replete… Read More →