Rise of the rural recreation economy

Here’s an idea. Go outside. That’s a good idea for anyone on a personal level. But going outside increasingly forms a rural economic recovery plan, too. On Sunday, I wrote about the challenges of a changing economy. In particular, the retail sector is shedding jobs amid consumer trends. This has an outsized impact on rural… Read More →

Joe Radinovich enters DFL race for Congress

Former State Rep. Joe Radinovich of Crosby announced today he would seek the DFL nomination for Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District. Northeastern Minnesota is who I am, where I’m from, and what I’ll always fight for. I’ve spent my life fighting for working families, whether it be organizing for workers’ rights, promoting economic investment in northeastern… Read More →

On the Cuyuna Range, the culmination of a plan

Last fall I had to go to Brainerd for a speaking engagement. My fellow presenter and I were chatting on the way down. We decided it might be fun to drive through Crosby and Ironton instead of bypassing them the way many motorists have for decades. Why? Well, there’s stuff going on in Crosby now…. Read More →

‘Holy’ Miles Lord echoes through Minnesota history

To some, judges are supposed to stay hidden in the chambers of Minnesota law, better forgotten than seen or heard. But we learn about one judge who relished the spotlight and used it well in “Miles Lord: The Maverick Judge Who Brought Corporate America to Justice.” This new book from the University of Minnesota Press comes… 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 →

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 →

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 →