Some questions matter more in mining debate

I follow sports. I like to watch baseball and football in particular. Some of my friends are far more into sports than I am. Others don’t care about sports at all. For the first group, I sometimes fall disappointingly short in conversation. I just can’t recall the same statistics and analysis to explain why the… Read More →

Science can solve mining risks, but only if we demand it

As a nerd who grew up on an Iron Range junkyard, I appreciate anything that combines groundbreaking science with homemade contraptions. That’s why I’m fascinated by a daisy chain of unobtrusive barrels floating in an old Erie Mining pit outside Babbitt, Minnesota. They may save our world. Jeff Hanson put them there. Hanson is an… 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 →

Iron Range parades, street dances and fireworks

As a young kid I marched in the Keewatin Fourth of July parade as a patriotic penguin, Donald Duck, and other flag-festooned creatures. As an older kid I remember piling into a car with my friends, touring Range towns for street dances and fireworks. Before cell phones we would often try to anticipate where we… Read More →

In Ely, canoe rides 26.2 miles on YOU

I’ve never run a marathon. Further, I’ve talked to enough runners to know that I’m a good year from being able to do so without requiring medical attention or adult diapers. And I’m fine with that. I don’t want to run a marathon. Nevertheless, I’m always intrigued by the psychology of those who do. In… Read More →

Ely maple sap spat may stop street taps

This year the city of Ely, Minnesota, forwent its traditional April Fools joke because Easter landed on the same day. Whether tourism officials wanted to avoid confusing the Resurrection with a practical joke or simply wanted to gorge themselves on deviled eggs, we’ll never know. But in keeping with the way of the world these… Read More →

North and South: St. Louis County debates split, again

The Associated Press reports that the St. Louis County Board is expected to oppose a proposal to divide into northern and southern counties. According to the story, board chair Keith Nelson won’t support the measure, saying it’s not keeping with the board’s mission. He is one of three Iron Range area board members. Four county board… Read More →

Enrollment decline poses new challenge to state colleges

Trying to read trends is difficult. You have to figure out what’s part of a normal cycle and what might be indicative of change. And then, if it is real change, you have to determine what’s causing the change. Is it inevitable or malleable? Are you causing it or is it something else? That’s the… Read More →

You could use a sauna right now

The Star Tribune’s Jenna Ross recently profiled the Ely Steam Sauna, a century-old public sauna in this Vermilion Iron Range city. It might seem counterintuitive for Minnesotans to go into a public steam room au natural. Or, for that matter, in the presence of those who most certainly are. We are known as a prudish lot. But… Read More →

In building community, every little bit adds up to a lot

A few weeks back, my son’s Boy Scout Troop in Grand Rapids helped build 25 wheelchair accessible picnic tables. The extra long table tops will adorn parks across Itasca County, everywhere from Nashwauk to Deer River, allowing people who use wheelchairs to easily join in a family meal. Henry and I built one picnic table… Read More →