Five NE Minnesota colleges move toward merger

On Wednesday, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees approved plans to merge five community and technical colleges in Northeastern Minnesota. After a two-year planning period the board will vote again on whether to go through with it. The new college organization, if approved, would be in operation by Fall 2022. These five… Read More →

There was a peaceful school called Rock Ridge

Tonight the Eveleth-Gilbert Golden Bears and Virginia-Mountain Iron-Buhl Blue Devils renewed their storied Iron Range high school hockey rivalry. But this game was less about the final score (Bears won 4-1) than about the announcement made on the ice between periods. Last year, voters from both school districts authorized the building of a new shared… Read More →

Hey Jenna Fischer, here are specific things to know about the Iron Range

As you may have noticed I’ve been blogging less to focus on my new book. So I wasn’t able to click-grab news about “The Office” star Jenna Fischer coming to the Iron Range to film a new hockey movie next month. That’s a shame. One of the most popular posts I’ve ever published was when… Read More →

Cleveland Cliffs acquires AK Steel

Iron ore producer Cleveland Cliffs acquired AK Steel in a deal announced today. It’s a seismic transaction that could have long-term implications for the Mesabi Iron Range. Cliffs will use its stock to buy $1.1 billion worth of AK Steel stock, assuming about 68 percent ownership of the Ohio-based company. Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves will… Read More →

Emblematic of his era, Iron Range lawmaker Joe Begich dies

I met Joe Begich in the late 1990s, five years after he had retired from the state legislature. He was a senior statesman of sorts, an uncle at the Iron Range DFL reunion who could offer either useful context or long-winded tangents. Begich was, of course, a dedicated laborite and fierce Iron Range advocate. He… Read More →

Employment outlook improves for Minnesota teens

My first job interview took place on a barstool in Eveleth. I was 16, in fresh possession of a drivers license and itching to make some money. The classified ad read “Pizza Delivery Driver.” I called the number and within hours was sitting next to the owner at his bar watching him taste-test the beer… Read More →

Monumental school vote approaches in Virginia, Eveleth-Gilbert districts

This Tuesday, May 14, voters in the Virginia and Eveleth-Gilbert school districts will vote in a school bond referendum. The result will shape the future of these communities and, quite possibly, the entire educational strategy of the Mesabi Iron Range. If that sounds like I’m laying it on a bit thick, consider the following: If… Read More →

Radinovich to resign from Iron Range Resources post after hiring controversy

Joe Radinovich will resign his high-level post with the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation after last week’s report detailing irregularities in the hiring process. Radinovich is a former state representative from Crosby. He was the 2018 8th District DFL Congressional nominee. He previously served at the IRRRB as a politically-appointed Assistant Commissioner…. Read More →

Report details irregularities in IRRRB hiring of former Congressional candidate

A recent investigative news story highlights the unusual way in which former State Rep. and recent Congressional candidate Joe Radinovich was appointed to a high level permanent job at the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation. Marshall Helmberger of the Tower Timberjay published the report Wednesday. The story quickly spread to media outlets… Read More →

10-week sprint to special election for Iron Range school plan

On May 14, voters in Virginia, Eveleth and Gilbert will decide whether a new $181 million shared high school plan becomes reality.