Iron Range readies for state’s tallest bridge

I’ve been covering the progress of the massive rerouting of Highways 53 and 135 on the east-central Mesabi Iron Range in Northern Minnesota. Though I’ve questioned the routing and expense of this quarter-billion dollar project, the massive 1,100-foot high bridge on Highway 53 now nears completion. And no matter your opinion, it’s a marvel. Officials… 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 →

Cliffs now producing ‘mustang’ flux pellets at Eveleth

After nine months of winter construction, today Cliffs Natural Resources started its new “mustang” pellet line at United Taconite in Eveleth. The $75 million investment will produce special order flux pellets. The “mustang” pellet is a iron ore product specially formulated for a particular method of making steel. It’s more like a traditional taconite pellet than higher… Read More →

IRRRB reform divides Iron Range delegation

The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board would see its governance structure change under new reforms currently attached to House Republican legislation. The board, comprised of legislators from the Taconite Tax Relief Area, now oversees IRRRB spending of taconite tax revenue. This is money paid by iron mines in lieu of local property taxes. The… Read More →

Government in the bag

At age 10, I controlled the government. It all started with a knock on the door of our trailer house. We lived on the family junkyard along County Highway 7, a couple miles south of Eveleth Taconite in the Sax-Zim bog. Such knocks came rare and usually involved directing toothless men back to the shop… Read More →

Power plays go beyond hockey on the Mesabi Iron Range

This week the state hockey tournament takes place in St. Paul. This sporting spectacle doubles as a cultural celebration for the people of the North Star State. Once, the whole state bowed to the gods of hockey from our beloved blue collar Mesabi Iron Range. Today, however, the big suburban schools dominate the competition. The… Read More →

Layman, Bakk IRRRB reform bills get closer

Following up on my post earlier this week, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board met this week in St. Paul. Also this week, two Iron Range legislators, one Republican and one DFLer, moved toward each other with bills to reform the agency. In a contentious 5-4 vote, the board endorsed a plan to privatize Giant’s… Read More →

With slim 5-4 DFL majority, new look IRRRB to talk big issues Tuesday

The newly reorganized Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) will meet for the first time this year on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at the Minnesota Senate Building in St. Paul. What looms on the docket? No less than the future of the agency’s role in regional economic development and the Giant’s Ridge Ski Resort. The nine-person board… Read More →

New Highway 53 bridge on track for 2017 opening

Construction continues on the new Highways 53 and 135 bridges between Eveleth and Virginia. Drone cameras continue to document the process, giving us all a clear picture of the progress. When complete, the Highway 53 bridge will become the tallest bridge in Minnesota. The entire project is expected to cost $240 million. Thus, this easily represents… Read More →

Cliffs boasts big earnings, state support in Essar battle

Last week, Cliffs Natural Resources CEO Lourenco Goncalves announced that his company posted a $199 million profit in 2016. That reflects a positive swing of almost $1 billion from the dismal 2015 downturn of the American steel industry. It’s also basic math, as Cliffs finally has all its Minnesota mines up and running, filling orders… Read More →