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.

New Virginia/Eveleth-Gilbert high school plan gains major funding boost

Two rival Iron Range school districts will build a consolidated high school if voters approve a now greatly subsidized school levy. Last Friday, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board recommended to its state department a $100 million investment in a shared Virginia and Eveleth-Gilbert high school. Almost $5 million per year would space out over 20 years. 

Why livability is key to Northern Minnesota strategy

The Iron Range, all of Northern Minnesota, and most of rural America share many problems, while maintaining some unique ones. Nevertheless, we could all make good use of one potential solution: We need people. Our small towns and rural institutions were built for a certain number of people. Not a ton of people, but a… Read More →

Iron Range districts eye shared school, new model

Student desks form even rows on hardwood floors. A chalkboard at the front of the room frames the teacher’s heavy, spacious desk. Heavy vinyl maps roll down from the ceiling. Most of us recognize this picture as school. In fact, this scene so imprints our minds that decades later we still dream about it. It’s… Read More →

Drunk birds maintain Gilbert’s wet reputation

Some birds got drunk in Gilbert, Minnesota. They didn’t mean to. That’s not what they planned when they went out with their friends. But that’s what happened. And now their antics have reached the Washington Post. This isn’t the first time alcohol consumption has landed Minnesota’s Iron Range in the national press. Nor is it… 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 →

Highway 53 bridge opens this week

After a short delay from an optimistic August opening, the Minnesota Department of Transportation will open the new Highway 53 bridge this Friday, Sept. 15. This nearly quarter-billion dollar project reroutes Highways 53 and 135 on the east central Iron Range, creating the state’s new tallest bridge over the Rouchleau Pit outside Virginia, Minn. The… Read More →

Highway 53 bridge name contest down to final vote

Nearly complete, the Highways 53 and 135 rerouting project between the Mesabi Iron Range towns of Virginia, Eveleth and Gilbert will be Northern Minnesota’s largest, most expensive infrastructure project of our generation. The showpiece of the whole thing is a new Highway 53 bridge spanning the Rouchleau Pit outside Virginia. That bridge is almost done…. Read More →

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 →

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 →