Recycling a limited solution in disposable society

The attendant at the dump extended a pair of Inspector Gadget tongs into the recycling bins to retrieve contraband. His sworn enemy is styrofoam. “If I could un-invent anything on earth it would be styrofoam,” he told me this month. He also told me that the rules would be changing. Itasca County now must pay… Read More →

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 →

2020 race for MN legislature will pivot on northern SD5

When Republicans took control of both houses of the Minnesota legislature in 2016 they made hay off the massive swing that took place in the fifth state senate district. This northern district, which includes parts of Itasca, Cass, Hubbard and Beltrami counties, was previously represented by a DFL senator and two DFL representatives. After 2016,… Read More →

Dig Deep Live at Reif Center Tuesday

This Tuesday, Dec. 10, I’ll be part of our Dig Deep podcast live Community Conversations broadcast from the Ives Theater at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Our topic is “Strong Towns,” in honor of my podcast partner Chuck Marohn’s new book of the same name. The event is at 7 p.m. and is… Read More →

Change in the air; evidence on the highway

Most days you can sit by the window of the Subway restaurant in Grand Rapids, Minn., and watch pieces of wind turbines inch their way through the intersection of Highways 2 and 169. It’s quite an operation. State Patrol officers block the road. The driver must time the turn perfectly or run the risk of… Read More →

Unlocking young minds to reach true potential

This time of year the men of my family gather around the big wood table up at the hunting shack to talk engines and tell stories. I do well with the stories, though I struggle with the engines. My father knows motors well enough to diagnose and repair any type of machine. He once explained… Read More →

Late but great, hear the most recent Great Northern Radio Show

I don’t know what it is about summer, but it always seems to delay the release of our Great Northern Radio Show online audio. At long last you can hear Sarah Morris, Thomas X, Katie and the Occasionals, the Great Northern Radio Players and yours truly in the show we broadcast June 22 at the… Read More →

Confessions of an assistant coach

The movie, “The Bad News Bears,” really set unreasonable expectations for under-qualified little league baseball coaches. For one thing, letting the children smoke and drink beer is even more taboo now than it was in 1976. For another, teaching children how to do anything requires extraordinary patience. Teaching them to lean into a pitch that,… Read More →

Tune in for Dig Deep live call-in show

The Northern Community Radio political podcast “Dig Deep” will hold a live broadcast call in show Monday morning at 8:10. The podcast features Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns and myself. Heidi Holtan produces the show. Chuck represents the conservative perspective while I represent the liberal point of view. That said, our show is less about… Read More →

Great Northern Radio Show returns to Reif Center in Grand Rapids June 22

You might have noticed it’s been quiet at the blog these days. Regular readers can probably guess why. I’m busy with the book (more on that to come) and the radio show. Today I announce the next Great Northern Radio Show. I produce this live variety program for Northern Community Radio. The show will happen… Read More →