Itasca County shark? A mystery unsolved

Itasca County boasts plenty of critters that could eat you. Bears. Mosquitos. Turkey buzzards. But until now no one’s ever worried about a shark. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported May 17 about a father and son duo who fished a tiger shark jaw out of the Mississippi River near Grand Rapids. Tiger sharks can only survive… Read More →

Officials push new rails on the Iron Range to cut transport costs

Say, ladies and gents, the brass says someday an iron horse might reach across the whole Mesabi Iron Range. Ain’t that a corker! Wait until Mr. James J. Hill hears about this. Slang from the 1880s aside, local officials and elected leaders — at the behest of companies like Minnesota Power — are pushing for more… Read More →

To build Iron Range economic hopes we must keep working


The steam cloud pouring out of the stack at Keewatin Taconite once again guides my daily commute from the wilds of Itasca County into Hibbing. For nearly two years, the eastern sky bore only the unforgiving blaze of the sun. Now fluffy white billows remind that hundreds of miners are back at work. Unfortunately, KeeTac’s… Read More →

‘The Ballad of Newton Badger’ and the spark of community potential

Every semester I ask my Iron Range college students to identify a “community problem” and then argue for a solution to that problem. In recent years, without fail, the most common problem identified is “nothing for young people to do on the Iron Range.” The solutions, of course, all include some variant on “here’s something… Read More →

‘Flowetry in Motion’ for 2017 MN State All Hockey Hair Team

Northern Minnesota continues to celebrate the exciting conclusion to the Minnesota State High School Boys Hockey Tournament. For the first time since 1998, two northern teams won the Class A and Class AA championships, respectively. But the real fun is only getting started. After the tournament, Game On! Minnesota released its 2017 Minnesota State High… Read More →

‘All-218’ final for state high school boys hockey title

UPDATE: Hail, Hail the 218! Grand Rapids and Hermantown win the AA and A championships, respectively! The sun rises on a hockey holiday in the state of Minnesota. The class A and AA championship games take place today in St. Paul. Thrilling many here, no doubt, these showdowns feature three teams from our hardscrabble hockey-loving 218 area code… Read More →

Culver’s to open in Grand Rapids, MN

A new Culver’s restaurant will open this year in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The restaurant recently posted a “crew member” job for a new location at 1175 Pokegama Ave. South. That address is found between the McDonald’s and Jimmy Johns locations near the former Kmart building. The headhunting site Johnson Jobs lists July 3 as the posting date,… Read More →

‘Brew World Order’ in Grand Rapids, Minn.

How many craft breweries does one small town in Northern Minnesota really need? Apparently two. Right now, Grand Rapids, like most towns found along the Mesabi Iron Range, has zero breweries. That is, of course, not counting the legions of people who make hooch tasting of liquid bread and Windex in their basements. But local brews… Read More →

ERP Iron Ore finalizes purchase of Magnetation

Bankrupt Magnetation is officially under new ownership. State of Virginia-based ERP Iron Ore finalized a purchase agreement of Magnetation according to ongoing bankruptcy proceedings. WDIO reported the story earlier today. Magnetation, based in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, is a scram mining and iron ore processing company. The company recycles iron ore from waste piles in Northern Minnesota and… Read More →

‘Dig Deep’ with new KAXE/KBXE podcast

Readers here at MinnesotaBrown.com might be interested in one of my new projects. Starting this week, Northern Community Radio will release a new podcast and radio feature called “Dig Deep.” It’s a one hour program featuring Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns fame and yours truly, produced by Heidi Holtan. “Dig Deep” is a monthly conversation… Read More →