Car wash confidential

For me, one of the big realizations of summer is that my car is filthy. I don’t just mean dirty. No, I mean that I can grow potatoes in my undercarriage. I live at the end of a long dirt road in Itasca County, a place where the miles of dirt road exceed the number… 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 →

Top 10 Reasons to attend Great Northern Radio Show

Tomorrow, on June 17, my Great Northern Radio Show will broadcast live from the Reif Center in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. I wrote about the show a couple weeks ago. One of the reasons I developed such an interest in broadcasting and the variety show format was my early teenage love affair with late night shows. So, with… Read More →

Great Northern Radio Show cruises home to Grand Rapids

Lately, I’ve been thinking about Mr. Rogers. If you’ve never heard of him, or seen his groundbreaking children’s show, that’d be reasonable. It’s getting a little old now. But some of you might have seen the recording of his testimony defending federal funding of public broadcasting back in 1969. Others might have seen the viral story… Read More →

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 →