German TV station explores Bob Dylan’s Hibbing roots

Last fall the German/French art network ARTE-TV visited Hibbing, Minnesota, as part of a “Bob Dylan’s America” series exploring the roots of the erstwhile Robert Zimmerman, Hibbing Class of 1959. Host Wolfgang Niedecken interviewed me for local color up at the former Hull Rust Mahoning Mine View in North Hibbing. You can view the episode… Read More →

Summer 2018 brings color to Range communities

I drive through Nashwauk, Minnesota, most days. It’s a nice little town, but a little worn down. That’s not unusual for the cities of the western Mesabi Iron Range. These boom towns bloomed in a white pine wilderness a century ago, each at the mouth of a specific iron mine. Now that mining is more… Read More →

History echoes through Iron Range politics

In 1887, the Merritt Brothers and a crew led by Capt. J.A. Nichols discovered rich hematite ore under 14 feet of mud near the future townsite of Mountain Iron. After three years of wading through stinking mosquito swamps, alternating with hellish winter conditions, these men turned hope of discovering the Mesabi Range into reality. Almost… Read More →

Hibbing Tourist Senior Center deserves a break

In Austin, Minnesota, Hormel operates the world-famous SPAM Museum. Like Hibbing’s Hull Rust Mine View, there is no admission. They’re actually on their third museum, expanding in 2001 and again just two years ago. I’ve been there. If you want to know how random pork squeezings get turned into nebulous canned meat, they’ll tell you…. Read More →

Remembering my old neighbor Jack Lynch

During my blogging hiatus last week I received word that my old neighbor Jack Lynch passed away May 16 at the age of 83. Jack was a longtime reporter and editor for the Hibbing Daily Tribune, technically retired but still a fixture in the newspaper. Kelly Grinnsteiner, editor of the Tribune, wrote a lovely story about… Read More →

The dislocated workers we choose to ignore

NEWS FLASH: Officials today announced the shutdown of a major taconite mine on the Mesabi Iron Range. More than 700 workers will lose their jobs in the midst of an uncertain future for their industry. Here on the Iron Range, stories like this get our attention. We’ve been through them before. Everyone knows what to… Read More →

Duluth, Hibbing ready for 2018 Dylan celebrations

This May 24, Bob Dylan turns 77. His twin hometowns of Duluth and Hibbing, Minnesota, prepare to celebrate with live music, tours and cultural activities. From May 19-27, the Duluth Dylan Festival brings something for fans of Dylan and the arts every day. The Hibbing Dylan Project also offers activities on May 19. Some of… Read More →

Notable Iron Range mutant making whiskey now

In so many ways, Bob Dylan is a Northern Minnesota mutant. And I say that with respect, in the evolutionary sense. Born in Duluth, raised on the Mesabi Iron Range, Dylan shot out of this place like a rocket almost 60 years ago. You know the rest. Dylan might never be like the kids he… Read More →

Busting trusts in the 21st Century

When Hibbing mayor Victor Power took the stage at a Minneapolis Labor Day rally in 1915, he lambasted the powerful steel trust for its abuses of working people. Every person in the sprawling crowd knew he was talking about U.S. Steel. Then the world’s largest corporation, the massive reach of U.S. Steel controlled the wages… Read More →

Tooth in Advertising: program attracts dentists to Range

I’ve got decent insurance now, so my three kids could go to the dentist starting at an early age. That wasn’t the case for my parents. But when it came time for my boys to go to the dentist, we still had a hard time getting them in. My lifelong dentist wasn’t accepting new patients,… Read More →