Unique arts camp at historic Mesaba Park near Hibbing

In 1929, Finnish immigrants founded Mesaba Park, a cooperative park located on Northstar Lake between Cherry Township and Hibbing. They sought to provide a safe meeting place for workers and a low-cost recreational facility for their families. It was unique then, and even more so today having survived the decline of the cooperative movement elsewhere. The… Read More →

Hibbing native: save the world, eat bugs

If we’re being honest, we’ve all eaten a bug at one time or another. I’ve dined on a few pedaling my bike across the back roads of Northern Minnesota. And never mind how many crawl into our mouths at night without us knowing. Yet not many of us eat insects on purpose. Our parents told us… Read More →

Dylan Fest 2017 honors Northern MN’s own Bob Dylan

Every May, Bob Dylan’s shared hometowns of Duluth, where he was born, and Hibbing, where he grew up, celebrate music, poetry and culture in his honor. This year, Dylan is fresh off his Nobel Prize for Literature. And while the former Bobby Zimmerman isn’t expected to appear at this year’s festivities, a full lineup of… Read More →

The heat seeking missile of generational change

This week I’ll be taking part in Policy and a Pint, a discussion series sponsored by the Citizen’s League and MPR’s The Current. The event, titled “Talent Within the Range,” runs from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm. (Tickets are free; sign up here). In honor of the occasion, I’ll be visiting… Read More →

U.S. Steel CEO Longhi to retire; Burritt takes over

One of the Mesabi Iron Range’s largest mining companies will be under new leadership next month. Mario Longhi, CEO of U.S. Steel, will retire June 1. Company chief operations officer David Burritt will take the helm. U.S. Steel is an integrated steelmaker, meaning that the company mines its own ores, produces steel in blast furnaces, and finishes… Read More →

‘Colleges create hope for northern Minnesota’

This Sunday I had an op-ed in the Duluth News Tribune. The topic: the state higher education funding bill being debated right now in St. Paul. The headline: “Colleges create hope for northern Minnesota.’ After going through the role higher education played in Northern Minnesota history, I look at the advantages of investing in higher education… Read More →

The good ship Taconite, flagship of empire built on Mesabi Range profits

For just shy of $1.3 million you could be the owner of yacht currently docked near Vancouver, British Colombia. Made of virgin teak, this century-old wooden pleasure ship has been on the market a couple years. Apparently, today’s oligarch-on-the-go simply doesn’t have the time to maintain such an antique. I can distinctly recall my father’s frustration trying to restore… Read More →

City steps in to rescue Hibbing street dance

The Hibbing Daily Tribune reports that the city of Hibbing will step in to save the Jubilee Street Dance held each June in this Mesabi Iron Range town. The Hibbing Area Chamber of Commerce had previously announced it would no longer organize the event due to logistical challenges. The street dance shuts down Hibbing’s Howard… 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 →

Cheeseburgers, health care & rural identity: adventures in podcasting

At this point, the words “blog” and “podcast,” once trendy markers of an innovative agent of media disruption, have reached the point in their life cycle where the words themselves are pretty boring, perhaps even grating, on their own. But people read and listen to blogs and podcasts in great numbers, particularly if you count the… Read More →