Trivia battle offers game show thrills

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with game shows. On one hand, I like believing that I’m smarter than people on TV. That’s really the only bar to clear to stay happy in modern society. You just have to stay off those brainiac channels like PBS or Animal Planet. On the other hand, game shows… Read More →

Steelworkers ratify contract with Cleveland-Cliffs

Members of the United Steelworkers of America voted to ratify a new labor contract with Cleveland-Cliffs this week. The new deal maintains their current benefits while increasing their pay. Cliffs operates United Taconite and, until next year, contracts to operate Hibbing Taconite. Their plant at Northshore Mining is nonunion. Negotiations with U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal… Read More →

Remembering George Perpich, special era of Range politics

On Sept. 26, former Iron Range State Sen. George Perpich died at age 85 in an Arden Hills, Minn., care center. He had suffered from Parkinson’s Disease for the past several years. Perpich was one of four brothers, sons of poor Croatian immigrants in Hibbing’s Carson Lake location. Rudy, Tony, Joe and George all became… Read More →

Reading coded language of Iron Range landscape

The youngest parts of the Mesabi Iron Range are the century-old towns spotted along its back like so many pimples. The geology, the nature and even human occupation go back millennia. Nevertheless, most people who live here see “local history” as a mysterious narrative that begins suddenly during the Grover Cleveland Administration. It’s not hard… Read More →

Real hope for rural broadband on the Iron Range

Growing up I always lived just outside the towns of the Iron Range. Back roads. Cracked pavement and dirt roads. My family ran small businesses. Some lasted a while. Some not so much. Such is the nature of small business. The ‘80s were bad. They were for a lot of people. School changed my life…. Read More →

Great Northern Radio Show at Hibbing HS auditorium

I’m spinning headlong into an intense couple of months of work projects. I’m teaching full time and continue working on my book. Now I have something new to announce: An exciting Nov. 17 Great Northern Radio Show broadcast at the Hibbing High School auditorium. We’ve played Hibbing a couple times, but never this ornate 1,800-seat… Read More →

Cliffs vows ore for Hibbing Taconite, plans for Nashwauk

Cleveland-Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves still wants to mine iron ore near Nashwauk. He vows that Hibbing Taconite will always have enough ore from his company, if they need it. Further he says Northshore Mining continues to make progress with direct-reduced iron products. Finally, he predicts smooth contract negotiations between his company and the United Steelworkers…. Read More →

Hibbing grad warns of economic crisis below ground

During the oil boom ten years ago I knew a number of guys who would pack a bag and drive from Northern Minnesota to western North Dakota to work weeks at a time in the Bakken oil fields. Classmates. Friends of friends. Parents from my kids’ school. During the Great Recession of 2008 this was… Read More →

The merits of fairness in America

You’ll hear a lot about the American Dream in coming months. You’ll hear that the dream is dying, that it’s alive and well, that the dream faces peril, or even that it’s forgotten entirely. But do we even know what the American Dream is? In this, we may invoke the most American of products: Coca-Cola…. Read More →

Union works past deadline, but prepares for strike

All the mines on Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range run hot today, despite the expiration of labor contracts at facilities owned by U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal last night. The United Steelworkers of America agreed to stay on the job while negotiations continue. The union represents workers at mines and mills throughout the North American steel industry…. Read More →