Big change coming to Hibbing Taconite

Yesterday, Cleveland-Cliffs announced it would exit its agreement to manage Hibbing Taconite next year. On Aug. 1, 2019 owners will need to have a new management structure in place to run the second largest iron mine in Minnesota. Hibbing Taconite is owned by a combination of three companies. They include the world’s largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal… Read More →

A taste of change on the Iron Range

On Thursday, the Iron Range Makerspace hosts its first pop-up restaurant event, highlighting another small possibility of change in this blue collar region. June Apple Kitchen, a small catering business operated by Megan Reynolds, will cook a four course Mediterranean and serve at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16. For $40, all you have to do… Read More →

Farmer-Labor tradition means more than just jobs

We see some curious sights this election year. Oh, I can’t get into all of them. Our times are too strange for that. But one thing struck me as especially odd. It was members of the Republican Party arguing that they are now the “Republican Farmer Labor” party. This comes amid claims that candidates like… Read More →

The enduring importance of obituaries

The first assignment they gave me at journalism school was to write my own obituary. It’s a good way to teach the inverted pyramid writing style. That’s where you put the most important information first. Plus, it reminds young journalists that they’re expendable, valuable perspective for the current state of the industry. The other thing… Read More →

Campaign season means signs are all around us

Someone just posted a campaign sign down the road. Well, there goes the neighborhood. This sentiment now spreads across Northern Minnesota’s tumultuous political environment. A political cycle defined by white hot rage now enters a new phase: paranoia that the other side is messing with your signs. I’ve worked in journalism and I’ve managed political… Read More →

R-O-C-K in the Co-op, eh?

The Mesaba Co-Op Park sits on the border between Cherry and Hibbing. You can’t escape this place as a key setting for Iron Range history. This refuge for mostly socialist Finnish immigrants became a playground and a proving ground for 20th Century leftist politics in Northern Minnesota. And it’s still here! While the place continues… Read More →

Cliffs wins Nashwauk land case, deals blow to Mesabi Metallics

To paraphrase “The Simpsons” Episode #222: Everything’s coming up Lourenco Goncalves. It’s been a very good week for Goncalves and Cleveland-Cliffs. The company declared strong earnings. Netting $165 million in the second quarter, Cliffs is selling iron ore pellets at $112 per ton. That’s a dramatic increase from the doldrums of 2015 and 2016. Industry… Read More →

Steelworkers contract talks test strong market

This month contract negotiations opened between the United Steelworkers of America and two big steelmakers, U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal. Already, the union says the two sides are far apart. Workers hope for a better outcome than the last labor negotiations in 2015. That contract froze pay and added costs to retirees. However, it also held… Read More →

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 →