Why we need work, not just ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’

Last November, President Trump polled well in the once-venerated Democratic stronghold of the Mesabi Iron Range. I pin this to the issue of “jobs.” Specifically, I credit the fundamental belief baked into our culture that those who work for pay are superior to those who don’t or can’t. People here have lost jobs, or fear… Read More →

School gun range shot down by lead complaint

Last October, I shared news of a suddenly controversial gun range in the basement of the Lincoln Elementary School in Hibbing. After efforts to keep the range compliant with safety concerns, it now appears that lead contamination may doom the facility. For sixty years the Lincoln, originally a middle school, featured an underground gun range that… Read More →

The necessary drama of transition

As divisive as these times may be, at least Donald Trump won’t be sneaking into Washington, D.C., on a midnight train like Abraham Lincoln. After the election of 1860 Lincoln became the most anti-slavery president since John Quincy Adams a generation earlier. Six slave states immediately seceded from the Union, while others threatened to join… Read More →

New Northern Minnesota lawmakers sworn in

Several new state lawmakers from the Northern Minnesota were sworn in at the Capitol in St. Paul today. State Rep. Julie Sandstede (DFL-Hibbing) now represents District 6A, including Hibbing, Chisholm, Floodwood, Nashwauk, Keewatin and Bigfork. “As a lifelong Ranger, I know how important it is for us to never stop fighting for our economic vitality and… Read More →

Format changes shake up Iron Range radio dial

Last August I shared news that Midwest Communications had purchased five new stations from Duluth-based Red Rock Radio. Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest owns more than 73 stations in seven states. Due to federal regulations, Midwest had to shed some of its other frequencies in Northern Minnesota to take over the new stations. On New Year’s Day, format… Read More →

Iron Range Makerspace finds home in Hibbing

Iron Range Makerspace announced just before Christmas that it bought the empty Hibbing VFW building on the Highway 169 Beltline. The move will finally provide a permanent location for this unique laboratory for tinkers, be they students, amateurs or professionals. I wrote about the Iron Range Makerspace concept just over a year ago. CEO Andrew Hanegmon and his… Read More →

Text of Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech

Though not in attendance at the ceremony in Stockholm, Bob Dylan nevertheless accepted the Nobel Prize for Literature today. As people in Dylan’s hometown of Hibbing celebrated the accomplishments of their famous son, the U.S. Ambassador to Sweden, Anita Raji, read Dylan’s speech into the record. It was short, grateful, and focused on the question of “What… Read More →

Saturday is ‘Bob Dylan Day’ in Minnesota

The sign honoring Hibbing High School alumnus Bob Zimmerman for his Nobel Prize. (PHOTO: Hibbing High School) This Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016, the Swedish Academy in Stockholm will award Bob Dylan with the Nobel Prize for Literature, in absentia. Patti Smith will sing “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.” Someone will read an acceptance speech written by… Read More →

Flawed Obamacare bridge to better system

When President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, supporters celebrated the first major victory in a century of fruitless struggle to create a universal health care system in the United States of America. For liberals, the ACA was a triumph over what had seemed an impossible political barrier. To conservatives, “Obamacare” represented a… Read More →

Iron Range’s 100-year housing woes

One of the most critical problems facing Iron Range communities is the age and aesthetic appeal of our towns. The downtowns present one particular problem. The housing stock presents another. My father, who moved to the Twin Cities area almost 20 years ago, often talks about his trips to visit us. He drives through the same Mesabi… Read More →