Armadillo Project seeks to lift soldiers from darkness

Shelly Hanson was the first director and stage manager for my Great Northern Radio Show. One of her jobs was to warm up the crowd before we went live. I still remember the show night when, during the warmup, her phone buzzed. She told the crowd that she knew it was rude to look at… Read More →

Cliffs boasts big earnings, state support in Essar battle

Last week, Cliffs Natural Resources CEO Lourenco Goncalves announced that his company posted a $199 million profit in 2016. That reflects a positive swing of almost $1 billion from the dismal 2015 downturn of the American steel industry. It’s also basic math, as Cliffs finally has all its Minnesota mines up and running, filling orders… Read More →

The union for now: Labor at the crossroads

Regardless of your opinion about organized labor, or whether you’re in a union yourself, the labor movement now faces its most tenuous challenge in more than a century. Politically, there is this. According to a Feb. 1 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal story, Vice President Mike Pence conferred with Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin in late January. They… Read More →

Animation depicts Hibbing’s new Beltline roundabout

This summer, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Iron Range city of Hibbing will install a two-lane roundabout at the intersection of Highways 169 and 37. News of this change has already caused many Range residents to go, “blurggle, blurggle, a-fuff-fuff-fuff!” This is one of Hibbing’s busiest intersections. I spend a portion of most mornings… Read More →

Minnesota fifth largest source of U.S. minerals

Minnesota is the fifth largest producer of American mineral resources according to a recent report by the U.S. Geological Survey. The state remains the largest producer of iron ore in the country, but also produces many millions of dollars worth of industrial sand and stone.   From the Myers story: The USGS report reiterated what… Read More →

Former Range senator Tony Perpich dies

Last Saturday, former Iron Range State Sen. Tony Perpich (DFL-Eveleth) died in his Shoreview, Minn., home at the age of 84. He had battled heart disease. Perpich grew up part of a politically charged first generation Croatian immigrant family raised in the mining location of Carson Lake. With his brothers, he helped reshape Iron Range politics in the 1960s,… Read More →

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 →