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 →

New eyes for an Iron Range future

I think one of the best ways to begin strengthening a community is to see the place from a visitor’s point of view. Here on the Iron Range, a place with a cultural tradition of multi-generation families and insular social groups, that’s even more important … and hard to do. As a native Ranger, I… Read More →

New Hibbing mine view takes shape

This summer, tourists in Hibbing have been denied the classic Iron Range experience of seeing the Mahoning Hull Rust Mine View and its Grand Canyon-style mining vista. Hibbing Taconite consumed the old mine view with mining activity this summer while a new overlook underwent construction about a mile away. Though the new mine view isn’t… Read More →

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 →