Celebrate with the Great Northern Radio Show

It’s been a wild fall here at MinnesotaBrown. An unexpected research trip to San Francisco. Election coverage that culminated with a live appearance on National Public Radio. And now I’m getting ready for Saturday’s Great Northern Radio Show at the historic Hibbing High School auditorium. It’s been a banner year for this mid-level regional writer…. Read More →

More smoke than fire: Election 2018 on the Iron Range

For much of 2018, we labored under the premise that Northern Minnesota’s 8th District might be the pivotal race in all of the nation. This would be the place that single-handedly decided whether Democrats or Republicans would control the U.S. House of Representatives. In visions of late night counting and recounting, the eyes of America… Read More →

Oral history of this blog with notes

Earlier this week I appeared on the Duluth News Tribune Pressroom Podcast with co-hosts Christa Lawler and Brady Slater, produced by Samantha Erkkila. The podcast team and I had been trying for years to figure out when I’d be in Duluth on a weekday with time to spare. We finally found a moment after my appearance… Read More →

Vote local; it matters most of all

Every day the children board the school bus. Begrudgingly, perhaps, but they go. We drive to work, quickly or slowly, depending on our enthusiasm and/or punctuality. People walk the streets, gathering in coffee shops and gas stations to jaw over the day’s news. At dusk, the parks and trails. By night we find the theaters,… Read More →

Whirling West on a metal bird

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” ~ Mark Twain, “The Innocents Abroad” I live in the woods of Northern… Read More →

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 →