West Range Itasca County race takes shape

Last week I reported a vacancy on the Itasca County Board after Mark Mandich resigned his District 5 seat on the western Mesabi Iron Range. Two candidates emerged over the past few days. Ben DeNucci Nashwauk Mayor Ben DeNucci said he was running for the Itasca County Board. DeNucci owns a bar in Nashwauk and… Read More →

Itasca County commissioner resigns

Commissioner Mark Mandich resigned his seat on the Itasca County Board this week. The board accepted Mandich’s resignation at their meeting Tuesday. My sources tell me that Mandich cites health problems as his reason for stepping down. The Itasca County Board authorized a vacancy, instructing the county auditor to prepare a special election. Details on… Read More →

Report: Evidence of discrimination at Greenway school

Earlier this week I wrote a piece about the need for empathy amid racial discord on the Iron Range, mentioning the story of Isaiah Gatimu, a former Greenway student who faced racially-motivated harassment and later took his own life. The Scenic Range News Forum obtained a copy of the report from the Minnesota Department of… Read More →

A schoolhouse divided will not stand

Last week, the Nashwauk-Keewatin School Board voted to dissolve its shared services agreement with the Greenway School District on the western Mesabi Iron Range. Days later Greenway also backed away from most elements of the partnership. This marks the end of an experiment exposing many hard truths about the future of school and community collaboration on the Iron Range…. Read More →

Scenic Range NewsForum expands web presence

The Scenic Range NewsForum on the western Mesabi Iron Range recently launched its new website, a mobile-optimized site that tosses aside its clunky PDF reader-style predecessor. Along with this comes news that the Scenic snatched the low bid for becoming Itasca County’s newspaper of record, leaving the Grand Rapids Herald-Review to this painfully defensive story. As… Read More →

Highway 169 expansion makes road project list

Big news on the western Mesabi: The 40-year dream of a “cross-Range expressway” is every-so-slightly closer to reality. From a Rep. Tom Anzelc (DFL-Balsam Township) press release: ST. PAUL, MN – Today, Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) announced ten highway construction projects slated to receive funding through the state’s new… Read More →

Range town mergers could protect jobs, services

One of the under-reported outcomes of last Tuesday’s off-year local elections was the overwhelming vote by the northern Minnesota communities of Carlton and Thomson to merge. In local media, this was portrayed as the simple matter of tiny Thomson’s overworked mayor and staff. In practice, however, these towns are providing a blueprint for many small… Read More →

Leave Marble Alone

When I described my feelings wandering around the Iron Range city of Marble last weekend in a recent post, my observations spurred some unexpected squabbling in the comments. Alert reader Tony used the opportunity to create this: I think this needs to go viral. The less context the better. Related posts: No related posts.

The places of the Range, bypassed, bygone, but not to be ignored

The other night Christina and I went out to dinner and took our time getting home, driving around the towns of the western Mesabi. For as long as I’ve lived and worked around this part of the state there are still corners I’ve never had happenstance to visit. One of those places was Marble. If… Read More →