Don’t call it a mall

I once hung out in Iron Range shopping malls for fun. I didn’t even need to “get my steps.” No, I went to the mall to meet friends, buy Vanilla Ice cassettes, and sip something called “cappuccino” while surfing this new thing called “the internet” at a locally-owned mall coffee shop. It was very exciting… Read More →

The politics of unemployment

My latest for the Minnesota Reformer is up. Here’s a taste: The extension of mining unemployment benefits is an ever-present Iron Range campaign issue and legislative priority. Now it could prove to be the biggest national campaign issue in the entire 2020 race.  Welcome to Thunderdome! I’m afraid to report the real winners are in… Read More →

Destroyer of worlds

Seventy-five years ago the world’s first atomic bomb detonated across the arid expanse of the Jornada del Muerto Desert in New Mexico. Upon witnessing the otherworldly power he had unleashed physicist Robert Oppenheimer considered a line from Hindu scripture. “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds,” said the god Krishna. A reflective Oppenheimer quoted… Read More →

Lessons from travel ball

My parents hover near the periphery of memories of organized childhood activities. Oh, they were there. I just didn’t notice them much. Looking out the bus window of my recollections I see my dad patrolling the school parking lot in his work clothes. He smokes a Winston cigarette while sometimes emitting just a hint of… Read More →

Driving it home

When you bring your first child home from the hospital it’s like juggling a grenade with the pin pulled out. Fate entrusts this tiny, fragile creature to two dopes who will learn everything they know about parenting from experimentation on this baby. Maybe that’s why there’s such emphasis on getting the car seat installed properly…. Read More →

Latest Power podcast episode connects desert car chase with Minnesota mines

The second episode of our podcast “Power in the Wilderness” dropped over the weekend. You can listen online now if you missed it. The episode is entitled “El Pulpo,” Spanish for “The Octopus.” Our show is a special production of KAXE-Northern Community Radio. It’s funded in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund…. Read More →

Media mergers in northern Minnesota and beyond

By now you may have seen the last column I wrote for the Hibbing Daily Tribune and the first that I penned for the newly merged Mesabi Tribune. Then last Friday I did a couple interviews about the merger of the Hibbing Daily Tribune and Mesabi Daily News. First I went on the KAXE Morning… Read More →

A new age on the Iron Range

There’s really not much to Iron Range history, at least in terms of quantity. Each of our small towns tolls not more than 120 years. The Ojibwe reservations are only a little older than that. And before that a complex array of Native American communities and dense forests that few today know anything about. Our… Read More →

125 years of iron ore from Hibbing’s Mahoning mine

At sunrise on Friday, July 3 workers raised a 44-star American flag at the edge of the the Hull Rust Mahoning Pit in Hibbing. The historic flag commemorated the day in 1895 when the first shovel lifted iron ore from the Mahoning Pit. “That open pit of course started with a single scoop of ore… Read More →

Same letters, new words

In June of 1998 I covered Legion baseball games for the Hibbing Daily Tribune. One hot summer night some kid threw a no hitter. The kid was my age but I pretended to be a grownup to interview him. Afterward, I typed up the story in the newsroom. All of a sudden Christina Hiatt, one… Read More →