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 →

Some questions matter more in mining debate

I follow sports. I like to watch baseball and football in particular. Some of my friends are far more into sports than I am. Others don’t care about sports at all. For the first group, I sometimes fall disappointingly short in conversation. I just can’t recall the same statistics and analysis to explain why the… 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 →

Trade war rattles even sturdiest American trucks

Understanding trade policy can be overwhelming. Tariffs. Trade deficits. NAFTA. Currency wars. But pickup trucks offer explicit clarity on how trade policy hits people where they live. Take the popular Ford F-150. It’s the top selling truck in America. You can find a F-150 in almost any parking lot on Minnesota’s Iron Range. This is… Read More →

Essar rejoins Nashwauk project; ArcelorMittal looms large

The complex tale of an incomplete iron ore mine on the western Mesabi Iron Range took several new turns this week. Each twist reinforces a central truth. Distant, powerful corporate forces act on impulses far removed from Northern Minnesota’s hopes and dreams. Mesabi Metallics still holds state mining leases on land outside Nashwauk. This was… Read More →

Minnesota’s Iron Range region can feed itself

Minnesota’s Iron Range region is known for mining. But that’s only one of the resources provided in the Dakota legend of the Big Man Hills, or Sleeping Giant. Another has provided food far longer: the soil beneath our feet. Minnesota’s three major iron ranges hold a bad reputation for farming, due to the high iron… Read More →

Radinovich holds narrow lead in NY Times poll

Joe Radinovich holds an extremely narrow lead over Pete Stauber in a recent New York Times/Siena College poll of Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District. Radinovich led 44 percent to Stauber’s 43 percent in the four-day poll that ended yesterday. Thirteen percent remain undecided in the survey, which did not name independent candidate Ray “Skip” Sandman. The… Read More →

U.S. Steel balancing act offers economic warning

As the United Steelworkers union and U.S. Steel inch toward a strike, many on Minnesota’s Iron Range wonder why. The economy is good. Steel is selling for a high price. So, why is U.S. Steel playing hardball with its workers? The answer exposes some concerning facts not just in the steel industry, but across corporate… Read More →

New York Times tracks Minnesota’s 8th District

Brace yourself, Minnesota political junkies. You’re about to have your mind blown. The New York Times hired Siena College to conduct polls in competitive House races across America. One of them is Northern Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. They’ll be uploading polling results from the district as they come in, updating the results each day. That… 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 →