There was a peaceful school called Rock Ridge

Tonight the Eveleth-Gilbert Golden Bears and Virginia-Mountain Iron-Buhl Blue Devils renewed their storied Iron Range high school hockey rivalry. But this game was less about the final score (Bears won 4-1) than about the announcement made on the ice between periods. Last year, voters from both school districts authorized the building of a new shared… Read More →

‘Making It’ makes lovely tribute to Great Northern Radio Show

It’s been another busy stretch of work and writing so you haven’t seen much more than my weekly newspaper column here at MinnesotaBrown. I did want to share this episode of PBS North’s “Making It Up North,” produced by Karen Sunderman and Steve Ash. They followed us around for the whole day of our final… Read More →

Refugee debate strays from reality

I recently spoke with a Northern Minnesota military veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. In casual conversation he described his efforts to help an Iraqi translator and his family get to America. This Iraqi man took enormous personal risk to work alongside U.S. forces. Now, he and his loved ones face even greater threats… Read More →

Warm through winter

My son Henry and I joined our friend John Latimer for the Audubon Christmas Bird Count last month. Our day started at 7 a.m. and 24 degrees below zero. Most birds, obviously smarter than us, huddled somewhere out of sight. We spied a beautiful bevy of ten swans and a lonely goldeneye on a small… Read More →

2020 predictions column: time for an otter one

“Twenty twenty,” says the ophthalmologist. “That’s my vision?” I ask excitedly. “No, you’re as myopic as a rhino,” she says. “That’s the year to write on your check.” I can’t believe it. It’s 2020 already. The year that we once believed would be “the future.” But here I am, going to the eye doctor like… Read More →

MinnesotaBrown’s Top Posts of 2019

We’re closing a momentous year and a momentous decade here at MinnesotaBrown. For most of you 2019 probably did not provide the most riveting year of material from yours truly. You saw 1-2 posts per week. Much less political coverage. Fewer posts about Northern Minnesota arts and culture. It would have appeared to you that… Read More →

Old man turns 40

When I was a senior in high school our band went on a field trip to Chicago. One of the stops was Six Flags Amusement Park. The park had one of those “Guess Your Age” booths where you won a prize if the carnival worker failed to guess your age within four years. I was… Read More →

‘Woke,’ but little ‘progress’ in 2019 top words

A new word can be as rare and exciting as a new continent. And like a continent words change shape with time and pressure. Language does not merely represent reality; it creates reality. Each year the Global Language Monitor tracks words found online. They catch new words, usage trends, and the ways in which our… Read More →

Bakk to the Future?

What’s this? Another post? Why, it’s a full on blogging relapse. Late last week we learned State Sen. Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury) would challenge State Sen. Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) for the Senate DFL caucus leadership post. The meeting was supposed to be held today but Bakk pushed it back until later in the week. Bakk, of… Read More →

2020 race for MN legislature will pivot on northern SD5

When Republicans took control of both houses of the Minnesota legislature in 2016 they made hay off the massive swing that took place in the fifth state senate district. This northern district, which includes parts of Itasca, Cass, Hubbard and Beltrami counties, was previously represented by a DFL senator and two DFL representatives. After 2016,… Read More →