Northern Minnesota’s own vampires

I’d like to start with a frank conversation about vampires. Vampires come from ancient folklore, but they’ve been a staple of pop culture for almost two centuries. You know the trope. Tall, Transylvanian type. Fangs. Allergic to sunlight. They used to be stuck-up and creepy; now they’re moody and hot. But whether you’re dealing with… Read More →

Census, redistricting will reshape Minnesota’s balance of power

I’ve seen a map that spells the end of the political balance most of us grew up knowing. Trends of the past 30 years will soon accelerate. A new future is nigh. The map details a recent state estimate of population trends within Minnesota’s legislative districts. Next year’s census will show little to no population… Read More →

Tune in for Dig Deep live call-in show

The Northern Community Radio political podcast “Dig Deep” will hold a live broadcast call in show Monday morning at 8:10. The podcast features Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns and myself. Heidi Holtan produces the show. Chuck represents the conservative perspective while I represent the liberal point of view. That said, our show is less about… Read More →

When a ditch is more than a ditch

One-hundred and four years ago, the iron mines around North Hibbing ran hot with thawing hematite while the early June weather proved every bit as unpredictable as today’s. The gates to the city seasonal parks swung open in torrential rain, but people still walked through them to sit on the benches. Because, after a long… Read More →

UPDATE: Mesabi Metallics claims new partners to restart former Essar iron ore project

UPDATE: I’ve revised the June 6 post with new information and to clarify project ownership. On Wednesday evening WDIO-Duluth aired a report by Renee Passal about a potential new investors and management structure for Mesabi Metallics. However, on Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources rejected the company as lacking credibility. Mesabi Metallics keeps a… Read More →

Employment outlook improves for Minnesota teens

My first job interview took place on a barstool in Eveleth. I was 16, in fresh possession of a drivers license and itching to make some money. The classified ad read “Pizza Delivery Driver.” I called the number and within hours was sitting next to the owner at his bar watching him taste-test the beer… Read More →

Great Northern Radio Show returns to Reif Center in Grand Rapids June 22

You might have noticed it’s been quiet at the blog these days. Regular readers can probably guess why. I’m busy with the book (more on that to come) and the radio show. Today I announce the next Great Northern Radio Show. I produce this live variety program for Northern Community Radio. The show will happen… Read More →

After gaining permits, PolyMet leaves some investors in the cold

It looked good on paper. A small Canadian company would mine copper, nickel and other valuable minerals in northern Minnesota. They vowed an innovative process to meet some of the most rigorous mining regulations in the world. Moreover, this company promised jobs for a rural region that needed them, a place that boasted a workforce… Read More →

Ely police talk down raging deer

When I was a reporter I would often have to translate police reports into normal human words. For countless journalists, this is a full time job. However, this tweet from the Ely Police Department requires no editing: Press Release: pic.twitter.com/V2HU9cHOT5 — Ely Police Dept (@ElyPolice) May 23, 2019 That’s one bad-ass momma deer ready to… Read More →

U.S., Canada lift steel tariffs in shifting trade landscape

Well, the short, unnecessary trade war with our friendly neighbor Canada appears to be over. Last week, the United States and Canada jointly lifted countervailing tariffs on steel and aluminum. These two nations have long dickered over elements of trade policy, but have generally accepted that they’re good for each other. Canada buys more from… Read More →