WWII anti-fascist film holds up disturbingly well

Like most folks, I’ve spent some time thinking about the flare up of white nationalist violence last weekend in the United States. For me, this is a disturbing continuation of trends we’ve seen in all corners of this country. Division, threats and death. What do I think? Why recreate what was so well articulated 74… Read More →

Fear itself: a backyard tragedy

During a storm last winter, a pine bough fell on the chain link fence in our backyard. The tree mangled the fence, but failed to knock it down. Bending it back together as best we could we figured we’d get to fixing the fence sometime next summer. Summer came, but the fence remained broken. Projects… Read More →

Pinning hopes to billions we don’t have

Let us, for a moment, suspend the old debate about mining projects in Northern Minnesota. You know the one. Jobs vs. the Environment. “Twin Citiots don’t care about us” vs. “Dumb Rangers don’t know what’s good for them.” I’ve long argued this as a false choice. It distracts from the real problem in Northern Minnesota’s… Read More →

Iron Rangers say ‘porketta,’ Arby’s says ‘porchetta’

While language is probably the most important hallmark of a culture, food is a very close second. Everyone’s gotta eat, and what you eat tells a lot about where you live and which traditions you carry through the generations. Here on the Mesabi Iron Range in Northern Minnesota, a melting pot of cultures made a… Read More →

FURTHER NORTH: Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary

“Further North” is an occasional series by Aaron J. Brown of MinnesotaBrown.com reviewing a travel destination or special place in Northern Minnesota. Today’s post is about the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary near Orr. You’d think the tour guides at the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary would be better prepared for bear puns. After all, this deep… Read More →

My life of unintentional slapstick comedy

When I was 5, I tripped off the “motor skills” balance beam at kindergarten roundup like a sack of turds. My life took a certain direction from that point. Books, not basketball. College, not CrossFit. The question became not if, but when I would expose myself as a near constant threat to anything breakable, myself… Read More →

The high cost of inaction on rural broadband

Longtime readers know my position on rural broadband. In short, I view it as one important part of blended strategy to diversify the economy of Northern Minnesota. To extend the fastest and highest capacity delivery system would mean more fiber optic lines buried underground. This is the most obvious and also the most expensive way… Read More →

Road deconstruction season in northern Minnesota

People seem testy this summer. Is it the news? The local economy? Or is it because our drive to work has become infested with dump trucks and the oily smell of steaming asphalt. It’s road construction season. Nothing unusual there. In Northern Minnesota, summer stands as the only time for street, road and highway work…. Read More →

Iron Range hope more vital than nostalgia

On the Mesabi Iron Range, our society rests upon the achievements of this region’s fading youth. We speak of our ancestors’ hungry demand for better working conditions and pay. We memorialize their desire to build schools and small towns to elevate humans from the morass. Yes, we call this history and print it on our… Read More →

Northern MN Trumpism endures for lack of alternative

Every time President Trump tweets his distinctive brand of authoritarian chaos the world broils in consternation. The world maybe, but not most folks in the back woods of Northern Minnesota. In fact, ignoring Trump’s tweets (and all tweets, generally speaking) comes naturally out here. If you didn’t care about Russia, Trump’s erratic personal behavior, or… Read More →