In Duluth, spring returns with national champs and international shipping

After a temporary setback with last week’s winter storm, spring seems to have finally arrived … again … in Northern Minnesota. One sure sign includes the arrival of the first “saltie” into the Port of Duluth-Superior The Maltese-flagged Maria G arrived in the Port of Duluth to take on a load of grain early this… Read More →

When the vote fails, rural districts hold few cards

On Tuesday, voters in the Floodwood, Minn., school district rejected a $700,000 operating bond referendum by a vote of 352-336. This close vote in a small district will make a big difference. Teachers and officials suggest up to eight teachers could lose their jobs without the local funding. Elementary sections could be combined. Most electives… Read More →

Prairie River Minerals aims to restart scram mining on western Mesabi

Amid high demand and temporarily limited global supply, another new scram mining venture aims to reclaim natural iron ore on the western Mesabi Iron Range. Prairie River Minerals seeks to mine about 1.3 million tons of iron ore annually, mostly in Itasca County, hiring about 125 union workers in the process. The chief partners in… Read More →

Child care: a defining issue mired in status quo

Working people with children will tell you that child care is their biggest day-to-day challenge. The logistics are maddening and the cost is overwhelming. The stakes are no less than the well-being of the next generation. Yet, if you talk to child care providers, they’ll tell you the same thing. Frustrating logistics and high costs… Read More →

Iron Range’s most active live music venue to close soon

In a blow to the Iron Range music scene, the 218 Taphouse and Shop Coffeehouse in downtown Virginia, Minnesota, will close April 15. Owners issued the news via an April 3 Facebook post, which reads as follows: Due to unforeseen circumstances The 218 Taphouse and Shop Coffeehouse will be closing April 15th. We would like… Read More →

Minnesota’s 8th District losing bellwether status

After five consecutive nationally-significant campaigns in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, this rural blue collar bellwether slips out of the spotlight. Simone Pathé of Roll Call reported yesterday that national Democrats aren’t even targeting new incumbent U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber in their early plans for 2020. Meantime, they are focusing on new suburban districts in states… Read More →

Generational payback on sleepovers

I’ve forgotten much about life between the ages of 10 and 13. I suppose there’s a psychological reason for that; something something brain development, something something puberty. A lot of it might be self-preservation. In most pictures from this time I resemble an oversized grub with greasy blond hair. I’m wearing sweat pants and Coke-bottle… Read More →

Great Northern Radio Show returns to Bemidji April 13

Spring slowly seeps into Northern Minnesota. Celebrate with the April 13 broadcast of my Great Northern Radio Show at the Chief Theater in Bemidji, Minnesota. Get your tickets here. I always tell you these things are good and that you should come. I suppose by now you either believe me or you don’t. The Latelys… Read More →

Critical thinking for automated times

I like to watch old black-and-white movies. In these films you see several scenes involving jobs that no longer exist. People appear very skilled at these jobs. We are led to believe they made a decent living off them. But practically no one makes the same living in the same jobs today. In most cases… Read More →

What next for long-suffering Nashwauk mine project?

I drive past the former Butler Taconite mine site near Nashwauk, Minnesota, nearly every day. As such, I have ample time to join my neighbors, local leaders and international iron ore traders in wondering what might happen with the long-stalled construction of a new mine there. All this comes more than three decades after Butler… Read More →