Outsider bid pulls off upset in Essar bankruptcy auction

As the old saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt. Today, a bankruptcy court in Delaware ruled on the case of Essar Steel Minnesota. The judge didn’t go with the incumbent, now renamed Mesabi Metallics. Nor did the well established Cliffs Natural Resources prevail. Instead, Chippewa Capital Partners, LLC, a group controlled by Tom Clarke’s ERP Iron Ore, announced… Read More →

Trump’s tariff on Canada softwood may spike prices, slow construction

President Donald Trump’s Commerce Department made news in these parts by slapping a 15 percent tariff on Canadian softwood lumber. Trump says Canadian subsidies create unfair trade conditions, a charge that Canadian officials dispute. It comes down to how Canada handles the ownership of timber lands. In the U.S. private interests hold most lands, an… Read More →

The budding role of culture in Steel Town USA

For decades, the U.S. Steel Corporation stood as the single most powerful entity along Northern Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range. When local delegations needed something they doffed their hats at U.S. Steel Tower, not the capitol domes of St. Paul or Washington, D.C. U.S. Steel officially headquartered in New York until 1970, when the company moved… Read More →

Pivotal week for Essar bankruptcy on western Mesabi Range

It’s a big week ahead for those following the bankruptcy of Essar Steel Minnesota near Nashwauk, Minnesota. In the next few days a bankruptcy court will rule on the project’s fate. Essar is the proposed taconite plant at the site of the former Butler Taconite on the western Mesabi Iron Range. But calling it a taconite plant… Read More →

Cheeseburgers, health care & rural identity: adventures in podcasting

At this point, the words “blog” and “podcast,” once trendy markers of an innovative agent of media disruption, have reached the point in their life cycle where the words themselves are pretty boring, perhaps even grating, on their own. But people read and listen to blogs and podcasts in great numbers, particularly if you count the… Read More →

St. Paul Saints will play for Duck, Duck, Glory this summer

You remember the game. Everyone sits in a circle on the floor. One kid walks around the exterior of the circle tapping each person on the head while saying “Duck” each time. “Duck, Duck, Duck, Duck …” Until finally, the kid taps another kid on the head and says something different. The utterance of this word… Read More →

FARGO, Season 3 premiere: “The Law of Vacant Places”

The FX series “Fargo” takes viewers on a “true story” adventure through the snow-swept landscape of Minnesota. Based on the Coen Brothers Academy Award winning film “Fargo,” each season of the TV series explores different stories within the themes of innocence lost, human failings, and the redemptive power of goodness. Northern Minnesota author Aaron J. Brown… Read More →

Study adds new fuel to mining vs. tourism debate

Iron Range newspapers and TV stations have given considerable air time to a study sponsored by a pro-mining group showing that while tourism provides more jobs in Northern Minnesota, mining, railroading and shipping provide far better paying jobs. From the Duluth News Tribune: The [Mining Minnesota] study found current iron ore mining and directly related… Read More →

So then, who do you trust for your MN-centric ‘Fargo’ Season 3 reviews?

So, then. We’re back at this again. It’s time for the MinnesotaBrown.com “Fargo” review. The Season 3 premiere of Noah Hawley’s “Fargo” airs tonight at 9 p.m. CST on FX. This Minnesota-based crime noir serial is based on Joel and Ethan Coen’s Oscar-winning movie of the same name, but has since taken on its own… Read More →

Farewell to Minnesota’s Fightin’ Eighth?

Though long suspected, it now appears likely that Minnesota will lose one of its eight Congressional seats after the 2020 Census. Though Minnesota is increasing population slightly, it isn’t keeping pace with faster growing states. Minnesota just barely kept its eighth seat after the 2010 Census, so this isn’t shocking. Looking at the map, Rust Belt… Read More →