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 →

Dig Deep Live at Reif Center Tuesday

This Tuesday, Dec. 10, I’ll be part of our Dig Deep podcast live Community Conversations broadcast from the Ives Theater at the Reif Center in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Our topic is “Strong Towns,” in honor of my podcast partner Chuck Marohn’s new book of the same name. The event is at 7 p.m. and is… Read More →

Cleveland Cliffs acquires AK Steel

Iron ore producer Cleveland Cliffs acquired AK Steel in a deal announced today. It’s a seismic transaction that could have long-term implications for the Mesabi Iron Range. Cliffs will use its stock to buy $1.1 billion worth of AK Steel stock, assuming about 68 percent ownership of the Ohio-based company. Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves will… Read More →

Who’s a Ranger?

Hi, my name is Aaron. I’m an Iron Ranger. I say that with some confidence. I was born here in Hibbing, the largest city on the Mesabi Iron Range. My parents took me home from the hospital to Keewatin. That’s on the Iron Range. We moved to Nashwauk, same deal. Then we moved to a… Read More →

The ubiquitous modern automobile

When I was a kid I had a metal toolbox full of toy cars. All kinds of cars. Sports cars. Pickup trucks. The General Lee from “Dukes of Hazzard.” The Batmobile. And even though all of these cars had four wheels you could tell them apart, just like you can tell people apart even though… Read More →

Wrapping up this run of the Great Northern Radio Show

Last Saturday I hosted the last edition of my Great Northern Radio Show before putting the show on an indefinite hiatus. I talked about my reasons for doing so in a recent column. You can hear the show here. It was a delightful evening of music, comedy and stories about Northern Minnesota. It proved an… Read More →

Change in the air; evidence on the highway

Most days you can sit by the window of the Subway restaurant in Grand Rapids, Minn., and watch pieces of wind turbines inch their way through the intersection of Highways 2 and 169. It’s quite an operation. State Patrol officers block the road. The driver must time the turn perfectly or run the risk of… Read More →

The more we know

One of the best sight gags in the 1978 comedy “Animal House” comes from the image of John Belushi in a shirt that simply reads “COLLEGE.” No specific school. Just “COLLEGE.” We learn in the movie’s closing credits that Belushi’s barely literate character goes on to become a U.S. Senator. I think of that image… Read More →

Mayor Larson wins in Duluth while council sees changes

Mayor Emily Larson cruised to re-election over challenger David Nolle in Tuesday’s municipal elections. Larson won by more than 5,000 votes, about 63 percent to Nolle’s 36 percent. Larson heads an administration that has largely continued the progressive policies begun under former mayor Don Ness. She also inherited the challenges that have bedeviled Duluth for… Read More →