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 →

Republican Pete Stauber to run for Congress in MN-8

(Post updated Monday, July 10) On Monday, St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber of Hermantown announces a run for Congress in Northeastern Minnesota’s Eighth District. He becomes the first Republican challenger to incumbent U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (DFL-Crosby) for the 2018 cycle. Stauber, a one-time West Duluth hockey star and longtime Duluth police officer, has… Read More →

The generational trials of an ‘Xennial’ life

Generational labels, such as baby boomer or millennial, can mislead. Nevertheless, they identify common experiences shared by people your age. Consider the living generations today. The “Greatest” generation grew up during the Depression. They fought WWII and the Korean War and wore high waisted pants and hats that I envy. The Baby Boomers, born 1945-1965,… Read More →

Scandinavian power in Minnesota politics

The Fourth of July is a big deal in Minnesota’s Iron Range region. Really big. Even the smallest towns here throw a parade or fireworks celebration. See, Northern Minnesota exemplified the quintessential “melting pot” of American industrialization and immigrants. July 4 became not just something to celebrate, but a shared cultural experience that brought together… Read More →

Things You Will See at Your First Iron Range 4th of July

Most every little hamlet in Minnesota claims some special Fourth of July tradition. After all, Minnesota was born in the patriotic fervor preceding the Civil War, swaddled in the stars and stripes and raised to feed, build and Bob Dylan-ize America. A territory founded on the cornerstone of community (and large, powerful railroads), the Fourth… Read More →

‘Sunday Liquor’ era arrives in Minnesota

This weekend marks the opening of a new era in Minnesota drinking. Oh, I suppose the drinking remains the same. I should say that Minnesota now enters a new more spontaneous age in “planning to drink.” Starting July 2, liquor stores across the state, including some here in Northern Minnesota, will open for business on… Read More →

Reina del Cid headlines July 6 concert in Chisholm

The Minnesota Discovery Center summer concert series continues Thursday, July 6, at 6 p.m. with Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter Reina del Cid and her band. This is one of my favorite Minnesota music acts. They’ve been on my Great Northern Radio Show twice, always a hit with the audience. Reina del Cid sings with a light, playful… Read More →

Community, cars, ticks highlight June 2017 Great Northern Radio Show

On June 17, 2017 my Great Northern Radio Show broadcast live from the Reif Center in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. We had more than 500 people packed into the Wilcox Theater to hear our brand of music, comedy and storytelling in what we dub the “big, big show from your hometown.” This show ended up sounding… Read More →

Vlad vs. Donald in Nevis Pig Races

UPDATE: Pig race results below. Last year, I highlighted the annual Nevis Pig Races in an essay previewing the 2016 election. In that race, a pig named Donald raced against a pig named Hillary to “settle” the ongoing political squabbling. No such luck. The race ended in a tie, so no one was satisfied. Then… Read More →