Diary of a Thanksgiving Turkey

[FREEZE FRAME] *record scratch* Yep, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I got here. It started the Friday before Thanksgiving. I was just chilling in my containment pen with a few dozen of my genetically selected pals. All of a sudden, one of the Grabby No Beaks yanks me up by the neck and drags… Read More →

New broadband grants include Northern MN projects

Today the State of Minnesota announced $26 million in grants for 39 projects in the Border to Border Broadband initiative. Almost 10,000 households will receive affordable access to high speed internet as a result of these investments. “It’s not fair when almost 20 percent of Greater Minnesota households don’t have the same high-speed internet connections… Read More →

Make or break moment for Iron Range mining projects

I’m part of a tortured, high-strung group of people who receive regular e-mail and social media updates about the mining business. It’s part of my duty to better understand the industry that shapes Iron Range history and its current economy. And in recent months the news has been far less depressing than usual. For instance,… Read More →

Don’t cry for me, Bloomington: MN loses World’s Fair to Argentina

The World’s Fair. One quickly imagines the art deco poster of the touchstone 1939 World’s Fair in New York. Heck, that poster hangs in my home office. Or maybe we recall the fact that Montreal named a professional baseball team after the fact that they had the World Expo in 1967. An American delegation from… Read More →

1990 Minnesota election scandal parallels Alabama saga

It’s hard to remember sometimes, but there was a time when watching the news wasn’t actively disgusting all the time. But I do recall the first time a news story completely grossed me out. It was in 1990. I was just a kid, but I liked the news. That was the year the Republican candidate… Read More →

The economics of dignity, how a tiered economy tears us apart

To read the local papers, a visitor might conclude that the biggest problems facing the Iron Range these days is whether or not we support our most powerful industry *enough.* I find this curious. Because when people talk about “the problem on the Range these days,” they usually mean people working multiple jobs to pay… Read More →

Minnesota moose decline stems from spread of deer

Scientists say they’ve solved the mystery of the missing moose. The brain-eating bacteria that kill so many moose, and leave others more vulnerable to wolf predation, is carried by the spread of whitetail deer into Northeastern Minnesota. For the past several years, we’ve been wondering why Minnesota’s moose population — once a strong feature of… Read More →

A journey through time, to town and back

Just before the 20th Century a trip into town from Balsam Township in east central Itasca County took two days at full speed. The winding journey required paddling a canoe down the Prairie River, crossing several portages depending on the time of year. I imagine one might camp at the midpoint somewhere near the modern… Read More →

Homogenized media for a divided people

I’m not very good at self-righteous anger. It weighs on me. I torture myself with it. More often than not I end up doing no good at all when I respond in anger. These are tough, angry times. So I’ve been strategic in what I write about, trying again to spend my time in ways… Read More →

Mills opts out of MN-8 run, hints at GOP woes

Stewart Mills announced Wednesday he would not seek the GOP nod in Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District in 2018, ending the possibility of a Republican showdown in this tight swing district. Wrote Mills in a social media statement: I have decided not to have my name on the ballot this election cycle, this is not a… Read More →