New Virginia/Eveleth-Gilbert high school plan gains major funding boost

Two rival Iron Range school districts will build a consolidated high school if voters approve a now greatly subsidized school levy. Last Friday, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board recommended to its state department a $100 million investment in a shared Virginia and Eveleth-Gilbert high school. Almost $5 million per year would space out over 20 years. 

In Northern Minnesota, economic trends collide

The people of Northern Minnesota need the same things they did 100 years ago. Employment. Food. Medical care. Places to shop and seek entertainment.

Yet, how we satisfy these needs changed considerably over the past century. Indeed, these fundamental functions of society continue to transform before us. Only two questions remain: 1) Will we accept change? And, 2) will we plan our future based on the new reality?

All that cold and the dang bugs survived

You know the old trope. As the horror movie concludes, the virtuous teenagers are safe, the villain is dead, and the credits roll. But then, at the very end, the camera zooms back in on the death mask of the evil antagonist. Suddenly, glowing red eyes open wide. He lives! No one is safe and… Read More →

Study shows rural ‘recreation counties’ holding population

In real terms, the biggest factor in most of the challenges facing Iron Range communities is population loss. The economic contraction of the late 1950s and 1980s sent people away from core Range communities. This impacted local businesses, school enrollments, housing values, and myriad other issues. There are other factors, more to consider, but basically… Read More →

Hibbing Community College to name buildings

If you’re like me, you wonder how places got their names. There’s usually some story involved, even if it’s boring. At college you might have sat in a building named for some dusty old multisyllabic poo-bah from the past. A plaque in the lobby identified the crusty oldster, who we all assume forked over a… Read More →

A crying sham

Not all pillows are for sleeping. Some are just for show. Some we wrap in shams. Some we just don’t know. We lay our heads on beds of lies.

Hear the latest Great Northern Radio Show from Brainerd

Last weekend I brought my Great Northern Radio Show to the Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd, Minnesota. Today I’m able to share a recording of the show for those of you who missed it live on Northern Community Radio.

Regenerating hope in mining’s wake

Like a lot of kids who grew up on Northern Minnesota’s Iron Range in the 1980s and ‘90s I saw plenty of reasons to leave. Many of my friends did. But I’m glad I found good reasons to stay. Many friends did that, too. That doesn’t mean, however, that our lives are easy or our fate resolved. It will take much more than waiting to secure a future beyond what the mines will give us.

Amy Klobuchar: the senator from Minnesota

I first met Amy Klobuchar in a back alley in International Falls, Minnesota, not far from a paper plant along the Canadian border. Looking back at that 2006 day gives us clues about her upcoming presidential campaign.

Rarick, GOP win special election in MN Senate Dist. 11

History shows that mighty campaigns die in the winter and all dynasties come to an end. State Rep. Jason Rarick (R-Pine City) defeated DFLer Stu Lourey in the Minnesota Senate District 11 special election Tuesday. Rarick racked up big numbers in his home House district and kept the vote close enough in the DFL-leaning northern… Read More →