Open legislative seat spurs Iron Range DFL primary

We sense many disturbances in the 2018 Iron Range political force. (Apologies. It is May the Fourth after all). Setting aside the roaming Death Star of Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District race, the Mesabi Iron Range also stumbled into an open legislative seat in District 6B. Current State Rep. Jason Metsa is running for the aforementioned… Read More →

Empire Mine backers pitch future project to Cliffs

Workers and local leaders in Northern Michigan want Cleveland-Cliffs to locate its next value-added iron plant in the U.P. rather than here on Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range. A community group in Marquette began organizing efforts to woo the mining company to its historic home in Michigan. This brings another twist to the ongoing saga over what… Read More →

Up in Smoke: Superior disaster reminds why we watch industry

Just six days ago the Twin Ports of Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin could have been blown to smithereens. A billowing fire engulfed the Husky Oil Refinery in Superior, encroaching just 150 feet from a tank of hydrogen fluoride. An explosion of that tank would have atomized Superior and released a deadly toxic cloud for… Read More →

Dig Deep explores ‘White Knight’ ideas to fix problems

The Northern Community Radio podcast “Dig Deep” took on a new series of topics last week. The ideas came from our live event at Itasca Community College on March 21. During the Q&A after our live podcast event, one gentleman asked a question. “Is it time for a ‘White Knight” to come in and take… Read More →

Notable Iron Range mutant making whiskey now

In so many ways, Bob Dylan is a Northern Minnesota mutant. And I say that with respect, in the evolutionary sense. Born in Duluth, raised on the Mesabi Iron Range, Dylan shot out of this place like a rocket almost 60 years ago. You know the rest. Dylan might never be like the kids he… Read More →

Spring brings a new world on foot

And suddenly the road is clear enough to walk. A little mud but less than usual. Spring came late to Northern Minnesota, but like the prodigal son we welcome it into our hearts. Last month’s winter lamentations hang like deflated balloons in faraway trees. Fresh spruce fingers reach beyond last year’s grasp. Small dumb flies… Read More →

2018 Homegrown Music Festival runs April 29-May 6

This Sunday, April 29, the Homegrown Music Festival opens in Duluth, Minnesota. This year marks 20 years of original music in the Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas. The Duluth sound, if you believe such a thing exists, was either created at or amplified by Homegrown. Duluth manages to support hundreds of acts. Full time… Read More →

Sam Cook retires from Duluth News Tribune

Starting tomorrow, the outdoors page at the Duluth News Tribune will look a little different. Longtime outdoors editor and columnist Sam Cook will retire Friday, April 27. Cook held that post 38 years. Sam Cook is a gifted storyteller. His grasp of details makes any story he writes a portal into whatever forest or lake… Read More →

Leaders scramble to save Hill Annex Mine State Park

Hill Annex Mine State Park is surely an oddity among state recreational facilities. You can’t camp there. Virtually every natural feature you see emerged from the wholly unnatural act of removing iron ore from the ground. Nevertheless, the Calumet, Minnesota, park represents a glimpse back into time, and provides important context to what happens to… Read More →

Amid perennial politics, campaign workers unionize

My first experience with political campaigning came after I walked into the Democratic-Farmer-Labor campaign office in Virginia, Minnesota in 1996. I volunteered on the spot. My school just laid off some of my teachers. Further, I had no idea how my recently bankrupted family and I would be able to pay for college. Motivated, I… Read More →