Bovey seeks ‘Grace’ wherever it may be found

Not many states have an official state photograph, but here in Minnesota we do. Eric Enstrom took the picture “Grace” in 1918 at his studio in downtown Bovey, Minnesota. I wrote about the back story last year. This iconic image appears in homes and churches across the Christian world, so ubiquitous and replicated that people… Read More →

Mosquito memory: the science of the swat

Everyone loves Mother Nature until they realize how many ways she extracts your blood involuntarily. We’ve evolved to be mindful of larger animals that can eat us whole. But while we’ve been worrying about bears and sharks, tiny little animals have been plotting to raid our sweat, blood and skin. It’s like Oceans 11, only… Read More →

U rejects, rejoice! Rural Minnesota is probably fine

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that the University of Minnesota system is exploring strategies to build enrollment statewide. The main University of Minnesota campus in the Twin Cities remains popular, constituting 71 percent of the system’s enrollment. They even have to turn away students from elite programs. But to reach its goals, the Board… Read More →

Build steel bridges, not steel cages

We’ve outlived our immigrant ancestors. Imprints of hungrier times remain etched on our communities, but they are easy to ignore. The fight for workplace safety and fair pay. The demand for free public education. The streets and amenities built to last beyond the mines on the edge of town. The shared humanity of the many… Read More →

Hot times at the Great Northern Radio Show

We’ll be live with a summertime edition of the Great Northern Radio Show Saturday evening at 5 p.m. The show features music from the Holy Hootenanners and The Don’t Tell Darlings. Our all-star house band led by Katie Houg plans some great surprises. Beyond that, we do comedy and storytelling centered in Northern Minnesota but… Read More →

German TV station explores Bob Dylan’s Hibbing roots

Last fall the German/French art network ARTE-TV visited Hibbing, Minnesota, as part of a “Bob Dylan’s America” series exploring the roots of the erstwhile Robert Zimmerman, Hibbing Class of 1959. Host Wolfgang Niedecken interviewed me for local color up at the former Hull Rust Mahoning Mine View in North Hibbing. You can view the episode… Read More →

The Day After Duluth, comments about ‘trade policy’

A few days before U.S. Independence Day, our neighbors to the north hold their own national holiday, Canada Day. They throw a big party at the Canadian consulate in Minneapolis every year. I interviewed Canada’s governor-general in 2015, so they’re kind enough to send me invitations. Haven’t gone, but I half wonder how this year’s… Read More →

Iron Range parades, street dances and fireworks

As a young kid I marched in the Keewatin Fourth of July parade as a patriotic penguin, Donald Duck, and other flag-festooned creatures. As an older kid I remember piling into a car with my friends, touring Range towns for street dances and fireworks. Before cell phones we would often try to anticipate where we… Read More →

See all the trucks go by

Diesel fuel smells like home. It reminds me of the idling school bus and the pungent workshop at my family’s junkyard in 1986. Trucks leave deep treads on my memories. Big yellow mining trucks dot the landscape of the Mesabi Iron Range as they have for generations. I played with a Tonka Truck as a… Read More →

Hear ‘Dig Deep’ drill into 2018 campaign

As I previewed a few days ago, we held a Dig Deep live event at KAXE studios in Grand Rapids this week. Moderator and producer Heidi Holtan led a conversation between conservative commentator Chuck Marohn and liberal commentator, yours truly. We analyzed Minnesota politics as it stands today. Specifically we explore the uncertain race for… Read More →