Power plays go beyond hockey on the Mesabi Iron Range

This week the state hockey tournament takes place in St. Paul. This sporting spectacle doubles as a cultural celebration for the people of the North Star State. Once, the whole state bowed to the gods of hockey from our beloved blue collar Mesabi Iron Range. Today, however, the big suburban schools dominate the competition. The… Read More →

Layman, Bakk IRRRB reform bills get closer

Following up on my post earlier this week, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board met this week in St. Paul. Also this week, two Iron Range legislators, one Republican and one DFLer, moved toward each other with bills to reform the agency. In a contentious 5-4 vote, the board endorsed a plan to privatize Giant’s… Read More →

Great Northern Radio Show this Saturday in Bemidji

I’m excited to report that my Great Northern Radio Show returns to the airwaves and the stage of the Historic Chief Theater in downtown Bemidji this Saturday at 5 p.m. They tell me tickets are selling fast so get yours now (audience should be seated by 4:30). For everyone else, the live event airs from 5-7 p.m. on… Read More →

Mystery of North Shore ‘Devil’s Kettle’ solved

For generations, weekend hikers trekked into C.R. Magney State Park near Grand Marais, Minnesota, to see a genuine mystery. Upon the rocks of a waterfall along the Brule River, the river splits. Most flows down the falls, but another stream swirls into a cavern called the Devil’s Kettle. Where this second stream of water ended up, no… Read More →

With Sunday liquor vote today, ‘Driving to Superior’

(Listen to “Driving to Superior” from Aaron Brown’s Great Northern Radio Show) “Sunday sales,” one of the perennial issues before the Minnesota legislature, might actually be resolved this year. In Minnesota, it’s illegal to sell off sale liquor or full strength beer on Sundays. You have to go to a bar or stock up one of… Read More →

With slim 5-4 DFL majority, new look IRRRB to talk big issues Tuesday

The newly reorganized Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) will meet for the first time this year on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at the Minnesota Senate Building in St. Paul. What looms on the docket? No less than the future of the agency’s role in regional economic development and the Giant’s Ridge Ski Resort. The nine-person board… Read More →

Timeless truth of ‘wire and lights in a box’

As televisions bleat the confusing news of our times, I can’t help but visit my memories of Mike Simonson. Mike was my mentor at KUWS on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Superior and a veteran radio news reporter. He taught me how to ask questions. On a good day I remember. Mike required student… Read More →

Eelpout fever in Northern Minnesota

Last week we experienced a winter thaw in Northern Minnesota. This week the weather cooled off. The southern part of the state faces a blizzard today, while the rest of the state wonders what time of year it really is. The answer is simple. Eelpout. It’s eelpout season. The annual Eelpout Festival is happening now… Read More →

U.S. Steel CEO invites Trump to Iron Range

On Thursday, U.S. Steel CEO Mario Longhi invited President Donald Trump to visit the company’s operations on Northern Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range. Ron Brochu at Business North reports on the exchange. “What a great company. I love Caterpillar. I’ve been driving ‘em for a long time,” the president said. “Well, come out and see us… Read More →

The joyful annoyances of a winter thaw

Winter is not over. I hold no illusions about that. On social media, people post scenes from some tropical vacation, each escaping the long gestation of the elusive Northern Minnesota spring. But we’ve got a winter thaw this week. The skies shine platinum and it’s probably not safe to keep mayonnaise in your car anymore…. Read More →