Community police challenges not just a metro issue

My latest column for the Minnesota Reformer, “Law and Order starts with peace,” weaves stories from my Iron Range grandpa’s time as Keewatin town cop with the unsettling trends in community policing today. This is a problem for all of us to face, not just the metro area. This piece refers to the killing of a… Read More →

Legislature, mining & police

This year I’ll be offering occasional news analysis on WDSE’s Almanac North as part of the station’s “Voices of the Region” segment. My first segment was Jan. 8. If you missed it, here it is: I reviewed three topics. First, the legislature is in session now. Northeastern Minnesota lawmakers of both parties find themselves in… Read More →

Cleveland Cliffs resets the Mesabi Iron Range

Before March 2, 1901 northern Minnesota served as a battleground for two immutable titans of industry, Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. At stake was control of the world’s richest untapped source of iron ore and the nation-building steel it could produce. The scene grew chaotic with new mines opening, closing, and changing hands all… Read More →

Cleveland Cliffs acquires ArcelorMittal USA

Cleveland Cliffs becomes North America’s largest producer of iron ore and flat-rolled steel after acquiring the assets of ArcelorMittal USA. Reuters reported over the weekend that ArcelorMittal and Cleveland Cliffs were negotiating an asset merger that would dramatically affect the taconite industry on Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range. The deal merges ArcelorMittal’s American operations with those… Read More →

Don’t call it a mall

I once hung out in Iron Range shopping malls for fun. I didn’t even need to “get my steps.” No, I went to the mall to meet friends, buy Vanilla Ice cassettes, and sip something called “cappuccino” while surfing this new thing called “the internet” at a locally-owned mall coffee shop. It was very exciting… Read More →

Competitive legislative races slated across Northland

NOTE: This post appears in today’s Hibbing Daily Tribune as part of a news sharing arrangement. Generational change. A historically contentious presidential race. Not one, but two major parties devoted to legalizing marijuana. These factors and more will influence several interesting northern Minnesota legislative races that formed after last Tuesday’s filing deadline. Though the presidential… Read More →

Another giant awakens

Photographs of early Mesabi Iron Range mining are in black and white. We may identify the gray material in the rail cars as iron because, well, why else would those sturdy mustachioed gentlemen have shoveled it up? But the early open pit and underground mines were very much driven by color — bright, vibrant hues… Read More →

Minntac lays off 260 miners

Less than 24 hours after announcing that a Canadian steelmaker was buying a quarter share of Minntac, U.S. Steel announced 260 layoffs at the largest iron mine in the U.S. The layoffs provide a clearer picture of the tumultuous situation in the U.S. economy and North American steel markets. We now see that U.S. Steel… Read More →

Stelco poised to buy 25% of Minntac

During its quarterly earnings call today U.S. Steel announced that Canadian steelmaker Stelco holds the option to buy up to 25 percent of Minntac in Mountain Iron. The taconite plant is the largest in the United States and the “king” of Mesabi Iron Range mines. Stelco will pay $100 million for this option and then… Read More →

Steelworkers reach tentative agreement with U.S. Steel

The United Steelworkers of America and U.S. Steel reached a tentative labor contract agreement on Monday, Oct. 15. Union leaders will now present the terms of the deal to their membership for a ratification vote. About 14,000 workers at mills and mines across America would work under this contract. Steelworkers leadership seemed pleased and optimistic… Read More →