New film explores 1916-17 Northern MN labor uprisings

Filmmaker Gary Kaunonen of KCC-TV in International Falls just released a new documentary about a pivotal time in Northern Minnesota’s labor history. It’s called “Northern Minnesota’s Labor Wars.” The years 1916 and 1917 brought major labor uprisings in the mines of the Mesabi Iron Range and the lumber camps of the state’s far northern pine… Read More →

Silicon Energy gone, new company moves in

Another vaunted Iron Range economic development project has quietly fizzled out. The Duluth News Tribune reported last week that Silicon Energy, a producer of solar panels, finally pulled out of its taxpayer-subsidized plant in Mt. Iron. This doesn’t come as a big surprise. Iron Range leaders have long murmured about the starts and stops of… Read More →

U.S. Steel CEO Longhi to retire; Burritt takes over

One of the Mesabi Iron Range’s largest mining companies will be under new leadership next month. Mario Longhi, CEO of U.S. Steel, will retire June 1. Company chief operations officer David Burritt will take the helm. U.S. Steel is an integrated steelmaker, meaning that the company mines its own ores, produces steel in blast furnaces, and finishes… 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 →

Minnesota fifth largest source of U.S. minerals

Minnesota is the fifth largest producer of American mineral resources according to a recent report by the U.S. Geological Survey. The state remains the largest producer of iron ore in the country, but also produces many millions of dollars worth of industrial sand and stone.   From the Myers story: The USGS report reiterated what… Read More →

U.S. Steel vows (nonspecifically) to restore 10,000 jobs

In recent days, we’ve been talking about the general improvement of stock and commodity prices as they relate to Mesabi Range iron mines. One of my key observations was that despite the surge, U.S. Steel’s Keewatin Taconite remained closed after 18 months. Well, stop the presses. Maybe. On Wednesday, U.S. Steel CEO Mario Longhi said on… Read More →

Sister Hazel headlines Merritt Days 2016

In recent years, the Iron Range city of Mountain Iron booked some hot act from the 1990s to headline its Merritt Days festival. This year is no exception, as the announced Aug. 13 act will be Sister Hazel. Now, Sister Hazel didn’t leap off the screen at me, either, until I looked them up and… Read More →

Ticks, ethics & bioeconomics on the Range

What do ticks, digital ethics and “the bioeconomy” have in common? The short answer is that dogs have no use for studying these things, but the University of Minnesota does. The University of Minnesota is sending some of its researchers around the state for its “Minnesota Sparks” tour. The idea is to encourage broader conversations about interesting… Read More →

Mt. Iron-Buhl OKs $29 million school

UPDATE: On Tuesday, May 3, Mountain Iron-Buhl voters approved the bond referendum, paving the way for the new school proposal to move forward. The original piece, published May 2 follows: Voters in the Mountain Iron-Buhl school district will decide Tuesday on whether to accept a $29 million plan to build a new high school on Highway 169…. Read More →

Red dirt, green ideas at Iron Range Earth Fest

Given the constant controversy about environmental issues that permeates Iron Range political thought, one might find it strange that the Iron Range Earth Fest is preparing its 8th annual offering this Saturday, April 23. But in truth the Iron Range is a perfect place to talk about the concept of sustainability. Without getting into the… Read More →