Gearing for a century in spin

In recent weeks my wife and I have been thinking about buying a car. We haven’t decided on one, nor are we in a hurry, but it’s been fascinating to research different vehicles.  Being from the Iron Range I always think about where cars are made before buying one. In the case of modern cars,… Read More →

Northern Minnesota has what you need

What do you need to live? You need air, of course. Food and water. Shelter.  Once you have these you may think about the other things you need. You need friendship, family and love. You need a sense of purpose, to believe that your efforts matter. And finally, once you have these things, you might… Read More →

Cure for waning political power is more people

It is again time to tabulate the U.S. Census, an incredibly boring task that affects every aspect of our state and federal government.  As with most complicated topics — taxes, First Century scrolls, technology — it’s easy for people to hold outrageous, illogical views without any real consequences. After all, who really knows? That’s why… Read More →

Water, land and climate

An epic conflict shapes the future of northern Minnesota. But it doesn’t feel like a conflict. Rather, it feels like selling out and settling for less. And it might take 40 years before we know what hit us. This battle gently boils in the rooms where estates are settled, where families decide how to pay… Read More →

Old book teaches perils of power

Used paperback book stores smell like cigarettes and coffee, the boiled essence of a schoolhouse cloakroom and the back alley behind a restaurant. If you lick one of the books — and you shouldn’t — I suspect it would taste salty. This is merely a hypothesis. It was at just such a store in the… Read More →

Empty theatrics dictate 2020 politics on the Iron Range

For one remarkable fall afternoon the President of the United States and his Democratic challenger converged on the political battlefield of northern Minnesota. The Sept. 18 appearances of President Donald Trump at the Bemidji airport and former Vice President Joe Biden at a union training center near Duluth fed the hungry narrative that Minnesota may… 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 →

Zooming in on public meetings online

Like many of you I’ve become accustomed to attending meetings using video conferencing software. The COVID-19 pandemic demands no less. Entire segments of the economy and educational system have shifted to home-based work. Right now, all of my professional meetings take place on Zoom. I collaborate on a media project via Google Hangouts. Interviews. Civic… Read More →

Warning the future about ourselves

As a species, humans expend relatively little thought on a future beyond ourselves. We’re just not wired for it. The survival instinct keeps us focused on our next meal, how we feel now, and our social relationships. Don’t get me wrong. We’ve come a long way. We now spend up to two decades of our… Read More →