Bill would name state’s tallest bridge for Tom Rukavina

On Thursday, State Rep. David Lislegard (DFL-Aurora) introduced a bill that would name the Highway 53 bridge between Eveleth and Virginia the Tom Rukavina Memorial Bridge. Rukavina, a longtime Iron Range legislator known for his fiery speeches and pro-labor politics, died Jan. 6 after battling cancer. He was 68. The Highway 53 bridge was part… Read More →

A year after KKK flyers, Range town to rally for King holiday

This Monday, Jan. 21, the city of Virginia, Minnesota, and Mesabi Range College will host a MLK Peace and Unity march and rally celebrating the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The march starts at noon on the west side of Virginia City Hall at 327 1st Street South with the 12:15 p.m. rally at the Virginia Public Schools Gym at the west end of 500 Block of 2nd Street South.

Remembering Iron Range political legend Tom Rukavina

Minnesota political firebrand Tom Rukavina died Monday after a difficult battle with the illness that forced his retirement from the St. Louis County Board last year.

A booming voice for the working people of the Mesabi Iron Range, Rukavina made his name in the state legislature where his short stature, booming voice and sharp-elbowed sense of humor made him beloved by political friends and foes alike. 

Why livability is key to Northern Minnesota strategy

The Iron Range, all of Northern Minnesota, and most of rural America share many problems, while maintaining some unique ones. Nevertheless, we could all make good use of one potential solution: We need people. Our small towns and rural institutions were built for a certain number of people. Not a ton of people, but a… Read More →

Iron Range districts eye shared school, new model

Student desks form even rows on hardwood floors. A chalkboard at the front of the room frames the teacher’s heavy, spacious desk. Heavy vinyl maps roll down from the ceiling. Most of us recognize this picture as school. In fact, this scene so imprints our minds that decades later we still dream about it. It’s… Read More →

Glimmers of hope in Steelworkers negotiations

Late last week, the United Steelworkers reached an agreement with Cleveland-Cliffs on a labor contract. Broadly speaking, the talks between Cliffs and the USW seemed to go well. The company acknowledged the improving state of the domestic iron ore and steel business, and shared some of the success with its workers. However, more contentious negotiations… Read More →

Union works past deadline, but prepares for strike

All the mines on Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range run hot today, despite the expiration of labor contracts at facilities owned by U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal last night. The United Steelworkers of America agreed to stay on the job while negotiations continue. The union represents workers at mines and mills throughout the North American steel industry…. Read More →

Northeastern Minnesota celebrates its Labor roots

Maybe it’s just because I’m practically drowning in Iron Range history research these days, but Labor Day seems a significant holiday to mark this year. After all, we see workers standing for fair pay across the Mesabi Iron Range this week. Lately I’ve been writing a lot about the transition of the region’s economy, on… Read More →

United Steelworkers to rally Thursday over contract talks

On Thursday, Aug. 30, members and supporters of the United Steelworkers will hold rallies and demonstrations across the Mesabi Iron Range. They seek to bring attention to the union’s ongoing impasse with major steelmakers over a new labor contract. This story highlights a critical moment in the economic recovery that reached the Iron Range in 2016,… Read More →

Iron Range DFL legislative primary pits Lislegard against Hainey

With so many races in the 2018 Minnesota primary, I’ve not spent much time analyzing the only legislative primary on the Mesabi Iron Range. It’s an interesting contest that will test some of my earlier theories about Iron Range politics in a new more volatile electoral environment. DFLers in House District 6B head to the… Read More →