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 →

The end of ‘Vanity’ stores, mainstay of Minnesota malls

KFGO Radio in Fargo reports that Vanity is closing all 140 of its stores in 27 states, including the ones found in malls across Northern Minnesota. The move is part of a bankruptcy that company executives from the 60-year-old Fargo-based clothing store chain blame on competition from online retailers. According to KFGO, Vanity employs up… Read More →

New Highway 53 bridge on track for 2017 opening

Construction continues on the new Highways 53 and 135 bridges between Eveleth and Virginia. Drone cameras continue to document the process, giving us all a clear picture of the progress. When complete, the Highway 53 bridge will become the tallest bridge in Minnesota. The entire project is expected to cost $240 million. Thus, this easily represents… 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 →

Hwy 53 bridge work spans cold Iron Range winter

We woke up to 32 below in my western corner of the Mesabi Iron Range this morning. Unlike other parts of the country, that’s a matter of personal comfort. It would take even colder conditions to disrupt routine. Minnesotans may not like, but generally can handle such temperatures. After all, the vast majority work indoors, where… Read More →

Range editor Hanna survives harrowing health scare

On Thanksgiving, Bill Hanna of the Mesabi Daily News wrote a heartfelt personal column. That’s not an unusual assignment for the editor of the Iron Range’s biggest daily newspaper, but the subject matter probably surprised many. Hanna wrote of his recovery from a heart attack and near-death experience, publicly explaining why his byline has been… Read More →

Time runs out for Northland Building

In a follow-up to an earlier story, St. Louis County will demolish the historic Northland Building in Virginia, Minnesota, next year, according to this Jerry Burnes report in the Mesabi Daily News. The building is owned by St. Louis County, which seeks to replace the facility with a new office complex. Attempts to find new tenants or a new… Read More →

Murder loons show mercy on baby duck

Loyal readers of this site might recall a post last year detailing the fixation on murderous black birds shared by contributors to the Mesabi Daily News “Orchids and Onions” section. Nothing is sacred to the hardcore Onionites of the eastern Mesabi: certainly not even Minnesota’s State Bird: the common loon. “Open your eyes!” wrote one… Read More →

Shred some trail on Lookout Mountain

On Thursday, Sept. 22, the U.S. Forest Service and Iron Range Off-Road Cyclists (IROC) will celebrate the opening of the Lookout Mountain Multi-Use Trail system. This new single-track mountain bike trail and recreational area hugs the Laurentian Divide overlook just off Highway 53 north of Virginia, Minnesota. From the U.S. Forest Service press release: Local mountain… Read More →

Help on the way for St. Louis County workers

County government is probably the most overlooked part of our democracy, and yet in Minnesota it’s the point of contact for the people who need the most help. This includes the messy work of law enforcement, child protection and family welfare, social services and the very apparatus of humane treatment of our citizens. When county government… Read More →