Iron Range hope more vital than nostalgia

On the Mesabi Iron Range, our society rests upon the achievements of this region’s fading youth. We speak of our ancestors’ hungry demand for better working conditions and pay. We memorialize their desire to build schools and small towns to elevate humans from the morass. Yes, we call this history and print it on our… Read More →

Iron Range readies for state’s tallest bridge

I’ve been covering the progress of the massive rerouting of Highways 53 and 135 on the east-central Mesabi Iron Range in Northern Minnesota. Though I’ve questioned the routing and expense of this quarter-billion dollar project, the massive 1,100-foot high bridge on Highway 53 now nears completion. And no matter your opinion, it’s a marvel. Officials… Read More →

Iron Range Fourth of July 2017

It’s time for another Iron Range Fourth of July in Northern Minnesota. Regardless of economic or political winds, the region always unites for its uniquely exuberant observation of Independence Day, which lasts several days (up to a month) as celebrated in local custom. Below is MinnesotaBrown’s 2017 Iron Range Fourth of July listing for parades, fireworks displays and street… Read More →

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 →

Lyric Center seeks to spark downtown Virginia revival

This Friday, June 16, the Lyric Center for the Arts in downtown Virginia, Minnesota, will hold a silent film festival to raise money for its long range restoration plans. The event will feature brews from Castle Danger brewery in Northern Minnesota and a wide range of classic silent films like the ones that would have… Read More →

To build Iron Range economic hopes we must keep working


The steam cloud pouring out of the stack at Keewatin Taconite once again guides my daily commute from the wilds of Itasca County into Hibbing. For nearly two years, the eastern sky bore only the unforgiving blaze of the sun. Now fluffy white billows remind that hundreds of miners are back at work. Unfortunately, KeeTac’s… Read More →

Orchids to Mesabi Daily News for Onion reform

The world boasts no shortage of internet trolls. Anonymous criticism, partisan blather, all designed to divide and demean members of the community. Rarely, however, does the anonymous vile of your average online comments section get full page treatment in the printed editorial page of a daily newspaper. For the past two decades, however, the Saturday… Read More →

Biofuel politics puts loggers in a bind

Logging is a tough business. In the old days logging meant back-breaking labor with axes and saws — one of the most dangerous jobs on Earth. It still is one of the most dangerous jobs, but also one of the most economically challenging. Axes and saws have given way to hundreds of thousands of dollars… Read More →

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 →