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 →

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 →