Iron Range parades, street dances & fireworks for Independence Day 2022

My tradition of sharing a concise, convenient listing of Fourth of July weekend parades, street dances and fireworks displays in northern Minnesota’s Iron Range region continues in 2022. This is a small miracle. I was very close to throwing in the towel this year. One son’s travel baseball schedule demands a lot of time in… Read More →

A summer update from the writer

I’m not sure how many of you remember the days when I would report 3-7 times a week with news from northern Minnesota politics, business and culture. It’s been a few years since I’ve tried to maintain that schedule. What you see here at MinnesotaBrown these days are my Mesabi Tribune newspaper columns and commentaries… Read More →

The real value in recycling

Just the word “recycling” conjures a rapid eye movement flashback to countless hours of schoolroom filmstrips, TV commercials, mediocre class presentations, and low stakes political squabbles.  You can see it now, can’t you? Yes, the logo spins circular arrows. The grinning planet Earth sprouts an anthropomorphic arm to flash a thumbs up. (No one asks… Read More →

The persistent appeal of boondoggles

boon·dog·gle/ˈbo͞onˌdäɡəl/(1) work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value.(2) a public project of questionable merit that typically involves political patronage or graft.~ From the Oxford Languages dictionary When a debate boils down to “doing something useful” vs. “doing nothing,” politicians often reach compromise in “doing something useless.” This represents… Read More →

Juneteenth: America’s freedom and future

Today is Juneteenth.  On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers informed enslaved people near Galveston, Texas, that they were now free. The date was colloquially referred to as Juneteenth. From that day forward, it became a celebrated holiday among these newly freed people. Within African-American communities, Juneteenth stood as America’s “Second Independence Day.” That’s a good way… Read More →

When history and entrepreneurship collide

Editing work on my book, “Power in the Wilderness” continues. I finished the manuscript, but it’s way too long and will take months to carve down to size. You’re going to like the end product, though. Victor Power comes across as a fully formed Shakespearian character. His life and death will fascinate longtime Iron Rangers… Read More →

Sun’s out, bugs out

Entomologists say the lives of mosquitoes consist of four distinct stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. But I posit that several additional stages of mosquito life have yet to be documented in scientific papers. Allow me to elaborate. It’s true; egg, larva and pupa stages take place in water. And yes, adult mosquitoes then emerge… Read More →

When the storm comes

Every storm begins not with a gust of wind or a raindrop, but rather with a premonition of change. The air thickens. At once the songbirds fall silent. Busy squirrels disappear from the corner of the yard. Deer find shelter out of the wind despite their desperate instinctual desire to graze on freshly greened grass. … Read More →

Talented couple dazzled Range baseball league in 1915

The belated, perhaps even aggressive arrival of spring this year draws attention to the sport of baseball. For me, baseball season means driving all over hell and back with our son’s travel team. But baseball was an even bigger deal a century ago. And in researching the past, I found a remarkable Iron Range story… Read More →

Seeds of hope despite the odds

Well, it finally happened. I talked to the beans.  Gardening does not come naturally to me. I was raised on my family’s junkyard where vegetation grew mostly out of spite, certainly without the aid of human hands. But in recent years I’ve taken over the role of household gardener from my wife after she classified… Read More →