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 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 →

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 →

When profits pile costs on people

My latest column for the Minnesota Reformer is out today, this one tackling the rising cost of housing and health care that most affects working class people. The piece is called “Cost of living is our harshest tax.” Here’s a taste: We’ve all experienced economic inflation this past year. Consumer costs rise along with commodity… Read More →

Virtual Chef’s Gala fundraiser show returns this week

You might recall that earlier this winter I was supposed to co-host the Second Harvest North Central Food Bank Chef’s Gala fundraiser program. Unfortunately, the show was postponed due to a COVID-19 spike in Itasca and Crow Wing counties. The event will return this Thursday, April 28 at 6:30 p.m. amid an improved COVID situation… Read More →

Ondara to play Hibbing HS auditorium April 23

This Saturday, April 23, the singer-songwriter Ondara will appear on the Hibbing High School auditorium stage. Northern Community Radio presents the free concert at 7 p.m. thanks to a grant from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Though pre-ordered tickets were available at, additional seating will be available first come, first served on… Read More →

We are in the automated future

It started long ago. Big trucks and steam shovels replaced small hoppers filled by men with spades. Machines took over for pinsetters at the bowling alley. Before long we were pumping our own gas. Now we scan our own groceries, making sure to check the codes on the bananas before ringing up our purchase, paying,… Read More →

Bakk decision makes big news

Thursday’s announcement that State Sen. Tom Bakk would retire from the legislature made big news around Minnesota. My blog post yesterday was reprinted in the Minnesota Reformer, so check that out if you missed it. I also appeared on CBS 3 in Duluth and KBJR with analysis about the race. You can check out that… Read More →

As Bakk retires, unpredictable new era begins on the Iron Range

Though I have been on an extended hiatus from daily political blogging, I find it hard to leave certain events without comment. Thus, today, we observe the end of an era in Iron Range politics and the beginning of a shapeless and developing new order. This morning, State Sen. Tom Bakk (I-Cook) announced that he… Read More →