Cliffs offer to buy U.S. Steel portends shakeup in Iron Range mining

Today, I have a news analysis piece running in the Minnesota Reformer: “Cliffs offer to buy U.S. Steel holds huge implications for the Iron Range.” On Sunday, the two biggest iron ore and steelmaking companies on the Iron Range signaled discussions that could lead to a consequential sale. U.S. Steel announced it was fielding offers… Read More →

Why no Fourth of July schedule?

Longtime readers know that for the past several years I’ve prepared a concise listing of Iron Range Fourth of July parades, street dances and fireworks displays. It was routinely among the most popular posts I produced each year as thousands read and shared the schedule with friends and families. I’ve decided not to produce this… Read More →

Curtain opens on new era of Iron Range performances

You may have seen my column from last weekend, “Final Goodman show marks new era on Iron Range.” I marked the end of an era with the closure of the Goodman Auditorium and the dedication of the new Rock Ridge school. On Tuesday, I appeared on Minnesota Public Radio’s “Minnesota Now” with Cathy Wurzer to… Read More →

Notes from the basement

The world seems awash with news and events I’d have blogged about in recent years. Mining industry scuttlebutt. Duluth fighter jets shooting down UFOs. Fortunately, some other writers are on the job, including Jerry Burnes and Leah Ryan of the new Iron Range Today. It was no surprise that former State Sen. Tom Bakk signed… Read More →

MinnesotaBrown’s Top Posts of 2022

↔ Another year has come and gone, and what reason — what good reason — could I give you to look back at my written work of 2022? Are we not awash in such tripe? Is there no end to the vainglory that impels the propagation of a “website” run by a “newspaper columnist”?  Well,… Read More →

Tensions over potential mine closure boil over days before election

I wrote several different versions of a post yesterday after news broke and then unbroke regarding the potential closure of Hibbing Taconite. Fortunately, I was too busy to post any of them before newer information came in. So today I wrote a piece for the Minnesota Reformer analyzing the complex economic and political storm brewing… Read More →

New disc golf course in Balsam Township

Please indulge a proud dad moment. Our oldest son Henry Brown was featured on WDIO News last night for his Eagle Scout project. Raising almost $7,000 in cash and in-kind donations, with the help of 24 volunteers, Henry built a nine-hole disc golf course at Balsam Community Park near our home in the woods. He… Read More →

Core Conversations on the future of mining in northern Minnesota

Last Friday I made my television hosting debut with a special episode of Almanac North on WDSE. It’s part of a quarterly series called “Core Conversations.” This one focused on the future of the mining industry in northern Minnesota. You can view the episode in the embedded video above or by following the link. Guests… Read More →

Brown on the Air: TV hosting debut on Almanac North

Though I wish this would have happened 15 years and six stones ago, I’ll be making my television news hosting debut this Friday, Oct. 7, in Duluth. As a print and radio-trained journalist, I view this as a mildly terrifying exercise in experimental broadcasting. At 8 p.m., you can watch a special episode of Almanac North… Read More →

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 →