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 →

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 →

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 →

Making sense of horses

Early in my teaching career I invited my community college students to introduce themselves on the first day of class. One young woman said, “I’m a horse person.” For some inexplicable reason this made no sense to me. “Horse person?” I replied incredulously. “Yes,” she said. “Horse.” “Yeah.” “Person.” “That’s right.” “Like, a centaur?” I… Read More →

Veritas et scientia: e pluribus unum

Graduation day approaches for five northeastern Minnesota community and technical colleges. And as it so happens, this will be the last graduation day before the beginning of a new era in the region’s long tradition of higher education. The festivities start Tuesday, May 10, when commencement takes place at Vermilion Community College in Ely. Vermilion… Read More →

When the road is off

It occurs to me, for all the rugged off-roading we see in television ads, we never see a vehicle driving down a gravel road in northern Minnesota just before the frost thaws. There’s a reason for that. These magical pickup trucks and all-terrain sport utility vehicles seem to work just fine spraying a perfect wave… Read More →

Awesome ‘Blossom’ shows Hibbing memory in ‘Jeopardy’

You might remember the old Zimmy’s restaurant on Howard Street in Hibbing. Boomtown is there now, but for several decades this was a bar and grill that paid tribute to Hibbing’s hometown singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. For years, the only picture in the place that didn’t include Bob Dylan was a framed, autographed headshot of the… Read More →