Schmit leads on MN rural broadband

I don’t like to fawn too much over elected officials, even the ones who are my friends. But OMG I’m in full senator crush mode over State Sen. Matt Schmit (DFL-Red Wing) and his recent interview with Brian Lampert in MinnPost about the vital role of rural broadband in Minnesota’s future. Schmit was one of the… Read More →

Emerald ash borer, meet Polar Vortex

One of the stories bandied about amid the Polar Vortex of the past few days was the theory that this frigid cold might help knock back the emerald ash borer threat in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. Ash borer larvae die off when the temperature is sustained below zero for several days. It would take extremely… Read More →

Court rules against Timberjay information request

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in a case with wide-reaching public information implications last week, declaring that a private contractor employed by an Iron Range school district did not have to divulge data to the Timberjay newspaper. The Timberjay information request, led by its publisher Marshall Helmberger, sought more information about the multi-million dollar St…. Read More →

Did we win Cold War, or just ‘Get Lucky?’

To quote Rocky Balboa after his stirring fictional defeat of Ivan Drago in Rocky IV: “During this fight, I’ve seen a lot of changing, in the way you feel about me, and in the way I feel about you. In here, there were two guys killing each other, but I guess that’s better than twenty… Read More →

William Jennings Bryan in Duluth

I played the narrator role of the “Stage Manager” in my high school junior year production of “Our Town.” I remember giving a line about how William Jennings Bryan once spoke in Grover’s Corners, a sign of some strange and isolated collision between this small town and the churn of national events. The Zenith City… Read More →

Metrodome roof enjoys second life as many, many bags

The “Domer” bags, Duluth Pack Minnesotans of my GenX/Y vintage have distinct memories of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, an historical oddity in sports stadiums. It is, essentially, an inflatable stadium. It’s loud. The roof is the exact same color as a baseball. The Twins would move out to Target Field in 2010. It was… Read More →

Close-up video of mosquito bite: cool, gross, informative

Minnesota residents are well aware of mosquitoes, often referred to as the unofficial state bird. In northern Minnesota they are a particular factor in the enjoyment of the outdoors, and here in the deep woods of northern Minnesota where I live mosquitoes are a constant consideration between May and September. I think we all get… Read More →

Never mind #SharkWeek, this is #AsianCarpCentury

Progress Illinois Sure, those Great White Sharks on the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” are menacing, to the point that this cable channel’s annual tradition gets a Macklemore shout-out. But you know what? Sharks don’t bother me. We’re in the Midwest, for one, and we’re thousands of miles from salt water. Plus, Mayor Don Ness of… Read More →

Generation driven to find reality amid false fronts

Last week, Nate Silver of, announced he was leaving his partnership with the New York Times to take his unique brand of data-driven journalism to the goliath sports network ESPN. He’ll still be covering national elections with poll analysis, a real boon to sister network ABC, but the bulk of his number crunching will… Read More →

From the many, one mighty river to the sea

Slate shared this graphic of the tributaries of the Mississippi River. Here in northern Minnesota we’re well aware the river officially starts here, over in Clearwater County, flowing small and gentle through nearby towns like Grand Rapids and Brainerd. But if North America has one true river, it is this one. I also enjoy seeing… Read More →