Ya, I guess I do have an accent then

Folks, it’s been brought to my attention that I have a Minnesota accent. It’s true. I didn’t believe it either. But last month I toured with a Swedish journalist researching mining in Northern Minnesota. In English better than most of my relatives, he concluded by saying he just had to ask me about my accent…. Read More →

Veda Ponikvar: America’s Iron Lady

Veda Ponikvar, founder and publisher of two Chisholm newspapers, esteemed American civilian military leader, and arguably the most powerful person in Iron Range politics of the latter 20th Century, died Tuesday in Chisholm at the age of 96. One could remark that Ponikvar was the most consequential women in the male-dominated industrial history of the Iron Range…. Read More →

Twilight for the unlovable chair

NOTE: Today’s column is a condensed version of a monologue I did in the Sept. 19, 2015 Great Northern Radio Show which re-airs today at 11 a.m. on Northern Community Radio and will be made available as a podcast in coming days. *** My wife and I have a term for the decorating style of our… Read More →

Somebody in the crowd

People get a certain look on their faces as they shuffle about events like this weekend’s St. Louis County Fair. They abruptly look up from their phones or fried snack with sudden optimism, a hopeful gaze that pierces even dark sunglasses. They’re looking for something or someone: a change agent to liven their world. Most… Read More →

A more fashionable future for the Iron Range

Fashion has never been my forte. I often dress in the dark by feeling for the most comfortable fabrics in the closet. Last semester, an art major sitting in the front row of my class informed me that my old grey shirt was, in fact, green. Time finally taught me why my father wears one… Read More →

A short version of the longest day

Of all the birds in the forest, crows are the most likely to wake you up. Leave the window open on the morning of a summer solstice and they call from the tall dead tree. Don’t miss this! Don’t miss this! This is the longest day of the year. Some coffee drinkers might disagree, but… Read More →

On Graduation Day

Graduation Day is so much cliché, so much Pomp and Circumstance that they even named the song for it. You dress your best — new tie and dad’s clip, blue dress and subtle flash of white camisole — only to cover all with a plastic table cloth from the dollar store, topping your round head… Read More →

Local blog still breathing, feeling fine

For a community college instructor, the end of the school year is a wondrous time — but not particularly conducive to blog output. News, views and cultural tidbits swirl about as always, yet my keystrokes are needed elsewhere. Look for my Sunday column, followed by some new content next week that I think you’ll enjoy. I’ll be here if… Read More →

The forgotten dome city of Northern Minnesota

One of the most compelling aspects of studying history are the “what-ifs” of our past. In our personal lives “what-ifs” can drive us mad — “What if I?” “Why didn’t she? If only he” — but in the abstract “what-ifs” make for enjoyable party talk. Since I don’t go to parties (I have children) I’ll… Read More →

Another Range boy heads down highway for blood & spoils

Today I am on my way to the Twin Cities to prepare for tomorrow night’s Great Northern Radio Show in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. It’s our 14th program, the first show we’ve done in the metro area after almost four years of touring small towns and cities in Northern Minnesota. Growing up on the Iron Range — especially as… Read More →