Mixed Blood theater spotlights Iron Range culture

Sometimes I hear folks here say they don’t have a culture. Other people have cultures — people on TV, people from someplace else. But us? We’re just … regular.  Iron Range history demonstrates that a collision of many cultures produced a local culture so unique we share a distinct dialect studied by linguists. Outsiders talk… Read More →

New podcast: Meeting Mesabi

Discover the Range, the Iron Range tourism agency, recently launched a new podcast called “Meeting Mesabi. I appear on the second episode. We recorded last summer at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm. Host Ceasar Ortega, fellow guest Jordan Metsa and I talked about the fascinating history of the Iron Range and how it shaped… Read More →

Rethinking small town goals on the Iron Range

Time to time, someone tells me that their Iron Range town is boring. Nothing much happens here. Everything is old. But, historically speaking, the towns of northern Minnesota’s Mesabi, Vermilion and Cuyuna ranges are young. Only about a century has passed since their creation. They were borne of cultural chaos and political intrigue that still… Read More →

The true stories and lasting injustices of ‘the noble experiment’

United States history remembers the period between 1920 and 1933 as Prohibition. During these years the U.S. Constitution barred the production and sale of alcohol.  Historically speaking, thirteen years is neither a short time nor a long time. It’s an aberrant generation, frozen in time. Prohibition became the only constitutional amendment to be repealed. This… Read More →

Free ideas for Iron Range future

People around local politics often like to “admire problems.” In short, people like to look at problems, complain about them, even lose sleep over them, but then take few steps to actually solve those issues. Sometimes I’m reminded that talking about economic diversification for the Iron Range or the broad concept of “change” isn’t enough…. Read More →

Ancient crocodile needs our support

  A local fossil needs your support. No, I’m not talking about an Iron Range politician. I’m referring to an ancient crocodile. This particular crocodile died in the muck near modern day Calumet, Minnesota, about 90 million years ago.  You might think that it’s far too late to help this erstwhile reptile, but you’d be… Read More →

Complex scenario could put Iron Ranger in Lt. Gov. chair

It’s difficult to analyze hypothetical situations. After all, there is no guarantee that the circumstances assumed will actually occur. But there’s a particular hypothetical floating around today that’s so complex it almost feels like a game of tridimensional chess that Captain Picard used to play on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” First premise, President-elect Joe… Read More →

Redhead Mountain Bike Park looks wild

The manufactured landscape of the Iron Range looks like nothing else. It’s a cyborg. Half natural, half unnatural. Steep cliffs made by shovels, trucks, and explosives overlook deep, clear lakes that are not lakes. They’re pits dug through generations, reclaimed by a water table that once existed underground. Nature always stands ready to reclaim what… Read More →

Why livability is key to Northern Minnesota strategy

The Iron Range, all of Northern Minnesota, and most of rural America share many problems, while maintaining some unique ones. Nevertheless, we could all make good use of one potential solution: We need people. Our small towns and rural institutions were built for a certain number of people. Not a ton of people, but a… Read More →

Final MN-8 forum tonight amid release of controversial Stauber e-mails

A district judge in Duluth ruled this morning that St. Louis County must release e-mail messages exchanged between Commissioner Pete Stauber and the National Republican Congressional Committee using Stauber’s government e-mail address. UPDATE: St. Louis County released the e-mails this afternoon. The State of Minnesota previously issued an opinion that the e-mails were public records…. Read More →