People, like water, must flow somewhere

All water flows from one place to another. Water moves from high ground to low, through peat and sand, slowly cutting mighty stones into sediment. Then it changes form. Evaporates. Falling back to earth, water begins anew. I grew up in the St. Louis River watershed, specifically the Sax-Zim bog that drains into the southbound… 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 →

Hate and power on the Iron Range

As the holiday commemorating the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. drew to a close last week, we were reminded that the hate he fought remains among us. In the Mesabi Iron Range city of Virginia, someone distributed flyers touting messages of white supremacy and racial resentment. The leaflets appeared in Britt… Read More →

Make or break moment for Iron Range mining projects

I’m part of a tortured, high-strung group of people who receive regular e-mail and social media updates about the mining business. It’s part of my duty to better understand the industry that shapes Iron Range history and its current economy. And in recent months the news has been far less depressing than usual. For instance,… Read More →

Iron Range marks World Sauna Day ‘Sssssss’aturday

Saturday is World Sauna Day, an international holiday to celebrate the relaxing spiritual steam bath invented in the Nordic nation of Finland. This year, Finland also celebrates 100 years of independence from Russia and Sweden. Both holidays find their place on Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range, where large concentrations of Finnish immigrants, including some of my ancestors, arrived during the economic… Read More →

Give a hoot, disguise your toots

Here at MinnesotaBrown, I’ve been a steadfast advocate of economic diversification in Northern Minnesota. This means all sorts of new ideas; not just ones I think of myself. Thus, I am honor bound to point out this latest concept. An Iron Range couple has created a new app that camouflages personal bodily sounds to avoid awkward social… Read More →

Embarrass Fair needs new blood to carry on

I think back to the number of conversations I’ve had with Roland “Charlie” Fowler of Embarrass and I don’t think I can name one where he didn’t mention the Embarrass Regional Fair in some way or another. I even heard Fowler drop a plug for the Embarrass Fair on a CNN story about the friendly… Read More →

Casting call for new movie at Soudan mine

This Saturday, July 26, producers of the new movie “Sdanka’s War” will be holding an open casting call at the Soudan Underground Mine State Park on Northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. You need to be there by 7 a.m. The Duluth-based production by LZ Productions and Almighty Dog Entertainment is seeking “20 or more guys dressed in plain tees,… Read More →

Nation’s cold spot celebrates Laskiainen sliding festival

Northern Minnesota has drawn national headlines all month for its subzero Martian cold and hip hotspot catering cross-promotion. This weekend it will be the site of a beloved northern Minnesota Iron Range tradition: The Laskiainen Finnish sliding festival in Palo. Laskiainen is a midwinter custom that came over with the Finnish immigrants who were among… Read More →

Hell’s Kitchen to raise cold cash for Embarrass, MN

It’s getting cold in northern Minnesota again. I’m not sure if it’s colder than Mars like it was a couple weeks ago, but adequately cold and getting colder. We talked about the cold on Northern Community Radio’s Between You and Me last Saturday, in which I shared an expanded version  of my “Insider Tips on… Read More →