Iron Range parades, street dances and fireworks

As a young kid I marched in the Keewatin Fourth of July parade as a patriotic penguin, Donald Duck, and other flag-festooned creatures. As an older kid I remember piling into a car with my friends, touring Range towns for street dances and fireworks. Before cell phones we would often try to anticipate where we… Read More →

Highway 53 bridge opens this week

After a short delay from an optimistic August opening, the Minnesota Department of Transportation will open the new Highway 53 bridge this Friday, Sept. 15. This nearly quarter-billion dollar project reroutes Highways 53 and 135 on the east central Iron Range, creating the state’s new tallest bridge over the Rouchleau Pit outside Virginia, Minn. The… Read More →

Highway 53 bridge name contest down to final vote

Nearly complete, the Highways 53 and 135 rerouting project between the Mesabi Iron Range towns of Virginia, Eveleth and Gilbert will be Northern Minnesota’s largest, most expensive infrastructure project of our generation. The showpiece of the whole thing is a new Highway 53 bridge spanning the Rouchleau Pit outside Virginia. That bridge is almost done…. Read More →

Iron Range readies for state’s tallest bridge

I’ve been covering the progress of the massive rerouting of Highways 53 and 135 on the east-central Mesabi Iron Range in Northern Minnesota. Though I’ve questioned the routing and expense of this quarter-billion dollar project, the massive 1,100-foot high bridge on Highway 53 now nears completion. And no matter your opinion, it’s a marvel. Officials… Read More →

Power plays go beyond hockey on the Mesabi Iron Range

This week the state hockey tournament takes place in St. Paul. This sporting spectacle doubles as a cultural celebration for the people of the North Star State. Once, the whole state bowed to the gods of hockey from our beloved blue collar Mesabi Iron Range. Today, however, the big suburban schools dominate the competition. The… Read More →

The night Ali lit the torch in Gilbert

I spent most of the summer of 1996 nocturnal. Even though I couldn’t tell you much about those days, the nights seemed hotter and more humid than average. This was Northern Minnesota’s Iron Range, a place where winter cold gets more press than the deceptive heat of summer. I was 16. It was my first summer with a driver’s license,… Read More →

Highway 53 bridge progress seen from the air

The Highway 53 bridge project between Eveleth and Virginia, Minnesota, continues to develop at a fast pace. Sure, the mine that required the major state highway to be rerouted, United Taconite, is still idled. And yes, this project involves snaking a new road around a man-made mountain, constructing the state’s tallest bridge across a mine pit,… Read More →

RAMS hires Dicklich as state lobbyist

The Range Association of Municipalities and Schools (RAMS) hired former executive director Ron Dicklich as its state lobbyist this past week, according to Bill Hanna in the Mesabi Daily News. You might recall RAMS at the center of a controversy last spring when State. Sen. David Tomassoni was hired to succeed Dicklich as executive direct despite… Read More →

Feds OK environmental review on Highway 53 project

Federal regulators have approved the environmental review for the Highway 53 relocation project on Northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. The state seeks to move the existing road — a vital north-south artery for the whole region — to accommodate an old agreement with mining interests who wish to extract iron ore beneath the current road. The… Read More →

Highway 53 funding part of bonding bill deal

State leaders are announcing that a $373 million bonding bill will be part of the upcoming special legislative session, including $140 million in funding for the Highway 53 relocation/bridge project that fizzled out at the end of the regular session. From Patrick Condon in the Star Tribune: Dayton has yet to call a special session, which… Read More →