Local autonomous vehicles drive change

Someone has to be the first. In 1922, a Paris tailor named Franz Reichelt jumped off the Eifel Tower with a homemade parachute suit. He died, of course, but this was part of a process.  A century later, adventurers scream through canyons in sleek wing suits while recording YouTube videos from their helmets. Better material…. Read More →

Amid ‘disruption,’ the people deserve their share

Our language pulses with buzzwords, twists of phrase that sound substantial but can’t be defined. One such word is “disruption.” The last 10 years, it would seem, have been a time of disruption. Disruption, we are told, is really just an opportunity for the bold, the brilliant, and the worthy to seize success. LinkedIn, prosperity… Read More →

Spitting bile won’t bring economic success

Last week, the Mesabi Tribune reported that Huber Engineered Woods will build its next plant in Mississippi. Months ago they opted not to build that plant at Cohasset in northern Minnesota. Huber pulled out after a legal challenge from the neighboring Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe required them to submit more detailed environmental paperwork. The… Read More →

Rural housing prices rise with changing times

Memorial Day weekend approaches, a time when residents of northern Minnesota welcome the residents of southern Minnesota for the long weekend. Perhaps before you log off to enjoy the next few days you might read my latest for the Minnesota Reformer, “The northland has its own housing crisis.” Summer custom dictates that visitors from the… Read More →

Beaver dams inspire bad ideas

Setting off an explosion that floods your neighbors’ property sounds bad. I guess it is bad. But I see how it might happen. Last month in northern Michigan’s Montmorency County, a man shoved a large block of Tannerite into a beaver dam near his property. Tannerite is a kind of explosive used in firearm targets…. Read More →

Snacks, dogs and rock ‘n’ roll

Music festivals are to the music-loving introvert what a seed catalogue is to the over-enthusiastic gardener. They seem like a good idea months in advance of what will actually become hard work. And, like any hard work, the results are worth it. (Though, usually, not until well after the fact). Last weekend, my wife Christina… Read More →

Veritas et scientia: e pluribus unum

Graduation day approaches for five northeastern Minnesota community and technical colleges. And as it so happens, this will be the last graduation day before the beginning of a new era in the region’s long tradition of higher education. The festivities start Tuesday, May 10, when commencement takes place at Vermilion Community College in Ely. Vermilion… Read More →

Virtual Chef’s Gala fundraiser show returns this week

You might recall that earlier this winter I was supposed to co-host the Second Harvest North Central Food Bank Chef’s Gala fundraiser program. Unfortunately, the show was postponed due to a COVID-19 spike in Itasca and Crow Wing counties. The event will return this Thursday, April 28 at 6:30 p.m. amid an improved COVID situation… Read More →

Five northeastern Minnesota colleges merge

Today the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees approved the merger of five northeastern Minnesota community and technical colleges. The colleges include Hibbing Community College, Itasca Community College, Mesabi Range College, Rainy River Community College and Vermilion Community College. The new college will be called Minnesota North College with campuses in Ely, Eveleth,… Read More →

Second Harvest Chef’s Gala event rescheduled

Perhaps you read my column about macaroni and cheese (and food insecurity) from last Sunday. I was going to host a special webcast to raise money for Second Harvest North Central Food Bank’s annual Chef’s Gala this Thursday. Unfortunately, I learned yesterday that the event will be rescheduled for April 28 due to COVID-19 concerns… Read More →