Scenic Range NewsForum to cease publication

Another local newspaper bites the dust, this one on the western Mesabi Iron Range. On Tuesday, the Scenic Range NewsForum announced that the weekly newspaper will cease publication at the end of 2020. The newspaper published for decades at the Scenic Range News out of Bovey, Minnesota. The name refers to the local belief that… Read More →

Iron Range state hockey hopes skate with Greenway

The Minnesota State High School boys class “A” hockey tournament begins today, always a cultural touchstone in this part of the world. Living in the Iron Range region of Northern Minnesota means dwelling among fever dreams of this state competition. Men and women are driven mad by title hopes, and sometimes spend a lifetime rueing… Read More →

Just nine miles remain on ‘Cross-Range Expressway’

I’ve told this story before, but my grandfather served on the Keewatin City Council in the 1960s. One of the most important pieces of city business at the time was largely out of his control. The state of Minnesota decided to rebuild Highway 169 as a four-lane highway, bypassing the city of Keewatin and many… Read More →

West Range Itasca County race takes shape

Last week I reported a vacancy on the Itasca County Board after Mark Mandich resigned his District 5 seat on the western Mesabi Iron Range. Two candidates emerged over the past few days. Ben DeNucci Nashwauk Mayor Ben DeNucci said he was running for the Itasca County Board. DeNucci owns a bar in Nashwauk and… Read More →

Itasca County commissioner resigns

Commissioner Mark Mandich resigned his seat on the Itasca County Board this week. The board accepted Mandich’s resignation at their meeting Tuesday. My sources tell me that Mandich cites health problems as his reason for stepping down. The Itasca County Board authorized a vacancy, instructing the county auditor to prepare a special election. Details on… Read More →

Report: Evidence of discrimination at Greenway school

Earlier this week I wrote a piece about the need for empathy amid racial discord on the Iron Range, mentioning the story of Isaiah Gatimu, a former Greenway student who faced racially-motivated harassment and later took his own life. The Scenic Range News Forum obtained a copy of the report from the Minnesota Department of… Read More →

A schoolhouse divided will not stand

Last week, the Nashwauk-Keewatin School Board voted to dissolve its shared services agreement with the Greenway School District on the western Mesabi Iron Range. Days later Greenway also backed away from most elements of the partnership. This marks the end of an experiment exposing many hard truths about the future of school and community collaboration on the Iron Range…. Read More →

Scenic Range NewsForum expands web presence

The Scenic Range NewsForum on the western Mesabi Iron Range recently launched its new website, a mobile-optimized site that tosses aside its clunky PDF reader-style predecessor. Along with this comes news that the Scenic snatched the low bid for becoming Itasca County’s newspaper of record, leaving the Grand Rapids Herald-Review to this painfully defensive story. As… Read More →

Highway 169 expansion makes road project list

Big news on the western Mesabi: The 40-year dream of a “cross-Range expressway” is every-so-slightly closer to reality. From a Rep. Tom Anzelc (DFL-Balsam Township) press release: ST. PAUL, MN – Today, Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) announced ten highway construction projects slated to receive funding through the state’s new… Read More →

Range town mergers could protect jobs, services

One of the under-reported outcomes of last Tuesday’s off-year local elections was the overwhelming vote by the northern Minnesota communities of Carlton and Thomson to merge. In local media, this was portrayed as the simple matter of tiny Thomson’s overworked mayor and staff. In practice, however, these towns are providing a blueprint for many small… Read More →