Community builds strength to save health facility

In building fitness, our greatest obstacle is often ourselves. That’s true in building community, too.  Here on the Iron Range, people aren’t shy about what they want. On social media, people demand more chain restaurants. Sports complexes seem to beget calls for even more sports complexes. These are the desirable outcroppings of healthy communities, the… 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 →

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 →

Ready, set, revitalize

They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. That’s true, but the success of that journey also depends upon packing a bag with snacks, supplies, and anti-chaffing creams. So it goes for diversifying the economy and winning the future of the Mesabi Iron Range. Success won’t appear all at once…. 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 →

Iron Range 4th of July returns with gusto in 2021

Today I present one of my favorite annual features at MinnesotaBrown: the annual Fourth of July weekend lineup of Iron Range regional parades, street dances and fireworks displays. I’ve only been posting my newspaper columns this year as I finish my book. But I just had to come out of my book-writing cave to put… Read More →

The world changed and it’s not changing back

The iron mines run hot. Houses sell fast. Cars and trucks fly off the dealership lots, to the point where some customers must wait to buy one at all. Anyone raised amid the booms and busts of the Mesabi Iron Range would recognize this as a boom. And yet, dissatisfaction oozes from local dialogue. The… Read More →

Gearing for a century in spin

In recent weeks my wife and I have been thinking about buying a car. We haven’t decided on one, nor are we in a hurry, but it’s been fascinating to research different vehicles.  Being from the Iron Range I always think about where cars are made before buying one. In the case of modern cars,… Read More →

Northern Minnesota has what you need

What do you need to live? You need air, of course. Food and water. Shelter.  Once you have these you may think about the other things you need. You need friendship, family and love. You need a sense of purpose, to believe that your efforts matter. And finally, once you have these things, you might… Read More →

Cure for waning political power is more people

It is again time to tabulate the U.S. Census, an incredibly boring task that affects every aspect of our state and federal government.  As with most complicated topics — taxes, First Century scrolls, technology — it’s easy for people to hold outrageous, illogical views without any real consequences. After all, who really knows? That’s why… Read More →