Tag Archives: Minnesota

Duluth, Beauty, Gratitude, and the Meaning of Home – by Rachel Weyenberg. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Duluth, Beauty, Gratitude, and the Meaning of Home – by Rachel Weyenberg. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

[Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia ]

Continue reading

27 Comments

Filed under North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

The Somali Diaspora in Minnesota – Immigration Stories – by Megan Gonrowski. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The Somali Diaspora in Minnesota – Immigration Stories – by Megan Gonrowski. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

[The outline of Somalia and Minnesota woven together]

Continue reading

22 Comments

Filed under Megan Gonrowski, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

Seek Not Afar for Beauty – by Jemma Provance. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Seek Not Afar for Beauty – by Jemma Provance. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

jemmabeauty1

I have a deep appreciation for all things lovely. That being said, it pained me growing up that all the prettiest things in town were the Styrofoam facades on the front of the hardware stores. Plural.

In former summers, I was free to take road trips to prettier parts of the state, travel to Stillwater with touring choirs, and go absolutely anywhere that was nicer than Roseau, Minnesota. This included travel blogs that seeped wanderlust into my bloodstream with every clicked picture of towering redwoods and misty mountains and a whole host of things nowhere near my lonely little hometown.

jemmabeauty2

Finally, when I was seventeen left the continent to see my first mountains in Britain and Ireland. My little soul, reared in a flyover state landlocked by cornfields ten miles south of the Canadian border, was enthralled with the unfailingly lovely Old World, that even in the middle of town refused to lie flat, spilling its vegetation onto stone walls and overflowing iron gates and thatched roofs with flowering plants. Cobbled little towns were full of cathedrals built before minimalism overtook our increasingly industrial species. Rolling mountainsides full of sheep and heather seared themselves into the backs of my eyelids, and bits of my heart fell like breadcrumbs the farther the return plane got from the Emerald Isle.

I realize, now, how farsighted this was. John Green, one of my favorite writers and people, was once showing his two-year-old son the way way a fog shrouded a valley in mist, cozying into the trees like a pearly flood in the early morning light. A two-year-old was much more interested in a nearby leaf. While initially frustrated, he looked down and realized all the little fractaled veins in the autumn leaf that had fallen mid-change so it was now a perfect fade from bright orange to a dull green. The level of beauty one experiences, even one from a little gas-station town like mine, lies not with how far you travel, but how closely you look.

Now, when I drive through town, I see the little nooks that previously escaped my notice. Our neighborhood coffee and brunch place is cute. We have many a wooded park. The local greenhouse sells clocks and wind chimes and all the fixings of an old-world-esque garden. Not only all this, but my own yard is a secluded wonderland of wooded nooks and tiny fractals that previously escaped my notice. The inside of my house, at certain times of the day, was filled with a golden light that, impossibly, made the darkest corners glow with a knowing satisfaction.

jemmabeauty3

I still would rather be most other places than Roseau. I’m still an aspiring world traveler with a growing list of cathedrals to see and mountains to hike. But when an exhausting job keeps my summer skin shackled to this scrappy bit of real estate, leaving the travel blogs at home and exploring your own yard, I find, is an acceptable substitute. Go not abroad for happiness, for see a flow’r at thy door.

Jemma serves as an editor for The North Star Reports.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

35 Comments

Filed under Jemma Provance, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

Iron Range, Minnesota – Home on the Range – by Molly Enich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Iron Range, Minnesota – Home on the Range – by Molly Enich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

mollyiron1

[First picture: Chisholm High School, built 1912]

“Cabin country” is what people from the Twin Cities refer to the area north of Duluth as. However, this isn’t cabin country to me. It’s where I was born and raised. The Iron Range is a streak of iron ore-rich land that stretches 110 miles from Grand Rapids to Ely. More than twenty small towns with an average population of 3,000 people each are strung along the line of ore that is mined for steel. The red dirt and scarred land from more than 100 years of open-pit ore mining are telltale signs you are on the Iron Range.

Iron ore, which is the raw material for steel, was discovered on the Iron Range in the late 1800’s. The area was first mined underground, but then transitioned to open-pit mining in the early 1900’s. Years of open pit mining have created towering piles of rejected iron ore and huge “pits” that are now filled with water.

The Iron Range’s mining industry has always been globally connected. The area was the main producer of ore that was shipped to steel mills throughout both world wars. Between 1941 and 1945, the Iron Range produced 338 million tons of ore, which accounted for 90% of the nation’s output. The area grew to its fullest capacity during the war, but when it ended, the region started its slow decline. The high grade iron ore supply was finally depleting after nearly 100 years of steady mining, so the mines switched to mining a lower grade ore called taconite. With only 6 remaining mines on the Range today, the area still produces 50% of the nation’s ore. However, the mining industry is vulnerable to national and global economic cycles.

mollyiron2

[Second Picture: Downtown Chisholm where nearly 1/3rd of the buildings are empty]

National and global demands for iron ore cause cycles of boom and bust on the Iron Range. Because the mining industry dominates the local economy, every business is affected by the mines highs and lows. If production in the mines is increased, the whole economy receives a boost and businesses flourish. However, if the mines lay off their workers, local grocery stores, shops, and businesses feel the effects as well. Because the mines have been in a steady decline for over 15 years, downtown businesses have closed leaving the main streets of towns nearly empty.

With few opportunities for jobs that aren’t involved with the mining industry, many people move to larger cities in search of more opportunities. Since 1982, the population has declined by nearly 20,000 people. Empty houses, streets, and storefronts make some towns feel abandoned. There are also more young people moving away from the Iron Range, which has caused class sizes at local schools to decline by 60%.

I graduated from Chisholm High School in 2014 with a class of 38 people. I knew everyone’s middle name, their dog’s name, and what their hobbies were. Although we were a very small school, it was fun to know everyone as well as I did. The teachers I had throughout high school were some of the same ones that taught my parents. Even while I was in class, there was no forgetting what the local industry was. Every Wednesday at 11:30, our 100-year-old school would rumble and shake from the aftershocks of the nearby mine’s blasting the ground to expose more iron ore.

mollyiron3

[Third Picture: Pillsbury mine pit near Chisholm]

Even though the Iron Range is in a state of steady economic and population decline, it was a great place to grow up. It has a small town feel where everyone knows your last name or who your grandparents are. It’s a land full of hundreds of lakes and acres of untouched forests that comes to life in the summer with tourists and cabin-goers. The Iron Range is home to many diverse people, but they all share a connection to the region’s mining culture.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

35 Comments

Filed under Molly Enich, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

Minnesota, USA – The Magic Bus, Family and World History – by Marin Ekstrom. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Minnesota, USA – The Magic Bus, Family and World History – by Marin Ekstrom. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

marinbus1

The Ekstrom family has always been a bit of an anachronistic bunch. For example, my father adheres to an unspoken code of conduct that prohibits him from driving any car manufactured in the 21st century, my grandpa, sister, and I spent many hours playing Super Nintendo throughout the ‘90s and ‘00s (and even the ‘10s, now and then), and my family is the proud (and probably only) owner of The Brady Bunch:Greatest Hits CD.

marinbus2marinbus3marinbus4

Our everyday attire back in the day. We’ve tried to update it just a little bit since then.

Perhaps the pinnacle of our retro reverence is the “Magic Bus”, our 1976 Dodge Cruise Air motor home. We received the bus in the fall of 1999, as the previous millennium was drawing to a close. This could be interpreted as a symbolic gesture of holding on to the past as our world surged ahead into the dawn of a new era. Stepping into the bus instantly transports you back in time to the psychedelic and idiosyncratic world of the 1970s, as it features all of the stereotypical hallmarks of Seventies aesthetic culture. Its marvelous features include shag carpeting, wood paneling, and generous sprinklings of a distinctive puke green hue that seems to have been highly revered during that decade.

I distinctly remember stepping into the bus for the first time and viewing it with an odd mixture of wonder and terror (my sister Paige shared my sentiment). My parents spent their formative years in the 1970s, and thus when they stepped into the Bus, it conjured a flood of nostalgic childhood memories; thus, they fell in love with it right away. Eventually, my sister’s and my initial fear of the bus melted away and we became endeared to it. It quickly became our chief means of transportation to exciting summer adventures, including trips to our grandparents’ cabin, beach bonanzas, hangouts at the Hinckley RV park (complete with swimming for the kids and gambling for the grandparents) and even a rollicking’ 8th birthday party in Duluth. We associated the bus not only with the Seventies, but also with the warm weather and liberation from scholastic studies that came with summer vacation. Thus, as our calendars inched closer to summer, the whole family would anxiously await for the bus to take us on our next summer road trip.

Unfortunately, the bus’ momentum, like disco fever and the popularity of polyester pants, could not last forever. After having a peak run in the early 2000s, tire troubles and high gas prices heralded the end of the Bus’s travelling days by 2005. Today it stands outside by our garage and serves as a makeshift hotel on the (RARE) occasions that we have an overflow of guests staying the night at our house. Even in its retirement, the bus continues to stand proud and tall, basking in the glory days that created so many summer and travel memories for the Ekstrom family.

marinbus5

Despite the unlikelihood that we will ever travel via the Magic Bus again, we nevertheless treasure the memories of driving down roads while jamming to Fleetwood Mac, the Beach Boys, and other retro superstars on our impressive collection of 8-Tracks. When we first got the Bus , I viewed it as a time capsule that granted a glimpse into the wild and wonderful world of the Seventies and my parents’ wonder years. Now that I am older, and as I continue on in my journey towards full-fledged adulthood, I have come to appreciate how large of a role the Bus played in my Nineties and Noughties childhood. It’s not everyday that you see a vintage RV parked by someone’s house– but then again, the Ekstroms have never really been a normal bunch, and we all admire the contribution that this mobile museum gave to our collective family memory.

marinbus6marinbus7marinbus8marinbus9marinbus10

Marin Ekstrom serves as Senior Editor for The North Star Reports.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

38 Comments

Filed under Marin Ekstrom, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang