Minnesota grapples with returning "snowbirds"

May 25, 2020
More than 44,000 people leave in the winter and return in the summer, boosting local economies but raising COVID-19 fears.
Terry Teich and Mark Walters pan for gold in a dry creek bed in Arizona. The "snowbirds" returned to their home in Duluth, Minnesota, in early May.
Courtesy of Mark Walter and Terry Teich

Recreational trails are seen as an economic boon

Jan 3, 2020
Cities around the country have long had to worry about roads. Now, with the help of volunteers, they’re also investing more heavily in trails.
Retired Olympic gold medalist Kikkan Randall leads dozens of young Nordic skiers on a workout at the Grand Avenue Nordic Center in Duluth, Minnesota.
Dan Kraker

The market for clean wood-burning furnaces might heat up

Apr 29, 2019
New environmental rules could transform stove makers' business.
Dave Karki welds an "airbox" for Lamppa Manufacturing's EPA-approved wood-burning furnace.
Dan Kraker/MPR News

Talkin' trade war at the Minnesota State Fair

Aug 29, 2018
Nearly two million people visit the 12-day Minnesota State Fair every year. Visitors can take in live music, eat a lot of fried food and sweets, hop on carnival rides, and take in exhibits that celebrate the state’s agriculture industry.…
A Ferris Wheel turns as people check out John Deere tractors on Machinery Hill at the Minnesota State Fair in Falcon Heights, Minn. on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018.
Evan Frost | MPR News

High price of vanilla sends a chill through the ice cream industry

Jul 12, 2018
Vanilla bean prices have been running between the equivalent of $1,000 and $1,200 per pound, nearly five times what it was a few years ago. And that’s rippling through the ice cream industry. One key reason for the increased cost is…
ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

Reinventing the rural health care system

Feb 2, 2018
A new report outlines the challenges the health care system in rural communities faces.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Passing on a tradition of wild rice harvest in northern Minnesota

Oct 18, 2017
Native Americans migrated to Minnesota centuries ago “where food grew on the water,” 500 years later, the wild rice harvest tradition is still being passed on.
Bruce Martineau poles his father Francis Martineau to the shore of Deadfish Lake after harvesting wild rice on the Fond du Lac reservation on Sept. 5, 2017.
Dan Karker/ for Marketplace

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Wood City: Cloquet, Minn., hopes to keep its identity after last matchstick factory closes

Jul 14, 2017
The Diamond Match factory is one of three major wood products plants in Cloquet, Minn. But it’s slated to close later this summer, leaving Cloquet with a hole in both its history and economy.
Smokestacks at the Diamond match factory in Cloquet tower over a pile of wood. 
Dan Kraker for Marketplace

Repairs keep Great Lakes shipping industry working through winter

Feb 8, 2017
Changing its business model helped Great Lakes Towing survive and expand.
Workers build the tug Cleveland at Great Lakes Towing. The newer tugboats are named after ports.
Elizabeth Miller/ideastream

Building a diverse workforce by investing in college

Aug 26, 2016
A Minnesota scholarship program aims to close a gap in college completion.
Fatima Ahmad, 18, is a Wallin scholar and intern at U.S. Bank.
Amy Scott/Marketplace