The Ranger - April 20, 2016


IRRRB News - April 20, 2016

IRRRB commissioner testifies at International Trade Commission

Mark Phillips

IRRRB Commissioner Mark Phillips testified April 12 at an International Trade Commission hearing about the effects of unfairly traded steel on northeastern Minnesota’s economy.

The two-day hearing in Washington, D.C, focused on the global steel industry situation and its impact on the American steel industry market.   

Seven of 11 iron producers on the Iron Range have been idled since the first quarter of 2015 due to the effects of unfairly traded steel imports.

As a result, nearly 7,000 miners and employees of vendors which provide goods and services to the iron operations, have been laid off or terminated. 

Phillips pointed to a surge of unfairly traded steel from China, South Korea, and other nations as the source of the problem.

A December 2015 visit to Minnesota’s Iron Range by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, along with support from Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, Senators Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken, and Congressman Rick Nolan, has led to trade enforcement that is beginning to show positive results, said Phillips.

“Going forward, we need to keep our eye on the ball and our foot on the gas pedal regarding the enforcement of our trade laws, the enactment of tariffs and the calculation of the full extent of the dumping and subsidization that is occurring in all the countries under investigation,” said Phillips. “If we stay the course, over time, we can repair some of the damage that has been done by the surge of unfairly traded steel imports to our steel industry, to Minnesota’s mining industry and to the very soul of this nation’s industrial heartland.”

View Phillips’ testimony 

Northeastern Minnesota communities get new tools at Minnesota Compass

Minnesota Compass Logo

Communities across northeastern Minnesota have a new tool that provides a variety of information about key measures and trends in individual communities.

Minnesota Compass is a social indicators project that for about five years has measured progress within the state’s seven regions, 87 counties, and larger cities.

Beginning this week, the website offers detailed information about northeastern Minnesota community demographics, education, economy, workforce, aging, health, housing, public safety, and other topics. This is the first-ever data set that shows only the IRRRB service area.  

Minnesota Compass is a tool that allows communities to easily access critical data about themselves which can be used to help address community issues.

Community data available at the website is considered the “gold standard” for use in seeking grant funding from foundations or public sources.

View IRRRB Service Area data.

“Cool & Creative Get Together” generates hundreds of ideas to improve quality of life

Commissioner Mark Phillips

An online list of the top ten Iron Range attractions. An ice skating trail. A roving farmers’ market on a bus. Rent-a-bike opportunities at area mine views. And a weekly family entertainment event.  

Those are just a few of the hundreds of ideas generated at the Thursday, April 7, “Cool & Creative Get Together” at Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm.

The one-day event, hosted by IRRRB, focused on improving quality of life in northeastern Minnesota through arts, culture, history, recreation, tourism, locally-made, local and ethnic foods and well-being.

Approximately 135 tourism, arts, culture, civic, and business leaders from across the region participated.

IRRRB Commissioner Mark Phillips (pictured above) challenged participants to be bold in coming up with new ideas to improve quality of life in the region.

Sheila Smith of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts spoke about the significant economic impact of arts in the Arrowhead region. Smith said the Arrowhead is “punching above its weight" when it comes to arts and culture.

The Arrowhead is fourth in population among 11 Minnesota regions, but second only to the Twin Cities in the size of economic impact from arts and culture, said Smith.

Arts and culture activities generate $39.7 million annually in the Arrowhead, an $8.6 million increase since 2006. Arts and culture support 1,063 jobs in the Arrowhead, a 159 increase since 2006. And arts and culture in the Arrowhead is second only to the Twin Cities in the amount of local and state revenues generated, said Smith.

Read the full article.

Strong Towns to host community conversations on economics on the Iron Range

Strong Towns Logo

Strong Towns, a national nonprofit working to strengthen financial resilience in America’s towns and neighborhoods, will lead a weeklong series of community conversations on the Iron Range beginning May 16, sponsored by IRRRB and the Blandin Foundation.  

During this week, Strong Towns staff, including President Charles Marohn, will travel the length of the Iron Range to discuss why communities are going broke and how to fix that. 

Strong Towns will highlight creative ways to build better places and create more job opportunities, all while utilizing the assets that already exist in the community. This model has proven to be successful in other towns throughout the country.

All members of the community are invited to attend these events and participate in discussions about the alternative economy and the Strong Towns approach. 

Learn more and view the full schedule of public events.

Non-traditional lending forums offered for area businesses

Non-traditional Lending Forum

Three forums aimed at helping area businesses learn about non-traditional financing will be held across the Iron Range.  

Hosted by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Hibbing Area Chamber of Commerce and Laurentian Chamber of Commerce, the forums are designed to provide information about local non-traditional financial assets, support, and partnering.  

Growing and expanding businesses, community leaders, economic developers, commercial lenders, chamber members and community organizations are invited to attend.

Presenters are Michael Lattery, Entrepreneur Fund director of business finance; Jeff Borling, Great River Energy economic development lead; Michael Colclough, Northland Foundation director of business finance; Bob Palmquist, Northspan senior business developer; and Steve Peterson, IRRRB director of development.

Cost is $15 per person, including lunch. RSVPs are required. 

View the complete schedule of forums.

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The Ranger is a publication of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB). Our mission is to promote and invest in business, community and workforce development for the betterment of northeastern Minnesota.