MPR News to Host Ideas Forum on the Future of Minnesota's Iron Range

As the economic downturn continues on the Iron Range, MPR News invites six speakers to take the stage and pitch their ideas for building vibrancy and stability in local communities. These will be fresh takes on an old challenge: the region's chronic booms and busts. The pitches will be followed by questions from MPR News' Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer and Duluth-based correspondent Dan Kraker. Audience members will be invited to add their take as well.

What: MPR News Hosts "Minnesota's Iron Range: Ideas for the Future"
When: Wednesday, April 13, 6-8 p.m.
Tickets: Tickets are free but a reservation is required. Visit to register.
Where: Hibbing Community College Theatre, 1515 East 25th Street, Hibbing

About the hosts
Cathy Wurzer is the host of Morning Edition for MPR News. She is also the co-host of Almanac, a weekly public affairs program produced by Twin Cities Public Television for Minnesota's statewide public television network. Wurzer has won four Emmy Awards for her work on Almanac. Prior to her return to radio, she was an anchor and reporter for WCCO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Minneapolis. She has also been a talk show host for WCCO-AM radio, a producer for KMSP-TV, and political reporter for KSTP-AM radio. She is the author of "Tales of the Road: Highway 61."

Dan Kraker is based in Duluth and covers northeastern Minnesota for MPR News. He joined MPR in the summer of 2011 after nearly 10 years at Arizona Public Radio in Flagstaff, where he won two national Edward R. Murrow awards for his coverage of Native American issues.

About the panelists
Anna Anderson is CEO of Art Unlimited, an online marketing firm based in Angora. She'll speak with Shawn Wellnitz about the upside of supporting small businesses to build and sustain a local economy. Wellnitz is CEO of the Entrepreneur Fund, which provides small business financing and strategic support for entrepreneurs in northern Minnesota.

Rolf Weberg serves as Executive Director of the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He'll discuss Minnesota's mineral opportunities, suggesting approaches to reduce polarization and foster construction communication.

Jessalyn Sabin is an instructor at Hibbing Community College and cofounder of ReGen, a group working to build community and retain new talent on the Range. She'll speak to the role of young people in building quality of life and shaping the future of the region.

Brendan Jordan leads the Bioeconomy Coalition of Minnesota. The industry-led coalition is pushing for development of facilities on the Iron Range to produce chemicals and fuels from plant material. This effort has gained steam in recent years, and Jordan will speak to potential benefits it holds.

Aaron Hautala is volunteer president of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew, a chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). He's an active leader in the push to transform the Cuyuna Range into a year-round destination for outdoor recreation. He'll describe this effort and speak to the role it plays in attracting and retaining 21st century entrepreneurs and their workforce, as well as creating a vibrant local community.

MPR News has long been recognized as one of the foremost journalistic organizations in the Upper Midwest, reaching news consumers across all platforms. Reaching 500,000 listeners each week, the MPR News radio signal can be heard by 95 percent of Minnesotans. MPR News distributes stories daily to 35 newspapers statewide, shares news coverage with KARE 11 - Minnesota's largest television station -and has news bureaus around the state. MPR News has received numerous awards for its reporting and most recently received a George Foster Peabody Award, Alfred I. DuPont Award and RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Award for its investigative reporting. More at Source: Data are copyright Nielsen Audio. Data are estimates only.

Published 2016-03-29