DID YOU KNOW there is one county in the State of Minnesota where graduating students in public and private schools get a two‑year free tuition to a community college? 

The Frandsen Family Foundation announced recently two years at the Pine Technical and Community College will be free for those graduating from Pine City High School and private high schools in 2021 and 2022. 

In cooperation with the county stimulus funds, there will also be work force training  at the college in Pine County.

Along with free tuition, $1,000 will be available to each student for required books.

This is an example of what foundations can provide and are doing.

This is the only county in the state I am aware of that is providing such a program for technical training to fill the voids in the job market.

The Frandsen family owns numerous banks throughout Minnesota and is generous to their communities.

KATHY AND I were recently at the summer board meeting of the Minnesota Newspaper Association at Giants Ridge Resort at Biwabik. While there Chris Knight, publisher in Virginia, MN, had arranged a tour of the PolyMet mine. The bus tour was hosted by Bruce Richardson of Corporate Communications. This Minnesota-based publicly traded company has plans to process copper, nickel and cobalt out of ore tailings once their permitting is complete, which is now in the tenth year of process.

This Duluth Complex discovery was made in 1940 and the NorthMet deposit discovery in 1969. The mine and processing site would utilize the abandoned Erie mine. As of December 31, 2020, $462 million has been invested in the project which started in 2006. The economic annual return benefit is expected to be $515 million and add 1,000 jobs direct and spin-off.

Full carbon technologies are growing the nickel demand and platinum group metals.

These are all critical minerals that will be necessary to meet national and global climate goals for clean energy technology according to the information shared with us.

We also had a brief tour of a 1/3 mile long concentrator that was used for crushing iron ore and bringing it to the taconite form.

Iron mining in Minnesota today uses taconite to strengthen recycled steel which is used for everyday products, from refrigerators to dishwashers.

Minnesota iron mines account for 80% of the first pour steel in the U.S. 

AFTER 50 YEARS the Milwaukee Bucks came through in the NBA with a very exciting series of fast and rough basketball.

They overcame the 47 year drought and for this small market franchise Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has been with the Bucks since 2013, made the difference.


Gene Johnson is publisher emeritus of Press Publications.

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