Ground Level Reviving Minnesota Relics

The company that is the biggest source of good-paying jobs in the northern Minnesota community of International Falls has cut more than 200 positions from its workforce. So the town of 6,400 is absorbing the economic and cultural blow and starting the long slog of figuring out what its future might hold.

MPR News' Ground Level wants to help the conversation about that future. You can see what others have said by clicking on the "Read the Conversation" tab above and you can provide your own insights by clicking on the “Join the Conversation” tab above. Listen to the live discussion from November 15, 2013

Feds: Rural job growth flat

Nov 15, 2013 - As we were wrapping up work in International Falls this week for the Daily Circuit special “Rethinking a Company Town,” the federal Economic Research Service put out a sobering view of rural employment. This is how our friends at the Daily Yonder put it: “Folks looking for good news in the 2013 “Rural America at…

Rethinking International Falls — a live chat

Nov 15, 2013 - We’re doing a live chat while the Daily Circuit – Ground Level special on International Falls is being broadcast this morning. Go here to take part.

Trying to keep kids in International Falls by teaching engineering

Nov 12, 2013 - Falls High School in International Falls added an engineering class this year with the aim of broadening job options for local kids.

Willing success in the back room of the Coffee Landing

Nov 10, 2013 - We invited nine International Falls residents -- natives, newcomers, left-and-came-backers, old, young, layoff sufferers and entrepreneurs -- to the back room at the Coffee Landing to share with us and themselves the hopes and misgivings they have for this place.

International Falls joining forces with Canada for regional tourism

Oct 29, 2013 - Some in International Falls want to partner with cities and parks on the Canadian side of the international border to draw tourists and diversify the local jobs base.

International Falls wants to capitalize on old foe, Voyageurs National Park

Oct 24, 2013 - After decades of animosity between Voyageurs National Park and the city of International Falls, some local people want to promote tourism in the park.

Slow start to training ex-Boise workers in International Falls

Oct 21, 2013 - Connecting displaced Boise workers with training at Rainy River Community College isn't easy. A mine safety class was recently cancelled when few people signed up.

What is next for International Falls?

MPR News’ Ground Level project is interested in exploring how the International Falls area responds to pending job reductions at the Boise paper mill. We’d like you to help us with our coverage of the job cuts, their impact on the economy and culture of the community and how residents respond. Read their thoughts below. And if you have an approach to share, click here and add to the insights.

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We identify topics that are significant and complex and that play out uniquely at the local level. We want to explore those issues in which people taking action in their communities make a difference and can serve as guides for others.

Ground Level launched in early 2010 and shines a light on a variety of topics, from the growing complexity of Minnesota's local food system to cities preparing for new fiscal realities, from exurban growth in Baldwin Township to the quest to expand broadband access across the state.

We experiment with coverage on a variety of platforms. This includes text, audio and video online, of course - the Ground Level blog, a series of topics pages and social networking, for example. It also includes on-air coverage, public forums both virtual and real-world and collaboration with community-based media.

Our audience consists of Minnesotans interested in community life, particularly those who are taking an active part in it or helping others do the same.

Ground Level is very much an experiment -- in finding ways to learn about and tell stories, in working with other organizations, in walking up to the line between providing insight and advocating specific actions. Our goal is to inform and give people the ability and incentive to engage with their community. We invite your feedback and your ideas, via the blog, twitter at @MPRGroundLevel, phone calls, emails, whatever. Join us.

About the team:

Dave Peters

Dave Peters directs MPR's project on community journalism, looking for ways Minnesota residents are making their towns, cities and neighborhoods better places to live. He joined MPR News in 2009 after more than 30 years as a newspaper and online reporter and editor. Contact Dave

Bush Foundation

Support for Ground Level is provided
by the Bush Foundation.