Timeless sound from Rich Mattson & the Northstars

When they performed in my Great Northern Radio Show in Ely last summer, I referred to Rich Mattson and Germaine Gemberling as “the First Couple of the Iron Range music scene.” The pair, based at Sparta Sound in a nearly abandoned mining location near Gilbert, is involved in so many projects and affiliated with so… Read More →

Local film festival to mark 10 years of ‘North Country’

The sixth annual first ever Duluth-Superior Film Festival opens today in downtown Duluth and runs through Sunday, June 7. Local films and those with a Minnesota connection will be screened for audiences at popular Duluth cultural sites including the Zinema Theater on Superior Street, Clyde Iron Works, The Red Star Lounge and Teatro Zuccone. The festival… Read More →

Iron Range musicians keep ghost town alive

It was a pleasant surprise to see a front page MinnPost feature on Rich Mattson and Germaine Gemberling of Sparta Sound over the weekend. This musical pair and their merry band are keeping the small mining location of Sparta alive with their church-turned-studio a stone’s throw from an active iron mine. From the Nov. 21… Read More →

Shared Iron Range high school plan falling apart

A major effort to build a shared high school for three Iron Range school districts is on the ropes after two of the three affected community school boards backed out of the plan in separate votes last night. Virginia and Eveleth-Gilbert school boards voted to end their involvement in the co-location of a new school… Read More →

East Range shared school plan having bumpy roll-out

One of the biggest stories on the Mesabi Iron Range this year has been the proposal to build a new co-located high school in Mountain Iron that would serve students in the Virginia, Eveleth-Gilbert and Mountain Iron-Buhl school districts. Jana Hollingsworth of the Duluth News Tribune penned a Sunday feature on the shared high school… Read More →

Iron Range officials fear dangers of Hwy 53 reroute

New problems arising from the much anticipated reroute of the Iron Range’s primary north-south highway might require more funding, officials now say. Highway 53 has to be rerouted between Virginia and Eveleth next year to accommodate mining by Cliffs Natural Resources at United Taconite. One version of the Hwy 53 reroute would dramatically reshape the… Read More →

Eveleth-Gilbert joins shared Iron Range school talks

After a meeting last Thursday, Eveleth-Gilbert schools have agreed to join districts in Virginia and Mountain Iron-Buhl in talking about a shared Iron Range school on the east central Mesabi Iron Range. We discussed the Virginia/MI-B cooperation concept last week. The first public hearing on this shared high school issue will take place tomorrow night… Read More →

‘The Bird’ is back in business

An image of the Whistling Bird’s redesigned interior from the restaurant’s Facebook page. Amid the excitement of an Iron Range Fourth of July: the long-awaited re-opening of the Whistling Bird Caribbean restaurant in Gilbert, Minnesota. I spoke of the phoenix-like resurrection of “The Bird” a while back. We look forward to returning to the restaurant… Read More →

The Whistling Bird to reopen: Caribbean food on the Iron Range!

UPDATE: The Duluth News Tribune confirms the report, interviewing new owner Jessica Antonovich and chef Patrick Berg. Berg was mentored by the late Whistling Bird co-owner JoPat Curtis during a three year stint as kitchen manager at the original restaurant. The new Whistling Bird will include a wider variety of Caribbean food than before. I… Read More →

Thank you, Gilbert

Thanks to all who came out to my “Overburden” reading and lecture last night in Gilbert. It was a great discussion. I unveiled a couple of new riffs that I will be working on for future events. And I was surprised to see Ms. Weigert and Mrs. Elias, my high school band teacher and librarian!… Read More →