Vintage Band Festival needs help

Paul NiemistoSummer often is a slow time for academics, but Paul Niemesto is heading into one of the busiest summers of his life. It's the culmination of months of mixing his academic skills with those of an event planner, travel agent and public relations guru.

Paul, the director and founder of the Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra, a member of Ameriikan Poijat and a professor of music at St. Olaf College, has invited scholars from around the world and 15 vintage bands from the United States, Sweden, Germany and Canada. They'll hold a conference, but they also will take the whole town back in time to the late 1800s and early 1900s, when brass bands played the parks of the world. This time, however, they'll all be playing 40 free concerts throughout Northfield July 27-30. Sure, it seems early to talk about the festival, but Paul has been working for months, and he needs help to pull it all off.

"We need money," he says. "We need volunteers. We need folks to help welcome these bands to Northfield."

Heritage Dental celebrates new name, offices

NCO Board member Rick Estenson sent this little bit of news about the former Division Street Dentists.

Heritage DentalThey have a new name, Heritage Dental Care, and a new larger office at 2011 Jefferson Road. The office opened May 1, but last week they held a formal celebration.

"It doesn't take long to get used to being able to breathe," said Dr. David Brust of the new space, which is twice the size of the old one. Brust shares the practice with Drs. John H. Ehresmann, Michael C. Remes and David R. Buck. The men looked for six months for a site downtown, but couldn't find anything large enough. Finally, they settled on building a new office, but that meant taking on a new name to reflect their location near the intersection of Jefferson Road and Heritage Ave.

Downtowners mix business and pleasure

We're a little late in getting to this, but we wanted to share our appreciation for the fun and conversation at the Northfield Downtown Developments Corp.'s mixer last Thursday. For a business organization, these people sure know how to have a good time! And the upper deck tucked behind the lobby of the Archer House is one of the hidden treasures of the downtown.

NCO board chairman Doug Bratland and I also want to thank Rob Schanilec for the great photos. The only catch is that he was taking pictures while we were talking, so there are a few names we didn't get. Doug knows that the picture above includes Dan Freeman, and Sue and Bart de Malignon. Please feel free to check out the whole gallery and point out our sins of omission. If you find your own face and identify it, I'll buy you an adult beverage at the next mixer!

Boats For Books: Canoe Building At ARTech

Working TogetherTwo weeks ago, I began the construction of a cedar strip canoe with nine ARTech students. We cut the forms from and assembled them on the long straight beam called the strongback. Soon the 18' cedar strips were flying on, the rough hull appearing before our eyes. We took our time with the delicate herringbone pattern of the hull bottom and with the last strip in place, began sanding the boat smooth. Then it was time to apply epoxy and fiberglass—a noxious, but important, process.

This course is one of the May Term offerings at Northfield School of Arts and Technology, where students spend the last three weeks of the school year in one all-day class or a combination of two half-day classes. The idea behind this and other May Term courses is to expose students to a variety of experiential learning opportunities. Many of the courses are interdisciplinary and allow students to work in smaller communities as well as on individual projects. It also allows the ARTech staff to share a few of their passions with students. Other offerings included traveling to Washington DC or backpacking on the Superior Hiking Trail.

Carleton to honor two at June 10 commencement

Stephen P. HubbellLila Abu-Lughod
Carleton College will award honorary degrees at Commencement exercises on Saturday, June 10 to Stephen P. Hubbell ’63, botany professor at the University of Georgia, and Lila Abu-Lughod ’74, professor of anthropology and women’s and gender studies at Columbia University. 

Stephen P. Hubbell, a 1963 Carleton graduate, is an internationally known ecologist whose research is on tropical rainforests and in theoretical ecology. He has published three books and more than 100 scientific papers on tropical planet ecology, plant-animal interactions and theoretical ecology. He is founder and chair of the National Council for Science and the Environment, a national organization with more than 10,000 members and more than 200 universities and professional societies, with the mission of improving the science underlying environmental decision-making.

School Board Withdraws Support for Village School

Vote will likely close area charter school

An article in the StarTribune reported that the Northfield School Board voted 5-2 tonight to withdraw sponsorship for the Village School of Northfield, a public charter school that was established in 1997. Of the 125 charter schools that have opened in Minnesota since 1991, the Village School is just the eighth to lose its sponsor.

Concerns over student safety, behavior and academic performance had been raised over the past few months, and the school's situation was a topic of discussion on our ISSUES list in early April, when it was first reported that the school board was considering this possibility.

St. Olaf Class of '06 heads into history

Fun Facts about St. Olaf grads

If you want to hear about all the commencement speeches and know all the reunion details, you can check out the official website.

If you don't want that much info, here are some highlights for trivia fans, with many thanks to Tom Vogel...

ArtOnWater Gallery set to close June 4

Downtown gallery will host 4-day thank-you party and art sale beginning June 1

ArtOnWater is giving up its downtown location at 217 South Water Street after 21 shows in two and a half years.

The gallery would like to express its appreciation to not only the faithful customers (who created over 2500 patron visits), but also all the wonderful artists (50+, some more than once!) I have had the pleasure of meeting and doing business with. I will continue to keep up the ArtOnWater Gallery photos portfolio at website; it contains dozens of images of past shows, artists and patrons.

ArtOnWater Gallery will host a 4-day gallery closing party during its 'Collections Retrospective' Exhibition and Sale this first weekend of June, which opens at 11 a.m., June 1. There will be ChARTdonnay from 5-10 p.m. every day (our now famous ChARTdonnay wine and Just Food cheese event). We will have fine framed art including original watercolors, Eisenstein drawing prints, and other fine art at prices 50-75% off until our closing on June 4. For info visit ArtOnWater Gallery at

A Bit of Northfield History found in Moline Illinois

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On a recent road trip my husband, Dick, & I stopped at the world headquarters of John Deere in Moline Illionois. In their public building they showcase old and new equipment. The top mezzanine floor only contains 2 one bottom walking plows. As usual Dick was waiting for me to get done taking pictures so he checked out the one plow and was surprised to read the brass plaque. The original owner of the 1855 model plow was Joe Canedy of Northfield. He presented it to William Schilling in 1943 where it was kept in his "Hobby House" until 1954. He then donated it to the Deere & Co.

It's 5 A.M. - Do You Know Where Your Recycling Is?

It’s five o’clock in the morning and I’m mad. I’ve just thrown on my pants and chased the Waste Management truck down Division Street to ask the driver a question. I caught his attention with a whistle and he walked up to me in a friendly manner.

I asked, “Why did you just dump the contents of both of my recycling containers into your truck with the contents of my garbage container?”

He said, “I’m new on this route and I didn’t know.”

“C’mon” I said. “Both of the recycling containers are GREEN and clearly marked with BIG labels!”

Hundreds join in Memorial Day tribute

SFC Kory WeichThe new Northfield Area Veterans Memorial proved a fitting setting for a solemn ceremony this morning marking the service of veterans from Northfield and throughout the country.

Hundreds of people gathered on bleachers and chairs and spread through the grass, facing the morning sun as it rose behind the memorial, which features a bronze soldier flanked by stone tablets listing the names of his fallen comrades.

"It was just beautiful, very meaningful," said Barbara Knaak, whose husband, John Knaak, was a Korean War veteran who died last fall.

There were familiar songs and speeches, but the crowd rose to its feet when SFC Kory Weich, a veteran of the current war in Iraq, finished his remarks.  

"Great speech," said Jim Knowles, asking for a copy. Jim was one of many who came up to speak with Weich after the service. A Northfield native, Jim is a U.S. Air Force veteran who served in Iraq about the same time as Kory. Jim, who was commander of a trauma hospital there, retired from the service and now has a private surgical practice in Ohio.

Editor's note: I can't do justice to Kory's words, so I've included them in their entirety at the end of this post.

Locally Grown podcast #19: Peggy Prowe and the Mill Towns Trail

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We took our recording session to the back room of the James Gang Hideaway on Friday, featuring Mill Towns Trail board member Peggy Prowe. The legislature just allocated $1 million dollars for the trail, so I invited Senator Tom Neuville and Representative Ray Cox to chime in.

Click photo to enlarge and continue reading to hear the whole show (30 minutes).

Oles of all ages share the biggest party of the year

Here are a few photos taken before and during the progression of the reunion classes this morning at St. Olaf College. We thank Tom Vogel (Communications Specialist for the college) for taking time from a truly hectic weekend of commencement and class reunions to share them with us. You can check out the full story about the weekend and links in an entry below.

Tom also told us there are 17 local students graduating, so proud parents, get out your cameras and send some pictures. Just e-mail them to with names and info and we'll do the rest.

Read the rest of the entry to view the photos and captions.

Cannon River Rendezvous Returns

Editor's Note: The Cannon River Rendezvous begins this morning. If you head out to the event, please take a few minutes to email us your photos with a few words about the experience!

The Science Center at Maltby Nature Preserve is pleased to present this year’s Cannon River Rendezvous, FREE and open to the public!

The 4th Annual Cannon River Rendezvous will take place over Memorial Day weekend, May 27-29, at The Science Center at Maltby Nature Preserve in Stanton Township. Sponsored by the Twin City Muzzle Loading Club, the Cannon River Rendezvous takes you back in time to a tradition of long ago, recreating the everyday life of French fur trappers, traders and early settlers in the early 1800s.

Northfield's (Forcefield's) Home-Grown Cabaret

Click to enlargeTonight’s Forcefield’s Cabaret will be a performance in the tradition of the original 1880’s Parisian cabarets, with music, dance, politics and humor combining for an eclectic and entertaining evening. Hosted by Hortense MacLeod (with a bit of competition from Steve Lawler), the cabaret will feature performances by Madame Starlight (AKA Dan Kallman), Liz Braaten and others from NAG’s recent musical production of Cabaret, Suzannah Ciernia, Peter Webb and his piano guys, and many more local talents . . . plus the political punch of Patrick Farwig’s lyrics.

I stopped to snap some photos at the rehearsal Friday night and was treated to some laughs and some thought provoking moments as well. I’m looking forward to seeing the whole show Saturday (May 27) at 7:30 pm at the NAG Theater. Admission is $6 at the door.

Sheryl Joy is the Office Manager of the Northfield Arts Guild.

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