Letter to the Editors

Manitou Messenger - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 10:49pm

I write regarding your article on the new public affairs Institute, the Institute for Freedom and Community. As you correctly reported, I believe the Institute will provide great opportunities for students. A faculty task force designed the basic framework of the Institute which is to focus on public affairs in a way that encourages civic discourse and engagement with diverse perspectives. This vision is consistent with the mission of St. Olaf College which is to “respect those of different backgrounds and beliefs” and to encourage and challenge students to be “seekers of truth” and “responsible and knowledgable citizens of the world.” While the task force designed the framework, the Institute will be defined by what it does. Working with the task force, the faculty, students, and administration of this college will determine the direction of this project. To support our efforts, we are fortunate to have received external support from generous friends of the college and a major national academic foundation.

The Institute has resources for new courses (a new conversation program tentatively titled the Public Affairs Conversation) which must be approved by the faculty. It also includes a conference with a topic yet to be determined. There will be paid internships for students, lectures, visiting fellows, and other student activities. We have some introductory lectures and visiting fellows planned, but there will be a long line of visitors and public events yet to be determined.

The article included the view that we are following an unprecedented process to launch the Institute. I respectfully disagree; we are following a long-established standard operating procedure. This college has received thousands of external grants and gifts. The curriculum committee and faculty have never vetted the pursuit of grants and gifts. When the grants include resources for courses and curricular academic programs, the Curriculum Committee and the entire faculty must approve the courses and curricular programs. The task force of the new Institute continues this process and respects the power of the faculty to approve courses and academic programs.

Grants also often include co-curricular programs that have never depended upon a faculty vote. Faculty can advise and plan co-curricular events and programs, but they do not approve them by vote. Student governance structures also allow students to plan co-curricular events. Potentially, the Institute could co-sponsor events with students. For example, the Institute might fund and co-sponsor an event with PAC. This would require approval by PAC. Students also organize groups and events such as a debate team, political groups, town hall meetings, etc.. These events and groups are premised on the approval of student government with limited administrative and faculty oversight. The Institute looks forward to working with students on new co-curricular ventures.

We have begun to define this project and have sought community input. There have been four open faculty forums, discussion at faculty meetings, an introductory conversation with the Curriculum Committee, and a beginning discussion with PAC and SGA,. The task force has much consultation and other work yet to be done. We hope to engage this community as we define and develop this project. In the end, the Institute will provide more opportunities for Oles to be involved in public affairs. We will be more thoughtful citizens and many more of us will enter vocations and careers in public affairs. Fram Fram.

Dan Hofrenning
Professor of Political Science
Associate Dean of the Social Sciences
Director, Institute for Freedom and Community

Categories: Colleges

Nerstrand hunter charged after killing dog in rural Northfield last month

Northfield News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 4:30pm
A Nerstrand man who shot and killed a black Labrador retriever while deer hunting in rural Northfield has been charged with a single felony count of animal cruelty.
Categories: Local News

Perspectives: On the Threshold of a New Era in U.S.-Cuban Relations

Carleton College News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 4:00pm
President Barack Obama’s decision to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba could not come at a more opportune time for the struggling Cuban economy and for a political regime on the verge of a transition in leadership. President Barack Obama’s decision to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba could not come at a more opportune time for the struggling Cuban economy and for a political regime on the verge of a transition in leadership. The fall in oil prices this year put pressures on Nicolás Maduro’s government in Venezuela to reduce its oil subsidy to Cuba, a sure sign to the Cuban government that a fundamental change in strategy was necessary.
Categories: Colleges

Community News: Nfld. Hospital, long term care center limit visitors due to flu

KYMN Radio - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 3:19pm

Dec. 16, 2014

From: Scott Richardson, Director of Community Relations, Northfield Hospital & Clinics

Re: Northfield Hospital restricts visiting hours

Northfield Hospital, long term care center limit visitors due to flu

Northfield Hospital and its Long Term Care Center are asking visitors to stay home as a precautionary measure if they have any flu-like symptoms.

Influenza can be serious and even life-threatening for the elderly and for those who are already hospitalized with an illness, and it spreads quickly, said Ann Reuter, Director of Quality at Northfield Hospital & Clinics.

Prospective visitors are asked to stay away if they have any of these symptoms:

  •  Cough
  •  Sore throat
  •  Runny or stuffy nose
  •  Fever, or
  •  Body aches.

With the flu now categorized as “widespread,” the Minnesota Department of Health offers these reminders to help you stay healthy:

  •  Wash your hands often to protect yourself from germs
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing to prevent those around you from getting sick
  •  Stay home if you feel ill.
  •  Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  •  Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when you touch something that is contaminated with germs and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  •  Keep yourself more resistant to disease by getting plenty of sleep, exercise, and drinking plenty of fluids and eating nutritious food.

The post Community News: Nfld. Hospital, long term care center limit visitors due to flu appeared first on KYMN Radio - Northfield, MN.

Looking for a great volunteering experience!?

TABleau (Northfield Public Library) - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 2:08pm
The Northfield Library's Teen Advisory Board (TAB) is looking for new members!

The requirements are:

1.  Must be a teen in grade 9 or up.
2.  Must be interesting in what the library has and offers for teen.

TAB meet the first Monday of the month at 7 pm.  Our next meeting is Monday, January 5th in the library's meeting room.  Refreshments served.  Welcome all!
Categories: Organizations

Today’s news update – Rice County sets levy at 5.65%; A Solar Garden to be planted in Nfld; Free bikes program gives 100 bikes to area children in need

KYMN Radio - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 12:02pm

Rice County sets levy at 5.65%

Rice County Commissioners set the preliminary levy at 5.65%.  At that time Commissioner Malecha said no one advocates to raise taxes but there’s a definite need.  And raise them they did.  Yesterday morning the Rice County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the levy at 5.65%.  Malecha explained that they’ve gone years with very little tax increases so they have to make adjustments.  They could’ve lowered the levy but the County had labor negotiations and health insurance increases this year in each of the departments adding personnel cost.  The total increase in the net levy in dollars, including the Rice County HRA comes out to $1.1 million.

A Solar Garden to be planted in Nfld. thanks to local group

The seeds of a Solar Garden to be planted in Northfield.  Northfield Area Community Solar is a group started last year after the climate summit.  NACS co-founders Mary Jo Cristofaro and Erica Zweifel announced that a Solar Array will be installed at Eastgate Farms in partnership with developer Minnesota Community Solar.   A solar “array” is a group of solar panels.  This particular garden will take up 4 to 5 acres just off Hwy 19 by the turkey farm.  “The turkeys will have a birdseye view” says Zweifel.  Cristofaro explains that the land used is called “brown” land.  “The goal is to use unusable land”.  This is land that is not farmed or used for anything else.  Their hope is to start installation in the Spring and have it up and producing energy by Fall of 2015.  Anyone with an Excel Energy bill is eligible.  NACS has a buy-in from MCS right now for locals to have first chance at purchasing a subscription.  The local period is 120 days.  If you want to participate use the link provided and you can save $5 on a leaf.   We have a link to Minnesota Community Solar and the local landing page on our website inside Today’s News Update.  If it is not sold out, then anyone in Rice County is eligible and it will go out from there.  The State has a cap of 40% for allowable solar energy usage in an area covered.  Cristofaro explains how it works for users.  You purchase a 25 year subscription and the amount of solar energy you use is credited to your Excel energy bill.  You can buy a “leaf”, which is 205 watts, up to 120% of your usage.  Your average usage is taken into account and you buy whatever you choose.  A “leaf” is $889, which turns out to be considerably cheaper than if you installed panels on your home.  You also don’t pay for maintenance.  NACS is the first such group of it’s kind.  They’re holding a Just Talk Turkey about Solar at Just Food Coop on December 28th from 7 to 9pm.  For the full interview find it on

 Free bikes program gives 100 bikes to area children in need

A free bikes program was held on December 6th as part of the Greenvale Community School Program.   Allina Health, HCI, Northfield Police Department staff, and other volunteers distributed 100 bikes and helmets to area children.  One of Northfield’s retired police officers, who wishes to remain nameless, contacted Evidence Technician Lynn James to see about donating any bicycles the police department has.  James said last year, the first year they’ve been involved,  they gave 6 bikes.  This year she had 14 bikes.  She continued that these bikes are found and/or abandoned.  James holds them for 90 days.  If no one’s claimed them they’re given to an auction company out of state but, at this time of year, the retired officer picks them up for donation.  The Free Bikes 4Kidz program is a non-profit that helps kids in need ride into a healthier lifestyle.

Click below to listen to FULL newscast:

12-17-14 news

Listen for news updates on-air at 6, 7, 8, Noon, 3 and 5

The post Today’s news update – Rice County sets levy at 5.65%; A Solar Garden to be planted in Nfld; Free bikes program gives 100 bikes to area children in need appeared first on KYMN Radio - Northfield, MN.

12-16 Rice County court log

Northfield News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 11:41am
Here are the Rice County court dispositions for Dec. 16.
Categories: Local News

12-15 Rice County court log

Northfield News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 11:39am
Here are the Rice County court dispositions for Dec. 15.
Categories: Local News

12-12 Rice County court log

Northfield News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 11:36am
Here are the Rice County court dispositions for Dec. 12.
Categories: Local News

12-18 Rice County public safety report

Northfield News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 10:45am
For the full log of police calls, visit You can also check out the Rice County Interactive Crime Map on the home page at
Categories: Local News

Wayne Eddy Affair | Ann Simon

KYMN Radio - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 10:35am

Ninety year old Ann Simon talks about her life growing up in the Lonsdale area.


Listen in to the Wayne Eddy Affair every weekday. Monday through Thursday, 9:00-11:00 a.m. Fridays from 10:00-11:00 a.m.

The post Wayne Eddy Affair | Ann Simon appeared first on KYMN Radio - Northfield, MN.

High school seniors apply to more colleges, hope to get in

Manitou Messenger - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 10:17am

It’s a process that we remember all too well. In the fall of my senior year of high school, there was a sense of dread and of relief when I hit “submit” on each of my college applications. Dread, because of the potential news to come. Relief, because, “Thank [insert preferred higher power here] I didn’t have to write another essay.” 

The graduating class of 2015 is going to hit “submit” on more college applications than ever. Over the last few years, the number of colleges a high school student applies to has been on the rise. It used to be that six was not unusual, and even ten was not unheard of. To nervous high school students now, those numbers belongs in the minor leagues.

And why not? The Common Application has made applying to multiple schools convenient, and the tough economy has sent students on a scavenger hunt for scholarships and financial aid to fit high tuition within their means. On the surface, it doesn’t seem unreasonable for high school students to up the number of applications.

Beyond more convenience and an increase in need for financial aid, plain old fear could be the biggest factor. College becomes more difficult to get into each year. As a result, kids panic and think that they need to apply more places to ensure an acceptance somewhere. Then, the surplus of applications actually just draws acceptance rates even lower, making next year’s students even more panicked. It is a downward spiral.

This fall, there were many stories of kids applying to 20, even 30 schools. However, with such high numbers of applications, the question becomes one of quality versus quantity. In this case, it appears that quality trumps quantity. Some college-bound seniors have the notion that more applications mean better odds of acceptance.

College counselor Lisa Sohmer says that when kids file over 20 applications, many of them have loaded on lots of very competitive schools. She, along with many others, feels that it is more beneficial to carefully select a smaller list of schools and get serious about them. Many colleges are generally eager for more applications for a variety of reasons. Higher numbers of applications mean they are ranked higher in the annual “best college” rankings.

As a result, “demonstrated interest” – tiny indications of how badly a student wants to attend – has become a vital part of a student’s application. Visits, contact with an admissions counselor or even filling out a card at college night give colleges an idea of a potential student’s interest. To be a strong applicant, you must demonstrate sincere interest, which is just not possible to do for twenty schools.

At the end of the day, many college counselors say that they do not encourage students to apply to a host of schools. It has reached a level in many high schools where the administration is considering putting a cap on the number of applications a student can send out.

Brandon Kosatka, a director of student services in Alexandria, Va., said, “The kids who try to game the system just end up getting played in the end.” The system is just too large to be manipulated.

Sydney Padula ’17 ( is from Barrington, Ill. She majors in history.


Categories: Colleges

‘Morning Show’ with Jeff Johnson | NACS founders Erica Zweifel and Mary Jo Cristofaro 12/17/14

KYMN Radio - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 9:27am

Jeff Johnson speaks with Erica Zweifel and Mary Jo Cristofaro on the Solar Garden coming to Northfield.  They are co-founders of Northfield Area Community Solar and will be selling subscriptions to solar energy.  Minnesota Community Solar/Northfield


Learn more by listening to the full interview below: 

Solar Gardens 12-17-14

The post ‘Morning Show’ with Jeff Johnson | NACS founders Erica Zweifel and Mary Jo Cristofaro 12/17/14 appeared first on KYMN Radio - Northfield, MN.

Community News: Farm and Ranch management for Women

KYMN Radio - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 8:24am
Annie’s is Risk Management training for farm and ranch women and run over a course of six weeks.  This national program connects women with a passion for agriculture (of ALL kinds) and helps them develop a strong, well-rounded understanding of their farm and the agriculture industry.

University of Minnesota Extension is proud to be a contributor to this outstanding program.  This course is being brought to you in Minnesota by AgStar.  You do NOT have to be an AgStar client to enroll in this program – it is open to ALL farm and ranch women wanting to learn multiple aspects of their agriculture based business.

For more information and registration information, visit AgStar Edge.

It’s a fantastic program and certainly worth the drive to Mankato!

The post Community News: Farm and Ranch management for Women appeared first on KYMN Radio - Northfield, MN.

Rotary Cogwheel | 12.18.2014

Northfield Rotary Club - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 8:09pm

Today: Kevin Born and Naomi Mortenson, Environmental Tillage Systems (Lorang)

Birthdays: Lots of candles this week: Jim Pokorney (12/7), Dean Johnson (12/14), Dale Ness and John Ophaug (12/15), Blake Abdella and Vicki Dilley (12/21), Virginia Kaczmarek (12/22), Bill Carlson (12/23), Rich Lorang and Neil Lutsky (12/27), Jake Conway (12/28), and Ingrid Sampo (1/2).

Next Week: Two week “holiday hiatus” then on January 8 we will have Libby McKenna here to talk about “Water Pumps in Southern Nepal” (Sinning)

Last Week:

Editor’s Note: This is a good example of “pretty close journalism.” During last week’s presentation, I was forced to take notes in the dark, so I may be a little fuzzy on the details. Thanks for your patience. Here it comes.

Do you want to see a $150 billion increase in annual giving to health and human service nonprofits?

Dan Pallotta, a social entrepreneur and humanitarian activist, believes it can happen if we rethink our approach to charitable fundraising. He says we have it all wrong. By borrowing some of the private sector’s rules of the road, we could dramatically increase the resources available for the causes we support.

President Rich shared a TED Talk Pallotta gave recently on this issue. Matthew said he hopes it will stimulate a conversation about our personal and club philosophies on charitable giving.

Charitable giving has been stable at about 2 percent of gross national product for the last 40 years. Even a 1 percent increase would generate another $150 billion annually, Pallotta estimates.

But he says, we have to stop confusing morality with frugality. Nonprofits’ success is limited by conventional beliefs that suggest: 1) Nonprofit executives should sacrifice compensation for the opportunity to work in a mission-driven organization; 2) Advertising is an expense, not an investment; 3) We must play safe with donated dollars, which discourages innovation and risk-taking; 4) We can’t afford to operate with long time horizons or long-term investments; 5) Overhead is a dirty word. There should never be money left over.

Progress on social and humanitarian initiatives is slow on many fronts. Poverty for 10 percent of our population is an intransigent problem. He said if we want to follow Buckminister Fuller’s advice and work for a “world that works for everyone” we need to make changes. That will be up to each one of us.

For another look at Pallotta’s TED talk, go to:

Guests: No guests today. Just us.

Scholarship Enhancement: Giulia Mercanti, our exchange student


— Today is the last day to submit a nomination for this year’s Good Neighbor Award. Please share your nomination with Erica Zweifel. Nominees who give expression to the Rotary motto “Service Above Self” will be considered. They must be a resident of the Northfield School District. Rotary members and their family members are not eligible.

— Rob Bierman tied up some loose ends on the Turkey Trot. The Weitz Center received good reviews as a staging area, and the results of an online survey of participants were very favorable. He also thanked Fred Rogers, Charlie Cogan and Joe Hargis for helping secure the Weitz Center for the event. Between donations and our gift of Great Harvest Bread, the event generated more than 1,000 pounds of food for the Northfield Food Shelf.

Rotary is responsible Meals-On-Wheels delivery the first two full weeks of January. If you are interested in driving, sign up on our web site or check with Lynne Pederson.

— Vicki Dilley is recovering from back surgery. A bulletin was circulated and members shared words of encouragement.

— Twenty-one Northfield students were among the 70 that attended Country Fair Dec. 6. They will soon learn if they have been selected for an exchange year.

Coming Up:

Dec. 29 — YEAR (Youth Exchange And Reflections)

Jan. 15 — Ramiz Allawala, Wellstone Training (Taylor)

Jan. 22 — Liz Blanchard, Northfield Women’s Center (Amerman)

Jan. 29 — Lydia shares her youth exchange experience.

Categories: Organizations

CANCELED - Planning Commission Meeting

City of Northfield Calendar - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 4:45pm
Event date: December 18, 2014
Event Time: 07:00 PM - 09:30 PM
Northfield, MN 55057

Northfield's Hideaway looks to host an even bigger free Christmas Day dinner this year

Northfield News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 2:04pm
To commemorate the spirit of giving, the Hideaway Coffeehouse & Winebar will be hosting its second annual free Christmas Day dinner.
Categories: Local News

Northfield area churches offer Advent services of comfort and hope

Northfield News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 1:30pm
Winter Solstice — the shortest day and the longest night of the year − is on Dec. 21. To help combat the darkness, both Northfield United Methodist Church and First United Church of Christ are offerin
Categories: Local News

Today’s news update – Nfld School offering $500 reward; Nfld man accused of felony domestic assault; NRC receives grant $ for training course; Lamperts accepting coats

KYMN Radio - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 12:02pm

Nfld School offering $500 reward

At a special meeting held yesterday afternoon, the Northfield School Board approved a reward policy in response to the vandalism at the Northfield High School the weekend of December 6th  They then approved a $500.00 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible.  Superintendent Dr. Chris Richardson said he’s never seen such destruction in his 11 years with the Northfield School District.  Sgt. PT Haider said “they really did a number on that room”.  He added that, so far, no one’s been talking.  The Police Department recommended the reward.  If you have any information you’re urged to call Northfield Sgt. Haider at 507-663-9485

Nfld man accused of felony domestic assault

A Northfield man is in jail for domestic abuse.  Northfield police were called to a domestic Sunday morning at an apartment building at 720 Hwy 3.  Two neighbors reported breaking the door to get to the victim.  She told police that her boyfriend,  23 year old Mario Antonio Garcia-Alvarez, became upset with her for dancing with others while at the Northfield Ballroom and attacked her in the apartment they share.  According to the criminal complaint, Garcia-Alvarez reportedly punched the victim in the face several times and choked her to the point she couldn’t breathe.  He then got a knife from the kitchen and held it to her throat then tried to stab her in the abdomen before the victim’s daughter and her boyfriend, who witnessed the assault, were able to get the knife away.  Garcia-Alvarez fled the scene but returned hours later.  Police were called again and arrested him without incident.  He told officers he was “just trying to control her, you know how women are”.  He’s charged with Domestic assault by strangulation, 2nd degree assault with a dangerous weapon both felonies and a misdemeanor of assault.

NRC receives grant $ for training course

The Northfield HCI and Rotary Club of Northfield have granted donations to the Northfield Retirement Community.  HCI gave $300 and the Rotary Club awarded $500 in support of “Launching a Nursing Assistant Career: Training with Innovation and Care” – a course led by NRC staff at the Northfield High School. Through the program, youth can explore a career option and receive training free of charge to prepare themselves for work as a nursing assistant or residential aide – areas where jobs are available and health care professionals are needed as America’s population is aging.  In NRC’s training program, students receive instruction in classes that prepare them for future testing. Practical instruction in a laboratory setting follows. Students develop hands-on nursing care skills in an environment that replicates a nursing station. A clinical learning experience in NRC’s Care Center ‒ caring for actual residents – completes the comprehensive learning program.

 Lamperts accepting coats

Lampert Lumber is accepting new or gently used coats, hats, gloves and blankets through Friday.  All donations will be taken to the Clothes Closet.  They’re looking for warm clothes for all ages.  Every donor will get their name in a drawing for a $100 gift certificate to be given away on December 22nd.

Click below to listen to FULL newscast:

12-16-14 news

Listen for news updates on-air at 6, 7, 8, Noon, 3 and 5

The post Today’s news update – Nfld School offering $500 reward; Nfld man accused of felony domestic assault; NRC receives grant $ for training course; Lamperts accepting coats appeared first on KYMN Radio - Northfield, MN.

Christmas Day dinner at St. John's Lutheran Church becoming a fixture in Northfield

Northfield News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 12:00pm
Over the past decade, St. John’s Lutheran Church has played host to an annual free Christmas Day dinner that has implanted itself as a premier event during the holidays in Northfield.
Categories: Local News

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