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Locally Grown - Griff Wigley
The people, issues, and events of Northfield, MN
Updated: 44 min 29 sec ago
Northfield City Administrator and Faribault resident Tim Madigan alerted me to a Bikeable Community Workshop hosted by the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism last week. I contacted Kymn Anderson, Chamber President, to see if there was room for any Northfielders and she graciously allowed me to attend. Northfield City Councilor Suzie Nakasian was there, too.
The Bikeable Community Workshop brochure (PDF) states:
A Bikeable Community Workshop trains local, county and regional staff, and advocates on how to plan and support more Bike Friendly Communities to encourage more people on bikes more often in Minnesota. Participants enjoy a short bike ride to assess their community’s bicycle facilities to base an action plan on. Target audiences include engineers, law enforcement, planners, public health practitioners, school administrators, elected officials, and advocates. The course includes a short bicycle ride auditing your community.
The workshop was presented by staff from the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation. These folks knew their stuff and presented it well.
My take-away? We need to begin working immediately with the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota to form a Northfield area bicycle advisory committee so we can begin tackling a myriad of bike-related issues. The City of Minneapolis’ Bicycle Advisory Committee page spells much of it out:
Advise the Mayor, City Council, and Park Board on bicycling related issues; help advance the state of bicycle infrastructure; encourage more people to bike; educate the public; work towards more compliance with traffic laws; help the City and Park Board make bicycle plans; work to increase equity between bicyclist and other modes of transportation; review and suggest legislative and policy changes; recommend priorities for the use of public funds on bicycle projects; help ensure Minneapolis keeps and improves its status as a bicycle friendly community; serve as a liaison between Mpls communities and the City and Park Board, coordinate between difference agencies that interact with bicyclists.
Props to Kymn Anderson at the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism and the Faribault area bicycle advocates for hosting the session. It was inspiring.
Spring is finally here. It’s time to get out and enjoy our wonderful watershed. The Cannon River Watershed Partnership (CRWP) invites you to learn to kayak in a relaxed setting on May 22nd – 6 PM – 7:30 PM.
Instructors: Marshall Wright (ACA instructor) and Betsy Wright.
Where: 5351 Elkton Trail, Faribault, MN.
Cost: FREE to CRWP members. To become a member go to the CRWP website.
Class size is limited to 16 participants.
Kayaking is a popular recreational activity for people of all ages. To enjoy kayaking safely you need knowledge, training and the ability to make informed decisions about wind, weather and waves. Proper boat selection based on the type of activity you wish to pursue in your kayak is an important consideration.
We will explain the different types of kayaks and terminology used to describe boat features and attributes. We will cover materials and boat “fit” and the different paddle designs available. We will have several kayaks for attendees to sit in to get the feel of the cockpit. And we will have a wide range of safety equipment–beyond life jackets (“pfds”).
We will also provide referrals to reputable sources for on-the-water training, outfitting and group touring. If time allows, Marshall will demonstrate a basic kayaking skill set on the water (if the ice is out on Cannon Lake and the air temperature is comfortable for class attendees) or in the pool.
Experiencing the water from the seat a of kayak is special. You are actually “in” the water, which is a unique point of view. Kayaking allows access to areas that can’t be reached by motorized craft or by hiking. It’s a silent sport that leaves a light footprint on the environment. Come learn about kayaking!
This is certain to be one of the coolest events in which I’ve been involved.
In addition to the Red Moon, Ben is the author of two short story collections, The Language of Elk and Refresh, Refresh, a graphic novel based on the short story Refresh, Refresh, as well as the novel, The Wilding.
At the April 30 community calendar meeting, participants identified the benefits and concerns of seven calendar concepts. At the end of the meeting, participants were asked to vote yes or no on each one (abstaining was also permitted), answering this question:
Does this calendar type have enough merit to move it forward for more consideration and "fleshing out" with specific detail and actual days?
If you were not able to attend the meeting, this calendar concepts online straw poll is your opportunity to weigh in. You can vote yes or no on each calendar concept, or you can abstain.
The online straw poll closes at 8 am on Monday, May 13 so that results can be included in the calendar discussion by the Northfield School Board at the 7 PM meeting.
And if you missed the April 24th 8 pm live video conference via Google Hangout Air, you can view the YouTube recording:
From Suzanne Freeman, posted to Dan Freeman’s Caring Bridge page last night:
Around 7:30 this evening, my dad died.
As you all can imagine, while we knew it was coming, no one expected it so soon. I arrived at noon to relieve Cynthia and he was about the same as yesterday – groggy but awake. The hospice nurse had asked to speak with me and told me she’d seen a marked decline since her visit Saturday, but I knew that. She said the nurses would continue checking on him more frequently which they did.
He was pretty restless most of the day and very confused, but we watched a movie for a bit and he grooved to the Les Mis soundtrack in his wheelchair before asking to go outside for a while. I had a nurse help me with his oxygen and we went to sit in the shade in the courtyard. When he was ready to go back inside he didn’t want me to leave and get a helper, so the two of us somehow managed (mostly me) to get his wheelchair and oxygen tank inside the door, promptly after which he started feeling very ill. The nurse helped him calm down and gave him some medications and a nebulizer, and he seemed relatively stable for a while.
Brett Reese called right around that time and then asked if he could stop by for a few minutes; meanwhile I was trying to communicate with everyone I could who was asking about his status today. Brett arrived just in time to give me a shoulder to cry on. Duane Everson came by to check on Dad and sang to him (as did some other friends earlier).
Dave Topp and my brother Jeff arrived when Dad was feeling particularly antsy, and though he had a ton of meds in him he couldn’t settle into sleep. Whenever one of us suggested he lay down he said, "No." A couple of times I was successful in convincing him to rest, but then he’d sit up again and just rest his hands to his side or his head on his hand.
Sondy Berg Jensen came by to relieve me and help me schedule his helpers over the next several days (and to bring me some much-needed snacks), and soon Dave came out to where we were sitting to tell me that the nurse said I should get back to his room. A few minutes later Dad took his last breaths.
My mom, Nate and Jeff (who had just left and had to turn back around from Richfield) and I gathered in Dad’s room, had some Brandy Dans with Nate and Jeff’s respective significant others, and cried a massive amount of tears. Brett arrived for a visit and was as shocked as we were to find Dad no longer alive.
Dad expressed his wish that the funeral take place at Valley Grove Church, so I’ll be contacting them tomorrow to find a day and time available this week. That will likely be a private service since the church is so small. We decided that we’ll have a public visitation and what I hope will be a big blow-out memorial event to honor my extraordinary father.
When we’ve decided on plans, they’ll be posted in the Northfield News, here, KYMN, Facebook and pretty much everywhere else we can think of.
Thank you to everyone who sent their good wishes, visited Dad, cared for him, and generally loved him.
I’m rather numb as I write this, but I’m going to miss him more than I know right now.
Now raise a glass to Mr. Northfield, a rather spectacular guy.
We’re hosting a live video conference today, May 6, at 5 pm to discuss the DRAFT "final" report on the Downtown Parking Conversation. The draft is on the agenda for the City Council work session on Tuesday, May 14th.
Panelists confirmed thus far:
- Britt Ackerman (attorney, Hvistendahl, Moersch, Dorsey & Hahn; NDDC Board member)
- Mary Closner (downtown business owner, swag – funky and fine art)
- Ross Currier (NDDC Executive Director)
- Leota Goodney (Leota Goodney CPA; downtown business/building owner)
- Chris Heineman (Community Planning and Development Director, City of Northfield)
- Christopher Tassava (Associate Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Carleton College; board member, Northfield Citizens Online)
- Steve Wilmot (Architect, SMSQ; member, Heritage Preservation Commission)
We’ll be using Google+ Hangout Air for the video conference, embedded on the downtown parking conversation blog. If you’re unable to attend the live conference, I’ll have it archived there shortly after it’s over.
There are three ways for you to participate in this event:
- We’ll be using an online text chat feature so that anyone can submit questions for the panel during the video conference.
- You can submit questions for the panel ahead of time by either attaching a comment to the blog post, or by using the Contact Us form
- After the panel is over, we’ll continue the discussion via blog comment thread till Friday, May 10, possibly later.
Got questions or suggestions? Attach a comment or contact me.
I went to last week’s retirement reception at Northfield City Hall for Lynne Young, Northfield Public Library Director, and Liz Wheeler, Director of Human Resources, IT and Risk. Former Northfield City Administrator and current Edina City Manager Scott Neal was among the dignitaries who attended.
I was pleased that City staff chose one of my photos of downtown Northfield to give to Liz. The photo is used on the City’s new website.
A week ago or more I was having a beer at the Contented Cow when Norman Butler told me that these enterprising college students were organizing a chess tournament.
They sent me this info:
11am-6pm Saturday, May 11, 2013
arrive at 10:45am to enter
The Contented Cow, 302B Division Street South, Northfield, MN 55057
Who can play? You! Everyone, of any age, with any level of experience from novice to master, is welcome. You don’t need to be a member of any chess organization to play or win.
Come to compete with students and teachers from Carleton, St. Olaf, and Northfield High School, as well as other members of the Northfield community! Enjoy chess in a casual tournament setting — with prizes! Arrive by 11am to enter. This is not a rated tournament.
Entry fee is $10 cash (no checks or credit cards), with cash prizes and Chapati gift certificates for winners. Swiss pairing, 4 rounds, 30-minute games. First place winner’s name will be displayed on a trophy in the Cow!
If you have a tournament set and clock, please bring them (if you don’t, no worries!). For complete details and to let us know you’re coming (preferred but not necessary), check out the tournament website or contact David McNeil (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The management of the Contented Cow in Northfield, MN announced today that they will host Down By the River: A Tribute to Neil Young on Saturday, May 11th, beginning at 4:00 in the afternoon. More than two dozen artists from Southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities will gather to perform the music of one of the most beloved and eclectic musicians of the past 50 years. Performers will play short 3-5 song sets that will span Young’s entire career.
Continuing a string of tribute events hosted by the Cow in recent years, the bill is stocked with talent.
“We have so many great musicians around here that we need to do something every now and then to showcase them,” said show producer Rich Larson of Left-Handed Entertainment. “When you pair that talent with a catalogue of songs that are as diverse as Neil Young’s, you’re bound to get an incredible evening.”
Larson says even Young’s non-fans should enjoy the event.
“Every now and then someone says they don’t like Neil Young because of his nasally voice. Well then, this is an opportunity for people to hear these incredible songs, performed by different voices. In fact, in some cases, you’ll hear them from some people who are incredible singers. Last year the Knightengales, the all-women a cappella group from Carleton College, stole the show when they performed at our Bob Dylan event. They’ll be back again this year, and I cannot wait to hear what they’ve come up with.”
And indeed, the bill does offer a diverse group of performers. Northfield folk/country singer “The Norwegian Cowboy” Jon Larson will be joined by venerable folk stalwart Bill McGrath, garage rockers Martin Anderson & The Goods, upstart punk rock group Some Kid’s Dad, and a host of others.
“It’s one of the things I love most about these shows,” said Larson. “We’ll have performers who are in their 60′s playing alongside college kids. And all of them are stunningly good.”
The show will also serve as the unofficial kickoff of the outdoor performance season.
“It’s been a long, long winter,” said Larson. “Nobody around here needs me to tell them that. But I’ve always said May is the month to be in this state. Everything is in bloom, the humidity is low, the bugs aren’t really out yet. The outdoor stage at the Cow sits just in front of the Cannon river. It’s a really beautiful setting, and their patio is so accommodating. We expect that we’ll have one of those spectacular May days where the weather is perfect, the music will be fantastic, and everybody will have an unforgettable time.”
Neil Young is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee who is known for his eclectic, diverse songwriting. He’s best known for alternately playing soft, folk based songs like After the Gold Rush and Harvest Moon, and ear rattling hard rock like Cinnamon Girl and Rockin’ in the Free World. He has influenced countless artists, including Elvis Costello, Dave Matthews, Sonic Youth, and Pearl Jam. His work with his backing band Crazy Horse earned him the nickname “The Godfather of Grunge.”
Down By the River: A Tribute to Neil Young will be Saturday, May 11th, beginning at 4 p.m., and running deep into the evening. The Contented Cow is located at 302B Division Street in downtown Northfield. For further information, contact the Contented Cow at (507) 663-1351 or Rich Larson at (612) 756-0490.
Mary Closner say don’t think twice, vote twice for swag, and by Monday midnight, please. She could win $5,000 for her business
Mary Closer, proprietor of swag – fine & funky art in downtown Northfield, stopped by my corner office at GBM last week. She has been spamming her friends and enemies (I think I’m both lists) with this email:
I’m still trying to get votes for the Intuit program that supports small businesses by giving financial support. You just click on the link below and go to the search button. Put in "swag – fine & funky art" and vote for me, oh please. You can vote daily and on all the different kinds of technology you might have access to. You don’t have to sign up for anything or download anything. I’m so very appreciative of the assistance from all of you! I need the boost (hopefully $5K) to keep doing what I hope to be doing for a very long time! Art is my thing!
When you get to the vote page (follow her instructions above), you’ll see this text:
I recently took over the store from my 87-year-old Mom. She is my only "employee." I’m 48-years-old and she still bosses me around & makes me get her tacos. I’m trying to incorporate technology in the store for the first time after 10 years in business. I’ve started a website, Facebook page, and am working on getting set up with Quickbooks. I need help! I can’t afford to hire a techo-slave/geek/"pool boy" to help me learn the wonders of QB, WordPress & Twitter & social media "stuff." I long to blog about my fabulous store, but alas, I need $5,000 to pay for my techo-helper! Pretty please!!!
As of this writing (12:22 PM Sunday), she’s at 931 votes. Let’s get over 1,000 by midnight Monday. Vote today and again tomorrow.
My sweetie, Robbie Wigley, was in the limelight a bit this weekend.
Left: She got an award at the Melaleuca convention in Salt Lake City. Among the hundreds of Senior Directors, she was third in customer retention for the year.
From New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger comes a brilliant new novel about a young man, a small town, and murder in the summer of 1961.
“It’s been a while since a story forced me to abandon my plans for the day. This book has all the elements of a great mystery. The careful plot, skillful placement of evidence, and trajectory of suspense are all immensely satisfying. What sets this story apart is the unsettling detail of family love and the experience of grief.” –Ann Woodbeck, Excelsior Bay Books
“ Set in the early 60’s, it’s a story told from the perspective of 13-year-old Frank Drum when tragedy comes to call on his family. The author has really captured the era, the small town atmosphere, the Drum family and all the other memorable characters that make up this brilliant novel.Ordinary Grace will stay with me for a long time. ” –Kathleen Eddy, Manager, Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, MN
All the dying that summer began with the death of a child . . .
New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson’s Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder.
Frank begins the season preoccupied with the concerns of any teenage boy, but when tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family, which includes his Methodist minister father, his passionate, artistic mother, Juilliard-bound older sister, and wise-beyond-his-years kid brother—he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years.
Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer,Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.
William Kent Krueger is the award-winning author of twelve previous Cork O’Connor novels, including Northwest Angle and Trickster’s Point, as well as the novel Ordinary Grace. He lives in the Twin Cities with his family.Orphan Train
“I was so moved by this book. I loved Molly and Vivian, two brave, difficult, true-hearted women who disrupt one another’s lives in beautiful ways, and loved journeying with them, through heartbreak and stretches of history I’d never known existed, out of loneliness toward family and home.” –Marisa de los Santos, New York Times-bestselling author ofBelong to Me and Falling Together
“I loved this book: its absorbing back-and-forth story, its vivid history, its eminently loveable characters. ORPHAN TRAIN wrecked my heart and made me glad to be literate.” –Monica Wood, author of When We Were the Kennedys
“Christina Baker Kline writes exquisitely about two unlikely friends . . . each struggling to transcend a past of isolation and hardship. ORPHAN TRAIN will hold you in its grip as their fascinating tales unfold.” –Cathy Marie Buchanan, New York Times-bestselling author of The Painted Girls
Detailed and beautifully drawn, Orphan Train illuminates a little-known part of America’s history: Between 1854 and 1929, so-called “orphan trains” transported more than 200,000 orphaned, abandoned, and homeless children between the ages of 2 and 14 from the East Coast to the Midwest for foster care and adoption. But their treatment often amounted to indentured servitude. Chosen first were infants, for more traditional adoptions, and older boys, for their manual labor; adolescent girls were typically selected last. While some children quickly found love and acceptance, many walked a harder road.
Orphan Train is set in modern-day Maine and early twentieth-century Minnesota. Kline spends every summer on the coast of Maine and has built a large fan base in the area. She has also spent 25 years traveling to Minnesota where her husband’s family lives, and has strong ties to the orphan-train riders’ community in the state.
Christina Baker Kline is the author of five novels, including Bird in Handand The Way Life Should Be. Writer-in-Residence at Fordham University from 2007-2011, Kline is a recent recipient of a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Fellowship and several research fellowships (to Ireland and Minnesota), and has been a Writer-in-Residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She lives with husband and three sons in Montclair, New Jersey, and spends as much time as possible in northern Minnesota and on the coast of Maine, where she grew up.The books are available at Monkey See Monkey Read in downtown Northfield.
Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota‘s annual meeting makes it clear: the time is right for Northfield to get its bike act together
In late Feb, I attended the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota‘s (BikeMN) third annual Minnesota Bicycle Summit on Capitol Hill, noting that I was "trying to get smarter about the state of bike advocacy in Minnesota…" (Blog post here.)
A few weeks later, for the same reason, I attended the Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota’s Day on the Hill which led to having lunch here in Northfield with Executive Director Brett Feldman and Northfield’s First Ward Councilor Suzie Nakasian in which we explored the pros and cons of forming a Northfield area regional bicycle council. (Blog post here.) Brett encouraged us to get in touch with BikeMN’s Executive Director Dorian Grilley.
During the meeting, my eyes widened as we heard details from BikeMN staff and board members about the myriad of bike-related activities, projects, collaborations that they’re involved in. (See the Education and Advocacy pages on their website for a glimpse.)
Dorian is well-connected and versed in national bicycle advocacy issues so I was pleased to hear some of the latest news, including the repercussions from Trek CEO John Burke’s speech last fall at Interbike (my blog post here).
Afterwards, I did have a chance to talk with Dorian, as well as with Nick Mason, BikeMN’s Education & Technical Assistance Program Manager. Both offered their help to get things rolling in Northfield with a start-up of a local bicycle advocacy group and hopefully, one or more of their Bicycle Friendly Programs. (March blog post: Bemidji has earned ‘Bicycle Friendly Community’ status. Why not Northfield?)
And as I wrote back in March:
There are other [Northfield area] projects and developments that have a bicycle-component: the Northfield Depot; the East Cannon River Trail segment; the TIGER Trail (aka the Northfield Modal integration project); Safe Routes to School; the Gateway Corridor Improvement Plan; Northfield Roundtable’s Framework Plan; and the Cannon River Corridor recreational concept.
I also put on my mountain biking hat (helmet?) and with MORC Board members Reed Smidt and Mark Gavin, chatted with Dorian about how BikeMN and MORC could work more closely together. One idea: give communities with mountain bike trails and pump/jump/BMX parks extra credit when they apply for Bicycle Friendly Community status.
Click and scroll through the photos either one at a time or via a slideshow. (Memo to self: use a flash when taking photos with my smartphone of people indoors.)
A crew from the Weather Channel was broadcasting from Bridge Square last night as it started to snow.
I took these photos shortly before 6 am. It seems like we got more than 6 inches of wet cement again (last week the total was 6.5). I may take more photos and turn it into another album but I still have more photos from last week that I’ve not sorted through. Jeesh.