Rotary Honors WWII Vets

Click to enlargeToday's Rotary Meeting was dedicated to honoring the WWII Veterans in the Northfield Rotary Club and hear some stories that reminded us all of the sacrifices and dedication needed at a critical time on our planet to fight for the freedoms we enjoy.

Each of these men (click the photo to enlarge it) stood up to share a story or two with the group: (left to right) Bob Lampe, Earl Crow, Frank Cerny, Al Alberg, Orv Marks, Bob Will, Bill Culp, and Bob Reitz.

There's also photo gallery from the event.



Locally Grown features Mill Towns Trail, 2:30 pm Friday at The Hideaway

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We're taking our Locally Grown radio show/podcast to the streets this summer. This week, we're recording 2:30 PM Friday in back room at the newly opened James Gang Hideaway, 421 Division St. Our guest: Mill Towns Trail board member Peggy Prowe. Attend the recording session to help provide ambient background noise and maybe even participate.

The legislature just allocated $1 million dollars for the trail. I snapped the photo (above right) today after Northfield Rotary's lunch at the Northfield Golf Club. L to R: Rice County Commissioner Jessica Peterson, Faribault Councillor Carol King, Representative Patti Fritz, Peggy Prowe, Jim Schlicting, Representative Ray Cox, Mill Towns Trail Friends Chair Meg Otten, Senator Tom Neuville, Peter Stolley, Laurie Williams, Neil Lutsky. (Click all photos/images to enlarge.)


This week in the Northfield Blogosphere...

The 'Sphere is back again, and the theme this week is presented in haiku form:

bq. _Northfield, your profuse_
_writing makes my job easy._
_Keep up the good work._

People were in the writing mood; this week, we're looking at entries over 500 words. Even more inside...


Policy and Picnic...What a Combo!

Reminder: this event is TODAY.

Steve MorseThe public is invited to hear about gains for environmental quality achieved during the 2006 Minnesota Legislative session. Steve Morse, Executive Director of Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP), will address the topic and answer questions from 4-5:30 p.m., Thursday, May 25, at the Northfield Public Library.

Steve is a former state senator and a former deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Steve was elected to the State Senate the first time in 1986, representing the Winona area. For most of his 12 years in the Senate, he served as chairman of the Senate Environment and Agriculture Budget Division. He served in the DNR from 1999 to 2003.


You're invited to a mixer . . .

...no, it's not one of these mixers, although this may be the more familiar variety during construction season.

It's one of those FUN MIXERS, where you can meet and greet your downtown neighbors and fellow lovers of downtown Northfield...free food, cash bar, plenty of socializing and stimulating conversation, hear the latest news, get motivated to make a difference or just kick back with your friends

The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation is sponsoring this event which will be held at the Tavern Lounge in the Archer House on Thursday, May 25, from 5 to 7 pm. Meet members of our Board of Directors, tell us what you really think and share whatever gossip you’ve heard. This event is free and open to the public.

Questions? Call 663-0319 for more info.

Dan Bergeson is president of the NDDC.


NHS Honors Art Students Present Their Final Show at the NAG

Click to enlargeThe Northfield High School Honors Art students are pleased to present their semester's body of work at their end-of-the-year show at the Northfield Arts Guild.  This year's show has been named "A Feast for the Eyes" and it will showcase the work of 13 senior artists.  The show will open on Thursday, May 25th and run through Saturday June 3rd.  There will be an opening artists reception on Saturday May 27th from 7-9 p.m.  The NHS women's choral group, Cattywampus, will be singing at the reception and there will be desserts and refreshments for everyone.  The reception is free and open to everyone.

The artwork that will be on display at the show was created during second semester. Each student in Honors Art had the opportunity to create a thematic series of work that embodied their individual interests in both mediums and concepts.  The artwork in the show represents the wide array of interests and mediums that the students chose to work with.  The art forms include:  acrylic paintings, watercolor paintings, mixed media, fashion design, ceramics, digital fim, graphite drawings, pastel drawings and Photoshop. 

The featured Honors Art artists include:  Nat Allister, Lotte Brackee, Emma Closser, Athena Currier, Josh Engen, John Fischer, Sarah Goldfeather, Derek Huber, Ali Kopseng, Josh Nelson, Riahl O'Malley, Anna Sweitzer and Caitlin Truax. 

All of the artists hope that you enjoy the show and greet them on Saturday night.

Katherine Norrie is an art teacher at Northfield High School. 


City faces tough choice on new theater

Editor's note: How many screens, how many cars, how much popcorn does it take to make money in the movie business today? Check back later for an in-depth interview with Steve Mann, one of the owners of the successful Twin Cities-based Mann Theatres chain.

Southgate CinemaAnyone who thinks small town government isn't a challenge is nuts. I've been covering small towns for many years and the questions they decide often leave them in a no-win situation—with friends and neighbors on both sides. They're decisions I wouldn't want to make.

For example, lots of cities face zoning issues where community officials know that a developer can take a lucrative project to another city if they don't approve it. Rarely, however, does the developer have the option of moving a mere 80 feet away to get to that other community.

That's the philosophical debate the City Council will face in June when they receive a Planning Commission recommendation to refuse a change in the Comprehensive Plan to allow commercial zoning for about seven acres of land along Highway 3 across from Target. The change is the first step needed for landowner James Gleason and a developer to build a multi-screen movie theater complex.


James Gang Hideaway is open!

Joan and Jim SpauldingHey Northfield tastebuds – you now have some fresh and flavorful options such as grilled asparagus, brie, roasted red peppers, with a basil pine nut pesto or fajita chicken, grilled zucchini, roasted red onions, topped with provolone cheese and pesto mayo – both on ciabatta bread and hot off a pannini grill. That’s the sort of fare being offered at the James Gang Hideaway now open downtown on Division Street.

Co-owners Joan and Jim Spaulding (pictured) also operate the James Gang Coffeehouse on Highway 3. They’ve brought over many of the mainstays from that enterprise and added a whole lot more.  “Our appetizers are not your standard fare,” says Joan, offering olive tapenade, basil pine nut pesto and Italian oils and bread for dipping as examples. The HideAway also provides deli service with fresh pastas and pre-wrapped sandwiches to “grab and go.”

Their wine and beer list is unique to the area, too. They have selected “the best of very good products.” By limiting their list to a dozen or so wines and half a dozen beers, they’re confident they’ll be able to give their customers quality beverages at a reasonable price.


Minnesota's Future: More Walkers than Wagons

Tom Gillaspy at LWV forumUpdate: Tom Gillaspy's presentation is attached.

Take a look at the future of Minnesota and you'll see more people with walkers than with wagons. There will be more immigrants—though not nearly as many as in the beginning of the last century—from more countries than ever. And as they have for the last 60 years, Baby Boomers will again change the state and the country to suit their needs. It's a future that clashes with our view of the United States.

"That's how we define ourselves, as a youthful nation," said Minnesota State Demographer Tom Gilllaspy at yesterday's League of Women Voters 4th Monday event at the Northfield Public Library.

It's hard to make statistics come alive, but Gillaspy held the audience with a staggering, if not entirely surprising, series of key demographic illustrations. For example, the state labor force is expected to grow to 421,000 by 2010, but it will grow by only 175,000 workers between 2010 and 2020. By 2020 there will be more people in Minnesota aged 65 and older than there will be children under 18.

The two factors above will push the state and the country to deal with a shift from education services to healthcare services. They also point out the reality that we will not have enough workers to support the number of people heading into retirement.


It's time for you to 'Choose Your News!'

Listening sessions planned to get your feedback about Northfield.org


Well, we've been telling you this is your website. And now it's time for you to tell us what you want to see on it! Let's just call it the Choose Your News campaign, because we're out to win you over in a big way.

The board members of Northfield Citizens Online (the group that runs Northfield.org) and I will be hosting listening sessions over the next few weeks to determine what kind of content you want to see—and what kind of stories, photos, essays and commentaries you'd like to write. The first session will be Tuesday, May 23, at the Contented Cow. I'll be there at 7 p.m. and I'll stay as long as you have something to talk about.

Here's your chance to have your say. Want more sports news? A political page full of debate and conversation? Should we add letters to the editor, or guest commentaries, or maybe both? How about wedding announcements?

Just for fun, what if we ask you to use your digital and cell phone cameras to send photos from your vacation, from town events, from your favorite fishing spot after you land the big one? Will you do it? Do you want to see those pictures from your friends and neighbors?


Peterson campaign Northfield kick-off Thursday

Click to visit campaign websiteThe Contented Cow will be the site for the official Northfield kick-off for Jessica Peterson and her campaign for State Senate. This public event will be from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, this Thursday, May 25.

Everyone is invited to this open-house event. It will be a good chance for people to meet the candidate, ask questions, express concerns, volunteer to help out, and generally mingle with others who want to see Northfield once again have progressive representation in the state legislature.

Scott Covey is Jessica Peterson's campaign manager


Locally Grown podcast #18: Streetscape and ArtsPlan '06 with guest Howard Merriam

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Howard Merriam, Director of Resource Planning for the City of Northfield, was the guest for Friday's Locally Grown show, discussing plans for the downtown Streetscape & Way-Finding Plan (bike racks up first) and the ArtsPlan06 project. (L to R: Howard Merriam, Morgan Weiland, Ross Currier, Tracy Davis.)

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


It's time to think about summer reading!

Numerous studies have shown that summer reading programs help ensure that school children retain reading and learning skills over the summer break.

Catch the Beat, the Northfield Public Library's children’s summer reading program will start June 13th for “read to me kids” through 5th grade.
 
The purpose of this summer reading program is to have fun and to keep kids reading this summer. It is free and open to all.
 
"Reading goal booklets" can be picked up at the library beginning the week of June 5. We're encouraging kids to start setting a weekly reading goal and START READING! They'll earn a prize for every goal they meet, and they'll also have a chance to earn prizes at the hour-long weekly programs!

The program schedule is attached, and also available on the library's website at www.northfieldmn.info  Remember, reading over the summer is important and also fun!


Twin Cities developer to add 50 homes along golf course

The housing market in the greater metro area may be softening, but one Twin Cities development firm is optimistic enough about Northfield to move ahead with the final phase of the Rosewood Subdivision.

Mark Gergen and Lynn Giovannelli of Miles Development Corporation plan to complete the Rosewood 5th Addition, bordering the Northfield Golf Club. The plan originally was approved in 1998, but Gergen and his partner modified it to eliminate all but one cul de sac and make smaller lots to accommodate 50 new detached townhomes on small lots along a curved street that will connect to Wall Street Road. The plan also calls for an adjustment in the extension of Jefferson Parkway to straighten the connection to Wall.


Booker the Book Bus nears the end of the road

Already faced with the ongoing discussion of how to replace its downtown facility, the Library Board soon must decide what to do with its aging bookmobile, known as Booker the Book Bus.

The familiar bookmobile will be on the road through the summer, but it's not clear how much longer it can last. Library Director Lynne Young told the board Tuesday that the immediate need is about $8,000 for a generator, but the bigger question is whether it's wise to put any money into Booker, who turned 20 last year.

Booker already was well-worn when the Northfield Library bought it from the regional library system, SELCO, for $2,000 in 1991. The library and the Northfield Public Schools wrote a grant for the purchase, and a number of local organizations donated new paint, carpet and fixtures. The routes stretched outside the city to meet the school boundaries.

Ever since, Booker has been a big part of the library's outreach services. This year the library began a contract with the county to provide services outside the school district. The regional library service, which had retired its bookmobile, donated some of its collection to Booker.


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