Community garden will bloom, but in new location

Seven Northfield families will get a chance to plant fruits and vegetables in a community garden this summer, but the test program won't be run in Way Park.

The Park and Recreation Advisory Board agreed Tuesday to move the gardening pilot program after several members of the Friends of Way Park voiced objections. Board member Dan Hudson, who was working on the gardens, won approval to use a piece of undeveloped city land at the corner of Forest Avenue and Hwy 19.

"I think it's a great solution," City Councilor Galen Malecha said after the decision. "There was major opposition to that being in Way Park."

Residents who spoke Tuesday evening focused on the board's decision to test the gardening program without talking to their organization, as well as their philosophical objection to allowing individual use of public land.

Park Board members said they thought that adding gardens to the park for a few months was in keeping with the uses outlined by the organization when the park was under discussion. They said the test wouldn't have interfered with long-range planning for the park, which doubled in size when the city hospital was relocated to a new site and the old building razed.

Wayne Eddy interview about, blogging, podcasting


I ran into Wayne Eddy a few weeks ago at the Blue Monday and he started peppering me with questions about internet technology. I must not have explained things very well because decided to schedule me as a guest on his new radio show where he could ask me the questions all over again.

So today I was his guest on his show, the Wayne Eddy Affair, which airs weekdays on KYMN (1080 AM) from 9-11 am. If you missed it, here's the audio clip. I've cut out the segment in the middle where he asks me lots of questions about my life and career, so that most of the stuff you'll hear is about internet-related technology including, blogging, and podcasting.

Student Soloists to Perform with St. Olaf Orchestra Friday

The St. Olaf Orchestra will present a concert featuring senior student soloists and a work by a senior composer Friday, May 12, at 7:30 p.m. in Skoglund Center Auditorium. The concert is free and open to the public.

"For many members of the St. Olaf and Northfield communities this concert has become one of the highlights of the school year," says Steven Amundson, conductor of the St. Olaf Orchestra. "It's great to have the opportunity to work with some of our finest senior performers."

This year's concert will feature six senior soloists: Kristin Clark on marimba, Karin Hancock on piano, Claire Kelly on violin, baritone Eric Neuville, soprano Sonja Tengblad and Micah Wilkinson on trumpet. In addition, the orchestra will perform Rage by senior student composer Matt Peterson.

Pictured here are: (front row, l-r) Sonja Tengblad, Kristin Clark, Claire Kelly and Karin Hancock; (second row, l-r) Micah Wilkinson and Eric Neuville.

2006 Springtime Photo Competition Winner

"!{float:left;margin:0 5px 0 0 }!": Congratulations to Cindy Jensen for winning the inaugural "2006 Northfield Springtime Photo Contest":
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Her "picture of a full rainbow arching over the new Memorial Field": was selected by the judges as not only technically excellent, but also as doing a good job of incorporating Northfield into the shot.

She wins the grand prize of $50 in Chamber bucks. The "entire pool of entry pictures is still available online":

City Council, Library Board begin search for new downtown library sites

Put on your thinking caps and tell us your ideas. Go ahead and dream a little. Just type your ideas into the comments at the end of this story.

Click to view cool panoramic photo!Imagine the Northfield Public Library celebrating its centennial in 2010 in a new building perched over Highway 3, linking east and west, incorporating a pedestrian/bicycle bridge and symbolizing the city's future.

What about a new library near The Grand, with a shared downtown parking ramp and public space linking everything to the old library, which is transformed into a new use?

Too far outside the box? Maybe, maybe not, judging by the conversation launched at Monday's City Council work session.

No decisions will be made for months, and all ideas will be fair game as the council and the Library Board try to figure out how to keep a public library downtown.

"We probably have no option but to look at a single-level building on a new site," Library Board Chairman Mark Gleason told the council.

This Week in the Northfield Blogosphere

This week in the 'Sphere, we get naked and run around Carleton checking our email. Well, maybe not us, but someone does. We were going to, but we heard that job has been taken.

More inside...

Creating a more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly community

Bill and Ava Ostrem - click to enlargeFor the last few months I’ve been speaking to people about a vision I have for the Northfield area. It’s a vision of a community that relies less on motorized vehicles for getting around and more on the old-fashioned power of our own bodies. In particular, it’s a vision of a community that walks and bikes more and drives less.

I’ve been inspired to speak out primarily because of my experience in the city of Davis, California, where  my family and I lived for two years before moving to Northfield in 2004. Davis—which is in northern California, near Sacramento—has been designated the most “bicycle-friendly community” in the country by the League of American Bicyclists.

In Davis I saw that a city can create a transportation infrastructure that serves not only cars and trucks but also pedestrians and bikers. That city has invested in bike and walking trails as well as bike lanes on city streets. Like Northfield, Davis is divided by a major road, but in Davis, it is Interstate 80, a much busier road than Highway 3. Davis has responded by creating bridges and tunnels that bring the opposite sides of the city together, including pedestrian/bike bridges and tunnels.

This Week at City Hall

It's going to be a busy week at City Hall, with lots of important issues under discussion. Here's a preview...

Monday, 7 p.m. City Council: The council meets in a work session to tackle the new library space needs assessment. A report released in April indicates it could cost up to $9.2 million to replace or renovate the downtown library, so this should be interesting. The council also will discuss the proposed pay equity plan for city employees.

Tuesday, 7:30 a.m. Economic Development Authority: The EDA will get a look at the revised version of the city's proposed Economic Development Plan. The consultants recently provided a draft version, which drew lots of suggestions for changes and improvements.

Garden Club Plant Sale Saturday, May 13

The Northfield Garden Club is holding their annual Plant Sale fundraiser Saturday, May 13, from 9 a.m. - noon on Bridge Square. Rain or shine, you can come downtown to purchase perennials, annuals, and houseplants from member gardens.

Outdoor Dining Contest

Click to view contest entry form (PDF)Lots of good discussion is going on about the future of sidewalk dining in downtown Northfield, but do you know all the places where you can eat outside in the area now?

The current issue of the Northfield Entertainment Guide has a fun contest about these dining venues, with a chance to win a prize by matching the names of the restaurants with pictures of their outdoor seating areas. You can try your luck at the contest by clicking the image here to download a full-size PDF of the contest page and following the directions to enter. Then let's meet for some lemonade...outside, of course!

Changes Ahead for Downtown Sidewalks

Click to view larger sizeIt looks like the sidewalks of Northfield will be busy this summer, with the city considering plans for more outdoor dining and looking for places to install some new bike racks.

The immediate issue is deciding where to place eight "hitching posts," the small bike racks that are designed to fit in busy retail areas.

"The NDDC started this conversation a long time ago," said Dan Bergeson, president of the Northfield Dowtown Development Corp. "We've just been plugging away. We finally managed to get it to happen."

The city is looking for suggestions, so make them here and we'll pass them along to Howard Merriam, director of resource planning for the city.

St. Olaf Students Tackle Wal-Mart

Class finds giant retailer's impact embedded in communities, society

Is Wal-Mart the enemy of our society or just a reflection of it?

Click to view larger sizeAbout 200 people flocked to the Lion’s Pause at St. Olaf College Thursday night to witness the symposium: “WalMart America – Changing the Face of Our World”. The event, hosted by Professor Eric Fure-Slocum’s History 297 class (Wal-Mart America), drew a diverse crowd of St. Olaf students, faculty, alumni, and a number of Northfield community members.

The event included presentations of the students' research, ranging from an examination of how people of different faiths respond to Wal-Mart, to Wal-Mart’s impact on local crime rates, to the retailers' shaping of the music industry, to the enormous changes in the U.S. and global economies in recent decades.

The highlight of the evening was a lively panel discussion, moderated by students Max Wojtanowicz ’06 and Anna Gieselman ’06. Panelists [pictured, from left to right] included Rebecca Judge (Professor of Economics at St. Olaf), Ross Currier (Northfield Downtown Development Corporation), and Jenny Shegos (United Food and Commercial Workers Local 789). Shegos is also the local field coordinator for Wake-Up Wal-Mart.

Locally Grown podcast #16: Sidewalk dining; Northfield Library expansion report

Issues covered in episode #16 of Locally Grown, recorded this afternoon: The "Northfield Public Library Preliminary Report on Community Needs Assessment And Space Needs" with guest Adam Gurno, library board member; also, a brief recap of Tuesday's NDDC downtown forum on sidewalk dining.


Local Architect Interviews Global Design Leader

Peter SchmelzerWe love it when local people get out there and shake things up.

In case you haven't heard, a local Northfield architect is getting some wider exposure. Peter Schmelzer is too humble to brag, but his brother Paul let us know that the brothers have teamed up to interview Achitecture for Humanity founder Cameron Sinclair for a book coming out in the United Kingdom called Land, Art: A Culture Ecology Handbook.

Peter and his wife, Mary, started Vivus Architecture two years ago on 5th Street in downtown Northfield, doing both architecture and interior design, Paul is the managing editor of the Walker Art Center's magazine and manages the Walker blogs. Paul said he invited Peter to join him in interviewing Sinclair—their first writing collaboration—because Peter's interest in green design would complement his own interests in art and activism. Peter also is interested in seeing whether there is interest in starting an Architecture for Humanity chapter in Northfield.

50 Ways to "State" Happy Birthday

Rick EstensonWhat do you do when you wake up and on your way to work there are 50 signs spread out on a 2 mile stretch, each written just for you? You smile big and enjoy the celebration of turning 50.

Click to view full photoNCO Board member Rick Estenson was treated to a day of celebration yesterday with family and friends at the occasion of his 50th birthday. Rick had a goal of visiting each of the 50 states before reaching the age of 50. With just 2 months to spare, he traveled to North Carolina on a weekend trip with a nephew (another goal of taking a personal trip with each of his nieces and nephews) to fulfill his dream. Inside information has it that once he drove hundreds of miles out of the way in order to step foot in one of the states.

It seems Rick's "state of mind" is still sharp and his "distressed state" of turning 50 was definitely "overstated". It is an "understatement" to say that Rick is a great guy and all of his friends and family look forward to the next 50 with him!

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