NCO Hosts a Grand Time at The Grand

Click to view larger sizeNorthfield Citizens Online celebrated its new look and new managing editor, extended a heartfelt thank you to its tech crew and kicked off our membership drive -- all in one grand time Thursday night.

An enthusiastic crowd listened to some great music (the Bratlanders, including our own Chair, Doug Bratland), heard some of our history and some of our vision vision, and met the new Managing Editor, Anne Bretts. Master of Ceremonies Rick Estenson, a board member since 2005, introduced a short history by yours truly, followed by a really great tale of the genesis of our on-line community from the early days of the revival of the salon (via the Utne Reader) by our favorite son, Griff Wigley, aka, the Hon. Mayor of NCO.

Just as the Internet has allowed us to redefine community, so has the changing technical climate allowed NCO to transform itself from its early techie beginnings to a more community and content-oriented organization. Our early goal of "access for all" has become "a voice for all" as we focus more on letting the community speak.  Unlike many media outlets, we are able to empower everyone to speak for themselves by removing the barriers to entry that dominate most media formats.

Locally Grown podcast #15: Northfield's ultra high-speed broadband infrastructure: an economic development opportunity?


joel_cooper_krlx.jpgIssues covered in episode #15 of Locally Grown, recorded Friday: Northfield's ultra high-speed broadband infrastructure with guest, Joel Cooper, Carleton's Director of Information Technology Services.

Last year, the colleges brought fiber to their campuses for Internet2. The conduit containing the fiber winds its way through the middle of downtown. Could this infrastructure be made available to businesses, insititutions and residents to purchase, thereby providing Northfield with an economic development opportunity that's rare for a town its size?

Click "Read the rest of this entry..." to listen (30 minutes).

Cannon River Watershed Cleanup Saturday


We’re looking for volunteers to help pick up trash along the Cannon River —help ensure that our river remains a clean and healthy part of our community!

Teams will meet at 9am at the rodeo grounds or at the Sechler Park picnic pavilion and pick up trash until about 11:30. Participants are invited to a picnic at The Science Center at Maltby Nature Preserve afterwards.

Gloves, bags, and drinking water will be provided. Minors must be accompanied by an adult. Parent permission form required for participants under age 18.

You should wear long pants, boots or sturdy shoes, and come prepared to get a bit damp and dirty!

For more information, click the image to open a PDF brochure about the event, or visit our website at

Weekend Entertainment and Events

April NEG (PDF)A weekend's worth of entertainment officially kicks off at the Grand this evening, 7 p.m., with the HealthFinders fundraiser that will include a catered dinner, live music by the Bridgewater Ramblers and Pide Kaimas as well as a silent and live auction. HealthFinders is a grassroots organization that helps under- and uninsured residents of Rice County find healthcare, so support a good cause and have a great time.

And again - for its second weekend, the Northfield Arts Guild's sexy, sultry sensation, "Cabaret," is filling the house with a 7:30 performance. Tickets are probably sold out, but it¹s always worth a shot to see what's at the door. If not that, sit back and enjoy "Up the Down Staircase," another theatrical production at the Northfield Middle School, also at 7:30.

But wait...there's more!

Buzz continues long after Franken visit

If any significant percentage of St. Olaf's student body shows up for an event, you know it must be important.
After all, students are perpetually faced with a plethora of school-sponsored activities. As a result, many activities - from political speakers to hip hop artists - can boast of only a dozen or so attendees. Last Friday, however, this was not the case. A staggering proportion of the student body, not to mention outside visitors and political candidates, made it their priority to see the well-known liberal writer and comedian Al Franken.

Come Celebrate!

Community Celebration Tonight at The Grand!

Northfield Citizens Online, the organization responsible for this website and the ISSUES email list, is hosting a party from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. tonight at The Grand Event Center in downtown Northfield. Admission is free and the entire community is welcome.

In addition to live entertainment, appetizers and a cash bar, you'll get a chance to meet the folks behind the scenes of your favorite local website and provide us feedback about what you love, hate, or would like to change about

Please join us for a swell evening with old and new friends!

How did the Dog Park Meeting Go on Tuesday Night?

Story submitted by Rick Estenson

Grrrrreat!  A combination of citizens, city officials and members of CAP (Canines At Play) discussed the virtues and challenges of a dog park in our city.  The whole idea is to get public input to select the best possible pilot park location and then allow the CAP group to work with the City Park and Recreation Advisory Board get it done.  There was much enthusiasm in the full room at the lower level of the Archer House.

Feel Guildy this Saturday

Click for larger sizeMark your calendars and bring your checkbooks, its time for the Northfield Arts Guild's annual Auction for the Arts this Saturday, April 29th.

Ed Kuhlman and Mary Rossing [pictured at left] SPRING into the Arts and host the evening's activities once again at the Guild's largest fundraiser. We depend on the funds raised to keep the doors open, the classes running, the theater lights on, and the art on the gallery walls.

The Silent Auction Runs from 7-8pm with the always entertaining Live Auction from 8-10pm. Admission is $15 at the door. 

The Northfield Arts Guild auction is so much more than just an's entertainment!

Local Doctor/Actor Featured on TV

"It's probably safe to say you rarely see your doc in drag..."
Last Friday, WCCO news ran a story on Dr. Steve Lawler, a family practice physician at Northfield's Allina Clinic who's starring in the Northfield Arts Guild's production of Cabaret. I'm not sure how long the video clip will be up on the website, but it's worth seeing. And you've gotta love the title: "Doc By Day, Cross-Dressing Emcee By Night"!

Cabaret is running for two more weekends at the NAG Theater, and tickets are limited.

Less than 24 hours left in the Spring Photo Competition!

You can still enter the Springtime Photo Competition!

The Spring Photo Competition ends Tuesday night at midnight. The contest is free and open to everyone. Grand prize is $50 in Chamber Bucks. More information about the contest can be found by going to the contest page located here.

There are currently twenty entries in the competition pool. You can view the gallery by clicking here.

Locally Grown podcast #14: Dog Park; Monday's vote on 1306; library expansion report draft

Issues covered in episode #14 of Locally Grown, recorded Friday:

  • The proposed Dog Park, with guest Rick Estenson (0 to 17 min)

  • Analysis of the Northfield City Council' repeal of 1306 last Monday night. (17.00 to 25:15)

  • An early look at the consultant's draft report/recommendations for the library expansion. (25;15 TO 29:00)

Click "Read the rest of this entry..." to listen (29 minutes).

Al Franken Visits Northfield...what's the scoop?

Al Franken was at St. Olaf last night. We were tied up, so we want to know what happened. Were you there?

Here's your chance to be a citizen journalist. It's easy! Just follow the instructions below and you'll be a citizen journalist. Any first-timer who posts the first story will get to take a bow at our Northfield Citizens Online party Thursday night at the Grand. (OK, any regular contributor who makes the first post will get to take a bow as well. Shy people may accept our thanks and pass on the bow.)

Remember, this is just an informal story. If you're not sure, write something and we'll help you polish it.

To submit a story, just create a user account, then use the create content link to submit it. And you can always contact us if you have any questions.

Today's Earth Jam Music Schedule

Happy Earth Day! Today's forecast for a partly cloudy 67 degrees couldn't be more perfect for a day of hanging out on Bridge Square and listening to eight(!) live bands as part of Earth Jam 2006.

Here's the lineup:

2pm  Lucas Paine
3pm  Taggart Bros
4pm  Matt Arthur and the Bratlanders
5pm  Harmonic VooDoo
6pm  Ben Cooper
7pm  The Chokey
8pm  Unicorn Basement
9pm  Hortense McLeode

Hope to see you downtown!

Weekend Entertainment and Events

April NEG (PDF)Once again - Northfield dishes out more things to do than you can shake a stick at.

Perhaps as a precursor to the July Vintage Band Festival, The St. Olaf Collegium Musicum is going even further back to the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque eras tonight, Friday, 7:30 p.m. in the Urness Recital Hall at St. Olaf. And on the extreme opposite side of the coin, the Northfield Arts Guild Theater will host the opening of Cabaret, sensuous, sexy and sizzling (these are local actors, mind you) at 7:30 p.m.

Note that technically Cabaret is SOLD OUT Friday and Saturday with only a handful of tickets left for Sunday's matinee. But hope is not lost as a ticket or two can oftentimes be had at the door. Worst case scenario, you can't get into Cabaret but you've opened up a block of time to take in some of this other great entertainment!

Making Northfield a city of Happy Feet

Spring is the time of year when a lot of people put on their walking shoes or pull their bikes out of the garage for a ride. The trick is getting more people to do it -- and making it safer, easier and more fun for everyone. If you want to share your ideas, post a comment at the end of this story, or better yet, come to the RENew Northfield Transportation Committee meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, in the 2nd floor conference room at 402 Washington St.

Ideas already on the agenda include a local "Commuter Challenge" event and a new ad hoc effort tentatively called the Happy Feet Campaign.

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