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!


Northfield Youth Choirs End Season with Friday Dinner, Saturday Concert

Poster by Kari Alberg - click to view larger sizeThe Northfield Youth Choirs(NYC) wind up their season with two special events that are open to the public this weekend. NYC's annual spaghetti dinner and silent auction will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at St. John's Lutheran Church. A suggested donation is asked of $7 for adults, $5 for children 5 to 12, and free for those under 5, with a family maximum price of $24.

On Saturday, the choirs will perform their spring concert, "Come Make a Home," at 4 p.m. in the Northfield Middle School auditorium. Admission is free.

The concert's theme, "Come Make a Home," is named for the piece performed by the NYC at the Governors Ball in December. The piece, commissioned for the youth choirs and written by Northfield residents Dan and Christine Kallman, was choreographed and will be danced by Shari Setchell.

"This is only the second time this piece will be performed in Northfield," said artistic director Liz Shepley. "Anyone who wasn't able to hear its debut at the Governors Ball will have a second chance this Saturday."


BOOK & STARS Schedule for this summer!

Click to view larger posterWednesday evenings throughout the summer, you are invited to enjoy fun, free family entertainment at various parks all over Northfield!

Booker the Book Bus opens at 6 pm, the entertainment begins at 7 p.m. Booker has library materials for all ages. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and settle in for fun! The Cocoa Bean returns to sell their refreshing Hawaiian Shaved Ice and half the proceeds are donated to Booker!

Read the rest of this entry to view the full schedule.


Wal-Mart Symposium Thursday at St. Olaf College

Eric Fure-SlocumSt. Olaf College will host the symposium “Wal-Mart America: Changing the Face of our World” Thursday, May 4, at 6:30 p.m. in the Lion’s Pause of Buntrock Commons. The event, sponsored by Assistant Professor of History Eric Fure-Slocum’s History 297 class, is open to students, faculty, staff and the public.

The symposium will feature a panel discussion on Wal-Mart and American society, which will include speakers Jenny Shegos from the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 789, Ross Currier of the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation, and a Wal-Mart representative. Panelists will discuss both sides of the controversy surrounding Wal-Mart’s role in American culture and politics, particularly regarding labor issues. The panel, moderated by St. Olaf students Anna Gieselman ’06 and Max Wojtanowicz ’06, will run from 7 to 8:15 p.m. and will be followed by a question and answer session.


Northfielders join national push for immigrant rights

Click to view additional photosAbout 200 people gathered on Monday night, May 1st, at Bridge Square for a candlelight vigil in solidarity with national (and international) actions in support of immigrant rights.

People gathered at Bridge Square at about 8 p.m. and were met by a contingent who marched downtown from St. Dominic's Church. As they turned onto Division Street we could hear chants of "Si se puede" ("Yes, we can") and "El pueblo unido jamás será vencido" ("The people united will overcome").

For an hour people held candles, chanted and talked. Gathered in the center of Northfield, first-, second-, third- and fourth-generation immigrants stood together in support of justice, dignity and human rights for immigrant workers.

The vigil was the culmination of a community effort that began last Tuesday in the Carleton ACT (Acting in the Community Together) Center. The ACT committee had sent out an e-mail announcing an organizing meeting to plan potential events for May 1 to coincide with immigrant rights events across the country.


"Neither snow nor rain..."

Hole in Post Office roofTraditionally this "unofficial postal motto" ends as follows:
"nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

It could also be finished as:
"nor lack of maintenance shall keep our Post Office whole."

You see, in this case there is indeed a hole—or more likely several—in our Bridge Square Post Office roof. They have been there for well over a year.

Given my interests*, it should not come as a surprise that I noticed a hole in the roof as I was walking by one day. I notified the Postmaster in November of 2004 and thought that it would be fixed shortly.

The wheels of government turn slowly sometimes...


Northfield Entertainment Guide: May, 2006 issue

Click to view PDFThe new issue of the Northfield Entertainment Guide (NEG) is now available free throughout the Northfield area and here via PDF.

Click the image to view it within your browser or right-click on the image to "Save link/target as..." and then view or print it from your computer.

The NEG is published by Rob Schanilec and Lora Steil at By All Means Graphics. We're partnering with them to keep N.org readers updated regularly on what's going on around town.


Cantatas of J.S. Bach - Sunday at Carleton


The one year old Arius Chamber Music Society will perform two Bach Cantatas, No. 21 I Have Had Much Distress and 140 Wake, Arise (Wachet Auf), and Mozart’s Adagio and Fugue for Strings at the Carleton College Concert Hall on Sunday, May 7, 2006 at 3:00 p.m. Arius will bring its own acclaimed orchestra and one of the Twin Cities’ premier choirs, Exultate. The Cannon Valley Elder Collegium of Northfield, in collaboration with Arius, has developed a lecture series on the same two Bach Cantatas. The series will culminate with the Carleton College performance.

Arius musicians are professionals who have played in the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Sinfonia and Lyra Baroque Orchestra as well as many other national and international ensembles. They perform each of their programs at multiple venues throughout Minnesota. Programs include works for various ensemble sizes from string quartet to string orchestra and, occasionally, chamber orchestra. Arius plans to present one concert series each year that includes one or two Bach Cantatas and is currently working with the Carleton College administration to make this an annual event in Northfield.


Bring Your Bike Downtown!

Click to view PDFWant to do your bit to make Northfield a more bike-friendly community? Bring your bike downtown!

On Saturday, May 6, as part of the Spring Fling promotion sponsored by the Retail Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation will be partnering with the Northfield Hospital on a bike awareness theme.

From 10-11 am, anyone who rides a bike to the parking lot behind Hogan Brothers can be entered into a drawing for some great prizes from downtown merchants. The grand prize will be a spiffy new bike pump from Mike’s Bicycle Shop.  The NDDC will be there to accept your entries and hand out maps of all of the bike racks in the downtown district. We’d like to see 100 bikes show up during this hour!


NDDC outdoor dining forum Tuesday morning

Click to view larger sizeHow could sidewalk dining in downtown Northfield be a boon to the local economy? What are the disadvantages of having alcohol sold outdoors, within full view of minors? Is there a risk to restaurateurs?

Those questions and more will be discussed at the next NDDC Downtown Forum Tomorrow Morning (Tuesday, May 2) at 8 a.m. in the lower-level conference room of the Archer House.

Panelists will include Northfield Chief of Police Gary Smith, Contented Cow and Chapati owner Norman Butler, and attorney David Hvistendahl, owner of Froggy Bottoms. Also in the audience will be several restaurateurs, including Todd Byhre of the Ole Store Café and Joe Grundhoefer of the Rueb-n-Stein.

Coffee and cookies will be served, as always, and a lively discussion is the goal. For more information, visit www.nddc.org or call 663-0319.


Reintegration: From Warrior to Citizen-Soldier

Photo by Bruce Morlan - click to visit source postDid you know in March of 2007 over 2,000 men and women from Minnesota serving in Iraq will return home at the same time? Are we ready to support them and their families?

I attended a workshop in Northfield at the Armory Wednesday morning; some of you may have as well. The topic was Reintegration: From Warrior to Citizen-Soldier.

We heard the testimonial of a soldier about the effect of coming home, when 220 hours earlier he was in a combat zone. What does this do to the soldier coming home, the family, the workplace, and the spiritual well being of the soldier who survived?

How can we help? This was the purpose of the workshop – how we can help reintegrate a soldier back into the community, and what kind of support we can give the soldier and his or her family. Workshop leaders gave insights into what we can do and say, and what not to do and say. It was a very powerful testimonial to the impact on our entire community when a man or woman goes to war and comes back. The affects on the family and the work place are very great indeed.


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