City Hall Insider

Al RoderEver wonder what happens at City Hall each week? Here's the scoop. Each week City Administrator Al Roder (left) shares the memo he sends to city officials summarizing all the work of all the departments. There's a LOT here, from police activity statistics to street closings and budget meetings.

Just click here to read the pdf version of the report. You need Acrobat Reader to read the file. And head to the City Hall site to check out the complete city events calendar and check out the details for all meetings for this week.

And it's a busy week...

City Council meets at 7 tonight at City Hall. One of the topics will be a recommendation by the Environmental Quality Commission to adopt an organic pest management policy, basically limiting pest control to organic products and processes. This is an information and is expected to be referred to staff for study.

Pepper Ridge Valley Holds 6th Annual Block Party

The Pepper Ridge Valley neighborhood on the south side of town held its sixth annual block party this last Saturday, Aug. 5.

The weather cleared just in time for the event to start and began to rain just after the event ended. Neighborhood claims of divine favoritism are unsubstantiated at this time.

Around 80 neighbors came to the event, which featured a bouncy castle in the shape of a tiger for the kids, plus games, food and drinks for the adults. It ran from noon to midnight, with a few hardy souls in attendence for the entire event. The Pepper Ridge Valley website has a writeup and you can click here to view 88 pictures in the photo gallery. (Click here to view the slideshow)

Northfield teen dies in NYC accident

WCCO News in the Twin Cities is reporting that 18-year-old Natalie Smead of Northfield died three hours after she was struck by a train in a tragic accident Saturday afternoon about 4 New York City. The television news report indicated she was in New York visiting family and that it was unclear if she was pushed or fell onto the tracks. When she tried to crawl from under the train, she was hit by another train on the adjacent tracks.

There aren't a lot more details, but you can get the entire story at WCCO News or on its news broadcasts on Channel 4. 

ArtSwirl: Japanese Garden tour and Arts Guild member show

I was disappointed that I couldn't make it to any of the Young People's Theater performances this year, but I did manage to take in a couple of swell ArtSwirl events yesterday, and I added a batch of photos to the ArtSwirl 2006 gallery.

At lunchtime I snuck over to Carleton College's Japanese garden ("The Garden of Quiet Listening") for a tour led by Margit and Eric Johnson, who work as volunteers in the garden every Thursday morning throughout the growing season. It was my first visit to this amazing space in the four years I've been living in town, but certainly not my last.

And last night I hit the opening reception for the annual Members Exhibition at the Northfield Arts Guild downtown gallery. It was a great show, with a lot of new artists showing their works.

Firearms training class slated in August

You can sign up today for the Minnesota Firearms Safety Training Course, offered by the Northfield Public Schools Community Services Division and the Cannon River Sportsmen’s Club.

This class and field trip will cover safe gun handling, gun safety in the home, care and storage of firearms, marksmanship and hunter responsibility. Students who enroll must be 12 years old by Dec. 31, 2006, and there is no maximum age Class dates are Aug. 21-24, 28-30, with the field trip on Aug. 26.

For more information or to register for this class, stop at the Northfield Community Services Office, located on the first floor of the Northfield Community Resource Center (NCRC), at 1651 Jefferson Parkway in Northfield. For more information, call Erin at 664-3649, or go online to

Mark Etzell is the Adult Enrichement Coordinator for the Northfield Public Schools Community Service Division. 

Way Park plans met with enthusiasm

Spencer JonesThe City of Northfield presented a public forum to review designs for Way Park on Wednesday evening at the Community Resource Center. About 50 citizens attended, most of whom were residents of the park's west side neighborhood.

After comments from a few city officials, landscape architect and Park Board member Spencer Jones presented four different designs for the park, which doubled in size after the demolition of the old Northfield Hospital in 2005. The plans were greeted with enthusiasm by the crowd, particularly the members of the Friends of Way Park who have worked to make the expanded park a reality.

Citizens were given a chance to provide written feedback about all the designs and also to participate in a Q&A session that was moderated by Charley Skinner.

All four designs present different approaches to dealing with First Street, which bisects the park. One of the plans features the street routed around the park, funneling traffic to Second Street. The other plans run the gamut from narrowing the road to expanding it with a greenspace median or sculptural elements. Much of the public discussion focused on the street issue and safety concerns, but attendees also spoke of the desire for the park to become a true community park—not just a neighborhood resource—and to that end all four designs feature some form of performance space, in addition to maintaining the park's "tot lot" playground and ice rink.

Add some ice cream to your summer fun

Mitch Patrikus sent us this cute picture of his little sister to enter our "Beat the Heat Photo Contest." Sure, it's cooled off a little, but it's still August, the sun is shining and we can finally head out and enjoy it.

When you head out, take your camera and capture the fun. Then send the photos to us. The grand prize will be $25 worth of ice cream and lemonade for you and your friends—as long as you agree to send photos of the party.

You can shoot people relaxing, beach scenes, kids eating drippy ice cream cones, anything that means summer. (Swimsuit shots are allowed, but keep the topless photos for your personal photo albums.)

Anyone can enter, and you can send as many photos as you want. It's easy to enter:

1. Take photos.

2. Create an e-mail, attach photo.

3. Describe the photo, add your name.

4. Send to

That's it.

Deadline is August 15. You can see all the entries by clicking on the photo above.

'Tartuffe' opens Friday as ArtSwirl spins through Northfield

The cast of "Tartuffe" is in costume and just about ready for their first public performance on Friday night. Cast members were busy rehearsing in Central Park Wednesday night when Sheryl Joy of the Northfield Arts Guild snapped some photos of their work. To see the photos taken, visit our photo collection.

Sheryl sent us this info about the play: 

"Tartuffe" is this year’s Theater-in-the-Park production by the Arts Guild. An ancient play with a controversial history, "Tartuffe" will be a lively theatrical centerpiece for this year’s ArtSwirl Festival. Tartuffe, the play’s namesake character, is a devout man for whom religion is central to life . . . or is he? Moliere’s wickedly funny script explores questions of hypocrisy, belief, and the power of religious pretense.

Click here to

Weekend Entertainment and Events

Click to view PDFArtSwirl is in full gear this weekend, plan your schedule by choosing from a number of events. Tonight at 5:30 youth ages 8-18 will present their original plays at the Northfield Arts Guild Theater.

At 7:30 go to St. Peter's Lutheran Church for the Bridge Chamber Music Festival concert featuring young Minnesota musicians performing solo and chamber works. Also on the schedule tonight is Hip–Hop at Rueb 'N' Stein and Mark Mraz (the piano man) at the Tavern.

Friday, start your ArtSwirl day by taking in the Japanese Garden on the Carleton Campus. The tour starts at noon. This garden was selected by the Journal of Japanese Gardening as one of the top ten Japanese Gardens in the United States. At 5:30 p.m., there is another Young People's Theater Performance at the Northfield Arts Guild, at 7 p.m.

"Tartuffe" premieres Friday on the Central Park Stage. Or if you want, attend the NAG Annual Members Show opening at the NAG gallery from 7-9 p.m. instead, and see "Tartuffe" on Saturday or Sunday at 7 p.m. Get tickets in advance for "Tartuffe" at 645-8877, or online at

Click here to read about more activities this weekend...

Come Run the Ski-less Skedaddle!

Submitted by Becca Carlson

What better way to start a Saturday than a 5k run/walk or 10k run followed by a spectacular pancake breakfast to support a wonderful cause? The Northfield High School Nordic Ski Team will host the first annual Ski-less Skedaddle on Saturday, Aug. 5. The 10k race starts at 8 a.m. and a 5k run/walk at 8:20 a.m. Pancakes will follow the races.

You may ask, Nordic Ski Team in August?? For several years we have hosted a ski race, but due to lack of snow, it has never been a success. So, what to do? Host a running race!

The course starts at St. John's Lutheran Church and goes through scenic Northfield past Greenvale and back. Markers/high school skiers will be at every intersection, and there will be a water station halfway through the course.

This is a great opportunity to get out, help the ski team and enjoy a great taste of Northfield! Registration starts at 6 a.m. at St. John's Lutheran Church, 500 3 St W. The cost is $20 for the 5k, $25 for the 10k (includes fee, t-shirt, and pancake breakfast).

Our special thanks to Sturdiwheat of Red Wing for providing the pancakes!

Questions? E-mail us at:

We hope to see you Saturday!

Becca Carlson is one of the four captains of the ski team, along with Logan Semestad, Nick Swanson, and Anna Fure-Slocum.

Books & Stars hosts another hit show

The sun came out, the temperature dropped from sizzling to summery, and dozens of families took advantage of the perfect setting to see Jason the Juggler in the Books & Stars program Wednesday at Bridgewater School.

Our own Adam Gurno was there, with family in tow, and caught the excitement with his camera. Just click on the photo to see Jason's act, and get a peek at more than 100 picture from all of the Books & Stars programs this summer.

Next Wednesay's event will feature the Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra in Central Park, in the final Books & Stars show of the summer.

Help local Girl Scouts - and have fun

Submitted by Marcia Morris-Beck

Want a ticket to see this hot car in action? A free ticket? How about two free tickets?

The Girl Scout Council of Cannon Valley is holding its first Girl Scout Day at the Races on Saturday, Aug. 12. The event begins at 2:30 p.m. at Country Joe Racing in Lakeville, with lots of fun activities for the whole family.

Registration for this event has been overwhelming, with more than 500 kids coming -- and 57 of them from Northfield. There are so many scouts, we are looking for more volunteers to help supervise some of the day's activities. Each volunteer will receive two passes to attend the races that evening at Elko Speedway at 6:30 p.m., where you can cheer on the Girl Scout car.

Volunteers need to arrive at Country Joe Racing, 22222 Dodd Road in Lakeville, at 1 p.m. on August 12 for orientation and a tour of the facility. Here are some of the activities where we need volunteer help: field games like kickball, tug of war, obstacle course, croquet, archery. We also need assistance with arts and crafts, karaoke, orienteering, and at the petting zoo, inflatables, and registration.

Dukes and Knights Head Into Playoffs

The Dundas Dukes finished their regular season on Sunday with a 3-2 loss to the Cold Spring Springers.

Mitch Patrikus was there and submitted a handful of pictures from the game, which are collected in this photo gallery. The Dukes play the Hastings Hawks on Sunday, Aug. 6, at 2 p.m. in Miesville. This is the first round of the CCVL tournament. The Northfield Knights were slated to pay Tuesday night in a best-of-three play-in against the Red Wing Aces, but the was cancelled due to rain. The Knights were down 0-1 in the series and needed to break a long losing streak to stay alive.

They get another chance at 8 p.m. Wednesday, that's tonight, at Sechler Field, as the teams make up last night's game. Even if the Knights win, they'll need one more win to make it to Miesville this weekend.

2006 Cannon River Festival goes Owatonna

The Cannon River Watershed Partnership (CRWP) offers you the choice of two wonderful events on Saturday, Aug. 5: The Cannon River Paddle Classic in Northfield/Dundas (see earlier post) and The River Festival (click to open PDF poster) at Owatonna.

In this 5th Annual River Fest, CRWP moves upstream, and invites you to come along. As usual, you'll enjoy rousing stage entertainment, children's activities, a panel discussion about water plans and other local policies that protect natural resources, and well-water nitrate testing, all at Owatonna's easy-to-find Central Park. (Take the Bridge Street exit into town—you'll see Central Park on your left. There will also be a Farmers' Market and an Antique Car Show there that day.) Contact CRWP at 507-646-8400 for more info.

Hilary Ziols is the Outreach and Development Coordinator for the CRWP.

2006 Cannon River Paddle Classic

Canoeists and kayakers wanted on Saturday, Aug. 5, at Ames Park in downtown Northfield for the Second Annual Cannon River Paddle Classic!

The Cannon Valley Chapter of Rotaract and F.I.T. Organizations, LLC are presenting the Second Annual Cannon River Paddle Classic. There will be a three-mile fun race and a six-mile competitive race, with prizes for winners. Proceeds benefit the Cannon River Watershed Partnership. Kayaks and canoes are available in limited quantities. All are welcome to participate!

To register and to see race details and a map of the course, visit

If you are interested in sponsoring this event, donating or volunteering, please email or call 663-1950.

See you at the river!

Charles Skinner is the president of F.I.T. Organizations.

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