Sharing photos, stories and videos

Editor's note: Want to learn more about Want to meet other photographers, talk about writing, suggest topics for future contests and projects? (Ok, we were going to announce it later, but we'll be doing this kind of group effort for football games and other events this fall.) Send a note—and any ideas you have—and we'll set up a very social get-together ASAP.

First of all, thanks to everyone who is sharing stories, photos and videos about the storms—and about everything that is going on in your lives. We had more than 1,500 visitors to the site (and over 4,300 views of the storm photo gallery!) on Thursday, a record for single-day number of visits.

That's what is all about: bringing people together. 

As you've demonstrated, it's easy to send things to us. We'll just give you a few tips here.

Hailstorm aftermath: be careful!

It goes without saying that everyone should be careful when cleaning up their homes, yards and vehicles following yesterday's storm. But it's just as important to exercise caution when having repairs made by others.

I managed to get a call back from my insurance agent this morning and learned a few important details. His advice was: Do not have any repairs made to your home or car until a representative from your insurance company has assessed the damage. If you can't get through to your particular agent, call the parent company and ask them how to proceed.

There have already been reports of local citizens being taken advantage of by unethical "storm chaser" scammers, and Police Chief Gary Smith has a great blog post up about using caution when hiring repair contractors.

Hot rods as art? Head to ArtOrg and see

Most of the news about our cars this week has been bad, but if you want a break head to  Lowbrow-High Octane, a decidedly different art exhibit by local artist Nick Sinclair.

The show opens with a reception from 6-10 p.m. tonight and runs through September 10 at ArtOrg Moving Walls Gallery on Division Street. There's even a cruise by Nick's exuberant and colorful tributes to automobiles reminds us  why they are so much more than just transportation.

Nick and ArtOrg would like to thank the sponsors of "Lowbrow-High Octane": Hering Kustoms, The Art Store, Witt Brothers, NAPA-Northfield, Storm Chaser Street Machines, The Northfield Entertainment Guide, and Tiny's Hot Dogs.

Susie Beaumaster is our Beat the Heat winner

The mystery is solved! Northfield soccer coach and mom of three Susie Beaumaster e-mailed to let us know that she’s the winner of our Beat the Heat Photo Contest – and the mom of the little boy in the winning photo. She’s also the mom of one of the three little mermaids in a photo that won honorable mention. (Just click on the mosaic to see all the photos.)

That means mom and the whole family win $25 in ice cream and toppings for an end-of-summer party.

“My kids are so excited!” Susie said when we talked about the contest.

The kids include two-year-old Will, who is the boy in the spray of water in the center of the mosaic above. Sidney, age 12, and friends Madison VanWylen and Sydra Smith are the three girls swimming underwater. Sidney is away at camp and doesn’t know about her mom’s accomplishment, so Susie plans to delay the party and surprise her when she gets back. Jack, age 8, and dad, Paul, missed out on being in a photo, but they’ll get a share of the treats.

Hailstorm: Northfield Takes a Lickin', Keeps on Tickin'

Editor's note: Thanks to all the people who have contributed photos. We have nearly 200 shots of the hail and hail damage from all over town in our Hail Storm Photo Gallery. There's more info in the comments below, and the St. Olaf College website also has a great story and photos.

PLEASE, if you have photos, send them to! We will place them in the gallery. If you have stories and comments, add them in the comments below.

Lots, lots, lots more inside - more pictures, videos, insurance information, etc...

League to host county candidate forum

Submitted by Kiffi Summa

The Northfield League of Women Voters (LWV) will continue its “4th Monday” public meeting series on August 28th... but, Fourth Monday changes its style for the August meeting.

Every fourth Monday of each month at 7 p.m., in the Northfield Public Library’s first floor meeting room, the LWV hosts a lightly moderated discussion of an issue of current interest or concern to the community.

The August meeting, will provide public disclosure of candidates positions and style as they meet the public in a more informal than usual public candidate forum. This is not a debate, but more a meet and respond to the public... roundtable. The dialogue will be moderated by the LWV to keep candidates and the public alike responsible to equal time and civility and most importantly timely exchanges that deal with County concerns and their Northfield/Dundas impact. It is the intention of the organizers to provide a venue for the public to ask and get answers from the candidates.

Northfield in the news

Lawyer jokes aside, we happen to like the ones down this way. One of our favorites, attorney and activist—and blogger—Carol Overland of Red Wing sent us this note:

"Didja all notice Carleton & St Olaf in the STrib today?"

We hadn't until she noted it, and we're glad she did. It's a wonderful piece on college rankings and the friendly rivalry between our two outstanding local colleges, St. Olaf and Carleton College.

Check out the story, then you can take sides here, adding comments in support of your personal favorite.

Rotary hosts 25th DJJD bike tour

The 25th annual Jesse James Rotary Bike Tour will be held Saturday, September 9, with all events and start/finish taking place at the Northfield Middle School, located just off Hwy 246.

The tour offers well-marked and scenic 10-, 30-, 60- and 100-mile routes. This is one of the largest rides in Minnesota, hosting nearly 1,200 riders. Cost for the ride depends on the age of the rider and the route selected. For details click here

There are three ways to register:

  1. Online at
  2. Advance mail-in
  3. Same day registration

Advance registration is encouraged to enable better planning on behalf of race organizers. This is the Northfield Rotary’s largest fundraiser, which generates thousands of dollars for the club. The greater part of the proceeds goes toward the Mill Towns Bike Trail, which will go from Faribault to Cannon Falls, linking to existing trails that will ultimately connect Mankato to Red Wing.

Congrats to our Beat the Heat photo winners

Well, they finally did it. It was a tough job, but our judges have chosen the winners in our Beat the Heat Photo Contest.

Yes, I said winners. Just look at the mosaic at left and you can see why it took so long to get the job done. With 67 entries on a huge range of summer topics, narrowing down the choices was almost impossible. So the judges decided to have the best of both worlds.

The judges (three of our volunteer board members) did pick a grand prize entry, the amazing center shot of the boy cooling off in a spray of water. The photographer wins an ice cream party, with $25 worth of ice cream and toppings to share with family and friends. The only problem is that the photographer didn't include a name, so we are trying to make contact by e-mail. We'll keep you posted.

The judges gave honorable mention to all the other photos in the mosaic.  You can click on it to see larger versions of all of them. And we all want to give special recognition to David Perez, a professional photographer who submitted a remarkable collection of photos—and who has graciously volunteered to help with future photos for We're hoping this contest inspires many of you to submit photos from events—everyday life—around Northfield.

City Hall Insider

Al RoderFirst, my apologies to City Administrator Al Roder and his staff. They sent the weekly report on time, but due to an oversight, I didn't get it posted as scheduled Monday.

As usual Al has prepared a detailed report of everything that goes on at  City Hall each week. Everything's 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 find the agendas and other details for all meetings.

This week...

Planning Commission, 7 p.m., City Hall
Mayor's Youth Task Force, 7 p.m., NCRC Room SS 106

"Dinner On Us" Membership Drawing

Week Eight Drawing:  Hogan Brothers

We are proud to announce that our eighth "Dinner On Us" gift certificate is for $50 to the Hogan Brothers.  By becoming a member of you will be entered into the Dinner On Us membership drawing.  The deadline for this week is midnight on August 27, with the winner being announced on Monday, August 28.

You don't have to contribute to enter, and if you don't win, your name will be forwarded to the next week's drawing. That means you'll have several chances to win.

To sign up now, just go to the New Member page. The suggested donation is $20 per year per person. Of course, if you'd like to suggest a higher number, we'd be thrilled and very grateful.

Goodsell Observatory to host open house Friday

Carleton College's Goodsell Observatory will hold an open house Friday, September 1, from 9-11 p.m. if it is clear. View stars, galaxies, and planets through the telescopes.

Open houses are held the first Friday of each month. The specific hours of future ones are given at The open house will be cancelled if it is cloudy.

'Beat the Heat' photo contest draws great response

Wow! We received a whopping 66 entries in our Beat the Heat photo contest, which ended Friday. Our judges promise to have a winner announced by Monday.

In the meantime, feel free to voice your opinions in the comments area at the end of this story.

We'd like to thank everyone who sent photos of everything from butterflies to balloons to beautiful children. They include Megan Mobley, Scott Anfinson, Julian Westerhout, Joan and Carl Behr, Amy Goerwitz, Tim Jackson, Mitch Patrikus, Amanda McBrady, David Perez, and our own board members, Doug Bratland and Adam Gurno.

You can click on the photo mosaic to see the entire gallery of photos. And while you're at it, you can check out the more than 4,000 photos in our galleries.

Be patient and we'll have a winner soon. 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. (Our board members aren't eligible for the prize, they just entered for fun.)

Parker begins 2,000-mile ride to help kids

You may remember that earlier this month we told you about a Northfield man, Scott Parker, who is riding a bike more than 2,000 miles to raise money for a foundation he started to aid children in Vietnam. You can see that story here.

We just received this message from his wife and thought we'd bring you up to speed. We'll bring more updates as we receive them, or you can check out Scott's blog link below.

Just a quick note to let you all know that Scott Parker, co-founder of Catalyst Foundation, is on his way! He started his 2000+ mile "bike ride" yesterday in Astoria, Oregon.

The blog is at Feel free to post your messages along the way as he will get all your encouraging messages!

Thanks for your continued support!

More photos added to ArtSwirl gallery

ArtSwirl may be over, but we're still getting new pictures added to our gallery of photos from all the events in the successful festival earlier this month.

The newest entries are from the Mayors' bike tour, headed up by Northfield Mayor Lee Lansing and Dundas Mayor Glenn Switzer. Together they led a tour of about seven miles, beginning at Central Park and travelling thoughout Northfield and Dundas. The trip highlighted public art in both cities as well as time to hear plans for the development of public art along the Mill Towns Trail bike path.

Thanks to everyone who contributed photos during this community event -- and to all of you who contribute photos and stories to help make this a true online community. To learn more, just check out the easy instructions for contributing stories and photos.

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