Candidates aren't rushing to file

Whether it's procrastination, indecision, indifference or just plain lack of interest, candidates haven't been beating down the doors to file for this fall's local elections.

With only two business days left before filings close Tuesday, July 18, there are few candidates on record for the three City Council and three School Board seats up for grabs.

Read the rest of the entry for the details...

Books & Stars lights up the summer

The Books & Stars program has been a huge hit this summer, as you can see in the photo at left and a new batch of photos sent by Northfield Public Library children's librarian Kathy Ness. The eight newest photos in the Books &' Stars photo gallery are of Wednesday evening's event, which featured Nancy, Eddie & Friends at Central Park.

The fun continues next Wednesday, July 19, with Northfield's own bluegrass band String Fever performing on the lawn of Emmaus Church.

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 schedule for the rest of the summer.

Mill Towns Trail plans becoming reality

Mill Towns TrailOK, this isn’t officially a news story, but Peggy Prowe does such a readable job of recording the minutes of the Mill Towns Trail board meetings that we decided to share them as is.

And there’s a lot going on. In fact, we also just received word from Tim Madigan (Faribault City Administrator) that the City of Faribault will host a ribbon-cutting for the opening of the White Sands trail head facility at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, July 29. This facility connects the Mill Towns and Sakatah trails.

We’ll have more on the ribbon-cutting later, but here are Peggy’s notes on all that’s happening with the trail and all the opportunities for people to help.

Read the rest of the entry for Peggy's notes...

Around the World in 100 Days

Click on photo for larger viewAlex Robins (second from the right - click on photo for larger view), Northfield High School class of 2002, is in the middle of an around-the-world trip. He was awarded a grant by the Circumnavigators Club of Chicago to visit 12 countries on four continents to study political cartoons and their influence on international political culture.

By the end of his 100-day solo tour he plans to have visited England, Poland, Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Turkey, South Africa, Tanzania, India, Thailand, and Korea.

Alex, son of Northfield residents Gary and Heather Robins, will be a senior this fall at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

His fascinating blog includes weekly or near-weekly dispatches, project details and a photo gallery.

"Dinner On Us" Membership Drawing

Week Two Drawing:  The Rueb 'N' Stein

We are proud to announce that our 2nd "Dinner On Us" gift certificate is for $50 to The Rueb 'N' Stein.  By becoming a member of you will be entered into the Dinner On Us membership drawing.  The deadline for this week is midnight on July 16th with the winner being announced on Monday July 17th.

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.

To enter without becoming a member, just send a message through the Contact Us button.

This is our way of saying thank you for becoming a member and for visiting the site to find out what's happening in your community.  The following is a summary of past winners.

Summer Swimming Opportunities

As you wait for the new pool to be built and try to beat the heat, Northfield Public Schools Community Services Division has some swimming opportunities for you. 

Our summer swimming lesson program kicks off Monday, July 17, with lesson times in the morning and afternoon. There will be another morning lesson session beginning on July 31. For a complete schedule of lesson times, please log onto and click on the Community Services Division link.  

There will be an open swim date Wednesday, Aug. 9, from 1-3 p.m. And to really beat the heat you can join us for two aquatic field trips: on Friday, July 21, we will be going to the Apple Valley Family Aquatics Center and on Friday, Aug. 11, we will be going to the Hastings Family Aquatic Center.

For more information or to register for these programs, stop at the Northfield Public Schools Community Services Division office located on the first floor of the Northfield Community Resource Center (NCRC) at 1651 Jefferson Parkway in Northfield, call 664-3649, or go online to

Mark Etzell is the facilities coordinator for the Northfield Public Schools.

Weekend Entertainment and Events

Click to view PDFIt’s going to be a hot weekend, so in between outdoor activities, plan to stop by the two (air conditioned) exhibits opening this weekend.

At ArtOrg's Moving Walls Gallery, the video installation of “Why are you here? And where is your accent?: The Moderate Immigration Story” by Mel Racho will open. This exhibit, curated by Lisa Otte, utilizes video and custom electronics to create a “conversation” about this middle-class family's experience of immigration. The opening reception is Friday, July 14 from 6-9 p.m.

Also opening this weekend is Surfaces at the Northfield Arts Guild Gallery. This exhibit features the prints of Christine Herman of Stillwater and Karl Nelson of Northfield. Both artists are strongly influenced by the natural world. This aspect of their work will be complimented this weekend by floral arrangements from the Northfield Garden Club.

Thursdays on the Square continues

As the sounds of the Northfield Community Band Concerts and the sparkles of the 4th of July Fireworks begin to fade, don't worry, be happy, 'cause the entertainment action continues in Downtown Northfield.

In fact, the century-old tradition of Thursday night community cultural celebrations in Bridge Square, the very heart of Northfield, continues through the summer.

On Thursday, July 13, it's the Songs of Hope and Pie on the Square sponsored by the Northfield News and Cub Foods.

On Thursday, July 20, it's an NDDC Third Thursday Event:  the first Taste of Northfield with local musicians.

On Thursday, July 27, it's the Chamber of Commerce Retail Committee-sponsored Crazy Daze followed by the Opening Concert of the Vintage Band Festival and a street dance.

On Thursday, August 3, it's the Bridge Chamber Music Festival and ArtSwirl sponsored by the Northfield Arts Guild.

Eat (or throw) pie, dress funny, listen to good music. Be happy!

Dan Bergeson is president of the NDDC.

A bridge to where?

Northfield City Council members have been talking a lot about pedestrian access, and the Park and Recreation Advisory Board is working on plans for bike trails and other non-motorized access improvements throughout the city.

That’s apparently why councilors balked Monday at spending what could run as much as $175,000 to replace an old, worn wooden pedestrian bridge connecting the Viking Terrace neighborhood with, well, mostly with the Dairy Queen along Highway 3, north of downtown.

City Engineer Heidi Hamilton said it would take about $20,000 to draw up plans for a new bridge, and ballparked the total cost of a replacement at $175,000. The aging timber bridge once carried vehicles over the ravine cradling the city’s main railroad track, but now is open only to walkers and cyclists. She said the other option is to close the bridge and not replace it, moving pedestrian traffic about 300 feet to the south to a grade level crossing with flashing signals along Fremont Avenue.

Farmer's Market in full swing

Farmers MarketThe Farmer's Markets are in full swing in Northfield. New this year is a Monday evening market from 4pm - 6pm at the Southgate Cinema parking lot on highway 3. Shopping at the farmer's market is a way to invest in food grown locally in the community and surrounding areas. Currently available items include tomatos, spring onions, carrots, kale, chard, garlic stems, and peas. The choices vary as the growing season progresses.

Farmer's Market hours and locations are:
Mondays, 4-6pm at the Southgate Cinema Parking Lot
Tuesdays and Fridays, 11:45am-1pm at Riverside Park on 7th Street
Saturdays, 9-11am at Riverside Park on 7th Street

For more Farmer's Market Pictures, visit the The Center for Sustainable Living's Farmer's Market Flickr Gallery.

Scott Schumacher is a board member of The Center for Sustainable Living. 

City OKs Northfield Hospital Clinic

Editor's note: This story has been updated. Schroeder-Leverington had filed suit Tuesday to challenge the awarding of the contract, but dropped the challenge.

The City Council on Monday agreed to hire RJM Construction of Plymouth to build a new clinic at Northfield Hospital for $4,415,700, with work expected to start this month and wrap up in 2007.

That timeline almost faced a delay.

An attorney for Schroeder-Leverington of Bloomington confirmed that the firm filed suit in Rice County District Court to block the contract, but quickly withdrew the action because it wasn't cost effecive. Attorney Einar Hansen told the council that Schroeder-Leverington objected to the city's decision to reject its lower bid of $4,378,000 because the firm didn't meet the experience qualifications set out in the bid documents.

More inside...

Couple to move house - from Bloomington to Northfield

house on wheelsPeople move from one house to another all the time. And it’s not unusual for a family to move from a split-level to a rambler. But David and Susan Slettton are putting a twist on the usual story by moving a split-level house from up near the Mall of America in Bloomington to Northfield, putting it on a new foundation that will turn it into a rambler.

At least that’s the plan the City Council approved Monday night. The new site is 1901 Lincoln Street (click for map), just off Jefferson Road. The Slettons, who are from Farmington, said after the meeting that they don't plan to live in the house. It's just their most ambitious project so far in the process made famous on cable television home networks as "flipping." The Slettens buy homes, rehab them and then sell them at a profit. He is an experienced drywall contractor, and she works with him on their rehab projects.

New neighborhood creates new friends

You don’t have to live in a neighborhood forever to have good neighbors. Take my neighbors along Lake Drive, a short, curved block of twin homes just off Jefferson Parkway near the soccer fields.

The earliest “pioneers” have been here barely two years, the newest just moved in a month ago. But when we blocked off the street Monday evening and set up a picnic in the middle of the asphalt running between our homes, you would have thought we’d been here for decades.

We praised the gorgeous flowers spilling over planters and gardens at some homes – while others diplomatically kept silent about the browner tones in my yard. We worried about the young trees and wished they could grow faster to make the old cornfield a shady street. A few remembered when the fields were good hunting grounds, back when Northfield was a ittle town of 4,000 instead of a growing city of 17,000.

Bond wants out, Malecha considers county race

Most politicians would be thrilled to run unopposed -- and few would openly solicit competition. But at-large Northfield City Councilor Dixon Bond announced at the end of Monday's council meeting that he's encouraging people to run for his seat so he can retire.

"It's my intent not to run," said Bond, who now is 70 and has served six years on the council. "I'd like to see some new blood on the council." Bond said he would keep open the option of running if he felt he was needed, but that he wanted to announce his intention early so people would have enough time to file before next week's deadline. (Bond is shown here in a Griff Wigley photo from our files from last year.)

Galen Malecha, who hasn't filed for re-election representing the council's Fourth Ward, said he'll decide this week whether to shoot for another term or aim higher by filing for a seat on the Rice County Board of Commissioners. The county position is open because Commissioner Jessica Peterson is running for the Minnesota State Senate.

Anne Jarvis Wins First 'Dinner on Us' Drawing

We have our first winner!

Anne JarvisAnne Jarvis of Northfield has won a $50 gift certificate for The Ole Store, just for joining Northfield Citizens Online, the group that brings you

Here's what Anne has to say about us (and she said this even before she won!): "I love this website and have used it several times in my 5th grade classroom to show my students how to access information about their community. My brother also checks it from his home in Michigan so he can stay "hip" on Northfield happenings."  Thanks Anne for your support!

As most of you know, we have launched a membership campaign, aimed at getting all of you who enjoy to support it financially. We're asking just $20 for an individual membership, and we're doing it on the honor system so you won't be getting a bill or seeing a blank screen if you don't pay.

In return for helping out, however, we are giving you a chance to win "Dinner on Us," a $50 gift certificate for dinner at local restaurant. We're drawing one name a week, and this is our first drawing. Those of you who didn't win, don't worry. Your names will be forwarded to our next drawing, for a gift certificate to The Rueb 'n' Stein. The next deadline for entries is midnight on July 16th, with the winner being announced on Monday, July 17th.

You can join right now by visiting the new member page. But you don't have to join to enter the drawing; just hit the contact us button and send us an e-mail. That's all there is to it.

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