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.

My Introduction

Greetings to one and all!

As you know, if you read the announcement posted recently, I have been hired as managing editor, a new part-time position and the only paid position for Northfield Citizens Online. While the job description is broad, the goal is pretty basic. I plan to do some of the work the volunteers on the board could do -- if they just abandoned their jobs and families and lived online.

Before I talk about my role, I must take a minute and honor Griff Wigley, who, in my humble opinion, should be declared the honorary mayor of He has devoted years of service to developing this site into a real community. If we had an online park, there would be a computer-animation statue of him snapping pictures and smiling with the sheer joy of living here. We are sure Griff will continue to be a valuable resource for all of us. He also plans to continue doing the Locally Grown podcasts and occasionally contribute other items to the site.

The term "managing editor" sounds pretty intimidating, but I'm not here to boot you out for dangling a few participles or sprinkling too many commas in your posts. And given the independent folks that populate this territory, trying to force all of you to do anything my way would be about as successful as herding cats.

This week in the Northfield Blogosphere

The 'Sphere is back! Back with guns in churches, corn in gas tanks, and awards in blogging! All this and much more, inside...

$9M Public Library Expansion - Draft Report

In December 2005, The Northfield Public Library had contracted library consulting firm, Robert H. Rohlf Associates (Edina), to "complete a space needs assessment for the Northfield Public Library." The consulting outfit identified two major questions needed to be answered as part of the project;

  1. determine "the needs of the community for library and information services for the next 20+ years...and what size facility will enable the community to meet those needs?"
  2. "what functional features should an expanded library include, e.g., computer labs or young adult areas?"

Northfield Dog Park?

There is a public meeting next Tuesday night -- April 25th -- at the Archer House Lower Level to describe and discuss the possibility of a Dog Park in Northfield.

Representatives of the recently formed CAP (Canines at Play) organization will be there with a number of City maps to present a short description of the vision and work they have done with the City of Northfield and its Park & Recreation Advisory Board.

More inside...

Want to go to Mexico or France?

...if so, great! And what would be better than going to Mexico or France for a week while helping a local non-profit!?!

On Friday, April 28th, from 7pm-Midnight at The Grand Event Center in Northfield, HealthFinders Collaborative will host its third annual fundraiser, "A Night on the Town." The event will feature live music and dancing, featuring two local bands - the Bridgewater Ramblers, who will play country and bluegrass, and PideKaimás , who will entertain us with music from all over Latin America. Both bands promise to get you groovin'. There will also be a catered dinner, as The Grand will serve up its specialty - meat and vegetarian lasagna. They claim it's the best...we hope you'll come judge for yourself!

In addition, there will be a silent and live auction, which will feature two amazing trips: you can bid on a cottage in France for a week, or a condo in Mexico for the same duration. You can't go wrong there. Also, there will be artwork, jewelry, outdoor adventures like kayaking and climbing and birding, a unicycle lesson, dance lessons, gift baskets, gift certificates, a weekend getaway, horseback riding lessons, and many more items you can bid on. There will be over 75 items available! And all of the proceeds go to sustaining the affordable health clinic and prescription drug fund that HealthFinders has established.

NCO Hires Managing Editor

I'm very happy to announce that the NCO board has hired Anne Bretts as managing editor, a new part-time position. Anne is a freelance writer for the Minnesota Real Estate Journal. She has more than 20 years experience in reporting and editing, including 10 years with the Duluth News-Tribune. She has been an NCO volunteer since shortly after moving here last year with her husband, Wendell Ellis. Some of you may remember Anne from the ISSUES List party at their home last December. If you haven't met Anne already, you can do so at the NCO party April 27 at the Grand. She'll fill you in on more details in her first post, coming soon.

Earth Day Eve Open House

Click to view PDFDo you like water? Do you like to drink it, play in it, and swim in it? What about fishing, or sailing, or tubing down the river?

If you enjoy water, we invite you to come celebrate your love for water, and your love for Earth Day, at Cannon River Watershed Partnership (CRWP) on the eve of Earth Day, April 21st, from 4-7pm.

During the evening there will be a bonfire, food, kids activities and music provided by amazingly gifted St. Olaf students. Also, there will be demonstrations including: How to Build a Rain Garden, Sewer Man, and Who Dirtied the Water. Click the image at left to view a PDF poster with details of the event.

Cannon River Watershed Partnership is located at 8997 Eaves Avenue, Northfield. [NOTE: Do not look for this on online maps (google maps or mapquest) because it will not appear correctly!] The phone number is 507-646-8400 if you need further directions.

Come Celebrate! Northfield Citizens Online Recognition Night

Community Celebration Thursday, April 27, at The Grand

Spring is a time of new beginnings, of rebirth, and so it is here at In recent weeks you've seen some changes to the format, content and contributors, and together we will be making more changes in the weeks to come.

To celebrate, the NCO board is hosting a party from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. next Thursday, April 27, 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 new Managing Editor
  • Recognize the technical team who created the new site
  • Meet past and current volunteers
  • Hear about future enhancements to the site
  • Learn about our new membership drive
  • Provide us feedback about what you currently like, would like to see or would like to change about

Please join us for an enjoyable evening with old and new friends! We're sure that you'll come away excited to become one of our citizen journalists, and maybe even one of our charter members.

HOPE Center Luminary Celebration

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

On the evening of April 27th, 2006, HOPE Center will have luminaries and a clothesline project on display in Bridge Square--as visual testimony to victims served, contributors who make services possible, and to acknowledge unknown survivors of violence still living in silence, fear and isolation.

We welcome you to walk through the luminaries and hear a special performance by Singer-Songwriter Barb Ryman. Barb is a nationally touring, award-winning singer-songwriter who expects music to be more than entertaining. Her music is lyric-driven, emotional and heart-opening. With a clear winsome voice and skillfully played guitar, she delivers a rich mosaic of contemporary folk, country blues, Celtic flavored ballads, old-time gospel, and bits of folk-rock. She brings it all forward in the tradition of great folk music, through songs that tell stories and put us in touch with our human condition.

The walk begins at 6:30pm and music begins at 7:00pm.


Neighbor to Neighbor: Musing with Michael Martin

  Mike Martin

I saw Mike sitting by the river and stopped to talk-- "I mean this personally" is the first thing he said to me. He always makes me think, and then laugh. I enjoy talking with Mike.

Mike went to Rosemount High School and right now he's a credit short of three years at St. Olaf College. Mike and I like to talk about my dad, since my dad was a dean at St. Olaf the same time Mike and I went there. Both Mike and I had to see my dad when we didn't want to see him-- but later we decided that my dad was just getting us back on track.

I learned that Mike's birthday is soon-- it is either today (April 17, 2006) or tomorrow. We talked further and he told me that his mother died on his birthday. We discussed how that's is a tough day to lose someone, but Mike said the interesting part is there is always something better ahead.

Mike then brought up a recent scientific discovery he just read about-- bones a million years older than Lucy-- and said that humans have been living and dying, and doing things the same way for millions of years, now. That's pretty profound.

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