Northfield Montessori Grows Into Its New Building

Northfield MontessoriIt’s been an exciting and busy year for Northfield Montessori.  The “parent/teacher cooperative,” as it calls itself, moved into a new building last September and will soon begin enrollment for the 2006-2007 school year.

The response to the new building has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Joy Mathews, the school’s assistant director. She and other school staff have been surprised at just how strong the public reaction has been.

The new building has made a “huge difference,” according to Mathews. “I still am amazed.” Staff reaction has been just as positive, boosting morale to still higher levels.

The building is a striking, multi-colored structure designed by Portfolio Design and built by Met-Con Companies of Faribault. The 15,000 square-foot structure is located on Highway 3 north of town and holds 186 students. It nearly doubles the capacity of the school’s old location, a 6,000-square-foot building on Highway 19 near Malt-O-Meal.

St. Urho's Day Photo Gallery

Click to visit the photo galleryTwin cities and southeastern Minnesota Finns and finnophiles enjoyed a night of music, food and laughs at Thursday night's 2nd annual St. Urho's Day Celebration at the Eagles Club. The event was hosted by Northfield's Nordic Jam, who warmed up the hall as the crowd gathered. The twin cities dance band Finn Hall and the Ameriikan Poijat brass band played for dancing throughout the evening and Master of Ceremonies Paul Niemisto and "St. Urho" entertained and awarded door prizes.

You can view more than two dozen photos of the event in the St. Urho's Day Photo Gallery! Do you recognize the well-known Northfielder appearing as St. Urho?


"Inherit the Wind" this weekend!

Click for larger viewNorthfield School of Arts & Technology (ARTech) proudly presents "Inherit the Wind" this weekend.  Students from both ARTech and NHS are performing the play based on the 1920s Scopes Monkey Trial, the court debate between evolution and creationism.  This weekend's play, directed by Bob Gregory-Bjorklund (pictured at left), is set "not too long ago" and is particularly pertinent to debates happening across our country today.

The show runs at 7:00 pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at ARTech, 1719 Cannon Road in Northfield.  Tickets are on sale at the door.  Call ARTech at 663-8806 or visit for more information. 

Northfield Group on Flickr

We'd like to take a second to remind you (or introduce, I suppose) that there is a "Northfield group": on "Flickr": The group currently has 15 members, 72 pictures, and is growing larger by the day.

The group is open to anyone, of any skill level. Flickr is free and is a subsidiary of Yahoo!, so if you currently have a Yahoo! account, you can sign into Flickr through it.

If you use an RSS(Real Simple Syndication) reader, there's an "RSS feed for the photo pool":, which will bring in the most recent pictures to your reader automatically! is currently in the process of migrating our photo galleries to Flickr, so expect to see more integration in the future.

This Week in the Northfield Blogosphere

A quick round up of this weeks posts in the "Northfield blogosphere":

Northfield kids matter and so do their early childhood professionals!

Click for larger viewThe Northfield Early Childhood Initiative Coalition recently sponsored a luncheon for area Northfield Early Childhood Professionals.  The coalition wanted to say "Thank you!" for what they do in our community for children every day.  There was a great turn out at the Northfield Golf Club to hear speakers Judy Janish and Vicki Thrasher-Cronin.  Attendees also enjoyed networking time and a nice pasta buffet lunch.

Judy Janish (aka "Shirley from Dez Moines") humorously spoke about her experience working as a home daycare mom and in other kid crazy places.  She encouraged childcare workers to play more, play with the kids. They learn by playing but also need to be shown how to play. We don't need to spend so much time in "fast forward," we should all spend more time in rewind (reflect & be thankful), pause (rest, listen & look) and play (make good memories & laugh more)!

Snowy Day Walk

Click for larger view
How does the saying go? "Neither rain nor snow will stop the mail from coming through." Well, the USPS has nothing on Helen & Gizmo! They were out for their morning walk on Monday, just like any other day. Gizmo was really enjoying himself, jumping over and through the snow. I enjoyed watching the pair while picture-taking on my way to work.

Early Blooms Buried in Snow

closeup of snowdrops  snowy trees  closeup of snow-covered boughs

March in Minnesota is doing its typical two steps forward, one step back thing — or is that one step forward, two steps back? I photographed these snowdrops on the far east side of Northfield on Friday; today they are buried under several inches of the heavy wet stuff. The snow-laden branches in the other photos, which I took this morning, are about 10 feet away from the snowdrops. The third shot is a close-up of part of the second. Click on the photos for larger views.

NCO Seeks Managing Editor

Northfield Citizens Online (NCO), the non-profit, volunteer-run organization behind and the ISSUES email list, is seeking to fill a part-time paid position of Managing Editor.

We're searching for an individual with strong writing, communication and leadership skills to work with our volunteer board and its committees to help us develop diverse content that represents a broad spectrum of our community.

If you're interested in the position, please review the Managing Editor Job Description (PDF) and contact us soon! The deadline for applications is March 19, 2006.

ARTech Open House, Monday March 13

Northfield School of Arts & Technology (ARTech) will host an open house on Monday March 13 at 7:00 pm. ARTech is a public, tuition-free charter school for students in grades 6-12. 

ARTech Grads - click for larger sizeSuccess as a student at ARTech often comes down to one thing as a student: the will to learn. Students who are passionate about learning have the opportunity to be taught how to direct their own learning at ARTech. The public is invited to come learn more about our program with an open house at 7:00 pm and program at 7:30 pm.

ARTech is now accepting applications for the 2006-2007 school year.  Find more information at

Locally Grown podcast #11: the Northfield Municipal Liquor Store


Issues covered in show #11 of Locally Grown, recorded in the KRLX 88.1 FM studio at Carleton on Friday afternoon:

1) The Very Short Play Festival with guest Brendon Etter (click photo to enlarge; taken at a karaoke event a month ago).

2) The proposed expansion/relocation of the Northfield Municipal Liquor Store (starting at the 19 minute mark). 

Be a Finn for a Day!

Two Finnish-American Bands to Headline St. Urho's Day Celebration

Click to view a PDF of the poster"Heinasirkka, heinasirkka, menetaalta hiiten!"—These were the immortal words uttered by St. Urho as he chased the grasshoppers out of Finland many years ago, thereby saving the grape harvest. Who was St. Urho? What the heck was he saying? Don your purple and green and come to Northfield's St. Urho's Day Celebration on Thursday, March 16, to find out! While you're there, taste some delicious Finnish food and dance to driving rhythms of Finnish polkas, humppas, jenkkas (schottisches), waltzes and tangos.

Journey East - Asian cuisine & Live Music at the PCCS Auction

Have a craving for excellent Asian food, along with some great live music, and a chance to find some great shopping deals?  Get it all at a festive celebration of good food, music, friendship, & community spirit. Please join us at the 2006 Prairie Creek Community School’s Silent & Live Auction fundraiser, with Auctioneer Ed Kuhlman & the upbeat music of the Prairie Creek Group.

March 18, 4–8pm, Northfield Middle School
Tickets: child–$7/individual–$12/family–$35
Please call 645–9640 to reserve tickets in advance.

NCO Board Thanks Griff Wigley for Endless Hours of Volunteer Leadership

Click for a larger viewAfter helping charter NCO, as well as leading and inspiring many others to volunteer and contribute to our citizen-based website, Griff Wigley has decided to step down from his official role with Northfield Citizens Online.

While assuring the NCO Board that we’ll still see his occasional content contributions on, Griff is leaving his part-time staff position to concentrate on a number of his other cutting-edge ventures. This leaves NCO with a considerable hole to be filled, but our all-volunteer board is working to maintain the level of quality and communication the citizens of Northfield have grown to appreciate and expect. To this end, we are actively searching for a Managing Editor to join us, and we encourage any interested individuals to contact us for more information.

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