Precinct Caucus Night on March 7, 2006

I remember being nine years old and sitting at my first precinct caucus.  I chimed in with my two cents about Jimmy Carter, and my parents beamed.  I've loved precinct caucus discussions ever since.

Once again it's time for us to put in our two cents worth.  While election day is not until November 7, 2006, precinct caucus night will happen soon.  Northfielders can get together to discuss everything from health care to educational funding, and more.   We can air our goals and dreams and talk about what makes us worried or concerned.

You don't have to declare your political party to attend, but DFLers and Republicans do caucus in different small groups.


St. Olaf Students Seeking Partners in Business Venture

A group of St. Olaf students interested in starting a Hookah establishment somewhere in maintown Northfield are searching for local investors to take part in startup costs and eventual profits. 

The location would consist of multiple seating areas, around 10-15 total each being about 6-8 square feet in both width and length.  While the original hope was to have this idea stand alone, we recognize the need for other business to keep it on its feet, the idea of including dining alongside has been considered though expertise on the subject would be needed for advisory.  There would also be a third venture running in the background namely, it would be decorated with appropriate artwork done by local residents and St. Olaf and Carleton students.

A business similar to this one is currently doing quite well for itself in the suburbs of Chicago, and we hope to see the same success as we are not too far out of the cities. 

Two Receive Sertoma Awards

Northfield Citizens Online board member, Rotarian, and First National Bank of Northfield VP Rick Estenson and local chiropractor Dan Corbett were recently honored by Northfield Sertoma

Estenson received the Service to Mankind award, while Corbett was named Sertoman of the Year. Pictured with Estenson are (L) Mary Ellen Sturm and (R) Nola Matheson.

Carleton's Civic Engagement Series "Bursting the Bubble"

I was on a "Who Is Northfield?" lunch panel on Tuesday, part of Carleton ACT's two-week Civic Engagement Series called "Bursting the Bubble," currently in progress.

Center (L to R): ACT staffers Laura Uridil, Ben Pacht, Erin Sterling.
Right (L to R): Panelists Judy Bickel, Community Action Center Program Director, Laura Riehle-Merrill, ACT Center Coordinator, me,  Kathy Tezla, League of Women Voters moderator and Head of Collection Development, Carleton Library, Dan Bergeson, Carleton Director of Auxiliary Services and Special Projects and NDDC Board Member, Ben Pacht, ACT Student Coordinator for Youth Programs.

Kids in a candy store

My wife Robbie and I were eating Chicago-style hotdogs at Tiny's last night (50% off 5-7 pm!!) when this dad walked in with his kids. (If you know their names, please attach a comment.)

I took their photo (click to enlarge) because it occurred to me that it's a rare thing these days for kids to experience. i.e., a candy counter vs. a shelf of bagged candy in a giant grocery superstore. My grandma used to own a neighborhood grocery store on W. 7th St. in St. Paul and I have fond memories of my parents lifting me up to see the mouth-watering selection of goodies. 

Looking For Something To Do This Weekend? One-Act Plays at the Nfld High School

I'm about to blow the lid off a well-kept secret: This year's performance of the student-directed One-Act Plays at the Northfield High School. I saw the performances last weekend. (Click the poster for a larger view.)

Okay, I HAD to go, because one of my daughters is involved. But by the time it was over, I had to admit it was one of the most delightful experiences I've had in a long time. The students did a fabulous job in selecting, directing, and acting in these short plays, and anyone who enjoys live theater with a bit of improv will have a great time.

At least one of the plays ("David's Redheaded Death") has a very adult element, so it's not appropriate for kids, but it's a sensitively done dramatic piece. "Ferris Wheel" is excellent; "Jack vs. Jill", a farcical legal proceeding, uses audience participation to determine the outcome; and "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind" is very, very funny. Performances are this weekend at the NHS auditorium, Friday and Saturday evening at 7:00p. Do yourself a favor, and see what great creative kids we're turning out in this community.

No Parking Notice for West Side

These flyers showed up recently on windshields of cars parked in the parking lot at the SE corner of 2nd St. and Hwy 3. 

I had not seen any signs posted or heard of any City announcements, so I thought people would want to be aware of this no longer being "public parking" as it has been during the recent highway construction.

Click for a larger view. 

Charter Commission and City Government

U. S. ConstitutionAt its January meeting, the Northfield Charter Commission discussed its priorities for this year's agenda. Already, I may have lost half of you: even well educated, connected and involved citizens have asked me what the charter commission is (I serve on this commission.). The commission serves an important role in the governance of the community; in fact it plays a crucial role in what our community's governance looks like.

Northfield operates as a “chartered city” -- meaning it operates under its own charter or constitution. While this charter is subservient to the state constitution – much like the state constitution is subservient to the U. S. constitution – the charter details what form of government the city operates. Essentially, our charter details the roles and responsibilities of the top government officials of the city – elected, appointed and hired. All policies and actions of the city are subject to the charter's provisions.

Ice rescue practice; tracking external bloggers

Peter Schmelzer has a series of photos in this post to his Vivus Architecture business blog titled:

Cub Scouts Practice Ice Rescue — On Me!

I spotted this when I visually scanned the business newsfeeds box on the lower right sidebar and clicked on the entry which took me right to Peter's blog post on the rescue practice. See also the page which lists all the external feeds for businesses.

Any Northfield area business with an RSS feed on their website can be included in this group. 

Looking Backward

I've lived in Northfield for almost 16 years. That doesn't sound like much to anyone who lives where they grew up, but it's considerably longer than I've lived anywhere else, as I've hopped around from place to place over the course of my 40-some years. Here, for the first time, I have watched children grow from toddlers to college students. Here, for the first time outside my family, I know people with gray hair that I remember as brunettes. Here, in the smallest town I've lived in, I know the slightly disorienting feeling of regularly running into people you know from one context in other contexts (seeing your dental hygienist at the supermarket, for example).

More than the front page

I'd like to eventually see dozens of items submitted to each day.

A small percentage of these will be "promoted" to the front page. We'll be exercising editorial decision-making for what the right mix is each day.

For example, I think it would be cool to have 15 sports stories submitted each day. Or even more extreme, 15 hockey or soccer stories. Or 15 arts-related stories. Or business. Etc. 

All of them would be published to their respective categories and we'd scan them to see if one or more might be good for front page promotion.

Two items submitted this week that are NOT on the front page:

Midwestern Midwinter Escapism

FebruaryOK, so it hasn't been a very difficult season from a weather standpoint. But still there comes a point in every winter, usually in February, where a midwesterner starts to feel particularly landlocked. Something about sitting in the middle of a continent, with thousands of miles of cold, hard soil between yourself and the oceans—those launching points to the rest of the world's wonders—that makes a person start to feel a bit...well, restless. received an email the other day from Bob Entenmann, the chair of the St. Olaf Asian Studies program, with a prescription for beating the midwestern midwinter blues: the Midwest Japan Film Festival. On each Tuesday in February—beginning tonight—a different film from contemporary Japan will be shown FREE OF CHARGE at 7pm at the Southgate Cinema. So if the ol' cabin fever is starting to get the best of you, I suggest you do as the title of tonight's film suggests and GO.

"Locally Grown" podcast for 02.03.06: economic development


Issues covered in show #6 of Locally Grown, recorded in the KRLX 88.1 FM studio at Carleton last Friday afternoon: The EDA and the forthcoming economic development plan. See EDA member Tracy Davis' weblog post Economic Development Plan - "Context Mapping" session which contains the PowerPoint presentation and Community Assessment - TIP Strategies (DRAFT) which contains the PDF document.

Click the play button to listen (42 mintues). Subscribe to the feed. Subscribe with iTunes. Join the ISSUES discussion list to continue the conversation on these and other issues. Attach a comment to give us feedback. See the Locally Grown page for more the show.


Northfield City Council meeting tonight

The Northfield City Council meets tonight at Northfield City Hall, 801 Washington Street.

The agenda and complete council packet are available on the City's Feb. 6 agenda web page.

Among the items on the agenda:

* the outdoor swimming pool

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