Remembering the Road to Dignity walk, 20 years (and a bit) later

Last week, while home with the flu, I read a remarkable Northfield story I'd not known anything about until quite recently, when I became acquainted with the family involved.

Just over 20 years ago, the late Michel Monnot, a professor of French at Carleton, walked from the Twin Cities to Los Angeles to raise money and awareness for Parkinson disease research. His book, which ends with the story of the walk but is largely about the aftermath of being diagnosed with Parkinson disease at the age of 38, is From Rage to Courage: The Road to Dignity Walk. The walk was sponsored by the American Parkinson Disease Association, Northfield Hospital and Sandoz, Inc. He concluded his journey of what he estimated to be 3,801,000 steps (110 walking days, 15 miles per day, reducing the average stride by 20% to account for the fact that Parkinsonian steps are shorter than normal, and reducing it by another 20% "because I am a short Parkinsonian") twenty years ago last month, on January 24, 1986.

Caucus information for Northfield's 'Northsiders'

Northsiders is a term I use to describe those of us benighted Northfielders who live north of North Avenue, and are thus also residents of Dakota County.  It is our fate to live in a community in which most of the political talk involves politicians who do not actually represent us.  Some newcomers to the area may not even be aware of this.  In fact, judging from some of the signs I saw in neighbors' yards during the last election cycle, I'd say there are a few of us up here who were supporting candidates whom we couldn't even vote for!

If you are a Northsider, you live in ward 3, precinct 3 of Northfield in Dakota County.  (Click the image for a larger view or see the City's Election web page for a link to the full-size PDF.) Your city councilperson is Arnie Nelson, and your mayor is, of course, Lee Lansing.  At the state level, however, you live in district 36B.  Your state representative is Pat Garofalo, not Ray Cox; your state senator is Pat Pariseau, not Tom Neuville.  I thought I'd take this opportunity to inform fellow Northsiders about the upcoming caucus season, since this information is not generally covered by the Northfield News, and most of us do not subscribe to the Farmington Independent.

"Locally Grown" #8 features Elizabeth Schott and the Northfield Area United Way

Issues covered in show #8 of Locally Grown, recorded in the KRLX 88.1 FM studio at Carleton on Saturday afternoon: The Northfield Area United Way fund drive with guest Elizabeth Schott, Executive Director.

Click the play button to listen (30 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 on the show.

Winter scenes

Some miscellaneous winter-related photos I've taken recently: A dozen deer grazing in the corn field next to the Arb; an unconventional snowman; ice sculptures at Carleton. See the Winter scenes photo album in our gallery.

Or see them in the Northfield Group Photo Pool on Flickr  that we're experimenting with.


How cold is it?

24 hour tempurature chartIt was a cold one yesterday and last night -- no doubt about that. Just ask my car whose alternator died of hypothermia. The good people at Valley Autohaus gave me a jump last night (courtesy of AAA) and are operating on it this morning.

How cold was it? It reached -16 F just after 3 a.m. today, but the temperature has risen steadily since then and broke into positive territory around 10 a.m. Check out Carleton's weather database to see the latest weather info or to mine the databases and charts they keep.

The Big Wu (with the Flying Eklund Brothers) at The Rueb


I just got a phone call from a colleague, Andrew Eklund, CEO of Ciceron in Mpls. He's on his way to Northfield for tonight's Big Wu Anniversary Show at The Rueb, He and his brother Nathan will be on-stage.  Why?

From the Big Wu FAQ:

The Big Wu was founded in 1992 by St. Olaf College students Chris Castino (guitar), Terry VanDeWalker (vocals), and Jason Fladager (guitar). Andrew Eklund (bass; now owns Ciceron, Inc.), Nathan Eklund (Keyboards; now a High School teacher), Chip House (drums, now an internet marketing specialist) made up the rest of the regular line up. Julie Crumrine (vocals) and Julie Niksitch (vocals) made frequent appearances.

The band played their first gig on 2/14/1992 in the Lion's Pause in the basement of the old Ytterboe hall at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. Every song played was a cover by the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, or the Allman Brothers. There weren't many people in attendance, and no one in attendance had any idea what was being born that night... continued

Weekend entertainment

negcoverthumbgeneric.gifThere's lots happening this weekend in the Northfield area, including The Big Wu Anniversary Show at The Rueb tonight and Night of a Zillion Laughs on Saturday at the Grand Event Center.


See pages 12-13 of the current issue of the NEG, the Northfield Entertainment Guide (PDF)

Blog Boy Chuck Olsen visits Carleton


Chuck Olsen visited John Schott's Cinema & Media Studies at Carleton College recently for two presentations: a screening of his documentary film Blogumentary and an introduction to videoblogging, including a look at Minnesota Stories, his daily videoblog. I was able to sneak into both classes. On Tuesday, he finished up with some socializing with the class and the professor at J. Grundy's Rueb 'n' Stein, AKA The Rueb.


Click the photos for a larger view and the poster thumbnail for a PDF of his visit.

Northfield Historical Society Annual Meeting Open to the Public

The Northfield Historical Society would like to invite you to our Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday, March 4 at the Northfield Golf Club. Doors open at 5:30 with an hour of meeting, greeting and socializing around the cash bar with friends. At 6:30 there will be a buffet dinner featuring your choice of wild rice stuffed chicken or penne pasta with shrimp, roasted red potatoes, green beans with slivered almonds, dinner salad rolls and coffee.

Following dinner will be a program featuring our keynote speaker, Christopher M. Thomfored, President of St. Olaf College. We will also be recognizing our Volunteers of the Year, Mary Zoe Scott and Ashley Wentworth. There will be a short board meeting for members to vote on new board members and a brief progress and planning report given by Executive Director, Mark Fagerwick. Adjournment of the meeting will be 9:00 p.m. but we encourage all to arrive early and stay late and have some fun with the Northfield Historical Society. Please join us for some history in the making. Call 507-645-9268 for more information.

Amerman Pavilion Final Push

I thought I'd let visitors to know that the Northfield Rotary and the Northfield Soccer Association are looking to fill in the financing gap for the Amerman Pavilion in order to complete this project this Spring for use yet this year.  (Click the image on the right for a PDF of a recent Powerpoint presentation about the project.)

If not, this project may slide off the timeline of this Spring and perhaps into next Winter/Spring.  

Donations can be made to the Northfield Rotary Club (a 501c3) and mailed to P.O. Box 271 in Northfield. Or you can donate via PayPal/credit card on the Northfield Rotary Club's web page for the Amerman Pavilion where you also find out lots more about the project.

Free Poker in Northfield - Now with video!

Thanks to a 2005 change in Minnesota laws, Texas Hold 'Em poker is now allowed in private establishments in Minnesota. There are restrictions, of course - no money must change hands, prizes awarded must be under $200 total, and so on and so forth.

This has resulted in an explosion of leagues, games, and informal tournaments held by bars and restaurants as a means to get people in the door.

Northfield is no different - Brad's Corner Bar in Dundas has been hosting a poker league since September of 2005. Every Tuesday and most Saturdays, forty to sixty people converge to compete, chat, and enjoy themselves at no cost.

Not only is this a short story about these type of events, it also is a preview of a new feature of video. That's right - this story contains footage of people playing at Brad's and an interview with Brad himself. While it's not the Winter Olympics, it is a big technological leap forward for us and we hope to make it a regular part of the routine.

So, come with us, and prepare to watch the story unfold - after the jump...

Singing Valentines

I had an uncharacteristically grueling workday today, which involved a 200-mile commute and a run-in with the state patrol. So I wasn't really in the mood to even pick up the phone when it rang this evening. But when I realized it was a group of singers from the Northfield Youth Choirs calling with a "singing valentine," my day got a whole lot better.

The valentine was a gift from my wife (NYC's manager), who snapped these photos of members of Chorale, the high school group, singing a "Love Me Tender/You are my Sunshine" medley over several cell phones simultaneously. Chorale and the middle school Treble Choir successfully "delivered" more than 100 singing valentines this evening, with proceeds going to the singers as a fundraiser for their upcoming tours to Des Moines and Chicago.

School District Announces Updated Website

Looking for up to date news about the Northfield Public Schools? The district released its updated website on February 13 providing more information and access points for parents, community residents and other visitors to the website.

Updated features include family access for food services accounts, a student health services page, websites for every school building and Community Services (Community Education and Recreation), and more current information on the “What’s New” page.

Also new are the parent resource page, student services page, and an “About Us” section that provides district boundary and registration information.  The website address is .

Local legislators' town meeting schedule

The 2006 MN legislature convenes on March 1, so local legislators Rep. Ray Cox and Sen. Tom Neuville have scheduled a series of town meetings in the next two weeks.

The meetings are designed to be non-partisan, which is why I've linked to their pages at the legislature rather than their campaign web sites.

Here are the meeting dates/places:

Ruby is gone

Downtown Northfield has lost a dog friend. Ruby is gone.

She was diagnosed with lymphosarcoma in December and succumbed to the disease on February 9. She was 10 years old.

Adam de Malignon found Ruby in a Seattle, Washington shelter in 1997 and she moved to Minnesota and into our home on Bridge Square in Northfield a year later.

For many years she greeted customers at Bridge Square Gallery. Bridge Square Park was her front yard. Most people downtown knew her and many had treats for her in their desk, behind the counter or at the drive-up window.

It didn't take long for Ruby to know the routine, pulling us into various stores on our walks around town. Aquatic Pets was her favorite hang-out and the Carleton Arb her favorite walk.

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