Events in and around Northfield

Why volunteer at school?

Editor's note: as part of National Volunteer Week, we're running stories each day this week on the theme of volunteering from our friends at 5th Bridge.

Volunteerism is an investment in education. Consider the contributions and returns. When parents volunteer in their child’s school they send an important message that says that school is important and they are here to support their child in educational pursuit.

By working in the classroom or volunteering at special events, parents make important connections to the teachers, administration and staff. Being informed and aware of what is happening in the school improves communication and decision-making.

By volunteering in the school, parents meet other parents and a network of support and friendship develops. With increasing class sizes, the help of volunteers allow for the teacher to spend more time meeting the individual needs of each child. Tight budgets and shortages of materials can be alleviated with the aid of volunteers.

Are you a stay-at-home parent?

Editor's note: as part of National Volunteer Week, we'll be running stories each day this week on the theme of volunteering from our friends at 5th Bridge.

You love that you have the opportunity to stay at home and raise your children but sometimes, you feel like your vocabulary has degraded to that of a three year old and you long for stimulating adult conversation.

If you can relate to that statement, then please consider this idea. Volunteer! Volunteering can provide you with the adult companionship and intellectual stimulation that you crave. It can also help you to maintain your employability by keeping your skills sharp, providing a forum to learning new skills and creating networking opportunities.

Can’t afford a babysitter so you can volunteer? Perhaps you could form an informal babysitting coop with a few like-minded parents and take turns watching the kids while the others go out and volunteer. 5th Bridge can help by giving you ideas to get started.

School Safety conference Wednesday at St. Olaf

Editor's note: This conference was scheduled well before Monday's shooting incident at Virginia Tech.

On Wednesday, Hawkeye-Security Insurance™, a member of Liberty Mutual Group, is bringing Minnesota school officials together to learn how to improve their students’ and schools’ safety. From bullying and classroom violence to sexual abuse prevention, Michael Dorn, founder of Safe Havens International™, and specialists with Childhelp’s Good Touch-Bad Touch®, will conduct free presentations on these topics at St. Olaf College from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There will be a news conference at 11:30 a.m. at Buntrock Commons, in the Heritage Room, 2nd Floor.

Local poets to read at Monkey See, Monkey Read

To celebrate National Poetry Month, a group of poets featured in Where One Voice Ends Another Begins: 150 Years of Minnesota Poetry will read their work at Monkey See, Monkey Read.

Thursday, April 19 at 7 p.m. – Monkey See, Monkey Read
425 Division Street, Northfield / 507-645-6700
Readers include: James Armstrong, Jim Heynen, Ed Bok Lee, and Mai Neng Moua with editor Robert Hedin as emcee.

Poets James Armstrong, Jim Heynen, Ed Bok Lee, and Mai Neng Moua will take the floor with anthology editor Robert Hedin for an evening of musing, merrymaking, and Minnesota memories. Listen to the poets give voice to their work, learn how they have influenced and have been influenced by our great state, and meet the writers up close during the book signing to follow.

New to Town?

Editor's note: as part of National Volunteer Week, we'll be running stories each day this week on the theme of volunteering from our friends at 5th Bridge.

Are you new to Northfield? Are you wondering how you can connect with people, make new friends, and begin to make Northfield feel like home?

Try volunteering! Volunteering is a great way to meet a diverse group of people, with compatible interests and values. 5th Bridge can help by informing you of current volunteer opportunities and providing creative ideas for you to use your own unique gifts and talents. In no time at all, you too, will walk through the grocery store or coffee shop and run into people you know.

Visit for more information.

Tim Jackson is on the advisory board of 5th Bridge. 

HealthFinders to host "A Grand Gala" April 27

HealthFinders Collaborative seeks auction items for fundraiser!

HealthFinders Collaborative, a local grassroots organization dedicated to providing healthcare services for the under- and uninsured residents of Rice County, will be having its fourth annual fundraiser - "A Grand Gala" - on Friday, April 27.  The event will be held at The Grand of Northfield with doors opening at 6pm and dinner served at 7pm.  The evening will include a catered dinner, silent auction, new game of chance, and live music provided by The Over and Back Band.

Since opening clinic doors in June of 2005, HealthFinders has seen over 900 patients and assured that hundreds receive the prescription drugs they need through a drug fund. This exciting community collaborative has greatly affected the communal health of Rice County. Volunteers hail from Northfield, Faribault, local congregations, local hospitals and clinics, and Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges.

If you'd like to help HealthFinders in its quest to ensure every resident of Rice County has access to quality healthcare, there are a number of ways you can help. A huge part of the annual fundraiser is an auction, and everything from a cottage in France for a week to a $10 gift certificate has been auctioned off. Jewelry, artwork, lefse-making lessons, unicycle lessons, and hot-air balloon rides have been included as well - nothing is out of bounds! Professors have donated books they have written, accompanied with a "lunch with the author," and many citizens have utilized their unique talents and abilities to offer creative auction items. This is a wonderful way to get involved in your community! Another way to help is to come to the event on the 27th. You can reserve tickets ($30) by going to and clicking on the gala announcement.

Carleton President Emeritus Lewis to speak Wednesday

Carleton College President Emeritus and professor of economics Stephen R. Lewis Jr. will appear Wednesday, April 18, at 4:30 p.m. in Carleton’s Gould Library Athenaeum.

Lewis will discuss the memoirs of former president of Botswana Quett Ketumile Joni Masire, titled Very Brave or Very Foolish? Memoirs of an African Democrat, and edited by Lewis. The talk, which will be followed by a booksigning and reception, is free and open to the public.

Lewis and Masire have been friends and colleagues for over 30 years. At a banquet in honor of Masire’s retirement in 1998, Lewis asked him if he was planning to write his memoirs. “He said ‘I will if you help me,’” Lewis recalled. “I readily agreed.” Very Brave or Very Foolish? Memoirs of an African Democrat (MacMillan, 2006) chronicles the evolution of Botswana’s uniquely successful political and economic development.

St. Olaf to hold Global Citizenship lecture Thursday

Fine arts and cultural consultant Stuart Gibson will be on campus Thursday, April 19, to speak about the important role of culture and the fine arts in promoting stability during difficult economic and political transitions. He will deliver his talk, "A Cultural Ambassador in the Context of Global Citizenship," at 4 p.m. in Viking Theater. This event is free and open to the public.

Gibson specializes in helping government and nonprofit organizations, such as museums, preserve and strengthen national cultural heritage during volatile times. He has contributed his unique services and skills in central Asia, eastern Europe, China and the Middle East. He also has worked with western European and North American cultural organizations to enhance management skills.

Written by Elizabeth Child 

To read more about Gibson visit the St. Olaf website

YMCA Healthy Kids Day was a success!

I think I speak for many when I say that today's YMCA Healthy Kids Day was a complete success.  Even as I, a 21 year old college student, walked around snapping pictures I felt a rush of excitement.  This shared excitement buzzed through the gym as parents and children visited booth after booth.

With families slowly starting to meander in right at 8am and stragglers hanging around until the last minutes, the day was filled with friendly people.  What kept people’s attention for so long?  Well, there were nearly 40 sponsors that filled the Northfield Middle School inside and out.  Each booth had a different aspect of healthy living to teach and of course free goodies to give.  With a helicopter landing in the opening minutes, the excitement didn’t fade until prizes were drawn at the end.

Melanoma Walk in Northfield April 28 received an email yeserday from Barb Foster about an upcoming event to raise money and awareness in the fight against melanoma. The event is a three-mile walk at Carleton College Arboretum on April 28, 2007 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Here's her note:

I'd love to tell you about an event we are hosting in Northfield. I have attached a letter with details as well as a flyer for our event. It is to bring Melanoma Awareness to the Northfield community and to remember my twin sister who passed away last year from Melanoma, Brenda Gilbertson.

The letter asks that you please register for the event on the Melanoma International website at by April 20th. Click the attached PDFs for full details.

More events at St. Olaf this Tuesday

Please join us on the hill on Tuesday, April 17 for these events:

Debussy Prelude Night to feature 24 pianists
Christiansen Hall of Music, Urness Recital Hall 7 p.m.

The Debussy concert combines French music and visual art as 24 St. Olaf pianists perform the 24 preludes by Claude Debussy. During the performance a relevant piece of artwork will be projected to enrich the listening experience. Brief introductions of each piece will incorporate French poetry when appropriate.

Refreshments will be served at intermission, with the second half signalled by a brass quintet playing an arrangement of one of the preludes.

The concert is free and open to the public.

Michelle Malkin to speak about U.S. immigration
Buntrock Commons, Pause Mane Stage 7 p.m.

“Come Together @ Your Library”

The Northfield Public Library invites the community to “come together at your library” for events happening April 16, 17, 18, 19 & 20!

“It’s National Library Week, a time to come together at your library.  During National Library Week, the Northfield Public Library will be a very busy place,” says Lynne Young, Library Director.  “In addition, library volunteers will be out and about in the community ‘carding’ people.  Those who are fortunate to have a library card with them will win a prize.”

As part of this annual event, the Northfield Public Library will be hosting a number of programs and events in the library’s meeting room and office.  On Monday, April 16, the regular Merlin Mondays reading group for boys will meet in the library office while a focus group of Spanish-speaking Northfielders will meet in the meeting room.  Both events will begin at 7:00 p.m.

The Ethics of Intervention, Tuesday at St. Olaf

The St. Olaf Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha invites you to our spring forum, “The Ethics of Intervention: A Responsibility to Protect?” on Tuesday April 17th , at 5pm (reception at 4:30) in Viking Theater, Buntrock Commons, St. Olaf College.

How should governments respond to large-scale humanitarian crises such as the current atrocities in Darfur? If a government cannot or will not protect its own people from violence, do other countries have the right, or even the responsibility, to intervene?

The “Responsibility to Protect” framework of intervention provides new ways of thinking about these questions and we will explore both the ethics and efficacy of this model. The forum will feature CUNY Professor Thomas Weiss who served as Research Director for the commission that drafted the Responsibility to Protect guidelines and Florida State University Professor Fernando Teson, a distinguished international law scholar. St. Olaf Professor Tony Lott will moderate the discussion and Q&A.

Healthy Kids Day is Saturday

 First-time event draws lots of community support


Editor's note: This story ran originally last week, but we're re-publishing it as a reminder for the event, which runs Saturday morning.

You're probably familiar with the annual bike safety rodeo, where kids get fitted for new helmets and learn the rules of the road. (Photos are from last year's event.)
Well, this year, the rodeo is going to be part of a brand new event, the first local celebration of national Healthy Kids Day. Rain or shine, we'll be at Northfield Middle School from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 14.

And while this is a first-time effort for the new Northfield Area Family YMCA, this is going to be a huge event. We're talking fire trucks, police dogs, ambulances, an emergency helicopter, arts activities, healthy food demonstrations and samples, soccer demonstrations and more. There will be a labyrinth for people who want to try out this maze-like phenomenon, chiropracters and health specialists to answer questions, bankers to explain to kids and parents how start saving for college and beyond. We'll have drawings for door prizes. And lots more.

7th Annual Arts a la Carte is this Friday

Arts a la CarteThe seventh annual “Arts a la Carte” Evening of the Arts will be held on Friday, April 13, from 6-9 p.m. at Northfield High School. Nearly 1,500 people attended last year's event making it a huge success.  

Arts a la Carte is a yearly event that celebrates visual, literary, dramatic, and performance art and is open to the public. This amazing event provides high school students with the opportunity to share their artistic talents and passions with the community. Children and adults will find plenty to do throughout the evening and everyone is encouraged to attend. Some of the activities planned for this year’s event include:

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