Events in and around Northfield

From faith to fanaticism

Cowling Distinguished Visiting Professor in Philosophy Jonathan Adler will speak about the intellectual dimension of fanaticism at noon on Tuesday, April 3 in Olin Hall, room 2, at Carleton College.

Entitled “Faith and Fanaticism,” the talk is free and open to the public. Adler’s lecture is based on his article being published in the forthcoming book, “Philosophers Without Gods” (Oxford University Press, 2007). He will address traits often associated with fanatical reasoning – self-righteousness, intolerance, excessive certainty, and zealotry –and will argue that fanaticism resides in a lack of self-restraint in reasoning and belief.

Since supernatural faith promotes denial of these restraints, Adler’s explanation attempts to provide an understanding of why faith is fertile ground for fanaticism. Adler is visiting Carleton from the City University of New York, Graduate Center. He is this year’s visiting philosopher supported by the Cowling Foundation. Cowling Visitors participate in a number of activities including teaching courses, giving public lectures, conducting faculty seminars, and leading discussions in classes.

Bly, Neuville to share community meeting Tuesday

The Northfield Early Childhood Coalition is sponsoring a community coffee with Representative David Bly and Senator Tom Neuville on Tuesday, April 3 from 9-10:30 a.m. at Longfellow School. This event, which is free and open to the public, is an opportunity to meet with our elected officials to discuss issues related to early childhood education and supporting families with young children.

Information about public policy proposals related to Head Start, Early Childhood Family Education, and Child Care Programs will be available. Parents and caregivers of young children are encouraged to attend.

For more information please contact the Northfield Early Childhood Coalition at 507-664-3660. 



Want to hold a global warming rally?

On Minnesota Public Radio yesterday afternoon I heard a fellow speak about global warming. His name was Bill McKibben, and the broadcast is available on the MPR web site. Mr. McKibben mentioned a web site called Step It Up 2007. His goal - along with six college students - was to get a minimum of 100 rallies organized nationally to show our elected officials that global warming is a concern for American citizens. These rallies are slated to occur on April 14th, 2007, and there are now over 1100 scheduled.

Presently, there are 19 scheduled events in Minnesota. I didn't see Northfield in the list, and thought there may be some parties interested in organizing a rally. Information on how to schedule and organize an event is on the Step It up 2007 web site, and if anyone is interested in being a primary brain and organizer for this, I'd be willing to assist. I'm a local resident and anyone can reach me by email at; further communications will mostly be by phone or in person.

Northfield Tennis Association to meet Monday

Northfield community members of all ages who enjoy playing tennis are invited to attend the Northfield Tennis Association meeting on Monday, April 2, 2007.  The meeting will be held from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in room SS106 of the Northfield Community Resource Center (1651 Jefferson Parkway).

The meeting is open to those of all ages and tennis ability levels.  Topics discussed will include indoor court needs and summer youth and adult programming.

For more information, contact Bob Ewing (

Zach Pruitt is a member of the Northfield Tennis Association

Convocation to explore race and class issues

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb will speak at convocation at 10:15 a.m. Friday, March 30 at Carleton College’s Skinner Memorial Chapel.

Gottlieb’s presentation will explore issues of race and class in relationship to 9/11, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and will address reconciliation in the context of dismantling historic oppressions. The event is free and open to the public.

One of the first 10 women in Jewish history to be ordained, Gottlieb has served as a congregational rabbi for 32 years. She has devoted herself to Jewish feminism and interfaith peacemaking throughout her career. She is the co-founder of the Muslim–Jewish Peace Walk for Interfaith Solidarity, and is rabbi emeritus of Congregation Nahalat Shalom (Inheritance of Peace), a Renewal congregation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Gottlieb enjoys a reputation as a gifted storyteller and has spoken at college campuses and synagogues across the country. She has been the spiritual leader for a deaf congregation in New York and has traveled throughout the United States speaking to women’s groups. In addition to her book, “She Who Dwells Within: A Feminist Vision of a Renewed Judaism” (HarperSanFrancisco, 1995), she has written numerous articles on women’s studies, peacemaking and interfaith work.

Hospital Auxiliary needs books for annual sale

Calling all books!

The Northfield Hospital Auxiliary will begin collecting books Monday, April 2, at the Northfield Ice Arena for the auxiliary’s 46th annual book sale: “The Great Northfield, Minnesota Book Raid.”

Volunteers will be on hand to take your books weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Saturday, April 14. From Monday, April 16 through Friday, April 20, the arena will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The last opportunity to donate will be Saturday, April 21, from 9 a.m. to noon. Magazines or Reader’s Digest condensed books will not be accepted. Local Boy Scouts will also be collecting books at the Econofoods parking lot on Saturday morning, April 7 and 14.

“The Great Northfield, Minn. Book Raid” will run from Tuesday, April 24, through Saturday, April 28. Each year the proceeds from the sale go to projects at the Northfield Hospital and other community health efforts.

If you have questions or would like to volunteer to help with the book fair, please call this year’s co-chairs: Linda Barck, 507-645-0517; Marge Barnes, 507-645-7752, or Mary Schwake, 507-645-5446.

Energy efficiency workshop slated March 29

If you want to do your part to save the planet and save some green at the same time, plan to attend “Building Energy Efficiency 101: Cost-Effective Home Energy Saving Strategies for the 21st Century” Thursday, March 29th from 7 to 9 PM in the Northfield Public Library meeting room.

This will be the first in a series of workshops sponsored by Northfield EnergySmart BuildingWorks, an initiative of RENew Northfield and the Northfield Area Foundation. I am providing staff support for this project as a contractor to RENew Northfield.

Workshop attendees will learn from local builders and other experts how to cost-effectively save energy and money whether you are building a new home or living in a drafty 19th-century Victorian. State-of-the-art building techniques and technologies will be covered, as well as utility and government financial incentives. Case studies on several new homes and older home retrofits will detail the energy efficiency and renewable energy steps taken and actual energy saving results.

Mbele to speak on creating inclusive communities

St. Olaf Associate Professor of English Joseph Mbele will give a public talk, sponsored by the Faribault Diversity Coalition, titled "When Africa Meets Faribault: A Conversation about Culture and Traditions" on Saturday, March 24, from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Faribault's Buckham Memorial Library in the Great Hall. All ages are welcome and a small lunch will be provided with a suggested $2 donation for food.

Mbele has been part of the diversity coalition for nearly a year, and the group meets regularly to discuss issues and plan special events and programs. The group's mission includes promoting an inclusive community where all are welcome and respected, and working with new residents to mentor them in the life skills needed to become active and integrated participants in the community. For more information on Mbele's talk or the diversity coalition, call the Faribault Welcome Center at 507-333-5036.

Village Market to hold Spring Festival Saturday

Let's welcome Spring and perhaps it will stay, yes?

I attended the Winter Festival last month, despite the heavy snow, and was delighted to find quite a few vendors. We've passed the Spring Equinox so how appropriate to call this Saturday's Market a Spring Festival.

Spring Festival @ Village Market -- Saturday, March 24 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

At the market you can purchase:
Organic eggs, beef, lamb, pork, bison, poultry, pies, tarts, breads and other baked goods, jams, dried beans, yarn and wool products, wildflower and perennial seeds, Lady Slipper plants, magnetic jewelry, eco art, hair beading, and more.

Knights of Columbus host annual Fish Fry

The Northfield Knights of Columbus will host their Annual All You Can Eat Fish Fry on Friday, March 23rd from 5:00 - 8:00 PM in the O'Gara Social Hall at the Church of St. Dominic. The KC Fish Fry has become one of Northfield's best, and the public is invited.

The menu includes Baked or Fried Cod, Salad Bar, Scalloped or Baked Potatoes, Cole Slaw, Vegetables, Bread, Dessert and Beverages.

Cost is $10/adults, $5/Children 6-12, Free/Children under 6.


CVEC classes have a few spaces available

Enrollment for the Cannon Valley Elder Collegium (CVEC) Spring Term (March 26 – May 18) classes is very strong again this spring. However, there are still a few openings in some courses. At this time CVEC will open these classes to anyone in the community and not limit enrollment to only those age 55 and older.  Classes that still have a few openings are: “Sherlock Holmes,” “Romantic Comedy,” “Sustainability: Creating An Agenda,” “Islam Then and Now,” and “Its Only A Theory: The Copernican Revolution.” Course Descriptions, Class Schedules, and Registration Blanks are all available at Copies of the CVEC newsletter with the same information are available at the senior center. Up to date enrollments and course closings are posted on the Web page. Regular tuition is $50 per course and the lecture course on Islam is $20.

In the course, “Its Only a Theory…,” Richard Noer, Carleton Science Professor Emeritus, will help students better understand the present public debate between intelligent design and evolution by examining previous “great debates” in history. Additional description of this course and the others is available on the CVEC web page. You may also contact Director Bill Carlson by phone 507-645-9642 or by email,

Support & Training for Senior Companions

RSVP volunteersThe Senior Companion and RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer) programs, in partnership with local agencies and organizations, are offering training sessions for volunteers, age 55 and older, who would like to offer support and friendship to help Rice County elders who may need some help to live independently in the community.

As a friendly visitor, that may include some help with local errands and appointments, you can make a big difference for a neighbor. You can serve anywhere from a couple hours a week to 15 hours a week. Volunteers serving 15 hours a week are eligible to receive a tax-free stipend, and all volunteers receive mileage reimbursement.

A festive weekend!

St. UrhoSt. PatrickI'm neither Finnish nor Irish, but that didn't stop me from getting in the spirit and celebrating both St. Urho's and St. Patrick's days this weekend. You can view photos from both celebrations by clicking the images here.

And if you've got photos of your own celebrations that you'd like to share, send them to and we'll add them to our massive photo galleries. Thanks to Miriam Mueller and Susan Beaumaster who've already added their own St. Pat's pix!

YMCA, city, schools team up to host Healthy Kids Day

In the interest of full disclosure here, I'll start by noting that I am volunteering to help with publicity for this event. But it sounds like a lot of fun and something we'd be happy to write about even if I weren't involved.

And I know it's a little early but this will let you mark the date for one of the first big events for the new Northfield Area Family YMCA. The Y doesn't have a building yet, but its leaders are busy with new ideas.

The event – the first in Northfield – will combine the city’s annual bike safety rodeo with a host of other activities in and around the school. There will be a display of police, fire and ambulance vehicles as well as an emergency helicopter and visits by police dogs, coordinated by Northfield Police, Rice County’s Sheriff’s Department and Northfield Hospital Emergency Medical Services. Key local co-sponsors include the City of Northfield, Northfield Public Schools Community Services and the Healthy Community Initiative, along with dozens of organizations who will offer activities and displays.

John Berquist added to St. Urhos Day lineup

Renowned folklorist and musician to join Friday night festivities at the Eagles Club

I just got word that John Berquist, one of the Upper Midwest’s most respected folklorists, will bring his vocal, instrumental and storytelling talents to Northfield Friday evening as he adds to the already-jam-packed entertainment lineup for the third annual St. Urho's Day celebration at the Eagles Club.

The Eagles fish fry begins at 5:30 p.m., dance instruction with Nordic Jam is at 7:00, and Paul Niemisto will present a short program at 8:00, followed by the headliners, Finn Hall. I'm not sure how John's going to squeeze his way into the lineup, but he says it'll be sometime after 9 p.m. Even St. Urho himself is rumored to be planning an appearance!

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