Events in and around Northfield

Learn more about Medicare's 'doughnut hole' Thursday

Peter MeidalSeniors’ opinions concerning Medicare part D are slowly coming in and the results are mixed.  Some seniors are happy with their plans and boast savings on prescription drug costs, while others—particularly seniors who have expensive drugs—have found the plans confusing and costly.

If you want to find out more information about the "doughnut hole" or cutting your prescription drug costs, attend my presentation at the Northfield Public Library on Thursday, September 14, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. I will be presenting information and answering questions as part of my role at the Minnesota Senior Federation as an AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) volunteer.

Part of the confusion associated with Part D is the doughnut hole.  Some Medicare supplemental plans cover expenses through the donut hole and some do not.  The doughnut hole is reached when Medicare Part D has paid $2,250 toward the beneficiary cost of prescription drugs; this includes deductibles, co-payments, and the cost of the drug.  The beneficiary is then responsible for the out-of-pocket costs covering their drugs until a total of $5,100 is reached (that total includes the $2,250 that has already been spent). 

Fall library story times resume soon!

After the big kids go to school we will be resuming our story times for little ones at the Northfield Public Library.

The programs, which are free and open to all, begin Wednesday, September 13.

  • “I like books!” preschool story time returns on September 13.  We will have two story times each week: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. for ages 3 to 5 with caregiver.
  • “Patty Cake, Patty Cake” Infant Lapsit returns Tuesday, September 19 at 10 a.m. for children 6 to 24 months.
  • Our on-going FIRST STEPS Early Literacy Center is open Monday, Friday and Saturday mornings from 10a.m. – noon.  It features hands-on fun and learning for children 6 months to 5 years! 
  • “Merlin Mondays” is a boys-only book group that meets Monday evenings at 7 p.m.  New members are always welcome. 

Watch for updates on when the following activities resume:

  • Saturday morning Carleton ACT Student’s story hour 
  • Adventure Girls, St. Olaf Honor house's girls only book group. 

Library programs are free and open to all.  For special needs or more information please call 645-6606 or visit Northfield Public Library website.

DJJD is in full swing, so have fun - and send us the photos

The Defeat of Jesse James Days are in full swing. David Perez, Adam Gurno and others have added dozens of photos of the rodeo, kids' events and the bright lights of the midway. And Griff Wigley sent us his photo gallery of the Budweiser Clydesdales and this gallery of the Prairie Creek folks playing up a storm at the Contented Cow.

You can add your photos by following the simple directions's as easy as sending an e-mail.

Long before most of you were up this morning, the middle school was awash in spandex-clad cyclists, ready and eager to head out for the Jesse James Rotary Bike Tour. Griff has posted his photos here. The early birds headed out for 100 miles of pedaling, while slackers in the shorter races could afford a few minutes for coffee and conversation. Members of the James Gang were there on horseback to greet the riders and wish them well, and hundreds of volunteers were fanning out to man water stations and prepare for activities to celebrate the cyclists' return.

People for Peace and Goodwill Celebrates Five Years

The Northfield People for Peace and Goodwill (PPG) group will celebrate 5 years of existence on September 11, 2006. An informal gathering of diverse people, PPG has held weekly vigils every Saturday at noon on Bridge Square since its inception. Along with vigils, the group has sponsored many events, guest speakers, movies, and activities in the Northfield community centered around topics of peace and social justice.

To commemorate their five years, PPG will gather for a special candlelight vigil on Monday, September 11, 6:30pm, once again on Bridge Square.

Visit The Center for Sustainable Living's website for a slideshow of the events and people of PPG.

Scott Schumacher is a board member of The Center for Sustainable Living.

Carleton students volunteer at River Bend Nature Center

Submitted by Carleton College 

On Saturday, September 9, 507 members of the Carleton College Class of 2010 will work all afternoon at the River Bend Nature Center in Faribault as part of the annual "Into the Streets" program, a component of New Student Week.

Sponsored by the ACT Center (Carleton's center for community service and academic civic engagement), "Into the Streets" is a national initiative designed to connect students to their community. Established in 1990, the goal of the program is to encourage and invite civic participation during the students' time at Carleton.

This year, the students will be part of a major buckthorn removal process at River Bend Nature Center. Working along with the new students will be New Student Week leaders, the ACT Center student staff, and the Campus Activities staff. Putting in a collective total of approximately 1,200 hours of labor, the group hopes to make major headway in the elimination of this invasive plant species.

Carleton College and the ACT Center would like to thank its sponsors for their assistance in planning this event: Thrivent Financial for Lutherans for funds to purchase travel mugs; Cub Foods of Northfield for donating bottled water; the Carleton Alumni Annual Fund for donating ice cream treats; and DuFours Cleaners for providing work gloves.

Explorer Will Steger to speak at Bethel Lutheran

Submitted by Connie DeGrote

Will Steger, perhaps the best known and most accomplished Polar explorer of the modern era, will speak on climate change—particularly the extent to which Earth is warming—at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 19, at Bethel Lutheran Church, located at 1321 North Ave.(at the corner of Cedar and North Avenues). Displays will be open for viewing beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Will Steger's talk is titled "Eyewitness to Global Warming." Since seeing evidence of global warming "up close and personal," Will Steger has become a voice calling for understanding and the preservation of the Arctic. He has led significant feats in dogsled exploration, such as the first confirmed dogsled journey to the North Pole without re-supply in 1986.

Steger has received the John Oliver La Gorce Medal for "accomplishments in geographic exploration, in the sciences, and for public service to advance international understanding." Others who have received the medal include Amelia Earhart, Robert Peary, Roald Amundsen, and Jacques Cousteau.

St. John's group to discuss "new immigrant" issues

"New Immigrants Among Us"  is the topic for discussion at the meeting  Monday, Sept. 11,  in the Fireside Room  at St. John's  Lutheran Church  at 500 West Third Street in Northfield. at 7 p.m.

All interested persons are most cordially invited to attend.

Sponsored by the St. John 's Peace and Justice Group, the meeting will include insights from people in the justice system, schools, healthcare facilities and businesses.   We will learn who the immigrants are, what they face and how they are managing.

All present will be encouraged to share ideas for what "old immigrants"  can to do welcome the recent members of the community.

Any questions may be directed to Barbara Wilson, 645-6747, or Judith Stoutland, 645-7842.

History comes to life each fall in DJJD

If you live in Northfield, I don't have to explain who these men are and what's going on this weekend. If you're not volunteering, you've already picked out your favorite events and made plans to be a part of the Defeat of Jesse James Days -- DJJD as its known here. As usual with big events, we have a photo gallery set up and will update it through the weekend. And you can go directly to the DJJD homepage and schedule by clicking here or on the logo at right.

For those of you new to town or visiting, this is a typical festival, with food, entertainment, a parade, craft show and bank robbery...

OK, a bank robbery is a little different. And it's what has set this event apart for 58 years now.

More inside...

Dance professor opens Carleton's convocation series

Carleton College’s opening convocation for the 2006-07 school year will be given by Mary Easter (at left), Rae Schupack Nathan Professor of Dance and the Performing Arts, on Monday, September 11, at 3 p.m. in Skinner Memorial Chapel.

Easter's presentation, which will include some dance, centers on challenging the status quo and is titled “Knocking Over the Chair.” A poet and writer as well as a dancer and choreographer, Easter received a bachelor of arts degree in music and French in 1962 from Sarah Lawrence College and studied at the Eastman School of Music.

More inside...

"Dinner On Us" Membership Drawing

Week Nine Drawing:  Chapati

We are proud to announce that our ninth "Dinner On Us" gift certificate is for $50 to Chapati.  By becoming a member of you will be entered into the Dinner On Us membership drawing.  The deadline for this week is noon on September 10th with the winner being announced on Monday, September 11th.

And hurry. We only have a few weeks left before we wrap up our membership campaign with a grand prize drawing. More on that soon...

You don't have to contribute to enter, and if you don't win, your name will be forwarded to the next week's drawing. That means you'll have several chances to win.

To sign up now, just go to the New Member page. The suggested donation is $20 per year per person. Of course, if you'd like to suggest a higher number, we'd be thrilled and very grateful.

Steam show, Detour Days brightened holiday weekend

Sure, this isn't the kind of style that will get you to the World Series, but this muddy mess of a baseball game sure provided a lot fun during Detour Days in Dundas over the weekend. Thanks to Glenn Switzer for sending a whole gallery of photos of the events, from sports to some serious partying to the music of Jonah & the Whales.

While Glenn was covering Detour Days, another of our favorite contributors, David Perez, took a trip back in time at the Steam and Gas Engine Show, also in Dundas. We've set up a gallery of his photos of the rows of classic farm equipment, wagon rides and of course, the demonstrations of blacksmith skills, as seen here.

If you have any photos of your holiday weekend fun, send them in a quick e-mail to Please include your name and a short description of the event or activity in the photo.

More on the wind turbine -- caught on video

Back in the early 1990s, I wrote a book called “Elegant Technology: economic prosperity from an environmental blueprint.”

In it, I sought to answer the question of whether it was even possible to create a “green” version of an industrialized society. At the time, there weren’t a lot of successful examples of green technology but one that seemed a likely winner was wind power. So over the years, I have kept my eye on its development.

More inside... including video!

Horseshoe Hunt winner ineligible, prize goes to charity

Defeat of Jesse James Days Chairman Sandy Vesledahl compared the news to hearing that the Grinch had stolen Christmas.

It's not quite that bad, but the end of this year's Horseshoe Hunt clearly didn't go as planned.

Here is Sandy's statement:

"This morning it was announced that the Defeat of Jesse James Days horseshoe hunt had been solved and that the horseshoe had been found late Thursday evening. 

"Officials of the DJJD committee are now announcing that the person who found the horseshoe is an ineligible person to claim the prize.  The person who found the horseshoe is an employee of the Northfield News and would have had access to all of the clues.  Employees and families of the Northfield News, KYMN Radio and the Defeat of Jesse James Days committee are ineligible to claim the prize money. 

"After much discussion on what to do, the DJJD Board of Directors has determined that the $300 prize money will be donated to the local Operation Backpack organization.  There will also be an additional matching donation of $300 given to this organization from the Northfield News for a total of $600.

Labor Day Steam and Gas Farm Show starts Today

This area has a rich farm heritage, and you can learn a lot more about it—and have fun—this weekend. Friday marks the opening of the Rice County Steam & Gas Engines, Inc. 33rd Annual Labor Day event.

The event is expanding to three days this year. It still includes all the popular events: the tractor pull, parade, flea market, music and exhibits. The fun runs from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily at the Rice County Steam and Gas Engines, Inc. Show grounds, Highway 3 South, in Dundas.

Want to know more about what goes on at the show? Click on the photo to see a whole gallery of photos from last year. And as always, you can check back here for a photo gallery from this year, and you can add your photos by e-mailing them to


DJJD Horseshoe Hunt moves into fifth day

Editor's note: The Defeat of Jesse James Days festival kicks into high gear next weekend, but things are warming up now. Watch for the DJJD logo at left, which will appear with all stories linked to the event. And check out our DJJD photo gallery. It's small now, but it will grow. And you can help. Just snap some photos and e-mail them to We'll do the rest.

Update, 9 a.m. Friday: Winner claims prize!

Franklin Lee e-mailed Friday morning to confirm that a winner turned up late Thursday night with the horseshoe, which was in Babcock Park.  DJJD Chairman of the Board, Sandy Vesledahl will announce the winner's name, or names, at 4 p.m. Friday. Stay tuned.

And here's the rest of the story... 

Forget the clues offered to competing teams in "The Amazing Race" or hidden in the subplots of "Survivor." The code to break this week is the one leading to the location of a hidden horseshoe—and up to $300 in prize money.

And you may still have time to join the curious souls who are busy playing in the Horseshoe Hunt. Here's the deal: individuals or teams use the clues—and a little luck—to find a simple horseshoe and turn it in to win $200. A few teams that pre-registered also can claim a bonus of $100 from the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce if they win.

Read on for more information, and all the clues so far...

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