Items that deal with people in and around Northfield

First National's Janet Topp Celebrates 50 Years of Service

Janet Topp

This month, Northfield’s own Janet Topp celebrates 50 years of service to First National Bank of Northfield. She began her career after graduating from Northfield High School in 1962. An open house in Topp’s honor is planned for Thursday, June 28, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the bank’s Downtown location – 329 Division Street.

Topp, who joined First National as a bookkeeper, has seen her responsibilities steadily grow. Today, she serves as a teller supervisor and oversees the bank’s Mainstreeters Club – a nearly 1,000-member social club for customers 55 years of age or older.

She says, “I’ve seen an amazing amount of change in the banking industry – the progression from 10-key adding machines to calculators to computers – and I couldn’t be more proud to have contributed my time and skills to First National. It’s really a great place to work.”

Meet Claire! The first "Reader of the Week!"

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Each week during the Northfield Public Library's summer reading program kids enter a drawing slip for "reader of the week."  The rest of the slips are hung from the library's ceiling to show everyone how many books kids in Northfield are reading.  Claire Casson is the first to recieve the honor that comes with a special "I became a reading animal at the Northfield Public Library" t-shirt courtesy of the Friends and Foundation of the Library.  All reading children- including those who are read to- can add their books in the special summer reading purple tent in the children's area.  Congratulations Claire!

Girl Scouts Celebrate 100th Anniversary at Northfield Historical Society



Come to the Northfield Historical Society Thursday, June 28 from 5-9 p.m. for a centennial celebration of the Girl Scouts of the USA.  The event kicks off the Society’s exhibit “Northfield Girl Scouts -Then and Now,” which will run through mid-August.

Host of the event is the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys in Northfield. Starting at 5 p.m., local Girl Scouts dressed in vintage uniforms will be on Bridge Square with songs, activities and demonstrations. Spectators can try their hand at tying a square knot or learning how to use signal flags.  Beginning at 7, the Community Band will feature favorite Girl Scout songs.

Rice County to Organize at Kick-Off Event to Defeat Amendment

On Monday, June 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the Weitz Center for Creativity at Carleton College, residents from all across Rice County will come together to organize to defeat the proposed amendment that would limit the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples in Minnesota.

The Rice County Votes NO! Community Kickoff is being organized by a group of local residents and leaders working with Minnesotans United for All Families. The event will bring together local teachers, parents, faith leaders and more to speak to hundreds of Rice County residents about the efforts happening in their own communities to defeat the amendment. These leaders will share their own personal stories to galvanize others to have conversations with their friends, family and neighbors about why they’re voting no in November.

St. Olaf names director of college's Center for Vocation and Career

Branden Grimmett, St. Olaf College

St. Olaf College President David R. Anderson '74 has announced the appointment of Branden Grimmett '03 as director of the college's new Center for Vocation and Career, which will provide career resources and experiences for St. Olaf students.

"Branden Grimmett will bring energetic, creative leadership to the Center for Vocation and Career and deep commitment to St. Olaf's mission," says Anderson. "At two leading universities, he built and strengthened programs in career services. I look forward to the contributions he will make at St. Olaf to enhance and expand programs that serve St. Olaf's students as they discern their vocations and plan their careers."

HCI invites board nominations for 2012-13


The Northfield Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) is currently seeking nominations for positions on the HCI board.  HCI expects to have at least one open adult board position and two board positions for high school students, beginning in September 2012.  HCI board members serve three-year terms.

Formed in 1992, HCI is a coalition run by a board of community leaders, youth, parents, and school representatives.  HCI’s mission is to “to foster a collaborative environment in Northfield that empowers youth, strengthens families, and builds community.” To achieve this, HCI does not operate or manage its own programs.  Instead, HCI works with community partners to foster collaboration and to support community-driven efforts that benefit Northfield youth and families.

The HCI Board meets from 7:30-9:00 a.m. on the third Wednesday of every month.

For more information on the HCI board or to nominate yourself or someone else for the board, please contact HCI at 664-3524 or info@northfieldhci.orgNominations should be received June 30, 2012.

To learn more about HCI, visit

Mike Paulsen is Making a Difference


A Northfield parent who’s been an integral volunteer with the Northfield Youth Choirs for more than a decade is the May 2012 recipient of the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative’s “Making a Difference” Award. The award celebrates those groups and individuals in the community who have a positive influence on Northfield youth.

Mike Paulsen began assisting the organization when his daughter Olivia joined the choir in early elementary school, and he’s taken on additional responsibilities as Olivia and his other daughter, Claire, have grown up in the choirs. During the 2011-12 season, Paulsen served as choir parent to the Troubadours (the boys’ choir), he helped with the Concert Choir (for kids grades 5 and up), and he ran the after-school program, coordinating snacks and activities for participants in the younger choirs.

“If something needs to be done and done well, Mike Paulsen is the man to do it,” said Liz Shepley, NYC artistic director. “He has that rare ability to see what would be helpful in any situation and act on it. He is invaluable to the NYC.”

Kickstarting a Career in Filmmaking: Sam Dunnewold and Kaitlin Randolph


Kaitlin Randolph was writing stories before she started kindergarten in northern Wisconsin. Sam Dunnewold started making films as a seventh grader at Northfield Middle School. Sam was also a member of the last class of Northfield eighth graders to go through their entire middle school career in the building which is now the Weitz Center for Creativity.

Both Kaitlin and Sam ended up at Carleton College, where they majored in Cinema and Media Studies (CAMS). Now the two young filmmakers are preparing to graduate from college and embark on the next stage of their careers: making their first feature-length film.

With several other partners, they’ve created a production company, Lucid Films LLC, and have created a Kickstarter account with the goal of raising at least $5,000 before June 24, 2012.

Help Kickstart a Local Filmmaker's First Feature-Length Film

Have you ever dreamed of making a movie? Here’s your chance to help an up-and-coming local filmmaker finance his first feature-length film. Sam Dunnewold, a 2008 graduate of Northfield High School and 2012 graduate of Carleton College, has a script, a cast, production crew, and locations. Now he needs the support of his community. He and his creative partners have set up a Kickstarter page to attract investors to the project.  But Sam makes the pitch better than I can. Click the image below to view Sam's video for potential investors:

City Council Recognizes Students for Work on Complete Streets Program

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At the May 15 city council meeting, Councilor Betsey Buckheit recognized two students for their contributions to the city’s Complete Streets policy development. Ben Hellerstein, a Carleton senior, was instrumental in organizing the citizen group, which met for several months soliciting community support, and drafting the resolution which the council passed to direct the drafting of a policy. He had read about the Complete Streets Task Force in the Northfield News, contacted Councilor Buckheit and then scheduled meetings, provided agendas, brought in other Carleton students and generally kept the group on task.

League of Women Voters Presents: This Week in Local Government

League of Women Voters Logo

This Week at the Northfield City Council Meeting

  • Future of Public Library Discussed
  • Council Reviews Debt Study
  • First Steps on 2012 Budget Discussed

These regular updates brought to you by the Observer Corps of the League of Women Voters of Northfield - Cannon Falls. For more on what we do, how you can join the League, and what's happening in your local government, visit our website.

Pioneer Press profiles Northfielder Gordon Marino

St. Olaf's Gordon Marino mixes philosophy and boxing

The St. Paul Pioneer Press begins its profile of St. Olaf faculty member Gordon Marino, "Meet the boxing philosopher of Northfield's St. Olaf College," with two "surprising" facts: 1) the Wall Street Journal has a boxing writer and 2) he's a philosophy professor at St. Olaf. "The life of Gordon Marino has a lot of twists like that," writes Richard Chin.

HCI Board funds 8 mini-grants in April to benefit area youth

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At their April 2012 board meeting, the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) Board approved mini-grants to support eight projects and activities designed to benefit Northfield youth.  Funded projects included:

Writers’ Workshop Poetry BookARTech students participating in the Writers’ Workshop group are compiling prose and poetry they have authored throughout the school year and are putting it into one publication, a poetry book.  Several copies of this journal will be given to the Key and area businesses who have hosted the writers during writing sessions this school year.

Latino Play Festival.  Students in the ESL (English as a Second Language) Performing Arts class at Northfield High School have spent the year writing and preparing plays.  Planned performances will be held at Carleton College and at the Northfield High School.  There will also be special performances for middle school students.  Evening performances at the Northfield High School are scheduled for May 11th and 12th.

St. Olaf names new college pastor

Matthew Marohl has been called to serve as pastor at St. Olaf College

St. Olaf President David R. Anderson '74 has announced that Matthew Marohl has been called to serve as college pastor. When Marohl assumes his new duties July 2, he will succeed W. Bruce Benson, who retired last spring after 30 years at St. Olaf, and interim pastor Ann Svennungsen, who recently was elected bishop of the Minneapolis synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

"The college pastor plays a central role in fostering our college's faith life, our students' vocational discernment, and our identity as a college of the church," Anderson says. "Pastor Marohl is a gifted preacher, an inquiring intellect who welcomes the diversity of religious expression, and an experienced spiritual guide. And he knows how to have fun with college-age students."

Fritz Bogott and Rachel Matney are Making a Difference


Rachel Matney and Fritz Bogott are the March/April 2012 recipients of the Healthy Community Initiative’s “Making a Difference” award.  The award celebrates those groups and individuals in the community who have a positive influence on Northfield youth.

After reading reports about the achievement gap in Minnesota and Northfield, Matney started thinking of local solutions.  She wondered:  are there willing and interested volunteers in Northfield who could be asked to assist in closing this gap?

She approached her husband, Fritz Bogott, with the question, and they sprang into action.  They contacted Northfield Public Schools, HCI, St. Olaf College and Carleton College.  Bogott reported that from the first meeting, the enthusiasm from the partners was “irrepressible.”   A new pilot initiative – Accelerate Northfield – was born, aiming to recruit volunteers to work in the Northfield schools primarily with youth who are struggling academically.  Matney and Bogott have played key roles in designing the Accelerate Northfield model and recruiting community volunteers.

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