Items that deal with people in and around Northfield

Awesome Club volunteers are Making a Difference


St. Olaf College students who volunteered with the Awesome Club at Northfield High School (NHS) during the 2012-13 school year received the Healthy Community Initiative “Making a Difference” Award for July 2013. The award celebrates those groups and individuals in the community who have a positive influence on Northfield youth.

The Awesome Club was founded three years ago by a then-St. Olaf student, Natalie Davis, as a social skills club for high school students with autism. This year, about 16 high school students and about half a dozen college volunteers met weekly after school to play games and spend time together. Through the sale of lollipops, the group members raised money to buy T-shirts and have a bowling party.

“The friendships that are developed are the core of what makes this club so wonderful,” said NHS teacher Lisa Weis, the group’s adviser. “Many other things develop along the way – conversation skills, leadership roles, and greater understanding of each other and ourselves.”

Northfield Hospice Seeking Volunteers


Northfield Hospice is excited to offer Hospice Volunteer Training to members of the Northfield and surrounding communities who are interested in becoming Hospice volunteers. This training and orientation is free and open to those who can commit to at least one year of volunteering, and are 18 years of age or older.

Hospice care is provided to terminally ill patients in and around the Northfield area, and focuses on comfort rather than curative measures. There are many types of Hospice volunteers needed: volunteers for patient and family support, fundraising and event planning, bereavement support, clerical task assistance, or special project help. We are also looking for volunteers who have a certified therapy dog to offer pet therapy visits to our patients.

Help Sarah and Nat Kickstart Two Creative Projects with Local Roots


Nat Allister and Sarah Goldfeather were childhood friends. They graduated from Northfield High School in 2006 and both attended Vassar College, where Sarah studied music and Nat studied film and creative writing. After graduating from Vassar in 2010, the two friends went their separate ways—Sarah to Brooklyn, Nat to Asheville, North Carolina—but both pursued creative projects that have led to Kickstarter fundraising campaigns. Sarah is hoping to fund the recording of a CD of original music, and Nat is hoping to fund an elaborate and highly visual circus for the stage called Tarocco, which he wrote and plans to direct in January 2014.

"And Sometimes Y"


Monday, July 22, 2013 marks the official publication date of And Sometimes Y, by local author Leslie Schultz and her daughter Julia Braulick. The book is a sequel to Schultz's 2011 book The Howling Vowels. Bonnie Jean Flom describes The Howling Vowels as "a poignant story of a gifted ten-year-old girl and her friends and family."  And Sometimes Y continues Alexa's adventures in fictional Sundog, Minnesota, and introduces memorable new characters.

It's been a creative year for Leslie and Julia, who were also among the winners of the 2013 sidewalk poetry competition. We'll let Leslie herself tell you about the new book in her latest blog post.

Northfield Healthy Community Initiative invites board nominations


The Northfield Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) is currently seeking nominations for positions on the HCI Board of Directors.  HCI expects to have at least two open adult board positions and one board position for a high school student, beginning in September 2013.  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  Nominations should be received by August 1, 2013.

To learn more about HCI, visit

Local boxing instructors are Making a Difference

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Two former professional boxing instructors and their student assistant have received the Healthy Community Initiative’s  (HCI) “Making a Difference” Award for June 2013. The award celebrates those groups and individuals in the community who have a positive influence on Northfield youth.

Gordon Marino, Charlie Meyers and Victoria Celano taught boxing to youth in grades 8-12 during the school year through the Northfield Area Family YMCA. During weekly after school sessions at the Northfield Armory, the young people learned to practice skills of self-discipline, concentration, and quick-thinking, while also improving their physical fitness.

Alberto Fierro, Cónsul de México, Visits Northfield

Northfield had a visit from Alberto Fierro Garza, the new Consul of Mexico in St. Paul, on Monday, June 24.  He has been in the St. Paul post for only a month and a half, and is eager to get to know people in his assigned region, which includes the Dakotas, Minnesota and northern Wisconsin.  Mr. Fierro’s trip included a series of informal meetings  to acquaint himself with the people and the resources available to the Mexican community in Northfield.

Parenting Doesn't Go On Vacation in the Summer

Joan Janusz is a member of the Northfield Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Alcohol and Drug Use

Parenting Doesn’t Go On Vacation


This is the message on the most recent postcard in a year-long series sent to families by the Northfield Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Alcohol and Drug Use.  It is a reminder to parents and caregivers to be firm in setting rules that abide by the “curfew for minors” ordinance.  The latest that youth can be out without an adult is 10 p.m. if under 16 and 12:00 midnight if 16-18 years old.  Because of recent reports of vandalism and property damage, the Northfield Police Department will be strictly enforcing this ordinance. 

Watercolorist Kathy Miller to Exhibit, “Voyage of Discovery and Reflections"

White Peonies - by Kathy Miller.jpg

As a flower bud holds within it so much potential and in time springs forth a fragrant floral display, so too is an artist’s paintbrush as it touches the canvas with dreams of what will come to be.

Established watercolorist and recent recipient of the prestigious “Best of Show” award from the Minnesota Watercolor Society’s Juried Spring Show, Kathy Miller will present her paintings in a new exhibit titled, “A Voyage of Discovery and Reflections” at the Northfield Arts Guild, June 12-July 21. An opening reception will be held on June 14 from 7 to 9 pm.

The artist, known for her sensory style that draws the viewer in with an alluring tactual appeal, depicts nature with curiosity and depth through her intricate study of light, reflections and shadows.  "It was a pleasure to award Kathy Miller's "White Peonies" Best of Show at the Minnesota Watercolor Society Spring Juried Exhibition,” said Megan Rye, the exhibit judge. “It is a well-established tradition to paint flowers, especially in the medium of watercolor.  Kathy's approach honors this tradition, but also springs forth with dazzling life, and a relevancy that is freshly observed. "White Peonies" grabbed my heart and wouldn't let go.”

Tree dedication in honor of Dan Freeman

Dan Freeman

The late Dan Freeman, commonly known around town as “Mr. Northfield,” will have a tree dedicated in his memory Friday, May 24, at 5 p.m. on Bridge Square. Freeman died earlier this month after a long illness. The public is invited to attend.

The tree, a New Harmony elm, was donated by Knecht’s Nursery and Landscaping in Northfield. Owners Leif and Deb Knecht picked the tree because, says Leif, “When I think of Dan Freeman, I think of Dan as a goodwill ambassador for Northfield. Goodwill is like harmony, and that’s why we picked that tree.” He adds that the tree will be resistant to Dutch Elm disease and will grow quickly. “It will be a long-term reminder of the goodwill Dan always tried to bring to our community.”

A plaque, donated by the Defeat of Jesse James Days Committee and the Northfield Historical Society, will read “Dan Freeman, ‘Mr. Northfield,’ 2013.”

After-school sewing club volunteers are Making a Difference

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Three local women who led an after-school sewing group at Northfield Middle School have received the Healthy Community Initiative “Making a Difference” Award for May 2013. The award celebrates those groups and individuals in the community who have a positive influence on Northfield youth.

Joyce Schlossin started the group and recruited Beth Endert and Emily Schmitz to assist her. Over a 12-week period, they taught a group of about a dozen girls to make items such as scarves, mittens, headbands, placemats, potholders, pillows and cell phone holders.

“They were pleased – they couldn’t believe they could do it,” Endert said. “We’re already getting ideas for next time.”

Susan Sanderson, coordinator of the middle school TORCH program, said the women also taught the girls about the economics of sewing, how to save money and make the most out of every scrap of fabric.

“Joyce and her partners have great energy, and we are so fortunate to have them sharing their skills and love of sewing,” Sanderson said.

- Written by Joy Riggs, HCI Board member and freelance journalist

The Healthy Community Initiative and the Northfield News present the Making a Difference Award cooperatively. If you know an individual or group that you would like to nominate for this award, click HERE for nomination guidelines and the easy-to-complete application or find HCI on Facebook.  Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis and are selected by a review team of HCI board members and local youth.

St. Olaf College recognizes 20 retiring employees

St. Olaf retirees 2013

This year's group of retiring St. Olaf College faculty and staff includes (front row, l–r, including year hired in parentheses): Phyllis Larson '69 (1993), Dean of the College's Office and Asian Studies; David Schodt (1977), Economics; Jill Ewald '87 (1998), Art and Art History; and Ruth Block (2006), Bookstore. Back row: Alan Norton (1996), Treasurer's Office; Bob Jacobel (1976), Physics; Kathy Schuurman (1999), Alumni and Parent Relations; Susan Jorgensen (1985), World Languages Center; Duane Schlobohm (1985), Facilities; Diane Thompson (1990), Facilities; Wendell Thompson (1990), Facilities; Cathy Draves (1984), Facilities; and — not retiring — President David R. Anderson '74.

Teresa Jensen, new Director of Library and Information Technology Services

Teresa Jensen and Martha's treats

The Friends of the Northfield Public Library welcomed Teresa Jensen, our new Director of the library and IT, with a gathering at the library. Teresa shared her story of earning her MLS at the University of Minnesota and working in the Hennepin County Library System for a number of years. Could it have been our winters? -- she decided to stretch her professional legs in the warm sun that shines on the San Antonio TX Public Library. But her family in the Twin Cities and the position at our library beckoned. Now she is getting to know Northfield, whose riverwalk was inspired by San Antonio's Paseo del Rio riverwalk (thanks to former Northfield News editor Maggie Lee). You'll find Teresa in the Director's office or out and about in the library. Introduce yourself! Or you can welcome her via email at

St. Olaf writer in residence releases second novel to critical acclaim

Red Moon by Ben Percy

St. Olaf College Writer in Residence Benjamin Percy recently released his second novel, Red Moon, to widespread critical acclaim. 

Teen Risk Taking and the Developing Brain

Teen Risk-Taking and the Developing Brain


This article was written by Joan Janusz, a member of the Northfield Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Alcohol and Drug Use. 

Where is she? Why didn’t she plan ahead and call? Smoking?—he said he would never try cigarettes.  Surely our son wouldn’t ride with someone who has been drinking. 

Last month in our Guest Column, the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Alcohol and Drug Use talked about concerns of possible high risk behaviors connected with prom such as substance use, drinking and driving, unsafe sex.  For fun and safety, planning ahead was emphasized.

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