Everything else in Northfield

Koester Court fire

Koester CourtI missed all the excitement, but apparently there was quite a fire early yesterday morning at the Koester Court apartments, off Jefferson Parkway near the Senior Center. Trapped residents, heroic, ladder-climbing rescues and the whole deal. The KSTP News website ran a story on the fire, and the following is from Al Roder's hot-off-the-press weekly memo that we run every Monday in our City Hall Insider post:

At about 1:00 a.m. Thursday morning, we received a call that an apartment building at Koester Court Apartments was on fire and people were trapped inside. Within minutes, police, fire, rescue personnel and Northfield Ambulance personnel arrived and began evacuating the residents, many of whom were not ambulatory. The lines of responsibility blurred as police officers were climbing ladders to assist residents escape the dangerous smoke and flames and fire crews were assisting paramedics and with traffic control. Local community businesses like Polzin Glass, Benjamin Bus, Valley Autohaus, Northfield Hospital and the American Red Cross arrived to assist with securing the property, transporting victims to temporary housing provided by the Red Cross and moving vehicles from the parking lot to prevent damage by fire.

Edina bike leader visits Northfield

Anderson, Ostrem & RuskOn Tuesday, June 5, Steve Rusk, chair of the Bike Edina Task Force and Bike Edina, visited Northfield at the invitation of the Nonmotorized Transportation Task Force. Steve is a dynamic individual who is doing important work to improve conditions for cycling in Edina, a southwestern suburb of Minneapolis that is currently developing a comprehensive city bike plan. He has done a lot of work to educate himself about cycling safety and infrastructure, and he’s a fount of statistics and information.

He’s also an excellent road cyclist, as I discovered when Bruce Anderson and I led him on a tour of the city. I struggled to keep up with Bruce and Steve as we made our way around town. I discovered that my favorite pace for biking is my own!

RENew Northfield Transportation Committee update & meeting notice

RENew logoI thought I would take a moment to highlight the accomplishments over the past couple of years of the RENew Northfield Transportation Committee:

  • Non-motorized Transportation Task Force formed
  • Amcon selling B99 Bio-Diesel, partially as the result of the "proof of concept" Northfield Bio-Diesel Buyers Club
  • Ride-share system available to those who live or work in the seven county metro area (the goal is to expand it state wide next year)
  • Third annual BBOP day on Bridge Square with more that forty people stopping by
  • Bio-Diesel powered commuter vanpool from Northfield to downtown St. Paul whose members use only about a quart of petroleum based diesel each per round trip

I also want to thank all of the people who helped make all of this happen - not by name, though, lest I miss someone!

Northfield from the air

A St. Olaf classmate of mine recently took me aloft to shoot some aerial views of the St. Olaf campus. I also managed to snap a few images of Northfield. As you can see, the recent rains are helping Northfield look pretty lush. Special thanks to pilot Reid Haase for getting us up ... and back down.

Buckle Up, It's gonna get interesting

bad weather screenshot

If you haven't heard already, the weather report for today is ominous.

Update (8:00pm): Still a wind advisory + rain, but the threat of really, really severe weather has mostly disappeared.

Update (1:30pm) - Tornado watch for Rice County until 10:00pm.

From the NOAA site :


May Weather Wrap-Up


The flowers are blooming. The sun is shining. It must be May!

The rain we had seen at the end of April seemed to be a thing of the past, especially during the first week of May. With high temperatures in the mid to upper sixties and cool breezes blowing our way, May was shaping up to be a beautiful month. The first real rain shower was on the 8th, with a high of 76 and wind gusts around 30 mph. Total accumulation was about half an inch of precipitation. The following days – the 9th through the 14th – kept with the trend of relatively warm, sunny days with highs in the 70’s and even as high as 88 on the 13th.

Carleton College students launch ethanol information website

ethanol billboardethanol plantStudents at Carleton College have launched “Our Ethanol Debate,” a community resource website providing information about the proposed ethanol plant in Bridgewater Township, Minn., located a few miles south of Northfield.

The website is the brainchild of Carleton cinema and media studies professors John Schott and Michael Griffin, who saw great potential for their students to get involved with the local community by creating a real-life opportunity to put their knowledge into action. Hours of research and countless interviews later, Carleton has unveiled www.ourethanoldebate.com.

Northfield Construction Named EnergySmart Partner

Northfield EnergySmart BuildingWorks has named Northfield Construction Company (NCC) as its May EnergySmart Partner of the Month. EnergySmart BuildingWorks is an initiative of RENew Northfield, with funding from the Northfield Area Foundation and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. NCC was selected as the May EnergySmart Partner of the Month in recognition of the company’s long-standing commitment to building high-quality, energy-efficient homes and commercial buildings to customers’ specifications.

We need your help!

Northfield, here's your chance to have your say! No, we're not talking about American Idol. We're talking about your opinions about Northfield.org.

A graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is doing a major project on our civic journalism effort. She's done interviews and evaluated the site. Now she needs some feedback from those of you who submit stories and photos and comments.

All you need to do is take a survey. And while you won't win a free dinner or anything else, it's all completely anonymous and you won't be put on any spam lists.

So come on. Click through to the next page and take this online survey:

New math/science charter school proposed

May 22 2007 7:00 pm
May 22 2007 9:00 pm

The Cannon River STEM School, a proposed K-12 charter school with special emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), is presenting a community information meeting at 7 p.m., Tuesday May 22, at the Northfield Public Library meeting room. The school will be located at the Maltby Nature Preserve , a 90-acre site on the Cannon River. The Maltby Nature Preserve is just south of Randolph in Stanton Township between Northfield and Cannon Falls. During this meeting, information about the proposed school will be provided and input from the community will be solicited. Refreshments will be served. For additional information call 507-664-0770 or email info@thesciencecentermnp.org.

A dawn salute to Norway

Syttende Mai salute Several hardy souls gathered at Dean Kjerland’s 3rd Annual Syttende Mai Linie Aquavit Bloody Mary Salute to Dawn in the garden of the Kjerland Building, downtown on the river this morning. The first toast was made at 5:17 am. The event continued with the arrival of the Kavli bread, pickled (in white wine, of course) herring, and more bottles of aquavit. It was cold enough to see one's breath, but we enjoyed a lovely sunrise amongst the fragrant Spirea blossoms. The group dispersed with most moving on to the annual Frokost in the King's Room at St. Olaf. See you next year?

Dean Kjerland is a downtown business owner (and proud of his Norwegian heritage).

Carleton dancers take the stage Saturday

The Carleton College department of theater and dance will present a Spring Dance Concert at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19 in the Arena Theater. The performances, which will feature the Semaphore Repertory Dance Company along with students who participated in fall and winter dance courses at the College, are free and open to the public.

The concert will feature works by guest choreographers Morgan Thorson and Kay Cummings, both professional choreographers working in the Twin Cities, and Carleton alumnus Laura Grant ’06. Other works will be presented by faculty choreographers Mary Easter, Rae Schupack Nathan Professor of Dance and the Performing Arts, and Jane Shockley, lecturer in dance.

Central Park Spring Planting Day is Saturday

Submitted by Barbara Burke

The 15th Annual Central Park Spring Planting Day happens Saturday, May 19th, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Since 1992 the beautiful gardens of Central Park have been planted and lovingly maintained by neighborhood residents. Please join your friends and neighbors and spend an hour or two getting the beds ready, planting flowers and mulching.

No gardening experience is necessary! Bring along a trowel, rake, shovel, wheel barrow, or whatever you have. We will have a few extra tools on hand. It's a great way to get to know your neighbors and to do your part in keeping our Park the Gem of the East Side.

If you have any questions, contact: Barbara Burke 663-7759, Laurie Brackee 663-7714, Leona Openshaw 664-9204.

YMCA to host final summer camp open house Saturday

The Northfield Area Family YMCA will hold the final Open House opportunity for parents to meet with directors from YMCA Camp Streefland from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m on Saturday May 12, 2007 at the Northfield Public Library.

“Campers, potential campers and their families will have the chance to meet directors and staff from the camp, and ask questions that may help them make a decision to attend”, said Skip Zimmerman, CEO of the YMCA. “This is a really exciting camp program and shouldn’t be missed”, added Zimmerman.

The Rotblatt Mystery

We got a letter from someone in Ohio the other day via our contact form, and this is what it asked:

I was curious as to when the Rotblatt Softball game takes place each year in your town. Thank you for any info you can provide…

Say what? Rotblatt? I've lived here going on seven years now and I've never heard of it. A little Googling revealed...

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