A Park For All Seasons

Friends of Way Park - Fri, 08/07/2020 - 8:44pm
Way Park is the heart of a vibrant neighborhood on the west side of Northfield. It features:  the ROMP musical playground  playground equipment and swings pre-school equipment  a half basketball court  picnic and grilling areas  a walking path  a warming hut and ice rink (seasonal)  a small baseball/kickball diamond (seasonal)  a large open field perfect for pick up soccer games, kite flying, Michelle
Categories: Organizations

Northfield Rotary Cogwheel – Thursday, November 7, 2019

Northfield Rotary Club - Thu, 11/07/2019 - 10:36am

Today: Kim Fuhrmann, Classification (Maus)

Next Week: Trisha Duncan, Classification (Pursell)

Birthdays: Rotarians Around the World

Last Week:

District Governor Paul Perez – dressed as a Polio Plus superhero for Halloween – shared stories of the impact Rotary has had on him and his family. Paul’s wife Susan is an active Rotarian; their son Anthony was a Youth Exchange student in Germany, the same year their family hosted their first Rotary student. “I’ve grown so much in Rotary, and my family and I have had so many opportunities,” Paul says. “Every time I’ve said ‘Yes’ to Rotary, good things have happened.” 

Paul walked us through Rotary’s new vision statement – the first-ever statement drafted by Rotary International Board of Trustees and the Rotary Foundation together: “Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.” 

He talked about Rotary’s four focuses for this year:

Grow Rotary – more members, and also more giving to Rotary Foundation plus more and bigger service projects. 

Involve families – “Rotary should complement, not compete with, our families. We should be intentional about including our families” in socials and service projects.

Built pathways to District leadership – “We want to make the process easier. Members shouldn’t have to be retired [to have the time] to be District Governor.”

Strengthen Rotary’s partnership with the United Nations – In fact, 2020 is the 75th anniversary of the charter between Rotary and the U.N. Watch for activities to honor and strengthen that partnership.

Paul spoke to the core values of Rotary – fellowship, integrity, diversity, leadership and service. (His first test of service during his induction? Being served a raw egg. He ate it. “I guess that proved I have the stomach for Rotary,” Paul laughs.)

Paul not only plays a Polio Plus superhero on Halloween, he is one in real life: Paul and Susan traveled to India with Rotary to give polio vaccinations there. “You’d give a baby those two lifesaving drops, and you could just see the relief come over that mother’s face, that her child was safe from contracting the virus,” Paul recalls. 

“It’s really our own stories that show others the passion of Rotary.”


Jean Wakely stitched together a lovely little mini-classification about traveling with her daughter to speak at the American Quilt Study Group’s Seminar in Lincoln, Nebraska. Jean spoke to the group about her mother’s story quilts. 

Best Costume:

The Best Halloween Costume contest began with an auspicious 13 contenders . . . ultimately bested by Alyssa Herzog Melby as Rosie the Riveter.


Guest: Tim McCone (Quinnell)

Scholarship Enhancement: Ara Ruiz Gonzalez


• Jesse Steed invited volunteers to help with outbound student interviews on Dec. 2 (5:30-8:00 pm). Contact Jesse or Rachel Estrella if interested.

• Rick Estenson offered Turkey Trot yard signs – promote this great event in your own front yard! P.S. register for the run online at

• Jim Pokorney is rounding up Turkey Trot volunteers. Watch for his email with a SignUpGenius link.

• Robert Bierman knows there’s more to a healthy diet than just turkey: Turkey Trot is collecting donations for the food shelf this year. Participants and volunteers are asked to bring a food item (or more!) on Trot Day to donate to the food shelf.


Categories: Organizations

Anna Kelly is Making a Difference for Community School Youth

Northfield Healthy Community Initiative - Tue, 11/05/2019 - 8:26am

The Northfield Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) recognized Anna Kelly with the November 2019 “Making a Difference Award.”

The Making a Difference recognition is given monthly to a community member or organization who helps make Northfield an even better place for young people. Anna was singled out for her exceptional work at the Greenvale Park Elementary School and the Greenvale Park Community School.

Anna is a club leader in the afterschool PLUS Program at Greenvale Park. In addition, she also offers three other STEM and art clubs open to all students. 3D Doodler is a club where students learn about and use 3D technology. Doodle Club is an art club and the STEM Club she offers gives students a new STEM activity each week. The clubs are so popular that Middle School students come back for evening clubs.

Laura Berdahl, Greenvale Park Community School Co-Coordinator, noted that Anna started at Greenvale Park as a Math Corps tutor. Her work with students struggling in math sparked her interest in becoming a teacher. Anna pursued her education degree while working at Greenvale as the Media Specialist and as an after school club leader. She completed her degree in May and is now a licensed teacher.

Berdahl was complimentary of Anna’s work, noting Anna’s “high and clear expectations of her students, which they respond to because her clubs are so much fun.” 

“We surveyed her Doodler club attendees last year, asking about something new they learned,” said Berdahl. “Students comments included ‘I need to challenge myself,’ and ‘Nothing is impossible.’ These are certainly great life lessons to learn!”

Anna student taught with Greenvale Park teacher, Jackie Harding. Jackie also sang Anna’s praises, especially about the way she relates to youth, highlighting her respect for and understanding of her students. Jackie summed it up saying, “I have never met or worked with anyone who goes so far above and beyond to help each student be their best self in their work and life and be so humble about it.”

The Northfield 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, visit 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 you and adult board members.

Categories: Organizations

Meet Keshia

Laura Baker Services Association - Tue, 10/29/2019 - 3:34pm

With her bright colored clothes and her outgoing personality, you would never know the challenges Keshia has had to face in her life. In fact, you could say she is an expert at overcoming obstacles.

“Since the beginning, she’s exceeded what everyone thought she could be,” explains Keshia’s mother. Keshia was born very thin and fragile and had difficulty moving as a baby. Doctors even told Keshia’s parents that she would most likely never walk. Keshia’s parents didn’t accept that fate for their daughter and have worked tirelessly to find support resources.

In elementary school, Keshia was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome – a genetic disorder where one of the symptoms is a constant feeling of hunger. Having a better understanding of their daughter’s condition, Keshia’s parents supported her as she lived at home until she graduated from her high school’s special needs program. “They say the first decade is easier to manage, but the second decade becomes more challenging,” says Keshia’s mother. “After Keshia’s graduation, we felt we had done what we could on our own.” That’s when Keshia moved into Laura Baker Services Association.

Her mother says, “One of the reasons we were attracted to LBSA was because they had successfully supported Prader-Willi clients.” The transition to LBSA went well for the first few months until some of the novelty of a new living situation wore off. With the support of LBSA staff, and continued advocacy and support of her parents, Keshia continued to work through daily ups and downs.

A few years after moving into LBSA, Keshia faced another significant challenge – she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression. As a result, she was prescribed new medication, which involved several different medication trials. It was during this time that Keshia’s health began to suffer. Keshia’s mother was very concerned about her daughter’s increasing weight and overall health. At the suggestion of Keshia’s doctor, she read the book “Eat to Live.” Afterwards, Keshia’s mother requested a meeting with LBSA support staff to develop a plan to better manage Keshia’s eating and impact her health positively.

Implementing a new diet sounds easier than it was. The plan required two layers of collaboration, specifically dietary staff preparing the meals and Keshia’s direct support staff working with Keshia on the transition to the new menu. According to Keshia’s household director Sierra Law, the transition to the new eating regime was rough at first. “Keshia doesn’t like changes, so we would try and make it fun for her,” explains Sierra. “The way you word things is important, and she likes surprises, so we would say, ‘This is your special diet.’”

Staff began involving Keshia in the menu planning process, helping Keshia to feel energized and engaged. The full transition to the new diet took about 12 weeks, and the results have been transformative. Keshia has lost over 50 pounds, which is considerable given she is under five feet tall. Even more remarkable are the additional changes her mother has seen. “We’ve been able to decrease the dosage of her psychotropic medications. She no longer takes afternoon naps. She has a lot more energy to go out and do things, and her ability to converse with you is so much improved.”

Today, Keshia goes to her day program in Owatonna five days a week and loves it! She loves cats. She loves being outside in the summer and going for walks. She enjoys movies and spending time with staff and peers in Elwell. “When she gives you a food name, that’s when you know she’s accepted you as a staff member,” says Sierra Chicken Noodle Soup, who has worked with Keshia for the last 11 years. “Keshia is very happy and makes Elwell so much fun!”

All from the little girl that would likely never walk.


The post Meet Keshia appeared first on Laura Baker Services Association.

Categories: Organizations

Turkey Trot

Northfield Rotary Club - Thu, 10/24/2019 - 7:44pm
Categories: Organizations

Dot Lauer is Making a Difference for Young Readers

Northfield Healthy Community Initiative - Wed, 10/16/2019 - 7:02am

The Northfield Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) recognized Dot Lauer with the October 2019 “Making a Difference Award.”

The Making a Difference recognition is given monthly to a community member or organization who helps make Northfield an even better place for young people.

According to friends and colleagues, Dot moved to Northfield a number of years ago for family reasons. She had been a math teacher in Milwaukee.  Retired-teacher-turned-volunteer, Lauer transformed a volunteer stint into a 13-year commitment with St. Dominic School. Helping young students become proficient in reading is an important factor in academic success.

Colleague and St. Dominic first grade teacher, Jane Jeffries described Lauer as a master teacher. Jeffries commented, “Dot is competent in assessing a child’s needs and delivering the most appropriate instruction. It is apparent she is passionate about her work, and thoroughly enjoys her time with children.”

Jane Sletten teaches at St. Dominic in second grade. She, too, has great appreciation for Lauer’s volunteer efforts. Sletten reported, “Dot comes once a week and reads with 3 or 4 kids each time. My students beg to go with her even if they are excellent readers. Dot helps us a great deal and never expects anything in return. We love having her. She makes our students feel so special and guides them to become better readers.”

The Northfield 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, visit this webpage 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.

Categories: Organizations

Wed, 12/31/1969 - 6:00pm
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