Blogosphere

DRAFT Riverfront Enhancement Action Plan Virtual Presentation

City of Northfield Calendar - Fri, 10/09/2020 - 12:05pm
Event date: October 14, 2020
Event Time: 06:30 PM - 11:59 PM
Location:
Northfield, MN 55057

Nfld City Clerk asks for patience as voting has been “unprecedented”; 2018 street project 14% over budget; Rowan awarded for Leadership

KYMN Radio - Fri, 10/09/2020 - 12:02pm
By Teri Knight, News Director We’re in the middle of Election season, an unusual year to be sure. Northfield City Clerk Deb Little has been at the helm. She talked with Jeff Johnson yesterday morning saying absentee/early voting has been unprecedented, adding, “I just ask people be patient, be kind to your election staff. They

DRAFT Riverfront Enhancement Action Plan Virtual Presentation

City of Northfield Calendar - Fri, 10/09/2020 - 11:58am
Event date: October 14, 2020
Event Time: 06:30 PM - 11:59 PM
Location:
Northfield, MN 55057

County interested in buying land near jail for possible expansion

Northfield News - Fri, 10/09/2020 - 11:30am
Another piece of downtown Faribault may soon come under the county’s control, setting the stage for a possible expansion of its main jail.
Categories: Local News

Claudia Gonzalez-George, Northfield School Board Candidate

KYMN Radio - Fri, 10/09/2020 - 10:13am
Claudia Gonzales-George discusses her background candidacy for the Northfield School Board.

Anika Rychner on need for Volunteers at Northfield CAC

KYMN Radio - Fri, 10/09/2020 - 10:08am
Anika Rychner of the Northfield Community Action Center discusses the impact of the pandemic on needs in the community and the increased need for volunteers to help distribute food. For more information and sign up to volunteer, visit communityactioncenter.org.

DRAFT Riverfront Enhancement Action Plan Virtual Presentation

City of Northfield Calendar - Fri, 10/09/2020 - 9:40am
Event date: October 14, 2020
Event Time: 06:30 PM - 11:59 PM
Location:
Northfield, MN 55057
Description:
ZOOM
Meeting ID: 890 7505 3456
Passcode: 367248
The virtual forum will support up to 100 attendees. Please log on 5 minutes early to ensure connection. Joining via the ZOOM app will allow for viewing the presentation materials, participating in a poll, and submitting questions. The call option will support listening only.
Please ensure audio is muted and cameras are off when entering the event.

Northfield City Council: Where do the candidates stand?

Northfield News - Fri, 10/09/2020 - 7:47am
What is the most pressing issue in Northfield and why? What would you do to address that?
Categories: Local News

The Weekly List – The Eddie Van Halen Show

KYMN Radio - Thu, 10/08/2020 - 6:00pm
This week, Rich is joined by his part-time co-host Dan Moir to discuss the music and passing of guitar legend Eddie Van Halen.

City Council Work Session Meeting

City of Northfield Calendar - Thu, 10/08/2020 - 4:52pm
Event date: October 13, 2020
Event Time: 06:00 PM - 09:00 PM
Location:
801 Washington Street
Northfield, MN 55057

Birds are our friends – plant some food for them!

Many of us delight in watching birds flit around the yard; their high energy and cheerful song make the garden feel so alive! Summer is a feast for birds and the gardeners who enjoy watching them, but when the abundant food and warmth have passed, birds that stay for winter rely on whatever is left hanging around in the garden. Now is the time to assess our fall and winter landscapes and ensure that there is plenty of food and suitable habitat for our winged friends.

Great plants for the beloved birds:

Viburnum – Versatile, beautiful viburnums are an excellent wildlife and landscape plant alike. Arrowwood viburnum boasts spring flowers beloved by pollinators, glossy green foliage, and charming blue fruit that birds love. Planting two of these beauties ensures best fruit set.

Aronia – Aronia, or chokeberry, is a heavy hitter in the landscape with early flowers, clean green foliage that develops nice fall color, and a wide range of habits. Many aronia berries ripen late in the summer and can help birds store energy for the winter.

Winterberry – These plants set abundant bright red fruit late in the season that persists well into winter. When the elements have had their way and the fruit begins to soften, hungry birds feast upon it. Plant some near a window so you can enjoy watching the birds snack!

Grasses and perennials – Seeds are a great winter source of fats and oils for birds, and it’s easy to provide them in your landscape. Don’t cut back your flowers, but let the seed heads stand for both winter interest and winter food. Grasses like bluestem, switch grass, and indian grass are excellent choices as well, and provide forage for birds and vertical interest for us all winter long.

Evergreens – A bird buffet is even more effective if there is suitable habitat nearby. Who doesn’t enjoy nestling in after a nice meal? Evergreens with dense growth like spruce, yews, and junipers provide critical protection during frigid temperatures and many are also a good food source.

The post Birds are our friends – plant some food for them! appeared first on Knecht's Nurseries & Landscaping.

Categories: Businesses

Taylor Center hosts conversation with members of George Floyd’s family

St. Olaf College - Thu, 10/08/2020 - 2:56pm
The St. Olaf College Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion hosted a powerful conversation with members of George Floyd's family about his legacy and the movement for racial justice.
Categories: Colleges

Council hires longtime government official to fill the role of retiring clerk

Northfield News - Thu, 10/08/2020 - 2:51pm
The Northfield City Council on Oct. 6 unanimously opted to hire a city clerk with more than 20 years of experience to replace Deb Little after she retires next month with nearly 35 years of experience.
Categories: Local News

NH+C denies allegations, call for dismissal of whistleblower lawsuit

Northfield News - Thu, 10/08/2020 - 1:15pm
Northfield Hospital & Clinics officials are denying allegations that the hospital system violated the state Whistleblower Act by firing a former employee who claimed two of its physicians used improper surgical techniques and delayed follow-up visits, and are asking that…
Categories: Local News

Sale of hospital property for new Faribault clinic gets council's OK

Northfield News - Thu, 10/08/2020 - 12:32pm
The Northfield City Council greenlit the sale of a Faribault property owned by Northfield Hospital and Clinics, a site expected to be filled by a developer.
Categories: Local News

Council uses CARES $ to provide for safer work environment, local businesses and nonprofits; Free covid testing through 6pm today; Night to Unite united community for the CAC

KYMN Radio - Thu, 10/08/2020 - 12:02pm
By Teri Knight, News Director The City of Northfield received just over $1.5 million through the CARES Act, federal dollars to help stabilize communities during the pandemic. The City gave out $500,00 to local businesses and nonprofits impacted. Staff is going over the applications, getting the documentation needed to verify they qualify. Administrator Martig said

Midterm grades cause varying opinions amongst students

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 10/08/2020 - 12:00pm

The Emergency Academic Committee (EAC) implemented a new midterm grading system in response to COVID-19. Starting this semester, students will receive a midterm grade in each class which will give them an indication of their progress.

College Registrar Ericka Peterson explained midterm grades and how they will work this year.

“The Emergency Academic Committee (EAC) implemented mid-semester grading for fall 2020. Mid-semester grades will not be factored into the GPA, nor will they be reflected on the academic transcript,” Peterson said. “The mid-semester grade is a measure of academic progress at the mid point of the semester.”

Students have a range of opinions about midterm grades. Gape Lepak ’23 said that it feels like high school all over again.

“I didn’t think much of it then, and I certainly don’t think much of it now. There are more important things to worry about anyway,” Lepak said.

Some students, like David Howard ’21, expressed more feelings of stress about the process.

“With the adjusted schedule for this semester, I was surprised by how quickly midterms came up. I think it’s hard to judge where everything stands with grading,” Howard said.

Grace Lanasa ’21 is another student who feels overwhelmed. “Without fall break it feels like we’re running a marathon that I am not trained for,” Lanasa said. “I’ve personally noticed that my classes have been more demanding. I get why midterm grades were introduced but my professors aren’t easing up on work load, and I don’t know how I am expected to cope.”

However, there are also students who feel more prepared to face the new midterm grading system. Katelyn Lannom ’22 is one example.

“I honestly am a fan of midterm grades this semester,” Lannom said. “In the past, some of my professors wouldn’t have anything in the grades on Moodle until the very end of the semester, so it was hard to gauge how I was doing in the course. It feels like a nice halfway checkpoint so I have more concrete feedback.”

According to Peterson, for midterm grading to continue, a proposal would need to be presented to the Curriculum Committee for review and endorsement. There is currently no plan to continue midterm grading after this semester.

lindah2@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Eugene Sandel ’22 crowned new Champion of the Hill

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 10/08/2020 - 12:00pm

The most arbitrary and fun of St. Olaf’s homecoming traditions is Champion of the Hill, an event that is part talent show, part fashion show and part pure chaotic energy.

Seven contestants competed in four rounds on the steps of Boe Chapel The show started with a no-elimination newlywed game where they brought friends to guess their favorite pizza toppings, professors and pooping spots. 

Next, they moved on to the talent portion, the most popular part of the competition. This year was no different. Each contestant demonstrated their wide arrays of talents. Well, they demonstrated a wide array of ways to do the same talent. It is very apropos to St. Olaf that every single contestant sang for their performance. From a Carl Wheezer voiced parody of “Stacy’s Mom” to an ironic song about the greatness of the singer (“I am the goat, I am the greatest, I drive a toyota prius”, he sang), each contestant brought something fun and exciting to the show. 

Sawyer Johnson ’23 and Eugene Sandel ’22, the final two contestants, took opposite approaches to their talents. Sawyer sang a personal and earnest original song of “indie singer-songwriter” quality, and Eugene gave a parody of indie songs that ended with a satirical attack at St. Olaf’s “quirky” culture (institutionalized racism and all). 

The final three contestants — the two mentioned above and Moses Young ’22 — each gave similar responses to the final question portion of the competition, stating that they want to call the St. Olaf community to love and respect one another. 

Ultimately, Sandel was declared the victor. He expressed his gratitude and gave advice to aspiring champions, dispensing his champion wisdom to the whole of the campus.

 “Just be yourself, the whole purpose is for your personality to come through”, Sandel said. “Love each other and create space for your marginalized friends, brothers and sisters. Let St. Olaf be a place where people feel loved, accepted and welcomed.”

Categories: Colleges

Org in focus: Karibu

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 10/08/2020 - 12:00pm

Karibu, the African and Caribbean student association at St. Olaf, has entered the 2020-2021 academic year with a fresh set of events and opportunities for participation, spearheaded by an engaging graphic redesign and dedicated executive team.

Tyreis Hunte ’23 and Mbuyisile Tlhwaele ’23, co-chairs of Karibu, alongside Trish Mutsigwa ’23, Lillian Ingabire ’22 and Kgomotso Magagula ’21, treasurer, brand manager and social media proxy, respectively, comprise Karibu’s executive team. The team has a renewed concentration on strengthening Karbiu from within.

 “We aim to build our internal community more during the time of social distancing as well as engage with other orgs and the St. Olaf community at large,” Hunte said.

Karibu is a relatively young organization on campus, with first mention in The Messenger only dating back to an article from 2004, in which they were referred to only as an “African club.” The group’s internal focus this year makes sense, then, to strengthen and define the organization so that it may better engage the campus community at large.

This internal focus, coupled with social distancing and quarantine, inspired Karibu’s first event this year, the “Dating 6FT & Worlds Apart” panel discussion. The panel was held Sept. 2, the day after St. Olaf’s two-week quarantine period officially ended. 

Longing to find connection in the new and distanced St. Olaf social sphere prompted the event, but the more light-hearted topic also offered members of Karibu the chance to share their personal reflections without the need to educate. In this way the panel was less a lecture and more a conversation between guests in virtual attendance and the five panelists, Magagula, A.D. Banse ’23, Sandra Chimutsipa ’23, Onyinye Emeli ’21, and Sadrin Mukamba ’24.

“As much as it’s important to educate, it’s also good to engage with less heavy topics,” Hunte said. “At the end of the day, we’re still growing adults, and we like to talk and engage with a variety of topics.”

In addition to engaging with a wide variety of topics — further evidenced by Karibu’s second “Hair & Colorism” event — the organization has looked to revamp their digital design with an emphasis on uniformity. Primarily, as Hunte explained, the focus has been on colors. By using a similar color scheme for various publicity platforms, such as Instagram posts, fliers and posters, Karibu has established one consistent aesthetic, something Hunte noted was missing in previous years.

Ingabire and Magagula, Karibu’s brand manager and social media proxy, respectively, have worked to revamp and unify the organization’s digital presence, which is essential during quarantine and continued social distancing.

“We’ve taken the majority of our programming virtually, so social media has been one of our main channels besides our alias to attract members and promote events, whether they are on the alias or off the alias,” Hunte said.

This improved social media and aesthetic presence, coupled with hosting interesting virtual events such as the “Sip & Tea” discussion, has driven more students to engage with Karibu. Because of this increased engagement, Hunte sees the organization’s programming so far this year as successful, not only in building the internal community of Karibu but also in reaching the external campus community at large.

Another aspect of hearing more voices from around campus, of both students from Africa and the Caribbean and students who are not, is an increased awareness of issues within the African and Caribbean regions.

“We’ve been having an increase of non-regional guests and members into our meetings,” Hunte said. “Regional members have been able to engage the topics because they themselves might not be aware of contexts within other countries within the regions.”

“This has given us an opportunity to see how other people see the regions, and gives us the opportunity to engage the topic with people who are not from the regions,” Hunte continued. 

The “Hair & Colorism” event — part of a series on “Decolonizing Our Bodies” and held Sept. 23 — was an example of this, as it served more of an educational and informative purpose as opposed to the “Dating 6FT & Worlds Apart” and “Sip & Tea” events, which focused on self-care and personal relationships.  

With this event, Karibu engaged in a “conversation around hair and colorism to better understand the historical frameworks of colonizations and their implications in the present,” according to the Instagram description for the post detailing the event. The conversation offered students the opportunity to share and learn from their personal experiences with an added historical context.

The variety of programming so far this year showcases the multitude purpose of Karibu at St. Olaf — to celebrate, to educate, to engage and to promote engagement with the African and Caribbean region at large. 

The celebration of African and Caribbean culture starts internally, within Karibu, and then extends to engage the whole College community, as Hunte noted — “Our regions have contributed a lot to the world, so that by engaging with us you’re engaging with the world at large.” 

Categories: Colleges

Board of Regents tethered to Lutheran heritage

Manitou Messenger - Thu, 10/08/2020 - 12:00pm

From the mandatory first-year Bible class to daily chapel time, the influence of the Lutheran church has a tangible impact on every student’s time at St. Olaf College. What is less apparent is the power that the church holds within the Board of Regents, St. Olaf’s governing body.

St. Olaf has been a Lutheran-affiliated institution since the College’s founding, and today the College’s bylaws require at least 40% of Regents — and the College President — to be members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

Additionally, the bylaws state that a majority of Regents must be “members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or another denomination with which the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or its successors has established full communication.”  The denominations with which the ELCA has established full communication include the Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church USA, the United Church of Christ, the Moravian Church, the Methodist Church and the Reformed Church of America.

In practice, St. Olaf’s bylaws give Lutheran affiliated Regents the power to control almost all votes made by the Board, as the Board of Regents passes most decisions with a majority of affirmative votes.

St. Olaf’s Board of Regents website does not include information about which Regents fulfill the religious affiliation requirements. 

Even with room for non-Christian Regents, the influence of the ELCA permeates not only the structure of the Board, but also makes Christianity a central part of the Board’s culture.

“There are times on the agenda when we pray together,” said Rev. Bill Gafkjen ’79, a current Regent. “[President David Anderson] will often say ‘As a college with the word ‘saint’ in its name, we pray together.’”

The bylaws of the College require one Regent to be “a bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or a person who is widely recognized as a thought or practice leader in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.” That position is currently filled by Gafkjen who is the Bishop for the Indiana-Kentucky Synod.

Gafkjen views his primary role on the Board as functioning just like any other Regent, but also “to provide a connection with the ELCA and to help when necessary to help the Regents understand a little bit of what it means to be a Lutheran college.”

The role of a Lutheran institution is “engaging the big questions of life in a way that one might not engage those questions at a community college or not church related school,” Gafkjen said. “And to do that in the context of also welcoming religious diversity, welcoming cultural diversity, racial diversity and actually lifting that up.”

Gafkjen also referenced the 2018 document “ROOTED AND OPEN: The Common Calling of the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities,” which “all of the ELCA colleges and universities have essentially adopted,” he said.

“The Lutheran theological roots that these schools have inherited deepen their educational purpose, inform their educational commitments and anchor their educational priorities,” the document states. “Their foundational commitments promise to make them flexible, open to change, ready to partner, institutionally curious and intellectually alive.”

And change they have.

“There was a day when colleges and universities were required to have 100% Lutheran members of their boards and faculty and everything else,” Gafkjen said. “In modern life, there’s been a move to honor more [religious] diversity. So, the fact that it’s actually less than a majority that have to be Lutheran I think is a strong step forward to open the door for other perspectives.”

The bylaws and constitution of the College are ultimately controlled by the ELCA National Church Council, which votes to approve any changes.

“What [the Church Council] tends to look for is whether or not something will change the relationship of the college with the ELCA,” Gafkjen said.

Additionally, the presiding bishop of the ELCA must vote on the College’s president.

However, aspects of St. Olaf such as curriculum and student life are under the control of the Board of Regents rather than the ELCA Church Council. Most recently, St. Olaf’s Lutheran affiliation was addressed by the Board of Regents in discussions of reforming the general education (GE) curriculum in 2019.

“[St. Olaf’s Lutheran affiliation] came up when we were working through the curriculum changes,” Gafkjen said, “and what was appropriate in terms of the identity of the College and the religion requirements in the curriculum.”

The Board of Regents ultimately approved the GE reform.

However, for students at St. Olaf who believe that the College’s emphasis on the Lutheran tradition creates an exclusionary environment, the changes made towards openness and diversity have fallen short.

In a 2018 Messenger article titled “Emphasis on Lutheran Heritage Exclusionary,” Maggie Meyer ’20 wrote that St. Olaf’s focus on the Lutheran tradition implies that “an individual can practice whatever they want, but whether they like it or not, the Lutheran tradition is still nourishing them and guiding them because it is the tradition that matters.”

Regardless if students agree with the College’s enforcement of the Lutheran tradition, they feel that they are unable to operate apart from the ELCA’s influence.

Student organizations pursuing changes that are under the Regents’ oversight are working to navigate and utilize St. Olaf’s Lutheran affiliation in order to appeal to the Board. For leaders of the Climate Justice Collective (CJC), the power of the ELCA within the Board of Regents is informing their plans to continue their push for the College to divest from fossil fuels.

“In order to pass divestment we have to appeal to the senses of the Board and the administration,” said CJC leader Abby Becker ’21, “and that requires using examples of other institutions who have also divested. And if they won’t respect our other contemporaries like Macalester or Middlebury, then they might respect other [Lutheran] groups or churches who have divested.”

While Becker pointed to the various “moral and financial motivations” for divestment, she said that the Board has not been receptive to those appeals.

“The fact that we have to go this roundabout way to get to them only reflects the way that the Board of Regents does not represent its students even though it makes all the decisions for us.” said Imani Mosher ’21, another CJC leader. “They don’t see us, they don’t hear from us.”

The Board of Regents fall meeting is being held on Thursday, Oct. 8.

mulher2@stolaf.edu

Disclaimer: Anna Mulhern, writer of this article, is a member of CJC.

Categories: Colleges
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