Local Issues

Northfield Healthy Community Initiative invites board nominations

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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 info@northfieldhci.org.  Nominations should be received by August 1, 2013.

To learn more about HCI, visit www.northfieldhci.org.


WINGS Awards More Than $81,000 to Area Agencies

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WINGS (Women in Northfield Giving Support), the 13-year-old organization of women philanthropists in Northfield, honored its 2013 grant recipients at a celebration Thursday at Buntrock Commons.

About 50 people attended the event to hear about the work of the 23 organizations that received $81,389 in grants from WINGS.

This year WINGS focused its giving in four areas: Basic needs, especially programs that provide housing, food and economic stability and safe environments for victims of domestic violence; Education, including early learning, out-of-school programs and adult education; physical and mental health, especially programs that promote access to healthcare and healthy behaviors; and entrepreneurship, including access to micro-loans, networking, technical assistance and mentoring.


Volunteers Needed for Two Events this Weekend in the Cowling Arboretum

Volunteers are needed for two events happening this Saturday, May 18 in the Cowling Arboretum. From 6 to 9 a.m., the College will host its Annual Spring Bird Count and from 9 a.m. until noon, participants are invited to help with an Arboretum Spring Clean Up.


HCI funds 15 “Investing in Youth” grants to benefit area youth

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At their April 2013 board meeting, the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) Board approved grants to support four projects and activities designed to benefit Northfield youth and 11 Service Learning projects designed by Arcadia middle school students.  The projects are all funded through HCI’s Investing in Youth grant program.

 

Funded projects included:


“Strengthening Families” facilitator training – registration deadline May 15

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Rice County is very fortunate to be able to host a facilitator training for the “Strengthening Families: For Parents and Youth Ages 10-14” program.  The training will be June 11-13, 2013, at St. Olaf College.  It will be led by Dr. Virginia Molgaard, the program’s developer.

Strengthening Families is an evidence-based program recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  In independent research, it has been shown to dramatically decrease substance use and abuse, reduce aggression, and strengthen academic success in teens.

Click HERE for the registration form.  CEUs are available.

The registration deadline is May 15, 2013.

The training is sponsored by the St. Olaf Social Work & Family Studies Department and the Rice County Chemical Health Coalition.


The Northfield Skateboard Coalition is Making a Difference

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The Northfield Skateboard Coalition has received the Healthy Community Initiative’s “Making a Difference” Award for March/April 2013. The award celebrates those groups and individuals in the community who have a positive influence on Northfield youth.

Rob Hardy, an adult adviser to the group, and filmmaker Cecilia Cornejo nominated the coalition members for the award, citing the dedication and resolve the youth demonstrated throughout the lengthy civic process of working to bring a permanent skate park to Northfield.

“There have been times when the adults have gotten frustrated, angry, or rude, and the kids have never done that. They’ve been models of good behavior and civility,” Hardy said.


Local Issue: Transit Hub

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On December 4, 2012, the Northfield City Council approved a recommendation to locate a proposed local transit hub on the Q-Block, on the southwest corner of Second Street and Highway 3. This is an important step forward in a project that began in 2001, with the completion of a Rice County local and regional transit study that identified a need for a transit hub in Northfield. The proposed transit hub is envisioned as the central element of a redevelopment of the Q-Block which would also include the relocated and renovated Northfield depot.  For those interested in learning more about this issue, here is a timeline and a compilation of documents and links related to the transit hub project.


Local Issue: iPads in the Schools

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Update: On February 10, 2013, the Northfield school board voted 6-1 to approve the Transformational Technology Proposal. News coverage of the school board meeting is archived below.

On January 28, 2013, the Northfield school board received a proposal to provide students in the school district with tablet computers (iPads) beginning in the 2013-2014 school year. Teachers were issued iPads over the summer, and have been receiving training in the use of the devices since August. Task forces have also been meeting to discuss the use of the new technology, policy development, criteria for the selection of apps, and other issues related to the implementation of the iPad proposal. The iPads will be leased for three years (2013-2015) at a cost of roughly $336,000 per year. The district plans to budget another $173,000 a year for apps, digital textbooks, and other support. Students will be charged a $25 insurance fee ($20 for reduced price lunch students, $15 for free lunch students; $100 family maximum). Students in grades 6-12 will each receive an iPad2 to take home; students in elementary grades will have iPad Minis in their classrooms.


Local Issue: Skatepark

Discussions about a permanent skateboard park in Northfield began six years ago, in June 2006, when a group of local youth organized the Northfield Skateboard Coalition. The Coalition, spearheaded by Joe McGowan, pitched their idea to the Northfield Parks and Recreation Board, and began fundraising for a skatepark. Between October 2006 and April 2007, $10,000 was raised through a matching grant from the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative.  In 2011, the Northfield Union of Youth acquired equipment for a skateboard park, which is currently being stored by the city.


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