Local Issues

Northfield Area Family YMCA Groundbreaking News!

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October 16, 2013 – Today, the Northfield Area Family YMCA has announced it will host its official groundbreaking celebration for its new facility, located at 1500 Honey Locust Drive, on Tuesday, November 5. Groundbreaking activities for all ages are set to take place from 4 to 6 p.m., with a formal program slated to begin at 4 p.m. More information about the groundbreaking event can be found on the Y’s website – www.northfieldymca.org/capital-campaign.

Northfield Area Family YMCA Executive Director Virginia Kaczmarek said, “This is a big day for our Y. It will be a great resource for the entire community, open to everyone. Breaking ground on a new facility is a tremendous milestone for the organization, which has been steadily building up to this moment for the past eight years. We owe a great amount of thanks to everyone – donors, members, volunteers, staff members and more – for making this day a reality.”

Growing Up Healthy awarded grant through Blue Cross Foundation

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Growing Up Healthy has received a $50,000 grant, with a chance for renewal for a second year, from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation to help improve health in Rice County. The funds will be used for social capital development work in low-income neighborhoods in Rice County. The work will empower groups of leaders from historically marginalized communities to better advocate for their peers and foster important connections both within and beyond their neighborhoods.

Skateboard Park Design Charette


Now that the Park and Recreation Advisory Board has decided on a location in Old Memorial Field, they will soon decide on a design in preparation for the construction of a permanent skateboard park. There are several design drafts under consideration, as well as landscaping in the vicinity of the skateboard park. The charette is an opportunity for interested citizens to see the designs and to offer their suggestions. The design charette will take place Wednesday evening, September 25, from 7:00 to 8:30, at the City Council Chambers in City Hall (801 Washington Street).

For more information, contact PRAB Chair Nathan Knutson: nathan-knutson@vjaa.com



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

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At their July and August 2013 board meetings, the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) Board approved grants to support five projects and activities designed to benefit Northfield youth.  The projects are all funded through HCI’s Investing in Youth grants program.

Book by Eighth Graders Chronicles Northfield History

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Northfield Historical Society volunteer and middle school teacher, Earl Weinmann, reports that history is alive and well in southern Minnesota, so much so in fact that students in Northfield, Minn., are writing it. In a soon-to-be-released book, Our Story: A Guide to the History of Northfield, Minnesota , eighth graders at Northfield Middle School have engaged in an innovative research and writing project that had them searching back through Northfield’s history from the early geology of the area to the present day.   The 42 chapter and richly illustrated history is written in the style of a textbook and will be used in the local schools.   The book is a stunning example of how teens can learn and participate in scholarly endeavors while contributing to the historical landscape of the area.

School Bus safety is important to all.


ASK A TROOPER by Sgt. Jacalyn Sticha September 6, 2013


 Question: I was just told that it is more dangerous to drive my kids to school than having them ride the bus; Is this true?

Riding on a school bus is the safest way for your child to travel to and from school, yes, safer than riding in a parent’s vehicle. The greatest risk is approaching or leaving the school bus – the 10 FT surrounding the bus is the DANGER ZONE.

The ABCs of the Affordable Care Act

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Interested in learning about the options available to you under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?  Want more information about the Health Insurance Marketplace?  The League of Women Voters of Northfield and Cannon Falls is pleased to announce a public forum addressing the ACA on Tuesday, September 17th at 7 pm at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Northfield.

Tell Your Story: A Research Study about Job Loss among Aging Americans


Do you know someone age 50+ who has lost their job since 2008 as a result of a downturn in the economy and might be willing to share their story?

Annette Nierobisz, a sociology professor at Carleton College, is conducting a study of older workers who have experienced job loss. She is seeking participants for one-on-one interviews (taking approximately 60-90 minutes) and her questions are designed to understand how unemployment is experienced.

Working together for Financial Literacy in our community

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We've all been there...We've all sat with clients, customers, friends or family, and while talking about their crisis, or problem we've thought to ourselves, "ugh, this person needs to learn about money management!"  We've probably even thought that about ourselves sometimes! 
We know how important money management skills are for our clients and customers and yet, it's not the top priority in our job to teach those skills.  Trouble is, here in Rice County, we don't have the infrastructure needed to provide that kind of education on a consistent, reliable basis to our community.

Position Opening: Rice County Dollars and $ense seeks part-time coordinator

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The Rice County Dollars and $ense program seeks to increase the financial education of local youth who are low-income, students of color, and/or potential first-generation college attendees. Funded by a grant from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, Dollars and $ense works with a diverse group of community organizations to achieve this aim through financial literacy workshops and assisting students with accessing financial aid resources.

Representing these diverse community organizations, the Dollars and $ense Partnership Team seeks a coordinator to help lead this project.

More details can be found HERE.

Application review begins on Monday, August 19, 2013.

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 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.

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