Council OKs theater, keeps some land industrial

Editor's note: This is the second part of a story we started yesterday outlining the issues surrounding a proposed new movie theater in Northfield.

Owatonna CinemaThe Northfield City Council, faced with a need for both commercial and light industrial land, reached a compromise Monday that maintains a little of each.

"I like this better than the last meeting," said Steven Payne, vice president of Lakes & Rivers Cinema, which plans to bring a multi-screen cinema to seven acres along Canon Road, just off Hwy. 3. He was referring to the May 23 meeting of the Planning Commission, which rejected the land use designation needed as a first step to rezoning for a theater.  

For the details on the vote and much, much more, read the rest of the story...

ARTech honors Class of 2006

ARTech GradsNorthfield School of Arts and Technology graduated its biggest class yet this past Friday.  Eighteen graduates were honored at the ceremony held outside under perfect skies.

ARTech grads"I want to thank you all here at ARTech for the best three years of my life," said one student speaker.  "We will never forget each other.  We will never forget ARTech.  And we will never forget who we are." From here, many graduates will move on to college in places from Washington State to Florida to Iowa.  The school community is incredibly proud of the graduates and their accomplishments.

Best of luck Class of '06!

Road construction continues...

Road Construction MosaicThe big Highway 3 road construction project continues in Northfield. is there, and while "our online construction photo gallery": won't make your trip any quicker, we hope that the indication of progress will make it a little cheerier.

The construction this summer is in two phases. Phase One (the current phase) is scheduled to be complete by August 18th, "according to MNDOT": Phase two will start after that and finish in October. This means that there may be some significant DJJD(Defeat of Jesse James Days) traffic impact.

More inside...

Historical Society seeks vintage instruments

The Northfield Historical Society is looking for vintage band memorabilia. We are looking for anything that would relate to the history of vintage music in Northfield: horns, uniforms, pictures, and whatever else you might have. The artifacts will be used in an exhibit for the Vintage Band Music Festival which is being held in July. The deadline for submission is June 26th. For more information, contact Hayes Scriven at the Northfield Historical Society at 507-645-9268 or stop on down, we are located in the Scriver Building which is at 408 Division St.

Hayes Scriven is the Northfield Historical Society's Education and Exhibit Coordinator.

River Bend Nature Center Summer Photo Contest

The RBNC(River Bend Nature Center) in Faribault has opened its "Summer Photo Contest": for amateur photographers. There are three $35 prizes available.

The theme for the summer contest is "Summer Secrets" and the pictures must be taken at the RBNC.

For a full set of forms and to see a gallery of previous winners, you can "visit the contest page at":

Movie options create real cliffhanger

Owatonna CinemaI’m not a bookmaker, but if I were, earlier this weekend I would have put the odds of getting a successful, for-profit movie theater in downtown Northfield about even with Barbaro running another horse race.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to have some movies downtown. It’s just that people may have to be more creative in looking for options. And I'll be honest, just before I filed this story I found an option that while still a longshot, may improve the odds just a bit.

Ever since the discussion started last month about the possibility of a new multi-screen movie theater (like this one in Owatonna) out along Highway 3, I’ve been doing research on the subject. I’ve reviewed the few communities I could find with downtown theaters, looked at the restoration of old theaters, the locations and the economics of new theaters and the interesting dynamics of those theaters that show independent and art house movies. I’ve talked to people who have started out in small theaters and have had to adapt as the movie industry has changed. So grab some popcorn and I'll tell you what I've learned....

NHS Grads get Perfect Weekend for Celebrating

NHS 2006 GradsTheir future is so bright they have to wear shades, and many did Saturday as the Northfield High School Class of 2006 received their diplomas in an outdoor ceremony at Memorial Field.

If the city seems on a collective sugar high, it could be all the cake and marshmallow salads being consumed at open houses all weekend. So drive carefully, eat wisely (or just enjoy and resume your diet tomorrow) and for you grads—send the thank-you cards before you spend the money.

Here are a few more photos, courtesy of Scott Davis at Stone Cottage Photography...

Land use, land sales top this week's city agendas


The past and the future come together this week as the city deals with plans for a new movie theater and begins plans to divest itself of some land that was part of the former Northfield Hospital site.

City Council: meets at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall. The key issue will be a vote on whether to adjust the city’s comprehensive plan to designate about 10 acres of land along Highway 3 for commercial use, rather than light industrial. Technically, the issue isn’t a rezoning, and it’s not tied to a specific use of the land. But in reality, the move is needed to allow a rezoning that would allow property owner James Gleason to sell his land to Steven Payne, owner of Lakes & Rivers Cinema. Payne, who has developed eight cinemas in small towns in Minnesota and South Dakota, wants to build a theater similar to one he owns in Owatonna. If the city refused the change, Payne and Gleason plan to build the theater on an adjacent site across the city boundary in Dundas. The land, directly across from Target and Cub Foods, (in the distance past the familiar intersection pictured here), lies between the busy highway retail area and the light industrial area to the west.

Pictures from the Montessori Annual Carnival

The Northfield Montessori held its annual summer Carnival on Saturday, June 3rd. The weather was in the mid-80's and the sky was mostly cloudless. There was a cake walk, "Soak the Teacher" game, and hay ride, among other things. was there, naturally, and we have a photo gallery from the event for you to peruse. If you see someone you know, please help us out and leave a comment.

City to sell homes, lots near Way Park

We just pulled this from the City Hall website.

An informational meeting outlining the process for the sale of four houses (including the one pictured at left) and three vacant lots from the former Northfield Hospital campus will be Tuesday, June 6, from 7-9 p.m. at St. John’s Church, 500 West Third St. At the meeting, representatives of Northfield Hospital will present their plan for disposing of the properties within guidelines established by the Northfield City Council. There will be an opportunity for questions. City representatives will also be at the meeting.

The former hospital site and adjacent homes owned by the city cover 4.73 acres in the 800-block between West First and West Second streets. The city council decided in 2004 that the 2.7 acres donated for the 1938 hospital be used to expand Way Park. To underwrite a portion of the cost of removing the old hospital, the hospital is authorized to sell the houses and vacant lots acquired after the original hospital was built.

Weekend Entertainment and Events

Click to view PDFSummer is here in full force, so get out and enjoy it!

On a beautiful day there is nothing like outdoor baseball, and you don't have to wait for a new stadium! The Dundas Dukes are sponsoring a baseball tournament at Memorial Field in Dundas this weekend. The Dukes, the Dukes over-35 team and the Northfield Knights will all be playing.

The rest of the weekend's details are inside...

Locals play cowboy at Wild West Roundup

Crazy CoraWhether your view of the old West was shaped by Jesse James, Roy Rogers or the boys of "Deadwood," you have to admit there's a certain draw to the fantasy of life on the frontier.

Now you can be part of that life, at least for a weekend, at the Wild West Roundup, June 10 and 11, at the Rice County Steam & Gas Engine Grounds grounds in Dundas. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, you can take a trip back in time to the Old West. There modern day folks will take on roles as cowhands, blacksmiths, gunslingers and barmaids. Click to visit the websiteThe event also will be a homecoming celebration for our own James-Younger Gang, the bank-robbing reenactors who keep Northfield's history alive. The troupe is performing its signature show on a two-week tour of Germany, a country wild about our West. The boys return just in time for the Roundup, which will kick off the area's reenactment season.

"What we're going to try to do is make this the Rennaissance Fair of the Old West in Minnesota." says Jody Greenslade, better known among reenactors as Crazy Cora (pictured in character above). "Pretty soon people will be coming to the Roundup instead of going to all those other events."

Fishing class? Now that's summer school!

Editor's note: Summer school often means more work. But here's a class in fishing that sounds like a heck of a way to start summer vacation.

You can enroll your child, grandchild or scout troop in a fun, active, four-hour session for children ages 6 to 11. Professionals and trained volunteers from the Minnesota DNR MinnAqua Program will teach children the basics of fishing and the importance of protecting healthy aquatic habitats.

As they move from station to station, the children create their own fishing equipment, learn about regulations, identify fish, practice casting and try their hand at fishing. This lifelong activity connects kids to their local environment!

The class will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 13. Registration cost is $2 for members, $4 for non-members. Reservation deadline is June 9. Children must be accompanied by adults. Location is Lampert Lodge, The Science Center at Maltby Nature Preserve, 789 Sciota Trail East, Randolph, MN 55065. Phone: 507-664-0770; email: See for a map to the center.

Take a Walk in the Big Woods

Hidden FallsFor those who are creatures of habit, the DNR suggests a change of pace and the encouragement to try something new during Minnesota state park’s annual free open house day on June 4.

“Each year the public is invited to visit state parks for free on the first Sunday in June,” said Courtland Nelson, director of DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “There’s probably no better time to try something new than when it won’t cost you anything. We hope that visitors will take this opportunity to visit a different park, try a new activity, hike a special trail or find out something new about their favorite park.”

The Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park is located just minutes from Northfield and has over 14 miles of hiking trails. I've attached a map of the park so you can find your way to the beautiful Hidden Falls (pictured). So why not take advantage of the DNR’s open house this Sunday and take a walk in the Big Woods!

ISSUES List bubbles with library ideas

Surely you've heard that the city is talking about how to meet the future needs of a library that's bursting at its architecturally significant seams. Well, the readers who have joined our ISSUES List have been batting around ideas for how to solve the problem.

The official report estimates costs could run $9.2 million or more. These ideas haven't been analyzed for cost effectiveness, but they all get points for creativity. You can join the ISSUES List discussion, add a comment below or check out the NDDC forum on the topic Tuesday, June 6.

Here are just a few of the ideas...

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