James Gang Hideaway is open!

Joan and Jim SpauldingHey Northfield tastebuds – you now have some fresh and flavorful options such as grilled asparagus, brie, roasted red peppers, with a basil pine nut pesto or fajita chicken, grilled zucchini, roasted red onions, topped with provolone cheese and pesto mayo – both on ciabatta bread and hot off a pannini grill. That’s the sort of fare being offered at the James Gang Hideaway now open downtown on Division Street.

Co-owners Joan and Jim Spaulding (pictured) also operate the James Gang Coffeehouse on Highway 3. They’ve brought over many of the mainstays from that enterprise and added a whole lot more.  “Our appetizers are not your standard fare,” says Joan, offering olive tapenade, basil pine nut pesto and Italian oils and bread for dipping as examples. The HideAway also provides deli service with fresh pastas and pre-wrapped sandwiches to “grab and go.”

Their wine and beer list is unique to the area, too. They have selected “the best of very good products.” By limiting their list to a dozen or so wines and half a dozen beers, they’re confident they’ll be able to give their customers quality beverages at a reasonable price.

Minnesota's Future: More Walkers than Wagons

Tom Gillaspy at LWV forumUpdate: Tom Gillaspy's presentation is attached.

Take a look at the future of Minnesota and you'll see more people with walkers than with wagons. There will be more immigrants—though not nearly as many as in the beginning of the last century—from more countries than ever. And as they have for the last 60 years, Baby Boomers will again change the state and the country to suit their needs. It's a future that clashes with our view of the United States.

"That's how we define ourselves, as a youthful nation," said Minnesota State Demographer Tom Gilllaspy at yesterday's League of Women Voters 4th Monday event at the Northfield Public Library.

It's hard to make statistics come alive, but Gillaspy held the audience with a staggering, if not entirely surprising, series of key demographic illustrations. For example, the state labor force is expected to grow to 421,000 by 2010, but it will grow by only 175,000 workers between 2010 and 2020. By 2020 there will be more people in Minnesota aged 65 and older than there will be children under 18.

The two factors above will push the state and the country to deal with a shift from education services to healthcare services. They also point out the reality that we will not have enough workers to support the number of people heading into retirement.

It's time for you to 'Choose Your News!'

Listening sessions planned to get your feedback about Northfield.org

Well, we've been telling you this is your website. And now it's time for you to tell us what you want to see on it! Let's just call it the Choose Your News campaign, because we're out to win you over in a big way.

The board members of Northfield Citizens Online (the group that runs Northfield.org) and I will be hosting listening sessions over the next few weeks to determine what kind of content you want to see—and what kind of stories, photos, essays and commentaries you'd like to write. The first session will be Tuesday, May 23, at the Contented Cow. I'll be there at 7 p.m. and I'll stay as long as you have something to talk about.

Here's your chance to have your say. Want more sports news? A political page full of debate and conversation? Should we add letters to the editor, or guest commentaries, or maybe both? How about wedding announcements?

Just for fun, what if we ask you to use your digital and cell phone cameras to send photos from your vacation, from town events, from your favorite fishing spot after you land the big one? Will you do it? Do you want to see those pictures from your friends and neighbors?

Peterson campaign Northfield kick-off Thursday

Click to visit campaign websiteThe Contented Cow will be the site for the official Northfield kick-off for Jessica Peterson and her campaign for State Senate. This public event will be from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, this Thursday, May 25.

Everyone is invited to this open-house event. It will be a good chance for people to meet the candidate, ask questions, express concerns, volunteer to help out, and generally mingle with others who want to see Northfield once again have progressive representation in the state legislature.

Scott Covey is Jessica Peterson's campaign manager

Locally Grown podcast #18: Streetscape and ArtsPlan '06 with guest Howard Merriam


Howard Merriam, Director of Resource Planning for the City of Northfield, was the guest for Friday's Locally Grown show, discussing plans for the downtown Streetscape & Way-Finding Plan (bike racks up first) and the ArtsPlan06 project. (L to R: Howard Merriam, Morgan Weiland, Ross Currier, Tracy Davis.)

Click photo to enlarge and continue reading to hear the whole show (30 minutes).

It's time to think about summer reading!

Numerous studies have shown that summer reading programs help ensure that school children retain reading and learning skills over the summer break.

Catch the Beat, the Northfield Public Library's children’s summer reading program will start June 13th for “read to me kids” through 5th grade.
The purpose of this summer reading program is to have fun and to keep kids reading this summer. It is free and open to all.
"Reading goal booklets" can be picked up at the library beginning the week of June 5. We're encouraging kids to start setting a weekly reading goal and START READING! They'll earn a prize for every goal they meet, and they'll also have a chance to earn prizes at the hour-long weekly programs!

The program schedule is attached, and also available on the library's website at www.northfieldmn.info  Remember, reading over the summer is important and also fun!

Twin Cities developer to add 50 homes along golf course

The housing market in the greater metro area may be softening, but one Twin Cities development firm is optimistic enough about Northfield to move ahead with the final phase of the Rosewood Subdivision.

Mark Gergen and Lynn Giovannelli of Miles Development Corporation plan to complete the Rosewood 5th Addition, bordering the Northfield Golf Club. The plan originally was approved in 1998, but Gergen and his partner modified it to eliminate all but one cul de sac and make smaller lots to accommodate 50 new detached townhomes on small lots along a curved street that will connect to Wall Street Road. The plan also calls for an adjustment in the extension of Jefferson Parkway to straighten the connection to Wall.

Booker the Book Bus nears the end of the road

Already faced with the ongoing discussion of how to replace its downtown facility, the Library Board soon must decide what to do with its aging bookmobile, known as Booker the Book Bus.

The familiar bookmobile will be on the road through the summer, but it's not clear how much longer it can last. Library Director Lynne Young told the board Tuesday that the immediate need is about $8,000 for a generator, but the bigger question is whether it's wise to put any money into Booker, who turned 20 last year.

Booker already was well-worn when the Northfield Library bought it from the regional library system, SELCO, for $2,000 in 1991. The library and the Northfield Public Schools wrote a grant for the purchase, and a number of local organizations donated new paint, carpet and fixtures. The routes stretched outside the city to meet the school boundaries.

Ever since, Booker has been a big part of the library's outreach services. This year the library began a contract with the county to provide services outside the school district. The regional library service, which had retired its bookmobile, donated some of its collection to Booker.

Post Office roof repairs may come this summer

Time to get caught up on my to-do list.

Hole in Post Office roofA couple of weeks ago, local architect Steve Wilmot pointed out a hole in the roof of the Northfield Post Office. Postal officials at the time said a work order had been submitted, but no date had been set for repairs.

One reader commented on the post to suggest raising the money locally to make the repairs to the historic building, then letting the United States Postal Service pay the money back when the repairs were authorized.

I decided it would be a good idea to follow up on the issue and contacted postal officials again.

That led me to some interesting discussion with the folks in Kansas City and the big twin to the north. I'm not taking their side in the issue, but they did offer some food for thought.

Richard Watkins, a spokesman from the Kansas City regional office, looked at the roof damage in the picture on Northfield.org as we spoke by phone. He said he was impressed by the offer of help, but added that it wasn't necessary.

Photos: spring wine-tasting event at the Grand

IMG_2072.JPGwinetastingalbumtn.gif IMG_2060.JPG
Left: Northfield Liquor Store's Steve DeLong and Just Food Co-op's Stuart Reid were two of the managerial beauties on duty at tonight's "Drink Global, Shop Local" spring wine-tasting event at the Grand. Click the photos to enlarge and see the Flickr photo set or the N.org old style album for a dozen more.

Ole to Film Mockumentary: "Harry Putter and the Sorcerer's Phone"

Jeremy Gustafson, a 20 year old student at St. Olaf College, is writing and producing Harry Putter, a series of seven independently produced shorts which parody the Harry Potter stories by JK Rowling and associated Warner Bros. films.

Harry Putter begins filming this June and will have scenes on campus at St. Olaf that will require the help of local extras. Auditions for lead roles will be held on May 20. For more information on the movie and/or how to audition or be an extra, please visit www.harryputtermovie.com.

Online recycling via Freecycle

IMG_1973w800.jpgWe're moving to Northfield Crossing next spring (yep, we bought a condo) so we're getting our old house on South Linden St. ready to sell. First step: clean out the attic, garage, basement of all the accumulated junk treasures.

We've not only been making good use of our curb to get rid of the stuff that otherwise might end up in the landfill. (Click photo to enlarge.)

freecyclelogo.jpgRobbie's been also using a website called Freecycle for items that either don't get taken from the curb or for ones that can't be put out in the rain. Yahoo Groups (online discussion lists) are used for communications. There is a Northfield Freecycle group and another one for Rice-Steele County

City wins National Recycling Award

Click to enlargeThe next time you sort your recyclables and carry them to the local centers, give yourself a little round of applause. You are part of the reason the city of Northfield has won a national award from the American Forest and Paper Recycling Association.

Seattle won for the best big city program and little Northfield beat out the pack among cities under 100,000. This week city officials shared the honors with adults and kids from the Moravian Church Youth group and Project Sight, two of the Green Teams who worked on the citywide project. Pictured are Sam, Josephine and Addison Luhman with Mayor Lee Lansing, backed up by Randy Bongard and Brad Easterson. The children are part of the Moravian Church group.

HRA Considers Affordable Housing near Way Park

Way Park may get some new neighbors, and the city may get some needed affordable housing without sprawl, thanks to a plan the Housing and Redevelopment Authority is slated to present to the Northfield Hospital Board Wednesday.

Details haven't been released, but HRA officials are slated to begin discussion today on the possibility of taking ownership of three lots the hospital owns adjacent to Way Park. The park was recently expanded to include the site of the old hospital, which was razed after services were moved to its new site along North Avenue. The hospital retained ownership of three lots outside the park boundary.

Kaleidoscope: International Festival 2006

This story was submitted by Kilang Yanger (Carleton class of 2006), an international student from India.

æbleskiver!Smelling the potent Ghanaian spices of Accra, hearing the powerful strums of the Chinese pipa, watching Filipino dancers dexterously weave their feet around clashing bamboos, having the touch of cool Indian henna dye designs on your palms and last but not least, tasting mouth-watering Danish æbleskiver desserts are but a tiny preview of what happens at the International Festival.

The International Festival has been a very successful ongoing tradition at Carleton for many years. This year’s festival, entitled ‘Kaleidoscope,’ proved to be the same, if not better. It is a multifaceted event that incorporates not only food and entertainment from all over the world, but promotes exposure and learning of other cultures through various workshops set up to engage guests and students. This year’s event, the ninth annual festival, brought Chinese calligraphy booths and Japanese origami tables, along with entertainment such as a fire-knife dance from Samoa. The festival, more importantly, is an event to raise awareness and monetary support for charities. This year’s donations went to the Center for Children’s Happiness, a non-governmental organization that provides a home and education to Cambodian orphans.

All in all, it was truly a kaleidoscopic event one got to experience on a Saturday afternoon right here in Northfield.

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