Welcome to the revamped web site... and a long-awaited edition of NCO-News (now in weblog digest format).

We're in a transition with the domain name here at Northfield Citizens Online (NCO). We'll be moving all our content and services to a different web server by January 1, 2004 and so to ease the pain of the switchover, we're temporarily hosting all our new services here at Once the switchover's complete, the domain name will be the only domain visible, though will still work.

The old site and the old Web Cafe are still available for browsing though we're no longer keeping them current. Let us know if you've got questions or concerns about the transition.

(To remove yourself from the mailing list/weblog digest, click the unsubscribe link in the header of the email or visit the Subscribe/Unsubscribe page and enter your address.)

Hospital Reuse Web Forum

We're relaunching the Web Cafe with a special event:


A two-week online discussion forum on issues surrounding the reuse of the city hospital. The forum begins Monday, Dec. 1 and continues through Dec. 15.

You can jump right to the hospital reuse discussion forum or you can browse the resources and links page we've set up, which includes dates of upcoming meetings, links to the Concept Plans and other documents at Northfield City Hall, links to newspaper coverage and op-ed pieces on the issue, and a special comment form for those who just want to submit comments without particpating in the Web Cafe discussion.


See the gallery of crowd photos from the Nov. 18 Open House.

Web Cafe reopens

The Web Cafe is now open.


You can browse it as a guest but to post, you must first register.

Northfield in the news

St. Olaf's Academic Freedom Fight, By Kathy Kersten, | November 24, 2003
"Like their peers elsewhere, St. Olaf students are used to contending with ideological high-handedness. When I visited the campus last spring, many students were simmering about incidents of blatant faculty bias. Some complained indignantly that St. Olaf

RSS: syndication and aggregation

We've now added RSS to this weblog. What's RSS?

It's a radio signal for a website, most commonly used for weblogs. More technically: "Rich Site Summary (RSS) is a lightweight XML format designed for sharing headlines and other Web content. Think of it as a distributable "What's New" for your site." See Intro to RSS for more info.

The Newspaper Association of America site has an informative article titled Syndication Made Simple. "Just as free e-mail newsletters enable publishers to directly reach readers and promote online and in-paper content, RSS "pushes" headlines and succinct, one-sentence article descriptions to those who subscribe to the no-cost feeds."

The other side of syndication is aggregation. Here's an article from Wired News that explains why aggregators are all the rage: Aggregators Attack Info Overload.

This icon is the cue that we're RSS capable. So train your aggregator to grab content from's syndicated weblog.

Northfield Historical Society Auction


See the photo gallery of last night's auction for the Northfield Historical Society, held at Jacobsen's.

Dignitaries! High society! Muckity mucks!

Auction services: Kuhlman Auctions.

Northfield's civic blogosphere

(Updated: 12.17.05)
It's starting to happen: a cluster of weblogs in a small geographic area that are at least occasionally devoted to civic matters -- Northfield, Minnesota's civic blogosphere. (Definition of blogosphere: the intellectual cyberspace occupied by a subset bloggers.)

Northfield Citizens Online Board members and volunteers have been working on making weblogs a tool for strengthening the civic fabric of the area, both for individual citizens, local leaders, and local non-profit organizations.


We think it's good for democracy for citizens to be more than passive consumers of media. We see weblogs as a tool that can be used for "conversational journalism" or "citizen-driven journalism," a unique way to have a dialogue among separate sources of information that's not otherwise easily done.

We think it's possible that the collective wisdom of Northfield's Civic Blogosphere (citizens, community leaders, public officials, government staff) can help improve the effectiveness of local government.

If you're interested in having a weblog, talking to someone about weblogs, know of another weblog in the area that should be listed here, or in helping us with this effort, Contact Us.

Civic Leader Weblogs

Non-profit organization weblogs:

Civic-oriented citizen weblogs


About The Web Cafe

The Web Cafe is an online community, a forum, a set of discussion boards for hosting group conversations primarily (though not exclusively) among citizens in the Northfield, MN area. We currently have forums within the Cafe devoted to Government, Nature & Environment, Business, Education, and a catch-all Bridge Square area.

The original Web Cafe (using the Motet discussion board platform) was open from 1996 through 2000. The next version of the Web Cafe (using the Web Crossing discussion board platform) was open from August, 2001 through summer, 2003. We'll keep that Web Cafe (Web Crossing) platform open for read-only browsing till the end of December, 2003. We're now using the phpBB message board platform.

You can browse the Cafe as a guest -- without registering -- to get a feel for the online community. If you like what you see, click the link to register and fill out the short form. If you have trouble registering, Contact Us.

Once you register, you can:

  • Contribute to existing conversations and start new
    ones of your own
  • Have the software keep track of what you've read and what's new
  • Initiate and take polls and surveys
  • Participate in the time-limited, special event web forums that feature
    panels, interviews, and group discussion with community leaders about
    issues relevant to local citizens.

See the list of previous time-limited community forums, including discussion transcripts for most of them.

NCO-News/Weblog Digest's NCO News is an announcement-only e-newsletter, a digest of our recent posts to the weblog. The only messages are from us when we have news, not more than weekly.

One click gets you on the list. One click gets you off. And we won't sell or give away your email address to anyone, ever.

Media links

Do you have a suggestion or correction for a listing here? Use our form.

KRLX 88.1 FM (Carleton College)
KSTO 93.1 FM (St Olaf College)

NTV 26 Community Television

The Northfield News
Faribault Daily News
The Manitou Messenger (St Olaf College)

Business Links

Do you have a suggestion or correction for a listing here? Use our form.

We're working on creating a new directory... looking for a volunteer to take it on.

Categories of links are likely to be:

Internet Service Providers
Web Design/Hosting/Computer Repair


Photo Gallery

Our server-based photo gallery has many features, including:

1. Anyone can attach comments to any of the photos

2. Photos can be viewed in a looping slideshow

3. Anyone can order prints of any photo from your choice of four online photo-processing services: Shutterfly, EZ Prints, Fotokasten, and PhotoAccess. Prints can be 4x6, 5x7, 8x10, or wallet-sized.

4. We can issue free accounts to local citizens who want to create a community-oriented photo gallery and upload the photos to it themselves. Contact Us if you're interested.

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