Items related to the running of Northfield

St. Olaf College Democrats to host U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken Tuesday

Oct 9 2007 8:00 pm
Oct 9 2007 9:30 pm

U.S. Senate candidate Al FrankenU.S. Senate candidate Al Franken will speak at St. Olaf College Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 8 p.m. in Science Center 280. The event, which is sponsored by the St. Olaf College Democrats, is free and open to the public.

Franken is an award-winning author, satirist, radio host, political commentator, television writer and producer, and comedian. Most recently he hosted Air America Radio's "The Al Franken Show," the station's flagship program. He also is author of three No. 1 New York Times bestsellers: The Truth (with jokes) (2005), Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right (2003) and Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot (and other observations) (1996).

Transportation Task Force to hold listening session Wednesday

Northfield’s new Nonmotorized Transportation Task Force is launching “Stride ‘n Ride,” an effort to help make the city safer and friendlier for bicyclists, pedestrians – and drivers. The first step is to find out what walkers, runners, bike riders, parents pulling wagons – and drivers – think needs to be done. That’s why the first “Stride n’ Ride” event is a listening session, which runs from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3 at Northfield Middle School.

It will include stations where people can ask questions, share favorite walking and biking routes, pinpoint problem intersections and routes and mark maps. There will be a short program at 7:30 p.m. where people can share comments and discuss ideas for the task force to study.

Presentation on Constitutional Law

Sep 29 2007 10:00 am
Sep 29 2007 11:00 am

LWV logoOn Saturday, September 29, at 10 a.m. Professor Dale Carpenter of the Minnesota Law School will speak on the topic "Where is the Supreme Court Headed? How does it affect your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness?"

The talk is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Northfield and will take place at St. John's Lutheran Church, 500 Third Street West. Professor Carpenter is the Julius E. Davis Professor of Law at the Minnesota Law School. He teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law and the First Amendment, and is a frequent television, radio, and print commentator on constitutional law,the First Amendment and sexual orientation and the law. There will be a brief business meeting at 9:30, and the meeting will conclude at 11 a.m. The public is invited to attend.

ARTech School Board Elections

(Submitted by Tim Goodwin)

Northfield School of Arts and Technology (ARTech Charter School) is seeking Northfield community members with an interest in serving on the board of directors for the school. ARTech is a publicly funded charter school in its fifth year of operation. The board of directors meets monthly to provide the organization with financial oversight, strategic planning and guidance adhering to its mission and vision.

If you are interested please contact Tim Goodwin, 507-663-8806 x 217.

Congressman Kline checks on St. Olaf TRiO students

Rep. Kline visits St. Olaf TRiO students. Minnesota Rep. John Kline, a member of the Education Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, visited St. Olaf College Aug. 23 to see first-hand the work of the federally funded TRiO programs that help students overcome class, social and cultural barriers to higher education. The programs, which help students make a seamless transition from high school to college, include GEAR UP, Upward Bound and Education Talent Search. And at the college level, the Student Support Services program helps students adjust to their new academic experience. "There's no doubt that this program is fundamentally changing the lives of kids," said Kline during his visit.

Read the full story at

Village School - something to remember 'me' by

Village school"Everyone, whether you have children in school or not, should care about education, and should look to the Village School story as a cautionary tale."

Olivia Frey submitted her response to the court ruling to media outlets. It is worth reading because it gives testimony to the good that came from the Village School. The students it helped - 'the young boy who no longer required anti-depressant medications, the girl with a severe learning disability who became an avid reader and is now enrolled at the University of Minnesota, the child without friends who made friends, the girl who could not speak who is now publishing books.' This editor argues - there are no absolutes. Regardless of the decision, there is still something to be learned from the Village School.

In her statement, Frey asks questions such as 'Are standardized tests the way to help children learn? Is a standardized curriculum the best way for children to learn?

Court denies Village School's claim

Yesterday the Strib posted a story on how Minnesota Court of Appeals rejected the Village School of Northfield's appeal to reopen the school, after the Northfield School District decided not to renew its contract in May 2006...

[Judge]Halbrooks wrote that the district followed state law regulating non-renewal of a charter school's contract, and that both the district and the Department of Education based their assessment of the Village School on ample evidence.

City Investigation: Mayor pushing liquor store as conflict of interest?

Firefox Screenshot 032The Northfield News broke this story yesterday:

Mayor Lee Lansing, in memos to two city administrators, not only pushed for a new municipal liquor store, but advocated for his family's business and their interests.

The memos were included in a packet distributed to city councilors and talked about at a Monday council meeting.

It had been noted that Lansing left Monday's City Council meeting earlywas there the whole time and someone else left, but I got confused with all the pronouns..

Drama in Dundas at Bridgewater Township Hall (Continuation)

I was lurking around Bridgewater Township Hall during the July 2007 the township council meeting and noticed that the room had some extras voices. In addition to the usual suspects, we found two unusual groups represented: lawyers and a national news organization.

As the township board contemplated the future of sewer and water in the township (approving an ordinance to implement their sewer plan (dealing mostly with septic systems), these visitors hovered about waiting and watching.

If you have been too busy chasing wizards and dodging the heroin dealers you may have missed that there are some community-changing events going on just south of Northfield that easily rival the Great Target Debate.

City Council to investigate City Hall

Drama continues in the city of Northfield as the Nfld City Council requested the MN State Auditor to “examine the books, records, accounts and affairs of the City of Northfield…” Locally Grown was there with a write up, saying...

"City Attorney Maren Swanson and special legal counsel Cliff Greene (right photo) will evidently take a few weeks to interview people and then recommend to the Council which, if any, issues should be brought to the attention of the State Auditor’s office. That investigation (inquiry) would then likely begin after Labor Day."

Victor Summa commented on the story, adding...

"He came in after the first big bomb blast - a confrontation between The Mayor and several Council members resulting in the Mayor being kept from reading his Agenda Item Background Statement. He also left very early in the proceedings."

This is an extension of the investigation that Police Chief Gary Smith launched before he took leave due to medical issues.

Chanhassen enacts total watering ban - Northfield still OK.

The Strib today has a story on how Chanhassen has enacted a complete ban on irrigation systems and sprinklers, but still allows hand-held watering cans and hoses...

Residents in Chanhassen have been ordered to turn off the spigot. The city on Monday enacted a total outdoor watering ban because droughtlike conditions have led to low aquifer levels and two of the city's municipal wells have failed.

Other cities such as Woodbury and Eagan have added significant restrictions to residential watering.

New Self-Checkout Kiosk at the Library

Will new robo-librarian overlords rule with an iron bookmark?

Photo_072307_001As a former member of the Northfield Public Library board, I know that the library has been mulling over the idea of self-serve checkouts for several years. There are various pros and cons with the idea (as with anything, really) and when I left last year there was much talk of if and when the NPL should install it.

Well, the when has been answered: it's now. (Okay, it was two weeks ago, but my books were due today.) I was pleasantly surprised to see one installed. One of the librarians was happy to give me a walk-through on using the machine. It's rather similar to the grocery self-serves that have been popping up all over the last few years. Find the bar code, scan it, hit 'finished', get your receipt.

The new NPL scanner also has a Spanish interface. Considering that (according to the 2000 census) Rice County is nearly 5% Hispanic, I think it may get quite a bit of use. More pictures after the jump...

Chief Smith goes on indefinite leave of absence

According to Locally Grown:

The Chief has requested an indefinite leave of absence and it has been granted by the City Administrator. Roger Schroeder has been promoted to Captain, effective immediately. Capt. Schroeder will handle day to day operations of the department. If you have any questions, please see a Supervisor. Any questions regarding the Chief will be handled by the City Administrator.

An interesting turn of events, considering the recent swirl of publicity around the Chief.


If you find more, leave a message in the comments and we'll add it to the story.

Police Chief Gary Smith cannot verify heroin numbers

The "Heroin in the Northfield Schools/NIMBY" story keeps on rolling. The AP has a story looking into the numbers that were given by Smith and if they can be validated by other groups in town:

The police chief in Northfield says numbers he cited in publicizing heroin use in Northfield were anecdotal and based on what drug treatment workers had told his investigators.

Read the full story by clicking here.

In related news, the Nfld Union of Youth/Key will be holding a Q&A about heroin use among Northfield's youth tonight at 7 p.m at the Key.

Suspect arrested in possible abduction attempt

I received an email this morning with the account of a possible abduction attempt in Northfield yesterday. Since it came from a reliable source, I followed up with the police department. Northfield police chief Gary Smith sent this press release a few minutes ago:

Northfield Police received two calls of incidents of a possible abduction on July 11, 2007. The first incident was reported at about 4:00 p.m. The second incident was reported at 4:23 p.m.

The first incident reportedly occurred in the area of 7th Street and Nevada. An eleven-year-old female reported that a male subject driving a dark green Jeep SUV, plate unknown, attempted to get her into the vehicle with him. This subject described the driver of the vehicle as a white male, thirties, short brown hair, mustache, possible short beard and no glasses.

The second reporting party was a fourteen-year-old female who was contacted by the driver of a vehicle described as a black SUV who approached her and tried to get her to come over to his vehicle. The location of this incident was near the area of Heritage Drive.

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