Items related to the running of Northfield

It's not too late for a crash course on elections

Editor's note: We're leaving this post at the top of the page to make it easy to find, so look for new stories below. And join us election night. You can view the results in real time here, or you can join the crew down at the Contented Cow, where we will be discussing outcome -- and celebrating the end of one of the most unpleasant election seasons in memory.

The election is almost here, but even if you’ve been avoiding politics this season, there’s still time to catch up on the candidates and the issues.

In fact, there’s so much information out there and the voting process is so easy, there’s really no reason to skip out and leave the rest of us to decide your future. Here's the last-minute news you can use:

Kids Voting gives young citizens a voice

Dozens of volunteers will be at the polls Tuesday to help voters who are years away from casting their ballots officially. They're part of the Kids Voting movement, a national effort that teaches kids about democracy—and lets thousands of kids cast ballots right along with the parents.

I am familiar with the Kids Voting effort in northern Minnesota and I can tell you it does more than teach kids about voting. Having kids involved is a powerful tool to get adults to the polls.

Rev. Joseph Crippen, pastor at St. John's Lutheran Church, local actor and all-around busy guy, is the leader of the Northfield volunteers this year. Rick Estenson, VP of First National Bank and an outgoing member of our own board, graciously offered the meeting space at his rural home for the training.  

I talked to Joseph on Monday as he nailed down the final details. 

City Hall Insider

Al Roder

City Administrator Al Roder has prepared a detailed report of everything that went on at  City Hall last week. Everything's here, from police activity statistics to street closings and budget meetings.

Just click here to read the pdf version of the report. You need Acrobat Reader to read the file. And head to the City Hall site to check out the complete city events calendar and find the agendas and other details for all meetings.

This week...

There are no meetings on Election Day, and Friday City Hall is closed for Veteran's Day, which is Saturday.  Still, there's a lot going on:

Library Planning Committee, 4:15 p.m. Northfield Public Library.
City Council
, 7 p.m. City Hall.
Tuesday General Election, 7 a.m.
Wednesday City Council, 5 p.m. Special meeting to canvass votes. City Hall.
Economic Development Authority, 7:30 a.m. City Hall.
Housing & Redevelopment Authority, 5 p.m. City Hall.
Human Rights Commission, 7 p.m. City Hall.
Closed for Veteran's Day


Don't forget to vote!


Election LogoThe polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., November 7, for this year's general election. Watch this site for election results as they come in. Don't forget to stop by your polling place and vote.

And when it's all over, stop by the Concented Cow and join us as we monitor the results and celebrate that another campaign season is over. If you can't get to the Cow, just check in at to watch the results in real time online.  

This is a great opportunity to show your patriotism, exercise your rights, improve your community, verify your registration and refresh on voting procedures for November -- all in one easy stop.

Here's everything you need to know: 


State House candidates to debate at Carleton College

Minnesota House of Representatives candidates David Bly and Ray Cox will debate on Thursday, November 2 at 8 p.m. in Carleton College’s Leighton Hall, room 305.

Bly and Cox will debate the cost of higher education, health care reform, abortion, gay marriage, and other issues of interest to students. A brief audience question and answer session will follow the debate. The votes of Carleton students could decide the outcome of the state representative race. Cox, the moderate Republican incumbent, won the 2004 election and kept the seat by a margin of just 586 votes.

The debate is the culmination of efforts by both candidates to woo student voters. Cox has canvassed several dorms and handed out literature outside the dining halls. Bly made a showing at Monday’s rally with U.S. Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar. Thursday’s debate follows the well-attended showdown between state senate candidates Jessica Peterson ’98 and Tom Neuville last week.

Gov. Pawlenty campaigns at College City Beverage

Governor Tim Pawlenty visit the offices of College City Beverage Tues. afternoon about 2 p.m., as he did a campaign swing through southern Minnesota.

In the photo, the Guv and Rep. Ray Cox with a significant majority of the student Republicans at Carleton College. More photos and a video clip here.

Workers wrap up road projects

Ok, there are some people who look forward to cold weather and all the skiing, skating and snowmobiling that it can bring. Others of us just start counting the days til spring.

One thing that makes all of us happy about the cold is that it marks the end of construction season – and for long-suffering drivers, the end of work on Highways 3 and 19.

City Public Works Director Heidi Hamilton confirmed late Tuesday that highway work is wrapping up. And she had good news on the long overdue crossing improvements that have tied up Highway 19. “We’ve been told tomorrow (Wednesday),” she said, but noted that the railroad hasn’t made any promises.

As she was speaking, crews were finishing paving along the crossing. Hamilton said the railroad still will have to return and install longer signal arms to match the widened pavement, but the road will be open until they do. Hamilton also said the work was supposed to be done in late July, but the paperwork got lost in the shuffle when the Canadian Pacific sold that line to the Union Pacific.

Hospital board chairman resigns, moving to Faribault

By Scott Richardson 

Steve Delzer, chairman of the Northfield Hospital Board of Directors, resigned his position Thursday due to a change in residence.

Delzer recently sold his home in Bridgewater Township and is moving with his family to Faribault. He is the senior pastor at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Faribault.

Candidate forums slated Oct. 28 and Nov. 2

Editor's note: This story ran earlier this week, but we're bumping it back to the top of the page as a reminder to head on over to the NCRC and check out forums.

League of Women Voters of Northfield and Cannon River Watershed Partnership will co-sponsor two public candidate forums on Saturday, October 28 and Thursday, November 2.

The October 28 forum will feature the following elected offices: MN Senate Districts 36 and 25, MN House Districts 36B and 25B, and Northfield City Council. That forum will take place from 9 a.m. to noon at the Northfield Community Resource Center, 1651 Jefferson Parkway, Northfield.

The November 2nd forum will feature the offices of Rice County Commissioner, District 2, and Rice County Sheriff, and will be held at Northfield City Hall. Refreshments will be served.

Locally Grown: Bicycling in Northfield

Bill Ostrem was our guest this week, discussing Northfield's bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure—both the problems and the opportunities.

Bill posted a detailed story here on recently about bike transportation expert Steve Clark's recent visit to Northfield. He's also got a blog, Northern Letter, A voice from the Upper Midwest. And he's one of the people behind the new Northfield Trails website, whose tagline is “Catalyzing Human-Powered Recreation and Transportation in the Northfield Area.”

You can listen to the audio (30 minutes). You can also download the MP3 File, subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe with iTunes.

Random acts of reporting

Good morning!

I was just updating pages for when I saw this breathtaking sunrise out my window. I risked the wrath of the cat by moving her from my lap, then shot this photo and e-mailed it to

Total elapsed time: 3 minutes, including apology to the cat and time to find the photo card gizmo for my laptop. That's how easy it is to share something on

City Hall Insider

Al Roder

City Administrator Al Roder has prepared a detailed report of everything that went on at  City Hall last week. Everything's here, from police activity statistics to street closings and budget meetings.

Just click here to read the pdf version of the report. You need Acrobat Reader to read the file. And head to the City Hall site to check out the complete city events calendar and find the agendas and other details for all meetings.

This week...

Almanac hosts Crowley-Kline debate

Well, you've had your fix of football crime shows and Dr. McDreamy, so it's time to spend a little effort on something that matters, like the elections.

Brendan Henehan, producer of Minnesota Public Television's "Almanac" show, e-mailed to let us know that Friday's 7 p.m. show will feature a debate between John Kline and Coleen Rowley, who are running for Congress from our own Second District. They will sit down during the second half of the show for their only broadcast television debate. 

"We're doing a boatload of debates and campaign reports (with a special focus on the blogosphere)... and streaming and podcasting them all" Henehan said in his message and in a quick phone interview. You can check out all the campaign information at


League's 4th Monday will explore plans for the arts

Members of the Arts Plan06 committee will present their recommendations to the public at the League of Women Voters 4th Monday Forum at 7 p.m. Monday, October 23, at the Northfield Public Library.

The committee is preparing a report for the City Council in November and seeks public reaction to the drafted findings and recommendations. Called "A Strategic Vision for the Arts and Culture in Northfield," the report is the result of a nine-month study comprised of interviews, surveys, research and analysis. Funded by a grant from the city to complete a portion of the City's Comprehensive Plan, the committee met with over 70 individuals to assess their views of the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for enriching the arts and cultural programs and activities in the community.

There are nine strategic initiatives designed to strengthen the already vibrant arts and cultural scene in Northfield. Committee chair, Jane McWilliams says "The committee believes that our recommendations will help the community take advantage of Northfield's current strengths, address the limitations and develop a long-term investment strategy for arts and cultural development."

In addition to the League Forum, the committee plans presentations to other community groups, including Northfield Rotary, Economic Development Authority and the Northfield Arts Guild Board.

Lt. Govenor Carol Molnau Visits Northfield

Current Lt. Govenor Carol Molnau visited Northfield today, stopping by the Bittersweet Eatery and KYMN to stump for Gov. Pawlenty and the Vote Yes transportation amendment.  Griff Wigley has pictures, links and lots more information.

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