Events in and around Northfield

Volunteering is faith in action

A match made in heaven---literally! Service towards one another is at the root of many faith-based organizations. At the local, national or global levels, people are called to put their faith into action by volunteering their time and talents. When the passions and abilities of the people intersect with the needs of those around them, then it truly is a piece of heaven on earth!

It is hard to estimate the power of a community of believers who unite together to make life richer for someone else. The acts of kindness and generosity that they demonstrate not only inspires others to get involved, but also offers hope to those in need. It is not long before those doing the service recognize that their faith has also been increased and their lives enriched along the way.

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me"


Former Sen. Mark Dayton to appear at Carleton Friday

Former United States Senator Mark Dayton will speak at Carleton College’s Skinner Memorial Chapel on Friday, April 20 at 3:45 p.m.

The focus of Dayton's address will be the war in Iraq. Dayton's appearance is free and open to the public. Dayton, Minnesota’s United States Senator from 2001-07, graduated cum laude from Yale University in 1969.

A member of the same fraternity as current President George W. Bush, he was one of only 23 senators to vote against the use of force in Iraq. During his time in the Senate, Dayton was a strong proponent of biofuels and other renewable energy sources. He made several diplomatic visits to China as well. He chose not to run for re-election in November 2006; Amy Klobuchar, another progressive member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) party, captured Dayton’s seat. Dayton also served as a legislative assistant to Walter Mondale and was Minnesota’s state auditor from 1991-95.

Dayton’s visit is co-sponsored by the Carleton Progressive, a student-run political journal, and the St. Olaf College Democrats. For more information, contact Carleton's office of media relations at (507) 646-4184.

Great Northfield, Minnesota Book Raid starts Tuesday

The Great Northfield, Minnesota Book Raid, the Northfield Hospital Auxiliary’s 46th annual book sale, will be Tuesday, April 24 to Saturday, April 28, at the Northfield Ice Arena, South Highway 3, Northfield.

Sale hours will be 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, April 24; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, April 25-April 27; and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 28.

Thousands of good used books collected from Northfield readers by auxiliary members and the general public during the year will be sold at low, low prices. Shoppers can find everything from children’s books and cookbooks to classics and paperbacks. There are even collectors’ editions for sale. Shoppers will also find videos and books on tape.

Friday will be half-price day. All books will be sold at 50 percent off. Saturday will be Bag Day. Books will be sold for $4 a bag in the morning and will be free after lunch.

The sale is the hospital auxiliary’s largest fundraiser of the year. Almost  $350,000 has been raised for hospital and community projects over the years.

Join the CSL for a weekend of Permaculture

Permaculture Research Institute

This weekend, April 20-21, The Center for Sustainable Living will be hosting a Permaculture Film Festival and an Intro to Permaculture Workshop. The Film Festival on Friday is FREE, and will be held at St. Olaf College. The CSL will also be taking last minute registrations for the Introduction to Permaculture Workshop at the Film Festival! The cost for the all-day Saturday workshop is $75 for individuals, $40 for Students/Seniors, and a $95 Couple's Rate. A sliding fee is also available, as the CSL does not wish to turn anyone away for financial reasons who may still be interested in the workshop!

Here are the details: Permaculture Film Festival - Friday, April 20, 6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. Co-sponsored by the St. Olaf Environmental Coalition Room 515, Rolvaag Memorial Library St. Olaf College (Campus Map) FREE and open to the public . Introduction to Permaculture Class - Saturday, April 21, 9am - 5pm Conference Room, 801 Hwy 3 North (office building across from Dairy Queen - formerly Sheldahl) Northfield, MN. Registration is Required - $75 per person, $40 students/seniors, $95 "couples" rate. We will be taking registrations for the workshop both at the Film Festival, and in the morning immediately before the workshop!

International Cultural heritage specialist to speak at Carleton Friday

Fine arts and cultural heritage consultant Stuart Gibson will present a convocation entitled “A Cultural Ambassador in the Context of Global Citizenship" Friday, April 20 at 10:50 a.m. in the Carleton College Skinner Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

Gibson specializes in assisting cultural organizations and governments during periods of economic and political transition, focusing on saving national treasures. Says Gibson, "During periods of social crisis, culture is frequently marginalized as inconsequential. Nevertheless, it can play a vital role in promoting stability during difficult economic and political transitions.” Gibson’s convocation speech will address cultural diplomacy as a tool in overcoming economic and political isolation, using the Middle East and the former Soviet Union as primary examples.

Why volunteer at school?

Editor's note: as part of National Volunteer Week, we're running stories each day this week on the theme of volunteering from our friends at 5th Bridge.

Volunteerism is an investment in education. Consider the contributions and returns. When parents volunteer in their child’s school they send an important message that says that school is important and they are here to support their child in educational pursuit.

By working in the classroom or volunteering at special events, parents make important connections to the teachers, administration and staff. Being informed and aware of what is happening in the school improves communication and decision-making.

By volunteering in the school, parents meet other parents and a network of support and friendship develops. With increasing class sizes, the help of volunteers allow for the teacher to spend more time meeting the individual needs of each child. Tight budgets and shortages of materials can be alleviated with the aid of volunteers.

Are you a stay-at-home parent?

Editor's note: as part of National Volunteer Week, we'll be running stories each day this week on the theme of volunteering from our friends at 5th Bridge.

You love that you have the opportunity to stay at home and raise your children but sometimes, you feel like your vocabulary has degraded to that of a three year old and you long for stimulating adult conversation.

If you can relate to that statement, then please consider this idea. Volunteer! Volunteering can provide you with the adult companionship and intellectual stimulation that you crave. It can also help you to maintain your employability by keeping your skills sharp, providing a forum to learning new skills and creating networking opportunities.

Can’t afford a babysitter so you can volunteer? Perhaps you could form an informal babysitting coop with a few like-minded parents and take turns watching the kids while the others go out and volunteer. 5th Bridge can help by giving you ideas to get started.

School Safety conference Wednesday at St. Olaf

Editor's note: This conference was scheduled well before Monday's shooting incident at Virginia Tech.

On Wednesday, Hawkeye-Security Insurance™, a member of Liberty Mutual Group, is bringing Minnesota school officials together to learn how to improve their students’ and schools’ safety. From bullying and classroom violence to sexual abuse prevention, Michael Dorn, founder of Safe Havens International™, and specialists with Childhelp’s Good Touch-Bad Touch®, will conduct free presentations on these topics at St. Olaf College from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There will be a news conference at 11:30 a.m. at Buntrock Commons, in the Heritage Room, 2nd Floor.

Local poets to read at Monkey See, Monkey Read

To celebrate National Poetry Month, a group of poets featured in Where One Voice Ends Another Begins: 150 Years of Minnesota Poetry will read their work at Monkey See, Monkey Read.

Thursday, April 19 at 7 p.m. – Monkey See, Monkey Read
425 Division Street, Northfield / 507-645-6700
Readers include: James Armstrong, Jim Heynen, Ed Bok Lee, and Mai Neng Moua with editor Robert Hedin as emcee.

Poets James Armstrong, Jim Heynen, Ed Bok Lee, and Mai Neng Moua will take the floor with anthology editor Robert Hedin for an evening of musing, merrymaking, and Minnesota memories. Listen to the poets give voice to their work, learn how they have influenced and have been influenced by our great state, and meet the writers up close during the book signing to follow.

New to Town?

Editor's note: as part of National Volunteer Week, we'll be running stories each day this week on the theme of volunteering from our friends at 5th Bridge.

Are you new to Northfield? Are you wondering how you can connect with people, make new friends, and begin to make Northfield feel like home?

Try volunteering! Volunteering is a great way to meet a diverse group of people, with compatible interests and values. 5th Bridge can help by informing you of current volunteer opportunities and providing creative ideas for you to use your own unique gifts and talents. In no time at all, you too, will walk through the grocery store or coffee shop and run into people you know.

Visit for more information.

Tim Jackson is on the advisory board of 5th Bridge. 

HealthFinders to host "A Grand Gala" April 27

HealthFinders Collaborative seeks auction items for fundraiser!

HealthFinders Collaborative, a local grassroots organization dedicated to providing healthcare services for the under- and uninsured residents of Rice County, will be having its fourth annual fundraiser - "A Grand Gala" - on Friday, April 27.  The event will be held at The Grand of Northfield with doors opening at 6pm and dinner served at 7pm.  The evening will include a catered dinner, silent auction, new game of chance, and live music provided by The Over and Back Band.

Since opening clinic doors in June of 2005, HealthFinders has seen over 900 patients and assured that hundreds receive the prescription drugs they need through a drug fund. This exciting community collaborative has greatly affected the communal health of Rice County. Volunteers hail from Northfield, Faribault, local congregations, local hospitals and clinics, and Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges.

If you'd like to help HealthFinders in its quest to ensure every resident of Rice County has access to quality healthcare, there are a number of ways you can help. A huge part of the annual fundraiser is an auction, and everything from a cottage in France for a week to a $10 gift certificate has been auctioned off. Jewelry, artwork, lefse-making lessons, unicycle lessons, and hot-air balloon rides have been included as well - nothing is out of bounds! Professors have donated books they have written, accompanied with a "lunch with the author," and many citizens have utilized their unique talents and abilities to offer creative auction items. This is a wonderful way to get involved in your community! Another way to help is to come to the event on the 27th. You can reserve tickets ($30) by going to and clicking on the gala announcement.

Carleton President Emeritus Lewis to speak Wednesday

Carleton College President Emeritus and professor of economics Stephen R. Lewis Jr. will appear Wednesday, April 18, at 4:30 p.m. in Carleton’s Gould Library Athenaeum.

Lewis will discuss the memoirs of former president of Botswana Quett Ketumile Joni Masire, titled Very Brave or Very Foolish? Memoirs of an African Democrat, and edited by Lewis. The talk, which will be followed by a booksigning and reception, is free and open to the public.

Lewis and Masire have been friends and colleagues for over 30 years. At a banquet in honor of Masire’s retirement in 1998, Lewis asked him if he was planning to write his memoirs. “He said ‘I will if you help me,’” Lewis recalled. “I readily agreed.” Very Brave or Very Foolish? Memoirs of an African Democrat (MacMillan, 2006) chronicles the evolution of Botswana’s uniquely successful political and economic development.

St. Olaf to hold Global Citizenship lecture Thursday

Fine arts and cultural consultant Stuart Gibson will be on campus Thursday, April 19, to speak about the important role of culture and the fine arts in promoting stability during difficult economic and political transitions. He will deliver his talk, "A Cultural Ambassador in the Context of Global Citizenship," at 4 p.m. in Viking Theater. This event is free and open to the public.

Gibson specializes in helping government and nonprofit organizations, such as museums, preserve and strengthen national cultural heritage during volatile times. He has contributed his unique services and skills in central Asia, eastern Europe, China and the Middle East. He also has worked with western European and North American cultural organizations to enhance management skills.

Written by Elizabeth Child 

To read more about Gibson visit the St. Olaf website

YMCA Healthy Kids Day was a success!

I think I speak for many when I say that today's YMCA Healthy Kids Day was a complete success.  Even as I, a 21 year old college student, walked around snapping pictures I felt a rush of excitement.  This shared excitement buzzed through the gym as parents and children visited booth after booth.

With families slowly starting to meander in right at 8am and stragglers hanging around until the last minutes, the day was filled with friendly people.  What kept people’s attention for so long?  Well, there were nearly 40 sponsors that filled the Northfield Middle School inside and out.  Each booth had a different aspect of healthy living to teach and of course free goodies to give.  With a helicopter landing in the opening minutes, the excitement didn’t fade until prizes were drawn at the end.

Melanoma Walk in Northfield April 28 received an email yeserday from Barb Foster about an upcoming event to raise money and awareness in the fight against melanoma. The event is a three-mile walk at Carleton College Arboretum on April 28, 2007 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Here's her note:

I'd love to tell you about an event we are hosting in Northfield. I have attached a letter with details as well as a flyer for our event. It is to bring Melanoma Awareness to the Northfield community and to remember my twin sister who passed away last year from Melanoma, Brenda Gilbertson.

The letter asks that you please register for the event on the Melanoma International website at by April 20th. Click the attached PDFs for full details.

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