Some news on the two Northfield-related citizen engagement projects that I’m working on:
Left: my photo of the NDDC’s Ross Currier, navigating icy sidewalks last week to distribute invitations to residents who live near downtown, inviting them to a residential stakeholders meeting this Thursday, 8 pm at the Northfield Public Library. Details here.
I’ve been a bit of a laggard here on LoGro lately. For years, I’ve had something new on the blog everyday but in the last month, I’ve only had a few new posts/week and have not been very active in the comment threads.
I’ve created a new blog called Engage Citizens as I’m shifting more of my Wigley and Associates consulting work to helping local units of government (state, cities, counties, townships, school districts) use online tools and services to—you guessed it—engage citizens.
At the Jan. 14, 2013 Northfield Board of Education meeting, 26 parents, students and community members spoke with concern about the proposed change to the school district calendar structure for 2013-14. The board voted unanimously to stop consideration of a more balanced calendar for the 2013-14 school year. They directed the administration to recommend a 2013-14 calendar in an upcoming meeting based on the traditional academic year with an after-Labor Day start. In addition, the board requested that administration develop a plan to more deeply engage our community in a discussion about what kind of academic calendar will most benefit students in the future.
Instead, I worked with the District to manage the online engagement for the Transformational Technology proposal which was approved by the Board on Feb. 12.
I’ve now been hired by the District to manage the online portion of a community discussion about school calendars.
And to top it off, my daughter Gilly was in a serious car accident in Minneapolis earlier this week so I’ve been making daily treks to the Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) all week. As of this morning, she’s doing much better: no apparent complications from a concussion and a lacerated liver, and she doesn’t have to have surgery for her fractured pelvis. She’s moving over to the adjacent Knapp Rehabilitation Center later today. If you know her, contact/follow her on Facebook.
Update 2/15: Gilly is now recovering at our house, camped in a bed in our living room (right photo)
Eric Larsen is a truly insane man. He came to Surly a while ago with a plan to ride a bike to the South Pole. From the edge of Antarctica directly into the heart of its warn chewy center, he will ride a Surly Moonlander, through 750 miles of ice, snow and the never-ending blaze of the sun…
He’s spent a great deal of time training and preparing for the trip. You can read all about his preparations, exploits, the specifics of each leg of his journey and even follow along with him here.
Lonnie Dupre is currently attempting the first solo ascent of Denali (Mt. McKinley) in January. See the One World Endeavors Expedition page for more. According to posts on the expedition Facebook page, he’s been restricted to his snow cave at 8,700 feet the past few days because of many feet of snow and high winds.
I told them to get their hair done for the meeting and that we’d also be practicing to use our index fingers for tablet use. As you can see from the photo, my coaching was more than marginally effective.
And like I blogged back in December about my contract with the City of Northfield, this contract will change the nature of my blogging here on LoGro about the School District, i.e., my relationships with the District’s leaders take priority over my public opinionating about them or the District. And I now have a conflict of interest when it comes to opinionating on District-related matters.
If I blog about anything related to the District or its leaders, the tone of my blog post will be along the lines of “Here’s something interesting. What do y’all think?” Essentially, my role will be more of a moderator. The opinionating (praise or criticism) will have to come from all of you.
I’m pretty excited about doing this, actually. I hope you Northfielders who follow things here on LoGro will participate there, not only to help create a downtown parking management plan but to help me and the City get better at managing public projects which need a significant amount of genuine citizen engagement.
Every fall at this time, the NAF accepts grant applications from area organizations. But this year there’s another option because at the August 21, 2012 Northfield City Council meeting, the Council approved a “fund administration service contract with the Northfield Area Foundation for soliciting and awarding grants for youth recreational activities from the Grace Whittier Fund…”
I noticed that Jim Spaulding was sporting a new hat last week. As co-owner, he’s created a division of the HideAway Coffeehouse & Winebar called Spaulding Sealcoating that also includes, according to the wording on the side of the van, crack repair, pot hole repair, and striping.
I’m not sure of the connection between coffee, wine, and sealcoating but I’m sure Jim can tell you.
Other Forzites [including Robbie] will be on hand to answer questions and demonstrate some of the tools of the trade. Look for them in their black Forza! t-shirts. Come see this beautiful mural, enjoy some healthy snacks and the company of some truly great people!
I’ve stopped the studio a few times in the past few weeks to take photos of her classes for her website. Here are a few:
Laura Baker Services Association (LBSA) now has a big fundraising board on Bridge Square. The light bulbs in the shape of a heart change from white to red as the "Inspiring Possibilities, Realizing Dreams" campaign gets closer to the goal of $1,300,000. They’re currently at about 82% there.
Jane Fenton, LBSA’s Director of Community Relations, and Paul Krause, fundraising consultant, were overseeing the high-tech installation process (take bulb out of box; screw it in; repeat as necessary) at around noon today.
What’s the plan?
Our goal is to construct two new cottages, just like Wright Cottage and to renovate Elwell and Baker Halls. Once the new cottages are built, the aged Margaret Graves Hall will be razed and a beautiful Recognition Garden created in its place.
More fundamentally, we are creating homes for our Oak Street clients, a place where they can dream and be inspired and where the staff can work with them in ways not possible today. To date, we have already completed the restoration and Elwell and Baker and now move forward to make the new cottages a reality. Please help make this dream come true, for our clients, for Laura Baker Services and for our entire community.
I’ve been working with veterinarian Dr. Rich Lorang and his wife Virginia Lorang to revamp the website for Countryside Animal Hospital & Kennels. The vet clinic and newly acquired kennel operation serve the cities of Dundas and Northfield as well as the surrounding Rice County area.
Ray Cox stopped by unannounced at my morning office at GBM yesterday morning to talk politics, business, and web stuff for NCC.
And then former Northfielder Steve Grove (Twitter acct link) barged in, all the way from his Manhattan office where he’s head of News and Politics for YouTube. He’s in town for a few days for a wedding.
Note to self: gray t-shirts are evidently the hip attire these days.
Almighty Lord God, who for the sin of man didst once drown all the world, except eight persons, and afterward of thy great mercy didst promise never to destroy it so again; We humbly beseech thee, that although we for our iniquities have worthily deserved a plague of rain and waters, yet upon our true repentance thou wilt send us such weather for the Taste of Northfield, that we may receive the fruits of the earth in due season; and learn both by thy punishment to amend our lives, and for thy clemency to give thee praise and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Among the Northfielders he interviewed: Chuck DeMann, Peggy Prowe, Sue Lloyd, Al Linder, Jim Johnson, and me.
Sue Lloyd was quoted: "How we’ve come to such extremes I don’t know… Are there middle [ground] people? I don’t know anymore."
Sue, we had a "middle ground" legislator not too long ago: Ray Cox, a moderate Republican by most measures. Back in 2007, Ray got a measly 26% score from the Taxpayers League, was at times branded at RINO by some in the GOP, and received the endorsement from the Star Tribune. Ray wrote in a Jan. 2008 blog post after he lost the special Senate election to Kevin Dahle:
In the recent Senate Special election I was honored to receive the endorsement of the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper. That meant a lot to me. The editors and writers there conducted a thorough review of my voting record. They conducted a comprehensive interview about current issues. While they were careful to keep partisan politics out of their discussion, the editors are well aware of the environment that the legislature must conduct its work. They noted my ability to work in a bipartisan manner on state issues in an attempt to resolve some of the more pressing concerns.
Northfield’s liberal voters rejected this moderate Republican and instead voted for Dahle in large numbers. Likewise, Cox was not enough of a social conservative for a large number of voters in the western part of the district and so they didn’t vote in large enough numbers to offset the liberal vote in Northfield.
Northfield’s liberals won the battle of 2008 but they lost the war in 2010 when the Republicans fielded much more conservative candidates in Al DeKruif and Kelby Woodard who were able to get out the D-25 conservative vote in big numbers.
So for 25B voters to now complain about extremes, partisanship, and gridlock seems a little disingenuous. Al and Kelby and the rest of the freshman Republicans know who and what got them there. Why compromise with Gov. Dayton until you have to?
It has a feature (page 40) by Felicia Crosby on the HideAway which is celebrating its 5th anniversary this month
Here’s the full text:
The pictures on the long hall of the HideAway say it all. Three large sepia-toned portraits of the Spaulding family – Jim, Joan and their six offspring – illustrate what makes the HideAway such an irresistible destination for a light meal, a glass of wine, or a mid-morning muffin. This very family business feels like home, and when you’re there you’re part of the family.
Occupying a light and bright space once part of Jacobsen’s Department Store, the HideAway boasts soaring tin ceilings, period moldings and fixtures, and tall windows that overlook busy Division Street. Walls are painted in warm shades of honey and saffron, the furniture is comfortable enough to curl up into, and the nook and cranny eating spaces create the most delightfully intimate places to talk, work and read. Celebrating its fifth birthday in May, the HideAway is convivial and unhurried, exuding a breezy welcome that makes it easy to fantasize about owning this little spot of gastronomic heaven; how hard could it be to own something so fun to be in?
This morning I got a call from one of my sources that Leif Knecht, co-owner of Knecht’s Nurseries and Landscaping, was going apeshit while celebrating his 60th birthday today. ‘Tis pretty much true, as you can see from the above photos of Leif dressed up as Elmer Fudd in his normal spring attire, but there’s more to the story.
He was actually just excited about the complementary Northern Red Oak trees that the boys from Bailey Nurseries in St. Paul, (L) Hans Ostergaard and (R) Dan Bailey, were making available to anyone who stops by today in honor of Leif’s BD.
If you get out there, grab some free coffee and a cupcake while you sign the big birthday card in the retail greenhouse. In the meantime, mouseover the ‘child of the ’60s’ card for a special message, given to Leif by one their long time employees, Heidi Brosseau.
I took a run out to Knecht’s Nurseries & Landscaping this morning to see if last night’s snowfall made for any interesting photos. I was not disappointed. I occasionally huddled inside one of the greenhouses to warm up and added 3 photos of things blooming.
Another of the stories in the book is about a guy named Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, who lives down in Northfield. He’s an entrepreneur, one of the founders of Peace Coffee, and a Guatemalan immigrant. He wondered what he could create to boost the prospects of immigrants in Northfield, and also show other people that immigrants aren’t taking something away from the community, they’re contributing something. What he came up with was a chicken co-op.
Everybody understands that local food is healthier for people and for the economy, but local food is also really expensive. Yet here are all these immigrants who were farmers back home, working in jobs that don’t use those skills. So he created this co-op where they raise delicious chickens that are less expensive than the local, organically raised chickens you find in the grocery store. The community benefits and the immigrants benefit. And it’s a cooperative, so there’s not a single owner; but it’s part of the market economy and it’s not getting government funds.
Nancy Johnson: If you designated the sidewalk on one side of Jefferson Parkway for cyclists, and the other side for pedestrians, it would be less safe for Bridgewater students who walk to school. If the north side was for cyclists, children from...
William Siemers: Paul…I like the link you provided: “Cyclists Should Never Be Fined”. The best idea in the article was that the ideal thoroughfare is two sidewalks next to a street, one for pedestrians and one for wheeled...
Griff Wigley: Paul, my apologies for the delay in replying. I’m going to use your comment for a new blog post. Soon!
Bright Spencer: I lived and worked in Chicago, Hyde Park, to be more precise, and I biked several times a week to my job. There I could use the street or sidewalk unimpeded, but there was very little vehicle or pedestrian traffic. It was great....
Paul Zorn: Long time no post on LoGroNo. But here is something to stir the bicycling pot, now that the weather might stay bike-conducive for a while. The author asserts, essentially, that rules written for “4000 pound” cars don’t...
Ross Currier: One of the comments on the downtown parking poll was that a useful step toward making Northfield more bike-friendly would be to implement the recommendations of the Non-Motorized Transportation Task Force. Griff, perhaps you could...
David Beimers: My take-away? We need to begin working immediately with the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota to form a Northfield area bicycle advisory committee so we can begin tackling a myriad of bike-related issues. I completely agree. I’m...
Bright Spencer: Thanks for those super photos, Angela. I really miss my former digs and this brought me back home for a moment.
Angela Lauterbach: How about some photos? I’ve got some for you! [img]http://locallygrownnorthf ield.org/wp-content/uploads/20 13/05/IMG_20130502_085009.jpg[ /img] [img]http://locallygrownnorthf ield.org/wp-content/uploads...
Griff Wigley: The video of last night’s school calendar panel discussion is now up; blog comment thread now open thru Apr 30.
Griff Wigley: I’m putting on my consulting hat again this week and inviting y’all to this panel discussion video conference/live chat/blog discussion thread on the school calendar scheduled for this Wed, April 24, 8 pm.
Griff Wigley: Also in yesterday’s Northfield News, reporter Ashley Klemer (@AshleyKlemer) has an article titled Northfield Public Schools holds second school calendar meeting. You can comment on my Calendar Conversation blog post about the article...
Griff Wigley: The Draft Report on the Downtown Parking Conversation is now up. blog comment thread now open thru May 3.
Griff Wigley: In yesterday’s Northfield News, reporter Kaitlyn Walsh (@NFNKaitlyn) has an article titled Downtown Northfield parking conversation nears its end. You can comment on my Downtown Parking blog post about the article here.
Griff Wigley: Do you live downtown? Do you live near downtown? Then you’re invited to a meeting to discuss parking issues, Mar. 28, 8 pm at the library. Details here.
kiffi summa: One only has to see how LG has been dormant in recent days/weeks to see how much energy it has to absorb to keep ‘alive’ , and how much of that energy has to be primed by its moderator. But it is sad to see how this forum...
Griff Wigley: Thank you, Bill. It’s not over yet and I have no idea what’ll happen next.
Griff Wigley: Thanks for digging that up, Curt. Very strange.
Curt Benson: The Minnesota Secretary of State website says the name was registered by Gehring in December, 2012: http://mblsportal.sos.state.mn .us/Business/SearchDetails?fil ingGuid=475f479d-c443-e211-bc4 3-001ec94ffe7f
Griff Wigley: Just an FYI to those inquiring: Dick Heibel doesn’t check this blog, he does not have email that I know of, and his web page is no longer working. You’ll have to phone him. I’m not sure if this number is current but...
Mary-Lynn Wigodsky: Hello Mr. Heibel, I would love to have my small snow globe repaired. It has a small figurine that is broken in just two places. The base looks solid. We had it in our home growing up in the 50′s -but it may be older than...
Griff Wigley: Arlen, I actually didn’t mention or link to a realtor in my blog post or comments. I just linked to the MLS listing for the two houses I spotted on Nevada.
Arlen Malecha: Griff – As a Realtor I am glad to see you helping promote homes for sale within the Northfield community. However, I think it is prudent to advance the local realty websites such as www.coldwellbankernorthfield.c om vs the one...
Jesse Steed: Hello Teresa, I’m a Realtor with Edina Realty based in Northfield. If there’s anything I can do to help, please let me know. My office number is 507-645-1179.
Jesse Steed: Thanks for posting my listing! Here’s a link to 410 Nevada that includes the virtual tour (an audio tour of the home’s history) performed by the seller himself! http://www.edinarealty.com/jes se-steed-realtor/homes-for-...
Teresa Jensen: Thanks, Bill; it looks like a lovely home, but my home search is limited to Northfield city limits. Thanks, too, Griff, for the Nevada house links– I will check out in person when I arrive in May!
Griff Wigley: In today’s Strib: Wooddale Avenue’s pioneering bike lanes in Edina look doomed The street that has baffled Edinans since it was re-striped last fall may get an easier-to-understand painting fix this spring. Wooddale...
Griff Wigley: Kiffi, I don’t know that it would be practical to try to launch a Northfield Bike Task Force, a Dundas Bike Task Force, a Rice County Bike Task Force, a Bridgewater Township Bike Task Force, etc. Maybe at some point those...
Griff Wigley: David, I don’t think the primary purpose of a regional bike council would be to secure taxpayer money for bike projects/infrastructure. It would be to study, recommend, plan, guide, educate, collaborate, etc.
Griff Wigley: Mary, the trend among hyperlocal online news entities seems to be heading towards the non-profit membership model where you get extra benefits (see, MinnPost members, Texas Tribune members). I’m not sure Northfield is big...
Mary Schier: Patch (AOL) is under intense pressure from shareholders to make a profit this year. It’s had a hiring freeze for some time and with fewer people, it has been going to more regional coverage. This works OK (not great, but OK) in...
kiffi summa: Agreed …I’m about to unsubscribe. There’s also a tinge of sensationalism, instead of serious news updates; for example: what’s with the story of the death of a 26 year old Lonsdale woman ‘above the...
Griff Wigley: I agree, Jane. And they seem to be over-reaching to make the connection to Northfield on some stories, eg: Northfield State Sen. Dave Thompson Mulling Run for Governor. Next up: Dundas State Sen. Kevin Dahle?
Jane McWilliams: My observation is that there is no local reporting . . . just as I feared!
Donna Volkmann: I see this forum is pretty old from 2008. Does anyone know if there are any homeschool co-ops in Northfield for social interaction? I see there are many in the cities but can’t seem to find any in Northfield. Also, do you...
Griff Wigley: Nfld News: Northfield orders new street signs to fix misspellings “Nineth” Street in Northfield will soon be back to Ninth Street. City staff recently ordered new sign blades from the city’s vendor to fix the...
Griff Wigley: Today’s Nfld News: Proposed bill would take Northfield public meetings discussion online Minnesota Newspaper Association attorney Mark Anfinson said it’s “entirely sensible” to update existing law to reflect the advantages that...
kiffi summa: another tragedy: in a middle school outside Detroit, amidst 800 students,a popular, non-bullied 14year old shoots himself in the head, fatally, with a 40 caliber Glock pistol…. School had no metal detectors; staff said he was...
kiffi summa: Maybe I’m just too saddened by this story now, david… but I don’t think so… I have long thought that a total overhaul of our correctional system , with its many abuses, needs to be done… but that does not...
David Henson: Kiffi, funny how we always see these stories differently. The USA has over 1 million people enslaved in our prison system. The criminal justice system is a sham. Corrections is big big business (some great stocks if you have the...