Category Archives: Clients (Griff’s)

A client of Wigley and Associates

New snafu for sidewalk dining with alcohol. AAARRRGGGHHH!!! (Ross was right)


After recording yesterday’s podcast at KYMN, Ross, Tracy and I sauntered down Division to the HideAway Coffeehouse and Winebar to be among the first to imbibe alcohol on the sidewalk, courtesy of the City’s new sidewalk dining ordinance.

Jim and Joan Spaulding’s establishment was the first in town to complete the required paperwork, and set up tables and chairs with the proper boundary. They began serving alcoholic beverages last weekend.

Alas, we were told by one of the HideAway’s staff that Northfield City staff told them on Monday they had to stop. Some sort of approval was required by the City Council. Huh?

I phoned Joan this morning to confirm. She said was contacted by the City of Northfield’s Housing and Redevelopment Division staff person Michele Merxbauer on Monday and told that the City Council had to approve the deal before they could begin serving. She appealed to Community Development Director Brian O’Connell, to no avail. It was too late to get it on the Council agenda for Monday’s meeting, so they’d have to wait another two weeks till the next Council meeting.

The Spaulding’s busted their butts to get this in place for today’s Crazy Daze, so naturally, they’re angry. I’m angry that Brian and Michelle did not inform me or Ross (with his NDDC hat on) about this since we’ve worked on this for over two years. Nothing about this approval-of-each-applicant-by-the-Council requirement was mentioned when the ordinance was approved (May 19 minutes) nor when the fees were approved at the July 7 meeting (agenda packet p. 31). The Northfield municipal code has not yet been updated as per the Council’s directive:


The March 17 version of the Temporary Expansion of Licensed Premises ordinance (PDF) has language that could be interpreted to meant that the Council has to approve every single application but I’m guessing that the Councilors had no idea that they’d have to do this… and that it would add at least two weeks to the process for a business owner. If I’d known, I’d have lobbied to have the language changed. It’s a Mickey Mouse requirement for businesses that already have gotten approval for their liquor licenses. City staff should be able to make the decision.

And worst of all, I have to eat crow. Ross was right.

Finally, let us remember that this process continues. We should follow the implementation, gather feedback from the businesses affected by the new ordinance, note the anticipated “sunrise” that follows the “sunset” of this ordinance next Spring, and be alert to any additional ordinances that may be proposed to change the way that the private sector may share the public space. Our work is never done.

NDDC and Contented Cow team up to launch 1st Annual JuneBug Festival of Music

JuneBug Ross CurrierSince Taste of Northfield has turned out to be a huge hit for downtown, LoGroNo co-host Ross Currier, with his NDDC hat on, must figure he’s got the magic touch.

He’s throwing the entire weight of the NDDC (see his blog post here) behind Northfield’s First Annual JuneBug Festival of Music in hopes that it becomes another signature event for downtown Northfield.

This first year, Norman Butler and Julie Bixby at the Contented Cow have bellied up to the bar taken the lead to put it on. The website for the event is to encourage other Northfield entertainment establishments to participate next year.

Hey, if Austin, Texas can have South By Southwest, why not something similar for Northfield?

Leigh and Charles JohnsonJuneBug mobile stage JuneBug mobile stage 

Brothers Leigh and Charles Johnson (Built by Johnson) have constructed a mobile stage in the parking lot between the Cow’s riverfront patio and the Riverwalk.  It was tested last Saturday and found to be more than acceptable.

The current music line-up for the three-day fest:

Thursday, June 26

  • Marty Anderson and the Goods
  • RCAs

Friday, June 27

Saturday, June 28

Podcast: Ray Cox on the transportation plan

Ross Currier and Ray Cox Map: Northfield Industrial Corporation (NIC) Transportation Task Force Cover - Northfield Industrial Corporation (NIC) Transportation Task Force

Ross’ brother-in-law (AKA Ray Cox) was our guest yesterday, talking all-things transportation.

Ray was a member of the Northfield Industrial Corporation (NIC) Transportation Task Force back in July, 2000 when they created a report titled A Recommendation for Improvements in Safety, Access, and Quality of Life Issues for Northfield Transportation.

I have the original document and plan to scan it into a PDF that I’ll post here later this week.

Update 2/23: Here’s the 24-page scanned PDF of the NIC report:

Cover - Northfield Industrial Corporation (NIC) Transportation Task Force

Click play to listen. 30 minutes.

Our radio show/podcast, Locally Grown, usually airs Wednesdays at 5:30 PM on KYMN 1080 AM. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe with iTunes. We seek your comments and suggestions.

Photos: Peter Diggins at the Rueb for ArtOrg’s Winter Concert Series

Winter Concert Seriessizzling eggheads poster Dave Machecek
Mr. ArtOrg, Dave Machecek (right), has put together a 12-week Winter Concert Series that began in mid-January and continues into April.

Last night’s performance was at the Upstairs Rueb and featured local guitarist Peter Diggins “with one of his projects from the late 80’s and early 90’s, the Sizzling Eggheads.” See Dave’s blog post on for more on Peter and the group.

Sizzling Eggheads Jim Anton Peter Diggins George Marich

Bassist Jim Anton, lead guitarist and vocalist Peter Diggins, drummer George Marich.

Rueb crowdRueb crowdRuth Sylte, Kari Alberg, Susan Crow Metz

Misc. audience members, babes, groupies. On the right (belonging to one of those aforementioned categories, I won’t say which): Ruth Sylte, Kari Alberg, Susan Crow.

Podcast: Norman Butler and Dave Hvistendahl on building codes

Norman Butler, Dave Hvistendahl, Tracy Davis Downtown historic building owners and proprietors Norman Butler (Contented Cow, Chapati) and Dave Hvistendahl (Froggy Bottoms) were the guests on our show this week.

The topic: building codes. Tracy Davis was the sole host, abandoned by Ross (work) and me (moving). She was marginally adequate.

Northfield News reporter Suzi Rook wrote an article on this issue last week titled Code Blue.

(Inserted by Tracy: In my marginal adequacy, I did manage rustle up the information we discussed on the show, the 2007 Minnesota State Fire Code , the 2007 Minnesota State Building Code (large file – 4MB), and the Minnesota Conservation Code for Existing Buildings. More information, including memos sent to building officials, are posted on the State website. )

Click play to listen. 30 minutes.

Our radio show/podcast, Locally Grown, usually airs Wednesdays live at 5:30 PM on KYMN 1080 AM. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe with iTunes. We seek your comments and suggestions

Leif Knecht re-elected to Bridgewater Board of Supervisors

I just spoke by phone (10:38 pm) with Deb Knecht who relayed the results of tonight’s Bridgewater Township Board of Supervisor elections after a phone call from her husband Leif:

Leif Knecht: 346
Jerry Anderson: 95
Write-ins: 2

Le Ann Finger was re-elected Treasurer with 382 votes.

P1010021.JPG P1010019.JPG P1010020.JPG
I took these photos of Leif a couple years ago and I’ve been waiting for a good time to use them. I can imagine him making these faces while watching the returns come in tonight. And then when the totals were announced (click photos to enlarge):