Category Archives: Colleges

A Green Roof Over Our LID

Green Roof.jpgAs you know from recent blogs by both Tracy and me, Northfield is looking at Low Impact Development. There are a number of emerging technologies that can help protect our streams, rivers and lakes but one that is getting a lot of attention right now is the Green Roof.

Fortunately, we don’t have to visit exotic places like the east coast, the west coast or Minneapolis to learn more about this new approach to handling the rain on the top of our buildings, Carleton College has already conducted an experiment and built a model.

Carleton’s green roof is the first student-designed and built green roof in the state of Minnesota. It is also the first green roof project to use only plant species native to Minnesota. The roof is next to Mudd Hall between Mudd and Olin Halls.

If you’d like to learn more about the details of a green roof, you’re in luck. RENew Northfield is hosting a workshop on “Greener Roofing Alternatives” Saturday, November 18th from 1 pm to 3 pm at the Northfield Public Library. For more information on the workshop, which is free and open to the public, see the blog on their website.

Southgate Cinema and St. Olaf College announce strategic partnership

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Southgate Cinema and St. Olaf College today announced a strategic partnership for next year’s Spelling Bee competition for the Friends of Northfield Public Library. Under the terms of the agreement, this year’s winning faculty team of Paul Zorn, Maggie Odell, and Roz Eaton-Neeb will take a leave of absence from their positions at the college in order to devote all their energies to the theater.

Attorney Lance Heisler, speaking on behalf of Southgate, said the theater recognizes their chronic problems with the spelling of the movies on their marquee at the intersection of Hwy 3 and Woodley. “It’s become an embarrassment to them and they decided that this was an opportunity for them to address the situation. The team will be paid a considerable sum of money for their appearance, as well as placing the letters on the marquee throughout the year, but the theater believes it will be money well spent.”

Amy Gage, director of communications for the college, expressed dismay over this unexpected development. “We’re usually supportive of staff and faculty who want to contribute to the community. But we feel this is a pusillanimous decision on their part. We tried to talk the team out of it but they were adamant and we had to choice but to approve it, given their celebrity status now on campus and throughout the Northfield area. This may make us rethink our support for such activities in the future. You can be assured that President David Anderson will raise this issue at next week’s NDDC downtown forum.”

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At least one local church has taken sides in the debate. Emmaus Baptist is allowing the Ole team to use its church sign for practice. “I can’t spell my way out of paper bag,” said Pastor Will Healy. “These people have a skill that can take them far beyond, career-wise, whatever their pedestrian-level responsibilities might currently be at St. Olaf. If we can help them realize their full potential, we believe its consistent with our mission to do so.”

[Author’s note: Curt Benson at Fab Lab contributed research to this story.]

Just Food, Northfield Mercantile Receive National Notice

We know that Carleton and St. Olaf are well known beyond the confines of Northfield, as is Malt-O-Meal. But in the current issue of the Mother Earth News, two smaller local businesses are also garnering national attention. In an article entitled, “Twelve Great Places You’ve Never Heard Of”, Northfield is found with this description:
Continue reading Just Food, Northfield Mercantile Receive National Notice

EDA to study fiber for Northfield’s economic development diet

IMG_4038w800.jpgAt this morning’s EDA meeting at City Hall, members had this item on their agenda (see page 6 of the packet pdf on the Sept. 28 meeting page): “The EDA will review the draft agenda and purpose of the fiber network task force meeting.” Carleton’s Joel Cooper was invited to the table to give an overview. And I was allowed to contribute a couple of comments. I reiterated the points I made in my Lack of fiber in Northfield’s economic diet blog post about this two weeks ago about “Attracting and retaining talent,” especially college students who’ve graduated; and the City of Burnsville’s push for fiber as a means of supporting/developing their medical technology industry. So I’m thrilled with this development and delighted that Locally Grown’s own Tracy Davis is leading the initial charge. You rock, Tracy!

L to R in the photo (click to enlarge): Tracy Davis, Dixon Bond, Joel Cooper, Rick Estenson, Mark Moors, Galen Malecha, Deanna Kuennen.


Click to play. 30 minutes.

Lack of fiber in Northfield’s economic diet

joel_cooper_krlx.jpgBack in April, we did a show on Northfield’s ultra high-speed broadband infrastructure with guest, Joel Cooper, Carleton’s Director of Information Technology Services. I think we should do another one, as municipal constipation may be setting in.

Earlier this week in the the Strib: College debuts Internet so fast, it almost gives you whiplash

Preparing for increased convergence of technology and media, Century College in White Bear Lake opened a new technology center featuring lightning-fast connections… He said the school developed the Kopp Center over the past five years with the idea that television will eventually be Internet-based and that as the Internet expands there will be more desktop video, more Internet TV, more bi-directional education, and so on.

There was also a Strib article in July that included info on fiber/ultra high speed: Should cities play role in providing Internet?

sBurnsville wants to make sure inadequate, high-cost Internet doesn’t slow growth, said Council Member Dan Gustafson. “We’re very focused on the medical technologies in Burnsville, and fiber is going to be very important for that industry.”

fiber.gifApple announced its TV/movie distribution service this week (BW article) following a similar Amazon announcement recently.

So what does all this mean? I think it means that the City of Northfield should examine more closely how ultra high-speed broadband infrastructure can help it achieve two of the three main strategies that are laid out in the recently approved 2006 economic development plan:

  • 1) Diversifying Northfield’s economic base
    The targeted industries include medical: “Healthcare/medical. Industry activities range from direct patient care to diagnostic services to medical research.” If Burnsville sees the need for fiber for its medical technology industry, shouldn’t Northfield?

  • 3) Attracting and retaining talent
    Isn’t it likely that the college students we want to retain and others we want to attract would be enticed in part by the benefits offered by our fiber infrastructure? In the Dallas suburb of Keller, in Tampa, and in Huntington Beach, California, Verizon is rolling out FTTP (fiber-to-the-premises) for local customers “… as it can make applications like video chat and conferencing, digital movie downloads, and interactive multi-player games a part of their daily lives.” See Verizon’s FIOS website for more.

It’s time Northfield got serious about these developments. (Blandin is having a conference in October: Next Generation Broadband. City officials should attend.) Nothing has happened with city-wide wi-fi since the NDDC held a forum on it many months ago and I fear nothing is going to happen with fiber. (Yes, I’d like to see fiber brought to Northfield Crossing since I’m going to be living there next spring. Plus, I think it would help them sell more condos in this current real estate downturn.)

I plan to visit an upcoming EDA meeting and make my sentiments known. In the meantime, make your sentiments about this issue known by attaching comments here.