Category Archives: People

A thank-you note to Northfield from America in Bloom judge Bruce Riggs

I ran into Bruce Riggs at the GBM yesterday. He’s one of the two America in Bloom (AIB) judges who visted Northfield this week. He was checking his email, getting ready to depart for the airport, so I showed him the photo album of the kidnapping I took on Tuesday, as well as the blog post of the breakfast on Monday. He sent me this email this aft:

Bruce Riggs Pat Bones and I want to thank everyone for all you did to make us feel so welcome in your community.  We learned so much and met so many positive people.  Everyone should be proud of the work that has been done.  We especially want to thank everyone on the America in Bloom Committee.  Their efforts (combined with a lot of others) have helped make the community even better.  We also want to express our thanks to everyone for taking so much time to be with us.  Our meetings, meals and tours were enlightening and enjoyable and hopefully those who attended benefited as well.

Bruce Riggs  AIB judge 2008

PS: the fishing was great!!  Special thanks to Pat, Sean & Dave Allen and Lee Lansing for arranging it for me.

Salon snazzes up city

Photo: Bonnie Obremski/RepJNorthfield

The owners of the new “a.renee salon” on Clinton Lane off Route 3 hosted hundreds of beauty-seekers on Thursday evening during its grand opening luau, with a few attendees even arriving in an ebony limousine.

Business partners Amanda Renee Mulligan of Apple Valley and Kim Swanson of Burnsville first opened the business in June. Swanson said during Thursday’s celebration the business offers services and an atmosphere arguably found nowhere else in Minnesota.

The salon’s two European Touch Murano pedicure spa chairs, for example, are likely the only ones of their kind for miles around, Swanson said. The chairs cost about $12,000 each according to Internet sales Web sites.

“We had some trouble getting them to meet building code,” Swanson said of the chairs, smiling on the salon’s rear patio.

Apparently, the luxurious footbaths at the bases of the chairs had fallen into the category of “wading pools,” which could present a drowning hazard for small children, Swanson said.

More than one lei-wearing party guest seemed to look forward to drowning daily worries while reclining in the chairs. Lina Schultz of Farmington, for example, said she planned to schedule a pedicure at the salon soon.

“This salon seems more elaborate and makes me feel like I would be more pampered than others I’ve been to,” Schultz said beside the “nail bar,” which is a manicure station next to the pedicure chairs designed to look like a martini bar.

Photo: Bonnie Obremski/RepJNorthfield; Caption: Lina Schultz examines a glass maraschino cherry in a decorative martini glass at the salon’s nail bar.
Swanson said he believes Northfield’s market is prime for supporting the new business. And, the salon is simultaneously lending a hand to other local entrepreneurs. Artist Barb Matz for one is displaying work there. One of her sculptures of a woman stands in a window facing the entrance sign with her hand raised in seeming triumph.

“It shows how my dream has come true,” Mulligan said of the figure.

For Discussion:

During our conversation, Mr. Swanson wondered aloud why higher-end restaurants in the Northfield area seem to come and go on a regular basis. Is there truly a demand in Northfield for cutting-edge cuisine? Or, for that matter, for a salon that offers (among many other things) a permanent lip make-up service priced at $525?

Photo: Bonnie Obremski/RepJNorthfield Caption: Alisa McCusker of Cannon Falls peruses jewelry sold at the salon.

Changing Gears in Northfield

I got this email yesterday from Joe Pahr, Advisor and Social Studies Specialist at ARTech:

Today I met Andy Davis of Changing Gears.  He and his fiancee, Melissa, had stopped at Blue Monday on their way from Bloomington, Indiana to San Francisco by bicycle.  Along the way they are filming a documentary about communities and organizations that are working towards sustainable living practices.  We had quite a discussion about what is happening in Northfield…

Tomorrow, Wednesday, I am meeting them at ARTech to do an interview about the school’s solar project.  At least one of the students involved in the project will be there.  You are welcome to join us.  Andy and Melissa will be in town at least until tomorrow afternoon.  Also, I pointed out Griff’s table at Blue Monday and told them to introduce themselves. On a related note, this morning I met Anders Forselius who is cycling around the world from his native Sweden.  His website is  He hopes to be in Beijing for the Summer Olympics. All roads truly lead to Northfield.

Andy Davis and Melissa of Changing Gears

Andy and Melissa did stop by my corner office at GBM this morning. We chatted about Northfield’s civic blogosphere and citizen engagement… and our mutual history with Utne Salons.

I’m hoping they stick around till this afternoon to catch our podcast recording session and maybe a beer at the Cow afterwards.

They blogged the first day of their visit to Northfield. I expect they’ll have another post in a day or two.’

11:30am update: Andy and Melissa stayed in Bruce Anderson’s backyard last night. Bruce blogged them.

Plainclothes officers in really plain clothes

Suzette Taylor, Mark Taylor, Michelle Murphy, Mark Murphy As a blogger bound by a code of ethics, I’m not at liberty to identify the men in this photo.

However, according to my sources, the babes accompanying them are named Suzette and Michelle, so marginally clueless readers might be able to figure it out.

And while researching this story, I was reminded of the difference in the clothing worn by plainclothes officers vs. undercover officers.

Regardless, somebody puuuuhlease buy those guys makeover gift certificates at Rare Pair.

Larry ‘bad boy’ Fowler scores in downtown Dundas

I was bicycling through Dundas tonight when Chip deMann introduced me to Larry Fowler.

Larry Fowler   Larry Fowler's boot Larry Fowler and Michelle Millenacker

Larry had rented a Harley for the day ($80 weekday rate) from Faribault Harley Davidson and was even sporting some snazzy footwear.

Sitting on a Harley on the main street in Dundas is a babe magnet tactic. Sure enough, within about five minutes, blond bombshell Michelle Millenacker strutted by and made her move. Larry didn’t even have a to roll up the sleeves of his t-shirt. Somebody alert Glenn!