Category Archives: Faux News

Southwest Neighborhood files discrimination lawsuit against the City of Northfield for misspelt street signs

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In what is perceived as a social stigma in a two-college town, members of Northfield Southwest Neighborhood Association (NSWNA) have filed a discrimination law suit against the City of Northfield for it’s refusal to replace the four street signs in the neighborhood which have the words ‘W Nineth St’ on them in stead of ‘W Ninth St.’

img-46701Three of the neighbors in particular are perturbed because they are accomplished spellers, finishing 2nd as a Northfield Rotary team in the Friends of the Northfield Public Library Spelling  Bee in 2007. NSWNA neighbors Jeb Flufkin, Ricky Coldman, and Mitch ‘Penny’ Lane say that its not just the image of the neighborhood that’s at stake.

"Northfield is known for it’s educational values and the value of our homes in the neighborhood are likely to be negatively effected the longer that we have to live under this cloud of misspelling," said Flufkin. "My stomache just churns when I drive down the street every day and see those signs."

The group has retained the services of Northfield attorney Dave Hviscerate. "This is yet another sign of the incompetence at City Hall, and their intransigence is unconscionable. How hard or expensive could it be to change four signs? These people have suffered enough. Residents of 9th St. east of Division don’t have to put up with this embarrassment. Neither should those west of Division."

Ward 4 Councilor Jesse Anderson Black declined to comment on the suit but Public Works Director and City Engineer Jose Staphylo said it was with out merit. "We know their misspelt and we plan to fix them. But its not cheap. We tentatively have it in the department budget for 2014. Its not like people will be unable to navigate the neighborhood in the meantime."

Below are photos of the Ninth St. signs west of Division St.

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Northfield citizens decline to help capture robbery suspect; severe impact on tourism feared

America's Best Value Inn & Suites - NorthfieldWhen the word of this morning’s robbery at America’s Best Value Inn & Suites on Hwy 3 began trickling out via police scanners, most Northfielders were sound asleep.

When KYMN Radio and Northfield Patch began sounding the alarm at around 6 am that one of the suspects had fired at police officers and fled, members of the Northfield Police Department assumed that citizens would respond in droves to help capture one of the suspects who was still at large and believed to be in the Sechler Park area.

By time the Northfield News began covering the story several hours later, gloom was apparent on the faces of the police officers on duty.  “We had extra department staff ready to handle the flood of citizen volunteers by deputizing them and issuing them firearms,” said Taylor Marcus, Northfield’s Public Safety Director. “No one showed up. No one emailed. No one tweeted. We had no choice to but to call other law enforcement agencies for help. It was embarrassing.”

robberWhen the suspect was finally apprehended mid-morning, the Defeat of Jesse James Days and Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce boards of directors were already in an emergency joint session.  “It’s a Category 4 public relations nightmare,” said Chamber Executive Director Marie Schmaltzy. “If word of this colossal failure of our citizens to respond gets out, we’re likely to see a devastating impact on attendance at DJJD next year.”

“I’m not surprised at all,” said Dewayne Reddy, DJJD board member.  “Northfielders have essentially become a bunch of yellow-bellied, lily-livered, milk-toasted, panty-waisted wimp chickens.  We’ve been riding on the courage of the town’s ancestors from the 1876 bank raid for over 100 years and we’re now morally bankrupt, no pun intended. It’s a sad day. I feel like turning in my spur.”

Noting that the weapon used in today’s robbery had not yet been found, KYMN radio’s Jim Friedman, organizer of the annual DJJD Horseshoe Hunt, said he would attempt to mobilize the citizenry in the morning to help find the suspect’s gun. When asked what he would do to motivate people to participate, Friedman said, “I haven’t got a clue.”

Northfield Park & Rec Advisory Board approves ‘man boob’ swimsuit policy

Lost amid the skatepark controversy at last night’s meeting, the Northfield Park & Rec Advisory Board  (PRAB) voted unanimously approved a policy requiring males with ‘man boobs’ to cover up while at Northfield’s outdoor pool at Old Memorial Park.

The issue surfaced over the summer after a revised pool apparel policy was approved in the spring (see Revisions to outdoor pool rules now in draft), the result of a 2011 controversy involving a complaint by a parent who was told she had to put a swimsuit top on her three-year-old daughter while at the pool.

While that issue was resolved before summer, news from Seattle surfaced in June that a breastless cancer survivor was told by the Seattle Parks and Recreation department that she could not swim topless in public pool.

When two local residents inquired about Northfield’s swimsuit policy for breastless women, they were told that the issue had never come up.  In August, the PRAB appointed David Viscousdahl, Lyle Nuzky, and Gracie Quark to a task force to study the issue. They presented their recommendation to the board last night.

Jack Nicholson"We think the vast majority of Northfield residents would find it uncomfortable to view the chest of a breastless woman at a public pool," said Quark.  "But to head off future controversy and to level the playing field, we recommend a policy requiring men with enlarged breasts to cover them up with a mansierre while at the pool." Quark then held up a photo of Jack Nicholson and said, "Besides, man boobs are an eyesore anyway."

When PRAB chair Knute Nathanial asked how pool staff would go about enforcing such a policy, Viscousdahl cited the Ann Lander’s pencil test. "That type of test should work equally well for men. Plus, pencils are cheap and in-service training would be minimal. I’m happy to be the practice subject for the lifeguards, no charge."

PRAB members then discussed whether more input from the public was needed. "We’ve interviewed lots of people," said Nuzky.  "It’s no secret that we’ve been studying this. Anyone who was truly interested would have contacted us by now or shown up for tonight’s meeting."

Hearing no comments from the assembled residents, the PRAB unanimously approved the measure. It will go into effect for the 2013 summer season.

The penis has been saved and is being reinstalled on Bridge Square

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Back in 2008, Carleton College installed cement sidewalk pavers at the corner of 2nd and Division.  The phallus design soon became controversial and plans to remove it were met with a ‘Save the Penis’ campaign that ultimately failed.

Bridge Square excavationThe Northfield Arts and Culture Commission, together with the Northfield Historical Society and the Downtown Streetscape Task Force, have pooled their public art monies to fund the reinstallation of the phallus design on a section of Bridge Square.

Yesterday, workers began excavation.  The bulbous shape of the excavated area will be reshaped into a phallus, designed by members of the Old Sculptors Project, the complementary group to the Young Sculptors Project that has installed a sculpture in front of the Northfield Library.

"We felt it was important to save a piece of Northfield history and to have it stick out right outside our door," said Hayes ‘Gabby’ Scriver,  Northfield Historical Society board member. 

"There was stiff opposition to the project for a while," wrote Ava Gina, Chair of the Northfield Arts and Culture Commission in an email to Locally Grown. "We went to great lengths to make our case. It was hard. In the end, we believed strongly that inserting this design into the most pubic [sic] space of Northfield was in the best interest of all."

Decline in teen smoking jeopardizes profits for Northfield’s Muni, funding for Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Alcohol & Drug Use

Teen smoking is declining, according to a recent Monitoring the Future press release:

The 2011 national survey results from the Monitoring the Future study show decreases in teen smoking in all three grades under study—grades 8, 10, and 12. The proportion saying that they smoked at all in the prior 30 days fell significantly for the three grades combined, from 12.8% in 2010 to 11.7% this year.

Northfield Municipal Liquor StoreOfficials from the City of Northfield this week, while acknowledging that this is good news for obvious reasons, expressed some concern because the Northfield Municipal Liquor Store profits from its sale of cigarettes and cigars.

"These teens are our potential future customers," said Juan Morefore DeRhode, Muni Manager.  "If this trend holds up, we’re going to have to revisit the revenue projections in our long-range plan and adjust accordingly." 

When asked what marketing strategies he’d consider that might help to ensure future tobacco revenues, DeRhode said he continues to have discussions with the gift shop at the Northfield Hospital, owned by the City of Northfield but operated by the Northfield Hospital Auxiliary. "We’ve always said that one of the reasons we carry tobacco products at the Muni is for the convenience of the customer.  That rationale holds up for the hospital’s gift shop, too, with so many of its patients addicted to tobacco. We’d be delighted to work with them and split the profits."

The issue was on the agenda of Northfield’s Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Alcohol & Drug Use last week.

"Tobacco will prematurely kill the kids who smoke but only when they get much older," said Task Force member Dr. Kirsten Mashton.  "So we’re not really concerned about that.  Our worries are tied to the revenue projections. We received $15,750 in 2011 from the Muni. If the decline in teen smoking continues, that jeopardizes our future funding and our ability to make an impact."

The City’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) is also concerned. "We worked hard to bring two tobacco businesses to Northfield in the past year," said EDA President Janis Tappan. "It would be a shame if Tobacco Field or Division Tobacco took a hit from this decline in teen smoking and had to close."

Northfield City Hall to open at 12:01 am on Black Friday; Chamber/CVB reluctantly follows suit

City of NorthfieldNorthfield City Administrator Tim Madagascar announced last week in his Weekly Memo that City Hall will open for business at midnight (12:01 am) on Black Friday.

"Since it’s the busiest shopping day of the year, our customers—sometimes known as citizens—are demanding that we be responsive," Madagascar said. " Northfield Target is opening at midnight and we want to be ready to serve those folks who might want to apply for a license, make a reservation, or submit an application for the council vacancy when they’re done shopping.  It’s part of our mission—striving for excellence, committed to service."

On Tuesday, Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Katarina Fellbore announced that their Northfield Convention and Visitors Bureau office at 205 3rd St. West would open just after midnight on Black Friday as well.

Northfield Chamber "Buy More" card"My Board of Directors thinks it’s an opportunity for us to tell the out-of-towners who will be heading to Northfield Target all the great things about shopping in Northfield," said Fellbore. "Frankly, I think that’s a stretch, since no other stores are opening at that hour. Nonetheless, we’ll be open, handing out CVB brochures and selling our line of Buy More cards that we have left over from last year."

When asked whether it might be more cost-effective for the City and the Chamber to be offering these services via their websites 24X7, both indicated that e-commerce was something they’d be adding in the next five years or so. "Online shopping is likely to catch on with the public by then and when it does, we’ll be ready for it," said Fellbore.

Parks & Rec board launches Recliner-in-the-parks project

Recliner in Central Park, NorthfieldNorthfield’s Central Park has been chosen by the Northfield Park & Rec Advisory Board to be the demonstration site for its new Recliner-in-the-parks project.

The goal of the project is to get citizens who spend too much of their leisure time watching television indoors to spend more time outdoors. 

"We know it’s not realistic for most hard-core couch potatoes to become recreational users of our parks overnight," said Knute Nathanial, PRAB chair.  "Research shows that the use of recliners are effective at helping people make a gradual transition. And since TV programs can now be watched on one’s smartphone, the time was perfect to try this."

The PRAB has rescued a number of Barcaloungers and La-Z-Boys from the colleges’ dumpsters in recent years so that no taxpayer money has to be spent on acquiring them for the project.  All the recliners will have plastic tarps stored underneath them to protect them from the elements.

Controversy erupts over the 2011 DJJD Horseshoe Hunt

DJJD Horseshoe HuntWhile the 2011 Horseshoe Hunt clues have started appearing on the DJJD website, some members of the DJJD committee have begun to question the wisdom of this year’s location for Horseshoe.

On early Saturday morning, DJJD volunteers were seen lowering Horsehoe Hunt Chair Tim Freeland into the Cannon River adjacent to the Ames Mill, dressed in a diving suit.

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While Freeland’s final destination for the Horeshoe remains a secret, its approximate location quickly became controversial, once other DJJD Committee members learned of the activity.

"I know that we’ve had some problems in the past with the Horseshoe found too quickly," said Hayes ‘Gabby’ Scriver,  a 3rd-year DJJD Board Director. "But this looks to me like it’s a little over the top. If the Horseshoe is anywhere near the dam, we can expect that Malt-O-Meal will object.  They own the Ames Mill dam and they certainly don’t want anyone messing around there, underwater or not. What if the dam was accidentally damaged?"

DJJD General Chair Dwayne Reddy disagreed. "You can’t be spoon fed all your life.  In recent years, the Horseshoe has been so easy to find that you hardly even need to read the clues to find it.  If the frickin’ Mayor of Northfield can find the Horseshoe, what does that tell you?"  Other committee members agreed, though they wished to remain anonymous.

The Northfield Fire Department has agreed to rent out its diving suit to anyone interested in searching the river for the Horseshoe. "I know it’s a bit unusual but considering the City’s budget problems, we need all the revenue we can find right now," said Fire Chief Harry Frantek. "The bingo tent during DJJD ain’t the cash cow folks think it is."