Category Archives: Civic Orgs

Civic Orgs & Non-Profits

Hayes is not foggy about this. He wants you at ‘Hops, Grapes & History’ tomorrow night at the Grand

Hayes Scriven

NHS ED Hayes Scriven stopped by my table at GBM on Wed. morning to promo the Hops, Grapes & History event at Grand Event Center on Saturday.

I didn’t realize till later that my smartphone camera lens had gunk on it, making for a foggy photo.

His blog post says:

The evening includes a beer and wine tasting from 6 to 8 p.m., featuring a hand-selected variety of Minnesota craft beers and wines; hors d’oeuvres; and a silent auction with a chance to bid on numerous goods and services from local businesses. Then from 9 to 11:30 p.m., the event concludes with a not-to-be-missed performance of “Guaranteed Cash,” a tribute to the songs and sounds of Johnny Cash, performed by legendary guitarist Bob Wootten (lead guitarist for Johnny Cash’s band for over thirty years) and country rockers, Six Mile Grove. (Continued)

Bemidji has earned ‘Bicycle Friendly Community’ status. Why not Northfield?

BikeMN   Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht
I attended the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota‘s (BikeMN) third annual Minnesota Bicycle Summit on Capitol Hill on Monday, as I’m trying to get smarter about the state of bike advocacy in Minnesota and who the players are.  I became a BikeMN member a couple weeks ago and am impressed with all that they’re doing and how well-organized Monday’s Summit was.

Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht (@BemidjiRita) was one of the featured speakers, talking about Bemidji’s new designation as a Bike Friendly Community. From the BikeMN blog in October:

The city of Bemidji was granted the bronze Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) designation by the League of American Bicyclists(LAB) on Monday October 22, 2012. The award was the culmination of persistent efforts by many community leaders and advocates including Mayor Dave Larson, Parks & Recreation Director Marcia Larson as well as health, tourism, bicycling, law enforcement, transportation and environmental representatives from the community. BikeMN has been involved along the way and helped in preparing the BFC application.

I think the timing for mounting an effort to gain formal Bicycle Friendly Community designation is right:

Those two items are providing some incentive to figure out how Northfield’s downtown streets should be best managed for bicycling, part of the discussion going on this week on the Parking Management Plan blog.

What’s not clear to me is what city board or commission would be best to consider taking this on. The City of Northfield created a Non Motorized Transportation Task Force (NMTTF) back in 2007 that I think sun-setted a couple years later. Might it be time to create something similar but specifically for bicycling?

Suzie Nakasian wants you at the 7th Annual Northfield Winter Stomp this Friday

Cliff Martin, Suzie Nakasian

First Ward Councilor Suzie Nakasian stopped by my office at GBM yesterday to tell me about the upcoming 7th Annual Northfield Winter Stomp. (She hijacked Cliff Martin into the photo who was at a table nearby.)

All the fun is happening this Friday at the Northfield Armory where everyone will be dancing again to the music of Contratopia. Note that Northfield Contra Dance now has a Facebook page.

For more about contra dancing in Northfield, see this article in the Carletonian from last fall: Northfield Swings into Style at Harvest Stomp Dance.

See my photo album/large slideshow of the 2008 Winter Stomp Contra Dance, or this small slideshow:

Cannon River Watershed Partnership Winter Thaw event rescheduled

Cannon River WineryThe Cannon River Watershed Partnership’s annual Winter Thaw – Wine Tasting and Auction that was originally planned for January 27th has been rescheduled to February 17, 2013 from 3:00 – 6:00 PM at the Cannon River Winery, 421 Mill Street West in Cannon Falls.

Join us for a tantalizing wine tasting and auction experience. Enjoy a fabulous afternoon with friends sampling local wines from the Cannon River Winery and local foods from Thousand Hills Cattle Company and more, while bidding on fantastic auction items to support CRWP’s work for clean water.

Tickets are $30 each or two for $50. To purchase tickets contact Leslie at leslie@crwp.net or (507) 786-3915. Tickets will be available at the door as well.

Mill Towns Trail gets a boost from the Goodhue County Commissioners. Their online presence likewise needs a boost

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The January 2013 issue of the Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota newsletter, Special Places, features news of the Mill Towns State Trail on its front page. The article is on their website: Done deal for iconic addition to State Trail system: Supporters of Mill Towns State Trail celebrate last-minute County decision. An excerpt:

On December 18, a critical decision was made during a Goodhue County Commissioner’s meeting that sealed the deal for an iconic addition to our state trail system. The decision was followed by a celebration among supporters of the Mill Towns State Trail, who until then were fearful that a good year’s worth of collaboration might come undone.

The project entails a key parcel of land where three miles of the Mill Towns State Trail will run. This section of the trail is located along the scenic Cannon River and will offer a connection between two regional parks via a pedestrian bridge over the river and then connect to the popular Cannon Valley Trail. The Parks & Trails Council has been working with partners to ensure this critical land could be acquired for the trail…

Part of what made this parcel so critical to the trail development was its role in enabling the construction of an iconic pedestrian bridge over the Lake Byllesby Dam (on the Cannon River). With this land, the bridge design can be optimized and construction deadline stays on schedule to receive the $1.7 million matching grant from the federal government.

Nfld News, Dec. 20: Byllesby Park land purchase another part of Mill Towns State Trail puzzle

Peggy Prowe, advocates for the Mill Towns Trail and hundreds of bicyclists have a dream of one day being able to ride from Mankato to Red Wing utilizing the area’s various bike trails.

Cycling enthusiasts are one step closer to that dream as Goodhue County Commissioners voted 4-1 on Wednesday to purchase a piece of property adjacent to Byllesby Park in Cannon Falls. That land will enable the Mill Towns Trail to be connected to the Cannon Valley Trail at Lake Byllesby.

Mill Towns Trail banner
Got some website and social media skills to volunteer?  The Mill Towns Trail website is nearly always out of date (last update was last July) and the organization needs help in making use of social media to spread its message and connect to its supporters.

Northfield’s Convention and Visitors Bureau: What needs to be changed?

In today’s Northfield News – Promoting Northfield’s identity: Convention and Visitors Bureau presents strategic plan

In addition to approving the CVB’s budget at its Feb. 5 meeting, the council said it wants to direct the group to reexamine its bylaws and look at potential options for an increased downtown CVB presence. The council also brought up concerns on how the CVB plans to engage various stakeholders and how to hold the group accountable to those plans.

Visiting Northfield homepageThe article goes on to quote Councilors Jessica Peterson White and Suzie Nakasian, and notes how some councilors question the interconnectedness between the CVB (public website VisitingNorthfield.com) and the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce (NACC):

For example, the group’s policies and procedures currently state that those allowed to participate on the CVB advisory board must be members of the NACC, unless appointed by the mayor and city council. Some council members said that that strong overlap limits who can be on the CVB board, narrowing the pool of potential stakeholders involved.

See pages 3-28 of last night’s Council packet where the CVB was discussed in the work session.

The Spur is hosting a coworking ‘jelly’ on Wednesday, Jan. 16

I blogged about The Spur, the Northfield Enterprise Center‘s new coworking and incubator/accelerator facility, last July when it opened. I’ve been a regular there ever since.  If you’ve not been by yet, considering joining us on Wednesday for our first jelly (PDF flyer).

Griff Wigley, coworking guy at The Spur in NorthfieldJelly at the Spur 
What’s a coworking jelly?

JELLY: a casual coworking event, where freelancers, home workers and people running small businesses meet up in order to get out of their normal space, meet some new people and work together in a social environment.

chat booth at The Spur in Northfieldchat booth at The Spur in NorthfieldErica Zweifel, Amelia Schmelzer, Dale Gehring, Tami Enfield, Mega Tsui,
The latest addition to the facilities at The Spur is what we’re calling a ‘chat booth.’ It’s a small space where you can take/make phone calls without bothering others. And if you need to use your laptop to make calls or otherwise use it for audio, the booth has a flip-down table, too. I find the chat booth to be very handy, especially when some of Northfield’s movers and shakers stop by (right photo above) and keep bothering me and socialize a bit.

New shelving in this basement really is a big deal

Hayes Scriven, NHS Executive DirectorCathy Osterman, NHS curatorcompact shelving at NHScompact shelving at NHScompact shelving at NHS

Hayes Scriven, big cheese at the Northfield Historical Society, gave me a tour this morning of the new compact shelving being installed in the archives and collection rooms in the basement of the Scriver Building. Cathy Osterman, the new NHS curator, showed me the room where she has everything stacked neatly during construction.

Normally, new shelving is right up there with new waste paper baskets on my excitement meter. But while these shelves might not rock, they do roll (see the short video clip below) and you can understand why Hayes has been foaming at the mouth about them on the NHS Facebook page (photo albums here).

httpv://vimeo.com/57376035

These movable shelving units cost several tens of thousands of dollars. Where did the money come from? The generosity of Minnesota’s taxpayers.  See this blog post: Northfield Historical Society awarded $79,000 grant to enhance archives.

Legacy Amendment logoThe Northfield Historical Society is pleased to announce that it has received a $79,000 Legacy [grant] from the Minnesota Historical Society’s Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant Program.

The grant will fund much-needed improvements to the society’s archival/collection facilities, including the installation of movable shelving that will better preserve the more than 15,000 historical artifacts in the society’s collection.

A lunch portends changes for LoGro

Tim Madigan, Ross Currier, Griff Wigley, Chris Heineman

I had lunch at Chapati last week with Northfield City Administrator Tim Madigan, NDDC Executive Director Ross Currier, and Chris Heineman, Northfield’s Director of Planning and Community Development. We were discussing the details of my proposed contract with the City to provide online citizen engagement services for two-month project starting Real Soon Now.

I’ve long contended that if I ever was appointed to one of the City’s boards or commissions, it would change the nature of my blogging about the City.  And I’ve recently written that this would also be true if I ever got a consulting contract with the City.  I think both situations demand that my relationships with the City’s leaders take priority over my public opinionating about them or the City.  And in the case of a contract, I’ll have a conflict of interest when it comes to opinionating on city-related matters.

If I blog about anything related to the City of Northfield 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 may stumble, as I’ve been freely opinionating about the City here on LoGro for seven years. If you catch me going over the line, speak up.