Northfield’s Winter Walk has been near and dear to my Northfield-related blogging, photography and podcasting for ten years (this year is the 14th Annual Winter Walk):
A year ago, I blogged two of my favorite Winter Walk photos. I’ve included another favorite with this blog post: Council members Rhonda Pownell and Betsey Buckheit with Mayor Mary Rossing in the Winter Walk 2008 parade with the NDDC’s cow, Patty Cash.
See y’all downtown on Thursday.
As part of Small Business Saturday (Nfld Patch article), I stopped by Present Perfect Underground yesterday. The shop ("vintage stuff, antiques, furniture, old buttons" says the sign) is located in the lower level of 310 Division St., underneath the Fine Craft Collective.
Ed Kuhlman and Mary Rossing were the beauties on duty, but other proprietors are Barb Kuhlman, Tom Buettell, Pam Curry, Jessica Paxton, Jen Severtsgaard, and Mary Titus.
The Nfld News has a story today titled Mayor: Disrespectfulness unacceptable based on comments Mayor Mary Rossing made to the Northfield City Council at Tuesday’s meeting. The text of her written statement:
On a number of occasions during my tenure as Mayor I have felt the need to address the Council publicly, and to remind my colleagues that in order to be be effective in our jobs it is important that we maintain a level of protocol and respect in our deliberations. This is expressed in how we speak to each other, to the public or to our City Staff. In recent weeks I have personally observed, and have had it pointed out to me by various members of our community that it appears that it has become acceptable for staff to be discredited and put down in public.
That is not right and it should not be acceptable in these Chambers. That is not to say that we must agree with staff opinions or with their recommendations or that we cannot question the basis for such opinions. But when they speak from their position as professionals, they must be respected.
Councilors Kris Vohs and Rhonda Pownell are quoted in the article as also being unhappy with the tenor at times at meetings and elsewhere. No word from the others:
Councilors Betsey Buckheit and Suzie Nakasian declined to comment for this story. Councilors Patrick Ganey and Erica Zweifel could not be reached for comment.
Since I’m someone often accused of having a bug up his ass about the importance of civility in conversations, I’m interested in this issue. But neither the article nor Rossing’s statement mention any specifics, so it’s hard to know what’s going on. Sometimes when people are critical of others, that’s seen as automatic disrespect, whereas I believe that public criticism can be done in a way that’s respectful.
Back in March, Councilor Kris Vohs was unhappy with the interactions among the Councilors. I was critical of how he handled it but there were never any examples mentioned of what he was talking about. In May of 2010, Mayor Rossing was also critical of council decorum.
Can anyone who’s been at Council meetings lately or who has watched the proceedings via cable TV or live streaming cite some interactions that might be examples of disrespect towards city staff by councilors?
There are now four signs/advertising banners in Ames Park at the corner of 5th St and Hwy 3. Even the Northfield Municipal Liquor Store has gotten into it. Heh.
I blogged about this back in May, 2009: Advertising banners in Ames Park: what are the guidelines? In the comments attached to that post, one citizen reported that they’d asked City Hall about it:
The answer was that there was no charge for the space and the rules were pretty informal — an honor system of sorts. You just needed to let them know when you would put the sign up and how long you needed the space. It was understood that you’d secure it safely and take the sign down right after the event. It was also understood that the space was for community events like the hospital book fair and not private business advertising.
Looks like one business is advertising, not that I’m objecting.
Mayor Mary Rossing commented:
The Mayor’s Streetscape Taskforce will be meeting again, with new and returning members in the mix, mid June. This is one of their charges. A permanent kiosk has been talked about as we continue to work to add amenities to the downtown and gateway areas. They will be looking at many potential projects and prioritizing and making recommendations to the council. All projects need to be in place (or in progress) by the end of 2013 as this is the end of the master development funds.
So if this was one of the charges for the Streetscape Taskforce two years ago, can someone update us on what was decided, if anything?
Northfield Mayor Mary Rossing, long time proprietor of Present Perfect on Division in downtown Northfield, announced at last night’s Council meeting that’s she’s closing her store and leasing the space on July 1 to Coldwell Banker South Metro.
In her letter (PDF) emailed to me (and I assume others in the local media) she doesn’t explain the reason for the closing, other than to say "I have decided that it is time to spread my wings." As for Coldwell, she writes:
This means that where there was just one person standing behind a counter, thirteen local agents will now be working out of this space in downtown Northfield. Thirteen people will be bringing in clients, buying coffee and lunch in the downtown, and adding to the vitality of Division Street.
The team of 13 Coldwell Banker South Metro realtors includes Ed Kuhlman, Larry Defries, Jeanette Nelson, and Arlen Malecha, pictured above on a rainy Crazy Daze last July.
Philip Spensley, chair of the Northfield Arts and Culture Commission, was the MC for last night’s Northfield Living Treasures Award Program (PDF) ceremony at the Grand Event Center honoring Myrna Johnson and Ray Jacobson.
- Sam Gett, publisher of the Northfield News, sponsors/underwriters of the award
- Mary Rossing, Northfield Mayor
- Paul Krause, nominator of Ray ‘Jake’ Jacobson
- Kathy Rush, nominator of Myrna Johnson
Paul Krause announced during his remarks that Ray Jacobson now has his own website.
See the album of 16 photos, the large slideshow, or this small slideshow:
To her credit, Mayor Mary Rossing acknowledges in her budget presentations that the City has not properly maintained the Safety Center, something I complained about in a blog post last November. (On taking responsibility for 20+ years of deferring maintenance on the Northfield Safety Center.) She promises that the City will do better.
The hole in the external wall of the Muni is an opportunity to deliver on this promise.
Back in April, Northfield News Managing Editor Suzy Rook wrote in an online column called ‘Walking the Walk’:
For several months I’ve seen a section of the liquor store’s south side wall crack, buckle and come apart, leaving a hole I could fit both fists into with room to spare. I’ve wondered how long the city planned to let moisture impact a building that’s already in poor condition.
Two months later, the hole is still there (right under the display window on the sidewalk), getting bigger, letting in rain water, and prominently countering the Mayor’s promise to do better at the very time that the City ramps up its pitch to the citizens on the need for new police and fire facilities.
We split our time between A) making suggestions for cutting the budget at City Hall and B) discussing Mayor Mary Rossing’s 5-minute commentary at the start of last week’s Council meeting.
Click play to listen. 30 minutes:
KYMN has the indexed video of the 5/18/10 Council meeting so you can go right to the video of the Mayor’s Opening Remarks. (KYMN News Director Scott Peterson mentioned her remarks in his news update on 5/19.)
There are a couple minutes of dead air at the beginning, plus the approval of minutes etc. so her opening remarks don’t begin till the 3:45 minute mark. If you’re in a hurry, here’s an audio excerpt. (Click play to listen. 5 minutes.)
Continue reading Podcast: the Triumvirate on Mayor Rossing’s crackdown on Council decorum; City Hall budget cuts