The Northfield Blandin 8. What are they up to?

Northfield's Blandin 8: Erica Zweifel, Hans Muessig, George Kinney, Bruce Morlan, Paula Manor, Joe Gransee-Bowman, Matthew Rich, Norman ButlerWay back in November of 2010, two area teams of 24 people each (one team from Northfield; the other from Northfield/Dundas/Bridgewater) attended the Blandin Community Leadership Program (BCLP) in Grand Rapids.

On early Wednesday morning, eight people from those groups departed Northfield in an Eco-Trans van for a few days of meetings at Breezy Point. Left to right in the photo: Erica Zweifel, Hans Muessig, George Kinney, Bruce Morlan, Paula Manor, Joe Gransee-Bowman, Matthew Rich, Norman Butler.

What were they doing up there? How were these 8 selected from the 24? What’s been happening with the two groups in the past two years?  As before, inquiring minds want to know.

City Council candidates’ forum at the Cow: a much better format in a fun venue

L to R: Wade Schulz, Paul Reiland, Frank Balster, Steve Engler, Joe Gasior, David Ludescher, Betsey Buckheit Norman Butler Steve Engler L to R: Wade Schulz, Paul Reiland, Frank Balster, Steve Engler, Joe Gasior, David Ludescher, Betsey Buckheit,
Contented Cow proprietor Norman Butler hosted a two-hour forum for Northfield City Council Ward 2 and At-Large candidates last night on the Cow’s outdoor patio.

  • At-Large Council candidates: Betsey Buckheit, Joe Gasior, David Ludescher
  • 2nd Ward Council candidates: Frank Balster, Paul Reiland, Wade Schulz; David DeLong did not attend.

Steve Engler moderated the panel and made it much more interesting by interacting with the candidates when he thought their comments needed to be clarified. I loved it whenever he refused to accept empty platitudes.

Norman Butler, Lance Heisler Don McGee Elizabeth!
Norman goaded citizen/patrons into expressing their opinions instead of just asking questions.

The primary election is Aug. 14. Absentee voting info here.

No worries: Norman and Terry are not scheduled to sing at this year’s 5th Annual JuneBug Festival of Music

Norman Butler and Terry VanDeWalker, Contented CowNorman Butler and Terry VanDeWalker were tuning up their vocal chords  yesterday afternoon on the outdoor stage of the Contented Cow, getting ready for this week’s 5th Annual JuneBug Festival of Music

Notice that they’re not scheduled:

Wed. 6/27/2012
5pm Barb Piper Jazz Duo
7pm Late for Lunch
9pm Wild Cathedral
11pm Alison Rae

Thurs. 6/28/2012
5pm East Side Collective
7pm Optimum Trajectory
9pm Toaster Fork!
11pm Giraffes Love Dinosaurs

Fri. 6/29/2012
5pm New Moon Trio
7pm Stone Soup
9pm Area 51
11pm Kinda Kinky

Sat. 6/30/2012
1pm Chance Meeting
3pm Carey Langer
5pm Occasional Jazz
7pm Tramps Like Us
9pm RCAs
11pm Gospel Gossip

A new route for the 2012 St. Patrick’s Day parade

Norman Butler 2012 St. Patrick's Day poster - Northfield, MN
I took this blurry photo (I had too much wine, evidently) of proprietor Norman Butler on the deck of the Contented Cow last night, holding my smartphone with the poster for tomorrow’s St. Patrick’s Day parade that Jim Bohnhoff sent me.

Take a close look at the poster, as the parade route is different this year.

Norman said they have post-parade festivities planned at the Cow but I don’t see any info about it on the Cow’s website. Anyone have details?

Photo album: Norman is 59.

Proprietor Norman Butler got a belated birthday surprise from friends, staff, and patrons last night at the Contented Cow.

See the album of 6 party photos (with more photos of the exterior of the Cow bathed in snow at dusk), the large slideshow (recommended), or this small slideshow:

Aug. 10 Northfield City Council primary election: what do we know about the candidates?

Aug. 10 primary ballotsThe primary election for two Northfield City Council seats is one month away: August 10. 


  • Norman Butler
  • Steve Engler
  • Rhonda Pownell (incumbent)

Ward 4

  • Jon Denison (incumbent)
  • Patrick Ganey
  • Dale Gehring

I was hoping there’d be some information online about or by the candidates by now but alas, I can’t find any other than the City’s Absentee Voting info page/PDF and the Ward/Precinct Map:

WTF! Haven’t the candidates heard about the intertubes? Social media anyone? Hello? This is 2010, not 1999.

I guess we’re going to have either make stuff up about them or flush them out into the e-open.

Update 7/30: Here are photos I took at the League of Women Voters candidates forum on 7/28:

League of Women Voters candidates forum on 7/29 League of Women Voters candidates forum on 7/28 Norman Butler, Rhonda Pownell, Steve Engler Dale Gehring, Jon Denison, Patrick Ganey

Revolutionary! A Brit brings 4th of July fireworks to downtown Northfield

Dan Freeman, Patty Henry 4th July 2010 Norman Butler 
4th July 2010 posterI took this photo of Dan Freeman and postal worker Patty Henry in the doorway of Monkey See Monkey Read yesterday afternoon, pointing to the 4th of July poster in the window.

Dan’s been doing fundraising once again for the 4th of July fireworks and this year, he’s got two fireworks shows for us citizens.  (See the PDF poster for the complete schedule of events, including a change of times for the Kiddie parade and Kiddie carnival.)

Norman Butler, proprietor of Butler’s Steak & Ale, the Contented Cow, Chapati, and the soon-to-opened Pan Pan, has bellied up to the patriotic bar with a donation that, according to this article in the Nfld News,

was substantial enough to fund an additional fireworks show in Ames Park on the Fourth of July, Freeman said. The additional show, scheduled for 10 p.m., will not replace the regular fireworks display that Freeman has helped organize since 2002. Instead, the Ames Park show — limited in its size and height because of safety regulations — will precede the larger annual show, which launches from Sechler [sic] Park this year, Freeman said.

Ross Currier has a complete rundown of 4th of July weekend events in his NDDC blog post, Fireworks Mark Busy Weekend in Downtown.

Saaaaweeeet! Pan Pan to open in the old Sweet Lou’s Waffles space

Future home of PanPan at 303 Division St. PanPanAnother revelation in the June 2010 Northfield Entertainment Guide.

On page 25 is an ad for Pan Pan (Facebook page), the 4th restaurant of Norman Butler’s 1001 Solutions, LLC empire.

Location: 303 Division St, former home of Sweet Lou’s Waffle Bar & Cafe.

Coming soon: the reincarnation of the Ideal Cafe

Sweet Lou's Waffle BarIdeal Cafe signTracy mentioned in her blog post of last week’s Friday Memo that there "… are rumblings that another restaurant will be locating in the space held by Sweet Lou’s Waffle Bar."

Last week, Northfield restaurateur Norman Butler (Contented Cow, Chapati, Butler’s Steak and Ale) signed a lease for the space. He intends to name it The Ideal Cafe and open by year’s end. Cuisine? He’s open to suggestions. Attach your comments here.

See Maggie Lee’s June 21 column, Bargens leave legacy of Ideal Cafe, for a bit of history on the restaurant. The photo of the Ideal Cafe’s sign above is cropped from a photo on the Virtual Tourist web site when the site was the Las Delicias restaurant.

The FieldHouse to become Butler’s Steak and Ale

Norman Butler IMG_0403 Norman Butler, owner of the downtown Northfield eating and drinking establishments, the Contented Cow and Chapati, is taking over the FieldHouse Sports Bar & Grill in the River Park Mall. The restaurant will be named Butler’s Steak & Ale but will remain The FieldHouse for another month while he changes the menu and applies for a new liquor license under the new name. Temporary hours will be Wednesdays through Saturdays, 5pm to midnight and Sunday brunch, 9am to 3 pm.

Update 9/3: The FieldHouse reopens Friday, Sept. 4 at 5pm. Here are some pre-opening photos.

Butler's Steak & Ale Butler's Steak & Ale Butler's Steak & Ale
Butler's Steak & Ale Butler's Steak & Ale

Guest blogger Athena Currier: That pesky Safety Center minority report

Northfield safety centerThree months ago, Mayor Mary Rossing formed a Safety Center Task Force to discuss the need for a new Safety Center (police/fire station) in the City of Northfield. The seven members of the task force had equal power. They were given no budget within which to develop their plans. Based on a list of tasks given them, they were to come to a consensus and present a proposal to the City Council. Their official mission statement read: (continued) Continue reading Guest blogger Athena Currier: That pesky Safety Center minority report

Art at City Hall

Art at City Hall Art at City Hall

I got a tip from Dean Kjerland on this new art installation at Northfield City Hall. The center panel reads:

Art at City Hall 2009
…inspiration; sufficiently enabled

art glass panels: American Opal Glass
commissioned by: Norman Butler
project chair: Dixon Bond
design: Dean Kjerland
special thanks: Joel Walinski

‘Twould be cool if there was more information about this (and other RAQ news) on the dormant Riverwalk Arts Quarter (RAQ) website.

Guess who's moving into the old Cocoa Bean space? Next Level Cafe

Former Cocoa Bean space We first speculated back in April about what restaurant might be moving into this former Cocoa Bean space above the Contented Cow.

We now know from building owner Norman Butler’s blog post (#43 in the CCB discussion) last week of his intent to put a restaurant in there and his recent decision to NOT go ahead with that plan.

So plans are being now made for a business to relocate there. Build-out has begun.

Guess who?

Update Dec. 6:

Next Level Cafe logo Ali Anderson, Richard Anderson, Norman Butler Since nobody’s guessed yet, I thought I’d freshen up this Dec. 3 post with the news that the new tenant is Next Level Cafe, a Burnsville-based technology services company that recently merged with Northfield-based badbrain computers.

badbrain owner Rob Brown and staff will be moving into the space as soon as build-out is completed, probably in January sometime.

On Tuesday this week, I took the photo on the right of Next Level Cafe CEO Richard Anderson and CFO Ali Anderson (spouses) with building owner (and proprietor of the Contented Cow and Chapati) Norman Butler. Click to enlarge.

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