Tag Archives: Video

City and township could sign annexation agreement next month

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Greenvale Township meeting on 12/16 from Bonnie Obremski on Vimeo

Brian O’Connell, Northfield community development director, and Joel Walinski, interim city administrator, discussed the remaining details of a proposed annexation agreement with Greenvale Township‘s three supervisors for more than an hour on Tuesday night.

In the accompanying video, O’Connell and Walinski are on the left side of the table. Township supervisors Robert Winter, Bernard Budin and Chairman Richard Moore are on the right (Moore is the furthest in the background). The woman at the end of the table is Edith Nelson, the township’s secretary.

The annexation agreement, among other things, indicates how much Northfield would reimburse Greenvale for the property taxes the township will lose when 530 acres of undeveloped farmland goes onto the city’s tax rolls. Northfield is annexing the land to attract industrial developers.

The discussion led to two clarifications in the draft of the agreement. Walinski said he will release a copy of the final draft of the annexation agreement in his memo on Friday. The first clarification, which is shown in the video, addresses Greenvale’s request to prohibit Northfield from annexing any more of the township’s land for a period of five years following the current annexation deal.

O’Connell and Walinski said, in order to keep with the goals of Northfield’s comprehensive plan, they would not prohibit annexation across the next five years, but agreed to a restriction that Greenvale landowners who petition the city for annexation within that period must get written consent from the owners of every neighboring property.

The next clarification had to do with how Northfield will calculate its tax reimbursement payment to Greenvale. The proposed payment plan would reimburse Greenvale in the amount of about $3,854 a year for five years. That figure is the amount of money Greenvale currently collects in taxes on the property. According to the agreement, the reimbursement amount would change year-to-year as the property tax rate changes. In the sixth year, Northfield would pay a “balloon payment” that would equal 20 more years of annual payments. In all, Northfield would pay Greenvale about $96,362, using today’s property tax rate figure.

At Tuesday’s meeting, O’Connell and Walinski said the city would calculate the balloon payment by using a tax rate figure equal to the average of tax rates in the previous five years.

At the end of the meeting, the Northfield and Greenvale representatives agreed to allow their respective lawyers to look at the final draft of the agreement before signing the document. Three Greenvale residents attending the meeting said they were not completely satisfied with the way their supervisors negotiated the annexation agreement. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 19 in the Township Hall on Guam Avenue.

RepJNorthfield.org discussed at prominent journalism school

The Representative Journalism Project founded in Northfield, Minn. could see more nationwide support after project collaborators Bonnie Obremski and Bill Densmore facilitated a discussion about the initiative last week at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. The noontime “Lunchstorm” session was a part of a three-day conference centered around another experimental project called Information Valet, which Densmore is working on at the university.

The video below is an edited version of the hour-long talk during which media professionals from around the nation and students from the university’s top-ranked journalism school grilled Obremski and Densmore about RepJ’s progress and future plans.

One of the only unanswered questions was how the RepJ project would gain financial support from community members who are willing to invest in the next generation of community journalism. However, the founders of the Banyan Project and Kachingle.com made some interesting suggestions.

Tom Stites of the Banyan Project suggested a co-op style funding method, or to simply “put out the tip jar” to see what would happen. Kachingle, founder Cynthia Typaldos explained, would be a way for Web site owners everywhere to easily solicit funds from fans. In essence, “Kachinglers” sign up to donate $5 per month toward the sites they would like to support most. To distribute some of the $5 to a site, the Kachingler pushes the Kachingle button installed on the site. Typaldos would like to launch Kachingle in January.

In the video, the questions asked appear in type at the bottom of the screen while Obremski and Densmore answer them.


Mizzou “Lunchstorm” discussion on Dec. 5, 2008 from Bonnie Obremski on Vimeo.

Video of questions and answers about drug use in Northfield


Main Street Moravian Church meeting on drug use in Northfield from Bonnie Obremski on Vimeo.

Note: This is an edited video of the question and answer portion of Sunday’s meeting at the Main Street Moravian Church. I edited out images of the undercover sheriff’s deputy and any audience member. I also shortened the length of some questions and stretches of silence. For a complete, audio-only recording of the meeting, follow this link.

Questions remaining:

Are the people of Northfield doing enough to help get drug users through recovery?

Why did this problem blossom in Northfield in particular?

Where does Northfield stand on a time line stretching between “higher amount of drug users” to “very few drug users?” When does that time line begin? When might it end?