At least one Division Street merchant is worried that middle and high school students in Northfield need more after-school and summer activities to keep them busy. April Ripka, owner of the Sketchy Artist, said youth are frequenting her new establishment to play with her merchandise, not to buy it.
“I encourage creativity, but I don’t encourage loitering,” Ripka said on Monday, adding that some pre-teens have drawn graffiti on her merchandise and refused to obey her requests to behave while in the store.
As one of my first stories as Northfield’s representative journalist, I’m interested in hearing what youth and adult members of the community have to say about this matter. Point me in the right direction so we can discover if the community might do more to meet the needs of its children.
I shot this video of volunteer Breanna Clites at the YMCA office on Division Street on Tuesday, July 15 in the late afternoon. Her friend and co-worker Whitney Sannes also commented in front of the camera, but I am still working out a technical snag that would not allow me to upload the part of the footage in which she speaks. (My Sony Cyber-Shot movie files somehow need to be converted from .mpg to .mpeg before iMovie will allow me to edit them). In the complete file, Sannes said she would like to see a local hang-out just for youth that would be an unstructured social gathering place.
Clites, 19, is a rising sophomore at Northwestern University in Chicago, Ill. studying public affairs and a graduate of Northfield High School. Sannes, 16, is a rising junior at the high school
I shot this video that same afternoon in which friends Krista Wahlstrom, 15, (left), and Julia Hartke, 15, describe their experiences growing up in Northfield. The girls are rising sophomores at Northfield High School. Again, technical glitches cut the video short. I caught some skateboarders hustling down the block later in the clip. I learned from multiple Northfielders about the “no wheels on sidewalks” law. The young women said the boarders would likely stick to a wheels-allowed skatepark if such a place existed.