Category: <span>RepJ Stories</span>

Megan Rossow (left), "Petey," the parrot, and Leah Erickson display locally produced merchandise at the Cannon Valley Veterinary Clinic

Local governments and independent non-profits can be resources for business owners in need of support, especially in today’s tougher economic times. In Northfield, however, not everyone agrees on what the government and non-profits should do in order to offer the most help to the most business owners. The Representative Journalism Project attempted to collect more information about the matter by issuing a survey in January to 60 business owners or managers from a variety of fields. (continued)

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repjlogo-thumb1.pngGreenvale Township’s three supervisors met briefly Tuesday night to sign the final draft of an annexation agreement with Northfield after nearly seven months of negotiation.

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 in the hopes of widening the tax base and creating jobs.

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Federal dollars might soon funnel into communities across the nation if the Senate passes the $789 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and many people are already speculating about how the bill might affect their communities. This week, State Senator Kevin Dahle (D-Northfield), Christopher Richardson, superintendent of Northfield’s public schools, and Michael Hemesath, chairman of Carleton College’s Economics Department, talked about their understanding of the bill and what Northfield citizens might expect if it becomes law, which could happen as early as Friday night (update 2/14/09 8:15 a.m. the Senate did pass the bill).

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bonniecoverpage2The last week in January, I interviewed three professionals who are trading their know-how for the ingenuity (and, to a certain extent, free labor) of interns from Northfield’s two colleges. One partnership has already led to an art project, transforming discarded steel breadboxes into women’s breastplate armor. And there is promise that another trade could result in two new Web sites that could help boost the careers of local ceramic artists and rock stars.

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Melissa Reeder, Northfield’s Information Technology Department manager, has set a goal to begin uploading streaming videos of the City Council meetings to the Internet in 2010, so long as there is money in the budget for the $8,000-$10,000 upgrade.

With streaming videos, image files flow to a video player on a Web site in a continuous stream and play when they arrive. Before streaming technology, a Web user would have to download an entire file before watching a video, which could take a long time. Reeder referenced Burnsville’s Web site as an example of a nearby community that uses streaming video.

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I surprised Mayor Mary Rossing in her store Present Perfect this morning with my video camera. I mostly asked her questions that had to do with Monday night’s City Council meeting, which you can read a bit about here. We touched upon her changes in meeting procedure, her tactics on facilitating meetings and her outlook on information exchange in Northfield and on the financial health of the city’s businesses.

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