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Recent Area News

Today’s news update – Weapons an “eye opener” for Task Force; Northfield Manor receives AED from Mdewakanton Life Program; Beyond the Yellow Ribbon helping veterans “old and new”

March 23, 2016


Weapons an “eye opener” for Task Force

Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn produces “Chat with the Sheriff” every month on the Rice County website.  Last month he talked with Northfield Police Chief Monte Nelson said, “it’s very important that the Sheriff’s department and the police departments all in our area work together.  There are many investigations, in fact, it’s almost few investigations that don’t cross some boundary”.  They also work together through the Cannon River Drug and Violent offender task force which is now fully staffed with the addition of an agent from Northfield.  What was surprising, even to the agents involved, “firearms was a big eye opener for the Task Force on search warrants and arrests.  How often they were running into firearms being present and many times they were stolen firearms”.  A large bust for Northfield was the man manufacturing and selling automatic weapons and suppressors in town. Nelson said Northfield didn’t have the ability and resources to investigate that. He added, “because of our ATF agent who was assigned to the Task Force this last year, along with the work of the Task Force, they were able to bring that investigation to a close and arrest the person who was charged in federal court”.  37 year old Edward Evan Lasley of Northfield pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a machine gun in November but has not yet be sentenced.  Guidelines provide for 24 to 30 months in federal prison.  Nelson will be in studio tomorrow morning to discuss the recent arson and other issues.  

Northfield Manor receives AED from Mdewakanton Life Program

Northfield Manor, the affordable senior living community at the Northfield Retirement Community, received an Automatic External Defibrillator from the Mdewakanton Life Program.  Vice President of Residential Housing and Property management, Shelly Holden, explained that a resident, Tom Maus, heard about the program and applied for it.  She said it’s basically a lottery program.  They select a name and it was theirs! She said, “It was really pretty exciting for us to receive this”. Maus and Holden received the AED at the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Fire Department earlier this month. Northfield Manor 3-9-16 002 Holden said, “I think it’s their way of giving back to the community, the greater community and to date they’ve given out over 800 this year. Which is a considerable amount”. The new AED’s literally talk you through CPR so there’s really no room for error.  Holden has been with the Manor for 10 years.  She oversees all of the different housing and assisted living and memory care units that they have for rent.  Northfield Retirement Community has a 45 year history, Northfield Manor was built in 1981 and has expanded with independent housing and assisted units.  In error, they were identified with the Northfield Senior Center.  They have no affiliation to them.  The Manor is one of the housing option on our campus which has several different housing options including independent, assisted Living and Memory care. The Manor is an independent affordable housing option.

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon helping veterans “old and new”

Northfield became an official Beyond the Yellow Ribbon City last Veterans Day.  Organizer Virginia Kaczmarek, a former Marine and Adjutant of the Northfield American Legion, explains that it is a network of businesses, service organizations, individuals and more that support our local active military families and veterans with a wide variety of needs including transportation to the VA, job placement assistance, help to families of deployed veterans with household chores or daycare and more.   They’ve had 4 requests so far from both old and new veterans.   Kaczmarek noted that the U.S. has been in constant conflict since the ‘80’s. She said many military returning home don’t feel like they belong, she said, “serving your military, in our military services, is a different experience and they just need a friend sometimes with friendly eyes and sometimes they need a little more”.  Beyond the Yellow Ribbon does that.  If you have a service or could offer assistance of any kind, contact Virginia at                                                                                                                      

Click below to listen to the 3-23-16 NEWS podcast:

 Listen for news updates on-air at 6, 7, 8, Noon, 3 and 5

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Today’s news update – Reward offered in Arson case at Library construction site; Hillman receives Leader Award from MASA – looks to lead District; Aging Mastery program offered at Senior Center; Y gets nutrition trainer

March 22, 2016


Reward offered in Arson case at Library construction site

The State Fire Marshal has determined that the mobile lift machine, or forklift, was intentionally set on fire.  Northfield Deputy Chief Mark Dukatz said Fire Marshal’s office has offered a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the identification of the person(s) responsible.  Duke said, “any information people have is helpful but the reward is determined by the Fire Marshal.  It’s coming out of their fund”.  The hotline number is 1-800-723-2020.  This information is also posted on   LINK   The fire was March 16th, the forklift was a total loss.

Hillman receives Leader Award from MASA – looks to lead District

The Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA) has named Northfield Schools Director of Administrative Services, Dr. Matthew Hillmann, as the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Central Office Leader Award. Hillmann received the award for his willingness to risk, strong communications skills, being a progressive change agent, and having high expectations for himself and others. He was honored at a statewide recognition ceremony during the MASA/MASE Spring Conference, last week. Hillmann led the re-organization efforts within the Schools’ district office, he led the redesign of the district’s principal evaluation as a part of the Minnesota Department of Education pilot program and co-facilitated the district’s Teacher Development and Evaluation committee. Hillmann has played a key role in leading the Transformational Technology and is leading the district’s master facilities planning process. Superintendent Dr. Chris Richardson said, “I believe Matt has demonstrated excellent skills and the potential to continue to do great things as a district administrator in Northfield. His passion and commitment coupled with his talents and skills have allowed him to serve as a role model for MASA colleagues across the state.”  Superintendent Richardson is retiring in July after a long and distinguished career with the last 12 years in Northfield.  An internal search will begin soon, Hillman said he will apply for the position.  

Aging Mastery program offered at Senior Center

The Northfield Senior Center was received a grant from the National Council on Aging to offer a cutting-edge 10 week series called the “Aging Mastery Program”.  Program Coordinator Chris Ellison says people are living longer yet few are prepared for it.  The program is designed to guide adults 55 and over in how to make small but meaningful changes in their lives to improve overall health and wellbeing.  Fitness Director Craig Swenson says some of the subjects include, in part, fitness, healthy eating, fall prevention, finance and medication management.  There’s a wide variety of issues that affect every part of your life.  Swenson says local experts, including those from Northfield Hospital and Clinics, will lead the segments. The series begins March 30th and will run from 1 to 3:30 each Wednesday afternoon at the Senior Center.   The cost is $50 for the program and materials.  Scholarships are also available.  To register call 664-3700 or go online.  Links and the full interview is on  

Y gets nutrition trainer

Northfield YMCA Executive Director/CEO Virginia Kaczmarek has ticked off another item on her bucket list for the Y.  They most recently hired a personal nutrition trainer. Curwin Gett is Board certified and will do one on one training for a variety of issues, including, in part diabetes and weight loss.  She’ll tailor programs for individuals.  Gett is doing “quick bites” on Mondays.  She has a table near the front door for quick questions.

Click below to listen to the 3-22-16 NEWS podcast:

 Listen for news updates on-air at 6, 7, 8, Noon, 3 and 5

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Community News: Reward offered in arson case

March 21, 2016


A fire was intentionally set in a mobile lift machine at the Northfield Library property on March 16,2016. The machine was owned by Brennan Companies, who are building the addition to the property.

A reward of up to $5,000.00 is being offered for information leading to the identification of the person(s) responsible for this act by the Minnesota Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators.

Persons providing information may remain anonymous. The telephone number is 800-723-2020. This number is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You may also contact the Northfield Police Department Investigations Unit at 507-645-4477 with any information.


Today’s news update – Bidding for vacations prompts School Board to plan ahead; Reported flu cases surge in Northfield; Dahle says Teacher licensure process “kind of a mess” ; Only 1 DWI arrest on St. Patrick’s Day

March 21, 2016


Bidding for vacations prompts School Board to plan ahead

“We’re finding more and more people who have to bid for their vacations and oftentimes, they have to bid more than a year in advance”, that’s Northfield School Superintendent Dr. Chris Richardson explaining why the School Board already set the 2017/18 school calendar year.  The strategy now is to be 2 years ahead for planning.  The 2016/17 school calendar is posted on the school website.  While the Board did approve the 17/18 calendar, it has not yet been posted.

Reported flu cases surge in Northfield

The flu is late this year but it’s here now.  Flu cases statewide have spiked since mid-February after a quiet fall and early-winter season, according to Minnesota Department of Health statistics. Northfield Hospital Emergency Dept. Physician, Dr. Donald Lum, says they’ve seeing a surge in cases.    Statewide there have been 539 hospitalizations – about two-thirds of them in the last three weeks alone.  Lum says there’s still time to get a flu shot but don’t delay.  It generally takes about 2 weeks for the vaccine to become effective.  This years vaccine is nearly 60% effective against all strains of flu now circulating.  A relatively mild winter means less crowding of people in closed, congregated spaces which allows the virus to spread easily. Plus, this year’s effective vaccine.   People most at risk include 65 and older and children under 2 or those with chronic health conditions. A variety of factors could be behind the late start of the season.

Dahle says Teacher licensure process “kind of a mess” 

Senator Dahle is on the education committee.  He said teacher licensure has been a topic with the State Auditor saying they need to revamp the whole system, “and I think there’s some question about who’s authority is who’s and, in addition, layer upon layer of statutes and laws that kinda creeped into the picture over the past 20 years, so it’s kind of a mess and we’re going to put together a working group to look at what kind of bill we can introduce probably next year”.  He introduced a technical bill Thursday, “the board of teaching wanted language and terminology and words that will help them in rule-making to get an expedited start on some of the recommendations by the legislative auditors”.  He says it’s baby steps now but they need a long term plan.  Dahle talked about the family leave bill which has provisions for up to 12 weeks in addition to the family leave act which is already in play.  “You would get up to 50% of your salary”.  Both employer and employee pay in.  He say it’s about $1.75 a week.  There are concerns on cost to employer and employee.  Dahle says there’s a lot of support for it and testimony centered around taking care of elderly parents.  Small businesses could be impacted negatively.  The bill still has about 5 more committees to go through.  

They’re listening – only 1 DWI arrest on St. Patrick’s Day

It sounds like people listened.  There was enhanced enforcement over St. Patrick’s Day and Northfield Police Sgt. Kevin Tussing reports that, in all of Rice County, there was just one DWI arrest.  It occurred in Faribault by Faribault PD Tussing said he had 15 stops in 8 hours, and did not detect any alcohol on any of those drivers.  He said there was one sober cab used.

Click below to listen to the 3-21-16 NEWS podcast:

 Listen for news updates on-air at 6, 7, 8, Noon, 3 and 5

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Community News: MCGA focus on taxes, buffers on the Hill

March 18, 2016

MN corn growersMinnesota Corn Growers focus on taxes, buffers during Day on the Hill

22 grower-leaders spent the day visiting with legislators and agency staff at the Capitol in St. Paul

SHAKOPEE, Minn. (March 18, 2016) – With the legislative session currently in full swing, 22 grower-leaders from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) spent Tuesday, March 15 at the Capitol in St. Paul talking property taxes, buffers and other agriculture issues during MCGA’s Day on the Hill.

“Our top priority this session is property tax relief,” said Raymond farmer and MCGA president Noah Hultgren. “There seems to be bi-partisan support on this issue, so it’s important that we keep reminding legislators how essential tax relief is to both the farm and overall rural economy.”

Resolving the private ditch issue and clarifying other items on the new buffer legislation was also a prominent topic. In addition to legislators, grower-leaders met with staff from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to talk about buffers, water quality and other regulatory issues.

“Minnesota corn farmers invest about $4 million annually in research and other initiatives that focus on water quality and stewardship,” Hultgren said. “We need to make sure legislators understand how committed we are to this important issue.”

Other issues covered during MCGA’s Day on the Hill included transportation, irrigation and MCGA’s role in a broad coalition that is investing in the installation of over 600 flex-fuel pumps throughout the state.

With more than 7,000 members, MCGA is one of the largest grassroots farm organizations in the United States. In addition to providing a voice for corn farmers in St. Paul and in Washington D.C., MCGA works closely with the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council to create new opportunities for corn farmers and build connections with the non-farming public.CdnSq3hUEAAtCVX

Photo cutline: MCGA grower-leaders meeting with Assistant Agriculture Commissioner Matt Wohlman on Tuesday during MCGA’s Day on the Hill.