“A tremendous opportunity” for Northfield economic growth
The City of Northfield annexed approximately 530 acres from Greenvale Township in 2009 with the goal of creating a sustainable business park. A critical aspect is to reduce the obstacles that a developer may encounter. Until now, there really wasn’t any movement. But Community Development Director Chris Heineman told the EDA last week that Xcel Energy is offering Northfield, “A tremendous marketing opportunity”. Staff have been meeting with representatives from Xcel who want to include a portion of the annexed land in their Certified Site program, which is similar to the Minnesota
Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Shovel Ready program but will target only ten sites in each state throughout Xcel’s service territory. Heineman said, “It will certify cost of the land, the zoning of the land, the various amenities that the land might have and advertising those as available parcel”. After Heineman took them on a tour they, “saw this site as an enviable site and something they wanted to list”. They are looking at a 50 acre parcel. The idea behind the program is to promote business attraction and recruitment. Heineman said they will have some issues to overcome including the current zoning. The entire parcel is zoned as Ag (agricultural) land. It’s still a work in progress. But it is most certainly progress.
Debris in River leads to danger for Rescuers as well as duck hunters
Two duck hunters found out just how dangerous the Cannon River was when their canoe capsized near SaKAHta lake last week. It took 30 minutes for rescuers to find the men who thought they were in the lake but were actually on the Cannon River. Rice County Sheriff Dunn said they were well off the road and in a wildlife management area. Dunn added that the air temperature was 51 degrees and hypothermia was setting in. Faribault and Morristown Fire and Rice Co. deputies were in boats and ATV’s. The rescue procedure includes putting personnel in in Gumby Suits. Dunn explains, “it’s a waterproof suit, head to toe. The only thing that’s exposed is the face and then it’s buoyant. And then we can tie them up to it so that we can pull them back in… if they need to do a rescue”. They hook rescue noodles, like those pool toys, to the victims and haul them in. Dunn said the rescue was made so much more difficult with the debris in the water. Dunn still urges people to stay off the river and the lakes, the amount of debris and the current is just too dangerous, not only for the public but for those rescuers.
Q-Comp takes another step
The Northfield School board formally approved a letter of intent to join Q-Comp, quality compensation, a program to reward high quality teaching. Superintendent Dr. Matt Hillmann said the letter to the Dept. of Education simply says the Northfield Education Association and the Northfield School District are going to work together on an application for the Q-Comp program. The Board also heard the first presentation of the Q-Comp plan from a representative from the NEA and Math teacher Ray Coudret who have been a part of a subcommittee working on it all summer. There remain a number of steps. The next one is the initial application, which could be approved at the next Board meeting. Once submitted, there’s a back and forth process with the Dept. of Education. Hillmann explained earlier that State aid is potentially available at $169 per pupil. This will also allow the local School Board to levy for another $91 per pupil. More than half the students in Minnesota attend a school where Q-Comp is in play. Arcadia and Prairie Creek Charter schools utilize the program.
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