By Teri Knight, News Director
First National Bank of Northfield is being sold. According to President and CEO Dave Shumway, Merchants Bank will acquire the local bank by the end of 2019. Shumway and President & CEO of Merchants Financial Group, Greg Evans, said the agreement is subject to shareholder and regulatory agency approval but it is fully expected that the
deal for the Winona-based Merchants Bank to take over will become final before the end of 2019. Employees were informed this morning. In a press release, Shumway said, “We are looking forward to expanding our ability to serve our customers and this community with the additional resources of a larger banking organization,” adding that the challenges for community banks are significant and they believe Merchants is the right partner. Both First National and Merchants banks have rich histories of service in their communities. First National was chartered in 1873 and Merchants in Winona in 1875. Under the terms of the agreement, Merchants Financial Group will acquire all of the outstanding stock in an all-cash transaction. The amount of the sale was not disclosed. First National reports $207 million in assets, $157 million in loans and $183 million in deposits. The bank has been inextricably tied to Northfield with the Defeat of James-Younger Gang in 1876. The bank name will change to Merchants. Employees of the agreement were informed this morning. We plan to feature First National Bank President Tim Viere and Vice President Rick Estenson will be in studio tomorrow morning at 8:45 am.
An Easter gas grill explosion injures one and destroys two mobile homes
Update 1:50pm from Chief Dienst: The two mobile homes were destroyed. The injured woman is going to be okay.
A gas grill explosion sent one person to the hospital and seriously damaged two mobile homes. According to a press release from Faribault Fire Chief Dustin Dienst, just after 5 pm yesterday afternoon, Faribault Fire, Police and North Memorial Ambulance responded to 415 Western Ave. On arrival two mobile homes at lots 74 and 75 were ablaze. No one was inside either home. Fire crews attacked the fires simultaneously. It took some time to get the flames under control. Both structures sustained serious damage. Crews cleared the scene at 8:30 pm. While grilling at lot 74, the 20-pound LED cylinder fell off its holder and the hose broke. This released pressurized LP which started a fire. An explosion followed shortly thereafter. The explosion and proximity of the other mobile home caused that structure to start burning as well. One person from lot 74 was taken to District One Hospital with burn injuries. The severity of the injuries is unknown at this time. Residents received vouchers to stay in a hotel in the short term. The Red Cross was on the scene before crews cleared. They provided the impacted homeowners with basic necessities as most of their belongings were lost. Dienst commented, “This is a tragic end to a beautiful Easter Sunday. We hope and pray for the occupant that went to District One Hospital and are thankful that no one else sustained any injuries in this fire.” Find the full press release here: Multiple Structure Fire 415 Western Ave Press Release
CAC/HRA partnership aids homeless
Executive Director of the Community Action Center, Scott Wopata, gave an update to Northfield’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority on the success of their partnership to provide emergency shelter housing at 517 Washington Street. He noted well over 1,000 nights of actual use. The CAC supports people as young as 22 and as old as 67 but most are in their 40s. The majority of those in need (75%) are Northfield residents. Wopata commented on the relationship between the HRA and the CAC saying, “This isn’t always how this is structured and this unique structure accents the fact that the CAC has a large presence in the community. The City is taking a real look at what this looks like and, just to be honest, it’s been really successful.” Additionally, the CAC has purchased the old Manger Inn off Highway 3 which has seven units. The long term vision is to grow to 20 units of affordable housing. There will be more on this item coming up.