Recent Area News

Community News: Northfield Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Salutes Military Kids

April 1, 2016
  e9bac6d17f0c666375dfe90454b80bc4Northfield Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Salutes Military Kids The Northfield Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Network proudly joins the military and Veteran communities in celebrating April as the Month of the Military Child. From deployments to new schools, military children face unique challenges most youth their age never experience. Their ability to adapt must be applauded, their courage must be recognized and their hard work must be celebrated. It is estimated that aver 15,000 children in Minnesota have been affected by a parent’s deployment and that number continues to grow. We are encouraging our community to join together and honor our military youth for their sacrifices, for their courage, and for the important contribution they make to the strength of the military family. If you know a military child thank them. Ask them what it means to be a military child. Ask them to share the very best of being a military child and what is a tough part of being a military child.  Building relationships is the best way to show support. Show them you see their sacrifice and admire them for their strength. On April 15th you are invited to “Purple Up! For Military Kids” to show your support, raise awareness and thank military children. Purple is chosen because it is the color that symbolizes all branches of the military, as it is a combination of Army green, Navy blue, Air Force blue, Marine Corps red and Coast Guard blue.

Today’s news update – Parking spaces challenge Crossings development; Mayor talks Franchise fees on new video; HCI looking for Board members

April 1, 2016


Parking spaces challenge Crossings development

This week the EDA heard an update on The Crossings project at Hwy 3 and 2nd street..  Council approved extending the TIF district for 3 years to assist in development.  Community Development Director Chris Heineman said the hearing on it is taking place today in the Senate and the House.  If it moves forward, which they believe is likely, there will be an actual hearing with testimony from the local community as to why it’s necessary.  Rebound Enterprises is working on a $12.8 million hotel development with Marriott Fairfield and hope to use some TIF dollars.  Additionally they’re applying for a business subsidy and asking for another $650,000.  Challenges with the site include soil conditions that require extra foundation work and having enough parking spaces.   Brett Reese shared that, if they could utilize surface parking, they would probably be fine, but they’ll need to build underground parking which costs about $1.5 million.  Heineman laid out a few possible options.  Clearly more discussion will take place on how the EDA can better help business development.  Rebound’s vision is to create a comprehensive development in the area at Hwy 3 and 2nd street including the byzantine location.  The EDA will be asked to review the business subsidy application at their April 28th meeting with City Council action in May.  The hope is to open the hotel by August of next year.  

Mayor talks Franchise fees on new video

Mayor Graham discusses Franchise Fees on a new Minute with the Mayor.  He’s had a lot of phone calls since the subject of a fee added to your Xcel energy bill to pay for infrastructure came up at a Council meeting.  He tells residents that they are in a “such preliminary conversation”.  They’ve asked staff to get them more information.  “No decision has been made” and none will be until it’s been fully vetted.  Graham explains the fee adding that (the fee) would take away the need for assessments.  Rather the whole city would pay for infrastructure rather than only those living on the street being worked on.  He urges anyone with questions or concerns to contact him or their council representative.  These are all listed on the City’s website.  

HCI looking for Board members

The Northfield Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) is currently accepting nominations for positions on the HCI Board of Directors.  They expect to have at least three open adult positions and one position for a high school student, beginning in September.  HCI’s mission is to “to cultivate a collaborative community that supports, values and empowers youth.”   To achieve this, HCI does not operate or manage its own programs.  Instead, they work with community partners to foster collaboration and to support community-driven efforts that benefit Northfield youth and families.   HCI board members serve three-year terms. For more information on the HCI Board or to nominate yourself or someone else for the board, please contact HCI at 664-3524 or [email protected]

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Community News: Computers Available for Online Tax Filers 4/1/16

April 1, 2016


CONTACT: Elizabeth Child, Northfield Area United Way, 507-664-3510 or 507-645-0119 (cell) or

[email protected]

NAUWComputers Available for Online Tax Filers

NORTHFIELD, Minn. (April 1, 2016) — is a free online tax preparation program offered by the United Way for those with incomes of $62,000 or less. If you don’t have access to a computer to file your taxes, and want to use, the Senior Center and Northfield Area United Way will offer computers and computer assistance Thursday, April 7 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Northfield Senior Center, 1651 Jefferson Parkway, in the computer lab. The average time to complete taxes using is one hour.

The Senior Center and United Way do not offer tax preparation, however, offers personalized tax assistance online and by phone.

If you cannot make it April 7, but need access to a computer to file your taxes online, please contact the Northfield Area United Way, 507-664-3510 or [email protected] We will work with you to find another time.

Community News: The Engeseth-Rinde Farm to be a place of restoration and education for years to come

April 1, 2016

Northfield Shares and Minnesota DNR Benefit from Community Member’s Major Gift

The Engeseth-Rinde Farm to be a place of restoration and education for years to come

NORTHFIELD, MINN. (March 30, 2016) – Northfield Shares, a community foundation centered on philanthropy and volunteerism, announced today that Donald H. Nelson has donated the Engeseth-Rinde Farm to the organization. The farm, which sits near Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, will be added to the new Prairie Creek Wildlife Management Area.

Nelson worked with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Northfield Shares to arrange the sale of his property, the Engeseth-Rinde Farm. Nelson sold the farm to the DNR and donated the proceeds to Northfield Shares to create an endowment that will support restoration, research and education activities.

When asked about this donation, Nelson said, “I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I visited this farm often. I wanted to keep the farm in the family. Since there is no one in my family who would like to farm the land, I had to find another way to protect it. Selling the land to the DNR was the best way to make sure that the land would be protected.”

Joann Bell, Nelson’s sister, also grew up visiting the Engeseth-Rinde farm. She says, “We grew up in South Minneapolis. Visiting Aunt Lena [Helena] and Uncle Andrew’s farm was a big thrill for us city folks. It was really quite a treat. They ran a beautiful farm.”

The Engeseth-Rinde farm is now called “The Engeseth-Rinde Unit of the Prairie Creek Wildlife Management Area” and work is already in progress to open up the property for public use. Over the coming years, the current crops and woods will gradually return to prairie, wetland and oak savanna.

A Wildlife Management Area protects land and water for wildlife habitat and wildlife-related recreation. The Prairie Creek Wildlife Management Area was established in 2014 when the DNR acquired the 460-acre Koester farm, three miles away from the Engeseth-Rinde farm.

Northfield Shares will use the proceeds from the endowment, which totals $462,000, to support activities at the Engeseth-Rinde Unit, the Koester Unit and other natural areas in between as time goes on and the fund grows.

Craig Ellingboe, Northfield Shares Board of Directors President, says, “This is a very exciting time for Northfield Shares. Conversations are just beginning regarding all of the exciting initiatives that can come out of a gift like this.”

Northfield Shares has plans to use the endowment to engage with area students at all levels. The farm will become a place for research on prairie restoration and will be available for study by students at St. Olaf College and Carleton College as well as Northfield area students and other community members.

Ellingboe continues, “Don Nelson’s passion for the land and our community comes into full view with the finalization of this sale. The Engeseth-Rinde Farm is set to become an incredible addition to the Northfield area and is guaranteed to serve the community for generations to come.”

At 90-years-old, Nelson has a track record of generosity. A retired orthodontist, Nelson worked in Rochester at the Mayo Clinic. It was at Mayo that Nelson first got a taste for philanthropy.  Throughout his life he has focused his giving toward ensuring that places for wildlife enjoyment continue to exist for generations. In fact, the Engeseth-Rinde farm is the third farm Nelson has donated. The first two farms went to Luther College and St. Olaf College, respectively. Each college sold the properties to the DNR, and both became Wildlife Management Areas. In 2000, Nelson also established the Henry and Agnes Nelson Family Endowment to support the curation of the St. Olaf College Natural Lands.

Speaking about her brother, Bell said, “Listening to him, you would never know that he was a dentist. All of his conversation is geared toward the environmental sciences. He is a land conservationist first and foremost.”

Another important player in turning Nelson’s properties into permanently protected conservation lands was the Minnesota Land Trust. Nelson worked with them to place conservation easements on all three farms, protecting the properties from development even if the state were to sell them. In the case of the Engeseth-Rinde Farm, Nelson donated the development rights to the Minnesota Land Trust, which lowered the value of the property and made it affordable for the DNR to buy the farm.

Engeseth and Rinde are two important names in the legacy of Don Nelson. Norwegian in heritage, these two families settled in the Dennison/Nerstrand area in the late 1800s. The Engeseth family built their homestead on the land that is now the Engeseth-Rinde farm.

Nelson’s great-aunt, Helena Rinde, married into the Engeseth family. Nelson and his brother, Richard Nelson, bought the farm in 1982 without a clear idea of what they were going to do with the land, but with a strong desire to keep the farm in the family. Now, 34-years later, the farm has changed hands again, but will forever be tied to Nelson’s family legacy.

Northfield Shares is a Northfield-area nonprofit founded to advance philanthropy, inspire volunteerism and promote collaborative leadership. The organization was formed when 5th Bridge and Northfield Area Foundation merged. For more information on the Engeseth-Rinde Restoration Fund or Northfield Shares, visit

Community News: Northfield Healthy Community Initiative invites board nominations

March 31, 2016

HCI logoNorthfield Healthy Community Initiative invites board nominations

The Northfield Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) is currently accepting nominations for positions on the HCI Board of Directors. HCI expects to have at least three open adult board positions and one board position for a high school student, beginning in September 2016. HCI board members serve three-year terms.

Formed in 1992, HCI is a coalition run by a board of community leaders, youth, parents, and school representatives. HCI’s mission is to “to cultivate a collaborative community that supports, values and empowers youth.” To achieve this, HCI does not operate or manage its own programs. Instead, HCI works with community partners to foster collaboration and to support community-driven efforts that benefit Northfield youth and families.  The HCI Board meets from 7:30-9:00 a.m. on the third Wednesday of every month.

For more information on the HCI Board or to nominate yourself or someone else for the board, please contact HCI at 664-3524 or [email protected]  To learn more about HCI, visit

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