Recent Area News

Community News: Edina Realty Supports Habitat for Humanity

January 15, 2016
Edina Realty Supports Habitat for Humanity habitatBob Stangler recently applied to the Edina Realty Foundation for support for Rice County Habitat for Humanity and was awarded $2,000 to help with local efforts to build simple, decent and affordable housing. Habitat thanks Edina Realty and their continued support with financial contributions and their efforts on the annual Realtor Build Day. Rice County Habitat for Humanity partners with families who otherwise may be unable to achieve the dream of homeownership by establishing partnerships among God’s people to build simple, decent, affordable homes.

Today’s news update – School Board elects officers and 1 member resigns; Rice County Commissioners look to regional partnerships for Economic development; Statewide stats on DWI enforcement cite some scary incidents

January 14, 2016

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School Board elects officers and 1 member resigns

The Northfield School board held elected officers on Monday.  They are Julie Pritchard as Chair, Ellen Iverson as Vice Chair, Noel Stratmoen is clerk and Treasurer is Rob Hardy.  Superintendent Dr. Chris Richardson said long time Board Member Ann Maple resigned her position Monday evening.  He said she was an “excellent” board member and heavily involved in the Middle School Bond issue and the 2006 Operating levy campaign.  With less than a year left in her term, Richardson said, the Board is able to appoint someone to finish out her term.  If you’re interested go to or call 663-0600.  You have until February 1st to apply, a committee will review the applications and make a recommendation to the Board at their February 8th meeting.  Tonight the Board will meet in closed session to decide the fate of a student who had an unloaded bb gun in his vehicle.

Rice County Commissioners look to regional partnerships for Economic development

Rice County Commissioners have had an ongoing discussion with Lonsdale and Faribault regarding regional economic development priorities.  Commissioner Galen Malecha said on the list are road, street and bridge funding.  Malecha says Northfield is very aware of the conversation and will become more involved when a new City Administrator is named.  He says lobbying as a group for state and federal funding worked successfully to resurface Hwy 52 from Rochester to St. Paul.  Hwy 14 is another example from New Ulm to Rochester.  Rural economic development is another area they’d like to receive more tools to help start and grow businesses.  Tax abatement is the only tool they have right now.  They’ve discussed the Mill Towns trail expansion and a bus transit center.  They’re “doing some visioning for the future of possibly  locating a transit center somewhere around the I-35 and Hwy 19 corridor”.  Malecha says they’ve already met with Benjamin Bus and Minnesota Valley Transit Authority to “pick their brains” for more information.  There’s no firm timeline but Malecha said it could happen within 5 years.

Statewide stats on DWI enforcement cite some scary incidents

Just over 2500 people in Minnesota were arrested for DWI during the Holiday enhanced enforcement campaign.  The State Department of Public Safety released information on some of the most frightening incidents.  In Olmsted County a driver with a blood alcohol level 3 times the legal limit was arrested for the 3rd dwi in 3 weeks.   A 50 year old man whose BAC was .25 was driving with his 11 year old in the car in St. Paul.  The highest BAC registered was 5 times the legal limit by a driver in Minnetonka.  Traffic Safety Director, Donna Berger, said “unfortunately these examples are all too common”.  Northfield Police Sgt. Kevin Tussing said they had two DWI’s, one was a test refusal and one is pending blood test results after an ATV crash. Dundas Police had 7 DWI arrests and 2 controlled substance arrests, Faribault had 5 DWI and the Rice County Sheriff’s Office had 2.  The numbers reflect additional TZD officers working overtime as well as on-duty officers. Berger says if you choose to drink, you have a responsibility to find a sober ride home.  If you don’t, you’re putting other lives at risk.

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Community News: Cub Scouts support our local veterans and military members and their families

January 13, 2016

6d82d0b98f8c14d21ceb651aaf678373Cub Scouts support our local veterans and military members and their families.

On Tuesday, Jan 12, St. Dominic’s Cub Scout Pack #300 presented the Northfield Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Steering Committee with a $200 check.  The Cub Scouts worked hard to raise money and made a donate in support of our local family members who have either serviced in the military or are currently serving.  Special thank you to all the cub scouts for all the hard work and this very generous gift!

St Dom Cub Scout Pack 300 donation (1)










back row, Left to right:  Ray Ozmun, Virginia Kacmarek, Tom Franklin, Michelle Bornick, Monte Nelson, Brian Edwards.  Front row, left to right: Brent Klein, Mike Roth and Cub Scout members: Isaac Lyman, ALex Lyman, tommy Brown, tommy Hawanchak, Bennet Edwards.

Today’s news update – Multiple sites for Muni discussed; MnDot’s okay for School Speed zone opens possibilities; Dundas approves deed restrictions; Hort Day

January 13, 2016

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Multiple sites for Muni discussed

The Northfield City Council had a lengthy discussion regarding possible Liquor Store sites. They were presented with 10 possibilities, 5 of which met all 4 Council goals.  Liquor Operations Director Stephen DeLong’s preferences for further analysis were the Q-Block, Econo Foods lot and the Amcon site.  The analysis would include acquisition, demolition, environmental study, ballpark construction costs, operating costs and a cash flow analysis.  He added as an alternative he would be happy to include 1 or 2 more sites raising the analysis to 5.  “It seems like a lot and normally…. the way this process works is the City narrows it down to 3 or 4”.  Council had a hard time narrowing it down, although most appeared uninterested in the Amcon site due to a number of issues.  Seven sites were estimated at generating over $4 million in sales with nearly $5 million projected at the Q-block site.  Mayor Pro Tem Ludescher added, “I don’t know what the Council’s view on it is, we haven’t talked about in detail whether or not we are going to build a new liquor store, whether we want to but I think the first step is maybe just see if we can make money before we decide if we want to do it or not”.  Dakota Worldwide consultant Elliot Olson, who conducted the study, told Council, “I think for long term survival, if you want a Muni, you need to get bigger”.  The Chamber of Commerce site was also bandied about as an option with Nakasian pushing for it to connect with a possible future transportation hub, however the intersection in the area is also set to change.  The MnDot site at the corner of Hwy 3 and Woodley was also brought up.  Recently they’ve given indication that they would sell it.  Two councilors were interested in THAT site for a new Fire Station but that’s another discussion entirely.  Councilor DeLong thought it inappropriate for Council to narrow down the list at a work session but rather vote on it at a meeting. That would allow the public to comment.  Ludescher said, “I think what’s going to happen is, staff is going to bring it back for the Council to try to narrow it down to 3 sites”.  Stephen DeLong wants it narrowed and so did most of the Council.  You can view the full report by Elliot Olson here.  Dakota Worldwide Liquor Store Study

MnDot’s okay for School Speed zone opens possibilities

Once MnDot gave the go-ahead and Northfield Council approved it, creating a School Speed Zone on Hwy 246 has been moving along quickly.   The zone would start south of the Middle School to north of the High school.  Superintendent Chris Richardson said the speed will be lowered and signs will be posted.  They also need to provide MnDot with a plan for crossings of Hwy 246. They are considering a crossing on the south end that would get kids from east of 246 to the Middle school.  It would be at Anderson Drive.  They’re also considering a north end crossing.  MnDot’s okay has opened up many possibilities.  The District intends on getting public input and will be engaging parents and citizens in upcoming discussions.

Dundas approves deed restrictions

The Dundas Council took care of the new year administrative business and approved deed restrictions for land parcels attached to the regional park in order to start getting the grant dollars for land purchases.  City Administrator John McCarthy says this means that they agreed to utilize the land only for what’s specified in the grant agreement.  Northfield passed a similar resolution last week.

Rice County Hort Day

As we get through our cold snap, Rice County is sending out information on their Horticulture Day coming up March 12th.  It will be held at Buntrock Commons from 8:30 to 3:15.  There are 4 seminars, plenty of interaction and lots of garden ideas plus lunch.  For more information go to Rice County Master Gardeners U of M facebook page.

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Today’s news update – Northfield man gets prison for multiple burglaries; Many attend School Board mtg to show support for student in possible expulsion; Council work session includes liquor store sites and construction updates

January 12, 2016

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Northfield man gets prison for multiple burglaries

A Northfield man well known to law enforcement with a string of burglaries was sentenced last Friday on several charges in several incidents.  25 year old Benjamin Jacob Hunt pled guilty to 2nd and 3rd degree burglary for robbing the Woodley Car Wash twice last year.  He was sentenced to 27 months for the August theft and 24 months for the September break-in.  He was also given 19 months in prison for fleeing a police officer in a vehicle, 90 days in jail for his part in the robbery of Dawn’s Corner Bar in Dundas and is still facing felony gun charges in Waseca County.  He has been sent to St. Cloud State prison and will serve the terms concurrently.

Many attend school board mtg to show support for student in possible expulsion

About 70 people showed up last night at the Northfield School Board meeting in support of a student who is facing expulsion.  During a random K-9 sweep of the high school parking lot it was discovered that a student reportedly had an unloaded bb gun inside his locked vehicle.  A hearing is scheduled to take place today.  Superintendent Dr. Chris Richardson could not comment on the student specifically due to data privacy laws but added that during the hearing the school district will be able to present it’s case, call witnesses who can be cross examined and the student and parents will also be able to present their case.  (attorneys for both sides)  It’s in the style of a courtroom but without the legal piece.  At the end will be closing arguments.  Once completed, the Hearing Officer creates findings of fact by reviewing all the testimony and then makes a recommendation to the Board as to what he believes should happen based on the school district policies and state and federal policies.  A special closed Board meeting will take place Thursday evening at 7 o’clock to review all the results and make a final determination at which time they’ll open the meeting.  State and Federal law and district law policy says that the possession of a weapon [in this case, under Minnesota law, a bb gun is a firearm] on school grounds is grounds for expulsion.  That could mean a semester up to to a year out of school.  Most students who’ve been expelled attend another school district or learn online.  The School Board could choose to uphold the recommendation of the Hearing Officer or choose another avenue.  A source told KYMN that the student in question is an honor student heavily engaged in youth organizations.  Additional information:  18 year old Noah Bamonte-Grebis is the student in question.  He was given citations for possession of a weapon on school grounds (a misdemeanor), possession of alcohol by someone under 21 (a misdemeanor) and possession of drug paraphernalia (a petty misdemeanor). 

Council work session includes liquor store sites and construction updates

The Northfield City Council meets for a work session tonight.  It begins with a discussion on possible Liquor Store sites, an update on development of 303/305 Water St. and an update on the Library construction project among other items.  Mayor Pro Tem David Ludescher will be sitting in for Mayor Graham tomorrow morning at 7:20.

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