Recent Area News

Today’s news update – CV Coop gets rezoned from rezoning; What you need to know about caucusing in Northfield; Bike group wants to use chainsaws

February 22, 2016
news radio CV Coop gets rezoned from rezoning In an effort to improve the functionality and aesthetics of the Highway 3 corridor, the City of Northfield rezoned four parcels of Central Valley Coop land fronting Highway 3 to a new Highway Commercial zone district (C2) in 2011.  City Engineer Scott Tempe said, unfortunately it wasn’t quite sensitive to the existing land uses.  When the Coop applied for a Conditional Use Permit for the Bulk Storage of Liquids in 2014, they discovered that their use was now “non-conforming”.  So the Planning Commission rezoned that and they were able to get their C-U-P.  But there were still 3 more parcels zoned Highway Commercial and the Planning Commission held a hearing last week to change them back to Industrial.  Tempel said, however, “buildings that are zoned industrial that are within 150 feet of the Hwy 3 corridor still need to follow the C2 site development standards, not the industrial development standards”.  This applies to any business along Hwy 3.  Members of the Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the rezoning back to Industrial with the caveat of a 150 foot buffer.  The coop has no current plans for further expansion but felt that, as they were never consulted about the rezoning in 2011, it should be reverted back to it’s original zoned use. What you need to know about caucusing in Northfield Minnesota will caucus on March 1st.  But what is that and why is it important for voters? Northfield Initiative is a student organization at Carleton College designed to increase voter turnout in the caucuses. Organizer, Nick Cohen explains they provide information regarding the caucus/primary system and how it plays into the general election, what Minnesota’s system is, and how Northfield residents can engage with it.  Their website is and provides nonpartisan information on all of the candidates.  Also, students from St. Olaf and Carleton colleges persuaded the Rice County DFL central committee to move two of their caucus locations from the Northfield Middle School to the college campuses.  This will affect voters in Ward 4 precinct 2 and Ward 1 precinct 1, those residents living on or near the campuses.  Rice County Republicans received no request to move their caucuses which will be held at the Northfield High School.  For other details you can check out the Rice County DFL or Rice County Republican websites.  I’ll have links to these sites on later today. Bike group wants to use chainsaws Marty Larson and Griff Wigley with Cannon River Offroad Cycling and Trails (CROCT) presented before council last week. (You can view it on the City’s website) They have done work in the wooded area of Sechler Park building obstacles for riders with City staff approval.  Right now the contract with the City does not allow them to use power tools.  They would like to change that.  Mayor Graham said they’ve even offered to increase their insurance coverage to satisfy City standards.  Wigley said he and the other volunteers work evenings and weekends on these projects so the ability to use power tools would increase their productivity.  They remain in contact with City staff for approval of the tasks but be able to do it on their time.  While the idea of allowing them the use of chainsaws or even a bobcat seems reasonable, Mayor Graham said they have to be concerned about the safety of everyone.  But they’ll look at the whole picture.  Staff will assemble their thoughts on the matter and this will come back to council. Click below to listen to the 2-22-16 NEWS podcast: 2-22-16 NEWS Aviary northfieldretirement-org Picture 1

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Today’s news update – Construction of new intersection at Hwy 3 and 3rd St. set for Spring; NAFRS and Northfield Council will discuss facility; Rice County Board selects Interim Admin; BTYR Omelet breakfast

February 19, 2016

news radio

Construction of new intersection at Hwy 3 and 3rd St. set for Spring

The Northfield Council have discussed many variations of pedestrian crossings across Hwy 3 in the past.  This week they approved awarding the contract on the Hwy 3 and 3rd street project.  It’s a reconfiguration of the large intersection that will eliminate left hand turns from 3rd street onto Hwy 3 and places a pedestrian island in the middle.  There will be overhead warning lights to alert drivers of a pedestrian.  The first bids on the job last year came in well above engineer estimates.  Public Works Director Dave Bennett said they then tried to align with MnDot who will be doing an overlay project further north on Hwy 3 but that did not work out.  Staff rebid the project in January.  The lowest bid was $634,000.  The engineer’s estimate was $552,000.  There are dollars in the TIF fund to cover most of it but there was a gap of $40,000.  Mayor Graham added that it’s a “needed” project and this busy intersection is a good spot for increased safety.  The vote was 6 to 1 with Ludescher voting no.  BCM Construction Co. of Faribault was awarded the contract.  Construction will begin this Spring.

NAFRS and Northfield Council will discuss facility

Next week Northfield Council will meet with NAFRS in a work session.  They’ll break it into 2 parts.  First they’ll bring to the table the 5 members representing Northfield and discuss their role and the council’s expectations.  The second part will be discussion on the building and then all the voting Board members will be invited to the table to discuss the pros and cons of repairing the facility with information from City staff and the investment dollars that it would take to get it done.  The building needs work, the question is how much work and does it make fiscal sense.

Rice County Board selects Interim Admin

The Rice County Board of Commissioners selected an Interim Administrator this week.  Jack Kemme served as the interim county administrator for Waseca County until mid-2015. He then moved into the role of interim human resources manager — a position he currently holds through the end of the month.  The motion passed 3-2, with Commissioners Gillen, Docken and Bauer in favor.  Commissioners  Malecha and Miller opposed. They would have preferred former Northfield Interim and then Administrator Tim Madigan.  He’s on the recommended list of interims for the League of Minnesota Cities.  If Kemme accepts the offer, he’ll begin as soon as possible.  Administrator Tony Murphy abruptly resigned in mid-January after just a year.  Commissioners chose to hire an outside firm to perform the search for a permanent County Administrator.  But not too outside as it’s Gary Weiers, former Administrator and now consultant with David Drown and Associates.   The contract with David Drown Associates is for $16,000 and comes with a two-year guarantee on the candidate chosen.  He plans on getting started in March.

BYTR omelet breakfast

Also on Sunday is a family-friendly Omelet Breakfast at the Eagles Club to benefit the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon network which supports our veterans and military families. The omelet breakfast includes bacon, sausage, pancakes and all the fixings. $10 for Adults and $5 for Youth. Half the proceeds go to support Beyond the Yellow Ribbon.  Serving is from 8:30am to 12:30pm

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Community News: NAUW to benefit from Spring Style Show

February 18, 2016

Mainstream Boutique on Division Street in Northfield is presenting a Spring Style Show on Tuesday, February 23rd and 10% of every purchase goes to the Northfield Area United Way.  On trend spring sensations modeled by local women including KYMN’s Karen Allawalla and Teri Knight as well as Councilperson Suzie Nakasian, Jacqui Dorsey, Amy Machacek and Ramona Pumper.  Cost-conscious layering for your body type.  6d1906ff354350a440dd9232b8e8d7f5

Wine sipping starts at 5:45pm with the Runway Show from 6pm to 6:30pm.  There will be giveaways and a drawing as well as 20% off any 2 items you purchase.  The event is being held at the store on Division Street.

A $10 goodwill offering to NAUW is suggested.

The Northfield Area United Way helps one-in-three residents in our community lead fulfilling lives. For more than 40 years the Northfield Area United Way has fostered a caring community with both nationally recognized programs and unsung servCAC 1ices that have untold impact.NAUW

Today’s news update – Council okays going out for bids on E. Cannon River Trail; Wild and Scenic Film Festival comes to the Weitz Center; NAG auditions for “You Can’t Take it with You, the radio play”

February 18, 2016

news radio

Council okays going out for bids on E. Cannon River Trail

The East Cannon River trail project was removed from the Consent agenda to iron out issues Councilor DeLong had regarding bituminous or crushed limestone surfaces.  When the resolution was passed in September, the surface material was not specific.  That was done purposely to get it to pass Council due to cost issues with bituminous.  It needed a 5/2 vote. The piece of the trail they’re referring to is the 2.6 mile loop around from Northfield to Dundas that includes 1.8 mile trail and .8 mile on-street trail to Veterans Park in Dundas.  Streets and Parks Manager Jasper Kruggel said there will be 3 scenic/educational rest areas and 12 culvert crossings.  You can view the map on the City’s website.  Kruggel says they have $454,500 in grant dollars, $173,000 allocated from TIF 4 and council approved $196,000 from the General Fund.  At some point they’ll need to develop a memo of understanding with Dundas regarding cost and maintenance.  Kruggel explained the bid saying that the base bid includes bituminous (black top) but there will be an alternative that includes aggregate ( the crushed limestone).  The difference between the two is estimated at $150,000.  Public Works Director Dave Bennett said that all the permits have been approved and they’re ready to bid the job.  Council voted 5 to 2 to allow staff to go out for bids.  They’ll open it up on March 17th and award the contract, or not, on April 5th.  Total cost of the project is $917,000.

Wild and Scenic Film Festival comes to the Weitz Center

The Cannon River Watershed Partnership is bringing the Wild and Scenic Film Festival to the Weitz Center.  Community Engagement Director, Kristi Pursell said they selected 8 films from the National festival to show with the focus on water as well as 2 St. Olaf student-made films.  Pursell said the films they chose focus on water.  One of the student films is about the Cannon River, the other is more global in scope. The festival is sponsored both nationally and locally by a variety of organizations.  Many will have tables at the showing including student organizations.  Just Food Coop is also giving away some tickets.  Check out their Facebook page.  The films last between 3 and 40 minutes in length.  We have a link to the CRWP to get tickets on get them at the door on Sunday.  Doors open at 1:30, the show starts at 2pm.

NAG auditions for “You Can’t Take it with You, the radio play”

The Northfield Arts Guild announces auditions for the Project Purple Door production of You Can’t Take It with You, the radio play.  Auditions are open to students in grades 6 to 12. Auditions will be held Sunday, February 28th from 2:00-3:30pm and Monday, the 29th from 4:00-5:30pm at the Northfield Arts Guild Theater on W. Third Street,. Call the Northfield Arts Guild at 507-645-8877 to schedule a 30 minute audition in one of these time frames. Students do not need to prepare anything in advance.  Purple Door Youth Theatre received a WINGS grant this year to provide a limited number of full and partial (50% discount) tuition scholarships for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.  Please contact the Northfield Arts Guild at 507-645-8877 for more information.

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Community News: BBB warns of student loan scams

February 18, 2016

BBB newsBurnsville, MN – February 18, 2016 – According to the Wall Street Journal, the class of 2015, on average, graduated from college owing slightly more than $35,000 in student loans. But they’re not alone. Student loan debt is weighing many people down and scammers are promising quick and easy
relief. Unfortunately, these promises are hollow, and too many hopeful borrowers don’t discover that until after they’ve paid still more money out of pocket. Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota ® (BBB) reminds people it’s easy to make grand claims – but tough to deliver.

“Scammers often prey on those that are desperate, and they know there are many people out there who are dealing with a lot of student loan debt,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota.  “Unfortunately, these so-called offers of assistance leave people in even worse shape financially.”

BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota has received two reports recently through BBB Scam Tracker wherein Minnesota residents with student loan debt signed up with a California firm that promised to help them qualify for a student loan forgiveness program. Both individuals paid the company nearly $600 upfront for the service and then the company failed to deliver.

BBB advises people to watch out for scams and suspect offers that entice student loan holders by promising to wipe out their debt.

How These ‘Offers’ Work:

You get a phone call, email or spot a post on social media that claims a company can erase your student loan debt. Many claim that their service is made possible by a new government program or policy. The company then asks for an upfront fee to supposedly negotiate with your lender or student loan servicing company on your behalf. They will claim they’ve helped numerous other clients, but don’t believe them! Student loans can only be forgiven under specific circumstances, which are not fast or easy. Once the money has been paid, the scammers take your fee and disappear.   In another version of the student loan scam, con artists claim that they can save you money by consolidating your loans. Some charge a fee for using a free government service. Others may actually move your loans to a private lender with a higher interest rate.

Another tactic such dubious entities employ is to offer to see if people qualify for a deferment or forbearance, which allows you to temporarily postpone making your federal student loan payments or reduce the amount that you pay. However, no one needs the help of a company to do this. Anyone can seek such temporary relief on their own.

How to spot a suspect student loan relief offer:

 If it seems too good to be true…it probably is. Any company that claims it can erase your student loan debt in minutes is lying. Don’t bother responding to the advertisement or email.

 Requests for upfront fees. Never pay money upfront. Remember, anyone can make big promises. That doesn’t mean they can deliver.

 Being asked to sign a legal document. Never sign over power of attorney to a 3rd party unless you fully understand what you’re getting into. Giving a company the power to negotiate on your behalf or
assign your loans to other lenders could open the door to even more financial hardship.

The best way to avoid student loan relief scams? Be on guard, know your options and stay in contact with your lender or loan servicing company.

Contact BBB or your school’s financial aid office if you receive questionable offers. You can also research loan forgiveness programs offered by the federal government by visiting

Media Contact:  Dan Hendrickson, Communications Coordinator

651-695-2463 / [email protected]

The mission of Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public. We are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact BBB at or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.

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