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Community News: St. Olaf will host symposium on civil discourse and today’s politics

March 30, 2016

photoEvent Alert

The Institute for Freedom & Community Announces Two-Day Symposium with Prominent Speakers and Guests 

WHAT: “Disagreement – a Symposium for Constructive Political Discourse and Inquiry” 

WHEN: March 31 at 7 p.m.

April 1 at 3 p.m.

April 1 at 4:30 p.m. 

WHERE: St. Olaf College

1520 St. Olaf Avenue

Northfield, Minn., 55057 

WHO: “Jerks, Asshats, and the Unstable Politics of Civility”

Mark Kingwell

Thursday, March 31 at 7 p.m.

Tomson Hall Room 280

Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto

Author of A Civil Tongue: Justice, Dialogue, and the Politics of Pluralism

“What on Earth is Happening to our Country? The Moral Psychology of Political Division”

Jonathan Haidt

Friday, April 1 at 3 p.m.

Buntrock Commons, Black and Gold Ballrooms

Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership, New York University’s Stern School of Business

Author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion

“Extreme Incivility and Political Voice”

Sarah Sobieraj

Friday, April 1 at 4:30 p.m.

Buntrock Commons, Black and Gold Ballrooms

Associate Professor of Sociology, Tufts University

Author of The Outrage Industry: Political Opinion Media and the New Incivility

WHY: With political discord and contempt at a fever pitch in this election cycle, St. Olaf College is doing something about it. This two-day symposium will feature three prominent speakers presenting on coarse rhetoric and contemptuous politics in today’s society. Presented by The Institute for Freedom and Community, this event will aim to foster civil discourse and create civility in public debate.

For more information on the symposium, please call 507-786-3128 or email Dan Hofrenning at or Shawn Paulson at All events are held at St. Olaf College, located approximately 40 miles south of downtown Minneapolis or downtown St. Paul. The campus is located at 1520 St. Olaf Avenue, Northfield, Minn. 55057. Preregistration is not required.

Today’s news update – Dennison water issues prompt visit from Lt. Gov. Tina Smith; Real ID moves in the House but only to allow them to talk about it; 2016 Sidewalk Poetry winners announced

March 30, 2016


Dennison water issues prompt visit from Lt. Gov. Tina Smith

Dennison Mayor Jeff Flaten was just trying to make sure the sewer wouldn’t back up when he got cited by OSHA.  After an article in the St. Paul Pioneer Press highlighting aging water systems was published in February, the City was cited because the Mayor has been going down the lift station sewer to make sure it keeps working.  He’s not licensed for that.  After the longtime water and sewer operator retired Flaten has been descending down into the the sewer every day to check that it’s functioning, even discharging sewer water, cleaning the screens and checking water meters in town.  He’s asking the Governor for bonding dollars to build a lift station.  In a meeting yesterday at Dennison Town Hall, Flaten told Lt. governor Tina Smith that it’s “a need, not a want”.  She said, “I think it’s kinda the most basic thing that people expect their government to do for them….We’re going to come together as a community and figure out how to pay for that”.  Flaten expressed frustration to Minnesota Public Facilities Authority Ex. Dir. Jeff Freeman regarding the grant process, “To be honest, I’m getting a little angry right now”… He told Freeman he thinks the system is unfair to small towns and caters to larger cities that have the money to hire lobbyists and consultants to help fill out the grant applications.  Freeman said Minnesota Rural Water Association can help him do that.  Smith told Flaten, “I’m here because I think you’re doing a really good job of representing small communities who are faced with a very specific set of challenges and the reality is that it’s in all of our interests to help Dennison and communities like Dennison all across the state”.  The City is currently working with PeopleService to bridge the gap till a new lift station is built and satisfy OSHA.  The cost for the lift station is $200,000, nearly twice Dennison’s annual budget. The city of 190, proposes to chip in another $48,000, funded in part with a new $25 monthly water fee on residents.  Flaten is asking for another ½ million for a water infiltration system.   The current lift station was built in 1962.  

Real ID moves in the House but only to allow them to talk about it

It’s only a 10 week legislative session and 4 weeks have gone by.  House District 20b representative David Bly said Friday is the 1st deadline which means, all the policy bills must be heard in committees.  Bly says it means they spend the day there.  Real ID moved through the House but all it means is that the Legislature can talk about it… and hopefully solve the issue.  This will go back to the Senate.  Privacy has been the biggest issue.  Minnesota’s deadline to comply with federal changes is 2018.  

2016 Sidewalk Poetry winners announced

The 2016 Sidewalk Poetry winners have been announced.  Northfield’s Arts and Culture Commission, in partnership with the Friends and Foundation of the Library, selected 9 poems from 102 submitted.   The names of the winners and their poems are posted on our website now under Community News.  Poems will be installed in City sidewalks over the spring and summer.  KYMN’s Paula Granquist will be talking with the winners on her show Art Zany, April 15th.  

Click below to listen to the 3-30-16 NEWS podcast:

 Listen for news updates on-air at 6, 7, 8, Noon, 3 and 5

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Community News: 2016 Sidewalk Poetry winners announced

March 30, 2016

Northfield’s Arts and Culture Commission

2016 Sidewalk Poetry Contest Winners Announced

The Arts and Culture Commission (ACC) of Northfield, in partnership with the Friends and Foundation of the Library, is pleased to announce the winners of the City’s sixth annual Sidewalk Poetry Contest and congratulate them for their efforts.  Chosen from among 102 poems submitted for judging, nine poems have been selected for imprinting in city sidewalks.

The Arts and Culture Commission applauds and thanks the many local poets who submitted their poetry to the competition.  We are pleased to announce the following winners, in alphabetical order, of Northfield’s 2016 Sidewalk Poetry Contest:

Barbara Belobaba

Becky Boling

Julia Braulick

Steven McCown (2 poems)

Orick Peterson

Anne Running Sovik

Lori Stoltz

Richard Waters

The five contest judges were drawn from across the community, representing the colleges, city staff, the community, professional writers, and published poets.  Judging was completely blind, in that poems were not identified by authors’ names at the time of judging.  Judges were: Diane LeBlanc, Director of Writing/Professor, St. Olaf College and a published poet; Toni Easterson, published writer and poet, member of Northfield Women Poets; Dr. Chris Richardson, former English teacher, principal, and current Northfield Superintendent of Schools; Philip Spensley, former ACC Chair, published poet and playwright, actor, and Professor Emeritus of Theatre; and Jasper Kruggel, City of Northfield’s Streets and Parks Manager.

The winning poems will be on display at the interim location of the Northfield Public Library at City Hall, posted on the Friends and Foundation of the Library website and the ACC page of the City of Northfield website, and shared with local media. Poems will be installed in City sidewalks over the spring and summer, as weather permits. Following the installation of this year’s winning poems, a Sidewalk Poetry celebration will take place on Thursday, August 25, 2016, at 7pm on Bridge Square in downtown Northfield.

This project is funded by the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC) through the Arts and Culture Heritage Fund, as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature, with added support from the Friends and Foundation of the Northfield Library.

Chair Bonnie Jean Flom wrote:

I am so pleased to have arranged with Paula Granquist to have the poets join her on Art Zany! on Friday, April 15th.  This tradition has become an important part of the Sidewalk Poetry celebration and the Arts and Culture Commission is so grateful for the support of KYMN.

READ the poems by clicking below:

ACC 2016 Winning Poems

Today’s news update – Dundas man charged with domestic assault again; Slight changes to Sports Dome coming to Dundas; Nelson thanks local businesses; Lt. Gov. makes stops in Dennison and Northfield

March 29, 2016


Dundas man charged with domestic assault again

A Dundas man is charged with domestic assault.  Rice County deputies were called to a residence on Railway street on report of a domestic situation early Saturday morning .  A woman reported that she and her boyfriend, 26 year old Jordan Patrick Schultz, had gotten into a heated argument.  He grabbed her arms and held her down on the bed.  She screamed multiple times to be let go.  He eventually let her go and she called 911.  She said she was in fear of Schulz.  She denied striking him in the face.  Schulz later admitted that he punched himself in the eye because he was angry.  He has a lengthy criminal history that includes domestic assault, theft, fleeing and officer and more.  Schultz is facing 2 counts of domestic assault, both gross misdemeanors.  He’s currently in the Rice County jail.  

Slight changes to Sports Dome coming to Dundas

City Administrator John McCarthy gave an update on the forthcoming Sports Dome.  The owners are scheduled to be acquiring the final piece of property needed to construct the dome yet this month.  There have been some slight changes, “the dome will be a little bit narrower and a little bit longer and will have a support facilities will now be outside the dome”.  The entire interior will then be usable, which McCarthy says, will allow one more practice size lacrosse field and better used for softball.  The changes shouldn’t delay anything.  Another change, according to code, the dome will be deflated annually,”from what I understand they let the dome come down and pack it up.  They can still use he field for a period of time.  At the time they want to inflate it again, they blow it back up”.  Council will act on the first phase in April.  College City Beverage will be expanding.  McCarthy says they’ll be applying for a building permit in a matter of days.  It will add about an acre and a half of warehouse space.  

Nelson thanks local businesses

Every year the Northfield Police department works with the National Child Safety Council to help raise money for all the safety booklets and safety materials that his office disseminates to the schools and at events throughout the year.  The Council sends letters signed by Chief Monte Nelson to local businesses asking for support of those efforts.  Nelson says, “we have, as always, been getting great support from the local businesses”.  He added, “I just want to say thank you.  I see those checks as they are coming in, every single letter that comes back with a donation to the National Child Safety Council, I get to see it”.  He said his department would not be able to hand out those materials in the quantity they do without the financial support of those businesses.  All dollars go to the Safety Council.   

Lt. Gov. makes stops in Dennison and Northfield

Lt. Governor Tina Smith will be in Dennison at 1:45pm today to meet with Mayor Jeff Flaten regarding their aging water infrastructure and at 3pm she’ll be in Northfield at AUM Cardiovascular.  

Click below to listen to the 3-29-16 NEWS podcast:

 Listen for news updates on-air at 6, 7, 8, Noon, 3 and 5

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Today’s news update – Preachers, Civil rights and a peaceful Bridge Square; Farmington school district okays solar panels; Bills offered on student assaults diametrically opposed; Loon Liquors wins International Competition

March 28, 2016


Preachers, Civil rights and a peaceful Bridge Square

Old Paths Baptist preachers are back out on Division Street and and Northfield police are already getting complaints.  Church members have a reputation of spewing their doctrine at downtown shoppers which some business owners say turns away customers.  Individuals have complained that it takes away their enjoyment of Bridge Square. Police Chief Monte Nelson was just talking with one of our City attorneys on the subject last week.  He said they take the complaints from business owners and/or individuals seriously but they also have to take seriously, “Civil rights, and that’s what it comes down to is First Amendment rights”.  The government can sometimes limit the place and location but only to the degree that another location is offered to them.  If the City has permitted Bridge Square, “we can dictate that no one can be in that area doing some other type of activity that conflicts with the group that reserved it with the City”.  Public sidewalks and parks are open.  Nelson said his department has talked with folks on both sides of the issue.  He said, “I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a very delicate balance”.  OPB church came into the community in 2014.  Based on videos and information on their own website, they’re confrontational toward many groups and organizations including Planned Parenthood, Alcoholics Anonymous, Hollywood, Gay marriage and more.  The predominate advice is to ignore their vitriol.  

Farmington school district okays solar panels

The Farmington School district approved solar panels on all their school buildings.  The agreement with Sundial Solar and investor Kenyon Energy will generate power for local providers and create savings for the district.  According to “Independent Town pages”, the current bill is about $960,000.  Sundial estimates a savings of just over $74,000 in the first year alone.  Kenyon Energy will be responsible for the cost of installation and maintenance and will keep some of the savings to cover costs.

Bills offered on student assaults diametrically opposed

Legislation to address students assaulting teachers are polar opposites, “Senator Brown introduced a bill that would be mandatory expulsion of a student that attacked a teacher, and then right after that, Senator Pappas had a bill that said that there shouldn’t be a mandatory expulsion… we need more of a restorative justice type of thing, or interventions along the way”.  Senator Kevin Dahle said Pappas’s bill does say the School board should have discretion over expelling a student who attacks a teacher.  He added that there was quite a bit of testimony, much of which was against immediate expulsion.  He said they heard from mental health experts, special education professionals and students who’d been expelled, they thought wrongly.  There will be much more this week.   

Loon Liquors wins International Competition

Loon Liquors took the Silver Award in competition for their new Metropoligin.  Co-owner Mark Schiller said in a tweet, they are humbled and thrilled to take the award at the 16th annual San Francisco World Competition.  There were more than 1850 entrants.  The competition is considered the most influential in the world.  Official results will be posted on the competition SFWC website April 4th.  

Click below to listen to the 3-28-16 NEWS podcast:

 Listen for news updates on-air at 6, 7, 8, Noon, 3 and 5

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