Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 02.26.2015

February 24, 2015

Today: Philipy inbound exchange student (Quinnell)

Birthdays: Brad Frago (2/22) and James Schlichting (2/25)

Next Week: Albert Nyembwe, Cilongu Foundation, (Spethmann)

Last Week:

Susie Nakasian is hoping her train will soon pull out of the station.

She’s talking about the Central MN Inter-City Passenger Rail Initiative she is promoting. It would use existing rail lines to connect cities in southern Minnesota and some suburban communities with the Twin Cities.

The project is gathering steam. Thirty-five regional cities and counties from Albert Lea to St. Paul, as well as local stakeholder groups, including the City of Northfield and many Rotary Partners (including Northfield Hospital & Clinics, EDA, Northfield Chamber, NDDC, and School Board, among others) have written official letters of support to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).

Now serving her second term on the Northfield City Council, Susie says this project will be good for Northfield, delivering part of what the next generations of workers are looking for — good coffee, good Internet and good rail transportation. She said it will aid in economic development, reduce our population’s carbon footprint and reduce the windshield time for the roughly 50 percent of workers (60 percent of our high-income earners) who commute out from Northfield each day.

MnDOT has moved this project to the top of its priority list for rail development. Susie said state officials need to be convinced that there is enough interest to move forward. The public comment on this project ends March 10. She encouraged people for or against to go to the and share their opinions. If the project gets the green light, she has been told the trains could be running in two to four years.


Tim Madigan, recently retired city administrator, received a promotion. He is now chair of the Rotary Program Committee, thanks to some Machiavellian maneuvers by his predecessors. If you have an idea for a program, please share it with him.

Guests: Kevin Ely (Fenton), William (Yogi), Adam Hough (Rich)

Scholarship Enhancement: Brad Frago

— Adam Hough of the North Star Council of the Boy Scouts of America thanked Rotary for supporting the partnership the scouts have with the school district to provide enrichment for children during the summer and after school.

— Charlie Cogan reported that a major donation to the Prior Lake Rotary Club is pushing our district foundation closer to its fundraising goal of $1 million for Polio Plus. For seven years, we’ve held the distinction of being the club with the most contributions. Charlie said we can all celebrate being dethroned by Prior Lake. It’s for a good cause.

— Elizabeth Child announced a new United Way 100 Percent Local project. She is looking for folks who enjoy some hands-on, field work to help cultivate 10 CSA shares at the SEEDS farm. If you are interested, talk to her.

— Friends and family will gather Sunday, March 15, 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Northfield Golf Course, 707 Prairie St., to pay tribute to Ken Bank, former President and CEO of Northfield Hospital & Clinics and a former member of this club.

Past Northfield Rotary Club meeting videos on Youtube: NorthfieldRotaryClubVideos

Coming Up

March 12 — Chris Kennelly, Classification, (Reese)

March 19 — Guilia Mercanti, inbound exchange student (Brown-Wescott)

March 26 — Denny Hanson, President and CEO of Community Resource Bank, Classification (Weber)

April 2 — Kevin Born (R. Lorang)