Rotary Club of Northfield, Minnesota  |  Thursday, November 25, 2021
Happy Thanksgiving! 
We have no meeting this week,
but we hope to see you at the Turkey Trot! 
Please wear your mask when you enter the Methodist Church
and whenever you are not eating. 


November 25 — Thanksgiving
No Meeting
Hoping to see you at the Turkey Trot!
November 18 — Scott Haugen
Future Development of the Mills Town Trail System in Northfield
Scott Haugen is in the Parks & Trails division of the DNR in Acquisition & Development. He has grass stains and mud on his boots since he’s used to working in the field with a
high visibility vest, or at his computer. His presentation featured many maps starting with a (2019) map of MN trails.

In 2000 Mill Towns State Trail became an authorized trail (Faribault to Cannon Falls) –with a Master Plan created in 2005 (25-30 miles long) which will create a trail of 85-90
miles of non-motorized trail between Mankato and Red Wing. Six miles have been completed thus far. Fifteen miles are in DNR or partners’ control awaiting funding to develop.

The Mill Towns Trail will:

1) Provide a permanent trail right-of-way linking originate at Sakata singing Hills (Faribault) and connect to Cannon Valley Trail (Cannon Falls)

2) Establishment a recreational facility focused upon the communities along the route

3) Identify and provide access to public spaces, historic mill sites and the cultural and natural features along the trail

4) Promote the trail as a vital facility for health in the community (economic vitality).
These trails are not JUST for biking. They’re multi-modal including hiking/walking, jogging, leashed dogs, in-line skating, XC skiing, canoe launch, hunting where allowed,
and snowmobiling where allowed.

Some landmarks along the way for the Mill Towns Trail:
1998: Mill Towns Friends’ trail in Sechler Park along Armstrong Trail (3 miles).
2008: Trailhead parking in Dundas with kiosk (2007) & Peggy Prowe pedestrian bridge in Northfield .
2012: land acquired near Cannon Falls & in Dundas – prairie burn to prep for native seeds and a 295’ bridge in Cannon Falls.
2016: acquired 6 miles in rural Rice County –still awaiting funding to develop.
2019: added pedestrian bridge in Faribault at connecting point. 

  • Rotary & Mill Towns Friends paid for a study to examine a potential route along the Cannon River between the Waterford Bridge and Randolph.
  • 30% completed plan set for Northfield section of trail – we have a design!  Five segments 6.1/6.2 miles long.
  • Underpass highway 19 at Carleton… not supported by the college yet.
  • Building 6 miles of trail through a municipality is a lot of work and will take funding and time (City is working on it!)
What has to happen for this to become a reality?
  • Acquire land easements (negotiations ongoing through 2022)
  • Continue to seek community input
  • Pre-construction environmental analysis and any required mitigation due to impacts
  • Bring construction plans from 30% completeness to bid-ready
  • Secure funding to build entire 6.1 miles in one project or break into logical phases (Northfield is leading the ask at the MN Legislature)
  • …and lots more!
Rotary has contributed to the Mill Towns Friends since 1995. He gave 5 examples of our group’s support- totaling $105,000 from proceeds from the DJJD ride (Waterford
Bridge Rehab, Dundas Trailhead, Pedestrian bridge at Hwy 3, Cannon Falls trailhead, Waterford to Randolph Corridor Study) …but we have contributed at least another ten times over the years, too!
Q & A
“Would the federal infrastructure bill fund this?” DNR is not a “road authority” so it may come through other authorities
“Why doesn’t the trail go through downtown?” DNR likes horizontal and vertical separation (safety standard)
“When will I be able to go from Red Wing to Mankato” – that’s the million dollar question!

“Why hasn’t the railroad lands acquired in 2016 in Waterford been completed yet?” Scott thought by 2018 there would have been more progress, but it’s all about where there is legislative and political will.  The trail in Sechler needs some resurfacing. It’s a “local trail” so it’s a high priority, but as for now is still a local responsibility – working in conjunction with DNR.
Peggy Prowe (as prompted by Amy Goerwitz) shared about the steep grade at 4th and Prairie, but there’s a southern route Martig shared. He suggested going to the
Sustainable Northfield app and you can hear Peggy’s story!

In the 1990’s someone came in to John Ophaug’s office and offered $1,000/acre to try and “get rid of the land” abandoned by the railroad
The impact of bike trails on tourism is overwhelmingly positive! The river, beautiful communities, e.g. downtown Lanesboro was for sale for $50,000/block in the 1980s.
Today there are more than 40 storefronts, a theater, restaurants… 100s of 1,000s of visitors/year. Mill Towns Trail would provide more variety with farmland, towns,
riverscape, etc. (Root River system is along the river, but more forested).
Link to last week's video.
Thanks to last week's Cogwheel reporter, Kristi Pursell/
Suzie Nakasian (Martig); Andre Simonet (Wakely), Richard Goerwitz (Goerwitz); Greg Neis and Brianna Lane, co-owners of Farmstead Bike Shop on Division Street in downtown Northfield (Pursell).
President Todd expressed gratitude for the Mental Health services available to us.
Janice Lehmkuhl
  • Rick Estenson: Turkey Trot- good support from business community, sign up in Cogwheel, more help is needed!
  • Jack Hoschauer  is taking photos after the meeting/
  • Jean Wakley: if you have photos of Rotarians doing things, we’d love to have them. Please send action photos to Vicki Dilley.
  • Janice Lehmkuhl: thank you for signing up to interview outgoing students (Zoom
    meeting info will go out after Thanksgiving)
  • Andrei Sivanich: Saturday December 4th Laura Baker Services annual Gala hybrid meeting –
    tickets are sold out, but volunteer spots are still open! Trying to broadcast so folks can participate in the live auction. Virtual tickets are free so keep an eye out soon.
November 25 — Thanksgiving
No Meeting
See you at the Turkey Trot!
December 2 —
Andrea Berube, Adam Olson & Jackie Johnson
Northfield Splash Pad
A committee of Northfield and Dundas community members have received approval from the City of Northfield to begin planning and creating a zero entry water feature, also known as a "splash pad". We will update the Rotary on our progress since meeting in 2019 as well as talk about what a splash pad is, the process to build, and type of splash pad that is planned to be built. Andrea, Adam, and Jackie have served on the Northfield Splash Pad Board since 2017, 2019, and 2021 respectively. They have been working closely with community partners and other outside organizations to make this inclusive space possible. Hosted by Mark Lancaster.
December 9 — Becky Ford
A Year of Service: How Americorps Members Contribute to Rice County's Flourishing
In 2020-21, 45 Americorps members served at 24 host sites across Rice County. Unfamiliar to many people, Americorps is quietly making a positive impact in the lives of children and families in our local community. Through strategic collaboration and leveraging of federal resources, Americorps provides an opportunity for individuals to get started, give back and make connections! A youth development professional for 20 years, Becky Ford works for Healthy Community Initiative coordinating outreach and support of Americorps members serving in Rice County schools and human service organizations. Becky also serves as Faribault Youth Investment's Director and is passionate about facilitating community collaboration. Hosted by Anika Rychner.
December 16 — David Anderson
News From St. Olaf
St. Olaf College President David Anderson will present an update on activities and plans at St. Olaf. Hosted by Barry Carlson.
December 23 —
Holiday Meeting and Festivities
Be thinking about your sock and hat choice for the occasion!


Find Zoom link here.
Meeting ID: 843 1983 0113
Passcode: 264180
For times, see information below.
11:45-12:10 — Opportunity to visit with fellow zoomers or check in with the people at the tech table. You don’t have to join this early if it is not convenient.
12:10 — Settle in for the meeting to begin.
12:20 — Meeting begins.
1:15 — Meeting dismissed for all.
11:45-Noon Arrive at the United Methodist Church at 1401 Maple Street. Visit with club members and guests.
Before 12:20 — Pick up your lunch.
12:20 — Meeting begins.
1:15 — Meeting dismissed for all.
  • Limit of 4 people per table.
  • Wear masks when not eating.
  • No group singing.
  • We require attendees to be vaccinated. Rotary International is a big supporter of vaccines. 
  • If you bring a guest, make sure they are vaccinated.
  • If you are not vaccinated, we still value you and your membership, and we have hybrid meetings so you can join our Thursday meetings on ZOOM during the pandemic.


Todd Thompson, Club President
Robert Bly died this past weekend. I read his book “Iron Man” in the mid 90s. It changed my life. Both from the
standpoint of what a man could be and also with its mix of poetry, prose,
spirituality and humor what a book could
be. Robert Bly is one of Minnesota’s (and the country’s) most accomplished poets and writers. He also has a connection to Northfield. Here is one of his poems:

I Have Daughters and Sons
1. Who is out there at 6 a.m.? The man
Throwing newspapers onto the porch,
And the roaming souls suddenly
Drawn down into their sleeping bodies.

2. Wild words of Jacob Boehme
Go on praising the human body,
But heavy words of the ascetics
Sway in the fall gales.

3. Do I have a right to my poems?
To my jokes? To my loves?
Oh foolish man, knowing nothing—
Less than nothing—about desire.

4. I have daughters and I have sons.
When one of them lays a hand
On my shoulder, shining fish
Turn suddenly in the deep sea.

5. At this age, I especially love dawn
On the sea, stars above the trees,
Pages in “The Threefold Life,”
And the pale faces of baby mice.

See you all at the Turkey Trot!!!

  • Eric RunestadNov 24
  • Arthur Monaghan—Nov 25
  • Beth Kallestad—Nov 26
We celebrate
All Rotarians around the world! 
Please be sure to watch for and welcome these new members.
Kyle Becken
Tayler Swanson
Member picture
Bryce Beckstrand
Member picture
Sebastian Burset
Erika Campbell
Member picture
Elizabeth Child
Member picture
Tracy Giza
Member picture
Eric Johnsrud
Member picture
Kari Johnsrud
Mary Ellen North
Kirk Muhlenbruck
  • November 25th, Turkey Trot, see details below
  • December 7, 7 PM, DEI book-club discussion of We are not here to be bystanders: A Memoir of Love and Resistance by Linda Sarsour and Harry BelafonteFor zoom link contact Dorothee Ischler at Read more information about the book here.
  • December 13th, 7 PM, PR and Communication Committee meeting at Vicki Dilley's home. All are welcome.


Do you know a high school student that would enjoy living in a foreign country for a year? Rotary Youth Exchange applications are due December 3, 2021.

For more information, go to or talk with Jesse Steed, our Youth Exchange Officer, or Janice Lehmkuhl, our Outbound Coordinator.

  • Laura Baker School is looking for volunteers to serve at their Gala on December 4th.  They need coat checkers and folks to help with the silent auction.  Slots are from 4:30-9:30 pm.  Sign up here.
  • Northfield Racial and Ethnic Equity Collaborative is asking us all to participate in their short survey.   Learn more about the NREEC member organization here. 
Do you have something club related to say to fellow members? Try posting it in The Cogwheel. Send your short blurb to
Happening on Thanksgiving morning, everyone is invited. For all the details on this year's event, visit the Northfield Rotary website
Registration is just $25 for in-person and $29 for free-range participants. To register yourself or your team CLICK HERE.
If you haven't yet responded to our RCAT survey, please do so now by CLICKING HERE.
Our Rotary Climate Action Team (RCAT) is dedicated to making climate change a strategic priority and to raising awareness, providing education and encouraging individuals and businesses to act in the interest of our planet. Read our climate action statement HERE.
For more information about our club’s Rotary Climate Action Team contact our chair, Alan Anderson, at


The Northfield Rotary Club is dedicated to promoting peace and understanding through service and shared experience. We invite people from all corners of the community to join us as we partner with others  to support youth, build sustainable infrastructure and preserve our planet.