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It's no secret, most of us would like to stay in our own home as we age. Yet, sometimes our loved ones just need a little extra help to remain comfortable at home. That's where Always Best Care can help....we are dedicated to exceeding expectations....always

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Home Care In Northfield, MN

Home Care Northfield, MN

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, completing daily tasks like showering and enjoying activities such as visiting the historic Waterford Historic Bridge gets harder without someone by their side. Unfortunately, many older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live far away from long-term, institutionalized facilities and closer to the place where they feel most comfortable - their home. Home care in Northfield, MN is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

 In-Home Care Northfield, MN

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The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they get older. We are proud to have helped more than 25,000 seniors maintain higher levels of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of in-home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs. That way, they may provide care accordingly without compromising their wellbeing.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home services, Always Best Care is here to help.


“Always Best Care comes in to help my dad a shower at night. When the guy came out to interview, he was really good and helpful, but it was just hard to find someone to help with dad been a little bit bigger and heavier. They like the person that they had come out a couple of times. The caregiver is good.”


What is Non-Medical Senior Care in Northfield, MN?


Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it is especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.


When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.


The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.


At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one gets older, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 Senior Care Northfield, MN

Types of Elderly Care in Northfield, MN

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

Personal Care

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming

Respite Care Northfield, MN
Home Helper

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading
 Caregivers Northfield, MN
Companionship Services

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite local activities, such as visiting Riverside Lions Park with friends while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community
  • Events and Social Outings
Home Care Northfield, MN
Respite Care

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy nearby activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress reduces the risk of caregiver burnout. So, if you've always wanted to eat at the local Ole Store Restaurant or visit Historic Ames Mill, don't feel bad. Doing so is great for both you and your loved one.

At the end of the day, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible.

If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

 In-Home Care Northfield, MN

Benefits of Home Care in Northfield, MN

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for patients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

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Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit - something that is unavailable to many older people today.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a strange nursing home, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, then, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old.

With the help of elderly care in Northfield, MN, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors.

Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like a nursing home. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier and more affordable to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, seniors who age in the comfort of their homes can save thousands of dollars per month.

In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, are often less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

 Elderly Care Northfield, MN

Affordable Care

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

If your loved one qualifies, Medicaid may help reduce in-home care costs. Review your MN's Medicaid program laws and benefits, and make sure your senior's financial and medical needs meet Medicaid eligibility requirements.
Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.
 Senior Care Northfield, MN

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers.

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Northfield, MN understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Assisted Living Referral Services

While it's true that many seniors prefer to age at home, sometimes in-home care isn't the best fit. For those seniors and their families, choosing an assisted living facility makes more sense. Unfortunately, finding the optimal care facility is easier said than done in today's day and age. That's when Always Best Care's assisted living referral services begin to make a lot of sense.

Assisted living is a form of housing intended for seniors who require varying degrees of medical and personal attention. Accommodations may include single rooms, apartments, or shared living arrangements. Assisted living communities are typically designed to resemble a home-like environment and are physically constructed to encourage the independence of residents.

Respite Care Northfield, MN

At assisted living communities, seniors receive help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They may also benefit from coordination of services with outside healthcare providers, and monitoring of resident activities to ensure their health, safety, and well-being. Caregivers who work at assisted living communities can also provide medication administration and personal care services for older adults.

Other services offered within assisted living communities can include some or all of the following:

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Recreational Activities
  • Social Outings
  • Emergency Medical Response
  • Medication Monitoring
  • Family Visitation
  • Personal Care
 Caregivers Northfield, MN

At Always Best Care, our representatives can match your senior's emotional, physical, and financial needs with viable assisted living communities nearby. Results are based on comparative data, so you can select the best choice for you or your loved one.

Always Best Care works closely with local senior living communities to gain valuable knowledge that we then use to help seniors and their loved ones make informed decisions. This information can include basic care and rent, resident availability, and services provided. Because Always Best Care is compensated by these communities, we provide senior living referral services at no extra cost to you.

Some of the most popular assisted living communities to consider in our area include the following:

  • Elysian Senior Homes of Northfield
  • Millstream Commons by Three Links
  • Three Links Care Center
  • Reflections Care Suites by Three Links
  • Cottage On Forest by Three Links
  • Valley View Assisted Living
Home Care Northfield, MN

For many seniors, moving into a senior living community revolves around how and when they want to make a transition to more involved care. Some seniors are more proactive about transitioning to independent living. Others choose to remain home until their care needs or other requirements are satisfied. Remember - our staff is here to help. Contact our office today to learn more about assisted living communities and how we can find a facility that exceeds your expectations.

 In-Home Care Northfield, MN

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Always Best Care Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

A discussion of your needs and how our trained caregivers can offer assistance in the most effective way


A draft of your care plan, which includes highly detailed notes and a framework for the care that you or your senior will receive


Discuss payment options and help coordinate billing with your insurance provider


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

At the end of the day, we only hire the best of the best at Always Best Care. Whether you need home care in Northfield, MN 24-hours a day or only need a respite for a couple of hours, we are here to serve you.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

 Elderly Care Northfield, MN

Latest News in Northfield, MN

How did Northfield become home to St. Olaf and Carleton colleges?

Minnesota boasts many college towns. But Northfield is unique.Located just beyond the Twin Cities' southern exurbs, Northfield is home to two prominent private colleges — St. Olaf and Carleton. Those institutions have shaped the city from a historical milling hub into an education-focused rural center.Darrell Swanson, a 1970 St. Olaf graduate, regretted leaving Northfield after he got his degree. After recently reminiscing about his time there, the Pequot Lakes resident asked Curious Minnesota — the Star Tribune's r...

Minnesota boasts many college towns. But Northfield is unique.

Located just beyond the Twin Cities' southern exurbs, Northfield is home to two prominent private colleges — St. Olaf and Carleton. Those institutions have shaped the city from a historical milling hub into an education-focused rural center.

Darrell Swanson, a 1970 St. Olaf graduate, regretted leaving Northfield after he got his degree. After recently reminiscing about his time there, the Pequot Lakes resident asked Curious Minnesota — the Star Tribune's reader-driven reporting project — how Northfield became home to Carleton and St. Olaf.

"Why would there be these two liberal arts schools founded in the 1800s in Northfield, Minnesota, of all places?" he asked.

The short answer: Religion.

Religious groups across the U.S. were largely responsible for founding private colleges and universities in the 1800s, in part because there were no set college plans or direction from the federal government, according to Tom Williamson, an anthropology and sociology professor at St. Olaf College. Northfield's colleges grew out of a camaraderie among Congregationalists and Lutherans who settled in the town.

That cooperation has given the city outsized stature. Alumni of the colleges include Supreme Court justices, governors and senators, as well as Pulitzer Prize and Oscar winners. And Northfield attracts a fair amount of visiting dignitaries for a small city of 20,000.

Northfield's religious origins

A treaty between the federal government and the Dakota people in 1851 opened up much of southeastern Minnesota to white settlement. Settlers raced to grab land and founded towns shortly after.

Among them was New York lawyer and abolitionist John North. He took a trip south from St. Anthony in 1855 to look at land along the Cannon River Valley, planning to harness the river's flow to power new saw and grist mills. That same year, North gathered other settlers from New England in the area and platted Northfield.

North had designs for a college there, according to archivists at Carleton and St. Olaf. The idea didn't gain traction, however, until the General Conference of Congregational Churches in Minnesota chose the city to build a school in 1864.

The conference of independent churches descended from New England Puritan churches. They had looked at multiple cities across the state for their school, including other southeast Minnesota towns such as Zumbrota and Mantorville, according to Tom Lamb, an archivist at Carleton College.

But Northfield was a growing burg, connected to St. Paul along the railroad in 1865. It also didn't hurt that the city had the second-largest Congregationalist population in the state behind Minneapolis.

That was by design, according to Sean Allen of the Northfield Historical Society. North and his neighbors shared similar views on ending slavery and the evils of alcohol, so they chose to create Northfield rather than settle in nearby places with bars or liquor stores.

"It was generally considered to be a dry town," Allen said.

Northfield Historical Society

The new school, Northfield College, evolved over time. It began as a preparatory program in 1867, with the first college students enrolling in 1870. The college was renamed Carleton College after a $50,000 donation by Massachusetts manufacturer William Carleton, which saved the institution from the brink of financial collapse.

Soon, Norwegian farmers and pastors in the community sought a college of their own. Congregationalists in town welcomed the effort. Carleton officials even helped their Lutheran counterparts found St. Olaf College in 1874.

From there, the two schools blossomed during the higher education boom in the 1880s through the 1920s. Colleges and universities in that era began offering specialized programs and enrollment across the country skyrocketed.

St. Olaf College

St. Olaf kept its reputation as a Lutheran school aligned with its heritage — the school was named after an 11th century Norwegian king who spread Christianity. The school also remains a dry institution.

Carleton shed its religious identity in the 1960s, doing away with requirements to attend chapel after a group of students jokingly formed their own druidic society to skirt the rules.

"That was a big period of transition," Lamb said.

An intense rivalry

The schools have largely helped one another over the years — they share library catalogs, among other resources. Their sports rivalry hasn't been quite as cordial over the decades, even becoming bloody at times.

Northfield Historical Society

Carleton and St. Olaf students competed in a baseball game in 1887.

There would be downtown brawls in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s whenever the colleges played each other, often stemming from the tradition where students would turn an eagle statue on Bridge Square to face the winning college, Lamb said.

Homecoming weeks were tough for both colleges. Freshmen would try to light the other school's bonfire the night before it was set to be lit, often running into student guards who would catch them and shave their heads. Williamson's father, a fellow St. Olaf grad, had his head shaved during his freshman year.

Things escalated to the point both schools had to sign a "peace treaty" in 1951, vowing to tone down their rivalry. Their competitive spirit took a slightly nerdy turn in 1977, when the two schools played the first game of metric football among U.S. colleges.

Northfield today

The colleges form the backbone of Northfield today. About three out of every 10 residents are students or faculty, according to each college's records. The colleges help fuel the area's vitality, but their dominance has its downsides.

JIM GEHRZ / Star Tribune

Both schools continue to buy land for future growth. Yet Northfield also has become a draw for seniors looking to enjoy the vibrant college community in retirement. These factors have driven up home values and resulted in fewer housing options for would-be residents. Allen said many professors commute from the Twin Cities.

Aside from a Post cereal factory, there aren't many large industrial employers in town where college students can start their careers.

"We just don't have as much as a city our size needs to have, and so it's something I know the city has been trying to improve on," Allen said.

At the same time, Northfield arguably wouldn't have grown without Carleton and St. Olaf drawing people to the area.

"I don't know of any other small town ... that would have two institutions like this," Lamb said. "It is kind of a unique setup."

If you'd like to submit a Curious Minnesota question, fill out the form below:

Read more Curious Minnesota stories:

The Jolly Green Giant has moved on from Minnesota. So who is maintaining his iconic billboard?

Why is it so much harder for U students to graduate debt free compared to the '60s?

Why did Scandinavian immigrants choose Minnesota?

How St. Cloud nearly became a car manufacturing hub

How were the bluffs of southeast Minnesota formed?

Did political shenanigans derail an effort to move Minnesota's capital from St. Paul?

Correction: Previous versions of this article erroneously said that Carleton and St. Olaf colleges do not pay property taxes.

The Best Ice Cream in Northfield

It’s summer! This means a lot of amazing things, but most importantly it means that it is the perfect weather to indulge in some delicious ice cream! The great thing about Downtown Northfield is that it offers two amazing opportunities to support local businesses and get a nice sweet treat. These two businesses are Hogan Brothers and Blast Soft Serve. You may be wondering – which is better? Fear not, I have composed an argument for both spaces!Bl...

It’s summer! This means a lot of amazing things, but most importantly it means that it is the perfect weather to indulge in some delicious ice cream! The great thing about Downtown Northfield is that it offers two amazing opportunities to support local businesses and get a nice sweet treat. These two businesses are Hogan Brothers and Blast Soft Serve. You may be wondering – which is better? Fear not, I have composed an argument for both spaces!

Blast Soft Serve (“the Blast”) is perfect for if you like to eat ice cream outside by the historic bridges of Northfield. It is located approximately an eight minute walk away from the Carleton College Sign. This makes it super convenient for a quick little day trip. The ice cream cones are also really affordable, costing around $2.50 a pop. The Blast also has slushies, Dole Whip, Sundaes, and Flurries (which are blended ice cream with toppings mixed in), dairy-free options, and shakes!

One caveat of the Blast is that it only serves frozen treats, so you won’t be able to get a full meal here. This is definitely the place to go if you want a treat, but only a treat!

Hogan Brothers is the other great option to get ice cream! Hogan Brothers is a Hoagie café in Downtown Northfield. It also has an ice cream selection! While the Blast only offers chocolate, vanilla, and their weekly Dole Whip flavor, Hogan Brothers offers many different flavors of ice cream that you can choose from. Unlike the Blast, Hogan Brothers is a place where you can order lunch, dinner, and dessert. This makes it a perfect place to go if you are craving a full meal.

Hogan Brothers also offers indoor seating, so if you want to enjoy some air conditioning on a hot summer day, this is a great place to do that!

I would also like to award an Honorable Mention Award to Culver’s. Culver’s frozen custard is a great treat (and a midwestern classic). However, I cannot allow it to compete for the title of Best Ice Cream in Northfield because it is not technically ice cream. However, it is a great place to pick up a sweet treat in a pinch!

All of these places offer delicious ice cream, and you truly can not go wrong with either! Yet, they do have a few concrete differences. The Blast specializes in soft-serve ice cream, and Hogan Brothers offers more of the home-made style. The Blast also does not have indoor seating, while Hogan Brothers does.

In my opinion, I really enjoy going to the Blast for ice cream! I am a big fan of sitting outside and enjoying the beautiful sunny weather, and I love that it is extremely affordable! The Blast is also only eight minutes away from campus, which makes it even more appealing! Check out Downtown Northfield to discover your favorite ice cream!

Around campus you’ll find Aleia (she/her/hers) competing on the varsity swim & dive team, dancing in Synchrony II, and crafting (Aleia also up-cycles clothes!). Her favorite spot on campus is the Gould Library (aka “the Libe”) – be sure to ask her which floor is her favorite!

After months of research, Northfield decides it's content with most of its well-known slogan

After months of research, an effort to rebrand Northfield – dubbed the land of cows, colleges and contentment over a century ago – is sticking to the familiar, keeping most of the well-known slogan while allowing for a slight update.The city will now use the slogan "Cows, Colleges and Community" while encouraging officials, residents and businesses to fill in the third blank with words that begin with "c" when the situation calls for it. Think words like "culture", "courage", "c...

After months of research, an effort to rebrand Northfield – dubbed the land of cows, colleges and contentment over a century ago – is sticking to the familiar, keeping most of the well-known slogan while allowing for a slight update.

The city will now use the slogan "Cows, Colleges and Community" while encouraging officials, residents and businesses to fill in the third blank with words that begin with "c" when the situation calls for it. Think words like "culture", "courage", "choirs" and even "coffee".

"When it ain't broken and it really works in the case of this tagline, keep it," said Jeff Johnson, founder of Replace, a Minneapolis design firm that works on civic branding projects. "Don't burn it all down."

It's a "modular and interchangeable" solution for a creative community, Johnson said, adding that few cities start with such a beloved and recognizable slogan.

The city also is debuting a new logo: the letter "N" in shades of royal blue and grass green with an arrow pointing upward, signifying both north and progress, Johnson said.

A second version, reading "city of Northfield, Minnesota" is meant to look somewhat handwritten, he said, and includes quirky touches like the letter "o" at a slant. It replaces a previous logo featuring the city's name with a blue and green swoosh beneath it.

The Northfield City Council approved most changes in January but will vote on a few final elements, such as color schemes, next week.

A nod to history

The rebranding project began 18 months ago, said Mayor Rhonda Pownell, with the creation of a branding advisory committee made up of city officials and residents. That committee did much of the research for free, saving money.

Previously, "Northfield didn't have a unified brand and messaging," Pownell said. "We knew that there were a multitude ... of different logos, different messages and themes."

The committee conducted an online survey and held a series of community events. Eventually, the city hired Johnson's firm, which cost about $45,000, she said.

Bob Thacker, a former marketing executive for Target and branding committee member, helped in those early stages. At a public workshop, several key words emerged to describe Northfield: vibrant, charming and creative, he said.

And they realized many people loved the existing tagline, Thacker said. "It was really unique for something that was over a hundred years old."

The survey showed 34% of respondents believed "Cows, Colleges and Contentment" was very relevant, while 42% said it was somewhat relevant.

Northfield's Convention and Visitors Bureau website explains the tagline was first coined by the Northfield Commercial Club in 1914 because local farmers had taken the lead in raising Holstein cows. By 1916, Northfield had 5,532 Holsteins and 261 breeders, earning the city the title of "Holstein Capital of America."

The word "cows" suggests both the town's history and the local importance of agribusiness, Johnson said, while "colleges" nods to academic rigor, reason and the presence of Carleton College and St. Olaf College, both top liberal arts colleges. The third word, however, could signal complacency, which has a less-than-positive connotation, Johnson said.

People already had been adapting the tagline to specific situations, he said, noting that one college changed it to "Cows, Colleges and Consent" to fit a discussion on the importance of consent in romantic relationships. He's seen the phrase "Cows, Colleges and Christmas" used around the holidays.

Johnson said he's never come up with a fluid tagline for a city before, though he's worked on branding campaigns for cities like Willmar, Delano and Columbia Heights. But he did something similar when he worked on a project with the Minnesota State Fair in 2013, encouraging fair officials to change up the word "fun" in its slogan, "Twelve Days of Fun Ending Labor Day."

Not all municipalities realize they're competing with other cities as a place to live or start a business, Johnson said, but Northfield officials were aware.

Ben Martig, Northfield city administrator, said the rebranding effort fits with the city's goal "to establish our niche in the region — and even around the country a little — around economic vitality." The new phrase has been received favorably so far, though there's a small group of residents who have questioned the value of branding.

Chloe Kiener, owner of Goodbye Blue Monday coffee shop in downtown Northfield, said she didn't know about the change. But she said she likes the new tagline and thinks it's creative.

Kiener was curious whether the main sign welcoming people to Northfield, which features the longtime tagline, will be changed.

"That's a big part of when you come into town," she said.

Martig said the sign probably will be updated with "Cows, colleges and community".

Downtown Bicycles in Northfield uses a cow silhouette on a striped background in its advertising. A St. Olaf College student created the logo about 10 years ago, said Ben Playter, the store's service manager.

"My personal standpoint is, I would have left [the tagline] the same," Playter said, adding that if it had to be changed, he appreciated the nod to the past.

Pownell – who liked the original slogan and the word "contentment" – said the legacy tagline with "contentment" can still be used occasionally.

"The fact that the people can make it their own with the tagline really has a Northfield feel to me," she said.

Erin Adler is a suburban reporter covering Dakota and Scott counties for the Star Tribune, working breaking news shifts on Sundays. She previously spent three years covering K-12 education in the south metro and five months covering Carver County.

[email protected] 612-673-1781

President Biden's Minnesota visit to include announcement of $5 billion in rural investments

NORTHFIELD, Minn. — President Joe Biden is visiting Minnesota Wednesday to announce more than $5 billion in investments to rural communities across the country.U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will join him as they visit Dutch Creek Farms in Northfield to kick off a two-week "Investing in Rural America" tour.RELATED: ...

NORTHFIELD, Minn. — President Joe Biden is visiting Minnesota Wednesday to announce more than $5 billion in investments to rural communities across the country.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will join him as they visit Dutch Creek Farms in Northfield to kick off a two-week "Investing in Rural America" tour.

RELATED: Biden's Minnesota trip serves as a show of political force against primary challenger Dean Phillips

The White House says of the $5 billion, $1.7 billion will go toward what is called "climate smart agriculture" — practices Dutch Creek Farms has incorporated. And the hope is it will catch on with more farmers in Minnesota and beyond to help create more economic opportunities while combating climate change.

It's no secret Minnesota farmers have struggled especially in recent years. This was the third consecutive season Minnesota has suffered severe, and in some places, extreme drought conditions.

Farming is also not immune to inflation. Farmers also say equipment, parts and labor costs are more expensive now than they were just four or five years ago.

RELATED: "This is the worst I've ever seen": Minnesota's 3rd consecutive dry season has farms on the ropes

White House officials said they'll be promoting partnerships through the agriculture department to help farmers utilize cover crops, reduce tillage and increase soil nutrient management. That way, farmers can work smarter and not harder.

"We're putting those tools and resources out there so that Minnesota farmers are able to continue to do what they do best, and we're able to both mitigate on the climate side, but also create new markets and new revenue streams for our farmers as well," said Will McIntee, senior advisor for rural engagement.

Improving broadband access in Minnesota and across the country is among the president's top priorities. Biden is expected to announce $274 million in investments for rural high-speed internet connection.

Roughly 200,000 homes and businesses across the state don't have access to broadband capabilities and even more don't have access to high-speed internet. Many are in these hard-to-reach rural communities.

RELATED: Minnesota to receive "game changer" $650M for broadband from federal infrastructure funding

Minnesota has tried to do its part to help. The legislature has supported a state program for broadband since 2014. In nine years, it's connected more than 100,000 homes to broadband through $296 million in state grants.

According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, roughly 92% of all homes and businesses are connected to basic broadband, but the remaining 8% is considered the most costly and difficult to connect because they are mostly in rural areas.

The Biden administration said high-speed internet is a critical need and can unlock many economic opportunities, especially for Minnesota farmers.

"We look at precision agriculture and what that means for farmers and ranchers to be able to monitor their farms to more efficiently apply fertilizer, to be more efficient during planting season [and] during harvest as we see right now," McIntee said.

Other areas of focus for Wednesday's announcement include clean water, reliable and affordable energy and improvements to infrastructure like roads, bridges and ports.

Pauleen Le

Pauleen is a journalist with a passion for telling stories. Nothing makes her happier than talking to ordinary extraordinary people, and using beautiful pictures and solid writing to share their amazing stories with the world.

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New HRA members bring ideas, experience to housing issue; Charlie Parr to play Contented Cow residency beginning tonight; County urges Radon home testing

As the City of Northfield continues to look for solutions to its housing shortage, the Northfield Housing and Redevelopment Authority has added new members who will offer new perspectives and new ideas.A housing shortage can affect every aspect of a community. It will suppress the community’s economic growth. It will make it harder for business to grow because there is nowhere for new employees to live. It will lead to declining enrollment in the public schools, which leads to less school funding from the state. It drives the pr...

As the City of Northfield continues to look for solutions to its housing shortage, the Northfield Housing and Redevelopment Authority has added new members who will offer new perspectives and new ideas.

A housing shortage can affect every aspect of a community. It will suppress the community’s economic growth. It will make it harder for business to grow because there is nowhere for new employees to live. It will lead to declining enrollment in the public schools, which leads to less school funding from the state. It drives the price of existing housing up, creating higher property taxes, and making for less disposable income within the community. A housing shortage will eventually cause a community to regress.

The new members are no strangers to public service or to housing in general. New addition Tim Freeland is a veteran realtor in Northfield who has seen the shortage firsthand. Mike Thorsteinson is a former Executive Director of Three Rivers Community Action, which works with communities across Southern Minnesota to help build affordable housing. Galen Malecha has been a Rice County Commissioner for 16 years. Before that, he served on the Northfield City Council, and the Northfield Planning Commission.

While the three new members of the HRA see the issue at hand and are ready to help tackle the problem.

Northfield Mayor Rhonda Pownell said one issue that she sees is a lack of starter homes being built in the area. Thorsteinson said there are several factors keeping smaller homes from being built. One, he said, is the cost of building materials, which increased dramatically during the pandemic. With higher building costs, builders look to build larger homes that create higher margins and are more cost effective. Many smaller homes are now owned by larger investors, he said, and the foundation of that issue must be fixed at higher governmental levels.

“There are federal and state public policy challenges. For example, when you can have groups buy up the affordable housing around the country, throw a coat of paint on it, and then double the rent or put it up for sale [there is a problem]. That has shut down and closed off part of the starter home market, which, in turn, has increased the demand.”

The city is looking at several different ideas to find solutions to the issue. The HRA has programs to help seniors age in place, but Malecha pointed out, Northfield is an aging community, and more senior housing will be needed in the coming years. The city has a proposal from the Northcountry Cooperative Foundation to create a cooperative neighborhood of modular housing units. Thorsteinson said the idea is intriguing, but things like infrastructure costs and the long term benefits to families from manufactured housing have to be assessed before any recommendation can be made to the City Council.

Malecha said there is no easy, single answer to the issue of housing. It will require collaborative efforts of many different groups to set things on the right path.

“In order to attract people to your community, you have to have adequate housing. We have to work with our various partners – City, County School District, local non-profits – and we have to work together. We can’t work in silos. That’s how we come up with creative solutions.”

The new members will be sworn in when the HRA convenes for its first meeting of the year tonight at 6pm.

Jeff Johnson’s full conversation with Northfield Mayor Rhonda Pownell, and Mike Thorsteinson and Galen Malecha of the Housing and Redevelopment Authority can be heard here

Parr residency will not be advertised

January is generally a month that does not offer an extensive list of local entertainment. Aside from the local establishments that feature many of the extremely talented musicians who live in or regularly perform in Northfield, the month is usually pretty quiet.

However, the new proprietors of the Contented Cow are quietly bucking that trend.

Yesterday, Michael Morris, one of the Cow’s new owners, announced that legendary Minnesota folk/blues singer/songwriter Charlie Parr will take up a residency in Northfield, playing at the Contented Cow every Thursday night in January, beginning tonight.

Parr is a critically acclaimed songwriter and performer who has been compared to such luminaries as Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie and Tom Waits. Over his twenty+ year career, he has built an international audience that stretches from Ireland to Australia. The Duluth area resident, originally from Austin, MN, was the subject of a 2013 documentary, Meeting Charlie Parr, that elevated his career in the United States, leading to performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and recording contracts with Red House Records and Smithsonian Folkways.

Parr and Morris have been friends for many years. Morris said the residency will be a low-key event with mostly word-of-mouth marketing.

Parr will begin his Contented Cow residency tonight at 9pm. Morris said the shows will be free, but there is a $20 suggested donation that will go to Parr.

County offers free radon testing kits

January is National Radon Action Month, and Rice County Public Health has joined with the Minnesota Department of Health and US Environmental Protection Agency to encourage all residents to have their homes tested.

Radon is an invisible, odorless, tasteless and radioactive gas that occurs naturally in Minnesota and is often found at elevated levels in many Minnesota homes. In fact, a statement released by the Rice County Public Health said about 3 in 5 homes in the county have dangerous levels of radon. The gas can lead to many respiratory problems, including lung cancer.

Tests should be done in the lowest level of the home that is frequently occupied. According to the statement, the best time to test is during the heating season.

Test kits are available at most hardware stores, directly from radon testing laboratories, or a free kit may be requested from the county. The Minnesota Department of Health will also conduct free inspections of radon mitigation systems that were installed after June 1, 2020.

Contact the MDH Indoor Air Unit to request an inspection at [email protected].


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