Schomberg named Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes; Road construction projects on schedule; CAC offers help for mobile home owners

2022-07-26 14:05:42 By : Mr. Alan Chen

KYMN Radio · Northfield, MN · AM 1080 & FM 95.1

Kaia Schomberg, a 2020 graduate of Northfield High School, and a former Defeat of Jesse James Days Ambassador was named the 2023 Minneapolis Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes on Saturday night. Schomburg will now represent the City of Minneapolis across the state of Minnesota and North America, making over 250 appearances over the next year. In addition to trips to Minnesota community festivals, the team will travel to the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, California; Fiesta San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas; Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg, Canada and many more.   

According to their website, the Minneapolis Aquatennial Ambassador Organization is a Minnesota nonprofit and public charity. The AAO focuses its efforts in three areas: Community, Leadership, and Scholarship. Throughout each year Aquatennial ambassadors visit dozens of communities to build strong relationships and promote the Aquatennial festival and Minneapolis. Additionally, the ambassadors also volunteer time in service for other deserving organizations.   

AAO provides a candidate program for Minnesota-based community festival ambassadors to enhance their professional development and leadership skills. At the end of the candidate program, three ambassadors are selected from the group of candidates to continue on and represent the AAO for one year. The AAO provides the educational scholarships each year for the Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes and Princesses after the completion of their year of service.   

Schomburg was one of three Defeat of Jesse James Days ambassadors, along with two Junior Ambassadors, who have the distinction of holding their titles for a record amount of time. Named Ambassador in 2019, Schomburg and her cohorts held the title through the Covid-19 pandemic. The 2020 Celebration was greatly diminished, and in 2021, the announcement of the ambassadors was shifted to the end of the celebration rather than in the beginning. Therefore, Schomburg and her class of ambassadors have the distinction of holding their titles through three celebrations.   

Schomburg was selected from a group of 37 candidates representing communities across the State of Minnesota. She is the third Northfielder in seven years to be named Queen of the Lakes.   

Bennett says summer public works projects are on track  

Northfield City Engineer Dave Bennett said that the current road construction project in the Northwest section of the city is moving along

Northfield City Engineer Dave Bennett

quite well, and due to the lack of rain this summer, by and large that project and others are on schedule.    

Bennett said he was very happy to have the 5th Street Bridge project finished. Begun in late April, the project had been scheduled to finish in late June. However, during the refurbishing project, asbestos was discovered in a utility conduit. The project had to shut down while the asbestos was removed, resulting in a near three-week delay.    

The Pickleball Courts in Lions Riverside Park are nearing completion, he said. Footings and net posts have been installed, and he is hopeful the final paving can take place possibly as soon as next week.    

The St. Olaf Avenue mill and overlay project is moving more or less on schedule, he said. That construction will include medians to be placed on the far East end of the road. They are a necessary component that must be installed for the city to be able to request a railroad quiet zone through the area. Some of that will take some extra time, he said, so that might be the one section of the project that will be delayed.    

While the budget for the current projects was set and locked in when they went out to bid, Bennett said, like every other facet of the economy due to inflation, they are seeing increased costs as they consider future projects. In the short term, he said, that could limit the scope of city road construction.    

“Most of the projects, the cost is pretty well locked in when we go out to bid. We are seeing increased costs when the pricing related to the construction costs comes back, so the price is going up. We’re not paving as many yards or as many miles as we typically could, just because of those inflation costs that we’re seeing.”  

Bennett said after this spike in construction costs, he anticipates things will even out. While he does not see prices coming back down to pre-pandemic levels, he said he does believe after this initial adjustment, inflation will return to the average annual hikes of 3-4%.   

Jeff Johnson’s full conversation with Northfield City Engineer Dave Bennett can be heard here  

CAC establishes fund to aid manufactured homeowners  

Last Wednesday the Community Action Center announced the establishment of a new designated fund for mobile home repairs and lot rent assistance in Rice County.   

This fund is different from the City of Northfield’s Manufactured Home Residential Rehabilitation Program. That program was created explicitly to offer funds for repairs to residents of Viking Terrace, while the new CAC fund covers all manufactured housing in Rice County.   

The CAC, Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) and the Northfield Racial and Ethnic Equity Coalition (NREEC) collaborated to create the fund.   

The fund’s creation comes on the heels of Lakeshore Management increasing lot rents and attempting to enforce strict new rules in Viking Terrace in Northfield.   

A CAC statement said, “We hope this designated fund will provide a way for community members to stand in solidarity with our neighbors living in mobile home communities who need our support more than ever.”   

Mar Valdecantos of Rice County Neighbors United argues that Lakeshore is attempting to use citations and force upgrades in Viking Terrace in order to beautify the park and attract new residents, instead of trying to make homes safe and livable for the people already there.    

“Lakeshore is forcing people to beautify the place rather than fix the things that really need to be fixed like plumbing issues, or electricity issues, or how do I winterize this home so in the winter I don’t have to pay a huge amount. So, you pay rent for the lot but then you must pay the electricity, the power bill, which is super high because in the winter people have to use quite a [large] amount for heat.”  

To access these funds for your home, you can contact the CAC or Brian Kopack, the Mobile Home Rehabilitation Coordinator.   

To donate to the fund, visit and click on the link for Mobile Home Rehabilitation Fund Details.  

Rich Larson is the KYMN News Director. Contact him at rich  

Filed Under: News Tagged With: 2023 Minneapolis Aquatennial Queen of Lakes, Center for Community Action, City Engineer Dave Bennett, Defeat of Jesse james Days, Kaia Schomberg, Northfield Public Works, Viking Terrace

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