Author: Emma Whitford

Clay brewery imminent

“So we’re sitting around talking about a name, and somebody said, ‘You know, there’s going to be a brewery in Northfield imminently,’ and it was just kind of like ‘That’s it – Imminent.’”

Bon Appetit Board Manager Randy Clay is planning to open Northfield’s first brewery. Imminent Brewing is currently on track to open in spring of 2017 and Clay will serve as its Brewing Operations Manager.

“I’ve been homebrewing for 18 years and I think that anybody that homebrews at some point entertains the idea of doing it professionally,” Clay said. “But usually, most of us snap back to reality and decide that that’s a bad idea, so I decided about four years ago to seriously pursue it.”

The Imminent team – Clay and his wife Tonja, along with Laura and Derek Meyers – has secured part of the old National Guard Armory as their space. The building sits right on Northfield’s main drag, Division Street, and Imminent will use the garage and shed for its taproom and brewhouse, respectively. The main building of the Armory is being turned into a special events space – a place for live music, weddings and banquets – and Clay sees this neighboring venue as a bonus for Imminent.

When it came to location, Clay and his partners didn’t consider anywhere else.

“I think that the competitive advantage that we have is being local,” Clay said. “My wife is a townie, my wife is an Ole, I’ve been here almost 20 years and we never considered looking elsewhere, looking at another town to have a brewery. This is always where it was going to be.”

Details for the taproom and brewhouse are still in the works, but Imminent hopes to start construction within a few weeks.

Imminent isn’t the only brewery coming soon to Northfield. Tanzenwald Brewing Company is also working on a similar timeline and will most likely open within a few months of Imminent. Despite obvious competition, Clay values the camaraderie between the two businesses during the long approval and construction process.

“It’s more of a collaboration,” Clay said. “It’s such a long process, first of all, to actually get open, there’s so many government entities to go through and approvals and things like that. We can kind of commiserate with them because they’re having the same experience we are. It’s also collaborative because it is a scary enterprise to go into, and making that leap to being a small business owner is not something to take lightly, and since there’s another couple in town who’s doing the same thing, we have more in common than not.”

The Imminent team launched an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign a couple of months ago to raise money for the new space. At press time, they had seven days left and had reached 65 percent of their goal of 40,000 dollars.

“One of the reasons we did a fundraising campaign was to give local people, especially friends and family, the opportunity to chip in, because everyone’s been talking about how excited they are about it,” Clay said.

As a thank you for donations, Imminent is offering a variety of perks, including T-shirts, growlers, mug-club memberships and, for the most generous donors, an opportunity to spend a day brewing with the Imminent crew. For those still interesting in pitching in, the campaign runs through Nov. 9.

“One of the really cool things, honestly, is seeing the number of Oles – current and former – contributing to the campaign. It’s awesome,” Clay said.

Students should note, however, that the brewery will consistently check IDs upon entry to the taproom and that donors under the age of 21 will not be able to redeem any alcoholic perks.

whitfo1@stolaf.edu

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Growing film fest screens the “Halloworst”

On Sunday, Oct. 30, the St. Olaf Film Production Society hosted the second annual Halloworst Film Festival, a short film-screening that featured intentionally terrible student-written, directed, acted and edited horror films.

As a horror movie buff myself – I’ve seen about one third of “The Shining” from between my fingers and I watched a few scenes of one of the Chainsaw Massacres because it was reflected in the Hoyme lounge window – I attended the festival as Halloworst’s most seasoned reviewer. For the second year in a row, Halloworst lived up to its title; none of the movies will be headed to the box office any time soon. The event itself appreciated significant success compared to last year with about a third of Viking Theater full, longer and more intentional submissions than last year and no repeated submissions.

The festival kicked off with a short and (literally) dark, film titled “The Thing We Fear Most.” The movie portrayed a student walking across campus at dark, nervously twitching at each bump in the night. Behind him, you see a man stab another man and drag him off screen, our protagonist oblivious to the murder. As he approached Regents I was sure that the murderer from before would be waiting there for him, but in a comedic twist, our hero is not murdered but instead realizes he forgot to put on pants. I guess that’s the “thing we fear most.” A debatable claim, but I laughed a little. Two out of five stars.

Next up was a series of three, together called “I Am Afraid” by returning director Jack Schoephoester ’19. The first installment was one of my favorites of the night. Two socially awkward characters got stuck in a loop of “How are you?”s and ended it by killing each other. I appreciated the hyperbole – we all feel that way during small talk to some degree. The second in the series featured another uncomfortable situation, getting caught pooping in a public restroom.

The third in the series would have served better as a stand alone. It was very dialogue heavy compared to the other two and introduced very different characters, but I appreciated it nonetheless. The main character signed a blood contract with a skeleton, selling his eternal soul in exchange for a finished term paper. During the suspenseful contract signing, the main character dipped a french fry into the fake blood, obviously ketchup, and in that moment the film acknowledged itself as being comedically awful. How meta.

Together, I would give the series a four out of five.

The most plot heavy film of the evening was “The Trees” by returning director Chaz Mayo ’18. The storyline featured a young man who was seemingly possessed, his concerned mother and a well-meaning priest. Upon following the young man while he sleepwalked, the mother and priest discovered that the young man was not, in fact, possessed, but instead sexually attracted to trees. I appreciated the classic horror film plot elements – the concerned family member, the stupid and egotistical priest figure and a troubled child in denial. The having-sex-with-trees issue definitely drove home the comedic aspect of the film, but it was a bit over the top for my taste. I personally preferred Mayo’s 2015 submission, the artful and ominous “Vend.” Three out of five for the elaborate production and too-obvious humor.

In the end, the Halloworst Film Festival definitely proved itself as a lasting event, drawing more talent and better quality than it has in years past. I can’t wait to see what atrocious films await me next Halloween.

whitfo1@stolaf.edu

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Carleton to host mayoral debate

On Nov. 8, Northfield residents will head to their polling places and cast their ballots in the 2016 general election, but not all contests get as much publicity as the presidential race. Students at Carleton College hope to help highlight an overlooked but important contest: the mayoral race.

A mayoral debate will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2 in Carleton’s Great Hall. The debate is being organized by Carleton’s Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE) and the Northfield Initiative. CCCE Political Engagement Fellow Peter Bruno describes the CCCE as a “volunteer hub” for the college that “works on everything from tutoring in the elementary schools, to working on programs for people with disabilities in town, to environmental programs.”

The Northfield Initiative is a nonpartisan group that aims to provide voters with candidate profiles and polling information. The group was formed last year and has been growing in membership.

Both mayoral candidates – incumbent mayor Dana Graham and challenger Rhonda Powell – have committed to attending the debate.

“They both replied within a couple hours of us sending an email to them,” Bruno said. “It’s very exciting that they’re very eager to engage with Carleton and other college students in Northfield.”

The debate will be formatted similarly to the candidate forum that Carleton hosted in 2014. Bruno and Northfield Initiative founder and president Nick Cohen were inspired to plan a mayoral debate at Carleton after a congressional candidate town hall meeting they were planning with St. Olaf fell through.

“It goes right to what [the Northfield Initiative’s] mission is, increasing voter turnout and giving people the resources they need to feel comfortable engaging in our democratic system,” Cohen said. “At a political leaders lunch that Peter organized, I brought up this idea of a mayoral debate and Peter told me that he had been thinking the same things, and that’s kind of how this collaboration started.”

Though it doesn’t mirror the polarization of the presidential race, the mayoral race is still quite heated.

“So there’s a lot of tensions on city council right now … and there’s been a lot of dysfunction on that panel, so that’s why there is a lot of tension in this race,” Bruno said.

One differentiating aspect of mayoral races is that mayoral candidates cannot declare partisanship. Therefore, it’s impossible to vote along party lines when casting a vote for mayor.

“I think it gets less black and white at the local level in particular because these candidates are not partisan,” Cohen said. “They’re not allowed to declare in favor of any party, not even the major parties … obviously, everybody has their personal leanings and that informs their policy choices, but on the ballot, it won’t say ‘D,’ ‘R,’ as it will for [Hillary] Clinton and [Donald] Trump.”

The debate format is inspired by the town hall meetings put on by Northfield’s League of Women Voters. Each candidate will give a five minute opening statement, followed by a 40 minute question period. All questions will be submitted by students and Northfield community members in advance, and Carleton student moderators will select the questions that most pertain to Northfield. The audience is welcome to submit questions prior to the debate as well, and the moderators will sort through those as the debate progresses. It will end with three minute closing statements from each candidate.

Cohen stressed that Northfield’s League of Women Voters has been very helpful during the planning of this debate.

“A representative from the League came to conduct the moderator training, so the people who will be moderating are trained and understand the rules and guidelines that the League puts forward,” Cohen said.

Debate questions can be sent to nofoinitiative@gmail.com, bruno@carleton.edu or cohenn@carleton.edu.

Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

whitfo1@stolaf.edu

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Campus wrestles with racism following series of hate crimes

On Oct. 4, a hate crime was reported to Public Safety. The N-word had been written across a white board outside of a custodial closet in Mohn Hall the previous weekend.

A few days after the crime was reported, students from the Muslim House found a card with the same word written on it in their “Ask a Muslim Anything” question box, an initiative that prompted students to submit anonymous questions about Islam, Muslim identity, culture, tradition and faith.

Besides timing, there are no clear connections between the two incidents.

“[We found the card] directly after we had received an email from [President Anderson] about the incident in the residence hall, so we were trying to determine if this was something that had been done after the email from [President Anderson] or something like that,” Muslim House resident Caleb Goss ’18 said.

“I’ve never experienced such a thing, and I was rather confused and scared in a sense,” Mazen Abu-Sharkh ’18, another member of the Muslim House, said. “I was like, ‘if someone is willing to write such a thing, what stops them from coming to my house and breaking things and going further?’”

As an immediate response to the two incidents, President David Anderson ’74 emailed the student body.

“There is no place at St. Olaf for hate and discrimination of the kind evinced in this cowardly, because it was anonymous, act,” Anderson wrote. “Rather, we thrive on rational, civil, informed discussion of issues that divide us towards the goal of greater understanding, insight, and empathy.”

The college is removing all anonymous forums from campus, including the BORSC Talk Box and club advertisements that ask students to write comments on posters or suggestion cards.

“Right now, anonymity is basically a way for people to hide,” Dean of Students Roslyn Eaton said.

The Dean’s office describes incidents of bias, harassment and hate crimes as “some form of unwelcome conduct that is based on a person’s race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, or any other protected class status.” Students will be disciplined if they are found violating this policy in any of a number of forms, including “direct oral expression or physical gesture or action; notes, letters, U.S. mail, campus mail, or other forms of written communication; phone calls or phone messages; [or] E-mail or other electronic methods of communication.”

The college is currently investigating the crimes and at press time no one has come forward to take responsibility for them. Because nobody from the administration saw either perpetrator, the college is relying on the community for leads.

“Without the community, it’s really hard to identify people,” Eaton said.

These incidents fall into a history of hate crimes and vandalism at St. Olaf. Last spring, a Student Government Association campaign poster was vandalized, the College Republicans display was torn down repeatedly and Martin Luther King Jr. Day posters were damaged, among other incidents.

These particular crimes leave campus buzzing – the St. Olaf community has been discussing the incidents in classes, on social media and on stolaf-extra.

Tia Schaffer ’20 has been tabling in Buntrock Commons in response to the crimes, and in an attempt to spread positivity throughout campus and to support St. Olaf’s black community.

“Some people are ignorant, some people are hateful, some people are racist,” Schaffer said. “And since the term was derogatory towards the identity of black people, we know that there are people on campus, or someone on campus that has a genuine hate for black people. So, the purpose of the table was to make and display these signs that show and represent this pride for black culture and for black people on St. Olaf’s campus.

Schaffer hopes to help St. Olaf fully accept and embrace black culture, especially in the wake of the two hate crimes.

“I literally said ‘you know what, I’m going to get a speaker and I’m going to bring my laptop and Imma play the blackest music that I can find,’” she said. “Because again, I have this loud speaker and I got this black … music. I’m shovin’ my blackness and my culture down the throats of people who do not want to acknowledge and/or accept and embrace it.”

The college continues to stress the importance of civil discourse, but Eaton also stressed the need for the campus community to step up to prevent similar crimes in the future.

“What I want to know is, what are students doing?” Eaton said.

whitfo1@stolaf.edu

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FGC developing new faculty position

The Faculty Governance Committee (FGC) is moving forward with its plans to reform college policy surrounding contracts and review for long-term non-tenure-track (NTT) faculty members. The exact language of the policy changes will be hammered out in a FGC subcommittee that focuses on NTT matters before being brought to the FGC at large.

Concerns about long-term NTTs were initially brought forward to the Faculty Life Committee (FLC) in 2005. Since then, the discussion has bounced back and forth between the FGC and the FLC until two concrete proposals were brought to the FGC last spring.

Long-term NTTs can be defined as faculty members who have taught at the college for longer than the six years outlined in the faculty manual. The manual states that “term appointments are for one, two, or three years; these appointments are renewable up to six years. In special cases, full-time term appointments at the instructor rank may be renewed beyond six years without tenure.”

The FGC plans to address this inconsistency. Last spring, the NTT subcommittee brought issues regarding long-term NTTs, such as contract length, review processes and mentorship, to Academic Leadership – a body that includes department and program chairs; chairs of elected committees; directors of units such as the library, IT and the Registrar; the Associate Deans of the Five Faculties; and the Associate Provost. The survey asked members how their respective departments encountered these issues and how they usually resolved with them.

Overall, survey respondents acknowledged a need for more concrete procedures to be put in place, with one respondant blatently saying “I urge us to consider three-five year planning … or we can plan that the sky will potentially, maybe, possibly fall every year and we stay with the current system.”

The respondants noted a diversity in reported procedures for hiring, contracts and review for NTTs. On the topic of contract length, several respondents mentioned the excess time and paperwork involved in hiring. A longer contract would cut down on administrative work. Respondents also noted that longer contracts would provide more continuity for students and departments, as well as improved ability to plan for interdisciplinary program directors.

The survey also addressed hiring practices, mentorship, review processes and service expectations. In all categories, faculty expressed a need for reevaluation.

The FGC resumed meeting for the 2016-17 academic year on Sept. 14. Associate Professor of Religion Mara Benjamin brought new FGC members up to speed on the progress of the subcommittee thus far. This year, Associate Professor of Political Science Tony Lott will be chairing the FGC. The NTT subcommittee will stay the same, save for the addition of Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics Kosmas Diveris to replace Jeanne Willcoxon.

The NTT subcommittee brought forward a proposal on Wednesday, Oct. 5 that introduced the new position of Senior Lecturer. The FGC voted to move the proposal forward unanimously. This vote by no means made the position concrete, but the proposal will now move to the next round of revisions.

Senior Lecturer would be an on-going teaching appointment for term appointment faculty members in a department that can show a consistent need of at least .67 Full Time Equivilant (FTE) for that faculty member for five consecutive years. The position would be a three-year appointment with the option for three-year renewals. After five years as a Senior Lecturer, a review would be necessary before another three-year renewal.

In order to be promoted to Senior Lecturer, a faculty member must have taught at least 24 courses or taught at the college for five consecutive years. To put the ball in motion, a department chair must recommend the faculty member for the position and request a series of endorsements, including those from the associate dean and the directors of interdisciplinary programs in which the faculty member is involved.

The subcommittee is still working out some crucial details, including a planning system for department chairs, a mechanism for candidates to request consideration for the Senior Lecturer position from department chairs and a fast-track system to make that position conversion for current long-term NTTs. All of the policy details are expected to undergo revision before the position is finalized.

whitfo1@stolaf.edu

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