Local Columns

Winter’s curtain call in the west; summer’s opening act in the east

This is your absolute last chance to see what’s left of the brilliant winter constellations in the Marshall western sky. They’re just about lost below the western horizon at the end of twilight, not to be seen again in the evening until late next autumn when they re-emerge above the eastern ...

Happy Older Americans Month

Every May our nation observes Older Americans month. The theme for this year is, “Engage, at Every Age.” Wow! Remember that you are never to old to partake in activities that can enrich your physical, mental and emotional well-being. With so many opportunities offered every month at the ...

Blue Mounds State Park

As the sun starts shining brightly again and the snow melts, it was high time to hit the trails at one of Minnesota’s state parks. The last time Ross and I walked in Blue Mounds State Park, it was early March and the area had received several inches of snow earlier in the week. Hiking the ...

On the Porch

It wasn’t until the Willmar & Sioux Falls railroad track was laid through Russell that permanent settlement and the establishment of the town began. The Willmar & Sioux Falls Railroad was built through what is now Russell in the fall of 1888. The railroad was built by E. A. Sherman ...

Even old cash registers can still ring up big bucks as time goes on

History, of course, always repeats itself. Especially when walking into the little shop on Third Street in Marshall. It was a cold Friday afternoon and I was looking for a story. Not only did I find a story, I found many inside Mary Louise vintage & Resale Shoppe. The old TV set from ...

A new kind of sideshow for the 21st century

While you may have missed it, Marshall hosted a circus Monday night. Oddly though, the sideshow rolled through town the previous Friday. Its been a while for the traditional sideshow, which enjoyed its pre-television heyday in the 1920s and 30s when circuses not-so-coincidentally were ...

Ask a Trooper

Question: I noticed that the horn on my vehicle does not work. Is there a law that that says a vehicle must have a working horn and when it can be used? Answer: According to state law, your vehicle must have a horn that’s “in good working order and capable of emitting sound audible ...

My thanks and appreciation to the readers of the Independent

In 2003, Dana Yost, editor of the Independent, began the weekend edition of the Independent, which he named The Weekender. At that time he asked me to write weekend columns related to medical topics and information that would facilitate optimum patient understanding of their medical needs and ...

The lost honker

The storm-tossed drifter washed up one wintry spring morning as I was finishing chores on our dairy farm. Snowstorms had plagued us for so long that it appeared spring might be canceled due to inclement weather. As I was shutting one of our barn’s massive sliding doors — a task that, due ...

The avocado trend

For a few good reasons, millennials are obsessed with this creamy green fruit, and dietitians are, too. Here’s why I hope the avocado trend is here to stay. 1. Avocados contain monounsaturated fat, the kind that helps promote heart and brain health. 2. One-third of an avocado provides 3 ...

Weekends

This might sound like a silly question, but why do we like weekends? Alright, I can see your eyes roll in your heads and I can virtually hear your voices as you reply by saying: “Are you kidding me? It’s the weekend! What more needs to be said? It’s the weekend!” I know, I know ...

Campfire safety

While controlled burns and even natural fires can serve a purpose in regenerating habitat this time of year, unintended blazes sparked by careless use of fire can cause unwanted damage to property and potentially threaten the lives of both wildlife and people. Knowing how to properly manage a ...

Homesteading on the Great Plains

Part I Thousands of wagon trains traveled through the central plains before pioneers thought of actually settling here. The prairie was treeless and matted with dense sod that made turning over the soil for planting a formidable task. And the climate ran between extreme cold and extreme heat. ...

Star hopping in the spring sky

Finding your way around the southwestern Minnesota night sky can be really intimidating, especially if you’re new to stargazing. The best way to learn the constellations is to use the ones you can recognize to help you find the ones you’re not familiar with and the ones that aren’t as ...

Weathering the weather

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a meteorologist. I would watch Dennis Feltgen on KSTP and was just fascinated with the weather. I wasn’t too crazy about thunderstorms though. Plus I wasn’t a big fan of snow and cold. But my dreams were dashed when I realized I needed to be good in math and ...

On the Porch

The Lyon County Museum is hosting the 3rd annual “Museum Expo” on Saturday, April 28. This free event starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. The Expo is a great opportunity to visit with staff and volunteers from area historical societies and museums to learn more about the history in their ...

3 steps to handle market volatility as you approach retirement

Swings in the stock market can cause emotions to run high, particularly for investors who are approaching retirement. And for good reason. Recent research from Ameriprise Financial uncovered that the biggest financial setbacks American investors have experienced in their 50s through their 70s ...

Tales of Kirby vacuum salesman

I came home a little early that evening, and there he was. Standing in my own living room. My wife had betrayed my trust. She had violated the sanctity of our home. There was a grinning salesman in my house. And not just any kind of salesman. It was the dreaded Kirby vacuum salesman. I ...

Nelsen discovers a perfect fit with the Vikings

Small towns are full of big dreamers. The Cottonwood County town of Westbrook is no different. It’s a farming community about 43 miles southeast of Marshall with a population of 739, according to the 2010 census. In 1981, a blonde 10th grader was making small headlines in her hometown ...

Time for financial ‘spring cleaning’

The days are longer and the temperatures are warmer — so it must be spring. For many of us, that means it’s time for some spring cleaning. But why stop with sprucing up your living space? This year, consider extending the “spring cleaning” concept to your financial environment, ...