Local Columns

Local/state briefs

Stuff the Bus school supply drive United Way of Southwest Minnesota is seeking school supply or hygiene product donations to help local children start the school year off right — can you help us Stuff the Bus? Donation barrels and boxes will be located at Shopko; Wal-Mart; Marshall Area ...

On the Porch

According to John Radzilowski in his book, “Prairie Town: A History of Marshall, Minnesota 1872-1997,” “the second most talked about holiday after Christmas, at least in the early days, was the Fourth of July.” The communities in Lyon County pulled out all the stops to attract as many ...

Declare your financial Independence Day

We’re getting close to the Fourth of July, when we celebrate the freedoms we enjoy in this country. The U.S. Constitution grants us many of these liberties, but we have to earn others — such as our financial freedom. What steps can you take to achieve the financial independence you need to ...

Ask a trooper

Question: I was told that the fine for speeding in a construction zone had increased recently. Could you also explain the zipper merge for merging into construction zones in Minnesota? Answer: A recent work zone crash left two people injured, so this is a great time to remind drivers about ...

Controlling living environment

My second year of teaching was at Stivers High School, my alma mater from five years earlier, in Dayton, Ohio. With school starting after Labor Day at the time, there usually were no really hot days left in the calendar year. The week before Labor Day we had a couple of days to get our ...

Do the math: How to get the best of balance transfer offers

If you tend to carry a balance on your credit cards from month to month, you probably get a lot of balance transfer offers in your mailbox. With tantalizingly low interest rates down to zero percent, these offers are certainly tempting. But is it a good idea to take advantage of them? And are ...

Fourth of July and picnics

The Fourth of July is just around the corner and we are in the middle of the summer season. We wait all year long for these long, warm days of summer. (Remember we said that we wouldn’t ever complain about it being too hot again after a long, cold winter?) Along with summer comes the barbecue ...

It’s relative

Everything is relative. Wow, man! What a deep and philosophical statement. Why don’t you just say that when compared to others, we are who we are? Yes, I could do that but allow me to give you a back story to the opening statement. It happened when a few of us were meeting over a cup of ...

Automotive memories

A recent walk-through at a car show was a disconcerting experience. This is because many of the vehicles on hand were still in use when I was a kid. It’s like visiting museum and seeing your childhood in a display called Ancient Artifacts That Only Really Old People Remember. Many of the ...

On new waters

The near silent whir of the trolling motor pulled me away from the metal dock under the gray skies which spit tiny raindrops that made half-dollar-sized circles, which rippled into one another and disappeared into the mirror-like surface of the lake. It was a water I had never been to before, ...

Conservation tips

Not sure if anybody is on the same page as I am (“Same page as she is — pretty unlikely!”) but it seems that the “official” start of summer could just as well be June 1 considering the heat we can get before the 21st rolls around. We already had a 90 degree plus temp the other day ...

Clothesline Part I

Washing the family clothes was always done on Monday – either on a washboard or in later years in a wringer washing machine. If clothes were washed on any other day of the week the housewife was thought of as “lazy.” And clothes were to be hung out to dry in the morning – the earlier ...

Saturn, the late night telescope king

Since 1989, there’s been nearly 3,500 confirmed extra solar planets orbiting other stars, just in our immediate vicinity our vast home galaxy, the Milky Way. There’s also nearly 5,000 possible planets discovered that haven’t been officially confirmed. On top of all that since 2010, ...

Minneopa State Park

We started heading toward Mankato on an overcast Saturday afternoon. Last Saturday’s state park of choice was Minneopa State Park. I really wanted to see the bison, but I ended up enjoying another feature. Minneopa State Park has the waterfalls of the Minneopa Creek. It’s a popular stop ...

Independent has a chance to change the world

Hello Marshall. I’m the new guy at The Independent, which basically means I’m the only person in the building who has worked here less than 14 years. When asked how I like my new job, I tell folks I feel like an uglier version of Jay Leno (if that’s possible), following in the ...

Don’t let your investments take a ‘vacation’

It’s summer again — time for many of us to take a break and possibly hit the open road. But even if you go on vacation, you won’t want your investments to do the same — in summertime or any other season. How can you help make sure your portfolio continues to work hard for you all year ...

Fuel your activity right with carbohydrates

As the weather gets warmer, many of us head out to take part in local running or biking races, or just to have some active fun on our own or with our families. To fuel up for these activities, it is important to eat foods that will help us do our best, whether for competition or just for fun. ...

Another year

It just happened. It happens to all of us and we can be thankful for it. It was my birthday last week. No, I’m not going to quote my age. Yes, I’m old enough to drink alcoholic beverages. Actually, I feel the same way I’ve always felt about a birthday — good but a little queasy. ...

Summer storms

Call me strange if you like (many have), but I enjoy a good, old-fashioned, rock-’em, sock-’em thunderstorm. It’s probably a guy thing. After all, guys tend to be fascinated with fireworks, and what bigger pyrotechnics are there than those provided by booming thunderheads? We’re ...

Creek connections

The place where running water meets still, or where a smaller trickle joins with a larger one to continue the unending hydrological cycle, is a place where you will find an abundance of fish, along with other wildlife and truly unique species. Whether it has been in the dark of the midnight ...