Local Columns

Is being mean an impeachable offense?

He was duly elected from a sea of candidates in November, but the honeymoon didn’t last long. He was criticized for being crude, even vulgar at times. He’s been called a bully, and accused of abusing the power of his office while also overstepping its authority. And now, less than a ...

Ask a Trooper

Question: When I learned to drive 50 years ago, my Driver’s Ed teacher instructed me to pull into the intersection on a green light, even when there was oncoming traffic, to attempt to make a left turn. I still practice this, green arrows or not. I actually asked a driver’s test person at ...

Best bread ever

The following story warms my heart and makes me smile. I got a call last week from a reader who had gotten a recipe from a health fair booth that I was working at many years ago. The recipe was for flax seed bread that was made in a bread machine. She related that it was one of her favorite ...

It’s special to you

We humans have a way of minimizing things. Is it just being Minnesota Nice or is it something else? For example, I enjoy having conversations with people about wine. I like the way their eyes light up when we talk about the beverage and in the many encounters, I’ve noticed something quite ...

Pre-winter preparations

The cooler temperatures and shorter days remind us that winter is fast approaching and that we had best prepare for it else we find ourselves with our metaphorical pants around our ankles, staring in slack-jawed horror at the metaphorically empty toilet paper dispenser. When I was a kid one ...

What time we have

I watched the gallon and price counters on the pump slowly tick up, up, up. I estimated that I’d need about 28 gallons, with the tank of my pickup sitting at just below a quarter and impatiently ticked off each one. Unwilling to test the limits on the back portion of the fuel supply, I had ...

The American Dream

“Well, I came to America because I heard the streets were paved with gold. When I got here, I found out three things: first, the streets weren’t paved with gold; second, they weren’t paved at all; and third, I was expected to pave them.” (Italian immigrant story posted at Ellis Island ...

Halloween heavens

Halloween has come a long way over hundreds and hundreds of years. It all got started in Celtic Britain, present day Ireland, and other places around Europe. It was believed that the separation between the realms of the living and dead became much thinner as summer evolved into autumn. People ...

Defending your own right to life

"I don’t feel I should have to justify my existence.” And then he did. Before and after making that seemingly inane statement, Frank Stephens went on at length justifying his existence. He made attempts at humor. “Seriously, I have a great life, I have been to the White House ...

Halloween vs. All Saints Day

Almost everyone knows the history of Samhain, the day of the dead celebrated by the ancient Celts, which we now know as Halloween. It is the evening before All Saints Day when all kinds of evil spirits are supposed to arise and roam the earth. Mainly we see this in the form of children ...

Plenty of theater to take in

Last Saturday, Ross and I went to see “How To Talk Minnesotan: The Musical” at Southwest Minnesota State University. It was a hilarious look at well, how we talk in this state. You have to admit we do these things that are performed in the show. I remember back in the mid-1980s when the ...

A fond farewell

“You can’t retire, the planet needs you!” If I didn’t really feel it was time for me to retire, those words would give room for some serious thought about changing my mind. At this year’s fair, among a small group of young folks that wandered into the old ice arena where our office ...

Ask a Trooper

Question: The clerk at a local gas station recently asked me if it is illegal not have a front plate on a vehicle. He said he can’t allow someone to pump gas without paying first if he is unable to read the license plate. He told me that many people have told him a front plate is not required ...

Pop up a Halloween treat

Creating a healthy Halloween holiday may seem challenging at times, especially since kids often have multiple celebrations: at school, with friends and in the community trick-or-treating. However, celebrating Halloween doesn’t have to be about giving up all the treats, just bringing them into ...

The emotions of wine

They well up inside us with the force of a tsunami and we can’t ignore them. They are our emotions. They enable us to feel life through a cascade of tears, a roar of laughter, a cry of anger or a shout of joy. They give us permission to feel sorrow, pain, goodness and they can be stirred by ...

The boo season

We have entered the creepy season, that time of year when things that go bump in the night are putting a fright into both the unsuspecting and the suspicious. No, it’s not election time. Halloween, the most revered of unholy holidays, is knocking on our doors and is running away, leaving ...

Ways of the wind

Every autumn has a week where the winds of change blow through the upper Midwest, and this one is it for the current season. With gusts in some places touching 50 miles per hour at the start of the week, the shift toward cooler weather was obvious, as hat-removing gales were a steady state ...

Picking corn by hand

One of the biggest changes in farming in the last 100 years has been the way corn is harvested. Some old-timers claim that men got a great thrill out of corn-husking time, that it was, in fact, the athletic event of the year. This was an event where young men, especially, could show off their ...

Access My Social Security on the go

District manager Smartphones have been in our lives for over a decade and have changed the way we interact with each other. Social Security is at the forefront of technological advancements, making your online business with us easier and more secure. About a third of the visitors to ...

The best constellation of autumn? It’s a horse, of course

One of the classic constellations of autumn is Pegasus, the flying horse soaring above the southeastern horizon in the evening sky. It’s by far the largest celestial horse we see in the southwestern Minnesota skies. The traditional interpretation of Pegasus is a horse flying upside down with ...