Local Columns

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 ...

Medicare open enrollment season is here

If you are a Medicare enrollee, you should know that open enrollment takes place from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, 2017. Any changes you make to your coverage will take effect on Jan. 1, 2018. Since your health care priorities are likely to change over time, you might find it beneficial to review ...

Still looking for that rooster

It took off flying so quickly. Was it a rooster or a hen? By the time I realized it could have been a rooster, it was too late. I said nothing and the pheasant flew past the hunters in my group. He was one of the few that got away last Saturday during the 2017 Minnesota Governor’s ...

Bad parenting and baloney sandwiches

Baloney sandwiches. It’s an unexpected price to pay for bad parenting, but it’s a reality for a friend I’ve known for years. I remember sitting at a dinner table with him and his wife about eight years ago. Their newborn son was sleeping nearby and the beaming new parents were ...

A trip to Sibley State Park

Even though summer is my favorite season — the warmer weather, it’s light outside until 9 p.m. and being on or in the water — fall is a close second. I always love seeing the brilliant color of the leaves, and we’ve been trying in vain to catch a glimpse of them in different state parks ...

On the Porch

Dr. John Banks Robertson was one of several Lyon County residents who served in World War I, either stationed in the United States or fighting in the trenches overseas. When the United States entered the war, Dr. Robertson was one of the first from Lyon County to enlist. He was given the rank ...