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Local Columns

On the Porch

The social news or gossip columns in the old newspapers are always fascinating to read. A special section in the newspaper was devoted to the social media of the day. The whereabouts of local people and events were often featured in these columns. Here are a few from The News Messenger of Lyon ...

Farm Girl – MaryAnn (Kack) Blanchette – horses and heartache

Last week we met MaryAnn (Kack) Blanchette, born June 19, 1931, on the family farm south of Marshall, and began learning about her life growing up on that farm. MaryAnn’s father, Theodore Kack, farmed with horses into the late 1940’s. He loved his big, Belgian workhorses. He ran a stud ...

Books and Beyond

Library patron “The Day the Music Died: The Last Tour of Buddy Holly, the ‘Big Bopper,’ and Ritchie Valens,” c 1997, is sure the book to help me remember my teenage years. Marshall-Lyon County Library has this book, plus “Rave On: the biography of Buddy Holly,” by Philip Norman, c ...

Play ball!

Oh boy, for all the memories! I always find it interesting to analyze myself. Of course, that leads to many pitfalls, pratfalls and pitiful actions. However, thee are those shining times when all of those “P” words are replaced with smiles, sipping, shaking with laughter and a sense of ...

Old fences

The first cup of steaming coffee was just beginning to boot up my brain when I caught a glimpse of a large, shaggy beast lumbering past our living room window. Was it Bigfoot or a sasquatch or maybe even Keanu Reeves? Sadly, no. If it had been any of those, I wouldn’t be here. I would be on ...

Better lucky than good

I can’t tell you what I was reaching for in the boat when I set my rod down. Likely, in the chill of the start to an otherwise perfect Saturday, it was the blue coffee tumbler I had borrowed from my mom when meeting my brother and a buddy for a drift down my home flow of the Sheyenne River. ...

Infrastructure: An investment that’s long overdue

For the first time in many years, there’s a proposal to do more than just simply maintain the nation’s aging network of roads, bridges, and other public works resources. It’s likely to be expensive. The cost to pave even one mile of a two-lane road is more than what’s needed to ...

On the Porch

The Blue Moon Ballroom was located at the Lyon County Fairgrounds in Marshall. The ballroom was built in 1929 by Ray Baldwin Jr. and John Bulowski. According to Baldwin, he and Bulowski became involved in building the ballroom after the Valhalla dance hall on Lake Shetek burned to the ground. ...

Farm girl – MaryAnn (Kack) Blanchette – the early years

MaryAnn Blanchette was born June 19, 1931, to Ann and Theodore Kack on the family farm south of Marshall without any physician or midwife in attendance. MaryAnn, at that time, was the youngest of four children. The eldest, Eleanor, was 18 years her senior. MaryAnn’s parents were both ...

Living with wind

Wind is a constant source of botheration in this part of the world. I’m not just talking about the kind of wind that can arise from consuming a questionable gas station burrito. While that type of wind can be a major health hazard in enclosed spaces, it’s easily alleviated by going ...

I dare you!

Have you ever been dared to do something? Something that’s, well, scary? After doing the ‘dared’ thing, did you find some sense of peace or fulfillment? Or, where you just happy to walk away from the moment? Based on those questions, are you reliving a special moment? Come on! ...

Thee eyes have it

There’s a curlytailed grub that’s getting tougher and tougher to find, to the point where I have to order it directly from the manufacturer’s site to ensure I have enough for the season. While it comes in standard white and yellow, two must-have colors for my spring fishing, along ...

On the Porch

The tradition of getting a new outfit and hat for Easter originated in Europe. People would purchase new clothing and hats to celebrate the coming of spring and the meaning of Easter. After the American Civil War, the tradition of purchasing a new outfit, including an Easter bonnet caught on ...

Our 1918 Pandemic – our responses then and now

We have been exploring the 1918 influenza pandemic and its regional impacts. Last week we began comparing that epidemic with our COVID-19 epidemic to better understand each and perhaps reach a clearer understanding of our current epidemic journey. Last week we compared the numbers sickened ...

Let’s take care of it!

Is it sustainable, organic or biodynamic? These descriptive words are used a lot in today’s world and are becoming universal in the wine world. They can be confusing but I always go back to my upbringing and Rachel Carlson’s book entitled ‘Silent Spring’. While growing up on our ...

Lucky in April

It has been said that April is the cruelest month. And for good reason. In our neck of the woods, no other month can take you from a cool autumnal fog to summertime heat to blizzard-like conditions to balmy springtime sunshine all in one day. April is the equivalent of going on a whirlwind ...

Cartoonish experiences

Several times a week I find myself driving east on Church Street here in Marshall, beginning at A Street. Just past the First Lutheran Church property on the north side of the street is a sign that never fails to bring a smile to my face as I remember a particular cartoon out of the past. The ...

A season you don’t want to miss

The past week has been my busiest in the outdoors, as it has been for the last eight years. There’s been more to get done than loading up for pheasant opener at the farm. The checklist is far longer than the one leading up to the start of firearms deer season. Fishing, now simply the ...

Looking ahead

It has been just over a year since the coronavirus (COVID) greatly disrupted our lives. The City throughout this last year kept nearly all services fully operational and projects have been able to progress towards completion. 2021 will not only be a year of finishing what we started in terms of ...

Border situation reflects need for humane treatment

These days we’ve been hearing a lot about the high numbers of people wanting to cross our southern border, and some of it pertains to children who are being sent across the border alone. I also happened to watch the musical “Oliver” last weekend on cable. I noted the contrast between ...