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Columns

  • Guest Editorial: Disrespect is the new normal

    A friend of mine, who I can say with 99-percent certainty has never voted for Barack Obama, posed a surprising question a couple weeks ago.
    He asked, “Have you ever seen a president treated with more disrespect than Obama?”
    No, I can’t say I have, and I also can’t say I’m surprised. We now live in a culture where rudeness, intolerance and disrespect have become acceptable behavior in the political arena.

  • The Time Capsule: The Boy Captain and his pheasants

    On an evening in late November, two ladies attended a social event at which I was helping with the admission table. They were enjoying a night out, telling me their husbands were at the Pheasants Forever banquet. We commented on the sacrifice—their spouses were working to advance a cause they believed in, even though doing so meant paying a premium for an unexciting social hour with coarse, story-telling men, and then suffering through an ordinary prime rib dinner, all the while knowing their wives were living high with boiled lutefisk and brown beans.  

  • The Time Capsule: Diamonds and stones: local book reviews

    Some days are diamonds, John Denver explained, and some days are stones. The same can be said of books.  

  • What's Going On: Saying hello to a new adventure

    Ernie Harwell provided baseball play-by-play for 55 years, including 38 with the Detroit Tigers.
    In his final broadcast, he told listeners “it’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure.”
    My family and I will be saying “hello” to a new adventure starting in February 2016, as we will be moving to New Ulm, Minn.
    I have accepted the publisher’s job at the New Ulm Journal, a seven-day-a-week newspaper located about 90 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

  • What's Going On: Dear Santa: Can you please help out my friends ...

    Dear Santa,
    Its’ been a while since I last wrote, primarily because I knew which list I was on, so why bother.
    But this year, I’ve been pretty good (for the most part) and quite frankly, there are a lot of things I need. Well, that’s not entirely true. I don’t need much, but a lot of people around me sure do, even if they don’t realize it.
    So, in the spirit of Christmas, I thought I’d drop you a line in hopes you might be able to help some of these folks out on my behalf.

  • The Time Capsule: Riding the blinds: a local railroad disaster story

    Use the term “riding the blinds” today and you’ll probably get the same response someone 80 years ago would have received if referring to a twitter meme on their android.      
    When, in 1920, our paper made reference to a man being killed while “riding the blinds” no explanation was needed. Readers knew. That November 1920, crash was called the worst train wreck in county history. I don’t know if that’s the case, but can’t think of another that took more lives.  

  • Miner Queries: Are we falling for the politics of fear?

    As I watched the hate explode last week, I couldn’t help wondering what kind of country we are becoming.
    After yet another mass shooting, this one with a possible tie to Islamic extremism, The Donald declared all Muslims should be banned from entry to the U.S. And reminiscent of Nazi Germany, he suggested Muslims be tracked and labeled. Really? We want to hand out yellow crescents?

  • The Time Capsule: Horses, goats and other Swedish yule traditions

    Apparently the trolls come out at Swedesburg, but I haven’t been able to get the entire story.      Folklore has it that centuries ago Swedes, snowbound and bored, passed long winter evenings carving toys and little animals from blocks of fire wood. Crafting
    horses became a specialty, and some whittlers were very good. Eventually, their brightly painted miniature wooden horses became an international symbol of Sweden.  

  • The Time Capsule: Nutcrackers, politics and blackstrap molasses

    This week we’ll answer a request and mention a few other things. If a holiday black walnut honey pie doesn’t interest you, scroll down and you might find something that does.  

  • What's Going On: Remember shooting victims for what they really are

    Acceptable casualties.
    That’s a term typically used in military parlance regarding battlefield deaths. I read a lot of U.S. Civil War history, and it’s used a lot in reference to those battles, embedded in an era of military carnage where soldiers were viewed as an expendable commodity, and treated as such.