History-making music group for UMM - morris mn

History-making music group for UMM - morris mn
The UMM men's chorus opened the Minnesota Day program at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition).

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Forum of Fargo: chutzpah, homophobia

(Image of Kelsey Smith and Allison Johnson from "the people's press project")
 
We're not supposed to be beholden to newspapers anymore. The conventional wisdom is we're liberated. Newspapers hang on but they're lost amidst a sea of new media opportunities. We don't have to depend on the Washington Post to unlock a political scandal anymore.
Considering all this competition, you'd think newspapers couldn't afford to act high and mighty anymore, i.e. "We're the gatekeeper so just defer to our judgment."
Some people still like to use the services offered by newspapers. This dawned on Allison Johnson and Kelsey Smith as they were doing some packing. They were using a newspaper in a way that has nothing to do with enlightenment or knowledge. The paper in question, the Fargo Forum, should have been thankful the two weren't wrapping fish. That's the old derisive image, of course, as we were reminded when Mad Magazine used to hawk those posters of Alfred E. Neuman: "Suitable for framing or wrapping fish."
Johnson and Smith were using a Forum to wrap a vase. They noticed a page that had wedding announcements. They liked this "Celebrations" section which included both young and old couples. "It was sweet," Johnson said. "We wanted to be a part of it."
Allison and Kelsey will be getting married on August 1. The couple ages 31 and 27 will be tying the knot in New York City where same-sex marriage is legal. Smith grew up in Fargo and the couple is settling there. A reception for family and friends is scheduled August 4 in Fargo.
North Dakota is not like New York. The North Dakota Century Code asserts that marriage can only be between one man and one woman. So, "the great and powerful Oz has spoken."
The couple's attempt at announcing their nuptials in the Forum's "Celebrations" section was rejected. Will this be a scenario like Chick-Fil-A? It remains to be seen. The story has gotten some traction in the national media. The couple's plight has gone viral in a way that must disturb the newspaper's ownership.
The Fargo Forum is the flagship newspaper of a quite extensive chain, a chain that includes the Morris and Hancock newspapers (here in MN). If you disapprove of the way the couple was snubbed by the Forum and its chutzpah, you might want to reconsider ever showing any more support for the local newspapers. It's not like we don't have options in the year 2012.
Let's add homophobic to chutzpah. It's as if the Forum's bigshots believe they can act like Caesars in their palace, as if we should all wait breathlessly for their pronouncement.
The couple was told their $25 publication fee would be refunded. Heavens to Betsy, I'm not sure what surprises me more, that the newspaper bigwigs would react like Neanderthals or that they would actually return money to someone.
We hear that newspapers are in desperate straits as a business model. We hear one of their biggest problems is getting the interest of the young generation. We all know the young generation is pretty indifferent about "gay marriage." Do I have opinions about gay marriage? Well, I imagine I have opinions about marriage in general, but I'm not sure I've furrowed my brow over same sex marriage.
An online petition taking issue with the Forum gathered 1300 names in under a day. Editor Matt Von Pinnon took the role of "Fearless Leader" (from Bullwinkle) announcing that a "policy review" would be undertaken. On a matter so innocuous and harmless as a wedding announcement? 
Obviously there have been threats of cancelled subscriptions. (Of course, the newspaper business model is built on advertising and not subscriptions.)
Allison and Kelsey placed the ad on Saturday, July 21, and got the rejection Monday morning via a terse message from Dianna Baumann, "Celebrations" editor. Allison posted the Forum's message on her Facebook page and a friend broadcast it via her Twitter account a couple hours later. See? Why depend on the dead-tree media at all?
"Snail mail" and "snail media" are circling the drain, but transition happens slowly.
Allison and Kelsey simply wanted to seize the opportunity they felt was afforded them by Fargo's newspaper, to share something special. The tweet received 114 re-tweets by 9:40 a.m. Tuesday. A variety of other media including CNN were starting to pay attention.
Forum Communications has a conservative reputation with a track record of endorsing mainly Republicans. I could be cynical and say the few non-Republicans they've endorsed didn't win approval based wholly on merit. It would be embarrassing to endorse candidates of one party only. The Forum needs a little "cover." So they endorse someone like Amy Klobuchar who the polls show is going to win anyway. Nothing lost there.
Why would a Fargo-based newspaper chain or empire try to influence Minnesota politics? Well they do. Their empire extends into Minnesota so we feel their chutzpah too. They endorsed Tim Pawlenty in a very close and pivotal race.
North Dakota is a conservative state. We might even draw distinctions between North Dakota's brand of conservatism and Minnesota conservatism. North Dakota has an anti-gay marriage amendment in its constitution, passed in 2004. I imagine this is the grounds on which the Forum rejects the marriage announcement of the newlyweds-to-be. "It's against the law."
Except that it isn't (against the law) in New York. So is this an argument to have a Federal standard? Perhaps. In the meantime, Forum's Fearless Leader and his fellow suits might well be whistling in the graveyard as they watch reports of the Chick-Fil-A story. The company is hardly reaping dividends from being homophobic. But how utterly exasperating it is, trying to understand why a newspaper of all businesses would be "on the edge" like this.
Believe me, the Forum is a company that cherishes profit. It's very much a top-down company. An employee in good standing one day might get thumbs-down the next. Fearless Leader might find himself expendable in the company's scheme of things. They don't hesitate firing people.
Fargo radio station Y94 has placed the marriage announcement on its website. More national attention might come when MSNBC's Rachel Maddow gets back on the air. She was off this past week while sub Ezra Klein filled her role. Maddow is highly attuned to issues like this.
Does the government spend money to put legal notices in the Fargo Forum? I assume this is so, so we cannot view the Forum as an entirely autonomous private enterprise with no transcendent obligations to the public. The legal notices angle might be the best way for the public to turn the screws on the Forum.
There has been a rising cry to get government legal notices put online (for free) anyway. Actually this would have made sense starting as long ago as 5-6 years. But change comes slowly. Papers still have the power to kick and scream on such matters, and politicians can cower under their glare, although the glare is getting rapidly dimmer.
North Dakota is the state that has given us the neverending controversy of the "Fighting Sioux" nickname. Now we have a new black mark suggesting resistance to the power of history and inevitability. I don't blame South Dakota for staying independent of North Dakota (LOL).
Will Allison and Kelsey get their announcement in print? It really doesn't matter given the reach of new media. But the whole issue is a test for the entitled-feeling suits of the old media, behaving as if they fancy themselves sitting up on Mount Olympus. They seem more like Alfred E. Neuman to me. "What, me worry?"
How about "Love is a many splendored thing."
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, July 23, 2012

Just one home game in first four, for football Tigers

Once Prairie Pioneer Days is past, we begin to think about high school football. The thinking accelerated last week with the mailing of the school calendar.
I think any MACA football fan has to be disappointed by the schedule for 2012. Would you believe there's just one home game among the first four? And that home game is the opener on Labor Day weekend, when attendance can slip due to holiday weekend commitments.
I remember many years ago, when the pep band failed to play for the opener at Coombe Field - this was when we actually expected the pep band to play for home games - it was explained to me that too many of the kids would be "gone" because it was Labor Day. Fine, but these home football games are precious. There are only four regular season home football games. The playoffs aren't even guaranteed.
It really seems odd, if you're objective and rational about this, that we should have such an elaborate and fancy facility for football when the games are really infrequent. The upcoming football opener will probably be "saved" from an attendance standpoint by the fact we're playing Minnewaska Area. A lot of that Pope County money will be coming over here.
The Tigers will play at Paynesville on September 7, at Sauk Centre on September 14 and at Benson on September 21. We all know that in Minnesota, the odds of colder and less pleasant weather increase as we get further into fall.
The Tigers finally play at home again on September 28 but why isn't that the Homecoming game? Why wait until a week later? Maybe I'm not meant to understand such things.
On September 28 the Tigers will host ACGC. Then finally we'll get the Homecoming game on October 5. How will the weather be? We'll just have to hope.
The Tigers resume their traveling ways again on October 12 when the destination will be Lac qui Parle Valley. Finally the Tigers will get to play their fourth and final regular season home game but this will be the MEA week game (the old terminology) on Wednesday, a day of the week that certainly doesn't promote the best fan turnout. And the temperature could be cold.
What an incredibly lousy schedule - ironic considering how this community pushed for such a state of the art football facility.
The gloom is compounded also by all the news about head trauma problems connected to playing the sport of football. We are learning more and more all the time. We might actually have a moral obligation to discourage our young men from playing football.
It's not my decision, but the research I've pored through online points to unmistakable concern. We must be receptive to it. We must not be like the mayor of Amity in the movie "Jaws" who, when informed there was a shark lurking in the waters, voiced concern about the effect on tourism.
We may end up viewing Big Cat Stadium as a monument to excess - an offshoot of the go-go years of the stock market when we felt the sky was the limit with regard to everything. We got the RFC here in Morris. Of course, if you simply eat sensibly - an elusive objective for most people - and get normal exercise from taking walks, you don't need an RFC. We won't need a Big Cat Stadium when the wave of insights from health research begins to persuade most parents football isn't advisable.
Some people will read this and gnash teeth. Football is so embedded in our culture. So many fathers played it themselves. But just because you are invested in the sport from the past, doesn't mean you should put on blinders now. Ironically, countless former NFL players who got their livelihood from the game have no qualms becoming skeptical about the sport. Many former players are now saying they "simply didn't know" the sobering consequences of playing this manhood-defining game.
Gender roles have been evaporating anyway. If your purpose in playing football is to somehow assert masculinity or toughness, you belong in another age, just like guys who think they proclaim masculinity by being able to pop open the hood of a car and troubleshoot an engine. In a previous time, yes. These days you come across a feature in the media every few months about a guy who tackles his car problems and brings calamity, when he could have just taken his vehicle to the dealer who'd hook up a computer to it.
Gender roles, to be blunt, have been evaporating, meaning that the exclusivity of football with boys could be headed toward extinction. Perhaps it's something to be heralded.
I have had conversations with two prominent male citizens of Morris recently who are in denial about some of the danger signs with football. One says the rules of the game can be adjusted, and another says that advancements with helmets will be the panacea. They seem to want to change the subject quickly. They don't make good eye contact. I told them I've pored over material that makes their assertions look suspect. I told them I wish I was wrong, but that football simply looks like bad news, and the research is following the pattern we saw with cigarette smoking.
Could lawsuits snuff out high school football? It's a real possibility but it's sad if litigation is the force needed to make schools change. Schools should naturally be proactive.
Some voices are rising up, like a school board member in the eastern U.S. name of Patty Sexton. Patty made an innocent remark to the effect "we shouldn't be funding gladiators." She wasn't seeking attention but in this Internet-oriented age she got it.
Apologists for the sport are in denial, having invested too much in the game and received too much from it, to reverse course now. They soft-pedal the risks. They come up with the usual cliches about how wonderfully character-building football is. Look how much character was instilled at Penn State University. Or maybe not. We're hearing of the sanctions toward PSU today (Monday).
Football has grown from mere sport to false idol. Maybe the spiritual perspective ought best guide us.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Will SuperValu business travail be felt here?

It's "the home of the people lovers." Steve Schmidgall once wrote that he associated such a slogan with San Francisco, but it has been the trademark of our Willie's SuperValu in Morris. (B.W. photo)
 
You have probably seen those employee group photos by the deli at Willie's SuperValu. They seem to send the message that Willie's is proud to hire so many people. We see employees arranged in rows. You can see how people age through the years.
You can see how certain waistlines may have been thinner in past years. That's a trait they share with all of us! It's nothing that can't be remedied. Working in a grocery store might not be the best environment for learning restraint.
The reason I'm broaching this whole topic of Willie's employees is that I'm wondering if this whole model will survive much longer. Why would I wonder? For one thing, the parent company of Willie's is in some very rough seas financially.
SuperValu is based in Eden Prairie. I'm not Mr. Stock Market so I'm not sure how to interpret all the news. I consumed this news about SuperValu from the Minnpost website. The tone of this coverage on back-to-back days was dire, Titanic-seeming. Everyone at parent company headquarters must be watching their back now.
The business world has seemed to degenerate to this level just about everywhere. It's an atmosphere that Willie Martin himself would shake his head over. Willie represented the Greatest Generation to the fullest extent. These were people who didn't get up in the morning worried about where the S&P futures stood. They believed in making a decent profit but didn't seem to obsess on such matters.
Willie took pride in his rather substantial workforce and would never consider them a burden. These days they wear yellow T-shirts and you will more than likely be greeted by at least one as you make your rounds in the store. It seems ideal but it costs the company money.
It's not hard to imagine the Willie's workforce pared down without a great deal of loss of service. Conventional wisdom has it that all customers care about is price. They can shop at Wal-Mart with all its state of the art wizardry on keeping prices low.
Wal-Mart doesn't provide carry-out although I'm told they'll do it on request. My late friend Glen Helberg always told me carry-out was on the margin for being cut everywhere. Glen carried out at Coborn's.
Glen swore Coborn's was making a lot of money here but it apparently wasn't enough. The business world is sucking in its cheeks these days. Things are very tight. Businesses in small towns seem to be consolidating. This is one reason, just one, that media businesses are struggling.
We're less likely to see two "warring" grocery stores in a town like Morris. When I was a kid in Morris in the 1960s, we had the U.S. vs. the USSR on a global level and Willie's vs. Juergensen's in Morris. Willie's was Red Owl back then. It would have been anathema to attach the SuperValu name to Willie's.
Juergensen's SuperValu, where Jim Rud ran the fine bakery, was located where Aaron Carlson Woodwork is now. It seemed a nice location for a grocery store. It had a snack counter where you could get an ice cream cone as good as at Dairy Queen, remember?
The Juergensen family sold out to a family that stumbled financially. New interests took over and things seemed stable there for a time. Finally the death knell came, and according to Morris legend it was due to the Atlantic Avenue improvement project.
Willie's finally built its new store. I remember covering day 1 of the new store for the print media. I had some fun with a "Willie-ism," suggesting this day was indeed "astronomical" (a word Willie had fun using loosely). UMM Chancellor Sam Schuman must have read that caption and been amused, as reflected in one of his columns soon thereafter.
Willie provided spice with his people-oriented nature. Willie's built sort of a mystique as "home of the people lovers." You might say the store was a little idiosyncratic this way, like a business on the old Route 66 (in the days before franchises sprouted everywhere).
The old gives way to the new. Everything seems pushed toward a homogeneous quality. So I'm wondering: Will these awful travails of the Willie's parent company cause an absolutely no-nonsense approach to spill down, wiping out any idiosyncratic traits or "people-loving" tendencies?
The stock market has nothing to do with loving people. It's all about profit, the value which is absolutely intertwined with the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney. We might say we as the public don't worship at the altar of profit. But polls show Romney (a.k.a. Scrooge McDuck) running pretty even with our incumbent president.
I think the American public is confused. I think people really hope that if the very rich are facilitated further, there will be "trickle down." But what happened to the horse at the end of "Animal Farm" (by George Orwell)? Wasn't he sent to the glue factory?
Boy I don't know - I would be nervous working in a SuperValu store now. We may see the scythe applied in the name of greater efficiencies. And management will say they have no choice based on the competition they're facing.
Self check-out is a concept that has already taken root in some places. My friend Brent Waddell says he has seen this at Wal-Mart and even used it. I'm concerned: Will all these check-out personnel, were they to be cut, be able to land on their feet doing something else?
When I was a kid we referred to "carry-out boys." Such individuals come in all ages today, of course. We have to ask: Will these employees go the way of the "gas station attendant?" Perhaps Willie's will eventually have carry-out on request only. Otherwise, feel free to just put your groceries in your cart and wheel it out there. Many Coborn's customers did that. It would reduce cost.
As I walk along the aisles at Willie's, I have to wonder why they need such a wide selection of so many things. Baked beans are baked beans, right? Why different flavors?
And breakfast cereals? It's dizzying how many kinds there are. Is this really necessary? If you're taking a bowl out of the cupboard for breakfast, is it necessary to be so particular about what kind of cereal you eat? Do you think Robinson Crusoe would be concerned with any of this?
Having so many varieties of everything would seem to call for additional store manpower to manage all of it. And that costs money. If the SuperValu parent company really sees the sky falling - and news reports indicate this is so - I wouldn't rule out any changes at Willie's.
In the future we could see fewer employees, really just a nucleus, posing for those annual photos. These will be harried souls who won't be so interested in saying "hello" to the customers. They might smile for the employee group photo but in all likelihood they won't be happy. It is a grim proposition to be dedicated to doing nothing but propping the store's profit up.
Willie belonged to another age when there was seldom if ever reason for panic. Much as that previous generation of business owners were known as skinflints, they really took life pretty easy. They looked forward to going to the VFW on Friday and Saturday nights. It was the age in which employees would try to find a way to sneak away early on Friday.
As a college student, I learned it was nearly impossible to arrange to meet your advisor on a Friday. We laughed about this, knowing it was the American way to pad your weekend. But now in the age of the "rate your professors" website, you'd better be focused all the time.
Indeed, if you have any kind of job today, you can't be too careful or too committed, because the heavy-hitters at "corporate" could vent their wrath at any time. We will live by this credo until there's some kind of revolution.
Good luck, Willie's employees.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Thursday, July 12, 2012

How a surname like "Wadsworth" gets around

Move over, Paul and Babe? How about an old Egypt motif? The King Ramses statue presides.
 
The Wheaton mallard looks trite next to a novelty associated with Wadsworth, Illinois.
What would prompt my curiosity about Wadsworth IL? It's the hometown of our public library director, Melissa Yauk.
Wadsworth includes the pyramid house, the largest 24-karat gold-plated object ever created. You might think it's a tourism plum. But we learn there are "no more tours" of this lavish place. It's the home of an Armenian garage builder name of Jim Onan. Where does one apply to become a garage builder?
We in Morris are brainstorming how to develop tourism. What a push we would get with some unique item like this. The house includes a replica of King Tut's Tomb.
Wadsworth is a relatively young community. The cheery website informs us it's "celebrating 50 years!"
We normally expect cities to the east to have a longer history than Morris. Development poured toward the west, reminding me of what I once read in Mad Magazine about Midwesterners, that "we're descended from the people who headed west and didn't make it." Of course we found many points in between to be quite fine.
The push of European civilization came through here using the Wadsworth Trail. It didn't displace Native Americans because I have always heard there were no permanent Native American settlements here. Yes we're pristine - the pristine prairie, what we hold up as an object of pride for Prairie Pioneer Days.
We all love the prairie although I wish the meadowlarks would come back. I remember the yellow-ish birds and their distinctive sound from my childhood. Hunters celebrate the pheasant - I pine for the meadowlark.
There's no connection between "our" Wadsworth (the name) and the one in Illinois. Our Wadsworth was a U.S. Civil War general: James. Wadsworth IL is named for Julius Wadsworth who was on the board for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, which passes through town.
I have written about the Wadsworth Trail on both my websites. It passed by Wintermute Lake just to the north of here. The Wadsworth Trail ended up at Fort Wadsworth, later to be re-named Fort Sisseton. I don't know why the name change was called for. Maybe celebrating Union war heroes was seen as contradicting the grudging spirit of reconciliation after the war.
Eventually we were supposed to return all captured Confederate battle flags. One in Minnesota got overlooked and it's quite celebrated, having been seized in the battle of Gettysburg. Someone in Minnesota must have had fingers crossed behind his back when the legislation was enacted for returning the flags. You might remember there was a plea to Governor Jesse Ventura for our captured flag to be returned to Virginia, not to any government entity there but to a re-enactors group. Government wouldn't touch such a thing.
Anyone wishing to commemorate the Southern Civil War cause today is left on their own to do so.
Ventura with his standard bravado said "no dice" on the flag. I'm really not sure about this stance. If the U.S. government in its wisdom made a decision on this, it might be best to just get rid of that piece of (very delicate) cloth. "We won," so who cares? Let those re-enactors run their drills as a hobby. Actually Civil War re-enacting is a fascinating pastime. There is a "hardcore" division in which they'll actually eat rancid bacon.
I suspect few people with familiarity with Fort Wadsworth have delved into who, exactly, James Wadsworth was. He lacked military experience when the Civil War started but that was common. He was commissioned major general in the New York state militia in May 1861, and later became brigadier general. He was at the battle of First Manassas.
The scope of the conflict grew and became more grim. Roger Ebert once scolded the makers of a Civil War movie, "Gods and Generals," because it took a "nostalgic" view of the Civil War. Nostalgia implies we should feel some warmth. Nothing could have been more hellish than the U.S. Civil War.
General Wadsworth gained distinction partly because he looked after the welfare of his men with such things as rations and housing. He had a minor role in the Battle of Chancellorsville which is considered a Confederate victory. In reality, any major standoff that included lots of casualties was a loss for the South because they couldn't afford to lose men.
General Wadsworth was more involved in the Battle of Gettysburg which is the most storied Civil War battle. Both sides were torn apart (with the "rifled gun" having become the norm) and the Union was declared victor.
Wadsworth's division bore the brunt of the Confederate attack on July 1, the first of the three days of battle. The idea wasn't to overcome the Confederates at this point. The Union manpower was limited. So the idea, under the leadership of Wadsworth and famed cavalryman John Buford, was to "hold out" vs. the attacks from the west and north. Of prime importance was to buy time to bring up forces to hold the high ground south of town.
Sam Elliott played Buford in his typical rustic way in the movie "Gettysburg." We didn't see Wadsworth. I remember former University of Minnesota-Morris Chancellor Jack Imholte regretting we didn't see the First Minnesota Volunteer Regiment represented in the movie. Imholte wrote a well-known book about that regiment.
Unfortunately we lost General Wadsworth in the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864. The war was grinding to its inevitable conclusion. General Wadsworth received a posthumous brevet promotion to major general on May 6, 1864. The fort in South Dakota was named for him that same year. Wadsworth, Nevada, was also named in his honor.
In my posts about the Wadsworth Trail, I noted that when I was a child I always thought of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow when hearing about the trail. I also attended the elementary school in west Morris named "Longfellow." It's an office building now, no longer needed as a school since the boomers' heyday is long past. Do we as a society ever want to go through that again? (The oldest boys could throw a rubber ball all the way onto the roof.)
I remember as a kid getting familiar with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha." He wrote lyric poems and I'm sure could have penned something endearing about the Wadsworth Trail. One could easily imagine a Louis L'Amour novel, like maybe "Wadsworth Trail Sunset."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was known for stories of mythology and legend. He gave us "Paul Revere's Ride" and "Evangeline."
Sarah Palin told us Paul Revere rode to "warn the British" that we had guns. Hmmm.
I remember when a child in Morris wrote about how century-old stories from Morris history had a depressing tone, and he made up his own example: "Farmer Bob buys cow, gets run over by a train." We laughed at the newspaper office about that, not at the child but with him, because it was parody. I'm reminded of this when reading about how Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's second wife died. She died in 1861 after sustaining burns when her dress caught fire. The 19th Century could indeed be a grim time.
Can you imagine the kind of challenges travelers to the west experienced along the Wadsworth Trail? And today we're worried about drivers wearing their seat belt.
Morris was established (as a tent town) in 1871. But my goodness, it wasn't until 1962 that our librarian Yauk's hometown of Wadsworth IL came into being. When discussing this town with the now-defunct "City Connections" publication, she recalled it having a population of about 500, making it quite Mayberry-like. The website today says it has a little over 3000 population.
That pyramid house sounds like something that might even be beyond Mitt Romney's means (rimshot). Only in America? The house covers 17,000 square feet and has six stories. We can marvel at a triple-pyramid garage and 64-foot tall statue of Ramses.
Yes, such a novelty would be quite the tourist attraction for our Morris. Too bad we never had a Ralph Englestad type of benefactor minus the Nazi baggage. (You'll recall the late Englestad as the guy who funded the Grand Forks hockey palace with so many Fighting Sioux logos, it will take herculean efforts to ever remove all of them.)
As I have written before, Morris does quite fine with certain assets attracting people. Events at UMM and the Lee Center have filled the bill well. So, the giant mallard or statue of Ramses are probably just not needed. There's a nice bald eagle chainsaw sculpture about six miles north of Morris, at the Boettchers'.
We're trying to resurrect Perkins Resort on Perkins Lake (or Pomme de Terre Lake, or whatever it's called), but the brakes could be put on that by neighborhood conflict. Let's all just relax and rely on the attributes we have such as the Morris Public Library.
Because it reflects 1970s architecture, no way will the library building be considered distinctive. One of the most memorable cartoons by the late Del Holdgrafer was about the "Indian mounds" in front. Let's remember that both the library mall and UMM campus mall were flat at one time. Those humps of soil, or "mounds," probably reflected 1970s ideas too because you could argue they're pointless (i.e. from the pointless decade).
Del Sarlette and I remember hippies flying kites on the UMM campus mall each spring - a true harbinger. Those were some real "Zonkers" (from Doonesbury).
All this civilization was made possible by the Wadsworth Trail and the victorious efforts of military men like James Wadsworth.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow could write a poem.
Let's add a footnote about what the Internet surname database tells us about "Wadsworth": "This unusual and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Wadsworth near Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire."
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Post #29 boys beat Brandon-Evansville, fall to Osakis

Chandler Erickson pitches in this file photo from the 2012 Morris Area Chokio Alberta baseball season. There's a big carryover of talent from the spring prep season to summer American Legion. Chandler was the winning pitcher in the Legion team's win over B-E which is reviewed below. Again, congrats to the four Tigers who were named all-conference in the WCC-South: Tom Holland, Sam Mattson, Tanner Picht and Jacob Torgerson. (Photo by B.W.)

Morris 8, Brandon-Evansville 4
Morris built a scoreboard cushion that proved valuable Thursday (7/5) at home. The Post #29 crew scored early and often and seemed for a time headed for a pretty easy win. The opponent: Brandon-Evansville.
But B-E rallied in the seventh in a way that created suspense. B-E plated three runs to make the score 8-4, and threatened to do more damage with the bases filled and one out. Pitcher Jacob Torgerson was really going to have to bear down.
Jacob was the third and last Morris pitcher. He succeeded Chandler Erickson who pitched six innings and Tyler Henrichs who had a shaky 1/3 of an inning. Shaky it was but none of the three runs Tyler gave up were earned. B-E roughed him up with four hits. He struck out a batter and walked none, but the four hits buoyed the comeback-minded B-E team.
So the ball was handed to Torgerson. Torgerson showed poise and calm on the hill to put out this fire. He got those last two outs to earn the save. Erickson was the winning pitcher. Erickson struck out seven batters in his six innings, walked two and allowed two hits and one run (unearned).
The Morris line score was eight runs, eleven hits and three errors. B-E had some fielding flaws too as their numbers were 4-6-4.
Morris surged through the early innings with a balanced hitting attack. Morris scored at least one run in each of the first five innings. B-E was held to one run until that seventh.
Tanner Picht was aggressive at the plate and had three hits in four at-bats. He came close to hitting for the cycle (missing only a home run). He drove in a run and scored a run.
Erickson had impact with his bat as well as his pitching arm. He drove in two runs while going two-for-three. Sam Mattson had a hit in his only at-bat. Mac Beyer socked a double to go with an RBI and run scored. Torgerson stole two bases and went one-for-two while scoring two runs. Lincoln Berget had a hit and an RBI. Bryce Jergenson picked up a safety in his only at-bat, plus he drove in a run. Tom Holland went one-for-three, scored twice and stole a pair of bases. Henrichs crossed home plate once. Brody Bahr stole a base and scored a run.
Aaron Lund had two hits for the visitor.
 
Osakis 5, Morris 4
Things looked promising for a time in the Morris Legion team's Friday road game against Osakis. The scoreboard showed a 4-0 lead for the Post #29 crew at one point. The fourth inning was disastrous though. Osakis used three singles to push in three runs, and it didn't end there. Sacrifice flies pushed in two more so the score is now 5-4 with Morris down. There would be no more scoring.
Post #29 dropped the July 6 affair 5-4. Still, they entered the weekend with the quite fine won-lost mark of 9-4.
The line scores show Morris out-hitting Osakis 10-7. We out-fielded the foe too, as Morris had but one error while Osakis booted the ball three times. It was the run totals that did in Motown.
Morris got going scoring in the second inning when Jordan Staples hit a sacrifice fly, and an error allowed the second run in.  Morris added one run each in the third and fourth innings, but pitcher Mac Beyer wasn't able to keep Osakis contained. Beyer, who blanked the foe over the first three innings, lasted just a third of an inning into the fourth. He ended up the losing pitcher. Two of the five runs he gave up were unearned. He struck out two, walked one and gave up five hits.
Sam Mattson pitched the other 2 2/3 innings, striking out two, walking two and allowing one hit and no runs.
Doug Zimmel was the Osakis pitcher and his fortunes were lifted by that big fourth inning rally by his squad. Zimmel got the "W" by his name. He survived ten hits allowed. One of the runs he allowed was unearned.
Tom Holland tripled as part of going two-for-four. Tanner Picht likewise went two-for-four as did Jacob Torgerson. Chandler Erickson and Mac Beyer both fashioned one-for-four numbers. Bryce Jergenson and Lincoln Berget both went one-for-two with Berget picking up an RBI.
Osakis' Drew Searing was a perfect two-for-two.
Viva Morris American Legion baseball for the (hot) summer of 2012!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Book event at library to usher in 2012 PPD

(Image of Mary Wingerd from SCSU site)
 
We can welcome Prairie Pioneer Days with a Thursday evening event at the Morris Public Library. It's important we support these author events at the library. The attendance can be quite uneven. They are always worth your time.
I would guess the July 12 event has a good chance of getting the room filled. Let's welcome Mary Lethert Wingerd who is on the faculty of my alma mater: St. Cloud State University.
Good ol' SCSU has been in a "re-branding" phase. The frivolous reputation (with partying) that I have alluded to from time to time is being stomped out like a fading campfire. They've canceled Homecoming. That seems drastic. But it only shows the resolve of President Earl H. Potter III.
The St. Cloud State faculty includes Tony Hansen, a Morris High graduate two years older than me. One of Tony's old compatriots is Del Sarlette of Sarlettes Music. Another is Neil Thielke of Morris Community Church. That class recently lost one of its members: Doug Pedersen.
Us boomers are getting grayer and we're in denial about having to relinquish our influence to a younger generation. Just keep AARP strong.
Mary Wingerd has a Ph.D. from Duke University. She is the recipient of the Minnesota Book Award for "North Country: the making of Minnesota." She is associate professor of history at SCSU. Her office is in Stewart Hall which was the home to mass communications, my major when I traipsed across campus. The classrooms had manual typewriters. Devices that allowed you to view your writing on a screen were just getting introduced when I concluded my studies.
I could never have guessed how rapid the pace of change in communications tech was going to be. After all those generations of 35mm cameras, including such things as auto-focus, we're told to scrap all that and start over with digital. Doesn't obsolescence stretch the checkbook?
St. Cloud State still has a mass communications major. I'm sure it's one of the "softer" majors. But hey, you get out of it what you put into it.
Tony Hansen teaches meteorology. I'm sure that's demanding. I wonder if he considers "climate change" a "hot potato" issue or if he could share candidly about it. Somehow we're being made to think about this in our torrid summer of 2012.
I have always felt a little uncomfortable hearing the belittling comments from advocates of UMM toward institutions like St. Cloud State. It's as if SCSU has a sort of "mongrel" quality - not as elite or demanding. I would discourage such talk.
The State of Minnesota owns these state university campuses just like it does the U of M. The State wants the public to be proud of all of them. They may not be carbon copies of each other. But they all have a role. It wouldn't be hard to put together a roster of outstanding people who are products of St. Cloud State.
Legend has it the SCSU party image grew out of minor incidents at one time that set the stage for non-students piling in and making matters far worse than they otherwise would be. I'm sure President Potter has worked with state officials to ameliorate this situation by whatever means are needed.
The state wants SCSU to be a jewel in the same way our UMM is a "jewel in the crown." Ultimately a college campus is just physical property. The state can adjust the purpose for that property as it sees fit. We saw that here in Morris when the old WCSA gave way to the liberal arts UMM.
I now see the liberal arts threatened by the democratization of information brought on by tech. But UMM might sail through those shoals just fine. We'll see.
I wish SCSU well if for no other reason than it's at the geographic center of Minnesota. It's attractive for a great many young people. St. Cloud is a relatively large city with amenities. No need for a "movie co-op" there. (Ouch!) I hope author Wingerd likes it there. Sometimes I wonder if academic people really have their heart in their communities. I think it's sad when they don't. You only live once and you might as well like where you are.
Wingerd has written what has been called "a revisionist take on early Minnesota history." Her "North Country" book "describes nearly two centuries of cooperation, accommodation and peace among disparate parties." More: "It probes the complex origins of Minnesota and the relationships between indigenous peoples and European settlers." Continuing, it probes "truths about Minnesota's formative years, truths that have often been ignored in favor of legend and a far more benign narrative of immigration, settlement and cultural exchange." 
Wingerd's talk is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 12, at the Morris Public Library. Chief Librarian Melissa Yauk would enjoy seeing the room filled!
I'll be there. Shoot a wave, maybe.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Eagles on road thump Dumont, fall to Starbuck

A big seven-run third put the essential momentum in place for the Morris Eagles in June 22 action. This amateur baseball was at the Wheaton diamond.
The Eagles downed the Dumont Saints 16-6 that night, but didn't fare so well on Saturday, June 23, at Minnewaska Area. Morris dropped the Saturday game 6-3 at the hands of the Starbuck Stars.
 
Eagles 16, Dumont 6
The Eagles led 8-0 when the dust cleared at the end of the big third inning rally. Ryan Beyer came up to bat twice in that rally and delivered twice. Ryan socked an RBI double and two-run single. Two of the seven runs in that rally were forced home via walk. Eric Asche lofted a sacrifice fly.
The Saints may have been staggered by that rally but they were able to answer with four runs in the bottom of the third. Any doubt was erased when the Eagles basically picked up where they left off in the fourth. They surged to add six runs in the fourth.
Mitch Carbert, feeling confident at bat on the strength of his RBI double in the second, knocked in a run with a single. The bases were loaded when Kirby Marquart was hit by pitch. The bases were loaded again for the always-dangerous Ryan Beyer. There was no nickel-and-diming here. Beyer caught hold of a Dumont delivery and sent it over the fence. A grand slam to left-center! It was his fourth round-tripper of the campaign. His RBI harvest on this day alone was seven.
Dumont scored two runs in the fifth and the Eagles kept pace with two in the sixth, keeping the healthy margin intact. Nate Gades connected for a home run to right-center. An error allowed the final run in.
Gades was the starting pitcher and he might have been the winner, but he couldn't survive the fifth. On comes veteran Matthew Carrington in relief with two outs. Carrington breezed the rest of the way to pick up his fifth win.
The Eagles' triumph was their eighth in league with four league games left. They are assured at least a tie for the Canvas Division regular season title.
Four Eagles had multiple-hit games in the June 22 success: Jamie Van Kempen (two-for-four, two runs scored and an RBI), Ryan Beyer (three-for-three, two runs and those seven RBIs), Matthew Carrington (two-for-four and three runs scored) and Mitch Carbert (three-for-five, two runs and two RBIs). Eagles with one hit each were Kirby Marquart, Craig Knochenmus, Eric Asche, Brett Anderson and Nathan Gades.
Marquart scored three runs. Gades scored two runs and drove in two.
The pitching summary shows Gades with three strikeouts and Carrington with one.
 
Starbuck 6, Eagles 3
The Eagles' offense turned anemic in the June 23 loss at 'Waska. The Eagles scored three runs but had only two hits. They received five walks and had two batters reach on HBP.
Brett Anderson lined a single to center in the seventh. Tony Schultz reached on an infield hit in the eighth.
There was a flicker of hope for Morris in the eighth. That came in the form of a three-run rally, bringing the Eagles to within two on the scoreboard. The rally had a "manufactured" look to it. The Eagles got mileage out of a wild pitch, a sacrifice fly and an error. But they'll take the runs any way they can.
The Stars achieved some insurance in the bottom of the eighth with one run. An Eagle walked with two outs in the ninth but the door got slammed.
The Eagles had a hard time trying to slam the door themselves. They committed four errors and they were costly. The Stars survived their own four errors.
The Eagles were outhit 7-2. Ryan Beyer had the only RBI. Leadoff hitter Dusty Sauter stole a base, and was hit by pitch twice.
Spokesman Matthew Carrington called Nate Haseman the "hard-luck loser" on the pitching mound. He scattered seven hits and struck out four. Just two of the six runs he allowed were earned in his eight innings.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com