Steve Gardiner taught high school English and journalism for 38 years in Montana and Wyoming. He started working at the Republican Eagle in May 2018. He focuses on features and outdoor stories.
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At first glance, the lobby of the Red Wing Credit Union looks like a tornado hit it — flooring is torn up, ceiling tiles are gone, gaping holes rip through several walls. However, it is not the scene of a disaster, but a sign of success. "Things have been going well for a number of years," said CEO and president Aaron DeJong. "This summer we were at 100 percent capacity. We needed to add people and had no place to put them."
At a glance, the metal framework on the south side of the E.H. Kleinpell Fine Arts Building on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls appears to be a nice, symmetrical sculpture. It is, but it is also a very precise, vertical sundial.
The Vietnam War was unpopular for many reasons. Social unrest. The draft. The nightly body counts. It was the first time the reality of war came into living rooms on the television. One sad result of that was that American troops returning from Vietnam were not welcomed home. A group of Red Wing citizens hopes to address that with a Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans event at the Elks Club on March 30.
Denise State (left) member services manager for the Village Cooperative of Red Wing, greets Evelyn Young as she enters the dining room filled with other residents and 100 balloons for a surprise party for Young's 100th birthday on March 12, 2019. Young, who lives independently at the cooperative, said her advice for living long is to "lead a good, clean life." Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia
"One in six people are not speaking to a family member or close friend as a result of the 2016 election," said James Bowey to audiences last week at the public libraries in Cannon Falls, Red Wing, and Lake City. One issue that has strongly divided the country is that of refugees, according to Bowey, a documentary photographer who explores issues of human rights and social connection. He is holding a series of community conversations throughout southeastern Minnesota on the refugee situation, with 17 more presentations titled "When Home Won't Let You Stay" scheduled.
A recent report based on several national surveys says that leisure reading is at an all-time low among Americans. While that may be the national trend, area librarians said the same may not be the case for readers in the RiverTown Multimedia area. The Washington Post article, by Christopher Ingraham, stated that the number of Americans who read for pleasure on any particular day has decreased 30 percent since 2004.
Anyone who has ever driven past a construction site and imagined jumping in the cab of a bulldozer or excavator and moving piles of dirt around can now live out that dream at Extreme Sandbox in Hastings. "This is something that a lot of people have on their bucket list," said Jacob Perkins, lead instructor. "You can't just go to an equipment rental business and rent a 26-ton bulldozer, but you can come here and drive one for an hour or two."
Rose Larson was in Colorado when she saw more than 100 hot air balloons in the air. Some of them landed in a field across the road from where she watched. "I made up my mind right there that that was going to be on my bucket list," she said. "There is a place here in Minnesota where you can go and get on a balloon, so maybe it is going to happen." Her friend, Berdella Cooper, has spent years creating and collecting recipes. She has photos of family events where those dishes were served, and she dreams of having a recipe book with family photos published.
The Red Wing Elks Club invites everyone to attend an event to welcome home Vietnam veterans on March 30. "Many of the Vietnam veterans were treated badly when they came home," said Lottie Aslakson of the Elks Club. "We think it is time to welcome them home." On Monday, March 11, Mayor Sean Dowse will present a proclamation celebrating the event during the Red Wing City Council meeting.
Members of the Evening Star Quilt Guild presented area veterans with handmade Quilts of Valor at their monthly meeting Thursday, Feb. 28 at Pier 55. Mary Turner, event organizer, explained that the quilts are presented each year to recognize veterans for the sacrifices they have made. She addressed the recipients and said the quilts are "sewn by mothers, sisters and friends, much like those you left behind to serve your country and its ideals. We are truly grateful, and it is an honor to present a Quilt of Valor to you."