Category Archives: News

Public Notices

One of my favorite sections of the newspaper (besides the section in the Sunday edition that lists District Court proceedings for who got convicted of what and what their sentences were) is the Public Notices.  I don’t know if the big papers like the Strib or the New York Times print public notices, but our paper does. We have to vote every general election if we want the notices published in the local paper.  It always passes. As a local district judge told me, it is the best place to find out what your friends and neighbors are up to.

By public notices I mean foreclosure announcements, city and county  commission proceedings, school board minutes, bids for government contracts, summonses for parents to attend juvenile hearings, divorce related interim property rulings, and name changes.

One of my friends was surprised to read that her sister’s house was in foreclosure.  “I’ve been sending her money for the mortgage for months! What has she been spending it on instead?”

Public notices provide access to unanswered community questions. ” How can they keep that new restaurant open when hardly anyone goes there and the prices are so high?” That is answered by seeing the notice that So and So construction company is placing a lien on the restaurant in question for not paying the construction bill.

Our local paper prints the following:


Public notices help expose:

Fraud in Government!

Dishonest businesses!

Unfair competitive practices!



How do you participate in Democracy?


RIP Michael Johnson

today’s post comes to us from tim.

i was a huge fan of michael johnson’s rooty toot toot to the moon and other on his there is a breeze album in 1972.

he encompassed all the attributes of the ideal performer. great ability, great artistic sense, very pleasant personality. I saw him play in a small auditorium at normandale jr college ( full house was probably 60.) ansd at the guthrie and then i think i saw him a time or two at orchestra hall the day after christmas in kind of a celebration of one more year and we are still here. even when he moved to nashville and was having reasonable success as a singer songwriter he considered minneapolis st paul his home

he was originally from denver but was so loved in the twin cities that he felt this was his true home. a year ago I saw him play at the dakota which is a wonderful small intimate club downtown and it was great. he forgot a few lines and was embarrassed by it but getting old is part of the deal. I saw him play at the hopkins theater a he was as much into telling stories about his life and observations as he was about playing the next song. I had told my daughter emma that i wanted to have her take classes from him at mcnalley smith in stage presence. i took a master class from him at mac phail and was very impressed with his gentle direction and basically the philosophy that when you perform you are offer your audience a gift. once i heard him say that i understood why i enjoyed his stage presence so much. that was it.

when I thought of how I would like to be seen when on stage he is what I came up with.

who are some role models you’d want to emulate?



A week ago Friday, Husband went, able-bodied, to play volleyball at the Y. He returned hobbling on a right leg that had sustained, as it turned out, the rupture of its Achilles tendon. One Urgent Care and three visits to Winona Health later, his leg is wrapped and he has been on crutches all week. Luckily the location of the tear means that he will not need surgery… just three months of not walking on said leg as it heals. SIGH.

As I prepare to mow our (admittedly miniscule) lawn, I recall the days (just a week ago) when I had only my tasks on my plate. (Poor me.)

Have you ever had to get around on crutches?

If you were on crutches, what activities would you have to give up?


The Expression With No Name

Today’s post is from Bill.

I’ve been bothered lately by the appearance of a new facial expression, at least it’s new to me. I don’t recall ever seeing it on a human face until the last few years and never on a normal person in real life. In this expression, the lips are pressed tightly together and the mouth is bent down sharply at the corners. But I wouldn’t call it a frown– there’s no participation in the expression by the eyes or the eyebrows or any other part of the physiognomy.

You will have guessed by now that I’m describing Senator Mitch McConnell and he is certainly the primary practitioner of that facial gesture, although I’ve also seen it on various other politicians who have been caught embarrassing themselves. I’ve tried to make the expression myself and it isn’t that easy to maintain. It seems to be Senator McConnell’s default expression, so maybe we don’t need a specific name for that look when it happens on his face, but when it is adopted by other public figures, how should we describe it to someone? I suppose we could say, “He (or She) McConnelled”, but that’s too much McConnell for me.

Still, without an apt descriptive word for it, our ability to communicate is hobbled. I don’t think that expression is going away anytime soon.

So what should we call it?

My Life as a Baboon Whisperer

Today’s post comes to us from Jacque.

Over the weekend I found a new website which I like, It has a variety of news and special interest stories.  I was browsing through it when I came upon this irresistible article, “My Life as a Baboon Whisperer.”    Apparently in South Africa alpha baboons have become a local menace, kind of like the bears in Northern Minnesota. The alpha males are raiding local garbage cans as a food source.

In 2009 a South African city decided to start exterminating the baboons doing the raiding. The article is written by the person who started Baboon Matters. Baboon Matters is an organization which tries behavioral alternatives to shooting the offending animals.   The organization discovered the following:  “so-called ‘raiding baboons’ are almost always alpha males, and killing them creates a vacuum in the troop hierarchy that results in chaos.”

When I read the quote, the first thought flitting through my mind was, “This sounds a lot like politics in the USA at present.” The second thought was, “It is so nice to know Baboons Matter!”

Here is the link to the article:

After reading this so many questions that might fit at the end of this post went through my head:

What kind of whisperer do I want to be? How does this situation serve as a metaphor for American politics right now?  Who will save us?

What question would you pose for others after reading this?

Regulatory Boards

I received a letter from the governor last week informing me that I had been appointed to a state regulatory board involving my profession. I feel quite honored by the appointment.   I hope I can do a good job.

The first thing I had to do was find a notary and swear  in front of them that I promised to uphold the constitutions of both the US and my State.  The notary happened to be one of my support staff at work, and she was pretty amused by the whole episode. (I have a Canadian friend who did an internship in Texas, and they had to figure out how she could be allowed to participate in the program without swearing allegiance to the State of Texas. I think they got the Canadian Consul involved to negotiate that one.)  I also had to disclose all the investments and businesses I have (which amount to none) that could result in a conflict of interest or could be impacted by legislative action.  (Sound familiar, Mr Trump?)

The next thing I had to do was register for a one day workshop for people on regulatory boards to learn how such boards operate and the correct procedures to use. It is refreshing to know that people are still being taught the proper way government should operate.  I don’t suppose it will be a real exciting workshop, but I will be there with newbies from the Barley Council and the Board of Optometry, and they might be a lot of fun.

What would you like to regulate?

The Sound of Summer

Today’s post comes from Bill

Ever since our last presidential election, I’ve been taking the news in small measured doses and I’ve been wary of letting it just wash over me unless I am prepared. Consequently, instead of keeping my car radio tuned by default to the MPR news channel, I have an iPod, loaded with my choice of music and set up to shuffle through the selections whenever I drive anywhere.

Today, Robin and I were running a short errand together. The weather was sunny and warm with a light, fresh breeze. As we drove, the music selection that came up was a samba by Antonio Carlos Jobim, “The Girl From Ipanema” and I remarked to Robin that I have always considered Brazilian sambas the perfect evocation of summer– so warm, so languid. If Jobim doesn’t conjure up a hammock and a cool drink, I don’t know what does.

But maybe you know.

What music perfectly evokes summer for you?