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Our region, nay, our nation lost a treasure last month with the death of Bill Holm, writer, conversationalist, pianist extraordinaire. Bill died too young at age 65. The newspapers called him a giant in more ways than one. At 6'6" the big Icelander from Minneota, Minn., had big appetites all around, for reading, for writing, for big roast beef dinners, for good bourbon. I just talked to a mutual friend about how sad it was that Bill should die so young. "Oh, well," said my friend, he lived "two lives for our one." That's so.
The third annual "Bling and Chocolate," a fundraiser for the Goodhue County History Center, will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Feb. 22 at the museum. The event includes both silent and oral auctions of donated items. Vintage and new jewelry is featured, but this year's event also will include limited accessories -- handbags and scarves or wraps. The ticket price includes a selection of chocolates and chocolate desserts. Bling and Chocolate is limited to 12 tables of six -- each decorated by a hostess to reflect a theme or color scheme. Tickets are $15.
Auditions are scheduled Tuesday, Jan. 13, for the Lake Pepin Art & Design Center's first production, the musical comedy "Little Shop of Horrors." Tryouts will be at 6:30 p.m. at the center, Second and Main streets, Pepin. All seven parts are singing roles, executive director Andrea Myklebust said. The cast will include three men and four women. Those who audition for acting roles will be asked to read for the part and also to perform a one-minute musical selection they have prepared.
The region's top accordion players are getting together again this year to present Accordion-O-Rama at Crossings at Carnegie in Zumbrota. They'll take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 16. "The players are all accordion heavyweights," Crossings officials said: "Daddy Squeeze" Dan Newton of the Café Accordion Orchestra, Larry Malmberg of the Viking Accordion Band and the Minnesota Orchestra, Patrick Harison from the Loose Marbles Street Band and the Baby Soda Jazz Band, and freelance accordionist Mark Stillman.
Walter H. Field, 87, of Lake City, passed away Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008, at Lake City Hospital Mayo Health Center in Lake City. Walter was born June 24, 1921, in Lake City, Minnesota, to James and Rosa Anne (Meyer) Field. He graduated from Red Wing High School in 1939. Walter married Elizabeth (Liz) McRae on Oct. 19, 1945, at the Island Bible Chapel. They farmed in the Red Wing area for a short time until moving to Diamond Bluff in 1947. Walter worked for the Red Wing Shoe Co. for 32 years until retiring Jan. 1, 1984.
Two talented upper Midwestern writers with ethnic interests headline today's book report. The first is by University of Wiscosnin-Superior poet and fiction writer Anthony Bukoski. It's a collection of short stories, Bukoski's fifth book, entitled "North of the Port" (Southern Methodist University Press, $22.50). Bukoski, who grew up in Superior, sets most of his stories on the port city's east end, a Polish ghetto in the throes of change.
Ernestine Marie Poloson, age 85, of Red Wing died Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008, at Saint Mary's Hospital in Rochester. She was born on March 3, 1923, in Helena, Mont., to Dan and Mae Deschamps Poloson. She spent her early years at their Wolf Creek home, where, from infancy, she accompanied her mother on horseback and by wagon traveling over steep terrain to sheep camps. In 1929, Marie's parents bought their own ranch near Lonepine, where she attended school. Her greatest love was horses; she spent as much time as she could with them and became an excellent horsewoman.
Nordis Urness, 90, of Zumbrota, Minn. passed away on Friday, Dec. 12, 2008, at St. Brigid's at Hi-Park in Red Wing, Minn. Funeral services will be held at Friday, Dec. 19, 2008, at 2 p.m. at Lands Lutheran Church, Zumbrota with Pastor David Krinke officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.
From the creator of the international hit "Late Night Catechism" comes a new show for the holidays, "Sister's Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi's Gold." The comedy will be staged at 7 p.m. Dec. 23 at the Sheldon Theatre. "She's back with a new lesson plan for her students," Sheldon spokesmen warn.
Continental Ballet Company and Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra will combine efforts again this year to stage the classic "Nutcracker Ballet" at 7 p.m. Dec. 20 and 2 p.m. Dec.