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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Buying just the right gift for a family member or friend can be a challenge. That may be one reason gift card sales are soaring in the U.S. In 1999, $19 billion in gift cards were sold, according to WalletHub statistics. That number increased to $130 billion by 2015 and is projected to reach $160 billion this year. Though sometimes seen as impersonal, gift cards have entrenched themselves in American society. These statistics seem to hold for Minnesota, as well.
As a young girl in Red Wing, Rachel McNamara was active in diving and gymnastics. She never could have guessed that those sports would help her develop the body control, strength, and determination to take her to the 2018 World Cup ... in roller derby.
An old sandpit near the Sportsman's Club in Frontenac off Highway 61 has been transformed into the Frontenac Solar Garden, reflecting a trend of rapidly increasing use of solar power throughout Minnesota. "This site was an old quarry," said Karl von Knobelsdorff, owner of Knobelsdorff Electric, Inc. from Goodhue. "It is a good use of the land. You don't like to see a solar garden go onto nice farm land."
When Art Owen, Dakota spiritual leader, addressed the crowd gathered at Barn Bluff on Oct. 16, his voice was positive, filled with hope that the Prairie Island Indian Community and the city of Red Wing were coming together to work for the benefit of all. Ten days later, at age 68, he died unexpectedly at the United Hospital in St. Paul. Peggy Rehder, former Red Wing City Council member, said she has heard conversations since the ceremony at Barn Bluff "about how helpful it was to have Arthur speak out, and now, it is just sad that that voice is silent."
A recent federal law makes it easier for consumers to protect their financial security by freezing their accounts with all three major credit agencies for free. Prior to this law coming into effect on Sept. 21, individuals could freeze and unfreeze their accounts, but those actions required paying a fee each time, according to Bruce Carlstrom, president of Lake City Federal Bank.
As students return to the classroom, it's a good time to consider the apps they are using on their smart devices. Some of them can be dangerous, according to local law enforcement officers. "This is a problem nationwide, and it is absolutely a problem in Minnesota," said Ryan Olson, detective with the Dakota County Electronic Crimes Task Force in Hastings.
After 25 years of striving to reintroduce whooping cranes into the eastern section of North America, Operation Migration will cease work at the end of 2018. "This difficult decision to dissolve the organization is heartbreaking for us all, but we have exhausted all possible avenues to avoid this outcome," said Joe Duff, CEO and co-founder of Operation Migration headquartered in Port Perry, Ontario, in a written statement.
It was an ambitious plan. Paddle 1,200 miles on three rivers in one summer. That's OK. Michael Anderson is an ambitious person, especially when there is an adventure involved. Add a social cause to that mix, and he's all in. When Anderson and Paul Twedt planned the Three Rivers Project, they knew it would be a challenge. They wanted to paddle the St. Croix River, the Minnesota River and the Minnesota section of the Mississippi River. They also wanted to pick up trash as they went.
When the Chippewa River pushed enough sand into the Mississippi River to form Lake Pepin, it highlighted the effort with an artistic flourish. It created the Mississippi backwaters, a gem in the midst of extensive aquatic beauty. The backwaters, braided with streams from the Chippewa River delta, seem perfectly designed for kayaking, and Michael Anderson, river guide for Broken Paddle Guiding Company in Wabasha, enjoys taking people there.
In his seven years as a lockmaster, Tim Tabery has seen boaters make many serious mistakes in the dangerous waters around a dam. "There is a hydraulic effect on the downstream side of the dam," Tabery said. "Some people don't realize this, and that is why we have fatalities. The water spins and spins and spins, and you are not going to get out of it." The turbulent water below the dam as well as a strong-flowing area above the dam are called "restricted areas" according to Tabery, a resident of Hastings. Those areas are marked with buoys featuring an orange diamond on them.