Letterwerks Sign City
 
"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
Online Edition
Wednesday, July 27th, 2016
Volume ∞ Issue ∞
 
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Tim Penny, the late Bruce Vento, and Garrison Keillor in DC while Penny was in Congress


Mon, Jul 4th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

By Tim Penny

July 1 will be Garrison Keillor’s last official time hosting “A Prairie Home Companion,” a public radio broadcast with a history a decade longer than that of Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s (SMIF), which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. There’s no denying Keillor’s radio show, particularly his “News from Lake Wobegon” monologue, has crafted one of the most pervasive narratives for rural Minnesota and our small, Midwest towns.

For those of us living in and working for the future of that mythical - yet somehow incredibly real - “Lake Wobegon,” we understand that Keillor’s sign-off from a place where “all the women are strong, the men good-looking, and the children are above average” is a somewhat misleading simplification. Through SMIF’s early childhood programming, we understand that all of our children are not above average, but instead struggle due to income and racial achievement disparities. In our rural region, we are home to many new immigrant families who can feel isolated by our business-as-usual approach, no matter how much “Minnesota nice” envelopes it. And, as evidenced by the photo of me with Keillor above, I’ll just say not all the men are necessarily good-looking.

Yet, one of the things the more than 1,500 Lake Wobegon tales have done is create a rural voice pumped weekly into the radios of rural and urban dwellers alike. Keillor’s stories are highly edited, nostalgia-inducing yarns filled with a somewhat realistic yet limited cast of characters. The question may now become: with the departure of Keillor and his monologue, how else can we carry the rural narrative forward?

Keillor’s show has created a nostalgic connection point for those of us who reside in rural areas and for those with rural roots, but those roots are weakening with generational change. The stage is set for a new voice - even better, new voices - to step up to the mike, or blog, or podcast, or camera lens, or whatever medium they may find to help tell our rural stories.

Perception becomes reality, William James observed. If that’s indeed the case, the stories we tell ourselves and others are important. In Minnesota, while 40% of the population still lives in Greater Minnesota, our representation in mainstream media does not seem to reflect that proportion. Additionally, we face researchers who have been predicting the doom-and-g .....
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Building walls

Mon, Jul 4th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

By Eric Leitzen Yep. You knew it was coming. So it’s that time of the year when we finally take the Cupid or shamrock stickers off of our windows and replace them with firecrackers, explosions, and other sorts of prehistoric Emoji. We’ll gril ..... 
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For those eligible, voting should be easy

By Lee Hamilton

Mon, Jul 4th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

By Lee H. Hamilton The elections process is not usually grist for inflammatory rhetoric. But this year has been different. Republican Donald Trump labeled the GOP primary process “crooked.” Democrat Bernie Sanders suggested his party’s use of ..... 
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One Moment, Please... Cleaning our ditches

Mon, Jul 4th, 2016
Posted in Preston Commentary

By Jason Sethre Publisher Fillmore County Journal jason@fillmorecountyjournal.com On Friday, June 17, four of us committed our time and energy toward cleaning a small patch of Mother Nature. Over the course of a two-mile stretch of Highway 52 ..... 
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Correction - 6.27.16

Mon, Jun 27th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

In the June 20, 2016 Fillmore County Journal article titled “Lanesboro Council considers feasibility study for new assisted living center”, Michael Brown was mentioned as the chair of the EDA. He is actually the secretary of the EDA. We apolo ..... 
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It’s his nature

Mon, Jun 27th, 2016
Posted in Fountain Commentary

By Karen Reisner This November I will cast my vote in a presidential election for the twelfth time. Each time I have chosen the person that I most agreed with and felt was best equipped to do the job. Even when my choice failed to win, I never once ..... 
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Why do districts build new schools?

By Col. Stan Gudmundson

Mon, Jun 20th, 2016
Posted in Peterson Commentary

By Stan Gudmundson Why do districts build new schools? There are really only two reasons. One is because they have to. The other is because they want to. Given the increasingly ridiculous tax burden we face, wanting to build a new school is or ..... 
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Trehus distorting facts for political purposes

Mon, Jun 13th, 2016
Posted in Preston Commentary

By State Representative Greg Davids I find it highly ironic that Thomas Trehus accuses me of “passing the blame” on the political shenanigans being played by the Twin Cities Democratic leadership he supports, then proceeds to blame me for nea ..... 
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Legislative failure

Mon, Jun 13th, 2016
Posted in All Commentary

By Thomas Trehus Spring Grove School Board member and candidate for Minnesota House of Representatives Once again, our state legislators failed to compromise on a transportation plan and a public infrastructure bill for our state. In Houston and ..... 
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