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Looking Back While Moving Forward


Mon, Sep 5th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Standing on the dock, I silently watched the four canoes move across the lake, paddles flashing in the sunlight. The six campers and two guides would be gone for five nights on the water taking a circle route which was not considered difficult for campers new to the wilderness. I knew the route well and had explored many of the routes on my own when having days off. Great care had been taken in making sure all the equipment needs of the campers and guides had been met before the group left the dock. Standing there watching the canoes disappear, I failed to notice the person who had walked up beside me. A hand upon my shoulder quickly brought me back into the real world. The owner of Gunflint Lodge, Justine Kerfoot, said in a low but clear strong voice, "John, the next trip out is yours to lead". A simple "thank you" was all the response I could muster at that point. Justine was a person whose thinking about the environment and whose canoe country camping skills I embraced was telling me that I could now do what she had been doing for years. Thus began summers of leading groups into the wilderness area which twenty years later became known as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Some years I would lead four or five trips, other summers only one or two, depending upon summer jobs, school demands, and family needs. The span of time from that first trip to now has encompassed fifty-three years, 177 trips in total. Each trip has brought stories and memories of people, sites and unlimited beauty. Most of the memories and stories of past trips are the result of thoughts expressed by campers around the campfire in the evening. After all chores were completed for the day, folks would gather around the fire pit and conversations would emerge covering just about any topic imaginable.

One evening around the campfire, I was totally unaware of other conversations which were taking place. My mind was transporting me back many years ago to Esther Lake which is located between Ottertrack and Hanson Lakes inside the BWCA. Across the bay from my island campsite was a tall bluff. At the very top was a flat rock ledge protruding outward. This ledge seemed to provide a great place to observe almost anything. The rock shelf looked inviting and my curiosity beckoned me to check this area further. Paddling across the bay, I beached my canoe, and began to search for a route to the top. Bears had made a path through a large blueberry patch, so I carefully fo .....
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The Root of the Problem

Fri, Aug 26th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Government dysfunction is rooted in so-called "safe seats" whether they are in the state legislature or the United States Congress. Safe seats make for hopelessly divided government. The bickering and partisanship in government is one of the bigges ..... 
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One Moment Please... We have been given some healthy "goals"

Fri, Aug 26th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Cell phone: 507-251-5297

"If you build it, they will come." ~ Author unknown.

For the past year, I have been coordinating indoor and outdoor adult soccer in Preston. Players have been coming from Canton, Fountain, Wykoff, Spring Valle ..... 
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Education is for the common good

Fri, Aug 19th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

"Education is at the foundation of this economy; I personally believe that one of the most effective ways that we can help the economy is making sure that we're not seeing more teacher layoffs - because we can't eat our seed corn. We can't shortchan ..... 
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Obama in the garden

Fri, Aug 19th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

It started about ten days before the event. A colleague got a call from a friend who works for Congress, looking for some farms between Decorah and Preston which might be good locations for a tour. We didn't know who was coming or what they were int ..... 
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One Moment Please... Making history

Fri, Aug 19th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Publisher of the

Fillmore County Journal

Cell phone: 507-251-5297

Based on the front page, does this newspaper look like it was sponsored by the "Obama in 2012" presidential campaign? Maybe I should have changed the masthead of ..... 
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America's financial troubles

Fri, Aug 12th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

America is in very serious financial trouble. Government spending is unsustainable and completely out of control. Yet politicians, especially liberal politicians, seem to think they can create an alternate reality by just continuing to spend more an ..... 
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Correction to August 8th Commentary

Fri, Aug 12th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

In the commentary by Dr. Robert Sauer in the August 8 Fillmore County Journal, it was stated that the tax increases of 1983 made under Ronald Reagan were the largest in American history. It should have read they were the largest peace time tax incre ..... 
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Choosing Mediocrity and Greed

Fri, Aug 5th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

By Dr. Robert Sauer

Before Governor Dayton capitulated to demands the state continue to operate on a budget that excoriates the backs of lower income Minnesotans' I wrote a commentary on the reasonableness of his proposals. They were based br ..... 
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