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Commonweal’s Scrooge holds up a mirror to our own stingy hearts


Fri, Nov 28th, 2003
Posted in Features

A writer once said (I think it was Minnesota’s Carol Bly) that no matter what your faith, going to church on Sundays is a good thing if only because it’s the one place we’ll be reminded weekly that we should be good to each other.

I think the same could be true of Charles Dickens’ play A Christmas Carol, only in this case, we’re reminded annually to be kind to the less fortunate. Thanks to the Commonweal’s current rendition of this classic, one can take in this cautionary morality tale with a production that is a treat for the eye, ear and mind.

Most of us are familiar with the tale of the stingy Scrooge, who is wealthy, but hoards his wealth in a most unpleasant manner. We cringe when, upon being told “the poor” have no place to live, his response is to ask if the prisons have all closed. Oh that nasty Scrooge! But our laughter has an uncomfortable edge. For a split second, we wonder if he isn’t holding up a mirror to our own stingy hearts.

Scrooge is offered the chance to mend his ways when three ghosts visit him at Christmas time. When the Ghost of Christmas Past, the fettered Marley, Scrooge’s business partner, shouts with regret, “Mankind was my business!”, who among us hasn’t made a silent vow to be more generous with time or money?

This 2003 production includes many of the things that made A Christmas Carol so wonderful at the Commonweal two years ago, like Jill Underwood’s “chain-dragging” as Marley, the wonderful music and quick-paced staging, and at the center, Hal Cropp as Scrooge.

But the bonus is that the new version adds some elements that make it an even richer play than that of two years ago. Cropp’s son Simon plays Tiny Tim (to be played by Elizabeth Thiss of Lanesboro later in the season.) to perfection. No matter how you felt about the symbolic crutch used to represent Tim two years ago (and the effectiveness of that device still causes heated debates around our dinner table) you have to admit that a “real” Tiny Tim has the advantage of being able to charmingly utter the line “God bless us, everyone!”

David Hennessey takes on the role of the mistreated but unfailingly optimistic Bob Crachit.

This 2003 production also unabashedly plays up the humor to be found in Dickens. The duo of Underwood and Adrienne Sweeney had the audience howling with their synchronized portrayal of two earnest g .....
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All creatures great and small

Fri, Nov 21st, 2003
Posted in Features

Man is the only animal that laughs, but when you look at some people, it’s hard to understand how the animals keep from laughing.

E.C. McKenzie

In 1945, Herbert Fisch of Spring Valley graduated from Iowa ..... 
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A Teacher, a Rooster and an Outhouse

Fri, Nov 21st, 2003
Posted in Features

The Story Project of Fillmore County, which began last January when the Journal asked readers to send in their stories - the kind we tell around the kitchen table and pass on to our children - is now at the printer and due out the first week of Decem ..... 
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Heartland vs. city of Preston expected to be heard in Houston County

Fri, Nov 21st, 2003
Posted in Features

Attorneys for the city of Preston have responded to a writ of mandamus filed by Robert and Elaine Maust, who are asking that the court order the city to issue a building permit to Heartland Energy & Recycling, LLC.

In court pap ..... 
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Preston City Council adopts interim ordinance

Fri, Nov 21st, 2003
Posted in Features

At a special meeting of the city council Tuesday evening, November 18, an ordinance mandating a temporary moratorium on industrial use or building permit applications was adopted.

Kevin Ostern, chairman of the Planning and Zoni ..... 
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County Board revisits 2004 budget

Fri, Nov 21st, 2003
Posted in Features

As the Truth and Taxation date moves closer, the Fillmore County Commissioners once again reviewed the county’s 2004 budget that currently stands at $6,054,716. This puts the levy increase at 8.34%. That’s 2% under the allowed levy limits according t ..... 
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Lanesboro City Council Report: Lanesboro Council Signs Police Contract with Preston

Fri, Nov 21st, 2003
Posted in Features

The Lanesboro City Council unanimously accepted the contract with Preston for police protection at their November 17th meeting. After clarifying some minor details, Mayor Steve Rahn and City Administrator Bobbie Torgerson signed the contract on behal ..... 
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Fillmore County District Court

Fri, Nov 21st, 2003
Posted in Features

Felony Charges

•Gregory David Phillips, 18, Kalyn Louis Koster, 18, and Adam Douglas Greene, 19, all of Spring Valley, were charged on Monday with two felony counts of theft and criminal damage to property related to an incident ..... 
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Ghost towns of Fillmore County

Fri, Nov 14th, 2003
Posted in Features

Forestville, Tawney, Clear Grit, Isinours, Carimona. A large majority of Fillmore County citizens recognize the names of these areas and know that they were once towns, post offices or railroad junctions. Though some of these areas are still inhabite ..... 
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