Columns

Tue
11
Jun

Dandelion Wars


submitted photo

When I was a child I loved dandelions like all children do. Bright, cheerful and easily accessible, I gathered them in handfuls to make bouquets for my mom, princess crowns for myself, or decorations for the dog.
Truth be told, I still think there are few sights more uplifting than a hillside covered in bright yellow dandelions, announcing to the world that summer has arrived. Now, however, I look out into my yard covered in dandelions and instead of seeing beauty, I see a hundred little signs that I have failed.

Tue
11
Jun

It’s in your court: rural driving is more dangerous than urban

In the small towns and rural areas of the Tenth Judicial District, which includes Washington County, nearly 30,000 drivers each year are arrested for drunk driving, many on rural roads. One could reasonably conclude that drunk driving is vastly more prevalent in highly-populated urban areas, but statistics do not bear that out, at least on a national basis.
Here are a few frightening statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Mon
10
Jun

Local projects won through in session

The 2013 legislative session put Minnesota back on a sustainable budget path while making needed investments for Minnesota’s future. With new investments in job creation, education, property tax relief, and new initiatives to grow the middle class, the Senate delivered on the promise of a more prosperous future.
While much of the focus is on the large, statewide impact, bills affecting important local issues also passed the Senate. Here are highlights of what Oakdale residents can expect to see.

Mon
10
Jun

Home made garden fertilizer – the real deal

After the snow finally melted, I decided the lawn needed its first mowing. I dragged the mower out of the garage and spent almost an hour getting it cleaned up and started for another season. I remembered that last fall it had been acting cantankerous – running a little rough and leaking a little oil. It was obviously getting tired, but I had convinced myself that maybe a long winter’s rest would solve any problems.

Sun
09
Jun

Give me a home where the buffalo roam


A view of bison on the Belwin prairie. (submitted photo)

People in the crowd gather tight and whisper excitedly. Children stand on tiptoes, while adults crane their necks. There’s a communal inhale and then BOOM! The gates open and the bison race out of the trailer and into the prairie. When Charlie and Lucy Bell set aside 200 acres of land along Valley Creek in Afton back in 1970, did they realize that their actions would eventually allow for the return of bison to the St. Croix Valley?

Mon
27
May

Judicial Review - Minnesota’s prison system

You probably know that there are two prisons in Washington County:  The Stillwater prison (which is actually in Bayport) and the Oak Park Heights prison.
Did you know that there are also eight other prisons in Minnesota?  Nine are for men. The State’s only women’s prison is in Shakopee.
Why are there so many prisons? Aren’t they all the same?

Sun
26
May

Fourth year for “Art in the Hollow”

The East Side’s beautiful Swede Hollow Park will host its fourth annual free art fest, “Art in the Hollow,” on Saturday, June 1, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sponsored by Friends of Swede Hollow, the event has become larger and more varied each year.

Thu
23
May

Giving a drink to the river herself


A young girl squats to gather water from the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. (submitted photo)

On March 1, Sharon Day started walking and she didn’t stop for a long time. Every day for two months, she and four other “Water Walkers” - Deon Kirby, Ira Johnson, Beth Brent, and Barb Baker-Iarush – walked beside the Mississippi River, all the way from Minnesota to Louisiana. Several hundred people joined the walkers here and there throughout their journey. Strangers would put them up at night, and tribes provided lodging.

Thu
23
May

Fighting metal theft in Minnesota communities

Across Minnesota, communities have been facing a rash of robberies. But these thieves aren’t your common thugs stealing TVs or computers — instead they’re going after high-priced metal from businesses, homes and even veterans’ graves, and selling it to scrap dealers to make a quick buck.

Tue
21
May

Music at your Washington County Library

With inspiration from the “Buffalo Gals” folk song, children’s book author Joanne Ryder wrote the words to the picture book “Dance by the Light of the Moon.” In the story, she has animals gathering for a barnyard dance organized by Farmer Snow. I recently re-read the book to a favorite little person. Charlotte said, “Sing it, Gramma!” And I did, because somehow it’s best that way.

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