Nancy Vogt, Editor
I'll be the first to admit it. I'm not a political person, and the only reason I've attended both DFL and Republican precinct caucuses is because of my job. I vaguely recall my first time being assigned to cover a caucus as a reporter. This was a good 30 years ago when I was a young 20-something, and I honestly don't think I had any idea what a caucus was. My memory is of walking into a crowded basement of what I believe was a house. I assume now that it was a more public place. I recall people being packed together, shoulder to shoulder. It was like a college party atmosphere.
A friend just shared that his new, custom-built fish house will boast an electric fireplace, electric queen size bunk over the dinette and spray foam insulation on the walls and floor. Another friend built his own fish house, complete with an aquarium. Fish houses now come equipped with stoves and ovens, big-screen TVs and bay windows. Many have bathrooms with flushing toilets and showers along with air conditioners for when the wintertime fish house turns into a summertime camper. Personally, I think the best thing about our fish house is the Luggable Loo.
There are so many people in the lakes area who qualify for a citizen of the year title. No one thinks he or she deserves it, and that's part of what makes it so fun to surprise people with the honor. They always say there are other people more deserving. The most recent residents recognized as citizens of the year or distinguished business people in our communities are Renee Anderson, of Pequot Lakes; Ray Schrupp, of Pine River; and Lynn Fairbanks, of Nisswa. Read about Anderson in this week's Echo Journal.
We made it through Black Friday, or the new-age version of Black Friday where sales begin long before the Friday after Thanksgiving. Hopefully we shopped on Small Business Saturday and patronized our local merchants. And let's face it, many likely took advantage of Cyber Monday and did a bit of online shopping from home or (gasp!) work.
At a conference last week, I heard a speaker talk about transformation. One of her many points was the distinction between certain words we use and the energy of words we use. One example she shared was "problem" vs. "solution." She said "problem" refers to something in the past, whereas "solution" refers to today. She talked about "problem-solving" vs. "solution seeking." That made me think of Pequot Lakes.
It seems the last quarter of 2017 marks several milestones for me. I recently celebrated 25 years of marriage, followed by 25 years of living in the Brainerd lakes area, followed by 25 years of working for the same company, soon-to-be followed by living in the same house for 25 years. Wow! Those years have been chock-full of changes, and ups and downs, and everything in between in both my professional and personal life. The constants, of course: the same husband, the same home and, remarkably, the same profession.
Tuesday, Sept. 5, marked the first day of school for most area students. Over the Labor Day weekend, I discovered what different people of different ages think of that momentous day for students, parents, school staff and - well, really everyone. For example, on my early Tuesday morning walk, my friend - whose children are older and weren't embarking on their first day of school - said she planned to leave a little earlier for work to take into account the extra traffic on the roads with school buses and teenage drivers on their way to school.
I'm assuming our newspaper front page caught your attention this week. Let me explain why we joined more than 200 other newspapers across the state - both big and small - this week to publish no local photos and no local stories on our front page. Imagine your son rushed for over 200 yards and had three touchdowns in the first high school football game of the season. Wouldn't you look forward to reading your local sports writer's highlights of your son's accomplishments? Imagine a day without local news.
"Summer is over." How many times have you heard this phrase? I have heard it all summer - starting in June! Following are two examples from emails I received just this week. One read: "What a beautiful summer day! It's hard to believe it's almost over!!" The other said: "Summer is sure flying by." And an email that came in early July read: "Where oh where did June go? If anyone finds it, can you please return it? I'm not ready for the downhill slide of summer!"
As we approach the one- and two-year anniversaries of devastating windstorms that forever altered the lakes area landscape, I'm still having a hard time seeing all the downed trees and getting used to the wide open spaces.