Sunday, August 29, 2010

End of Summer, Start of School, and 60 Pounds of Butter

Sunday, August 29, 2010. We're a week from Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of summer. Classes start at Sauk Centre schools right after that, and as someone said, 'all I know is what I read in the papers.'

Speaking of which, if you haven't read what the August 24, 2010 Sauk Centre Herald had to say about Emily Lahr and the butter sculptures: I suggest you look that article up. Turns out that molding a 60-pound block of cheese into a likeness of yourself is part of being involved in the Princess Kay of the Milky Way competition.

Don't worry: the butter gets recycled as food after it's displayed.

Also from the Herald: as of September 1, Wednesday, it's no smoking anywhere at St. Michael's Lakeview Medical Clinic. The idea is to help folks be healthier.

Between school starting and the November elections, I feel like I should have some sort of countdown here. It's probably more trouble than it's worth, though

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Trilingual Sign at a Clinic, Tree Top Nursery, and School's Starting

Wednesday, August 25, 2010. I was at the Melrose Clinic yesterday, and finally decided to take a picture of signs they've got in the (new) entrance. Ku soo dhawoow is, so far, the only set of words I know in Somali.

Trilingual greeting at the Melrose clinic. August 23, 2010.

It's nice to know that this country is still a place where folks want to settle.

In the 13 years, two months and some number of days since I launched Brendan's Island: I haven't mentioned Tree Top Nursery. Not once. On the principle of 'better late than never:' Tree Top Nursery and Landscaping has been open in Sauk Centre since 1983. They've changed the look of their place bit since the last time I paid close attention - which is a matter of years now.

Tree Top Nursery & Landscaping: just like the sign says. August 25, 2010.

I've been to Tree Top a few times, on the comparatively rare occasions when we wanted to start a new tree, and will probably go there again. Not that my household's among the great lawn and garden enthusiasts in town.

They've got a pretty good website (, and did a good job with their About Us page. Here are some photos I took of the place today.

Tree Top Nursery's got greenhouses, and a decent mount of signage, on Highway 71 as it curves toward Sauk Lake. August 25, 2010.

The plantings and greenhouses are a growing area for Tree Top Nursery & Landscaping: the building with the green roof's Centre Sports, and that's another topic. August 25, 2010.

The opening day of school is coming - right after Labor Day, I see - so there's a lot of get-ready-for-school activity in the stores. At least, i assume that's the case. We've home schooled our kids from grade seven through 12 (their choice), and aren't required to wait for the official opening: so my son's already hitting the books. Not too hard, though: we'll get down to business more in September.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Change on the South Side, Rummage Sales, School

Sunday, August 22, 2010. Classes start September 7, 2010. Quiet scenes like this will be rarer around the school, after that.

Ball field and playground north of the elementary school. August 20, 2010.

The open land between South 12th and Ace Hardware/Coborns is filling in. At least, I assume that's why earthmoving equipment's been pushing dirt around there.

Ah, the blissful, unchanging serenity of small town life? Nope: We live in the real world, just like everyone else. August 20, 2010.

I'm looking forward to seeing what goes in there. August 21, 2010.

Another sort of tradition was played out over the weekend at the Stearns County Fairgrounds: the MCCL rummage sale. My wife and #3 daughter picked up an item or two there.

Downtown Sauk Centre: flower pots, old-style street lights, and - sometimes - clear skies. August 9, 2010.

Rummage sales - on a smaller scale - run through the months when it's practical to leave your garage door open, and sit outside for a few hours running.

Rummage sales are a common sight. Giant inflatable pink flamingos? Not so much. August 21, 2010.

Families with school-age kids are probably going through the lists of required materials and checking out clothing. My household's getting ready for the school year, too. We're homeschooling, except for band: so we've never really been 'away' from school. It's been more a matter of merging from one school year to the other, over the summer.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tornado Last Week, Installing a Sign, School Opening

Wednesday, August 18, 2010. Thursday evening's storm included tornadoes, one of them near Sauk Centre.
"...The first tornado touched down north of Brooten at 7:35 p.m. Thursday. It was rated EF-1 and followed an east-northeast path over five miles, the NWS reports. It damaged several barns and sheds and blew an empty grain bin for a half-mile, according to the NWS...."
(St. Cloud Times (August 16, 2010))
The Sauk Centre Herald's home page has a photo showing what one set of buildings looked like after the twister rearranged things.

Here are photos from Sauk Centre, of Thursday evening's storm. I'd have had them up on Sunday - but it wasn't until later that I found out about the tornado. Besides, those
pelicans looked cool.

The western sky in Sauk Centre, about 7:40: around the time that tornado was moving away from Brooton. August 12, 2010.

All we got here in Sauk Centre's south side was rain. Quite a lot of rain Can't say that I'm disappointed. August 12, 2010.

Clearing skies after the storm here in Sauk Centre. August 12, 2010, about 8:30 p.m..

As long as I'm doing a sort of retrospective entry, here's something from June 1, 2010: Installation of that new sign at South Ash Street and 12th.

The crew had just gotten the sign upright and more-or-less in place when I took this photo. That's the 'Wal-Mart' stoplights to the right of the crane. June 1, 2010.

One man's operating the crane, the other's pulling the sign into position. June 1, 2010.

A little later, the sign's just about where it's supposed to be. June 1, 2010.

Here we are in the Information Age: and when it comes to a job like this, what works is two guys and a crane pushing and pulling the sign around until they've got it set up straight.

It's been fairly quiet after last week's storms. (August 13, 2010) Hot, at times: but this is Minnesota in August, after all.

School's starting in a little less than two weeks. Or three, depending on what you use as your 'starting time.' The public school's having an open house August 31, with classes starting September 7. Which means that three weeks from now, I'll be seeing high schoolers in cars and elementary kids walking past my north window around 3:00 weekday afternoons.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Photos, Pelicans, and a Music Fest That Wasn't

Sunday, August 15, 2010. I've lived in Sauk Centre since 1986: and never been to Diamond Point, an eatery on the north end of Sauk Lake. I'd have shown these photos Wednesday, but a storm and power outage took precedence. (August 11, 2010) I was up on Bayview Drive Monday, seeing if there was much damage from Saturday's storm - there wasn't much - and took these photos:

Diamond Point's roof and a radio mast are behind the trees. That wooden stair doesn't look like it's been used for years. August 10, 2010.

Diamond Point: and I still haven't been in there. August 9, 2010.

Not Diamond Point: Bailey's Bar is between the eatery and Saukinac Campground. August 9, 2010.

Saukinac Campground, where the Country Music Fest wasn't again this year. August 9, 2010.

By my reckoning, 2008 was the last year we had Country Music Fest up at Saukinac Campground, on the north tip of Sauk Lake. The campground is still very much there, but between free tickets going out and the cost of talent - like $225,000 for two hours of Martina McBride - the folks who run Saukinac couldn't keep the show going. (More at "Post Country Music Fest," The Sauk Centre Herald (June 8, 2010).) But, like I said, the campground is there and open for business.

Downtown Sauk Centre: flower pots, old-style street lights, and - sometimes - clear skies. August 9, 2010.

The motel down at South Main and 12th has new owners. Evy and Jim Schilling bought the place - a Guesthouse International Hotel - in February, they've had it open since at least March of this year, and replaced the palm trees with pelicans.

Guest House, South 12th near Main in Sauk Centre. That's Jim Schilling, walking along the sign. August 11, 2010.

Palms by the door have been deposed by - pelicans? I'm told that the new owners will be putting a new color paint on the place: probably when it cools down a bit. August 11, 2010.

Pelicans. Pelicans and potted plants. That's a table, some chairs and - behind the windows - the indoor poo.. August 11, 2010.

The Schillings are from Pelican Rapids - which helps explain those birds. Besides, I suppose pelicans resonate a bit better with a central Minnesota location than palm trees.

We had another storm, Friday afternoon. There weren't any watches or warnings out, but I'd been following's radar: and a patch of very heavy rain was headed our way. As the edge of the storm went over Sauk Centre, I heard an emergency siren go off: so the family headed for the basement. I called City Hall later. Lightning had struck one of the sirens, setting it off. (August 13, 2010)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lightning Strike and an Emergency Siren

This, between 2:15 and 2:20 p.m. or so, one of Sauk Centre's emergency sirens went off.

We went to the basement - and after a fairly short interval I checked again. No siren.

I'd taken the alert seriously, since the edge of a very intense patch of rain was just then passing over Sauk Centre.

Still: just one siren? I'd seen a crew working on the siren in the Stearns County Fairgrounds, just south of us - and we should have heard that one loud and clear.

Turns out, according to someone at City Hall, lightning struck one of the town's sirens: setting the thing off. Since the storm has passed now, somebody's probably at the top of that pole already, checking the zapped siren out.

All things considered, I'm very willing to regard the accidental siren as a learning experience: we found out how well the family responds to an emergency situation, and can fine-tune what we do.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sticks, Clouds, and a Power Outage

Wednesday, August 11, 2010. I drove around the north end of Sauk Lake on Monday, to see if there'd been much damage from Saturday evening's storm. All I found were some sticks in the road leading to Diamond Point (among other things): and those could have been dropped from a truck carrying debris from somebody's pruning job.

Looks like there wasn't too much damage from Saturday's storm. Those sticks in the road might even be from a pruning job, not downed branches. August 9, 2010.

Then, Tuesday morning, while thunder and lightning were putting on a show, the lights went out in my house. A little later, I went out to see what was happening. The traffic lights at the corner of South Ash Street and 12th were working - but downtown was dark, along with the north side along Main, as far as the convenience store, at least.

Folks were paying attention to that temporary stop sign at Sinclair Lewis Avenue and Main. August 10, 2010.

A repair crew on South 2nd, near Main. August 10, 2010.

Lights were out on the north side: Oh, right: and the old Citgo is now a Tesoro station. August 10, 2010.

About the convenience store: It's a Tesoro station now. I don't know what that change took place.

Driving back across the river, I decided to take a photo of the fountain - or, rather, of the statues. The water wasn't running, with no power for the pumps.

So, I swing into the parking lot by the band shell, get the camera lined up, start squeezing the shutter - and the water comes back on.

Power's back on, just before 10:30 a.m. by my clock. August 10, 2010.

By my camera's clock, that photo was taken at 10:29 a.m.

The traffic lights were working, too: and power was on at my place by the time I drove up the driveway.

The traffic light's working, so folks aren't guided by the stop sign now. August 10, 2010.

I've got some more photos, but that'll wait until Sunday. I hope that we won't have any more severe storms before then.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Power Outage This Morning

Traffic lights down at South Ash and 12th were working after the lights went out in my house. Downtown was dark, though, when I drove through, and so was the convenience store on north Main.

Since it happened during a display of thunder and lightning, I'm assuming that the outage was weather-related.

I'd noticed that the umbrella fountain in the park was off - the pumps need electricity. On my way back from the north side, I swung in to the parking lot by the band shell to take a picture.

I had the camera lined up and was about to press the shutter - when the water started coming.

I took a photo anyway - it'll be posted tomorrow.

The downtown traffic lights were working by the time I got there.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Another Severe Storm Went North of Town

Sunday, August 8, 2010. I think the big event this week, for this area in general, was last night's storm. It started in North Dakota, produced funnel clouds - including a tornado that popped a house apart in Wilkin County - and thundered past Sauk Centre around 9:30 to 10:00 p.m.

I didn't see any lightning bolts, but the sky to the north and northwest was flickering for quite a while, and some of the thunder came close on the heels of its flash.

Lightning north to northwest of South Ash Street and 9th in Sauk Centre, about 9:40 p.m. on August 7, 2010. (Posted earlier today in the Sauk Centre Journal Blog.)

The good news is that - apparently - property damage around here was minimal. At least, nothing got in the regional news. I haven't been around the north end of Sauk Lake since yesterday evening. Folks living there have had two sever storms so far this summer.

The bad news is that at least one person in Wilkin County, near Campbell, Minnesota, is missing a house. Happily, nobody was home when the tornado destroyed the place.

I found some videos of the Wilkin County tornado and posted them in "Tornado Videos: Near Campbell, in Wilkin County, Minnesota," Apathetic Lemming of the North (August 8, 2010).

Another Strong Thunderstorm.

The tornado watch has expired, and I need my sleep.

Lightning north of Ninth and South Ash Street, Sauk Centre, about 9:40 p.m. August 6, 2010.

A quite strong thunderstorm went just north of Sauk Centre about 20 minutes before 10:00 this evening. We got a good look at lightning: and it looks like the folks around the north end of Sauk Lake got more heavy weather.

I kept my eye on the weather - online reports and the view out my window - since that storm touched off a tornado warning for this area a few hours ago.

I sincerely hope nobody got hurt.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tree Removal and Violin Repair

Wednesday, August 4, 2010. The Stearns County Fair done for the year, stores haven't started stocking back-to-school items yet - or if they have, I missed it - and we've been having gorgeous weather. On the warm side, and humid: but from inside an air-conditioned building it looks gorgeous.

Sauk Centre's streets have a little more sunshine on the sidewalks each year. A tree across the street from my house got one of those orange bands this summer. It hasn't been looking healthy for - well, quite a long time.

Another tree marked for removal. This one was green: but not in the right places; and decay had set in. July 16, 2010.

The same outfit - Hoffman Tree Service & Stump Removal - that hauled off our old willow was back today, to remove that (picturesque?) tree.

Another tree gone: more sunshine on the grass, and more sky for me to see; but I'll miss that misshapen thing. August 4, 2010.

L. N. Kaas, on Main Street, still repairs clocks: and now he's repairing violins, too. I was over there on Monday - there's a bit of a story behind that - and took this photo:

L. N. Kaas Company: clock repair and violin shop. August 2, 2010.

L. N. Kaas's place is closed on Monday, by the way: I was there as his son-in-law, looking for a telephone that worked. There's a bit of a story about that. ("Tree Removal: We've Had Enough Excitement This Summer," Through One Dad's Eye (August 4, 2010))

Monday, August 2, 2010

Engle Fabrication is now Centerline Tank and Trailer Manufacturing

From the St. Cloud Times:
"New, moving or expanding: Tricouni buys 2 companies"
St. Cloud Times (August 2, 2010)

"St. Cloud investment firm Tricouni Enterprises has bought two Central Minnesota companies and created a new name.

It bought Engle Fabrication of Sauk Centre and R-Way Trailer Manufacturing of Long Prairie for an undisclosed amount. It put the headquarters at Engle's building and named it Centerline Tank and Trailer Manufacturing, Tricouni announced last week....
Engle's Fabrication has been a sort of landmark on Highway 71, on the 'other' side of the Interstate, south of Felling Trailers.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Andy's Wok in the News, and the Stearns County Fair

Sunday, August 1, 2010. The Stearns County Fair is over now. I'll get back to that.

Andy's Wok, downtown, is still closed. (June 30, 2010) A short article in the July 24, 2010, St. Cloud Times said that the owner asked for - and got - more time to correct health code violations. The hearing would have been on the 22nd of last month: now it's scheduled for August 26. The Times said that our downtown Chinese/Mexican restaurant had "seven critical violations" to correct this time. I hope this works out well for Andy's Wok: that's been a colorful part of downtown.

Back to the Stearns County Fair.

Saturday was an almost-perfect day to go: blue sky, fleecy clouds, and bright, hot sun. In the Knights of Columbus Bingo booth I worked up a sweat, picking up those ping pong balls, and calling the numbers. Like I said, an almost-perfect day. I took some photos:

Saturday afternoon at the fair: quite a few families. July 31, 2010.

Model rockets being set up for launch, near the grandstand. July 31, 2010.

This one wasn't the highest flyer, but it put on a good show. July 31, 2010.

Some of the 4H-ers brought models. July 31, 2010.

This display was interactive: pre-digital style. July 31, 2010.

Photo walls: each year. July 31, 2010.

Another model: those cars had simulated crash damage. July 31, 2010.

Model rockets: including, I think, the ones I caught earlier. July 31, 2010.

And: "How to make a Boo-Boo Bunny." July 31, 2010.

Over in another building, rock art.. If the second one from the right looks familiar, it should: It's a sort of replica of Centre Floral, downtown. July 31, 2010.

Flowers. Lots and lots of flowers. July 31, 2010.

The Stearns County Fair is a fund-raising opportunity for community groups like Lions and Knights of Columbus. That's the K. C. Bingo booth, next to the Lions. July 31, 2010.

Here's where I was, between six and eight Saturday evening: Calling numbers for the Bingo games. I've gotten to know that sign on the ceiling pretty well, over the years. July 31, 2010.

Flags, Ferris wheel, and colorful clouds. July 31, 2010.

There were still families on the midway around 8:15 or so when I left, but the crowd was getting to be more teens and young adults. July 31, 2010.

On the off-chance that you haven't had your fill of photos from the fair: I
posted 23 more on Thursday, in the Sauk Centre Journal Blog.