Sunday, December 30, 2012

Looking Forward to New Year's Eve

Sunday, December 30, 2012. Tomorrow is New Year's Eve. I'm debating whether or not to follow my usual habit, staying up to watch the festivities in New York City's Times Square. I don't think I've got the flu, but I've also felt better than this.

This winter's flu seems to be quite popular: it's been held over for another week here in Sauk Centre. I think they'd have closed the schools, if we hadn't been on Christmas-New Year's break.

Aside from that, there's a beautiful snow cover outside and clear skies. At least there were. Right now, about 7:30 p.m., all I see outside is a lot of dark.

Here in central Minnesota, we've had bright clear days, a winter storm, and just about everything in between. For Minnesota, that's about par for the course.

Christmas Eve in Our Lady of the Angels church. December 24, 2012.

I didn't get out much this week, but expect that next week will be different. Now that's a very safe prediction.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Little Christmas Eve: Photos from Sauk Centre, Minnesota

Sunday, December 23, 2012. Today is lille Julaften (pronounced "yule-aften"), or little Christmas Eve. There's a lot of flu going around town, which encouraged the nursing home to restrict visiting. Happily, we've still got telephones, so it's possible to stay in touch without actually touching: so to speak.

Early morning fog, or something close to it, left frost on twigs last Minday. December 17, 2012.

I like the frost patters we get on some evergreens. December 17, 2012.

Not exactly picture-postcard weather: but definitely one of the variations on winter, Minnesota style. December 17, 2012.

That's a happy snowman. Quite a few folks knew what to do with recent snowfalls. December 18, 2012.

A quite - calm - snowman. Minnesota. December 18, 2012.

One of the nativity scenes folks set up in their yards. December 18, 2012.

This display should really brighten up the yard at night. December 18, 2012.

And - yep, another snowman. December 18, 2012.

I'm looking forward to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I think it helps that I haven't been planning or preparing anything elaborate.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mid-December, Distracted

Sunday, December 16, 2012. I don't have much to say this week, apart from some thoughts about the mass murder in Connecticut:
Here in central Minnesota, we've had bright clear days, a winter storm, and just about everything in between. For Minnesota, that's about par for the course.

Thursday morning in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. December 13, 2012.

Half past noon, Saturday, from my webcam. December 15, 2012.

I trust that I'll be back next week, with something happier. Also photos of outdoor Christmas displays.

Murder in Newtown, Connecticut: a List

I'll have the weekly post ready later this evening.

You probably know about the mass murder in Connecticut. The crime quickly became international news.

Newtown, Connecticut, was home to 27,605 people in 2010. (Welcome to Newtown, CT ( the town's website)

That's nearly seven times as many folks as live here in Sauk Centre: but it's still a small town by American standards.

I haven't seen the sort of 'how could this happen in a small town' editorializing that followed earlier school murders. Maybe folks have gotten used to the idea that small town America isn't immune to what troubles the world.

Murder is Wrong

I'm angry and upset about what happened: but ranting about wouldn't, I think, do any good.

This is just a suggestion but many folks in and around Newtown, Connecticut, are hurting: and prayer is an option.

So is contributing to a support fund:
I know nothing about that fund, apart from 'what I've read in the papers.' I recommend checking out any charity before giving.

A List

Killed Friday morning, December 14, in Newtown, Connecticut:
  • Mother of killer
    • Nancy Lanza
      • Female
  • At Sandy Hook Elementary School
    • Students and staff
      • Charlotte Bacon
        • Female
        • February 22, 2006
      • Daniel Barden
        • Male
        • September 25, 2005
      • Rachel Davino
        • Female
        • July 17, 1983
      • Olivia Engel
        • Female
        • July 18, 2006
      • Josephine Gay
        • Female
        • December 11, 2005
      • Ana Marquez-Greene
        • Female
        • April 4, 2006
      • Dylan Hockley
        • Male
        • March 8, 2006
      • Dawn Hochsprung
        • Female
        • June 28, 1965
      • Madeleine F. Hsu
        • Female
        • July 10, 2006
      • Catherine V. Hubbard
        • Female
        • June 8, 2006
      • Chase Kowalski
        • Male
        • October 31, 2005
      • Jesse Lewis
        • Male
        • June 30, 2006
      • James Mattioli
        • Male
        • March 22, 2006
      • Grace McDonnell
        • Female
        • November 4, 2005
      • Anne Marie Murphy
        • Female
        • July 25, 1960
      • Emilie Parker
        • Female
        • May 12, 2006
      • Jack Pinto
        • Male
        • May 6, 2006
      • Noah Pozner
        • Nale
        • November 20, 2006
      • Caroline Previdi
        • Female
        • September 7, 2006
      • Jessica Rekos
        • Female
        • May 10, 2006
      • Avielle Richman
        • Female
        • October 17, 2006
      • Lauren Rousseau
        • Female
        • June 1982
      • Mary Sherlach
        • Female
        • February 11, 1956
      • Victoria Soto
        • Female
        • November 4, 1985
      • Benjamin Wheeler
        • Male
        • September 12, 2006
      • Allison N. Wyatt
        • Female
        • July 3, 2006
    • Killer
      • Adam Lanza
        • Male
    (source: Connecticut State Police, via and Associated Press;
Related posts, in another blog:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Garlands Downtown, Slick Streets, Blizzard: Fairly Routine

Sunday, December 9, 2012. I missed last Sunday's entry, but I've got an excuse. I was out of town, on a family trip to North Dakota. Today I've got some catching up to do: mostly photos.

First, good news. This area has gone from 'blizzard warning' to 'light snow fog/mist and breezy, according to Echo Press, Alexandria. I'd planned to drive my wife and #3 daughter to a Soo Bahk Do tournament in St. Cloud today: and was relieved when it was cancelled, due to the weather.

About 8:00 p.m., we got a 'robocall' from Sauk Centre School's automated system. School will be two hours late tomorrow. Smart move!

Part of Echo Press weather statement this afternoon. December 9, 2012.

Holiday decorations were up, right on schedule, downtown. November 26, 2012.

Yep, it's definitely the holiday season. That banner says so. November 25, 2012.

Some business owners put on more of a show than a few garlands. This is P's and Q's computers, on Main Street. November 26, 2012.

Now it looks more holiday-seasonal. December 7, 2012.

Tiny flakes of damp snow started Friday. While driving to the Post Office, I noticed that the front of the van was drifting to the right, the speedometer had dropped to zero: but trees and houses were still going by. Sauk Centre already had trucks out, spreading sand near intersections: but they hadn't gotten to that particular street yet.

Sauk Centre this morning, seen through my webcam. December 9, 2012.

I'm looking forward to a tranquil, uneventful, nothing-out-of-the-ordinary few weeks. Somehow, I don't that's going to happen.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Busy Week, or, Christmas Season's Started

Sunday, December 2, 2012. First Sunday of Advent. I got home around mid-afternoon today, after taking the Sauk Centre Gills up to the Red River Valley of the North. My son has been 'on loan' to #2 daughter and son-in-law this week, helping them at Spiral Light Candle.

Meanwhile, here in Sauk Centre, Main Street Theatre has those free Saturday Matinees: a cooperative effort by Sauk Centre merchants, and a good opportunity to see movies like Ice Age.

An article in the Sauk Centre Herald says that western Stearns County has a low unemployment rate, another that the Community Thanksgiving Dinner served 244 people.

Closer to home, my wife and #3 daughter now have a black belt in Soo Bahk Do: or, rather, each of them has a belt, that's actually more of a midnight blue than black. There's a bit of celebrating in this household today.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

End of Thanksgiving Day Weekend, Start of Christmas Season

Sunday, November 25, 2012. I've had a good Thanksgiving Day weekend. #2 daughter and son-in-law came down from North Dakota. Snow arrived this week: just enough to say 'winter is coming.' Some of my neighbors lit up their Christmas displays Friday evening, which is customary around here.

Sauk Centre this afternoon, seen through my webcam. November 25, 2012.

Christmas is coming: one of Sauk Centre's more thoroughly-decorated yards. November 25, 2012.

I posted two more images from my Small Town America: Central Minnesota webcam yesterday:The Our Lady of the Angels, St. Paul's, and St. Alexius parishes will be doing a special collection for folks affected by Hurricane Sandy. That happens next week.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Wind, Snow, and Pictures from My Webcam

Quite a few folks have their outside Christmas decorations up, and turned on the lights last night; a little snow arrived, along with wind and weather advisories; and I've posted two images from my webcam:

Mid-afternoon in Sauk Centre: Thanksgiving Day. November 22, 2012.

More snow, less wind, than last night. November 23, 2012.

Related posts:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Transitions, Thanksgiving, and Picture-Postcard Weather

Sunday, November 18, 2012. Thanksgiving is four days away. It's not "early," since the fourth Thursday in November is the usual date. On the other hand, this year November started on a Thursday: so Thanksgiving is a whole lot earlier in the month than I expected.

All of which has nothing to do with today's picture-postcard weather.

Sauk Centre downtown this afternoon. November 18, 2012.

I saw Wreck-It Ralph at Main Street Theatre today, with #1 daughter. That was time well-spent: particularly since it gave me an opportunity to use my camera.

A new(ish) store near the river. November 18, 2012.

A new (to me) store near the river is called Taste of Heaven. I gather that it isn't a '60s shop, and sells retro toys and candy. Maybe that should be 'retro toys, and candy.' I'm not sure that there's much of a market for retro candy.

Which reminds me: Hostess Twinkies, and all the other Hostess products, made the transition from current events to history this week. Some folks must take snack food very seriously, since the Twinkies Wikipedia page had to have its editing disabled: "due to vandalism."

Finally, I see that the Sauk Centre Historical Society is 25 years old. The Sauk Centre Herald has an article about them. (November 14, 2012)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Downtown Sauk Centre has Purseanality

Sunday, November 11, 2012. Veterans Day. Fog was a bit thick last night. Then a line of thundershowers came through: and today we had a few tiny flakes of snow. For Minnesota, this time of year, that's about par for the course.

Fog, seen through my webcam. November 10, 2012.

Street work downtown included putting in new sidewalks north of the Post Office. Maybe other places, too: that was the spot I noticed.

New sidewalks downtown. November 11, 2012.

There's a new store downtown: one I haven't noticed before, anyway. It's just south of Centre Floral. ("Store Hours Monday - Friday 9ish to 5ish...") The new-to-me place is called "I've Got Purseanality Fashion & Accessories." It's not the sort of place I'm likely to shop in: but I like the name.

Snow: just barely, Sunday morning. October 28, 2012.

Thanksgiving is coming, my household is collecting stamps on Coborn's 'turkey card,' and I'll probably be back with more next week.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fall Back, Autumn Transitions, and All That

Sunday, November 4, 2012. The clock my computer's screen says that it's 11:39 p.m., the one sitting on the desk says it's after midnight.

We were treated to the 'fall back' part of Daylight Saving time. I am no fan of the biannual time change, and have said so fairly often:
About "Is Government Really Necessary:" the short answer is 'yes,' which isn't the same as believing that everything a civil servant or politico does makes sense.

As usual, temperatures are dropping, the sun is rising later and setting earlier - which, combined with this nifty rule about time, means that it's dark a whole lot earlier than it was yesterday.

Aside from that, I haven't noticed much. Folks set up Monster Manor at the fairgrounds for Halloween, same as previous years. Halloween costumes are on sale in stores, Thanksgiving decorations are showing up in yards - and one neighbor already has a Santa statue standing near his back door.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

First Snow

Sunday, October 28, 2012. We had a little snow on the ground this morning, and on some roofs. Most of what came down melted, making streets and sidewalks wet. They'd have been slippery, I think, if it had been a little cooler. Not that I'm complaining: we'll most likely have plenty of winter later.

Snow: just barely, Sunday morning. October 28, 2012.

That Halloween comes on Wednesday. I hope to have some photos of Sauk Centre's more exuberant yard displays next week.

A dusting of snow on Halloween decorations. October 28, 2012.

That's all for now, though.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Muted Autumn Colors, Polka Mass, and a Holdup

Sunday, October 21, 2012. I'm just about caught up on photos from September. That was a slightly hectic month for me, particularly the week I spent at the Spiral Light Candle factory in North Dakota.

The 'back room' at Spiral Light Candle's factory. September 11, 2012.

That photo shows a sort of 'back room in Spiral Light Candle's ( building. It doesn't have much to do with Sauk Centre, but I like the way it looks.

Sauk Centre's autumn colors weren't as bright as they might have been, but I'm not complaining. There's a charm to muted colors too.

One of those 'picture postcard' days on Ash Street. September 21, 2012.

Utility work on South 4th, east of downtown, seems to be proceeding. The street isn't repaved yet: or wasn't, earlier this week.

Sauk Centre has a new building on south Main, someone stole campaign signs on Ash Street, and Schaefer's Market got held up: at knifepoint. Like I've said before, I love it here, but life in small town America isn't perfect. About the holdup, Zachariah John Thompson got his name in the Sauk Centre Herald as the suspect. That's not the sort of publicity I'd want. Part of the good news about that robbery is that, as far as I know, nobody got hurt.

On a happier note, we had the annual polka Mass at Our Lady of the Angels this morning. I like it, but will admit that it's not everyone's favorite Mass. Dale Dahmen & The Polka Beats provided the music this year. I understand it's a father-son-son-son band.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Still Getting Caught Up

Sunday, October 14, 2012. I got back to Sauk Centre today, after spending the weekend with #2 daughter and son-in-law up in North Dakota. It was mostly a family get-together, but we talked about the Spiral Light Candle company, too.

I'm still getting caught up on photos from September. This year's drought didn't do grass and trees any good, but we've had some pretty good autumn colors anyway.

One of those 'picture postcard' days on Ash Street. September 21, 2012.

This reddish tree by Lake Wobegon Trail is one of my favorites during autumn. September 23, 2012.

That's all I've got for now. Next week I should have more. Or less.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fractured Concrete, Faux Football Field

Sunday, October 7, 2012. It's time for me to get my annual flu shot. But since I've got a cold, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, 'now' is not a good time for that inoculation. Looking on the bright side, if I get the flu first: I won't have to take that flu shot.

Marc'ette Floral had a "retirement liquidation" sign up this week. I'm sure there's been more happening in Sauk Centre, but I'm still catching up on September:

Fractured concrete and assorted debris from utility work on Sauk Centre's east side. I haven't checked to see how this is progressing. September 8, 2012.

That football field should keep looking green, no matter what sort of drought we have. September 8, 2012.
Sauk Centre High School's new football field cost more to install than laying down sod. But the Sauk Centre Herald said that in the long run the FieldTurf will be less expensive to maintain. I'm inclined to believe that.
According to the folks who make FieldTurf, it's the best thing since green asphalt:
From a distance, the material looks like beautifully manicured, perfectly watered, real grass. And it doesn't need to be mowed.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Construction and a New(ish) Name on Main Street

Sunday, September 30, 2012. I've had quite a month:
I enjoyed spending a week at the Spiral Light Candle factory, filling in for the boss. I learned quite a bit about day-to-day operations there: and that I'm not a 40-year-old kid any more. Now that I've rested up from that, I caught a cold: but, like we say in Minnesota "it could be worse."

Here's the first bit of catching up on what's been happening in Sauk Centre: what I've noticed, anyway.

The new building on South Main may be ready by winter: or, not. My guess is that it'll be apartments. or something else. September 8, 2012.

Diversicom, also on South Main, is called Arvig now. September 8, 2012.

Mainstreet Communications/Diversicom, the telephone/cable/Internet company on South Main, has been called Arvig since January of this year. Or maybe it's arvig. Here's what I found at the TriCountyNEWS.MN website:
"Diversicom to change name to Arvig"
TriCountyNEWS.MN (December 2, 2011)

"Arvig Communication Systems (ACS) announced Nov. 28, that its subsidiary, Diversicom, will change its name to Arvig as of
"Jan. 1, 2012.
"In December 2010, Arvig Communication Systems purchased Diversicom and its wholly owned subsidiaries of Melrose Telephone and Mainstreet Communications...
"...'Over the years, customers have referred to us in a variety of ways including Arvig Communication Systems, ACS, and Arvig Communications, among others. We have decided to simplify our name to eliminate confusion and clarify our name and image to our customers, both residential and business,' said Chief Operating Officer, David Arvig. We found the same name confusion with Diversicom with customers referring to the company as Mel Tel, Sauk and Mainstreet.'..."
The article says Arvig started out in 1950 as East Ottertail Telephone Company, and that's another topic. I can see a point to calling all of the Arvig companies "Arvig." I think it'll help if the outfit sticks with that name for more than a few years - yet another topic.

That's all I'll do this week. There are quite a few more photos I took this month, of concrete rubble, chickens, a sunset, a street: and maybe something you'll want to see.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Change in Expectations

Monday, September 10, 2012. I thought I'd have time to do yesterday's post today. The 'family stuff' got a bit more urgent this morning, so - I expect I'll get back to the Sauk Centre Journal by September 23. Of course, I expected that I'd have time today: and you see how that turned out. :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Today's Post - Should be Here Tomorrow

I plan to get today's post done tomorrow. Some 'family stuff' came up, and took more time than I expected.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Labor Day Weekend, 2012

Sunday, September 2, 2012: Labor Day weekend. It's the last (unofficial) summer weekend. Folks are visiting family, getting in a last weekend at 'the lake,' or - in my case - grilling burgers.

On a not-so-cheerful note, I've heard that a local grocery is having trouble getting some brands of apples: another result of this year's drought. Still, things could be worse. A lot worse.

Sauk Centre's talking traffic signal isn't new, but I hadn't heard it until yesterday. Street work on South 4th is progressing, and Sauk Hop is now Nic's Diner.

Pipes - culverts, I suppose they should be called - at the east end of South 4th. September 1, 2012.

Pieces waiting to be placed: the east end of South 4th, again. September 1, 2012.

An old Volkswagen 'bug,' with personality, on Sinclair Lewis Avenue, downtown. September 1, 2012.

Sinclair Lewis Avenue and Main: and Sauk Centre's talking traffic signal. September 1, 2012.

It told me to wait, and later to get going. September 1, 2012.

That countdown is a nice feature: and encourages promptness in crossing. September 1, 2012.

Nic's Diner: looks a great deal like the Sauk Hop. I'll want to learn more about the place. September 1, 2012.

So far, this Labor Day weekend has looked like a picture postcard: nearly-clear sky, with occasional artistically-placed cirrus clouds.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Schaefer's Changes Hands; One Week Until Labor Day

Sunday, August 26, 2012. I read that Schaefer's Market, downtown, is changing hands. According to the Sauk Centre Herald, Mark and Mary Lou Schaefer sold the grocery/butcher shop to Chris and Lisa Lawinger, effective August 1. Schaefer's has been a fixture since long before I moved here in 1986 - it's nice to know someone will be carrying on with the business.

A tree with 'character.' August 20, 2012.

Street work continues downtown, on South 4th east of Main. August 24, 2012.

Culligan was here, before moving to the industrial park. Now this building, on Pine, is getting some major remodeling. August 24, 2012.

Labor Day weekend is coming up - next weekend. Leaves have started collecting in my yard: one of the very minor effects of this summer's drought.

Our Lady of the Angels had the first 'blessing of backpacks' this Sunday. I understand it'll be an annual event now.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Road Work, Construction, and the Start of School

Sunday, August 19, 2012. It's been a beautiful day. I grilled burgers, spent time with my family, and relaxed. Now it's time to see what I've got for this week's entry.

Resurfacing streets is routine. Looks like there's something bigger happening on South 4th Street. August 14, 2012.

The corner of South 4th and Main, looking east. There's more of that hole in the ground, below what's visible here. August 17, 2012.

Sinclair Lewis Avenue: fresh blacktop, plastic tags you can't see in this photo, showing where traffic markings should go. August 14, 2012.

Construction on south Main, across from the Hillcrest Motel, more or less. August 14, 2012.

There isn't an official 'rummage sale season,' but most of the activity seems to be between Memorial Day and Labor Day.. August 17, 2012.

The Sauk Centre Public Schools website,, says that Open House is August 28, 6:00-8:00 p.m.; and that classes start September 4. The 28th is a week from Tuesday, so there's not much of summer vacation left.