It’s that time of year when you might get an unexpected knock on your door – especially if you have an older or unpaved parking lot or driveway. Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) warns consumers and business owners that suspect asphalt firms are in the area and trying to rustle up jobs. These operators often go door-to-door claiming they have extra asphalt from a nearby project and they’re willing to do work at a discounted rate. However, the quality of the work is often sub-par and the final bill can sometimes be double – or even many times - the quoted price.
Jerry Hughes during his tenure as state senator. (file photo)
State Sen. Chuck Wiger District 43
In the words of Jerome M. ‘Jerry’ Hughes’ children, "Dad taught us how to live and how to die, with great character, graciousness and dignity. He was a class act. We are blessed to have had him for our father." I want to echo Hughes’ six children, Jerry was a personal mentor of mine and had a profoundly positive effect on my life and career.
What drives people to research their family histories?
Is it a longing to know who we are and where we fit in the continuum of time?
Or is it a desire to gain some understanding of our ancestors' lives -- their joys, hardships, successes and failures? To find out where they lived and how they made a living.
Maybe it's a curiosity about what our forebears looked like. Do we share the same facial features or hair color or body shape?
And for me, at least, why did they leave Europe and homestead on the vast, unbroken prairies of Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa? What prompted them to make such astonishing leaps of faith?
An article on community solar gardens appeared recently in the environmental section of the summer Oakdale Update. This caught my eye as I have long thought that solar energy is a great clean energy alternative to coal-produced electricity. Unfortunately, installing panels in my home seemed prohibitive because of the cost and the many factors that had to be considered. A community solar garden, on the other hand, allows residents to use solar panels from a community site without the cost and installation factors associated with home-installed panels.
Roger Miller shows Charlie Hong aromatic aster in the garden. (Submitted photo)
Angie Hong Washington Conservation District
Walking around Roger Miller and Mary Zweber’s yard, you get the impression that the landscape and gardens just happen to be there, which is not to say that they aren’t beautiful, but rather that they appear effortless. Whether it’s the numerous shade gardens, featuring a mix of native woodland plants and common horticultural varieties, or the lush and colorful raingardens spilling out from either side of the driveway, each portion of the yard looks so entirely natural and at home in its surroundings that one can’t help but think, “Yes, of course there is a patch of Canada anemone growing here. What else could there possibly be?”
State Rep. Joe Atkins
Most laws we passed this session go into effect August 1st, but a handful of new laws went into effect in Minnesota at midnight July 1. All of these laws passed with bipartisan support. The new two-year state budget also went into effect July 1.
Built in 1902, the newly renovated Rowland Inn has a large lawn that slopes down to a scenic pier on Lake Cayuga. (Pamela O'Meara/Review staff)
Dolls and lakeside mansions
As I leaned back in a rocking chair on the wide veranda of the historic Rowland Inn watching the waves and the sunset over Cayuga Lake in upstate New York, my mind wandered back to a trip to Chicago with my two school-age granddaughters several years ago.
They were obsessed with going to the American Girl doll store, which I had never even heard of. I was thinking about museums.
A boater at Big Carnelian Lake models good behavior. (Submitted photo)
Angie Hong Washington Conservation District
You may not always know where you are, but your phone does. By now, most of us have noticed that our smart phones are extremely effective at tracking our whereabouts. Open a map application, and a pin automatically appears creeping slowly along the road where you are driving. Use the internet to search for a hardware store and the phone will list web links, maps and phone numbers for the three closest to you. Beginning this summer, you might even be surprised to find your phone giving you a reminder as you pull into a local boat launch – clean your boat, before and after getting on the water, to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Every July 4, citizens all across Minnesota and the country celebrate our Independence Day. It’s a day well-known for picnics and fireworks displays; but it’s also the day our ancestors stood up for liberty and asserted ourselves as a free nation. As you celebrate our nation’s birthday, remember the words of the Declaration of Independence: