Steve Gardiner taught high school English and journalism for 38 years in Montana and Wyoming. He started working at the Republican Eagle in May 2018. He focuses on features and outdoor stories.
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Editor's note: This is the latest stop in our new series, 101 Things To Do. Each week through December 2020, we will select one place or activity around the region to highlight. The stories are compiled at www.rivertown101.com . With over 70 percent of all movie screens in the United States owned by five corporations, small, independent movie theaters have to find a way to give their customers a unique experience. That is the challenge for Michelle Maher at The Falls Theatre, which her family has owned and operated for three generations.
One of the treats of living or traveling along the Mississippi River flyway is seeing eagles — soaring in flight, perching in a treetop, waiting on the edge of breaking ice — and enjoying their elegance. "Bald eagles are native to North America," said Ed Hahn, marketing manager at the National Eagle Center. "They are found in every state except Hawaii."
Anyone who lives in a place with cold winters ought to find a way to enjoy them, and Badlands Sno-Park near Hudson would be a good place to start. The tubing park, which features six runs with rope tows, has taken the simple childhood joy of sliding down a snowy slope and ramped it up.
With more than 100,000 skier/snowboarder visits each year, Welch Village Ski and Snowboard Area must be doing something right. "People love the beauty and scenic landscape of the Cannon River Valley, which is on the northern edge of southeast Minnesota bluff country," said Peter Zotalis, president and general manager of Welch Village Ski and Snowboard Area. With 45 inches average snowfall, and snow-making equipment on every run, Welch Village can keep the runs in good shape. Sixty runs of various difficulties keep skiers of all abilities interested and challenged.
When Roger Nelson purchased land with an artesian well on it, he realized one thing. An artesian well doesn't shut off during the winter. He directed the water to one area, and it formed an ice rink. He decided to experiment and made a little fountain. The next year, "I tried making one a little bit bigger. Then I made two, and then 10, and then 20, and then 30," he explained with a hearty laugh.
It's a carousel, miniature golf, handmade toys, and books all wrapped in a building of fun. It's LARK Toys in Kellogg, Minn. It is a unique retail space that appeals to everyone in the family," said Miranda Gray-Burlingame, co-owner with her husband and her parents. "It's so fun. With Mayo Clinic so close, we meet people from all over the world. We like to see all generations connect with each other and have fun together."
RiverTown Multimedia invites you on a journey, an adventure involving 101 Things To Do in our publication areas. Each week we will select one place or activity and highlight it. We will launch the project the week of Jan. 7, 2019, and span 101 weeks until December 2020.
English is a language that is constantly evolving, and every year, new words are added to the dictionaries. This past year, Merriam-Webster added 850 new words and definitions. Many of these words seem like they have been around for several years. Often they have, because the dictionaries don't want to include words that are merely passing fads. Some examples of recently added words or meanings, with the date of their first known usage, are:
When Josef Mohr wrote the lyrics to "Silent Night" in Austria in 1818, he could have had no idea that three generations of his descendents would be proudly singing the song in Red Wing 200 years later. In a ceremony Sunday, Dec. 16, at United Lutheran Church, singers, wearing traditional clothing from the country they represented, sang the song in four languages. Kristianna and Franz Harris sang "Stille Nacht" in the original German, Emily Christianson sang in Norwegian, Jeanette Santiago sang in Spanish, and the choir and congregation sang in English.
Buying just the right gift for a family member or friend can be a challenge. That may be one reason gift card sales are soaring in the U.S. In 1999, $19 billion in gift cards were sold, according to WalletHub statistics. That number increased to $130 billion by 2015 and is projected to reach $160 billion this year. Though sometimes seen as impersonal, gift cards have entrenched themselves in American society. These statistics seem to hold for Minnesota, as well.