Brendan's Island  

Sauk Centre Journal Archive

Brendan's Island home page        

Places to go on Brendan's Island
I Love It Here! main page
Sauk Centre This Season
Sauk Centre Journal Archive

Walking to Work
A House of Our Own
Attic Time
Things I Miss
In Praise of . . .
Factoid Man: General Information
Factoid Man: Sauk Centre Climate
Factoid Man: Changes in Sauk Centre
Some Web Sites From This Area
Web Sites Beyond Minnesota & the Red River Valley

  Back to Archive home
Sauk Centre Interpretive Center

A Walk on the Catholic Side
Brian's Attic
Attack of the Amateur Photo Album
Brendan: A Monk, A Boat and A Legend
Brendan's Island Guest Book
Brendan's Island Visitor Information Center




Sunday, December 29, 2008. I haven't been out much since last weekend, although I did notice that the new Ace Hardware's decorative roof is moving toward completion.

We haven't had much snow for the last few days, but there's still plenty left from the last snowfall.

These days, we've got snowblowers big enough to drive. Actually, my family doesn't, but some do. December 23, 2008

Ever wonder why some trees and buildings have a thick coat of snow on one side, from about ground level to around twelve or fifteen feet? It's snowblowers like this one. December 23, 2008

My wife got herself a snowblower for Christmas this year. Mostly, she's had our son use it. One of his tasks was to cut paths around the garage, to a shed. He did a fine job, removing the snow, and rasped a fraction of an inch of sod off in the process. I admire people who maintain beautiful, even, lawns: but this is one time I'm particularly glad that I'm not one of them.

If this season follows the usual pattern, people will keep their Christmas displays lit through New Year's, and then most will close things down until next year. Between family excitement and entertaining some sort of a bug, I'm not likely to get out to take many photos. Happily, I got some earlier.

Main Street, with it's safely bland "HAPPY HOLIDAY." I suppose you can take your pick: Christmas, Pepper Pot Day, New Year's, the King of Nepal's Birthday, whatever. December 19, 2008

Goodnight, and may God's peace be with you. December 19, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008. Merry Christmas, a Day Late.

On top of all the usual seasonal distractions, my second-oldest daughter's boyfriend proposed Christmas Eve. And, she said 'yes.'

I'll be back, I trust, tomorrow or Sunday, (good grief! it's Friday already), with a less woefully incomplete entry.

Sunday, December 21, 2008. More snow this weekend, and quite sincerely cold weather, made me decide that I didn't need to grill lunch. With the thermometer getting up to zero, and a twenty-something mile an hour wind, I think I made the right decision.

A lovely scene, with big, soft, bits of snow wafting down. I'm sure glad I could enjoy it from the heated side of a window. December 20, 2008

Maybe it'll be warmer, next weekend. December 21, 2008

Christmas is coming Thursday. And it's almost certainly going to be a white Christmas this year.

Whether you call it brisk, bracing, invigorating, or crisp: it was downright cold today. December 21, 2008

That's about it for now, except for this thought: It's easy for me to enjoy the snow: I'm not the one who shovels it.

Our Lady of the Angels had the Christmas tree lighting ceremony tonight. We've learned from the 2005 incident, where the tree clipped the priest and the deacon got star-struck. Literally. The tree is inconspicuously, but firmly, tethered to the wall.

That tree isn't moving, unless the wall goes with it.

Which it didn't, happily.

Our Lady of the Angels Church: Fourth Sunday of Advent. December 21, 2008

You can't make it out in this picture, but there's a manger scene below those stars. December 21, 2008

There! The tree's lit, and didn't fall over. December 21, 2008

I plan to add the usual Wednesday entry this week, but in case I don't, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008. We had the first winter storm of the season this week. By my reckoning, it started late last week, but the serious snow and spectacular cold was mostly Monday and Tuesday. I read that St. Cloud tied a record, getting down to -24. Cool! I've read that we got around five inches of snow around here. Other areas got eight or more.

School was two hours late yesterday: smart move, I'd say. This household's car needed a new battery, and the van's starter gave out in the Holiday parking lot on Monday. My guess is that we're not the only ones with vehicle problems. Even my second daughter's car wouldn't start - today, I think that was. And it's the newest of the lot.

That's more like it: fresh snow, blue shadows with sky to match, and temperatures that make the national news. December 15, 2008

That's about it for now, except for this thought: It's easy for me to enjoy the snow: I'm not the one who shovels it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008. I've been under the weather most of this week. Between that, and the weekend's weather, I didn't get to grill once.

I've heard that parts of Minnesota got something like eight inches of snow this weekend, but around here it was more like three to five inches.

This morning Interstate 94 was shut down between Jamestown, North Dakota, and Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Later, I understand, the stretch from Fergus to Alexandria was closed, too.

Here in Sauk Centre, it's anyone's guess what the school will decide to do.

Some people were getting groceries at Coborn's, while someone kept the parking lot clear. Well, fairly clear. December 14, 2008

Hats off to everyone who kept stores open through this storm.

Coborn's Video seems determined to stay open, no matter what. December 14, 2008

I think that a new assisted living place on the north side, Fairway Pines, was going to have something like an open house today. If that's so, they sure picked the wrong day.

Thursday, December 11, 2008. The band concert for the grade 6 through 12 bands was at the high school auditorium this Monday.

There wasn't the overflow crowd we had for the Christmas program, but quite a few people came.

A little pre-concert entertainment: impromptu performance art, by members of the community. December 8, 2008

Grades 6 through 9 had their own bands, and there was the Junior High Jazz band (Joy To The World, with personality!), Senior High Jazz Band (one piece was a re-arrangement of something b Beethoven), and the Senior High Band.

Between all those bands, each playing at least two pieces, and music that wasn't exactly simple, it was an ambitious program. And, it worked. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert: from "My Two Front Teeth" and "Rock On Merry Gents" to Prokofiev's "Midnight Sleighride."

Getting seven bands on and off stage - smoothly - was a bit of an accomplishment in itself. December 8, 2008

One of the guys in the percussion section was either having a terrible time getting his music and drum sticks in the same area - let alone organized.

More likely, we were looking at some well-done physical comedy. The conductor stayed calm, and the audience laughed, happily.

Snow: We've had an inch or so of this, with more promised for the weekend. Great to look at, not so great to drive on. December 7, 2008

I've been under the weather this week, so that's it for now. See you Sunday: That's the plan, anyway.

Sunday, December 7, 2008. We've got a good chance of getting a white Christmas, the way this week has gone. Snow has been falling over the weekend - and, more to the point, over Sauk Centre.

Not much: less than an inch, I'd say, but quite enough to cover the grass. And, give my son an opportunity to go outside and get some exercise, shoveling the sidewalk. He told me that he had fun. The snow was dry and powdery, he explained, and when he threw a shovel-full in the air, it sometimes looked like a ghost.

The high point of the week, for me, was the elementary school's Christmas show: "Santa's Holiday Hoedown" this year. Strictly speaking, that's what the fifth and sixth grade musical presentation was called, with kindergarten through grade four, plus the fifth and sixth grade choir, singing two songs each.

There was a "Barbershop" section, too.

The kids did a fine job - and so did the audience. A family near me quite prudently let their two toddlers quietly run in circles when they were inspired by the faster-paced songs.

The auditorium was full: Not exactly 'standing room only,' but several people used an aisle as seating. They got a great view of about half the stage that way. December 4, 2008.

Another class, another couple of songs: and a quite diverse selection of attire. December 4, 2008.

Showtime! Santa's elves; Tex Glitter, a promoter who heard "elves" and thought "Elvis," and, somewhere in there, Rudolph and the Reindeer. December 4, 2008.

I couldn't have put it better myself. Might have done a better job of spelling - but this really catches the attention. This sign is in the hallway south of the auditorium. December 4, 2008.

After the show, my son and I went to the Soo Bahk Do class, and rejoined the rest of the in-town part of the family.

One of the black belts gave a demonstration at the Soo Bahk Do class last Wednesday. December 4, 2008

That's not all that happened during the week, of course, but it's all I'm going to write about. Good night!

Friday, December 5, 2008. At the rate I'm going, I don't expect to get Wednesday's entry done until Sunday. See you then! I should have a photo or two from the Christmas show at the school.

Sunday, November 30, 2008. Christmas season has started: Advent candles have been lit in churches and homes, and red-and-green garlands with big red bows and their little tiny lights are lit on Main Street - and Sinclair Lewis Avenue, too.

Those holiday decorations downtown make something as ordinary as driving down Main Street festive. November 27, 2008.

It's not all greenery and holiday lights. The new Ace Hardware store is getting closer to being ready. They've got the roof decoration's framework up. And, happily for the video store next door, took down the construction tarp.

Ace is the place: or will be, when the job's done. November 30, 2008.

I understand that an Ace Hardware store is going in, next to Coborn's Video. A crew was working on the front of the building on Monday. I can't say that I envy guys with jobs that put them on a roof in late October.

Quite a few folks around town have their Christmas displays up and lit already. Or inflated, as the case may be.

I figured that rumple of plastic wasn't the display's final word. November 24, 2008.

That's more like it: one instant Christmas tree, complete with inflatable presents. November 30, 2008.

That's all for now. I had a big Thanksgiving holiday with the family, and need to get some rest.

Thursday, November 27, 2008. Have a Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Thought for the day: What if turkeys got organized?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.

And, Sauk Centre has its holiday season street decorations up. I really appreciate those green-and-red garlands on the sort of gray days we've been having. They're great on bright blue days like today, too, of course.

It's that time of year: garlands over Main. November 24, 2008.

I understand that an Ace Hardware store is going in, next to Coborn's Video. A crew was working on the front of the building on Monday. I can't say that I envy guys with jobs that put them on a roof in late October.

Not the best time of year to do construction: but they're getting the job done. November 24, 2008.

You have to get pretty close to see, but Coborn's video is open - behind the construction tarp. November 24, 2008.

Under the tarp in front of the new Ace Hardware building, there was masonry work going on. It looked like the guy was building an outdoor fireplace or grill. That can't be what it is. November 24, 2008.

It's getting late, so I'll wrap this entry up now.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008. I knew I forgot something this week! No Wednesday entry. Sorry about that. I had a cold, and had some extra work to do. That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

Winter is definitely coming. Docks are out of the lake, down in the park and campground.

That's ice, on Sauk Lake's Shore. November 17, 2008.

Stores have their Christmas displays up. Including something that is either new, or that I missed last year: Combination soft drink bottles and Christmas tree ornaments.

Little Coca Cola bottles: shaped like Christmas tree ornaments. For all I know, someone's going to have these on their tree. November 19, 2008.

I like to think that I'm open to new ideas: but this strikes me as a little, well, odd. Sure, they'd work, once you emptied them, as ornaments. but: why? It's a cute gimmick, though.

Gas prices are still going down. I know that this can't last, but I'm enjoying the experience while I can.

Yep. $2.789 per gallon. Amazing, isn't it?. November 21, 2008.

Yesterday we had what I call 'cat track snow:' just enough so that a cat might leave tracks. What was actually on the front walk were rabbit tracks, though.

Cat track snow, as performed by a rabbit. November 22, 2008.

I drove my wife and the two kids who are at home to the Fall 2008 Soo Bahk Do Championships in St. Cloud today. The event took a bit longer than I expected, but was worth the time.

Soo Bahk Do Fall 2008 Championships in St. Cloud. November 23, 2008.

I went to the parent-teacher conference Monday night. In an informal way, it's a community event. Parents meet each other, talk. And, of course, the business of teachers and parents comparing notes gets done.

What I call the winter session of school has just gotten going, so we have a four-day weekend for Thanksgiving. I suppose there's a really good reason why it's scheduled like that, but it felt like the winter session started twice, back when I was in school: and it still feels that way. Time to quit: I'm running out of Sunday.

Please be patient with me: the odds are pretty good that I'll remember to write Wednesday's entry this week.

Sunday, November 16, 2008. It's been a great weekend for me: The two oldest daughters were here, making this one of those increasingly rare occasions when 'the whole family' is under the roof.

That didn't help get this entry written, though, so it's going to be a little short.

Work is going on in front of Coborn's video store. Looks like they're either taking up the pavement, doing a King-Kong-size patch - or something else.

One guy burns, the other guy scrapes, and the job goes on. November 13, 2008.

And, there's now a concrete pad on the west side of the building that Coborn's video is in. Don't know what it's going to be used for, but there was some of that metal siding stacked there on Friday.

And, there was a somewhat stiff north wind. As I was rolling up to the parking lot entrance, one of the sheets of siding went airborne, bounced off the pavement in front of a car that was leaving, and clanged to rest in the other lane.

Missed! (That's the sheet that flew onto the parking lot, but that's not the car with the ultra-calm driver. November 14, 2008.

The driver stopped to let the siding go by, calm and collected as if he played dodge-em with sheets of siding every day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008. Memorial Day, as we're calling Armistice Day these days, has come and gone, along with the usual display of flags downtown. I appreciated those splashes of color. It's been a gray week, so far.

Sauk Lake, this afternoon. It's been that sort of a week. November 12, 2008.

I was in Melrose yesterday morning: they're putting up a sizeable hospital expansion, and I think they've got a new fire and ambulance building near the Interstate.

Light snow was coming down yesterday morning. I discovered that it was thawing and re-freezing on the pavement. Exciting. A Sauk Centre fire truck and a tanker went screaming onto the Interstate at a deliberate pace, headed west, as I got back to Sauk Centre. My guess is that at least one of the drivers who hadn't noticed, or were ignoring, the ice had learned about inertia the hard way.

Thanksgiving isn't as big a decorating event as Halloween and Christmas, but that doesn't stop some households from getting something out in the yard.

I thought that turkey was holding a spoon and fork. After a closer look, I think it's supposed to be a fancy bow. November 12, 2008.

The schools made a four-day weekend out of the break between terms. It won't be long until it's time for Thanksgiving break. And Christmas. And New Year's. This can be a hectic time of year. 

Sunday, November 9, 2008. Snow came down Saturday: enough to fill in space between the taller blades of grass.

I'm enjoying this while I can. Gas prices are even lower today. November 3, 2008.

Gas prices are lower than I've seen them in a long time, It's not just here. It was a dollar ninety-nine nine up in Moorhead when I filled the tank this afternoon, just like here in Sauk Centre.

It's like this all over town: dark, wet, and low gas prices. November 9, 2008.

It's good to be back in Sauk Centre. November 9, 2008.

I was out of town most of yesterday and today, so this is going to be a short entry. It's late, and I'm not a forty-year-old kid any more.

Winter comes, birds fly, life continues.
November 8, 2008.

I'll have another entry ready Wednesday night, God willing.

Thursday, November 6, 2008. Snow is on the ground in South Dakota as I write this: quite a bit, I gather. Snow was on the ground in March of 2007, when I saw several pairs of shoes on overhead lines, over on Birch Street.

They're back. Not the same pairs, I assume: but the same stunt's been done. In the same place.

I've no clue why the shoes are up there. October 23, 2008.

Could be a different pair. November 3, 2008.

My guess is that shoes like that still go for thirty to fifty dollars a pair. For someone in my income bracket, that's not chicken feed. Actually, for this household, that's likely the equivalent of a couple day's meals decorating the utility cable.

Sure: It's just youthful hijinks. At least, I have trouble imagining an adult bothering to do something like this. And, I've got to admit that there's something funny about high-flying shoes. On the other hand, I'm one generation away from the Great Depression, and inherited an attitude about waste.

I voted Tuesday, like quite a lot of folks in Sauk Centre. My wife and #3 daughter voted in the morning. I think about 500 people had already voted by the time they got there. When I got there, later in the afternoon, I was voter # 1,181. The ballot reader has a counter over the paper feed.

Election 2008: The Gathering Storm. No, really: this week's rain was moving in as I went to vote. November 4, 2008.

A closer look at those clouds. November 4, 2008.

I voted in City Hall, down in the big meeting room. Hats off to everyone who worked there: Running an election's a real job.

Sauk Centre City Hall: Last time I voted here, they didn't have those railings. November 4, 2008.

No question about it: That's where the voting is. November 4, 2008.

You weren't imagining it: that's forty pounds of dumbells, holding the post down. The folks at City Hall wanted to make sure it wouldn't tip. November 4, 2008.

There's still work going on around Coborn's. I'm not sure what they're up to now, but it involved making quite a mess in front of Coborn's Video.

That was a busy backhoe. November 3, 2008.

Those signs in the window assure folks that Coborn's Video really is open. All you have to do is plot a course through the debris. November 3, 2008.

I finally stopped in at iWANT COMMUNICATIONS/Verizon Wireless last Saturday. They had their grand opening last week.

You wouldn't know that used to be a garage, before getting worked over. Remodeled, I should say. November 1, 2008.

It's more colorful inside than this. The wall behind me was sold, bright, sincere, red. November 1, 2008.

This isn't likely to last, but gas prices are still going down. That's fine by me: I've got some serious driving coming up.

I'm enjoying this while I can. Gas prices are even lower today. November 3, 2008.

Well, that's it for the "Wednesday" entry. God willing, I'll be back with more, Sunday night. 

Sunday, November 2, 2008. We endured the 'fall back' part of day light saving time this weekend, i Want Communications had their grand opening this week, and stores have replaced Halloween products with Thanksgiving and Christmas displays, but today I'm going to concentrate on Jack 'o lanterns.

A high-tech Jack 'o lantern: There's a spinning light inside. October 31, 2008.

If that person's standing straight, the house is leaning. The top Jack 'o lantern looks a little worried. October 31, 2008.

These Jack 'o lanterns must have had quite a party. October 31, 2008.

I like this one: He's looking at the world from a new angle. October 31, 2008.

This household did a nice job with lighted displays. October 31, 2008.

That was one rough landing. October 31, 2008.

It's just about Monday: Back to work. 

Friday, October 31, 2008. Happy Halloween!

I went trick-or-treating with my son tonight, and had an excellent time. He was impressed by how nice people were. So was I, but I also thought the Halloween decorations were pretty special. Here's a sample.

With this supersized Jack o' lantern, they don't need an outside light. October 31, 2008.

No fear of stumbling in the dark here. When you get close, one of the decorations tips it's head. October 31, 2008.

And, a classic Jack o' lantern. October 31, 2008.

There's more, but I need to save some for Sunday night.

Thursday, October 30, 2008. I ended Sunday's entry with "I expect to be back with an entry sometime late Wednesday." Ha! At least, this time I got something out Thursday.

Tomorrow's Halloween. I'm hoping the weather holds. Most of this week has been "October's bright blue weather." With the occasional morning frost.

Frost on the grass is okay. On the windshield, not so much. October 28, 2008.

Gas prices? They're still going down. I can't say that I'm too upset about that. Actually, I'm quite glad. When I topped off the van's tank today, there were quite a few other folks at the station, doing the same thing. I know: this won't last, but for now it's good news.

That is not special effects. The sign actually says "2.20." And 9/10, of course.   October 30, 2008.

Main Street has a new, smooth, asphalt surface. Which now has traffic markings on it. It's rather nice, knowing where the lanes are. Not as exciting, but nice.

Those lane markings take a lot of the guesswork out of driving downtown. October 27, 2008.

I don't know if it's the lane markings, or what: but it seems that I've seen more drivers actually stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks. Now, that's good news.

Parking spaces. Clearly marked parking spaces. We're going to get spoiled, at this rate. October 29, 2008.

And today: markings painted on the street and curb, in front of the Post Office. October 30, 2008.

The Stearns County Highway Department unit, down between "Rivers Edge" and the River, is getting ready for winter. They've been shoving sand around, off and on, for quite a while.

Sure beats trying to crawl up that sand pile. October 30, 2008.

I saw a sign for a dry cleaning company in the Coborn's window the other day. That outfit is offering to clean military uniforms and flags for free, through Veteran's Day. Good for them.

All that, and it's environmentally friendly, too!. October 29, 2008.

Once in a while, I hear about how isolated small towns are: cut off from the cultural mainstream. Unlike people who live in cities, small town folks are supposed to be ignorant of the wit and sophistication that flows through the streets of America's great urban centers.

A century or so ago, that might have been true. Now, not so much. First National Bank of Sauk Centre has a branch in Coborn's. A display screen there was proof that Sauk Centre citizens are exposed to the same high culture and sophisticated entertainment as city folks.

These days, big cities aren't the only places with high culture and sophisticated entertainment. October 29, 2008.

I'd better stop writing now. This Halloween is going to be my son's last one for trick-or-treating: and I intend to walk along with him and enjoy it.

As usual, some households go out of their way to make Halloween, and other holidays, special. October 29, 2008.

I'd say 'I'll be back Sunday,' but with my record lately ---.

Sunday, October 26, 2008. I'd been told to park in the back of Main Street Press, when I came in Tuesday, to get a bulletin printed. Main Street, at least from the river, south through downtown, was being chewed up and re-paved.

Street work on Main Street: inconvenient, but things kept going. Hats off to the guys standing in the road, down by the river, directing traffic. October 21, 2008.

Just in time for winter: fresh paving. October 21, 2008.

Road work and October's bright blue weather. October 21, 2008.

A few days later: October's not-so-bright-blue weather. October 23, 2008.

The Coborn's Pharmacy drive-through is still almost done. It's been that way for a while now. I've been told that when the orange traffic cones are gone, that'll be a sign that it's open for business

Coborn's Pharmacy drive-through is going to be handy: when it's done. October 25, 2008.

Gas prices are still going down here in Sauk Centre: and most places, I hear. I felt so good about that, I took a photo to commemorate the occasion. 

These days, not a bad price at all. October 25, 2008.

And, since it looks like winter is just about ready to take over, here's some of this season's autumn color.

That tree took its time, turning color: but it was worth the wait. October 25, 2008.

It's getting late, and this is as good a place to stop as any. Goodnight, and have a good week. I expect to be back with an entry sometime late Wednesday.

Saturday, October 25, 2008. Unless something unusual happens, I'll have an entry ready Sunday night. Late Sunday night.

That's not a very firm assurance, considering how the last week or so has gone at this household. I wrote a little about it on Wednesday, in a blog. Late Wednesday. It was Thursday before I was done. (That post is titled, "Thursday: Catching Up; and Catching My Breath")

We'll see if I actually get this updated on Sunday night.

Thank you for your patience, by the way.

Sunday, October 19, 2008. We haven't been having quite so much of "October's bright blue weather" lately. I don't mind the rain, though: it'll help the new grass get through the winter.

Subdued, but still fine colors. October 17, 2008.

Pumpkins on the church lawn in Freeport. October 16, 2008.

It's a little hard to read all the the Bourbon Street Restaurant & Lounge sign, but I think the part they really want you to notice is the flag that says, "OPEN." Bourbon Street R. & L. is actually on 12th Street south, on the east side of The Palms motel.

This place is OPEN, and they want you to know it. October 19, 2008.

I topped off the van's gas tank this afternoon. Quite a few other people had the same idea. I had to wait quite a while, for someone to put almost thirty gallons in their vehicle.

Every filling spot full, and a few cars lined up, at the Holiday Super Stop. October 19, 2008.

I think it may have had something to do with the price that gasoline has gotten down to.

These days, that's not a bad price at all, for gasoline. October 19, 2008.

There's more, but it'll have to wait until Wednesday.

Thursday, October 16, 2008. I didn't plan it this way, but getting the Wednesday entry out today let me add this photo.

Green and gold, and vermillion autumn splendor. Also, an orange "Road Work Ahead" sign. October 16, 2008.

The street work downtown on Tuesday problably had something to do with the traffic lights. It looked like the crew there was putting in some of those sensors that let the control mechanism tell whether or not there's a vehicle in the left turn lane.

A beautiful fall day: the sort that should make working outdoors a pleasure. October 14, 2008.

Of course, sometimes the job involves standing in traffic, downtown. October 14, 2008.

Almost ideal working conditions: azure skies, comfortably cool temperatures, and lots of dust. October 14, 2008.

At least there was a breeze, to carry the dust away. October 14, 2008.

A crew on the bridge, a couple blocks north, was getting something done before winter. What, I don't know.

Old joke: Minnesota has four seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring, and Road Work. Fact is, we often wrap up road work in the fall. . October 14, 2008.

Halloween's coming. Coborn's had a fancy walk-through display set up: bats, ghosts, and a not-for-sale mini-mummy.

Not exactly health food: but fine for the 'treat' part of Halloween. I'm not at all sure what the bank sign was doing there. October 13, 2008.

And, of course, Monster Manor's coming back, down at the Fairgrounds. It's been years since it was on the second floor of the old Main Street Drug.

Now, that's a weight loss program success story!. October 15, 2008.

Jitters Java has been turning the room on the north side of its building into a wine and beer bar. It's taking shape nicely. I understand that there have been a few parties there already, and a weekly Yoga class.

Jitters Java's north room: a work in progress, but moving along. It sure didn't look like this when the Cenex station was there. October 15, 2008.

That reminds me. The local Soo Bahk Do class has some new, and returning, members. I ran into them when I took my son to a session a couple of weeks ago.

Those aren't ninjas. The two fellows in black haven't gotten Do Boks yet. September 28, 2008.

There's probably more, but it's late and I still have a couple of jobs to do. I'll be back Sunday. I trust.

Sunday, October 12, 2008. October's bright blue weather this weekend was damp, grimly overcast, and occasionally raining. That's okay, though: it didn't keep me from grilling lunch both days, and probably did our new grass a world of good.

Trees are still turning colors. The rain's gotten quite a few leaves of the trees and onto the grass, but we've still got a nice display.

One thing I like about fall is that it can turn a car dealership's lot into a scenic outlook. October 9, 2008.

Coborn's Pharmacy drive-through is another step or three closer to being ready. The phones and displays were in place on Friday. And, I see that they're using a pneumatic-tube delivery system. I can see how the prescriptions get out to the drive-through. I'm not so clear on how the containers get back.

I'll grant that I'm assuming that prescriptions will be in some sort of container on their way out. Blasting a paper bag full of little plastic bottles of pills down those tubes, without some sort of protection, doesn't seem like the best idea.

Now this Coborn's Pharmacy add-on is looking more like a drive-through. October 10, 2008.

I knew that the folks at Coborn's treat us well, but it's good to know that the Coborn's chair thinks so, too. A sign in the 'employees only' part of Sauk Centre's Coborn's is a 'thank you' from the manager to everyone else in the store, for the "exceptional customer service" that won the store a runner-up plaque. 

I knew these folks are special: it's nice to see that the chain knows it, too. October 10, 2008.

I wouldn't have noticed that sign, except that someone left the door open. It's right next to the rest rooms. That's probably too much information.

On my way out, I noticed the official plaque. I think whoever designed that plaque might have made it more clear that it's the people at the store that are outstanding: not the location, so much: but that's quibbling. It's good to see a local store's staff get recognized.

There it is, right next to the employee-of-the-month picture: "Outstanding Location Honorable Mention." October 10, 2008.

Have I mentioned that I like the autumn colors?

I was going to write something poetic, but who can compete with this? October 11, 2008.

St. Paul's church, down on Sinclair Lewis Avenue, is doing a little more than window maintenance. They've added a sign at the back, by the handicapped parking spaces, showing Mass and Confession times. Good idea, I think.

New sign: as long as that handicapped parking space isn't used, it's very visible from the parking lot. Funny: We say "handicapped parking space," but it isn't the parking space that's handicapped. October 10, 2008.

Funny: We say, "handicapped parking space," but the parking space isn't handicapped at all.

I know I've written this before, but I really like autumn colors. 

Lots of  leaves on the ground, lots of people showing up for the Polka Mass. October 12, 2008.

Our Lady of the Angels church had a Polka Mass today. This time, it was a band from Cashton, Wisconsin, Gary Brueggen & the Ridgeland Dutchmen, who provided the music. They came prepared, with a keyboard, a tuba, two accordions, drums and cymbals.

It was a fine experience, hearing those oom-pahs ring through the church. I'll admit to being biased, but I think a tuba adds valuable oomph to the oom-pahs.

There's nothing quite like a nice small-town Sunday mass, with old-fashioned stained glass, two accordions, and a tuba. October 12, 2008.

Tomorrow is Columbus Day, officially. Which means that the banks and the post office won't be open. I think the holiday suffers a bit from coming right before the Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year's blitz. It's hard to get too excited, knowing that four occasions for buying glitzy decorations and special food are lurking on the calendar.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008. The last couple of days have been rather typical Minnesota autumn days: bright blue skies, dreary overcast with on-and-off drizzle all day, picturesque cloud drifting in the sun; all in no particular order.

It seems like there's always something to fix, replace, or install. Work going on, downtown. October 7, 2008.

Down by the lake yesterday, I saw gulls and ducks sharing the fishing pier. They'd sorted themselves into a sort of two-tier arrangement, with ducks on the ground floor and gulls in the penthouse.

It's not often that I see a flock of gulls this quiet. October 7, 2008.

Minnow and Jason are a proud couple. They had a boy, back on the 28th. This isn't news, of course: anyone walking by Eyes on Main, downtown, this week has seen the sign.

Autumn is here. Even without the (for me) comfortable temperatures and leaves turning color, I'd know what season it is. The sun is skidding southwards. Each sunrise is a little more to the right as I look out the window.

$3.399 last week, now it's $2.979. This reminds me of food prices in the seventies, except this is going the other way. October 7, 2008.

The Coborn's pharmacy drive-through is moving along. This week, a couple of guys were putting trim on the roof. We can see what it's going to look like, now.

Another day, another bit of progress at Coborn's. October 7, 2008.

Over a hundred years ago, Helen Hunt wrote a poem called "October's Bright Blue Weather." That phrase is a good way to describe October's cheery mood. I'm not sure what words would capture those days in October when clouds lie like a sodden blanket just above the treetops.

Today was one of those "October's bright blue weather" days, for the most part. And I was glad to get out for a few minutes.

October's bright blue weather, today. October 8, 2008.

Halloween is a little over three weeks away, and some of Sauk Centre's more enthusiastic yard-decorators have their displays up and ready.

A house on "Boo Boulevard." October 8, 2008.

Trees aren't changing color at the same time here, which is about par for the course. It's quite a sight, seeing a tree in full fall foliage, against a background of lush summer green.

Fall color, and that lawn may need another mowing before winter. October 8, 2008.

There hasn't been work (that I noticed) on Ash Street this week, so maybe we're done with that project for the year.

Sunday, October 5, 2008. I've wondered what I'll write about, when the Ash Street Project is done. Just when I thought it was pretty well over until some follow-up next year, a crew came back with a back hoe. Not a big one, this time.

Reaching 'way down, to get utilities in place. September 27, 2008.

Autumn is here. Even without the (for me) comfortable temperatures and leaves turning color, I'd know what season it is. The sun is skidding southwards. Each sunrise is a little more to the right as I look out the window.

Green, gold, red, and a blue sky. I like fall. September 30, 2008.

Minnow and Jason are a proud couple. They had a boy, back on the 28th. This isn't news, of course: anyone walking by Eyes on Main, downtown, this week has seen the sign.

Birth announcement in the window of Eyes on Main. October 1, 2008.

I haven't swung by Coborn's drive-through pharmacy since the 25th. At that point, the awning seemed to be done, except for some trim. This is going to be a real convenience.

It takes a lot of equipment to assemble that glorified carport. September 25, 2008.

The 64-dollar question is: will there be some sort of delivery equipment
on that island, or do they just have it set up with two very well-defined lanes? September 25, 2008.

Sauk Centre isn't immune to what's going on in the rest of the nation, but our gas has been cheaper than quite a few places. Not that $3.399 a gallon is exactly "cheap." 

$3.399: not bad, these days. The price of gas has gone down quite a bit during September. I can't say that I mind.. October 1, 2008.

The sign by the road leading to the elementary school has had a rather nice thought on it for a while now: Live Laugh Learn.

Sounds like good advice. September 22, 2008.

We've had a bit of "October's bright blue weather" this week. Not today, though. It was the other kind of 'typical' Minnesota fall day: overcast, wind driving low-hanging clouds past, and light rain.

That didn't keep me from grilling lunch, though.

What a beautiful day. I think I'll write that again. What a beautiful day. October 3, 2008.

Parts of Sauk Centre still look like a 'typical' small town, in the Mayberry RFD/Tom Sawyer tradition. On the other hand, parts of town are very solidly in the 21st century.

Doesn't look much like Andy Griffith's Mayberry, RFD, does it?. October 3, 2008.

That's it for tonight. I most very sincerely hope that the coming week is more regular than the one that's just ended. I may write about that, sometime.

Not tonight, though. I've got to get some sleep.

Monday, September 29, 2008. Maybe Tuesday? Meanwhile, here's a picture I took, earlier this month.

The moon, and some of the commercial area near the Interstate. September 4, 2008.

The Ash Street Project is still winding up. There's a lot of detail work to do, I guess. Today a crew or two were out, doing something with the sewer.

Sunday, September 28, 2008. What with one thing and another, I don't have an entry ready today. I plan to get one out tomorrow, but you know how that's gone in the past.

Here's a really brief summary of what I'll cover: The Ash Street Project is winding up, and we've gotten a notice of what it's going to cost this household. The amount is only slightly heart-stopping, so I'm not complaining.

We've had some rain, which I don't mind: saves me the trouble of watering the new grass.

Sunday, September 21, 2008. If I've got my facts straight, tomorrow is the autumn equinox: the first day of fall. A few trees in town have gotten a head start on the season, turning color on a few branches.

That tree's an over-achiever: producing autumn colors before anyone else on the block. September 18, 2008.

And, of course, there's still the Ash Street Project. I think it'll be a while before we all get used to there being three lanes on south Ash: A parking lane on the west side, then two traffic lanes.

A little north of my place, at least two different drivers parked within a yard or so of the same spot: in the northbound traffic lane. They had a good reason. There was a big rummage sale going on across the street. Still, it's a good thing that traffic was fairly light.

That little red car, under the school crosswalk sign? Parked. In the northbound traffic lane. It's going to take a while for us to get used to the new system. September 18, 2008.

A little later. This time, the vehicle's black, but the situation is the same. On the west side of the street, a rummage sale and a parking lane. On the east side, a traffic lane, and someone parked in it. Granted, there's room for a very small car or a motorcycle to go around. September 18, 2008.

I found out why the new street lights on south Ash came pre-marked with dirt. They'd been lighting up Sinclair Lewis Avenue, where it crosses the Sauk River, before getting moved to Ash. Someone had said that Sinclair Lewis Avenue's lights looked like runway lights, before every other one was moved to Ash. I see the point. I sort of like the effect, before, but the current setup seems to work - and sure beats buying new lights.

Mostly, though, I've spent so much time on this road widening / infrastructure updating project because it's a pretty big deal for Sauk Centre. For the southeast part, anyway.

I'm not sure whether this is part of the Ash Street Project, or routine maintenance. It kept  that crew busy for a while, though. September 18, 2008.

And, excellent news about the berms on Ash. The outfit that had the job of re-seeding yards that got dug up? They were back, with that bright green grass spray on Friday. I think they got the bulk of the remaining yards, and they did a few on the east side a second time: including ours.

One more time, for us. I hope this encourages the grass to come. Not that I'm very concerned. My household had a nice, if slightly patchy, crop of grass coming already. September 19, 2008.

The drive-through at Coborn's Pharmacy is taking shape. A crew was working there again last week.

Coborn's Pharmacy drive-through is getting to look like the architect's rendering they've got on display inside. September 18, 2008.

That's it for this week. Have a good Monday.

Thursday, September 18, 2008. So much for the regular Wednesday entry. I had most of this done last night, late, but decided that sleep - and the relatively clear head that follows - was a higher priority. On the whole, I think I was right.

Sooner or later, I won't be writing about the Ash Street Project quite so much. I've concentrated on it so much partly because I live on south Ash Street, and it's been a big part of life here this summer.

Mostly, though, I've spent so much time on this road widening / infrastructure updating project because it's a pretty big deal for Sauk Centre. For the southeast part, anyway.

With householders getting their yards and steps put back together, I think we'll be seeing quite a bit of equipment parked on Ash before winter sets in. September 17, 2008.

I found out why the new street lights on south Ash came pre-marked with dirt. They'd been lighting up Sinclair Lewis Avenue, where it crosses the Sauk River, before getting moved to Ash. Someone had said that Sinclair Lewis Avenue's lights looked like runway lights, before every other one was moved to Ash. I see the point. I sort of like the effect, before, but the current setup seems to work - and sure beats buying new lights.

Make that 'newer' lights.

You have to get pretty close, to see where every other light was taken out. September 17, 2008.

The outfit with the job of re-seeding Ash Street yards was back, raking one set of berms, and spraying that brightly greenish soup on yards further up the street.

A tranquil morning in small-town America: The roar of garbage trucks mingling with the scrapes or rakes in a sonata of serenity. It's not the stereotype, with its white picket fences and Huckleberry Finn clones, but I like it. September 17, 2008.

At this rate, they'll probably have seed on everybody's yard, and have it sprayed with that stabilizer/fertilizer mix, before winter.

This isn't as easy as it looks. There's a guy in the tractor, too. About half the time he's moving the rig forward, to keep pace with the guy with the hose. This team works fast. September 17, 2008.

I'm just glad that they got our yard seeded, and then sprayed within a day or so.

With or without the livid green stuff, new grass is sprouting up and down Ash. September 16, 2008.

In a way, I'll miss the excitement of the Ash Street Project. There's a sort of liveliness to living here, when the roar of diesel engines outside contributes to the ambience of a summer evening, only to disappear as I reach the door.

By the time I got outside to see what was happening, a truck was driving off, and the guy in that little front-end loader was waiting for a break in traffic. I don't know what they were doing, but it probably involved a plastic cooler in the loader's scoop. September 17, 2008.

There's more going on in town, of course. Coborn's drive-through for the pharmacy is moving along. A crew is here this week, doing some landscaping and putting a roof up.

In the long run, it's going to make picking up prescriptions easier. In the short run, the construction blocks off parking spaces, but gives me something to watch. September 16, 2008.

Downtown, nobody's moved in, where Winter's was at the corner of Main and Sinclair Lewis. It's a pretty big building, so I suspect that the "for sale" sign will stay up for a while. 

It still seems a little odd, having empty windows by the downtown stop lights. September 2, 2008.

I don't know how "typical" this is of small town America, but it's the way things are around here: a Chinese-Mexican restaurant downtown, with signs in English and Spanish. September 2, 2008.

With five trees taken out of the front yard, we get a pretty good view of sunsets. September 17, 2008.

If I'm going to get this done while it's still Thursday, I'd better stop.

See you Sunday. Maybe. I hope.

Monday, September 15, 2008. As you see, Sunday's entry isn't here. I'll make an effort to have something new: at least in time for the regular Wednesday entry.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008. Someday, I'll make an entry in the Sauk Centre Journal, and not mention the Ash Street Project.

But not today.

A crew, including some of the guys I've come to recognize this summer, came along today, picking stuff out of the yards. They've done it before, but there's always a little more. When a front-end loader is involved, "tidying up" doesn't seem to be the right phrase, but that's what they were doing.

Now that's a job: going along more than a half-mile of street, looking for stuff that might have been missed, the first time. September 10, 2008.

Someday, the outfit that seeded yards on part of Ash Street will probably come back and finish the job. One thing that got my attention was that quite a few yards got seeded, but didn't seem to have gotten that blue-green frosting of stuff. (From the looks of it, it's chaff that should help stabilize the soil until the new grass takes root, along with (probably) fertilizer, and a good deal of water.)

Yesterday, I saw a householder on Ash Street watering the grass seed. Smart. Also, a good excuse to get out and enjoy the weather.

Sure, you could set a sprinkler, wait, move it, and repeat: but this probably doesn't take much more effort: and it looks like fun. September 9, 2008.

A little later, driving up Main, I got curious and went into Centre Consignments. My excuse was that they had chairs on sale: and one of these years, I'm going to want to replace what I'm sitting on.

That's Centre Consignments, by the pickup (or is it an SUV?). September 9, 2008.

The place has been there for years, but I hadn't checked it out. When they're not doing a sale like this, there generally isn't much to see except an open garage door. It looks like a sort of permanent garage sale, with a hand-painted sign in the window.

This is an unusually lavish display outside Centre Consignment. September 9, 2008.

I figured I'd see a counter and a cash register inside. I did, as a matter of fact, but that wasn't all.

That's more than a permanent garage sale. September 9, 2008.

Centre Consignment has several rooms inside, besides that garage space, but you've got to go inside to find out.

Funny: I've lived in Sauk Centre for well over twenty years, and I'm still finding new places.

Monday, September 8, 2008. The Ash Street Project looks like it's just about over, except for maybe a second layer of paving next year.

The landscaping outfit showed up, and got started on seeding yards on Ash Street.

The landscaping crew came back, with the same John Deere tractor, towing a seeder this time. September 4, 2008.

Not long after that, one of those little front end loaders came by, with the mother of all carpet sweepers. Rushing to the door, I got this shot before it scooted off to the next block. Those things can move. September 4, 2008.

I was wondering about watering the dirt that'd been seeded, when a couple of guys with - you guessed it - a John Deere tractor (not quite so tiny a one this time) towing a tank full of water and green stuff. September 4, 2008.

Looks a little like he's spraying 'instant lawn.' September 4, 2008.

I found out that we'll have to get a 'rural' mailbox. I'd wondered why so many folks around here had roadside delivery boxes up.

I've heard that putting mailboxes at the curb will speed up delivery. I can believe it. Navigating through all those front yards must eat up a lot of miles over a year.

Between the old-fashioned street lights and the curbside mailboxes, Ash Street is going to look a little different. September 5, 2008.

My side of the street got seeded. I hope the other side gets done before winter sets in. September 5, 2008.

I was told that an outfit would come in and re-seed where a trench was cut for the gas line. If that company doesn't hurry, the job will be done. This is where the trench was. The, ah, wildflowers in our yard are busily filling in the gap. September 7, 2008.

As long as so much is already dug up, a few people are getting all-new sidewalks. This household had a local company, Worms, do the work. September 7, 2008.

Not all that far off Ash Street, the Coborn's Pharmacy drive-through is still taking shape. 

Coborn's Pharmacy's drive-through is going to have a roof, it seems. that explains the island. September 5, 2008.

I'd think this was too far over to have much to do with Coborn's drive-through pharmacy, but I've been wrong before. Maybe they're doing something with storm drains. September 8, 2008.

First week of September, and a whole aisle in the Wal-Mart pharmacy is dedicated to Halloween candy. September 5, 2008.

School's started, too, and the homework that comes along with it. Since our son is taking band this year, I'm getting used to hearing trombone practice in the evening.

Friday, September 5, 2008. That whizzing sound I heard was this week going by. Aside from the start of school, there wasn't any one big event that preoccupied me: but I still feel frazzled.

The start of the school season brought the sounds of revving engines and squealing tires back to the corner of 9th and South Ash. Not all day: just that time, right after 3:00, when a mixed bag of elementary school kids, motorized high schoolers, and the occasional rubber screecher pour out of the school.

Seriously, most of the kid drivers are fairly sensible. I only counted two tire screechers on Tuesday, none on Wednesday, and three or so Thursday. Today, I can't be sure, since I wasn't near the corner.

Meanwhile, the Ash Street Project is closer to being done. As I write this, the new old-fashioned street lights are lit. I think this is the first night they've been on. The PUC crew working on a power pole on 9th may have had something do do with this.

New street lights on Ash: now providing illumination. September 5, 2008.

And, part of the Ash Street berms now have grass seed planted. I'll be back Sunday (I trust), with yet more about the Ash Street Project.

Wednesday, I look outside: and there's a John Deere tractor in the front yard. A small one, true: but still a John Deere. September 3, 2008.

This crew was getting the berms tilled and ready for grass seed. September 3, 2008.

Since a tractor can't reach everything, there's still a place for someone with a hoe. Heigh ho, heigh ho, each day at work I hoe? September 3, 2008.

The rest of the guys caught up a bit later. September 3, 2008.

One thing they were doing was taking all this modern art that had collected in the yard. September 3, 2008.

I wasn't the only one keeping an eye on this seeder. September 3, 2008.

I think this speed feedback sign was on Ash for just one day. I appreciated being able to check my speedometer's accuracy. The van's speedometer, actually. September 2, 2008.

There's been more going on in Sauk Centre, than just the Ash Street Project, of course. Maybe I'll get to some of that on Sunday. Then again, maybe not.

Window work at the back of St. Paul's church. This project has been going on all summer. September 3, 2008.

Monday, September 1, 2008. For many families in town, this is both the end of Labor Day weekend, and the last day before school starts. Open House at the elementary school was last Wednesday.

School starts tomorrow. Now we find out if we missed anything on the school supplies list. August 29, 2008.

I spent quite a bit of Labor Day weekend with my oldest daughter, and my son, talking and playing with a computer game he'd gotten recently. Also, grilling lunch all three days.

If this year was like most, folks around here spent the weekend getting a last long weekend in at the lake, visiting friends and/or family, or just kicking back and relaxing. I can think of much worse ways to spend three days.

Labor Day weekend, and the flags are back up downtown. August 29, 2008.

Getting together with friends on Labor Day weekend. August 31, 2008.

Coborns Pharmacy's drive-through is shaping up. They've filled in that hole in the ground, got paving in place, have plastic drums set on a sort of concrete curb. I'll be interested in seeing just what the drive-through looks like.

Nice fresh asphalt in front of Coborns. Whoever's doing the work gets the job at hand done fast, when they're there. August 29, 2008.

What that concrete curb is doing, I have no idea. It seems rather narrow to hold support columns for a roof, but I'm no engineer. Maybe it's just a guide for traffic. August 29, 2008.

Fitness Guru closed its doors for the last time last week. Almost. They'll be available briefly this month, and next, to wrap up some business with people like me, who were paying for a year at a time.

Fitness Guru. I'm going to miss that place. August 29, 2008.

I didn't quite make it through this entry without mentioning the Ash Street Project. It's winding down, for this year anyway.

Getting signs in place: in the right place, and straight. That sort of thing doesn't just happen, you know. August 29, 2008.

The crews who worked on the Ash Street Project were surprisingly tidy. This industrial-strength sweeper was heading north about as fast as someone in a hurry would walk. August 29, 2008.

Two things puzzled me about the Ash Street Project. The paving, in my neighborhood, anyway, is about an inch shy of the concrete curbing. Also, I'd been wondering about the yards. I'd understood that an outfit would come in and re-seed or otherwise fix up the area that had been converted from grass to deep-tilled dirt.

It's quite unofficial, but I heard that the rest of the paving will be done next year, bringing the street surface up level with the curbwork. That makes sense: Otherwise, they'd have been laying pavement awfully close to the opening of school.

The yard situation is something else. Apparently, the outfit that's supposed to take care of re-seeding - or whatever they've got in mind - is more than a tad relaxed and easy-going about getting the job done. Of course, that's just scuttlebutt.

Sunday, August 31, 2008. Labor Day Weekend. I hope you're having a good time, here at the unofficial end of summer. I've grilled burgers twice, so far, and plan to do so tomorrow. I'll be back, Monday night, with this entry of the Sauk Centre Journal.

Thursday, August 28, 2008. The Ash Street Project is definitely winding up. As you see in the webcam, the portapotty that graced the corner of 9th and South Ash is gone. We've got street signs, and street lights.

I've got photos, but something came up, and I'll be a few hours late (sound familiar?).

Part of my tardiness has to do with the Web publishing I do, part of it is something else. I may go into that later. I expect to have something here by midnight or so.

I'm back.

We had a little power outage at about 3:00 Wednesday morning. It lasted maybe a second: but that was enough to bollix up the clocks, and the computer. If you were looking at a night scene in the "Small Town America: Central Minnesota" webcam, that's because I didn't get the thing set up again until about noon.

I was going to give the Ash Street Project a rest for this entry, but the crews were out again, getting things done.

It's starting to look more like some yards, sidewalks, and a street corner around here: and less like a construction site. It's been fun, watching the project progress, but I'm glad it's winding down. August 26, 2008.

Some work is best done by hand. But when there's a lot of dirt to be scraped smooth, It's good to have machines like this. August 26, 2008.

Setting out street signs, Tuesday afternoon. This is when I knew that we were getting close to the end. Well, closer, anyway. August 26, 2008.

It's been a long time, since there was a stop sign at south 9th and Ash. August 27, 2008.

I know: the sign's crooked. The guys were measuring it, before they finished getting it straight. August 27, 2008.

That's one of the biggest 'hammers' I've seen, short of a pile driver. August 28, 2008.

These guys made short work of getting the light posts up. Eleven minutes after I took this picture, they were making electrical connections on the street light. August 28, 2008.

You don't need a lot of fancy equipment: if you know what you're doing. August 28, 2008.

There's a little more to connecting the street lights than just plugging them in, I guess. August 28, 2008..

Meanwhile, back at the corner, a couple of guys were getting the crossing signs up. August 28, 2008.

Later in the afternoon, the portapotty that has graced the corner of 9th and South Ash for so long was summoned to its next assignment. August 28, 2008.

Looks like the Ash Street Project may not be quite over yet. Still later in the day, someone came walking along with a measuring wheel. August 28, 2008.

The street lights are up, but I still see a whole lot of dark when I look outside. Maybe they'll have power tomorrow night. This is what the webcam saw, a few minutes ago. That strange thing in the lower left is a reflection of the computer screen, in the window. August 29, 2008.

And now, I have got to get some sleep. I'll be back Sunday, I trust, with whatever has happened between now and then.

Monday, August 25, 2008. Ash Street South is looking more like a street now, and less like a construction zone. I can't say that I'm disappointed to see the project winding down: But I've enjoyed watching it happen.

Getting the crosswalks marked: These guys worked fast. They'd run a chalked string across the pavement to mark a straight line, lay a sort of template, and start spraying paint. August 21, 2008.

The guy on the right was throwing a powder that makes the paint reflective. I caught him between throws. August 21, 2008.

That's a lot of dirt to be replaced. August 21, 2008.

A few days later, and the center line is painted. Actually, more the off-center line. There's a parking lane on the west side of the street, but not the east. August 23, 2008.

Centre Lumber has a new sign: at least, I hadn't noticed it looking this fresh before. August 21, 2008.

A Dodge Coronet: in really good condition. I saw this in the Wal-Mart lot today, while running an errand. Just thought you might like looking at a fine old car as much as I did. August 24, 2008.

Wondering why I got Sunday's entry done on Monday? I'm probably not the most well-organized man in town, I've been enjoying having three, sometimes four, of the kids back under the roof, and I had a bit of a bug over the weekend.

Excuses, excuses. Thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008. It's in the Sauk Centre Herald: "There's an end in sight to all the construction going on on Ash Street in Sauk Centre." The project is even ahead of schedule.

I can't say that I'll miss living on a dirt road, but it's been fun, watching the street getting dug up, filled in, and dug up again.

They've been preparing the street around here for several days, and asphalt went on yesterday. Judging from the edge of the curb, there's still about an inch and a half to go, but now this neighborhood has a paved street again.

That grader's driver is doing precision driving. The blade is a fraction of an inch from the curb's concrete. August 14, 2008.

It takes a lot of different kinds of machines to make a paved street. August 16, 2008.

Including a little red tractor. August 18, 2008.

This fellow drove that roller back and forth over the tar: I lost track how many times. August 19, 2008.

That's paving, going onto Ash Street South: At last! August 19, 2008.

Quite a gadget: asphalt goes in one end, a road comes out the other. August 19, 2008.

There's the roller's big brother, making sure that the street surface gets flat and smooth. August 19, 2008.

More precision driving: Those two vehicles were moving down the street like this, a few minutes later. August 19, 2008.

Today, someone had piled dirt on the fresh street surface. For good reason: the berm had been smoothed out, and was getting a fresh coat of dirt. I think of this as the contractor replacing divots. August 20, 2008.

Coborn's has part of the parking lot torn up and excavation going on. They're working on their new drive-in pharmacy.

Coborn's Drive-in Pharmacy. I think it's going to look good when it's done. Now, now so much. August 19, 2008.

Maybe you remember a stop sign I wrote about, back in June. The one by the west entrance to Wal-Mart.

First, a look at how it was, back in June.

Today, the stop sign's face down, and on the sidewalk. My guess is that this traffic sign isn't a high priority. Who knows, maybe it's not from the store at all, and just fell off a truck. June 25, 2008.

I wondered how long it would take, before something was done about it: either setting it in place, or removing it.

I'm still wondering.

This is how that area looked yesterday.

Today, the stop sign's face down, and on the sidewalk. My guess is that this traffic sign isn't a high priority. Who knows, maybe it's not from the store at all, and just fell off a truck. August 19, 2008.

The stop sign was there yesterday afternoon. It's moved around, as the weeks turn into months. Sometimes it's been on the grass on the west side of the sidewalk, sometimes on the east side. Sometimes it's on the pavement. But it hasn't moved far.

Maybe it's a sort of symbol of permanence and continuity in changing times. Or, maybe it's a stop sign lying on the sidewalk.

Sunday, August 17, 2008. I'm giving the Ash Street Project a bit of a rest today: Sidewalks have been poured in my neighborhood, and I hear that there may be tarring of the road next week.

Things have been busy on Main Street ("The Original Main Street," I probably should say). City crews were out last Monday, putting up new old-fashioned lamps on Main, near downtown. I've got to admit, the new lights look classier than the run-of-the-mill ones we had.

Something was going on near 1st State Bank last Monday. August 11, 2008.

Raising the light poles on Main. August 11, 2008.

Then, getting the lights in place. August 11, 2008.

This weekend, people in the Our Lady of the Angels parish learned that the cash boxes by the votive lights have been broken into. Twice. The boxes are gone for now, and will be replaced with something that's a bit harder to crack open.

Our Lady of the Angels church: No cash boxes for the votive candles,
for now. August 16, 2008.

The good news is that we still don't have to lock the church.

On a happier note, my son and quite a few other kids were at 'band camp' last week: spending most of the morning learning to play their instruments, and getting ready for a recital on Friday.

Getting set up for the band camp concert at the school auditorium.
August 15, 2008.

You never know what you'll hear at this sort of thing. August 15, 2008.

Those kids did a good job: I'm looking forward to see what they'll do during the year. Make that "hear" what they'll do. August 15, 2008.

After the music, they put the stage back in order. August 15, 2008.

As for the weekend, it was what the Chamber of Commerce might call 'typical.' Warm, enough breeze to discourage most mosquitoes, and a lot of sun.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008. Fitness Guru in Sauk Centre is closing. The doors close for the last time on August 28th, at 8:31 pm. It's been there for 7 1/2 years. Debby Ellering-Rosenberg had a fitness place in St. Rosa for five years before that, and had done work in her home earlier. All in all, she's been in the fitness business for two decades.

I've been going to Fitness Guru regularly, since around the first of 2007, and will miss the place.

There's more to write, about what's been going on in Sauk Centre lately, but I'll pick up on that later.

Monday, August 11, 2008. The Ash Street Project isn't the only thing that's happening in Sauk Centre.

On Main Street, the place just south of the Hillcrest Motel has been remodeled. A place called I Want Communication is there now. I think that's where Centre Rental used to be, before it moved across the street, and then to a place with elbow room, off the frontage road.

Looking at the place, you wouldn't know that the right side had an outsized garage door a few years ago. August 7, 2008.

Coborn's new pharmacy is coming along. They still don't have the drive-through done, but the inside looks finished -finally. They seem to have finished the changes to their sit-down deli, too.

Looking at the place, you wouldn't know that the right side had an outsized garage door a few years ago. August 7, 2008.

Sure looks better than it did last month.

Coborn's new pharmacy: ready for business, with more work to do.
July 9, 2008.

And, there's still the Ash Street Project. The part I live on has sidewalks now, for the most part. I'm told they'll be hard enough to walk on in a day or so. Getting set up to pour the sidewalks was a big job in itself. The bedding for the sidewalk had to be prepared: and that included cutting through existing driveways. Including ours.

That concrete cutter made less dust, after a water hose was connected. August 7, 2008.

They had to remove the corner curbing on the east side of Ash and South 9th. The reason on the south corner was pretty obvious. The curb was cracked. One of the fellows told me that someone had driven over it. He didn't sound too happy about it.

The curb at 9th and South Ash was in place: and cracked. August 7, 2008.

Those two guys with the wooden frame and carpenter's level were positioning an orange string, so that it was exactly the right height above the curb. 

The curb at 9th and South Ash was in place: and cracked. August 7, 2008.

There was a good reason for that. I'll get into that, on Wednesday. Maybe I should say "I plan to," considering how I've been doing lately.

Sunday, August 11, 2008. Despite what's happened the last couple of weeks, I still plan to do two entries a week here: One late Sunday, and another late Wednesday.

Or, this week, one posted sometime Monday. It's already Monday, as I write this, and what you read will make more sense if I get more sleep.

Sunday, August 2, 2008. The Stearns County Fair ended today. There's been more going in town, but I'll just talk about the fair today.

Mostly, though, I'll show some photos I took at the fair.

Each year, there's a village of portable households in a corner of the fairgrounds, Someone there had a good idea: using an out-of-service midway booth as a windbreak. August 1, 2008.

Friday afternoon was one of the 'wristband' days, when kids could have unlimited rides. I spent most of my time under a tent roof, watching families have fun and having a fine time. August 1, 2008.

Friday was hot, but with a merciful breeze. That Ferris wheel was one of the first things set up on the Midway, earlier this week. August 1, 2008.

I wasn't the only one taking it easy in the shade. August 1, 2008.

That's right: the Funnel Cakes concession also offered Deep Fried
Cookies & Candy Bars. Deep fried - candy bars?! August 1, 2008.

Deciding where to go next - it isn't always easy. August 1, 2008.

Off the midway is where some of the really interesting parts of the fair are, at least for me. August 1, 2008.

Some 4-H exhibits remind me of a hobby I had in high school, so I see this display through a nostalgic filter. August 1, 2008.

Now that's clever: a huge magnifying glass, for the "...What's Being Investigated" display. August 1, 2008.

The Conservation Club can be counted on for bringing interesting critters to their building. Like this Fluvous Tree Duck. The sign says: "They dive readily, but are not noted for grace or style while doing so." That fluvous duck does pretty well at standing on one foot, though. August 1, 2008.

Nobody was checking out the farm equipment when I went by. Anyone with good sense, and a choice, would have picked evening or early morning. August 1, 2008.

It's not just cows, horses, and pigs these days. That's a llama and a young man, discussing which direction the llama is going to face. August 1, 2008.

Quite a few years ago, I learned that there's quite a bit to see in the rabbits, ducks, and chickens barn. August 2, 2008.

Chickens with bell bottoms. August 2, 2008.

Someone getting a team of draft horses to the judging area. Those are magnificent horses. August 2, 2008.

Tucked away, behind the Sauk Herald Bandstand: The Sauk River Two Cylinder Club. That's a working pump, there. August 2, 2008.

Back to the midway. Sunset is a sort of transition, from mostly families to mostly young people. August 2, 2008.

These guys were having a great time. I'm not sure whether they were winding up a day, or starting an evening, at the midway. August 2, 2008.

As for me, after calling numbers for two hours at the Knights of Columbus Bingo booth, and nosing around the barns a bit, I was ready to go home. Which I did. August 2, 2008.

Finally: Sorry about missing the Wednesday entry. There seems to be something going around, at least in my family. And, in a cooperative spirit, I've caught it. The coming week had better be better.

Sunday, July 27, 2008. I've been out of town since Friday, so I'm not quite up to speed on what's been going on. I always enjoy coming in, a little after sunset, from the west I-94 exit. Driving east on Sinclair Lewis Avenue, with those new old-fashioned orange lights is a treat.

I hope you like photos of the Sinclair Lewis Days Parade. I've got more of the things to show:

Jitters Java and Cobblestone Court's unit wasn't just another run-of-the-mill convertible. July 19, 2008.

A float with tail fins: something you don't see every day. July 19, 2008.

That's not an animated plush toy. I think it's an alpaca. July 19, 2008.

Don't worry: Sooner or later I'll run out of Sinclair Lewis Day Parade photos. Besides, there's more going on in Sauk Centre. I just haven't found out about it yet. .

Thursday, July 24, 2008. Well, I thought I'd be back Wednesday. But, I do have more photos. With more left to go. That's a long parade - about a hundred units, I think.

This dancing troupe was a change of pace. July 19, 2008.

The parade has floats from businesses, from churches -

And some bands. Some bands march. This one sits. Seems sensible to me. July 19, 2008.

Sauk Centre Fire and Rescue got themselves back into the parade, after dealing with that car fire. July 19, 2008.

That's one shiny machine. July 19, 2008.

The 'royalty' of several towns went by in the parade.. July 19, 2008.

And so did the Knights of Columbus. July 19, 2008.

That sign says that the National Guard and Amp Energy are getting together to show the #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Sprint Cup Series race car at the raceway on August 9. July 19, 2008.

"Until they all come home, keep a candle burning.". July 19, 2008.

Monster Manor - they'll be setting up at the Fairgrounds this Halloween. July 19, 2008.

North American State Bank has this Viking ship with an air cannon in the parade every year. That bag of treats is going at a pretty good clip. The inset gives a closer look at what they're blowing out. July 19, 2008.

I read in this weeks Sauk Centre Herald that there was another car fire recently, besides the one near the parade route: the other one was a Corvette that burned in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Maybe I'm just more aware of it now, but there seems to be a lot of incendiary cars just now.

The Ash Street Project is moving along. Another two trees had to be taken down in front of our house. This time, it was to get a new water pipe in from the street. They got the water hooked up yesterday or today, I think. Which is just as well. My son shredded the hose that's been feeding water in through the back faucet. If there'd been pressure in that, we'd have had a little geyser in the back yard.

That's the sort of work that's been going on, all along south Ash Street. I'm still impressed with how the project is coming along.

Sunday, July 20, 2008. Sinclair Lewis Days is over now. I'm pretty sure that the street dance or the fireworks is the high point for a lot of folks. But for me, it's the parade.

Sinclair Lewis Avenue, between Main and Oak, was ready for the street dance. And those picnic tables gave some folks a handy place to sit, waiting for the parade. July 19, 2008.

A parade's okay - but there's noting like a family photo. July 19, 2008.

This year, the parade started in the industrial park, headed east on Sinclair Lewis Avenue, then jogged north on Oak before going over to Main Street. Things were off to a good start here. The inset shows the Sauk Centre Fire Department leading the way. July 19, 2008.

A little after I took that photo, I saw one of Sauk Centre's finest loping by, talking rather earnestly into that radio they keep on their shoulders. He got in his car, and the man who'd been leaning on the trunk got up as the car raced off, lights and sirens on.

About that time, I heard other sirens coming my way, most likely over on fourth. Looking east, it was pretty obvious why they were in a hurry. Smoke was coming up from somewhere this side of St. Paul's Church. I got rather personally interested at that point (I explain why in "Saturday: Sinclair Lewis Days Parade and a Car Fire").

Looking east, down Sinclair Lewis Avenue, we saw smoke. July 19, 2008.

Quite a lot of smoke, actually. July 19, 2008.

By the time I got there, the fire fighters were discussing how to get their units back in the parade. July 19, 2008.

I don't know whose car caught fire, but it had been towed by the time I got back, after the parade. The folks in the next car ahead were saying something about "heat damage" as they looked at the back end of their car - it's the one just off the right side of this picture.

The fire and rescue units got back in the parade, near the end of the procession. I think that unplanned interruption may have thrown the folks in the parade off - some of the units were over a block apart by the time they got to Sinclair Lewis and Oak Street.

They all went past, though - marching bands, clowns, trucks from businesses around here going by, flinging candy at folks on the curb.

Marching bands, quite a few of them, went by. July 19, 2008.

The clown towing that truck did wheelies on his mini-tractor, but I didn't catch him at it. July 19, 2008.

That's clowndom's idea of a porta-potty: an actual porcelain throne, in a wheelbarrow. July 19, 2008.

There's candy coming off those floats! July 19, 2008.

Unger's didn't actually fill that blue truck with candy: but there was quite a bit in there. July 19, 2008.

It's late, and I've got to get some sleep. I'll be back Wednesday, with some more photos.

Friday, July 18, 2008. Sinclair Lewis Days is under way, but that's not why I'm making this entry.

We had a break in routine this afternoon, in the 900 block of south Ash Street today. Also, a break in a gas line.

It happened around mid-afternoon. What looked like half the Sauk Centre Fire Department showed up, and encouraged people to back off about a block and a half.

After what seemed like a very long time, a crew from CenterPoint Energy came and fixed the break. One of those inch-wide lines had been severed.

The gas line break ended with a bit of quiet repair work. For which I'm
duly thankful. July 18, 2008.

Those things coming off the top of the big yellow line are what were broken, I understand. July 18, 2008.

I wrote more about what happened in my Through One Dad's Eye blog ("Friday: A Break in Routine - and in a Gas Line").

Wednesday, July 16, 2008. Finally: I'm getting caught up. Thanks for your patience.

Quite a bit has happened in Sauk Centre since the sixth, and got on the front page of the Sauk Centre Herald.

Last week's Herald reported that Sauk Centre was #4 in foreclosures for 2007 in Stearns County. ("Sauk Centre sees spike in foreclosures" (July 8, 2008).) That's absolute numbers, not per capita. Sauk Centre had 10 foreclosures in 2006, 23 in 2007. Figuring foreclosure rank as percent of residential properties getting foreclosed, we were #2, right behind St. Joe for 2007.

I'd just as soon be near the top for something else. Still, it could be worse. For one thing, the Herald's third paragraph suggests that these foreclosures may not all be the losing-the-homestead crisis I'd expect. It looks like some people have been doing a bit of creative accounting. They'd buy houses after the real estate agent listing expired, rent the places out, grab the rent money or refinance, and then stop paying back the loan.

On a happier note, in this week's Herald, a woman who works at Truckers Inn on the south side got tazed three times. The good news in the incident is that she's okay, apart from a a few minor burns and a bruise or two, and the guy who tried to rob the place may be more shaken up than she was.

According to the paper, he got away with $200 in stamps, a cancelled credit card, the surveillance system's hard drive,some other computer parts, a company check, a Blue Tooth, and a garbage can. (More in this week's "Stunned woman foils robbery.")

Coborn's expanded pharmacy opened Wednesday, July 9, in their new location. Or part of it, anyway. I understand that the folks there had a busy night, Tuesday, getting everything moved over, the dozen or so feet between the old and new place, and set up.

Coborn's new pharmacy: ready for business, with more work to do.
July 9, 2008.

By the next Monday, one of those walls was gone. Plastic sheeting made a sort of symbolic barrier between the  grocery and the pharmacy, and a construction zone, and a nicely hand-written sign assured people that there really was a way to walk through.

No kidding! Coborn's pharmacy really is back there. July 14, 2008.

That's Lake Wobegon Trail, where it crosses Ash Street in Sauk Centre. Actually, it's the site. Lake Wobegon Trail was missing a couple dozen feet, around the beginning of July. July 3, 2008.

That's better. Nobody's going to miss the packed-dirt pavement on the Ash Street crossing of Lake Wobegon Trail, but at least the surface is fairly level. There's quite a slope on each side, though. July 11, 2008.

You're not imagining anything: that's a little rainbow. Our household's water comes in through the outside faucet, and will until the new water main's in. The system works, but doesn't have a particularly good seal. I've got a bit of plastic up, to catch the heaviest streams - and the mist gives us this display, every clear morning. July 9, 2008.

That 24/7 mist also gives us the most lush, rich, green little patch of
yard we've ever seen, since we moved here. Also, a mushroom.
That's the way the rest of the yard looks, over on the right. July 16, 2008.

The rest of Sauk Centre got a good watering, too, recently. We've been having some energetic thundershowers lately. And, with the storm drains blocked off, the kids on State Road near the school had a wading pool. July 16, 2008.

A few Mondays ago, part of this duck flotilla came ashore at the Sauk Centre boat landing. July 7, 2008.

That's momma duck, back near the water. She kept a discrete eye on
me most of the time. The youngsters were more openly curious.
July 7, 2008.

The city park by Sauk Lake has new playground equipment. It's more colorful than the last set. Seems to be a little more complicated, too: but the kids who play there would know more about that than I do.
July 7, 2008.

Here's a closer look at the new play set. I've got a notion that some kids will miss the old slides. This looks like fun, though. July 7, 2008.

It looked like a pile of woodchips. What it was doing on the bandshell parking lot this month, I don't know. July 7, 2008.

Pretty: but we got heavy weather from those puffballs. July 11, 2008.

It became Thursday, while I was writing this - It's been a crazy month in this household. More about that at "A Month in Fast Forward." (July 17, 2008).

As for Sauk Centre, there's a lot coming up: Sinclair Lewis Days, the Stearns County Fair.

I just thought of something: Where are they going to have the Sinclair Lewis Days parade this year? There's no way the Ash Street Project will be done by then. I don't see it, anyway. And those floats and convertibles sure aren't going to be navigating that construction zone.

I'll try to find out.

Sunday, July 13, 2008. You probably expected to see an entry here, with some photos of the Ash Street Project, and maybe something about that weekend storm.

I expected to write one.

But, it's been a slightly crazy week, and I didn't.

I plan to get it done tomorrow, but you never know what's going to happen.

Sunday, July 6, 2008. Coborn's pharmacy expansion is moving along. The plywood wall, blocking the construction area off from the rest of the store, was gone last week.

Coborn's new pharmacy: not quite ready yet. July 2, 2008.

Meanwhile, the Ash Street Project is still working its way south, for the street work, and north, for the sidewalks.

That tripod-mounted laser, and a long measuring pole, is probably what the crew uses to make sure they're putting pipes in at the right depth. June 30, 2008.

I've lost track, how many times this intersection has been dug up and filled in. I appreciate being able to drive through, when they're not doing something 'underground. June 30, 2008.

They'd dug an unusually complicated series of trenches at south 9th and Ash last Monday. Keep an eye on that orange traffic cone. It's in the next photo, too. June 30, 2008.

Here's more of that set of trenches. You can see the orange cone from the earlier photo, just below the center of this one. They're digging pretty deep: those shovels, in the inset, give an idea of how big the excavation is. June 30, 2008.

It's about 7:30, Monday evening, and the crew is still working. Among other things, they put new fire hydrants in. June 30, 2008.

Ash Street south is starting to look more like a street here. Looking north from the corner of south 7th and Ash, we've got new curbs. July 1, 2008.

More modern art: a sculpture near Our Lady of the Angels Church. July 1, 2008.

I understand that they were expecting a rocky ridge, near Lake Wobegon Trail. The crew got at least part of it out of the way this week. July 3, 2008.

This is something we haven't seen much, lately: no working getting done on Ash Street. The crew's getting a break for Independence Day weekend. July 5, 2008.

South 9th and Ash Street: and our new fire hydrant. The old one was across the street, west. We're the lucky household now. July 6, 2008.

I'm pretty sure that the crew will be back tomorrow morning, digging up, filling in, cutting, hauling, installing, and all the rest of the -ings that it takes to get the street, sewer, water, and gas lines replaced.

Thursday, July 3, 2008. What with one thing and another, I'm a day late with this entry. No good excuse: this week, I feel like I've been running in circles. Which reminds me of words of wisdom I learned from a refrigeration technician on the west coast. "When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles: scream and shout."

I've lost track, how many times Ash street has been dug up, filled in, and dug up again in front of my house. I'm sure there's a very logical reason for it: and it's certainly convenient, being able to drive through the intersection when the street is filled in.

For once, I'm not going to put photos of the Ash Street Project in this entry. Fair warning, though: They'll be back Sunday.

A front page story for the Sauk Centre Herald this week was "Restroom break proves costly for fruit stand man / Robber makes off with cash box, wallet, check book..." Scott Weirschem has been running a fruit stand down at what the paper calls "County Road 186 and Highway 71," and I think of as South 12th and Main. Same thing, of course.

This wasn't a particularly good time for him to lose $90, his wallet, cell phone and credit cards. Mr. Weirschem's been having, ah, challenging financial times since he lost his job as director, when the old Oak Ridge Correctional Facility closed, a few years ago.

On a happier note, There's a new store on Main Street.

When Bag Me moved across Main Street and a block north, that left space open next to the thrift store.

Main Street Outlet: New on Main, as of last week. June 30, 2008.

Last week, Main Street Outlet moved in there. The place mostly sells on eBay (and will sell for others, if they like, I understand). Main Street Outlet carries "all new closeouts and overstock: a varied selection."

Inside, it looks like a good selection. Not exactly my style, of course.
June 30, 2008.

More than that's happened, but I'm calling it quits. It's after midnight, and I've got to get some sleep.

Have a happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, June 29, 2008. This won't surprise you: The Ash Street Project is still going strong. I think that replacing the pipes under South Ash was a good idea, considering the the sort of shape some of the old equipment was in.

I've been impressed with how smoothly the operation seems to be going. On the other hand, sometimes I don't understand why the crews do what they do.

For example, here's a sequence of photos from Wednesday and Thursday.

You saw this in Wednesday's entry. That excavation is partly in my front yard. June 25, 2008.

Here's the same spot, early Thursday afternoon. They've filled the whole thing in, except for the last foot or so on my end, and smoothed most of it over as a roadway. June 26, 2008.

Here we are a couple minutes later. That back-hoe has been moved into position to dig up our neighbors across the street west. Those metal pipes by the side of the road? My guess is that they're old storm drains. June 26, 2008.

This is the divot they'd made a little earlier, in front of our neighbors. By now, it's pretty obvious what's going to happen. June 26, 2008.

About two hours later, there wasn't roadway on the south side of Ninth and South Ash. Again Impressive pile of dirt, isn't it? June 26, 2008.

Less than a minute later: There's room for a very small house down there. June 26, 2008.

Here's the same trench, from the west end. The two men are standing in our neighbor's front yard, sort of: and that blue pipe is roughly under where the center of the street would be. June 26, 2008.

Okay: They excavated the street, filled it back in, smoothed and compacted the surface so heavy equipment could drive over it, then dug it up again. My guess is that there was something that had to be moved from one end of this block to the other, and it was easier to fill in the street and dig it up again, than it would have been to drive around the Stearns County Fairgrounds, or try bringing the thing down Main, and under the Lake Wobegon Trail bridge.

Not all of Sauk Centre looks like our street this summer.

Whoever owns this house takes yard decoration very seriously. It's one of my favorite front yards in town. June 26, 2008.

Two weeks ago, I noted that the Red Carpet had a new front and awning. I asked someone there, and found out that the new face and shade had gone on last month. Here's the photo and caption again:

Red Carpet, downtown Sauk Centre
New front on the Red Carpet, downtown. New to me, anyway: that red overhang really stands out. June 5, 2008.

Finally, on the cultural scene, WALL-E, Disney/Pixar's new movie, came to town this Friday. My son and oldest daughter and I went to see it this afternoon. One of the things I appreciate about the Main Street Theater is how they bring these movies in when they're released. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2008. You've probably gathered that the Ash Street Project is a pretty big deal in Sauk Centre. At least, for the folks who live on south Ash.

Some folks seem to deal with the stress better than others. A week ago, I was driving home, coming in from the northwest. After I passed the "Road Closed to Through Traffic" sign at Birch and Eighth, a car whizzed past me. No problem. For me, anyway.

Ahead of me was one of those monster forklifts that the contractors use to haul around shed-sized pieces of concrete casting. The forklift's driver was, quite sensibly, keeping to the center of the street. There's a definite crown to the roadway, and one of the last things the young man would have wanted was to have that rig tip over.

The driver of the car had other ideas. After jerking right and left, trying to find a way around the bouncing behemoth, the car driver followed it around the corner. Then, about a half-block later, the car's driver let loose with the horn.

The forklift driver just kept going, as fast as safety permitted, without tipping his rig. Eventually, he cleared the corner of Ninth and Ash. At that point the car driver swooshed around the corner and headed out of my sight, flying southward.

South Ninth, approaching Ash: The driver of that car, having whizzed past a "Road Closed to Through Traffic" sign, had tailgated that outsized forklift for about a block and a half. At this point, the driver decided to help matters along by honking the horn. June 18, 2008.

I've mentioned before, that small towns aren't Brigadoons, cut off from the rest of the world. I was reminded of that yesterday, when a cable news network cut to live coverage of a government center hostage situation in Little Falls, about an hour's drive north and east of here.

Today's St. Cloud Times carried an article about the incident. One person was killed, the owner of a number of 'adult entertainment' venues in that area, named Wheeler. He's been in trouble with the law quite a bit, including a stint in jail, after he was convicted of "promoting and profiting from prostitution."

Yesterday, Wheeler took a gun into the Morrison County Commissioners meeting, took hostages, and got shot by police. He's dead now, and there's a good chance that commission meetings in this area won't be as open as they were.

After that, a torn-up street and an irate driver or two doesn't seem so bad.

Before getting back to the Ash Street Project, I ran into a little mystery. There's a stop sign at the west entrance to Wal-Mart. I'm pretty sure that it used to be facing north, reminding drivers that they should stop before turning right and heading west, out of the lot. Friday, it was on the grass, near the parking lot entrance. These pictures and captions tell the rest.

I stopped by the customer service desk Friday, to let the Wal-Mart folks know that this sign was down. I took the picture, to make it a little clearer, where it was. It's a big lot. June 20, 2008.

Monday: The sign's still there, but now it's face-down. I suppose that's progress. June 23, 2008.

Today, the stop sign's face down, and on the sidewalk. My guess is that this traffic sign isn't a high priority. Who knows, maybe it's not from the store at all, and just fell off a truck. June 25, 2008.

Back to the Ash Street Project. Looking at some of the antique pipes I've seen dug up, I'd say that this was probably a good time to replace the lot of them.

What a mess: Ash Street, looking north toward Our Lady of the Angels Church. June 23, 2008.

That guy in the yellow vest isn't just standing around. He's a lookout for the backhoe operator. With the front of those treads firmly planted on
air, I'd guess that working the backhoe isn't the most serene job around. June 23, 2008.

This is what I saw, Monday, crossing the street where I live. This was a pretty good indication that the digging would be here soon. June 23, 2008.

That fountain is sort of pretty: but I'm pretty sure that's not what the crew had in mind. June 24, 2008.

Tuesday: they started digging up the corner of south Ninth and Ash.
June 24, 2008.

That's a close-up of one of the most useless, redundant, signs I've seen. June 24, 2008.

Beauty is where you find it. That sunlit fountain was set up intentionally, probably to keep the dust down. For which I'm duly grateful. That's my front yard that they're digging up. June 25, 2008.

Meanwhile, at Coborn's:

That pharmacy expansion at Coborn's is coming along. They had a sign up today, showing what the drive-in part would look like. June 25, 2008.

Outside, there was this big tent. I figured, since there was a big grill at one end, and cubic yards of soft drink crates, that someone was planning a huge party. June 25, 2008.

Someone was putting this sign up as I was leaving. This makes more sense. I still don't know what they're doing with the grill. June 25, 2008.

This tent was getting set up Monday, in the Wal-Mart parking lot. By
the end of the day, there were American flags waving on top, and by
now the "Fireworks" signs are up, too. Independence Day is coming.
June 23, 2008.

I put a couple more photos of the Ash Street Project in my blog, Through One Dad's Eye - "Wednesday: The Ants are Back."

Sunday, June 22, 2008. I'm still preoccupied by the Ash Street Project. It's shuddering its way closer to our home, at Ninth and Ash. Thursday, a crew was filling in that pit that they'd dug at the corner of Ash and Eighth.

Ash and Eighth: First they dug the hole, then they filled in the hole. After installing what's under a manhole cover, that is. June 19, 2008.

Here's a close-up from the same picture. They had water pouring in from two sides. I think the idea was to get the dirt to settle as much as possible, as evenly as possible. The sound of rushing water got through the diesel motor sounds. Aside from being practical, the water flowing it was a sort of nice fountain effect. June 19, 2008.

It takes some skill, driving that machine up and down a fairly narrow ramp: and staying on the ramp. June 19, 2008.

That backhoe kept going back and forth, supplying dirt for the un-excavation. De-excavation? Never mind. June 19, 2008.

These are two of three pieces of litter I've seen since the Ash Street Project started. Considering that these bottles are something like eight
or nine feet underground by now, I don't see it as a serious problem.
June 19, 2008.

Sure, pipe sections get put on the grass: but they're picked up as soon as they're needed. It sure does look like a mess, though. June 19, 2008.

The way I see it, I could get bothered by all this stuff on my lawn: or I could decide that I'm getting landscaping done, and that I've got some modern art sculptures on loan for lawn art. June 22, 2008.

Meanwhile, away from Ash Street, I discovered that Andy's Wok had a reason for having the faces of their sign removed. That was to make room for the new sign.

New sign on Main, downtown. It adds a spot of lively color to that side of the block. I'm still getting used the idea of a combination Chinese & Mexican eatery, though. It makes sense: but it's a little unusual around here. June 22, 2008.

That's all I've got time for now. I've got to get some sleep, so I'll be awake for Monday.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008. It's been a beautiful couple of days, and the Ash Street Project is right outside my front door now. Meanwhile, sidewalks are being laid south of us, with that crew working their way north from around Wal-Mart.

I figure they'll meet the street crew somewhere around Lake Wobegon Trail: but that's just a guess.

There's some very serious digging going on: ten feet and more down in some intersections.

Ash and 9th Street South in Sauk Centre: We've got a much clearer view, now that those three trees are gone. June 17, 2008.

That isn't the deepest hole they've dug. What's really impressive,
though, is that the crew will had this intersection "buttoned up" the next day. June 17, 2008.

This is why it's a good idea to replace all the pipes under the street. The dirt around here isn't usually that rich, rusty red. June 17, 2008.

Still around Ash and 9th: The guy on the left was working, too. I caught him while he was holding dirt down with his feet. June 17, 2008.

There is this to be said about the Ash Street Project: it gives the folks living in southeast Sauk Centre something to watch. June 17, 2008.

There's more to Sauk Centre than the Ash Street Project. There's a new business at the northeast corner of 4th and Main: The Corner Shop. I haven't found out when they moved in there. The last I noticed, Ceramic Cafe was at that location. 

The Corner Shop: Sounds like a good idea. I like the term "resale clothing." It's sort of like "previously owned." June 17, 2008.

Back to the Ash Street Project. A crew was doing some very serious digging at the corner of Ash and 8th Street South. I'm not the best at judging distances, but I think the hole was around fifteen feed deep. When I was there, a couple of guys were getting a pipe ready to be fitted with what I'd guess is an access tube: something to allow work to be done on it, down the line, when the dirt and the street's back where they belong.

That fellow's giving directions to the crane operator. Those two, and a guy in a yellow jacket, were moving a chunk of what looked like cement around. Not the sort of thing I'd prefer doing, with the temps around 80. June 18, 2008.

Same place, a few minutes later. I figure they're about fifteen feet down. More, maybe? For their sake, I'm glad they didn't have to dig the hole by hand. June 18, 2008.

Yesterday, our household had a few minutes without water. And had faucets spitting and hissing at us from time to time after that. Our plumbing is pretty much back to normal now, so I suppose they'll be re-arranging the water lines again soon.

That's an experience people have been having all the way down Ash, as the project's been moving this way. We were without gas, too, for a little while yesterday. That wasn't so much of an inconvenience, although we do have an embossed yard now.

This household isn't one of those "House Beautiful" places. We don't have a lawn: We've got a yard. Just the same, I'm told that a restoration company will come, after the excitement's over, and patch up the sod.

I wrote more about how our new gas line was put in, with photos, in Through One Dad's Eye.

Sunday, June 15, 2008. Father's Day. Also the day after Flag Day, which explains all the flags downtown.

Last week, I noticed that the Red Carpet downtown had a new front. It may have been up for some time: I just hadn't noticed it before. Really makes the place stand out, now.

Red Carpet, downtown Sauk Centre
New front on the Red Carpet, downtown. New to me, anyway: that red overhang really stands out. June 5, 2008.

Sauk Centre, along with quite a bit of the rest of west-central Minnesota and the Red River Valley, got rain over the weekend. And, I read, at least one wind gust over 35 miles an hour. That might be why the sign over the Chinese/Mexican restaurant downtown is damaged. That lighted sign still has fluorescent bulbs inside, but no outside to go around them, apart from a frame.

The Ash Street Project is slogging its way along. I don't think this week's rain has helped things any.

A crew was taking out curbs and driveways last week. They timed it so people at a household on this block could use their driveway at a particular time. Someone there needed to be able to get in. June 9, 2008.

Ever wondered if it would be great to have a job that kept you outside? I haven't. This was the Ash Street Project on Wednesday. June 11, 2008.

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Nor, it seems, the Ash Street Project. June 11, 2008.

Thursday: a beautiful summer day, and the day three trees got taken out of our front yard. Not an entirely bad thing. June 12, 2008.

More rain over the weekend: it's going to be a muddy Monday on Ash Street. June 15, 2008.

Finally, sorry about being so late with the "Wednesday" entry for the Sauk Centre Journal. It's been a hectic-feeling week, although I didn't actually get that much done. If you want to try figuring out out what happened, check out Through One Dad's Eye.

Friday, June 13, 2008. Finally, I'm getting Wednesday's entry done.

Or, I would be, if I didn't have to leave seven minutes ago. This has been quite a week for me.

In short, the Ash Street Project is moving along, this household has three less trees than we did last week, but we've got a much better view of the sky.

Unless something unexpected happens, I'll be back with a real entry, sometime late Sunday night. With photos. I hope.

Thursday, June 12, 2008.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008.

Sunday, June 8, 2008. Coborn's Video moved into half of the old Alco store last week, making room for the pharmacy to go into where the video store was. That was fast work. There's still construction going on in the old video store space: and the Coborn's convenience counter is a very noisy place.

School's out for the summer. There's an encouraging and hopeful message up on the sign by the north entrance, encouraging the kids to read over the summer.

Meanwhile, the Ash Street Project is moving along. I had a talk with someone working with the project on Friday. He had some questions about what arrangements we'd made for digging. My wife has done the planning for that, so I was pretty useless. We had a good talk, though, for a minute or two, mostly a matter of me making sure that he and my wife could swap information on Monday.

She was out of town, along with our #3 daughter. There's a little more about that in Through One Dad's Eye.

The sidewalk from Lake Woebegon Trail to Wal-Mart, like so much else, doesn't look like much while it's being built. June 3, 2008.

After a while, it should have this crisp, white-on-green look to it. June 3, 2008.

No, this isn't a robot scraper. the crew was on break. June 3, 2008.

Even where it isn't 'Through Traffic Only,' south Ash isn't an inviting place for through traffic. June 3, 2008.

What's impressive is that curbs can be getting torn up and carted away, without making it (too) hard for customers to get in and out of Coborn's. June 3, 2008.

Tuesday, there was a small fleet of red trucks and vans parked in front
of the old Alco store. Keep this scene in mind: we'll be back here soon. June 3, 2008.

I think they mean 'check out a few books at a time at the public library.' Checking out - and reading - all the books in one shot would be a little impractical. Even in the library would let you. June 4, 2008.

Coborn's will have to do something about that "lowest rentals" sign after the pharmacy moves in to the old video store space. That work is marching along quickly - and making a great deal of noise in the process. June 5, 2008.

I've done business with Winter's and Coborn's - I think that sign's expectations are not at all unrealistic. It's going to be quite a change though, not having a 'corner drug' downtown. June 5, 2008.

I told you we'd be back: Thursday now. There's a white van parked outside, a big red "Coborn's Video" on the wall, and lights on inside.
June 5, 2008.

The video store folks had been working hard, getting this place stocked. In fact, they were still working when I snapped this. June 5, 2008.

"X" marks the spot: those three trees will probably be gone by tomorrow evening. I'm going to miss having them there. June 8, 2008.

I know that the Ash Street Project is necessary, and I think there's good reason to believe that it's been thought out pretty well. Still, I'm going to miss the three big trees that had stood in our front yard long before we had the place. And, I'm sure that people up and down the street have something that just isn't going to be the same after the project is done.

But, things don't stay the same. And that's probably just as well.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008. A downtown landmark will be gone soon. Winter's Main Street Drug, on the southwest corner of Sinclair Lewis Avenue and Main, is closing. Gary Winters bought the pharmacy in 1986, the same year my family moved into town.

This week's Sauk Herald has a good article on Winter's, and a history of the place. It starts, "A drug store has stood at the southwest corner of Main Street and Sinclair Lewis Avenue in Sauk Centre for 120 years. In that time the store has been called Hanson & Emerson, Corner Drug and Main Street Drug...." (More at "Customers make Winter's years enjoyable.")

According to the Herald, Gary Winter sold his pharmacy to Coborn's. I hear that Coborn's is going to move their pharmacy into the space their video store is now, and put their video store next door, where Alco was.

I'm going to miss Winter's. At least now, having read the article, I know why I tended to call it "Winter's Corner Drug."

Meanwhile, the street rebuilding part of the Ash Street Project is digging it's way south from Sinclair Lewis Avenue, while sidewalks are getting poured at the south end of the street.

Our house is between the two. The way things look, it's not unlikely that the new sidewalks will reach here about the same time that the street gets dug up.

Dug up more, I should say.

More arcane lines appeared along the edges of Ash Street South on Tuesday. I'm sure the colors and symbols mean something to the initiated. June 3, 2008.

Now, this I can understand. They've been pouring sidewalks on both sides of Ash, starting from 12th and working their way north. June 3, 2008.

I heard that someone on Ash, a block or so from Sinclair Lewis Avenue, got an unpleasant surprise. That household has a finished basement, but they don't go down there every day.

Apparently, their sewer line got nicked. The construction crew didn't notice - and neither did the homeowner for a day or two. By that time, there was no end of a mess in the basement.

I've been advised to keep a sharp watch on the basement, when the crew gets up here. Sounds like a good idea.

Monday, June 2, 2008. Normally, this entry would have been made yesterday, but I've been a little off-schedule.

Driving downtown today, I saw a "sale" sign in Winter's Corner Drug, with quite a discount. I also saw a lot of wet streets. We had rain today, and some lightning.

The Ash Street Project caught up with our household over the weekend. I heard roaring outside Saturday morning, and saw that big street-chewer going by. That was an impressive sight.

Ash Street Project, Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Lots of dirt and big, loud machines. On the positive side, by autumn we should have better utilities under the street, a better street to go over them: and no need to do this again for many years. May 20, 2008.

That's no picnic. They're checking the Ash Street Project plans. May 20, 2008.

True: but do we really need a sign to tell us? May 22, 2008

That's a deep hole they're digging: and there'll be more, all the way up Ash Street. May 22, 2008.

While street work is going on at the north end, sidewalks are coming in from the south. That's Ash Street, by the Fairgrounds. May 22, 2008.

It's necessary to seal off the storm drains while the Ash Street Project is going on. I suppose I could look at this as a sort of drive-through car wash. It didn't take all that much rain to make the puddle. May 25, 2008.

Chewing up the street on South Ash. This didn't take long. May 31, 2008.

I'm sure that more happened in Sauk Centre over the weekend: but I missed it. Maybe this week I'll get around more.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008. I see in the Sauk Herald that we're getting a new police chief in August. He's been here since 2006. I wish Chief of Police Jim Metcalf well, in his job as teacher at Alex Tech.

The Ash Street Project is still approaching our house from both sides. The street digging is still concentrated down by Sinclair Lewis Avenue, but there's digging south of here, too. Room for sidewalks (both sides of Ash now) is being made from 12th up to near the Lake Wobegon Trail.

A contractor came to our house today, to look at what was involved in cutting a trench for water line work. A sort of up side of the project, for me, is that I'm getting an up close look at how small-town infrastructures are put together.

Too bad it's going to cost so much: but that's the way things work.

There should be photos on the Sauk Centre Journal for the Sunday entry. The main computer is working again, and should hold together long enough for me to get some pictures processed.

Sunday, May 25, 2008. Besides being an unofficial opening of summer vacation season, Memorial Day is when garage sale season begins. At least, around here. I spotted quite a few, including one next door to our home.

Memorial Day weekend is about half-over now. A squadron of thunderstorms rumbled by this morning, mostly east of Sauk Centre. I hear that they dropped quarter-sized hail on Cold Spring, about forty miles down the road.

Since the storm drains are blocked on Ash Street south, we had a sort of pond between Ninth street and Lake Wobegon Trail. It'll be interesting to see how long it lasts.

The Ash Street Project is moving along. Crews have the street near Sinclair Lewis Avenue "buttoned up" again, after the weeks excavation. I've been impressed with the way that the contractor has been approaching this project. Our household got a four-page pamphlet, telling what to expect. Three-page, actually, since the back page was blank.

Some of it wasn't very good news for homeowners: "Landscaping issues - Underground sprinklers systems, pet containment systems, and other landscaping items need to be removed from the right of way. The contractor will remove anything within the easement interfering with construction; however, they will not try to salvage or reinstall these items when construction is complete. Property owners will not be compensated if these items are damaged during construction."

On the other hand, "Refuse Collection - Residents should continue with the same disposal schedule/practice a before construction. If construction conditions require further transportation of your refuse containers, Bonestroo/Larson employees will transport the containers for haulers to pick up and will return your containers to your property."

There was more, including a map of the project, and contact names and telephone numbers. This was a great deal more information than I expected to get.

If you're thinking that it's odd that I've got no photos in this entry, you're right. My main computer is still on the sick list. I'm hoping that it will be in working order by Wednesday, but that's a hope. What actually happens remains to be seen.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008. This has been a beautiful day: clear, just enough clouds to be picturesque, perfect temperature.

The Ash Street Project is still busiest a few blocks south of Sinclair Lewis Avenue. It's a mess, but I'm impressed at how little dirt and debris I've seen on people's yards.

Memorial Day Weekend is coming up, and I suspect that quite a few households are planning which rummage sales to go to - or setting up for their own sales. My wife has marked up a listing of rummage sales, and has it by her place at the kitchen table.

I was hoping to show some photos I'd taken since the last entry, but this afternoon my main computer got bucky. I'm taking it in for therapy next week, but until it gets back to normal, I won't be able to work on photos, or do much of anything else on my digital to-do list. Happily, I can get at the Sauk Centre Journal with my old laptop, and write updates with a text editor.

Friday, May 16, 2008. This weekend is going to be crazy for me, so I'm writing Sunday's entry today.

The Ash Street Project is moving along. Even with today's powerful machines, the guys on the crew get their exercise, moving the buckets (?) of those overgrown backhoes.

Heavy work at the Ash Street Project, Sauk Centre, Minnesota
"ROAD CLOSED TO THRU TRAFFIC" - is this sign really necessary?
May 15, 2008.

Downtown, on Main Street ("The Original Main Street"), I noticed a bright new sign where the Chinese restaurant was.

It's still there, except now it's "Andy's Wok" and "Andy's Taco:" Sauk Centre's first Chinese Mexican restaurant. Come to think of it, I've never heard of a Chinese Mexican restaurant before.

Sounds like a good combination, though. They've got two menus: one for the 'wok' and the other for the 'taco' style. The place opened May 15, 2008: Thursday of this week.

Sauk Centre's first Chinese Mexican restaurant
I won't say "you can't miss it," but odds are that you won't. Andy's Wok and Andy's Taco together are the first Chinese Mexican restaurant I've ever heard of. May 15, 2008.

Andy's Wok and Andy's Taco: Under one roof
'The Eatery with Three Names: Lucky Bamboo, Andy's Wok and Andy's Taco. I like the approach. May 16, 2008.

Andy's Wok and Andy's Taco opened May 15, 2008.
This place (re?) opened May 15, 2008 - yesterday. May 16, 2008.

Sauk Centre's Chinese Mexican restaurant
They've dressed the place up, since I saw it last. As far as appearance goes, this is Andy's Wok, with Mexican food as a menu option.
May 16, 2008.

Andy's Wok and Andy's Taco in Sauk Centre Minnesota
I'd already eaten, when I took these pictures, confound it: I'd have liked to have an excuse to see what that tastes like. May 16, 2008.

I saw in this week's Sauk Herald that there's a Norwegian exchange student in Sauk Centre these days. The article included her photo. Made me feel a bit nostalgic. She looks a lot like many of the kids in my high school class, up in the Red River Valley of the North.

The fishing opener came on Mother's Day Weekend (who thought that one up?!) as usual this year. It wasn't very exciting, I gather: between high fuel prices, cold water, and rain to match. Resort owners here, and in the rest of Minnesota are understandably concerned about this year's tourist season.

And, I read that the city council is thinking about taking some street lights off County Road 17, and putting them on Ash Street. Seems like County 17 is too bright (didn't say too bright for what).

They're going to try turning off every other light on the county road for a while, to see what happens.

If there really is too much light there, I wouldn't mind the city saving a few bucks that way.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008. A beautiful day here in Sauk Centre. Unlike yesterday, when it was raining. Not that we can't use the rain: It's one of those useful things that aren't always pleasant to experience. Particularly on a chilly day.

The Ash Street Project is moving along. Monday, there was water fooshing out of pipes in the 700 block of Ash Street. I don't know why that was being done, but it seemed to be by design: not an accident. Maybe this is a way of flushing water pockets out of the pipes? Or maybe they needed the ground to be wet.

The Ash Street fountains of Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Water on the streets, whooshing and burbling in the air. May 12, 2008.

An energetic pipe on Ash Street, Sauk Centre, Minnesota
This was a particularly energetic jet of water on Ash Street, near Our Lady of the Angels church. May 12, 2008.

The addition on the United Methodist Church, near the Ding Dong Cafe, is taking shape. Aside from giving the church more room inside, I think it's giving the outside some visual interest.

United Methodist Church addition west side
United Methodist Church addition is shaping up. That's a very cheerful color, but my guess is that they'll wind up with something more subdued. May 14, 2008.

United Methodist Church east side in Sauk Centre, Minnesota
United Methodist Church in Sauk Centre: Looks like the church is growing. May 14, 2008.

On the north side today, I spotted a household that seems to be set for summer. An outdoor grill, picnic table, and birdbath, with some shade: they've got it made.

A picnic table, birdbath, and outdoor grill, plus some shade. That looks like a great setup for summer. May 14, 2008.

This weekend is going to be an interesting one for me. I'll be back, later this week, to tell a little more about it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008. Mother's Day.

I see in this week's Sauk Herald that a meeting at City Hall a week ago tomorrow unveiled "plans for a Small Business Development Center to help these businesses succeed and hopefully spur some new businesses to break through." I got the impression that it's not so much a new facility in Sauk Centre, as periodic opportunities to talk to people from the St. Cloud Small Business Development Center.

Sounds promising: The SBDCs seem to be intended to help people with business ideas get started.

Also in the paper, I read that a group went on a tour of St. Paul's Church as part of a course in church history and architecture in this part of Minnesota. The article says that St. Paul's is just about through with a $250,000 window renovation project.

Meanwhile, the other Catholic Church in town is getting ready to pay for sewer work and the rest of their share of the Ash Street Project. That's the church my family goes to. Today I learned that the outfit that's doing the work has said that they'll "button up" the street for Saturday and Sunday Masses, and that they'll make an effort to do the same for special events like weddings and funerals, providing that we plan ahead. How we could plan ahead for funerals, I don't know.

Ash Street Project costs some lots their trees in Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Some trees have to go, I understand. I'm not happy about that, but I understand how it goes. It seems a shame, though, seeing a tree cut down just as the leaves are starting to come out. May 9, 2008.

New sewer pipes under Ash Street - and it's about time. Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Now there's a balancing act, in terms of scheduling and logistics: This homeowner is getting roofing work done: With the Ash Street Project tearing up the street. The good news is: all the mess is happening at the same time. May 9, 2008.

A few blocks west of the Ash Street Project, you wouldn't know it was happening. Traffic on Main Street seems a little heavier than usual, but so far I haven't run into anything serious.

Traffic congestion, Sauk Centre Style
Downtown traffic got pretty thick around noon on Friday. For Sauk Centre, that is. May 9, 2008.

If this keeps up, people will start feeling inhibited about jaywalking across Main Street.

Finally, some good news. We got a soaking rain yesterday. I understand that this is good news, agriculturally speaking. Unless you were planning to plant or till right about now. Still, I can't help but think that, with sandy soil like we've got, almost any rain is good rain.

Thursday, May 8, 2008. This post is a day late. No excuse, but I've got an explanation of sorts. This has been a crazy week for me. I wrote about what's been happening in another blog:

Ash Street isn't the only place in Sauk Centre that's been getting refurbished. 12th Street South got new power poles this week.

Utility pole replacement on south 12, Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Spindly-looking things, those cherry pickers. I imagine it's quite a balancing act, moving them around without tipping over. May 5, 2008.

The lowest wire on the new poles is higher than the top of the old ones. The fellow in the cherry-picker has a great view, but I'd just as soon not have his job. May 5, 2008.

The Ash Street Project is still a preoccupation for me. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that around the first week in June, I'll be able to take photos of the project from my front stoop.

Mystery process on Ash Street, Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
I have no idea what these guys were doing. The machine was holding a slab of concrete quite level, about six feet off the ground. May 5, 2008.

Digging around trees on Ash Street, Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
I'll say this for the outfit that's doing the work: They're trying to work around some of the trees. I hope their efforts pay off. May 7, 2008.

Pipes piled on Ash Street, Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
Piles of piping catching the morning light. Just getting stuff stockpiled
for the day's work is a job. May 7, 2008.

Coils, crates, and pipes on Ash Street, Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
Coils, crates, and more pipes on Ash Street. May 7, 2008.

Setting up for the day's work on Ash Street, Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
More stuff getting unloaded on south Ash. May 7, 2008.

Starting work on the north end of South Ash, leaving the south part until after school is out for the summer probably has something to do with that gymkhana of cars and assorted vehicles that pours out of the high school parking lot every day.

Sunday, May 4, 2008. I've been out of town since Friday. And, since I live on Ash Street South in Sauk Centre, I'm a bit preoccupied with the Ash Street Project.

That explains why there's nothing by photos of Ash Street to show today.

Rain or shine - this project has a schedule
Dig those crazy pipes. May 1, 2008.

A big, noisy, indespensible machine
They're big, they're noisy, they're not very easy on the eyes, either:
but without them, the Ash Street Project wouldn't be done this summer. May 2, 2008.

Some progress
A couple days later, and there's been some progress. May 4, 2008.

Ash Street this summer. It's not going to be one of those 'having a great time, wish you were here' seasons. May 4, 2008.

Now that I'm back in town, I hope to get around a little and see what's been going on. See you Wednesday night.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008. The Ash Street Project started today. They got the street torn up from South 8th to Sinclair Lewis Avenue. This is going to be a very interesting summer.

(My webcam on Sauk Centre's south side, at the corner of Ash and 9th Street South, should a fine view of some of the Ash Street Project's work - when it gets down here. Meanwhile, I'm hoping for hummingbirds.) 

House near Lake Wobegon Trail, Sauk Centre, Minnesota
That's one good-looking lawn, on  Ash Street near Lake Wobegon Trail. April 29, 2008.

Red house in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
This household was moving their plants yesterday. I'm hoping to avoid that, myself. We're going to loose five trees and a shrub, but aside from that we should be okay. April 29, 2008.

Corner lot in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
When you start looking, there are a lot of lawns up and down Ash Street, where people took trouble to make things look nice. April 29, 2008.

What a season to buy in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
This is not the summer I'd have chosen to buy a house on South Ash. April 29, 2008.

Preparations of Ash Street in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
There's been a lot of planning and preparation going on: equipment set in place, pipes (I think) laid out. April 29, 2008.

Mystery wrap on storm drains in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
And then there's this. It must have something to do with the Ash Street project. April 29, 2008.

'Blind' intersection, sort of, in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
Won't be long before we'll have a front-row seat on construction, at this end of the street. April 29, 2008.

That last picture, the one with the caption that starts, "Won't be long," Shows part of our yard. Some people have lawns: we have a yard. Those three trees that the red van is hiding behind? A photo of them was used by the City of Sauk Centre to illustrate how some trees would have to be removed.

That was when I realized that I didn't have much of a chance of negotiating my way into keeping them. Apparently they keep people driving on Ash from seeing vehicles on the cross street. Okay, I can see that, sort of. I'm going to miss the shade, though, on summer afternoons. 

The road-eater in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
It's got another name, but I call this the road-eater. April 29, 2008.

Road Closed sign in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
"Road Closed to Thru Traffic?" That sign doesn't make much sense, looking from this point. April 30, 2008.

Road work on Ash Street, in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
Here, it makes more sense. I just about drove into this, this morning.
April 30, 2008.

Not that the Ash Street Project is the only thing going on in town.

Construction across from the golf course in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
Construction going on, across from the golf course. What it is, I haven't a clue. Maybe I should read the paper more often. April 30, 2008.

Iron Man advance showing in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
Downtown, "Iron Man" has an advance showing tomorrow night. April 30, 2008.

And, the United Methodist Church addition, near the Ding Dong Cafe, is moving along.

Sunday, April 27, 2008. The school referendum passed, by quite a margin this week. The Ash Street Project starts next week.

Signs were getting set up Thursday. At this end, the sign near Ash and south 12th was the first to get set up. April 24, 2008.

A crew from Sauk Centre Public Utilities was here ten days ago, getting an idea of where the sewer line for our house went.

Public utilities crew checking the sewers
Sauk Centre Public Utilities: More of the people who keep things going. April 17, 2008.

When they were done, the Minnesotan phrase, "it could be worse" pretty well summed up the situation. The line apparently was laid before sewer service extended beyond 9th Street. The thing heads north, then northwest: under two trees and a bush we were hoping to save.

I'm pretty sure people on Ash are having similar experiences.

One of my webcams, "Small Town America: Central Minnesota"
gives a pretty good view of the corner of Ash Street and South 9th.

Sauk Centre public utilities, tracking a sewer line
I think the crew was testing out some new equipment. Their sensor wands made some very odd sounds. April 17, 2008.

"Minnesota doesn't have a climate: It has weather." Our spring showers closed Interstate Highway 94 from Osakis to Fargo for a while, yesterday. 

Springtime in Minnesota: snow on April 26.
Minnesota: Whatever else you may say about our weather, "boring" it isn't. April 26, 2008.

I heard someone say that wooly mammoths would be heading into our region next week, but I think he was kidding.

Optimistic hummingbird feeder.
A hummingbird feeder. Set out just a little early. April 26, 2008.

Yesterday's snow is something I'm glad I didn't have to drive through, but it was just about ideal for snowballs or snowmen. I made a small snowman, about nine or ten inches tall, while grilling lunch yesterday.

Small snowman in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
Not much of a conversationalist, but few snowmen are. April 26, 2008.

There's already quite a bit of spring-green grass showing through the snow. Maybe we'll get a reasonable facsimile of summer, yet.

Wednesday, April 24, 2008. This has been a beautiful, warm, sunny day. There are more colored marks and little flags on and around Ash Street, a reminder of what's coming after school lets out for the summer. And, there's more about the school referendum vote in the Sauk Centre Herald. Including a passionate letter to the editor or two.

I also read that a sort of committee of 10th, 11th, and 12th graders from the school painted a mural on a wall of the bus garage. I haven't seen it - the mural, that is - but I'll try to get a photo.

This is a very short entry, I see. What can I say? I've been distracted. That will change, like everything else in this mutable cosmos.

Sunday, April 20, 2008. What with one thing and another (Through One Dad's Eye gives a little detail), I'm at the end of Sunday, and still don't have any photos ready.

Ash Street South has more marks painted on it now: I think there's a very good chance that they'll get this project started shortly after school ends in May.

Deacon Kaas helped celebrate Mass at Our Lady of the Angels church this Sunday - with a walker. He explained that his knee had gotten twisted again, and a muscle was spasming. Doesn't sound pleasant, but he's getting around pretty well.

I'm pretty sure that isn't all that happened, but it's all I can think of at the moment.

If I think of more, tomorrow, I'll be back.

If not, I'll be back Wednesday: whether I've got anything to say, or not.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008. You may have expected some photos to go with this entry.

So did I.

Maybe later.

Meanwhile, I got a call from somebody with Sauk Centre utilities. The other day, they had a crew out here with a crawler and a camera, getting up close and personal with the sewer. Turns out, the sewer arrangement for this house is a little odd. Their best guess is that after in goes out the west side of the house, it heads north to ninth, then on into the Ash street sewer.

They want to do a little work, which will get done tomorrow morning, to give them a better picture of what's going on down there. It involves putting a sort of tape in our sewage pipe, and having a crew outside play 'find the signal.' Should be interesting.

I also learned that they'll probably doing some core sampling at the south end of this block. That's my phrase, not what I was told. It seems that there may be granite down there. One of our neighbors is not going to be happy about that.

With this Ash Street Project coming, I really feel sympathy for people on Ash who have put special effort into fixing up their front yards.

Being a relatively small town doesn't deprive Sauk Centre of experiencing today's problems. There's drug and gang information meeting coming up Tuesday, April 22, 7 p.m. at the Sauk Centre High School Auditorium.. The Sauk Herald has more information about it.

I suppose, as a responsible homeowner, I ought to go.

Sunday, April 13, 2008. Deacon Kaas is back, after one of his carpal tunnel procedures. And, we still have snow on the ground. Lots of it.

I thought it would be fun to lead off with a few photos from this week.

Before the snow in Sauk Centre, Minnesota
About 10:20 Thursday morning. Quite a nice day. So far. April 10, 2008.

About 5:10 Thursday afternoon. Not the best time for a stroll. April 10, 2008.

Springtime in Minnesota
About 10:30 Friday morning. Minnesota: we don't have a climate, we have weather. April 11, 2008.

It was actually rather warm on Friday morning April 11, 2008.

Sunday morning icicles. April 13, 2008.

"Oh, the flowers that bloom in the spring, tra-la!" April 13, 2008.

Almost-ideal snowman-making conditions. April 13, 2008.

A lovely couple. April 13, 2008.

Week before last's Sauk Centre Herald had an article on a family we know: the Lauers: "Quite a Feat!" The eight Lauers each have earned a black belt in Soo Bahk Do. My wife and the two kids who are still at home practice Soo Bahk Do regularly. It's a very good discipline: As Master Westbrock put it, "It's a lot more than just the breaking of a board."

One family, eight black belts. That weird corkscrew above "feat!" is a high-efficiency light bulb. April 13, 2008.

I'd hoped to pick where I'd left off, some years ago, this month. Maybe in March.

This week's Herald has quite a bit about a school referendum that we'll be voting on soon.

Good grief! I forgot about the wooden golfing bear! That bruin will have to wait. It's late. If I'm going to get any work done tomorrow, I've got to knock off now and get some sleep.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008. Last week, I noticed fresh tar in some cracks in the streets. Looks like the street department wasn't wasting any time, once things warmed up.

Getting ready to tar the streets in Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Getting ready to tar the streets. Painting  the town black? April 4, 2008.

I got out for a few minutes today, and enjoyed the spring weather. Good thing, too, since there's a winter weather advisory, starting about 1:00 tomorrow afternoon, and running until Saturday morning. We could get half a foot of snow or more.

Snow from northern Minnesota, stuck to a truck.
Snow from northern Minnesota, knocked off a truck here. April 7, 2008.

Then again, we might not. The last time there was snow forecast, it went north of us.

Another change in town that I missed: There's a new eatery (or at any rate, a new name) below The Palms Motel: Bourbon Street Restaurant and Lounge ("Taste of New Orleans"). New Orleans? In Sauk Centre, Minnesota? Works for me.

Bourbon Street: A bit of New Orleans. In Sauk Centre?! April 9, 2008.

Taste of New Orleans. With Classic Country Karaoke. Yes, this is definitely Sauk Centre. And, sounds like fun. April 9, 2008.

There's more to show, including a wooden golfing bear: but this is it for now.

Monday, April 7, 2008. I've crossed out the major-league goofs in the last two entries (Friday's and Sunday's). I thought of deleting them, but the idea didn't sit well. my explanation (excuse?) is that I still haven't quite caught up on sleep. Besides, there was quite a news blitz on the MLK topic, Friday.

On more important matters: we had a light coat of snow this morning, almost enough to fill in the spaces between blades of grass. All of it - as far as I could tell - was gone by sunset.

As long as I'm here, a word about my webcam on Sauk Centre's south side. It's at the corner of Ash and 9th Street South: and give a fine view of some of the Ash Street Project's work.

Sunday, April 6, 2008. It's Martin Luther King Day (0bserved) tomorrow: which means no mail delivery, and pretty good odds of flags being on the downtown light poles. I was a little surprised, when the flags weren't up already, on Friday afternoon.

It's been a wet weekend. The snow we expected went north of us, which I don't mind. It's starting to look like spring and/or summer, apart from the occasional shaded snowdrifts.

Deacon Kaas's carpal tunnel surgery will have to wait. The knee replacement he got was working fine, until he twisted it. Or, at any rate, it got twisted. He's getting around with a walker and will power. We're waiting to learn more.

There's been a really bad bug going around for the last month or so. I haven't seen anything about it the news - and haven't looked very hard. I doubt that it's the sort of thing that's easy to pin down. Whatever it is, it acts like a cold, with some lower g.i. tract unpleasantness.

Mostly, it's been more of an annoyance than anything: but it sounds like one family in the area got hit very hard. A young couple's infant had what appeared to be a cold. They did everything right, took the kid to a doctor, the whole nine yards: and a little after that, their child was dead. That hurts.

The street sweeper has been roaring up and down Ash Street, cleaning up the winter's grit. Even with the construction that's coming, I suppose that makes sense. It'll be dusty enough this summer, without traffic redistributing the winter's accumulation first.

The Ash Street Project is still bearing down on us. I understand the need for repair and maintenance. That doesn't mean I'm going to like the mess in what's left of the front yard this summer: and having to find other ways of getting the van out.

The Sauk Herald did a good job of reporting, in week-before-last's paper (March 25, 2008): but may have left an inaccurate impression. The headline read, "Ash street residents oppose sidewalk decision," and the first sentence was: "Two Ash Street residents opposed the council's decision to put a sidewalk on the west side of Ash Street as part of the 2008 reconstruction project."

Accurate, as far as it goes. But I know it's not the whole story. There are at least three Ash Street residence who oppose the council's decision about a west side sidewalk. I'm not convinced that it's the best decision: but I didn't put my signature on the petition.

I put a copy of that petition, and my reasons for not signing it, in the March 14, 2008, entry.

Friday, April 4, 2008. Martin Luther King Day, the 40th anniversary of his assassination, is today, but it's officially next Monday. I was downtown this afternoon, around 3:00, and didn't see any flags up. The city crews generally have them up by now. I suppose that the upcoming Ash Street Project - and practical matters like plugging cracks in the streets with tar - have kept them busy.

Which reminds me: I have something to say about the Ash Street thing. It'll have to wait until Sunday, though. I'm still waking up from night-before-last's all-nighter with my tax records. (A little more about that at "Thursday: Beautiful Day with Ducks.")

Funny, I used to rebound from things like that faster, back in the seventies.

There's been a change downtown, and I missed when it happened. It's not as big a change as the one back in 2003, when "all star PIZZA" closed and  The Grand Buffet Chinese Restaurant opened at the pizzeria's location. The Chinese restaurant's telephone number is still the same as it's been since then, but now it's called "Lucky Bamboo Chinese Restaurant."

Lucky Bamboo Chinese Restaurant, Sauk Centre
Same location, new name. I wish I could read Chinese. April 3, 2008.

The weather has been changing, too. We had snow Monday, beautifully clear weather for part of the day after, more snow, and now today was a balmy sixty-something with blue skies and warm sun. I understand that there's snow coming tomorrow.

All the times I've heard Minnesota's weather described, "boring" was never mentioned.

Flowers of spring, Minnesota style: Sauk Centre
Ah, the flowers of Spring. Minnesota style. April 1, 2008.

Flowers of spring, Minnesota style, again: sauk centre
Next day: the flowers have some company. I half-expect salt to be pouring from a bottle in the girl's arms. April 2, 2008.

Ah, spring! That rapturous season when a duck's fancy turns to another duck. I saw a pair obliviously waddling along a street near downtown today.

Granted, it was a lovely day for a stroll, and the traffic was light, but that was a bird-brained place to take a constitutional.

"I love you, I love you, I love you
And where you go I'll follow, I'll follow, I'll follow..." April 4, 2008.

Let's see: taxes; Lucky Bamboo; flowers and snow; daft ducks. I seem to have covered everything. Apart from that Ash Street business. But, that'll wait.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008. Snow on Monday, a beautifully clear day yesterday, a little more snow today. So far, this week has been "typical" Minnesota spring weather. All we're missing is a thunderstorm, a blizzard, and sixty-degree weather.

I have until tomorrow morning, to get my 2007 tax information together, so the rest of today's entry will have to wait until tomorrow.

Sunday, March 30, 2008. Mercy Sunday. Quite a few years ago, my wife and I got married here in Sauk Centre, the day before Mercy Sunday. The next day, Sauk Centre was dedicated to The Divine Mercy: quite possibly the first town to be dedicated that way.

Anyway, winter is melting. We call the process "spring." I've started wearing a medium-weight jacket when I go outside, and the snowmen are starting to show their age. Grass is green, brown, grayish-brown, and everything in between. These photos will give a better idea of what it's like: It's the old 'picture worth a thousand words' thing.

Snowmen in springtime, Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Snowmen of spring: the last stand. March 30, 2008.

Spring banner, Winter Snow, Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Minnesota: Easter bunny banner, winter snow. March 30, 2008.

Springtime in Minnesota
Springtime, Minnesota style. March 30, 2008.

Spring flowers, Minnesota style, Sauk Centre, Minnesota
This is the only known practical way to get spring flowers in Minnesota, with any reliability: Set out "permanent" flowers. March 30, 2008.

That's all for now, until next time, when there will be more.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008. Alco is closing its Sauk Centre store. 'Store Closing Sale' signs are in the window. It's a rather somber sight. I thought they had a good operation there, and I'll be sorry to see it go. And, I sympathize with the folks who will be looking for work now.

The Alco closing is the one change lately in Sauk Centre businesses that I think might have happened because Wal-Mart moved into town. Alco is a discount department store, like Wal-Mart, and I suspect that the businesses were too similar - and that Sauk Centre isn't big enough for two, yet.

Alco store closing in Sauk Centre, Minnesota
I'm sorry to see Alco go March 24, 2008.

Same bank, new name, in Sauk Centre, Minnesota
First National Bank is now Minnesota National Bank and Agency. March 24, 2008.

On a brighter or at least different, note, First National Bank isn't in Sauk Centre any more: Despite what it says on that old-fashioned clock. As of last Saturday (March 22), First National Bank of Sauk Centre and Lake Country State Bank merged.

Now they're Minnesota National Bank. The 'new' bank started operations on Monday. Their FAQ says that they're working with pretty much the same people in the same jobs: for which I'm glad.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008. It's been a busy week for me, so far. (More about that at Through One Dad's Eye.)

"I'm dreaming of a white Easter" might have been the theme for the Maundy Thursday - Easter Sunday period. We had a Christmassy covering of snow.

Easter Snow in Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Beautiful weather: for Christmas! March 22, 2008.

Merry Christmas / Whoops!! Happy Easter Sign, downtown Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Sauk Centre Floral had the right attitude, I think. March 22, 2008.

Easter Mass begins, Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Easter Mass, Our Lady of the Angels. March 23, 2008.

Easter Mass, Our Lady of the Angels, Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Easter Mass at Our Lady of the Angels church. March 23, 2008.

There's more: I'll get to that tomorrow night, I trust.

Monday, March 24, 2008. I did it again. I've run out of day, and still have tasks left over. Sunday's entry is going to bump into Wednesday's, at this rate.

Sunday, March 23, 2008. I did it again. It's actually Monday, when I'm writing this, and the photos, and what I have to write, aren't ready. I haven't exactly been wasting my time (Through One Dad's Eye tells what I've been up to), but it didn't get the Sauk Centre Journal done.

However, I intend to get working at it again, after a few hours sleep.

Thursday, March 20, 2008. It's Maundy Thursday, so this family went to Mass at Our Lady of the Angels Church today, along with quite a few other people.

Easter, at least the greeting-card variety, is supposed to be bright, blue, warm weather. It's been warm, above freezing at any rate, but the sky has been either overcast, or really overcast.

Maybe that's why there aren't as many Easter displays out this year. At least, I haven't noticed them. There are some, though.

Easter sidewalk decorations in Sauk Centre, Minnesota
These went up right after the St. Pat's Leprechaun disappeared. Quick work! March 20, 2008.

Easter Egg basket in Sauk Centre, Minnesota
That's a nice touch: and those ostrich-size Easter Eggs make the basket visible from the street. March 20, 2008.

Window Easter decorations in Sauk Centre, Minnesota
And, of course, the traditional Easter Bunny. March 20, 2008.

I won't be back until Sunday night, so: Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008.

Actually, it's Thursday already. I didn't get yesterday's entry done. Right now, I plan to put the mid-week entry up later Thursday evening.

Happy St. Patrick's DaySunday, March 16, 2008. The day after St. Patrick's Day!

So, Happy St. Patrick's Day, a day late! St. Pat's day is usually March 17, but this year that would have run it into Holy Monday. I didn't realize this until yesterday. (I see that things are back to normal next year.)

It's also Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week. This family brought palm fronds home from church, as usual, and will probably be weaving them tomorrow evening. Maybe tonight, but I doubt that.

As usual, hats off to householders who decorate for the holidays. One of our neighbors is particularly energetic that way. He was on the roof, yesterday. I think he was stringing lights. Right now, that house is configured for St. Patrick's Day. My guess is that there'll be a scramble soon, and when it's over there will be something of a culturally-Easter nature on display.

I'm looking forward to that.

Happy Easter to the Whole Church
Someone left Easter greetings in the choir loft at Our Lady of the Angels church. March 15, 2008.

Palm Sunday 2008
Palm Sunday: Actually, the Saturday evening before. March 15, 2008.

Palm Fronds and Holy Water
Palm Fronds at Our Lady of the Angels church. March 15, 2008.

Happy St. Patrick's Day
Happy St. Patrick's Day. March 16, 008.

Springtime in Minnesota!
Springtime in Minnesota: Some of the grass is green. March 15, 2008.

It's springtime in Minnesota. Snow is melting, receding to reveal patches of grass, and a winter's accumulation of dust and dirt. I spent part of Saturday and Sunday, grilling lunch: as usual.

Much as I like the crisp blues, whites and grays of winter, I'll be glad when the snow and ice is completely gone.

Friday, March 14, 2008. A neighbor of mine stopped by this morning, with a petition. It's about the Ash Street project. He isn't too happy about how it's working out, and - more to the point - how it's been handled.

Ash Street Project Petition
March 13, 2008

March 13, 2008

Mayor Kirchof & Council members
320 S Oak Street
Sauk Centre, MN 56378

Regarding Ash Street Project

To Whom It May Concern:

First of all, thank you Councilman Stone for voting against the sidewalk all the way down on the east side of Ash Street.

When there were three alternatives given, before the City went out for bids, we thought there was some hope. But oh no, not on your life.

When the bids came in lower than expected, of course we would need a sidewalk all the way down on the east side of the road. More money had to be spent regardless of how it affects the people that will be assessed and probably the engineers would come up short. We don't know if this is arrogance displayed, a desire for power or pride that drives you to do what you do. You don't seem to think that any of the people that signed a petition against the sidewalk and provided the statistics about the use of the current sidewalk are entitled to a reason why you vote the way you do. This utter disregard for the feeling of the people is despicable. Councilman Coenen practically jumped out of his chair when the third alternative was given. He sited the fact that people would have to cross over Ash Street and this would be a safety factor, but many, many snowmobiles, bikes and people cross over the street in the trail crosswalk everyday, without a problem.

The disheartening part of dealing with all of this is the arrogance shown by all of you but Councilman Stone, and you all know who will do the paying. We are totally disgusted with the whole public process. What a sad thing to say about the City of Sauk Centre. It's a total shame.

Respectfully Submitted,

The Disheartened People on the 900 block of Ash Street.

I didn't sign the petition: not because I think it's inaccurate, but because I've got rules for myself. I wrote a bit more about that in Through One Dad's Eye.

Just the same, I think it's a good idea to put a copy somewhere besides the city council's desk. What troubles me is the impression I got, that a decision had already been made about what would be done with Ash Street: and that "public input" was more of a magnanimous gesture of responsiveness than a practical call for ideas and recommendations.

I see, on the City of Sauk Centre website, that the next city council meeting is next Wednesday, the 19th. I doubt that I'll go, but it could be interesting.

I'll be back, Sunday night.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008. I'm going to have to quote Will Rogers today: "Well, all I know is just what I read in the papers," because I haven't seen much of Sauk Centre this week. I'm getting over whatever I had over the weekend, for which I'm duly thankful. Again, there's more at Through One Dad's Eye.

Back to Sauk Centre. I see in the Herald that the Ash Street project bids came in lower than expected. 23% under the city engineer's estimate. Good news, I hope. When I read that, I remembered the silo complex that fell over in West Fargo when I was a child, and the marvelously cracked and collapsed sidewalks of my old neighborhood.

On the other hand, city engineer Keith Yapp said: "The bidding climate is the best I've seen in my 22 years," so Sauk Centre may be getting a real bargain.

As one of the householders who's going to be assessed for the project, I'm not letting myself hope for getting hit for a whole lot less than we expected: but it would be nice.

It looks like Sauk Centre will have new sidewalks all the way from Sinclair Lewis Avenue to south 12th on Ash. Both sides. I sure hope that decision was made after very serious thought. The practical and safety concerns I've got are further south on the street, mostly around the Ford dealership.

Up on the residential end of south Ash, there are going to be some very disappointed homeowners. Some of those folks have very nice decorations in their yard: rustic-looking corner fences, that sort of thing. Well, they'd probably have to go with the street work, anyway.

My place? Well, I'm going to miss those trees in front.

The Sauk Herald's article ended with what struck me as a wonderful understatement. "There is an urgency to finish the project before school begins as Ash Street is the main road for school buses."

At the other end of town, there's another 'assisted living facility' planned, "near the Sauk Centre Country Club." Sounds like someone's found a use for the old Home School site.

Nope: I see that the article says the facility will be connected with the W.H. Cates Golf View Addition. That's the place east of the Country Club. The assisted living place will sit on 2.53 acres, and be a two-story wood frame structure, 47,000 square feet. Pretty good sized: If it was square, that'd be about 150 feet on a side, I think.

A St. Cloud company called Fairway Pines Senior Living Communities is planning to build the place. Besides the assisted living units, there's going to be 16 "memory care units" for people dealing with memory loss.

With the Getty Street facility down by the Interstate, that'll make two places for folks who are older, need some help, but not a full-press medical facility.

The northside facility is getting a tax break to the tune of $60,000, according to the Herald. Looking at what this household is getting hit for, with the Ash Street project, I could get envious. But, my guess is that with a few more jobs in town, and more people connected with the facility buying gas and groceries in Sauk Centre, we'll get some indirect benefits.

Before I sign off, two articles I'd like to recommend in this week's Herald: "It's been 50 years ..." about Mark Anderson's experience in a bus accident fifty years ago, and "Jayden Fuchs is a Leap Day baby."

Sunday, March 9, 2008. Next Sunday is Palm Sunday. Between Easter and St. Patrick's Day, store shelves have been a sort of patchwork of intense greens and pastels.

I see that Coborn's is having "Fun Day next Saturday: Photos with the Bunny, Easter egg hunt, that sort of thing. Sounds fun.

I don't have much else to add. I could blame the way I'm feeling on Daylight Savings Time (jet lag for the masses), but I'm under the weather, too (again, Through One Dad's Eye has a few details). Looks like it's the flu.

Here's hoping that I'm more up and around by Wednesday.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008. I haven't been out much, since the weekend, what with one thing and another (Through One Dad's Eye has a few details). The only big deal I know about is a phone scam in the area, and that Ellen Thompson was named the diversiCOM Teacher of the year.

Ellen Thompson is a Sauk Centre agriculture teacher - there's more in the Sauk Herald.

That phone scam showed up in the Alexandria Echo Press. It targets people with grandkids. The scammer says something like, "hi, grandpa!" and keeps the conversation going until the mark says something like, "is that you, Billy?" Then the talk turns to "Billy's" urgent need for money. Unpleasant business.

I haven't heard much about the weekend's weather. That drive home, Sunday night, was memorable. Here are a few photos from the weekend.

Road crew, I94 Minnesota
Road crews were out on Friday, although the weather wasn't too bad. Just before taking this photo, I'd passed a grain truck in the median, getting emptied. February 29, 2008.

Log house on the road, I94, Minnesota
That's the first time I'd seen a 'log house' on the Interstate. February 29, 2008.

car in the median, I29, North Dakota
Wind and blowing snow, right around the freezing point. Not the sort of weather I enjoy driving in. The good news is that, with all the traffic, folks call these accidents in pretty quickly. March 2, 2008.

Blowing snow and ice, I94 Minnesota
Between Moorhead and Fergus Falls. You'd think having a tail wind would help. March 2, 2008.

Upside-down car on I94, Minnesota
I'm still not sure which direction that red car was coming from. This was between Moorhead and Fergus Falls, on I94. March 2, 2008.

Vehicle on its side, I94, Minnesota
A change of pace. This vehicle wound up on its side. Not visible, a wrecker and crew, dealing with the accident, and a fellow crawling along at a leisurely 35 miles an hour or so - on the Interstate - keeping life interesting for his fellow-drivers. This was at the Fergus Falls Exit near Wal-Mart. March 2, 2008.

I see I didn't get that 'Monday' entry done, that I wrote about in the Sunday entry. I'll try to do better by next Sunday.

Sunday, March 2, 2008. I've been gone since Friday, and got back tonight. Sauk Centre's gotten some more snow since I was here last, but I haven't had a chance to go around and see much since Wednesday.

I did, however, drive by a crew working on some wires last Thursday. Between that memory, and my experiences coming back from the Red River Valley today, I'd like to say "thanks!" to everyone who keeps utilities and emergency services running, 24/7, whatever the weather.

Utility work and wet snow: Sauk Centre, Minnesota
A crew at work on Ash, just north of south 12th. Those streaks are snowflakes. February 28, 2008.

I'll try to be back Monday night, with a little more.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008. We're getting more marks on Ash Street's pavement, and on the snow. The latest set I've noticed are yellow. I still don't have a clue why the snow is being painted: unless someone wants to get a really early start on the road work. Or, as someone suggested, there are going to be aerial photos made.

Ash Street South, Sauk Centre, Minnesota: Paint on the snow?!
There, in the middle of the photo: a straight yellow line, across the street and onto the snow on the other side. Hmm. That's not the best view. February 25, 2008.

Yellow markings on Ash Street, Sauk Centre, Minnesota
That's a better angle. Painting the street, I understand. Why Paint the snow, though? February 25, 2008.

Whatever the reason for painting the streetside snow, it's taking a pretty good-size crew to get the job done. I counted over a half-dozen the other day, when they were conferring.

Conference on Ash Street. Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Conferring at the corner of South Ash and the Lake Wobegon Trail. February 25, 2008.

On a more serious note, it says in the Sauk Centre Herald that there's a Level Three Sex Offender who's being released soon, and may be living in Melrose. I can't say that I'm happy about that, but at least now we're being told when things like this happen.

I did a little checking, and found out that if the man settles in Melrose, that town may be better off, in terms of risk, than Sauk Centre, Freeport, St. Rosa, Meire Grove, Greenwald, and New Munich. There's more, in "Wednesday: Level 3 Sex Offender Down the Road?," a post on my "Through One Dad's Eye" blog.

St. Patrick's Day and Easter stuff for sale. Sauk Centre, Minnesota
St. Patrick's Day stuff, and Easter things for sale. February 25, 2008.

Finally: it's here. Shamrockoid shapes on store shelves; goofy hats, wigs and beads: all of them green, proclaim the coming of St. Patrick's Day. And, right next to them, food coloring, plastic eggs, and all the other pastel portents of Easter.

Sunday, February 24, 2008. This was a foggy Sunday in Sauk Centre. It's a scenic sort of weather: and I'm glad I didn't have to drive out of town. 

Winter fog in Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Fog on south Ash Street: Serene scene, low visibility. February 24, 2008.

Yesterday, I noticed green and blue markings on and around the street on south Ash. My guess is that they're part of the preparations for the big Ash Street project this summer.

The green markings on the street's pavement, I can understand. The little colored flags on the yard make sense, too. My guess is that some of the utilities have been found and marked.

Markings on Snow, Sauk Centre, Minnesota
The flag will remain, but that paint will be gone after the Spring melt. February 24, 2008.

What floors me are the blue marks on the snow. Unless some of the work is done fast, those marks will be gone. Spring isn't all that far away, and we've been known to have early thaws.

More markings on snow, Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Just how long do we expect the snow to last this year? February 24, 2008.

Happily, I don't have to do the planning for that project, so the blue marks aren't my concern.

What I will have to do is find a way to get a special lilac out of the front yard, before the road crews come through.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008. Something I didn't mention in the last entry: The flu is going around this area. This family hasn't gotten it yet, for which I'm duly grateful, but we know a couple of folks who do. We got the word at church, last Sunday, that St. Mike's nursing home and hospital, up on the north side, wants people to hold off visiting for a while. They're understandably concerned about letting the bug get in.

We've been having some cold weather here. It was about 20 below zero this morning, by our outside thermometer. Today is garbage pickup day for this household. Which reminds me: hats off to everyone who has one of those jobs that need to get done: like garbage pickup, keeping the utilities working, emergency services, that sort of thing. 

Sub-zero garbage pickup: Thanks! Sauk Centre, Minnesota
It's a cold job: and I'm glad someone's doing it. February 20, 2008.

Picking up a prescription at Wal-Mart on Monday, I saw a man going in, wearing a distinctive sort of cape-cap. I'm pretty sure that it was an actual pelt. I didn't have a chance to talk with him, so I don't know the story of his garb. 

Pelt-cape at Wal-Mart, Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Yes, that seems to be a real pelt. Distinctive and apparently quite warm. February 18, 2008.

Tonight there was a Lunar eclipse. My oldest daughter called me, a little after 10 this evening: and I'm glad she did.

The Lunar eclipse. Those aren't canals on the moon. There was a tree between the moon and the fastest spot to set up a camera. February 20, 10:12 p.m., 2008.

It was cold out there, by the back door, so I didn't do much more than set up the tripod and take a couple of pictures. When I got inside, I noticed that branches covered part of the moon. My wife pointed out that they look like canals.

Lunar eclipse, and a star, Sauk Centre, MN
The Lunar eclipse, in Sauk Centre February 20, 10:13 p.m., 2008.

I saw, in Monday's St. Cloud Times, that the recall of 143 million pounds of frozen beef from California affected quite a few Minnesota schools. Including Sauk Centre. It's good to know that we can track that sort of thing, and pull the meat: this time, before anyone got ill.

It's late, and I need to get some sleep. Goodnight.

Sunday, February 17, 2008. Flags went up on the downtown streets Friday, anticipating Presidents' Day. Tomorrow is also when the annual Blue Mass will be held: at St. Paul's Church. Each year around this time, we do this to honor the folks in the Police and Fire Departments, and Emergency Squads.

Our Lady of the Angels parishioners learned how much the Ash Street Project will set the church back. It's $35,000, or some similarly heart-stopping sum. Whatever the sum was, it was an "estimate," so we'll probably be paying more.

Father Statz pointed out that there's a pink envelope in each household's packet, with a bulldozer on it, specifically for money to pay that particular bill. By the time this family was home, I was calling that envelope the "pink bulldozer."

Ash Street Project Fund envelope: "the pink bulldozer"
There it is the "pink bulldozer." February 17, 2008.

Meanwhile, there's a new program to help pay the bills at Holy Family School, the Catholic school down on Sinclair Lewis Avenue. It's called Scrip. Businesses have agreed to pay a set percentage of each purchase with 'scrip' to the Holy Family School. Sounds like a nice idea. Places from Centre Floral to Winter's Main St. Drug have signed up. The Scrip outfit even has a website, where we can buy stuff online:

If it looks like I'm focusing pretty much on church-related stuff, you're right. What can I say? It's Lent, so I'm a bit focused that way to begin with. And besides, I've been a little distracted the last few days. (There's more about that, in Through One Dad's Eye.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008. More light snow today kept Sauk Centre's landscape touched up: almost to Currier-and-Ives standards.

This week's Sauk Centre Herald gave quite a bit of space on the front page, and inside, to last week's caucuses: and still had room on the front page for a feature on "Marriage and the movies - Douviers 'reel'y enjoy life." They're the family who run the Main Street Theater. (I really ought to write something about that place: it's a remarkable multi-screen theater in a relatively small town.)

And, today was the last day before Valentine's Day. I think it's a safe prediction that stores will be very green, for about a month, starting right after tomorrow.


Valentine's Day.

Excuse me: I have to get something done.

Sunday, February 10, 2008. I've been out of town for the last few days, but I know one thing that's happened here.

It's been cold: -18 around sunrise this morning. After getting back tonight, I thought of going out again to take a photo of the time/temperature sign downtown: but common sense prevailed. Also my cold feet.

The Palms motel, down by the Main Street / Highway 71 Interstate exit, still has holiday lights up. I like that: It's a dressy, cheerful note in this mid-winter Minnesota landscape.

The Palms motel, Sauk Centre, Minnesota: cheerful lights.
The Palms: cheerful lights. February 10, 2008.

And Main Street is the same as it usually is: Although at night, I think the street lights look inviting.

Main Street at night, Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
Main Street at night, near the Lake Woebegon Trail. February 10, 2008.

Of course, that's just my opinion. I've always enjoyed the sight of a town's lights, late at night.

Friday, February 8, 2008. I planned to be back, Thursday morning: But I suppose Friday afternoon is better than nothing. There's an explanation of sorts in yesterday's post in my "Through One Dad's Eye" blog (

Bag Me has moved closer to the center of downtown. The purse-tote-and-stuff store is just south of Hidden Treasures now, on the east side of Main

Bag Me: new location, Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Bag Me moved across the street and about a block north. February 7, 2008.

The "Sauk Centre Herald" has a Spanish-language edition, "Heraldo." This gives me an opportunity to brush up on my Spanish: and some of the newer families in town something to read in a more-familiar language.

Heraldo: Spanish-language newspaper in Sauk Centre, Minnesota
"Heraldo:" Gratis, which puts it in my price range. February 7, 2008.

We've had quite a bit of frost lately. Yesterday's installment was unusually heavy: lasted through the morning and much of the afternoon.

Frost on trees: fairyland in Minnesota
Frost gives trees a sort of fairyland look in winter. February 7, 2008.

As I mentioned in the earlier post, Ash Wednesday was this week: the start of Lent.

Ash Wednesday in Our Lady of the Angels Church: Those two glass bowls on the table are where ashes from last year's palms are. February 6, 2008.

And, that's where the ashes go. February 7, 2008.

Now, let's see if I manage to get Sunday's entry out on Sunday!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008. Ash Wednesday.

Lent started today. Like many other folks in town, I spent the afternoon with a cross of ash on my forehead. I plan to be back, tomorrow morning, with a bit more.

Sunday, February 3, 2008. The last Sunday before Lent. Down in New Orleans, folks are whooping it up at the Mardi Gras. Here in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, we set fire to a chest-full of palm fronds. I'll get back to that.

Part of what I like about this time of year is how good it feels to get back inside. This week I treated myself to a couple cups of coffee at Jitters Java, downtown. Some other people had the same idea: two of them decided to relax in front of the fire.

Relaxing by the fire at Jitters Java, Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
Comfortable chairs, a fire, and coffee. Not bad at all. February 1, 2008.

We had frost on the trees Saturday and Sunday. That made grilling lunch an even better experience than usual for me.

Frost on the trees in Minnesota
One of the bonuses of living in Minnesota: frost. February 2, 2008.

This morning, this house had what I call frostflowers on one of the windows. Conditions were right for those strangely floral patterns of ice crystals.

"Frostflowers." February 3, 2008.

Since this seems to be the Age of Warning Labels, I'll make this announcement: The rest of this entry is going to be very Catholic.

Back to those burning palm fronds. Last year, on Palm Sunday, palms were blessed at Our Lady of the Angels church, the parish this household goes to. As most families do, we took some home and plied them into particular shapes. For the last few Sundays, there's been a wooden chest in church for people to return the fronds. They're pretty dry by now.

Saint Blaise candles and palm fronds
Fronds and candles in Our Lady of the Angels church. February 3, 2008.

After mass, the palm fronds were taken out to a fire box built for the purpose and burned. The ashes will be used next week, on Ash Wednesday. 

Last year's palm fronds becoming this year's ashes. February 3, 2008.

You may have noticed the unusual candles in the picture up there. I call them "Saint Blaise candles." Today is the feast day of St. Blaise. This parish has, happily, been practicing the blessing of the throats on his feast day in recent years. The blessing can be done with a pair of ordinary-looking straight candles (unlit - we don't want to get ignited!) crossed over each other. This year the candles were special: and not just because they'd been twisted together. They'd been blessed at the tomb of St. Blaise.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008. Cold. Wind chill advisories. -20 at 8 this morning, and not much warmer at 9. The Sauk Centre schools opened two hours late, acknowledging the weather. I haven't heard what it was here, but wind chill in the Twin Cities was -37, and -40 in Fargo around 8 this morning. Sauk Centre must have been between those two values.

That's cold!

I was out this afternoon. By then it was a mere -10 or so. Folks were out, doing their usual business. Including one daring (or daft) young man with a crew cut and no cap.

I've heard that Minnesotans are more likely to talk about the weather than folks form many other states. I'm not surprised: During the winter, a keen interest in weather increases one's odds of survival.

Monday, January 28, 2008. Sorry about that: I thought I'd have this ready on Sunday night. Obviously, I didn't. I was out of town Friday, plus the weekend, getting some family business taken care of. Also having a good visit with my father and two daughters. There's more about the weekend, over at my Through One Dad's Eye blog.

The new house is taking shape on Sauk Centre's south side.
That new house is coming along quickly. January 24, 2008.

The new house on south Pine, replacing the one that burned last year, is taking shape. They've got the siding on, for the most part at least.

That new house is coming along quickly. January 24, 2008.

Ice fishing houses are out on Sauk Lake again this year. There was a fair amount of traffic going and coming on the lake, even last Thursday afternoon. There must be something entrancing about sitting in a small hut, waiting for a fish to take the bait.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008. It's been a cold week. What with one thing and another, I've stayed inside as much as I could. I even agreed with my wife, that grilling a steak last night wouldn't be the most prudent thing to do.

School is back in session, after that 4-day weekend.

And, in less than two weeks, two major events will occur.

  • February 3: Superbowl XLII
    (for the obsessive fan, there's a live countdown on the site, showing how much time is left: down to the second)
  • February 5: Minnesota Precinct Caucuses. This may not be as exciting as the Superbowl. In fact I'm pretty sure that for most people it's not even in their top-10 favorite things. But it's important.
    Also, going to one of these is a good way to make a difference. Questions about the precinct caucuses can (I hope) be answered by one of the three major Minnesota parties.
    Information from the
    Minnesota Secretary of State

    651 215 1440
    1 877 600 8683

I'll be back, with what's been going on in Sauk Centre, and a photo or two, Sunday night.

Sunday, January 20, 2008. The astute reader will have noticed that I've written the year as "2007," after getting it right on January 2. I've fixed it, now.

It's been a cold day, although it was above 10 below by the time the family headed for church.

A bit cold: at least there wasn't much wind. January 20, 2008.

This entry will be mostly about 'democracy in action.' Minnesota caucuses are February 5: I'll have a little more about that, later in the week. The rest of this entry is about the Ash Street project, and a neighborhood petition, so feel free to stop here: and maybe take a look at the Ash Street webcam. There's a link to it, in the sidebar.

A petition with my name on it went to city hall this week. It's about this Ash Street project that's coming in the summer. A sort of ad hoc neighborhood committee put it together. I haven't heard anything about it, so maybe no news is good news.

One of the ideas  that's been raised is to put sidewalks down both sides of Ash, from 9th to 12th. A sidewalk on the east side makes sense, since Wal-Mart's out  there already, and eventually there'll be a sort of retail/professional area east of Wal-Mart. One of the neighbors counted pedestrian traffic: If my memory serves, one day over a half-dozen people walked down Ash, toward Wal-Mart.

A sidewalk on the west side is another matter. Aside from cost, it would run right through the Ford dealership's auto shop lot. That's a busy spot. The guys who work there are sharp and careful, but if I were on a 'sidewalk' through there, I'd feel like the title character in a live-action "Frogger." Then, there are the two Coborns driveways.

That petition asks city hall to consider using the existing west side sidewalk from 9th to Lake Wobegon Trail, putting a crosswalk at the Trail crossing, and run a sidewalk on the east side from the Trail to 12th - with another crosswalk across from Coborn's.

I think it sounds reasonable, just in terms of saving money. Besides, there's the safety thing to consider.

We'll see how this works out.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008. I suppose that it has something to do with the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year's holiday cycle giving way to monthly heating bills and intermittent snow shoveling, but January has always seemed to be a rather featureless month to me.

I haven't noticed much going on in Sauk Centre since Sunday: but then, I've been a little preoccupied. I think I've got Sauk Centre's first (I think) webcam running smoothly now, taking a picture each minute (with the occasional annoying technical glitch). I'll still be working and/or playing with the two I've set up to keep an eye on me for a while, though.

Now that I've got that shameless self-promotion out of the way, let me think: what has gone on in town this week?

For households using the same garbage collection service we do, the biggest change is probably the semi-automation of garbage pickup. If I read the notice right, the jump in fuel prices encouraged the company to set up a mechanical pickup device.

My guess is that the trucks will go from a two-man to a one-man crew, now. That's going to be rough for quite a few people. Losing your job isn't fun. To put it mildly.

There's been some sort of snafu with telephone service, yesterday and today. Our household didn't get at least three incoming calls. There may have been more: that's just the people I talked to, who either told me they'd tried to call, or asked me what my new number was. This evening, about twenty minutes to six, I got a call from someone with a regional phone company, following up on a report they'd gotten.

I don't think we appreciate what it takes, keeping the telephone system (and television, and Internet) running. It's a big complicated system, and hats off to the folks who keep it running.

Sunday, January 13, 2008. We had a little light snow over the weekend: enough to cover the raw patches left from the warm weather, and that's about it. This morning and early afternoon, there was frost and snow on the trees: a very nice effect.

Meads department store downtown is still having it's post-Christmas clearance sale. I'm told that this is the time to get quite good clothing at seriously low prices. Also, that Wal-Mart coming to town didn't have such a serious effect on Meads as the proprietor thought.

I'm not very surprised: I didn't think that Meads' clientele was likely to patronize Wal-Mart, or vice versa. It's nice to know that Meads is still doing well, though. Even though my family does most of our clothes shopping at rummage sales and Wal-Mart, it's nice to know that there's a classy store in town.

I haven't been out much since Wednesday, apart from sweating at Fitness Guru, and a few errands. I probably didn't miss too much. January seems to be a slow month for big changes.

Except for the Ash Street project, and sidewalks in this neighborhood. I wrote about that in a blog post, "Friday: Sidewalks, Street Lighting, and Homeowners."

The Ash Street project is a big, complicated, affair: and I hope that there's discussion of some of the details - including sidewalks from 9th Street to 12th Street South. For one thing, I'm not convinced that running a sidewalk through an auto shop's lot would be entirely safe.

Enough of that. For now, anyway.

I've been fiddling with webcams. My big accomplishment has been to get a webcam, "... there's nowhere else on earth that I would rather be", upgraded. Now, we can see what's going on at night, as well as in daylight. I think the picture is improved a bit, too.

I believe that's Sauk Centre's first view-of-the-street webcam. I've put a link to "... there's nowhere else on earth that I would rather be" in the Sauk Centre Journal's sidebar, as well as a thumbnail that shows the current picture.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008. The snow is starting to look a little worn. We've had a January thaw this week, with temperatures above freezing. We could use more snow cover:, and it's not just the aesthetics: We'll be wanting water in the soil, come spring.

The Sauk Herald published a photo of the new year's first baby born in town: a ruddy-cheeked little boy.

South Ash Street is in the news again. Or, rather, the sidewalks on Ash. I finally got around to reading the Herald article, and learned that just over half of the sidewalk on Ash needs replacing. The problem is, it's a piece here, a piece there, with it'll-do-for-now stretches in between. One idea is to replace all the sidewalks from 9th to Sinclair Lewis Avenue. The city engineer brought that up.

I can see his point. As long as Ash Street is going to be torn up anyway, we could do the same with the sidewalks. That way, there'd be a stretch of sidewalk on both sides that's fresh - and which presumably will wear evenly. I'd look nice. Also, it would cost more. Safety is an issue, too. I can appreciate the safety concern. Sidewalks just north of the neighborhood I grew up in had been laid by a contractor with a talent for creative engineering. They were regulation thickness at the sides, where they were measured, and nowhere near as profligate with concrete in the center.

By the time I came along, they were breaking up and being replaced in patches. You had to pay attention when walking on them, and riding a bicycle was even more exciting.

There's a bit of talk going on about the proposed sidewalk extension southward to Wal-Mart, too. Between street-widening and sidewalks, this household is going to have a lot less front yard when the project is over. I suppose I could be more concerned or upset over what's going on, but I understand that there's going to be more traffic. And, when those retail places start sprouting east of Wal-Mart, there will be people wanting to walk there.

I'll miss those three shade trees in front, though. They're definitely going. In one of the information sessions, the city planners used a photo of them as the example of trees that were in the way of the street - and which interfered with visibility.

Speaking of photos: Those photos I mentioned on Sunday waited until today, as it turned out.

House under construction in Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Winter is not a recommended season for construction, but someone seems determined to replace the house on south Pine that burned last fall. December 17, 2007.

Downtown Main Street at night in Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Main Street was a sight for sore eyes when I got back last weekend. January 5, 2008.

Frost on the trees in Central Minnesota
Frost on the trees, east of Sauk Centre. Beautiful. December 28, 2007.

That's it for now. I've got to get some sleep

Sunday, January 6, 2008. Epiphany Sunday.

The Sauk Centre street decorations came down soon after New Year's, as I expected, but quite a few folks in town had their Christmas displays lit up until - and including - tonight. Which is quite appropriate, since today is the end of the Christmas season.

Next stop, Valentine's Day. The stores already have pink, red and white displays set up.

I've been out of town since Thursday morning, and I spent most of today enjoying being with my family: so I don't have much more to report. I do, however, have some more photos - but those will wait at least until tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008. Happy New Year!

Brendan's Island was offline for a while today. Sorry about that! There was some sort of difficulty at or near the hosting company, as nearly as I can tell. Whatever the cause, between finding out that it wasn't a problem at my end, and some family preparations going on, I didn't get much ready for today.

The traffic light at South 12th and Ash has been blinking red for a few days. I trust that it gets fixed soon.

I was wrong about the Christmas lights. Our son and I were out after supper today, on an errand, and saw some nice displays. The city garlands are still up, too.

That errand took us to Wal-Mart. They're getting a Valentine's Day area set up. The shelves are still fairly empty, but that'll probably change in a day or two.

That's it for now. I've got to get some sleep. If you checked here before, and found nothing, thanks for coming back, and thank you for your patience. I should be back Sunday, with a more complete posting.

Choose a year

2001 2002 2003 2004
2005 2006 2007 2008

Back to the top of the Sauk Centre Journal Archive


This Season: Sauk Centre Journal Archive 2008

I Love It Here! | This Season | Walking to Work | A House of Our Own
Attic Time | Things I Miss | In Praise of . . . Factoid Man: General Information * F. M': Climate * F. M': Changes in Sauk Centre
Area Web Sites | More Web Sites

You can reach me by e-mail at:

Brendan's Island home page
I Love It Here! (life in a small town) | A Walk on the Catholic Side
Brian's Attic | Attack of the Amateur Photo Album
Brendan: A Monk, A Boat And a Legend
Brendan's Island Guest Book | Visitor Information Center

Hit Counter

This page last updated: February 22, 2015