As I opened my year-end e-mail, I was greeted with a letter that caught my attention -- and my breath. So rare, it was. So simple, and so stunningly disarming. It was an apology from a reader, who wrote: "In going through my 'out' file the other day I came across an e-mail I sent you concerning something or other that I was obviously exercised over. I said to you, 'I used to think you were worth reading, etc., etc.' That was uncalled for and rude. I apologize." I quickly wrote back: "What a nice way to begin the new near. Apology accepted.
On Dec. 16, my mother, Margaret Norton, died of Alzheimer's disease. Her last 13 years were spent in Willmar. I write to thank this community for taking care of Margaret. As her memories and abilities slowly failed, many of you reached out to care for her. From taxi drivers to store clerks, from healthcare professionals to bankers, senior volunteers to clergy -- each of you touched her life. You maintained her dignity, kept her safe and offered comfort. Margaret's last years were about forgetting. Now that she has left this world, I know she is remembering each and every one of you.
AUSTIN, Texas -- My theory is that they don't tell him anything, that's why the president keeps sounding like he doesn't know what he's talking about. There he was at Brooke Army Medical Center over the weekend, once again getting it wrong: "I can say that if somebody from al-Qaida's calling you, we'd like to know why. In the meantime, this program is conscious of people's civil liberties, as am I. This is a limited program ... I repeat, limited.
WASHINGTON -- The University of Illinois must soon decide whether, and if so how, to fight an exceedingly silly edict from the NCAA. That organization's primary function is to require college athletics to be no more crassly exploitative and commercial than is absolutely necessary. But now the NCAA is going to police cultural sensitivity, as it understands that. Hence the decision to declare Chief Illiniwek "hostile and abusive" to Native Americans.
WASHINGTON -- Elections at midterm can be low-interest affairs or immensely important. This fall's congressional elections will be a big show with large consequences because 2006 is looking a lot like the political years 1958, 1966 and 1978, all of which heralded major political transformations. The Democratic sweep in 1958 presaged the party's strength in the Kennedy-Johnson years. Democratic dominance peaked in L.B.J.'s 1964 landslide. But just two years later, big Republican gains signaled problems in the Democratic coalition that the party still struggles with.
This is my final response to Joe Raines (Public Forum, Dec. 24). He doesn't seem to get it. If I am living in the past, at least I am learning from it. Raines apparently has no concept of what the future holds for his children or grandchildren. He seems to be caught up in the now, not learning from the past nor looking forward to the future. If he would check with his local Chamber of Commerce, he would find that every dollar spent locally is circulated locally an average of 11 times.
Increased competition hit home when longtime Willmar Holm Brothers Sportshop and Hardware announced itis closing. This is the first major closing since the opening of two major home hardware retail stores in Willmar. The popular hardware and sporting goods retailer was closed Monday and posted "Going out of business" signs across its front windows.
I just received my Dec. 26 paper and was starting to cruise through it when I was stopped on page A3 by the picture of the "tombstones." I wondered, before I read the article, why the Kandiyohi County Historical Society Museum would be needing a tombstone. Well, I was certainly surprised when I found out that you are planning on using them to mark historic sites. They just look exactly like some of the tombstones that are in our cemetery and I'm wondering if that's the image that Kandiyohi County really wants to convey. Just my opinion. Gwen Schwarz Willmar
ST. PAUL - Welcome to 2006, a year that promises to be very politically active. It seems that the year started months ago. The 2006 campaigns began when U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy announced on Feb. 11 that he would run for the U.S. Senate seat Mark Dayton is vacating. That set off a series of announcements, not only for Dayton's job, but also for governor. By year's end, most candidates running for major office already had made formal announcements. The big exception was Gov. Tim Pawlenty, but he has left no doubt he is running again.
Duininck Brothers' request for a permit renewal and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' objection revives old memories. After Duininck, Hodgeman, Rupp, Mathewitz and other road builders completed quarrying in a family quarry site, it was "reclaimed": pushed in; trees, ponds, berms, everything. Local deer and partridge hunters and dirt bike riders lamented, "Why?" The answer was short. Ask the DNR. Duininck Brothers isn't the problem.