Monday, January 29, 2018

A kind deed today - and help for tomorrow!

What you do for someone today… 
you may need for yourself tomorrow!

The man walked about a quarter of a mile on the country road to get to Ray Wynne’s house south of Cannon Falls.  He was walking because he had closed up the Oxford Sportsmen’s Club and had accidentally locked his car keys inside!
     After a chuckle or two, Ray gave him a ride to his home on the north side of Cannon Falls to retrieve his keys.  And then brought him back to the club to get his car.
This was a nice thing for Ray to do.
But little did he know that the very next day a similar situation would come upon him!
Guess what happened?
Ray was filling up his car at a local gas station.
No employees were working there at the time.  Ray was using his credit card and proceeded to move to the pump.
Now you should know that Ray is in his 80's and has two artificial legs.  And for some reason - he doesn’t know why - he hung onto the car to get to the pump.
He had shut his car door but then he accidentally bumped the handle and heard it lock.
The keys were inside.
Now he was locked out!
To make things more difficult…
To make it even more frustrating, Ray had left his two canes in his car.  He feels much safer walking when using his canes.
But also at that time, a stranger was filling up at a nearby pump.  He came over to help.
They figured out a plan.
The stranger gave Ray a ride to the store where Ray’s wife was getting groceries because she had another set of car keys.
And he helped Ray walk inside to find her.
And the store had an extra two canes that could help Ray walk!
And the result was…
Then the stranger gave Ray a ride back to his car.
Ray doesn’t know the fellow.  He does know that he recently retired from Gemini.
But Ray does know that there are some really helpful folks around here.

And now we do too.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Ripples of kindness... spread to the farthest shore

Hand made and heart warmed…"
(The author did not want their name mentioned.)

“Oh what a wonderful surprise we received the other day.  A beautiful blanket made by the nice ladies of Wangen Prairie Church.
“Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!”
When you have to exercise…  (Rosie)
The large tree had fallen down over the fence in the horse pasture.  But it hadn’t clipped the hot wire so no horses were getting out.  Plus… I wasn’t sure which way it might “spring back” when I started sawing on it.
All excuses to avoid this project!
With all the rain we had had, I didn’t make it out for another couple of days.  When I did, I saw the tree was sinking into the ground and pretty soon would wipe out the whole fenceline.
Then I would not only have a fallen tree problem but a fence problem and a horse problem, etc.
 I finally started clipping the vines strangling it and using my old bow saw on the branches.  I had a few piles ready to haul off before I started on the trunk of the tree.  
I kept telling myself that this project was giving me good “upper body exercise”.  This idea helped on the smaller branches but I “eyed” the main trunk with dismay.  
All of a sudden I heard an ATV motor...  and I kept watch to see if it was coming down our road about a quarter mile away.  It was!
A neighbor was coming to get wood from his landlocked acreage next to ours.  As he disappeared down the trail into the woods, I jumped back into my old golf cart and drove over to position myself to block his way out!  
  Well, when he came out he took care of my fallen tree.
Now that was good timing... for me anyway!  Thanks neighbor!

Following are some of the “Ripples-type” stories found in the weekly publication of the Cannon Falls Police Department… “From the Beat”.  You can pick up a copy at the CFPD or get it online by emailing: 
Cannon Falls Police Officer David TerBeest discovered a truck stalled at an intersection.  Officer TerBeest physically pushed the truck out of the intersection (not using the patrol vehicle).  The driver was given a ride to a gas station where they would wait for a tow.

  On December 22nd at 3:15pm, Cannon Falls Officer Dave TerBeest responded to suspicious activity.  A green vehicle was stalled on the south overpass over Hwy 52 between the roundabouts and appeared to be occupied.
The problem:  It had run out of gas on the County 24 bridge. They pushed the car off the bridge. A passerby then gave them gas. 
Good fishing spot?
Cannon Falls Police Officer Marc Fluhrer stopped a vehicle for an inoperable brake light.  As he spoke with the 48 year old male from Maplewood, MN he decided to give him a verbal warning for the offense.  And also provided him with directions to Lower Hannah’s Bend to find a good fishing spot!

Suspicious Activity
On December 21st at 10:10pm, Officer Christine Good observed a vehicle driving slowly and seeming to have no direction.  After observance, the car was stopped and the driver explained that he was driving his two kids around because they were playing “Pok√©mon Go”. 


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Fan's dream come true!

A youthful looking Rod Johnson started working as the 
Minnesota Timberwolves public address announcer in the fall of 1996. 

A fan's dream come true! 
While driving his 12 year old son Cory home from little league practice back in 1996, Rod Johnson of Cannon Falls heard this announcement on the radio... “Your chance to be the Public Address announcer for the Timberwolves!”  And young Cory enthusiastically encouraged, “Dad, you gotta go for it!” 
Rod had previously left a career in radio broadcasting because it kept him away from home so much and he couldn’t take part in a lot of activities with his family, wife Bernie and four boys, Jesse, Bobby, Nathan and Cory.
But he still missed broadcasting and volunteered his time announcing high school football, basketball and baseball games.

Take a shot!
So the next morning Rod called the Timberwolves and asked what he should do to apply?  Well, they needed a tape of him announcing and it had to be in by the end of that day!  
At the time Rod was working at his lumber business, Northern Hardwood.  He took time to go home for lunch to cut the tape.  Bernie drove up to Timberwolves headquarters in Minneapolis and hand delivered it.

Decision time...
Rod was told over 250 tapes had been submitted.  He was one of eight finalists. 
In the final decision making process he was asked to announce half of the NBA Summer Showcase event held at Target Center.  The next day the Timberwolves called and asked him to announce an entire game the following day.  
Subsequently he was told they had narrowed the selection to him and one other person.  But because the vice president of the ‘Wolves was out of town they needed time to make the final decision and would let him know within two weeks.  
  Then Rod asked,  “By the way, who was the other finalist?” They responded, Jesse Ventura! Rod explained, “He went on to become Governor, but I think I had more fun with my job!”
And Rod believed there were no hard feelings because after his election, Ventura asked Rod to emcee his inaugural ball.

“Like a kid in a candy shop!”
  For the first few years in his job Rod couldn’t believe he was announcing in the NBA... “watching the greatest basketball players in the world and sitting courtside!”
But, he chuckled, trying to pronounce their names could be nerve wracking.  Like center Stoijko Vrankovic!  
“The season went extremely well,” Rod recalled, “not just for me but for the team. That year, we made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history!”
He continued,  “I will never forget that first ever playoff game against the Houston Rockets. It was so loud in Target Center that I could not even hear myself do the starting lineups! 
“I also remember after the lineups, Jesse Ventura repelled from the ceiling of Target Center and taunted the Rockets.
“The team had a great run of making the playoffs for eight consecutive years and even advancing to the Western Conference Finals. I of course announced all of those games and enjoyed every minute of it.”

Twenty-one years - only two misses!
In his 21 years of announcing games, Rod missed only two.  One was due to an injury he received before the game when he took part in a Cannon Falls Alumni Tournament and unknowingly tore his calf muscle.  
Getting ready to announce the Timberwolves game that night, Rod was checked out by the team doctor who told him he was not doing it!  The torn muscle had caused internal bleeding and was quite serious.  Rod was going to the hospital.  

No back-up announcer!
But they didn’t have a back-up announcer. Their TV announcer had the night off because it was nationally broadcast and they couldn’t get hold of him.  But five minutes before the game started he came walking into the arena - just to watch the game!  Or so he thought! 
The only other game Rod missed was when the air conditioning in the stadium in Mexico City malfunctioned causing smoke to pour into the building and the game was postponed.  But it was rescheduled when Rod had previously committed to be the auctioneer at a huge benefit auction in Chicago for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  

His reasons for leaving his beloved job...
It was his other job as an auctioneer and missing family activities that were the main reasons Rod gave up announcing the Timberwolves games after 21 years.  He explained that Bernie “...sacrificed a lot so I could do what I loved... Now it’s time for me to spend a little more time with family.”
For example, When son Bobby got married, Rod was announcing and missed the groom’s dinner.  He got up at 3:30 a.m. to drive to the wedding and by the following 2:30 a.m. he was driving back to announce game two of the Western Conference finals... and so it went!

Some other memorable moments:
* Back In 2004 when the Wolves’ defeated the Sacramento Kings in game seven, to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
* Seeing his son, Cory (who had coached in the college ranks for seven years) go to work full time for the Timberwolves in 2013 in basketball operations. 
* The return of Kevin Garnett to the Target Center and when Garnett stopped at Rod’s announcer’s table at courtside and asked Rod: “How the hell old are we?” 
* And the time Rod was asked to be in the movie “Joe Somebody,” starring Tim Allen. Rod recalled, “What an experience as I played myself, the Timberwolves’ announcer.”

At the end...
Rod reflects:  “So, that was it…after 21 years I was done. I’ve always said, the year I give it up is the year the Wolves will go all the way, so if that happens, remember to thank me! If that does happen, I hope they’ll let me be involved somehow.
“I’ve always been very passionate about the Minnesota Timberwolves and definitely see that continuing as I’ll now be at Target Center cheering them on as a fan.”
Rod added, “Not only have I been the voice of the Timberwolves the past 21 years... I’ve been a season ticket holder for 25 years!”

It was a fan’s dream come true... for Rod Johnson of Cannon Falls.

Rod and his wife Bernie with his old microphone 
received as a token of appreciation from the Minnesota Timberwolves.


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Speaking "Minnesotan"!

 When NOT to speak “Minnesotan”!

When reading the description of the pain I was having, I had written: "discomfort".
Not right!  I actually thought I could be having a heart attack.
 And it appeared to me that very likely I was going to die.
And then I realized I wasn’t afraid of dying.  It was the piercing pain streaking through my chest that caused me to be unable to breathe normally that made me wonder how long I could stand it.
It started...
It began after 9 p.m. when I had taken the dogs I was “babysitting” outside to do their “business”.... (“Minnesotan” for - you know what.)
The temperature was way below zero.
I didn’t dress as warmly as I do when feeding horses.
This task should be quicker.
But apparently not quick enough.

When I came back inside I noticed “discomfort” in my chest.  
It got worse and I decided maybe the cold air had affected my body.  So I went to bed with a heating pad.
When it kept getting worse I decided to make some notes as to my condition.  I also considered that I might not get better and when someone would find me I wanted them to know what had happened.

What happens when people 
die with their pets?
Then I had a flashback to a speaker I had heard: a medical examiner who explained what happened when bodies of folks who had pets were not found for several days. 
It appears that the pets started eating their owners.  Dogs went for fatty butts and little “Fluffy” the cat went for the face.  Or the other way around.  Or so I remembered.
I decided that the dogs I was taking care of were so big that there wouldn’t be much left of me.

I decided to make more notes.
But in the notes I didn’t explain the sharp stabbing pains that left me wondering if I would get enough air in to stay alive!
You see I’ve been raised “Minnesotan”!
And the pain didn’t reflect all the symptoms I had heard about heart attacks.  
So I decided I would wait and see what happened.
I remember hearing local EMT’s warn that folks did not call them as soon as they should.
Guess we were all raised “Minnesotan”.

Later on...
After a few hours, the pain had subsided so I could breathe through my mouth a little better.
It was in the morning that I finally contacted a friend to talk over the situation.  We decided to go to the hospital and get some tests run.
I avoid doctors as much as I can... except for being good friends.  I’ve found that although they may be good at their craft, I’ve had many incorrect diagnoses over the years that left me struggling.  But who knows how many times I spoke “Minnesotan” and they didn’t understand!
But this time we worked together and the test results relieved me.

Back home...
So I’m back doing chores on the farm.
Although I’ve been sleeping on the couch with the Christmas tree lights on instead of going to my own bed and reliving the pain.
So my wish for you this New Year is that you find peace and love and health!  

It means the same when you're speaking “Minnesotan”!


Thursday, November 23, 2017

We don’t need an excuse... but we’ve got one!
The world famous football extravaganza known as the “SUPER BOWL!” 
will be in Minnesota on February 4, 2018.
It’s the 52nd Super Bowl.
And Cannon Falls is on Minnesota Highway 52.
(We don’t need much of an excuse for a party!)

Our connections to professional football...
We have some pretty neat connections to our Vikings’ Football team!
We have possible Viking boulders in local communities!  A boulder similar to one near Cannon Falls is found in the Runestone Museum at Alexandria.  The local stone was verified, according to an October 3, 1996 article in the Beacon.
How about touring these sites?

And we’ve got “Viking Food”!  
Yes...  Lutefisk!
Legend has it that the Vikings of Olde (not our dear team!) burned down a fishing village which had been drying cod fish for winter storage.
The ashes covered the fish which was rained on and the lye that was formed made the fish look fresh again!
By rinsing the fish and boiling it they made it edible again. (Or so they say!)
Now Lutefisk is celebrated in ethnic and religious festivities in Cannon Falls area churches.

“Soup’er Bowl 52”
Which leads us into our own special “Soup’er Bowl 52” celebration!
A contest for the best “Soup’er Bowl 52” recipe to be decided at a local city-wide event - while we’re watching and cheering for the teams!
This “soup” can contain various locally raised ingredients PLUS a bit of Lutefisk, of course!

And making new friends...
Other possibilities are welcoming visitors to Super Bowl LII with housing opportunities.  Renting rooms or homes to guests might be a fun way to enjoy the party. Or churches might find “hostel” opportunities.

Plus enjoying the game!
Either local parties and/or an event center where we can celebrate the game!
Maybe we’ll need specially made T-shirts, creatively designed cakes and cookies, housing opportunities, welcoming snowmobiles, etc.
Your part in the party...

What are your ideas to highlight this fantastic event?  
Making world wide notice of Cannon Falls, Minnesota.
Contact the Beacon, 507-263-3991 or email Rosie at

We have encouragement from the Super Bowl Host Committee too!  :)


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Way to go! Football team - off the field.

“Way to Go!” Bombers!
Instead of working on sprints, drills and team skills at their regular practice session last week, the Cannon Falls Bombers football teams took time to help others in the community who had handicap issues.
 About 45 kids from 9th - 12th grades participated and raked leaves, did yard work and also some landscaping at the Habitat for Humanity house.

  Coach Dan Meyers explained this was the first year of the project.  They plan to do it every year.
"One of the main goals of our program is that our kids learn how to be unselfish leaders and helping others in the community is a great way to learn that."
Meyers continued, “The people we helped out were chosen because members of our coaching staff knew that they needed help”.

Team members further explained:
Andrew Ayers wrote: “Our coach Josh Hofstedt flat out told us that there were some people who he knew that needed some work done like yard work and moving some dirt around and such. I think it is safe to say that the team as a whole had a very satisfied feeling after we saw how much we were helping out. We did have fun! It feels good to help out people in our community.
Dan Sholing explained: Our coach asked us to help out and it was fun and rewarding helping others in our community.  
Brooke Kimmes added that she “had a great time. It was nice knowing that as a team we could help our community rather than just being another sports team. 
“I also love that our coaches were willing to use our practice time to make us better people on and off the field.”


Ripples column: Lost "monster truck" and changing a life...

When you’ve lost your “monster truck” toy!
Child in distress!  
On a recent First Thursday Fun Fest in Cannon Falls, a little boy had won money during the event but now had lost his bag of items and a toy monster truck.
But... the bag was recovered by a teacher and returned to the boy.
And... Cannon Falls Police Officer Marcus Fluhrer purchased a new monster truck toy for the child.
(Smiley face emoticon here!)
How to change a life...
A prisoner in a correctional facility in Minnesota wrote the  chaplin: “For your crew to come in to our lives here, behind concrete wall and razor wire, is so amazing... to not judge us... Thank you from the middle of our hearts.  You have shown me God's love, and in doing so you have brought this convict to tears... We need to know that you all still care.”
They care...
Roger Tutewohl of Cannon Falls took part in one of the retreats done by teams from Charis Prison Ministry, a non-denominational Christian group.  Team members are selected and trained under the guidance of Charis leadership and approved by correctional institutions.  Roger and his wife, Lora, follow these yearly sessions every month to continue the discussions.
Roger recalled:  These prisoners may believe “it is a dog eat dog world on the outside. That works for them until they get caught doing something that is illegal...
“Some figure it out and stay out... Others use the revolving door method. They are out for a while, go back to their old ways and revolve back in again. 
“The programs and people that come into the prison can help them learn how to alter their lives to avoid reoffending.”
One way to help...
One way to help, Roger believes, is to offer a transition home after being released from prison.  The organizer of this opportunity is Pastor David Hibbison of New Life In Christ Ministry based in Clearwater, MN.  They have raised almost $100,000 to purchase a house to accomplish their goal.
Roger explained his enthusiasm by adding: “It is so exciting for the two of us to be involved with these men who have been pretty much just cast aside. They are human beings with joys and sorrows just like we are. They are longer on sorrows and shorter on joys. 
“We believe that frustration on their part can bring on reasons to re-offend when they get out. If we can give them hope in their God and they develop a resolve not to reoffend we have given them something that they really need.”
Roger continued, “The state prisons in Minnesota are costing taxpayers about 400 million dollars a year. So there are several reasons to be concerned with the released offenders having an opportunity to transition in an atmosphere that will help them become productive citizens, perhaps for the first time in their lives.”