Wednesday, December 26, 2012

They honked to get help...

but nobody heard!

They careened off the newly plowed country road and slid down the steep embankment.  They were wedged backwards between the trees.
They tried honking the horn to attract attention but nobody stopped.
Because nobody heard. 

I hadn’t wanted to go out that morning.  Mainly because we hadn’t plowed our farm road. It’s a half mile to the county road.   
But since I was supposed to bring the treats for a Bible study at the little church on the prairie down the road, my husband Paul said he’d drive.  
Besides we had just gotten snow tires on our car and now we could test them out!

After reaching the main road, Paul saw tire tracks skidding off to the side.  
I hadn’t been paying attention because we were late and I just wanted to stay warm and get there.   I was on the passenger side of the car and replied that I hadn’t seen anything off the road.  And the wind was already covering up the marks with snow.
Maybe it had happened a while ago and was already taken care of.
But I also recalled that we had just passed a steep drop off on that side of the road.    So you probably wouldn’t notice any thing as you were going by.

 As we drove, Paul mentioned the tracks again and I, for some unknown reason, said: “If we don’t turn around and there’s been an accident we won’t forgive ourselves the rest of our lives.”    That thought sounded awfully dramatic - even to me!  Where did it come from?
Paul found another road with space to turn around.

As we drove back he maneuvered the car closer to the edge and I was shocked to see a pickup truck down the steep incline.
It must have spun completely around and was wedged backwards among the trees and facing uphill.

Paul stopped our car and I got out.  I was trying to see if there were any bodies but I couldn’t see down into the windshield.
I asked Paul if we had a rope in the car so I could climb down the bank.  We didn’t.

Then a person got out the passenger side and called up to me warning me not to try to come down to them because there was ice under the snow.
I asked if they were hurt and they replied, No.
I asked if they had a cell phone and they said yes, but it wasn’t working.
I called 911.

We got a little concerned when the woman called up to me that the driver was feeling pressure on his chest.  But this was apparently due to his seat being tipped back and he was laying half way upside down!  He was good.

The folks wanted to stay in their pickup.  They could turn on the heat and stay warm.
I was amazed at how their pickup looked perfectly placed in the brush right next to a tree.  

Fifteen minutes or so later a deputy showed up and took over.  He didn’t need a rope to climb down to them.  
But I did suggest that he should wear a cap in the cold weather - that’s a Grandma routine, I think! - but he said he didn’t need that either.  
Anyway, the folks were towed out of there with little damage to their truck.
And Iola and Dave Engelmann had the opportunity to enjoy another Holiday Season together.

    Looking down at the pickup almost hidden in the brushy ravine off county road 24 about 2 1/2 miles west of Highway 52 it was easy to see how it was missed from the road.   The 2007 Chevy Colorado 4X4 careened off the icy county road down into a ravine before the Christmas holidays. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

The party’s over...
but who pays the costs?

Guess being a “fly-over” state isn’t so bad!  (This means the folks in the “know” think they “know” what political camp we are in so they won’t waste their efforts on it.)
 But, being a “fly-over” state (at least until near the end of the campaign) also means Minnesota doesn’t have to pay repeatedly for the safety of the candidates.  This can be costly to already tight city budgets.

While visiting Ohio a few days before the election, I read about all the visits they’ve had from candidates.
Dozens of times for Obama and Romney!
It probably was exciting at first.

I still think it was a blast to have President Obama visit Cannon Falls.  But would I want any of the candidates to stop by repeatedly?
It has nothing to do with their political views... or personalities.  But it has a lot to do with the cost of protecting them which could ruin already tight budgets.

And perhaps it can get to feel like the relative who comes to visit... too many times...for too long!  (Not referring to any of mine of course!)

You see, the communities hosting these visits have to “pony up” for keeping the visitors safe.  Cannon Falls had a lot of volunteer help from other police departments and the publicity showcasing the beauty of our  area was priceless.

According to an online article I read from WCPN radio, one of Ohio’s county sheriffs, a Democrat, said he wanted some help with the costs.  So he sent President Obama a bill for almost $50,000 and challenger Mitt Romney one for about $26,000.  Apparently he had sent a bill to the Secret Service but they said they weren’t responsible.  Then he sent one to the campaigns but was referred back to the secret service.   (Not identified if both campaigns did this.)

They said the mayor of Mansfield, Ohio, a Republican, sent a bill for around $21,000 to the Obama campaign.  A county commissioner, also a Republican, wanted to send a bill to that campaign for $3000 but their board decided not to.  

I love the quote they give their Governor.  He wondered that since the candidates were there so much they should pay income tax like sports figures do! 

With this insight in mind, I think when I run for President I’ll just tell folks to watch me on YouTube and use the money they save for a community “Booyah”!


Friday, October 5, 2012

Legit or not... just be aware!

Legit or not... just be aware!

The scenario:

1) Second level of the parking lot on the west side of the Mall of America.  Lady from India with a little girl about nine years old at her side comes up and anxiously asks us to call her husband because she can’t find where he’s parked.
(No warning sign for us here.  We have a neighbor from India that we love and therefore we weren’t concerned.)  

2) Paul punches the number she tells him into his cell phone.  (Nothing wrong here either but a twinge of caution hits me and I ask Paul to put it on speaker phone because I don’t want to give the lady our phone and have her run off with it.  Actually, it’s an old phone that no one would probably want but she might not know that until she sees it.)

3) The phone rings a while but no one answers.  Paul and the lady are talking amiably.

4) I noticed that the little girl by her side is missing.  (This is a warning sign but I didn’t recognize it.)   I had my “fanny pack” (I use it as a purse) on a short strap over my left shoulder and therefore its bulk was in my armpit.

5) I felt a bump on my purse.   I looked down and saw the little girl standing at my side and then she gave me a big smile. 

6) I moved my arm down - still covering my purse -  and put my hand on her head.  She just stayed there.  After a while she moved back to the lady.

7) We talked some more and I encouraged the lady to contact security to help her find her husband but she didn’t want to.  (Another possible warning sign... did not want help from security.)

8) We turned to go to our car.  I didn’t notice where they went but I remember thinking it was strange that I didn’t see them walking down the rows if they were looking for her husband.  

Now in reality, none of these signs might result in a bad situation.  I didn’t think of most of them until I decided to write this up when back at home.

Then I asked Paul to look up the phone number she gave us on his cell phone.  (This is one of the types of things we learn at the local TRIAD - law enforcement/citizen meetings and by watching CSI type shows on TV.)

How cool! Our cell phone gave us the number - and according to my research on the internet - it’s either a land line or cellular from New Jersey.   

I still don’t know if the encounter was legit.  

But what is more important is that I should be more aware of my surroundings... and warning signs...  and memorize what I first see, their faces, marks or scars, what they’re wearing, how they walk, anything different that catches your eye.

Excuse me now... I think I hear my phone ringing.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

(L-R) Rosie Schluter; Aaron Reeves, City Administrator; Commissioner Ehlinger; Tom Bergeson, Public Works Director; Susan Brace-Adkins Healthy Communities Supervisor of the Goodhue County Health and Human Services and Dave Maroney, Community Development Director. 

What’s your “pitch”?

  It was just an impulsive idea... to e-mail the Minnesota Department of Health to see if the Commissioner would be interested in my idea of having upper body exercise equipment along the Cannon Falls city trail to promote community health.  
I had read that he had been in Rochester for a media event - pitching horse shoes and letting citizens “pitch” their ideas on public health issues.
It didn’t matter that I didn’t have the commissioner’s correct address.  I just sent it.

Nothing happened.
That I knew about anyway.

Almost three weeks later I got a surprise call from the Department of Health telling me that Dr. Ed Ehlinger, the commissioner, was coming to Cannon Falls in a couple of weeks for an all-day media event including the county’s Health and Human Services department, the county commissioners, local officials and politicians, etc.
Caught off-guard I chuckled, “President Obama only gave us three days... we can do this!”

And then I explained to city officials that I really didn’t usurp their authority - I was just trying to contact the commissioner - but this was cool wasn’t it?  

Many conferences and collaborations later, they all pulled off a wonderful media event (even the weather cooperated), with the hopeful attitude that health issues of importance to all of us would be addressed by the Commissioner in the future.

As Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger stated, it’s his job “to protect and enhance the health of all Minnesota citizens.”  The state’s national health rating has dropped from number one down to number six.  What has gone up?  Obesity and smoking. And exercise has gone down.  But Ehlinger wants to make Minnesota “the healthiest state in the nation.”

That day in the park many issues were presented to the commissioner.  They included fracking sand, wind generators, dental health,  tobacco, and adding upper body exercise equipment to the city walking trail.

Another issue came from Julie Phelps, an elementary school nurse in Cannon Falls.  She expressed the importance of school nurses as they deal with health issues of students like Loden Bell, a fourth grader with diabetes who is very active and also tossed a couple of horse shoes with the commissioner.

Now back to what I had been doing to promote the event.  Well, newspapers and cable TV promos hit the area.  And I was happily surprised when it was kidded around on WCCO-radio Dave Lee’s show on several mornings with our own Jack Lucking.  And then Joan Risty announced it on KDHL radio.   

But my friend, John Weiss, reporting on the event in the Rochester Post Bulletin, “got” me with this write-up:  "... and Rosie Schluter brought a passion for better health — but poor horseshoe pitching form — to Tuesday's "Pitch the Commissioner event in Cannon Falls." 
Oh, the power of the press!

(Behind the scenes video on

Friday, September 14, 2012

Volunteer Harvesters Rewards!

Tom Sawyer - Sogn Valley Style 

It’s a fairy tale setting... the rolling hills of the Sogn Valley just a few miles south of Cannon Falls. 

But the scenario taking place each weekend reminds you more of Mark Twain’s story of Tom Sawyer... the mischievous boy who persuades his friends to whitewash the fence so he wouldn’t have to do the job.  

Today, hundreds of people have volunteered to harvest the grapes at the Cannon River Vineyard owned by John and Maureen Maloney.
But unlike Twain’s story, these folks look like they’re having a great time and are rewarded at the end of their approximately two hour shifts with a lunch catered by the Old Market Deli, the opportunity to taste a variety of wines and then just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful views of the surrounding hills and vineyards.
According to Bergit Nerheim of the Cannon River Winery, many come back every year.

John explained that they had originally hired a crew to do the harvesting.  But after three years of hearing folks asking to do it, they opened the vineyard for one day for this project.
The next year they had more days.

And this year Bergit said they will likely have 10 days available for morning and afternoon harvesting. They have 30-60 people on a shift and they come from all around Minnesota.  I met Joan and Dennis Benson, he’s from Cannon Falls originally and Linda Perry from Randolph.  
Pretty much all of the grapes are harvested in this manner.
All ages came out on a recent Saturday afternoon.  The grapes are cut from the vine by slicing their stem with a bladed Harvest Fork and then gently laid in the containers which are collected into larger vats.  
The sweet fruity fragrance of these Edelweiss grapes spread across the rows.  It was so delicious you didn’t want to exhale!
And the harvester can eat as many of the grapes as they want to!

         (About an hour into doing my story I couldn’t resist any more and I asked to join the crew!)

John also explained that the south facing hillsides are ideal for growing the cold hardy grapes of Minnesota hybrid varieties that survive the sometimes harsh winters and add a unique and delicious flavor to the wines. 
The Edelweiss grapes being picked that day are white seeded table, wine and juice grape.  They are hardy to -30 F.  It takes about four to five years after planting before you collect the fruit.  The vines harvested at this session were nine years old.  

 Some interesting data found on the internet may explain why we’re seeing more and more vineyards locally.
One acre of Minnesota grown grapes may produce about 2,800 bottles of wine.
The Minnesota Wine Industry is growing at a rate of 28% annually.
The Minnesota Wineries are projected to produce more than $11,250,000 of wine a year by 2014.

 So here’s a “toast” to the volunteer harvesters at the Cannon River Vineyard!

(For video program go to

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"Death ride" to Red Wing?

It should be a nice night to take a drive, I thought.

We election judges had just finished packing up the results from the primary. There wasn't much competition among the candidates, so the turn-out in our township was pretty light. We only had about 38 ballots to deliver to the county seat about 25 miles away. But we value the ballots.

The rules state we had to have two judges bring the ballots to the courthouse. So the head judge and I started out.

I was driving our little Prius, in which I love to cruise along. It went well for a few miles until we hit the east side of Cannon Falls on Highway 19. It was newly paved and tarred and would be beautiful in the daytime.

But now it was night... and they hadn't yet put the markings on the road indicating where the center and sides were. I ended up just trying to see the grass marking the edge of the road.

That was partly because of the fog. It rose from the road and blocked my vision. And sometimes it rained, which brought blinding reflection from the headlights.

I had really slowed down because at times I couldn't see where the road was turning. This area is filled with hills and valleys. And what about deer crossing?

I thought...can't find a place to pull off the road...what if there's another car coming up behind us... they can't see us... and on and on.

You could tell both my passenger and I were pretty scared because neither one of us was talking!

And that might have led to another problem.

When you talk you have to breathe. And I don't know if I took more than two breaths on that whole stretch of road!

When I got to the courthouse I got out of the car and sat on a bench and closed my eyes and breathed. When I felt stronger I walked back to my car and called my husband. I said, this is really strange.

He knows that I have driven with him through many hours of rain and darkness and didn't feel like this! So he kept me talking on the phone so I would breathe!

I explained that I would be taking Highways 61 to 20 home. It's longer but it's on higher ground and shouldn't be so foggy and the road has markings on it.

Sure enough...we did just fine.

After I dropped off my passenger I felt even better! I was more concerned about her safety.

A couple of weeks later at a town board meeting, the township treasurer came over to me with a questioning look on her face and asked if I had filled out the form for compensation for my mileage? I hadn't. But someone had. And I chuckled when I read what someone had written on the form: "Death Ride to Red Wing!"

Someone else knew how it felt!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Behind the scenes with

Timberwolves announcer

Audition tapes for the job of public address announcer for the professional basketball team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, had to be in by the end of the day.

Rod Johnson of Cannon Falls had just found out about this opportunity and took his lunch break to make up the tape. His wife, Bernie, “hand delivered” it to the team’s offices in downtown Minneapolis.

Over the following weeks, Rod went through more competitions and intermittent periods of waiting to finally hear that he had been chosen. Later he found out that the other finalist had been none other than Jesse Ventura - who went on to be governor of Minnesota.

This was about 16 years ago.

Rod presently is also director of the Shepherd’s Center where he organizes senior citizen volunteers and trips. Not surprisingly, one event was to attend a Timberwolves game with the added attraction of using three luxury suites to view the game.

It was a Wednesday night when over 15,000 came to see the Charlotte Bobcats play the Timberwolves at Target Center. It seemed to me that it would be fun to find out just what a public address announcer does - so I asked to follow Rod around.

Rod gets to Target Center about 3 p.m. to get ready for a 7 p.m. game. I needed credentials to be able to follow him down into the “bowels” of the auditorium to get to the media room where he starts the process rolling. This is where he gets information like: how to pronounce some of the visiting players names.

Then they have the game operations session, which hadn’t allowed a reporter before. (I promised to cut out the audio on my video camera.)

We went through so many passageways that I’m not sure how I would get out if left alone. Yes, I saw the team’s locker rooms but we didn’t go in.

Midway through the process, Rod took a lunch break. Following this he continued at a fast pace getting his equipment set up at court side. About 6:20 p.m. he starts making pre-game announcements. When the teams come out he confirms starters, the national anthem is sung and he gives the starting lineups.

Rod has many stories to tell about some of the famous sports figures he has seen from his vantage point. Like when Kevin Garnett played here and 12 severely handicapped kids in wheelchairs were on the sidelines during a practice session. Garnet went over and hugged every one of them. And tears of joy cascaded down their faces. There were no cameras but this is the kind of quality character that so many of the athletes have, Rod recalled.

And they know their game. Like Michael Jordan. When in a practice session before the game, he came off the court after taking a couple of shots and explained that the basket was one inch off. Rod called maintenance and sure enough... it was. They fixed it.

Over 50 people from Cannon Falls took advantage of the opportunity to see the game from the suites. Although high above the court, you had a great view and could easily move around and enjoy the food and beverages. Even had your own bathroom.

I was leaving the suites to get back down to courtside when I noticed none of the escalators were going DOWN! All were bringing people upstairs. This would change later on but now it meant I had to run all the way to get to back to court side before the start of the game!

So where do I end up? Being a reporter I was given a place on the media platform. Sid Hartman from the Star Tribune/WCCO radio was right in front of me.

And so were a lot of other guys. All bigger than me. I could barely see the court... much less follow any action. But each one of us had a video monitor to get close-up views. Although... if I’m going to be watching it on a TV screen I might as well be back home!

Besides, it’s not cool to cheer from the media post!

So I moved out.

And yes, the Wolves won.

For video go to:

or excerpts on Youtube:


Friday, February 10, 2012

Competition... more than

just winning!

Why is everyone stopping to watch one competitor?

She’s not the fastest one...

In fact, she’s coming in last.

But watch how the other athletes stop... and wait... and cheer... as she finishes her race!

This was the action at a high school swim meet recently. It took place in Ohio but I have heard of similar situations in other places. It just happened that I caught this one on video.

I was visiting our grandkids and going to their various sports activities. So I’ve got video of basketball games... soccer games... concerts, etc.

But it was when I was videoing a swim meet that my attention was drawn to a particular scenario. It was not only the competitor that fascinated me but the reaction of the surrounding athletes and folks in the stands.


First we had been holding our breath as the divers leaped up off the board and executed their form in the air to slice into the water below. One broke the school’s record that day.

Then we were mesmerized by the swimmers as they dove into the pool and were streamlining through the blue water. We watched as they made their turns and were racing back to the wall.

And then...

Except for one.

She was coming... although much more slowly. And with more splashing.

It was obvious she couldn’t keep up with the others. And then you noticed she apparently had Down Syndrome. And so you were even more in awe of her even attempting the race.

But you also noticed that the busy commotion of all the other athletes had stopped.

They were focused on watching this one young girl in the pool.

The audience in the stands quieted to watch her final push in the race.

The girl’s arms splashed the water as she headed to her goal. And when she finally touched the wall... cheers and clapping exploded as the young people and adults congratulated her on her struggle.


So if you ever get downhearted about some of the antics of youthful indulgence (along with adult ones)... just know that you can find these wonderfully touching moments of compassion - and this they will carry into their future and ours.

I put a short video on Youtube. I didn’t know anyones’ names. But because of the internet, it was sent to many and also the family of the young girl. And they expressed their appreciation. They want to show it at their annual awards banquet.

How awesome to share in one of these special moments that catches your heart.

See the video on or YouTube - Competition at its best! (look for: alongthewaybyrosie) or go to:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Is it progress... or just annoying?

It was a "not so pleasant" surprise one morning recently when I discovered my cell phone had been disconnected by my wireless/cell phone service company when we changed to a new plan.

I had not been informed of this possibility beforehand and they apologized.

They explained that my phone was too old.

(This is not something a person of my age likes to hear!)

It had something to do with their equipment not working with our phones.

Although they didn't cut off my husband who has the same phone.

And of course they suggested that I could get an upgrade with a new two year contract, etc.

My old land line phone would also be temporarily forwarded to my husband's cell phone.

(Now you understand how a teenager would feel if all their calls

were sent to their dad's phone!)

But I'm impressed that the company "believed" me when I said I hadn't been told.

Then I wondered why I was so upset about the company disconnecting my cell phone without telling me.

It's not like I've always had one.

Remember the eight party phone line?

I grew up without one. When we moved to Cannon Falls we had an eight party line - where you counted the number of rings to hear if the call was for you.

Although you could pick it up and listen even if it wasn't!

And one time I recall picking it up to call out when I heard voices.

I apologized and was going to hang up when one of them told me to stay on the line because they were going to call me anyway!

But back to my old cell phone. I liked my old phone. It was in perfect condition.

And sometimes I don't like change that much. I remember years ago when I had to get a new computer and I was fussing because I wanted to keep Windows 95, but you had to upgrade.

And now that I'm busy creating new things with my Macs, I am still forced to keep upgrading.

And I loved my old phone company.

They just didn't have the ability to do what I wanted with my cell phone/internet access.

A "new-old" cell phone.

But with this new techie phone/internet stuff, I realize that I probably should have gone to Steve Winchell, local manager of KL Communications, and have him "walk" me through the process. He has "held my hand" before - like when I got my first cell phone years ago.

So now Steve provided me with a used phone and transferred my phone numbers

to it and I headed out.

While driving along, my "new-old" phone started ringing. I finally pulled over and

dug it out of my purse.

The phone's automated voice was asking me if I wanted to keep the voice prompts in Spanish or change them to English.

Since I have had one year of Spanish and over 70 of English - I chose the latter.

I didn't find any pictures or messages left on the phone from the previous owner, but just to be safe I looked up a translation program on the internet so I could say,

"Buenos dias mi amigo!"

A few years ago I had a local phone number that turned out to be the same as the National Bank of Panama.

If you didn't dial the correct number designated for that country you got me!

I got calls from all over the world!

A husband... and a phone...

But now I still just want my old phone back.

Like I said to the cell phone service company - I have kept the same husband for 50 years - I want to keep my old phone too!