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.”

"Scooping" the "big guys"!

The stories we can tell...  
You’ve probably heard lots of stories about one of the most powerful legislators in the Minnesota Senate during the 1970s, George Conzemius of Cannon Falls, who died recently.  But here is one you may not have heard before.
Because I haven’t talked about it.
But it’s the way I learned about him.
Back in those days...
I had moved to this community many years ago when the story hit.  You realize that while I lived up in the “Cities” I had been asked how I could survive as a journalist out in the boondocks where nothing ever happened?  
But after I got here I had found my way onto the local newspaper staff and was learning how things were done.
Since I was a newcomer and didn’t have any ties to anyone... like childhood friendships...  I was covering the story the “big city” news reporters were scrambling for.  This was news about the man who could possibly have been governor - but who was now being indicted for mail fraud.
And what a story it was.
Not just the trial.
But getting insight into the man - who presented an intimidating image to me.
As far as getting the story… 
I had to wonder why anyone would bother giving a “nobody” reporter information?
I contacted the defense team and explained that I was a reporter for the newspaper in Conzemius’ small home town.  Would they give me updates to tell folks back here?  They would.
I talked to the prosecutor - who also made himself accessible.   
I was taught about “mail fraud” being awfully close to “shrewd business practices”.  
But it wasn’t up to me to influence the jury. I was there to provide  information to the newspaper’s readers.
The key to “scoops”!
The key to my getting the story ahead of the big city TV stations was that the legal filings were done in a nearby county courthouse on the same day the Beacon went to press.  So I could “scoop” them all while working on a weekly newspaper!  
How cool is that?
I built up a relationship at the courthouse so even though I couldn’t get there before closing, an employee made copies of a set of documents and was waiting on the courthouse steps!  
How cool is that?
And Conzemius himself gave me suggestions and files of information about people he felt were out to destroy him.  
One day of the trial...
  Many witnesses testified to the good character of Conzemius.  While standing outside the courtroom with lots of other big city reporters I heard them talking about these witnesses.  
One exclaimed: even the governor was coming!  And another bleeped out: “Jesus Christ!”  
I smiled and said: “No, he’s coming later!”
Although there were chuckles... that was about the only bit of humor that day.
Insight into character...
After he was convicted, I interviewed Conzemius.  Then following his sentencing his lawyer called me and said Conzemius had been put in jail earlier than expected because a recent article of mine influenced the court.
But, important to me... the lawyer said Conzemius admitted he had said these statements... but it wasn’t what he meant.  
Now a politician could easily complain that the journalist was wrong.  But Conzemius hadn’t. 
And after the verdict came in Conzemius told me... the U.S. justice system was the best in the world... but it wasn’t always right.   
After coming back home...
Some time after Conzemius was released from prison I recall seeing him at a Fourth of July parade in town.  He was standing across the street from me.
It was with discomfort, on my part at least, that we acknowledged each other. But somehow I got invited to his house nearby for refreshments.
And that led to our getting together with other friends for a weekly Bible study.
And yes... it sure was fun arguing with George!  
Since then...
We had lost touch since then. I’d only seen him a couple of times in the following years.
Just reminiscing for a while...
I’m sure you’ve all got your own stories to tell.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

"Love... without fear"

“... May I love without fear...”  
The desire of a man... led to this experience.

  “God led experiences.”

Shannon Bauer recalls:”Years ago when I was completing a Master’s of Counseling degree through Sioux Falls Seminary, I had a busy schedule.  My family lived in Spencer, IA which was a two hour drive from Sioux Falls and I was preaching at two Presbyterian churches near Worthington, MN one hour from Sioux Falls.  
“A typical week for me was seminary from Monday through Friday, then head home Friday night through Sunday morning.  Sunday morning, I would lead the worship services and then head to Sioux Falls to begin the week again.  
“One Sunday afternoon, while on my way, I was filling up with gas in Worthington.  When doing this I would use my credit card at the pump for convenience. 
“On this particular day I noticed a man outside the gas station.  While I was pumping gas I had an overwhelming desire to see if this man needed help.  He did not have a sign nor did he seem to be in stress.  

Yet God prodded me 
   to reach out to him.”  

“I had already paid for my gas at the pump and had no need to go towards the station.  I was ready to make an excuse to God and continue my journey.  Then I felt a bit thirsty.  
“I looked over the man’s shoulder and noticed a sign for bottled water: “Two bottles of water for $2.’”  
“Okay God. I will go into the store and buy two bottles of water and offer the man one.  As I was leaving the store the man was still there.  I went over to him and said, ‘Do you need some water? Is there anything I can do for you sir?’"

“Why did those words 
    come out of my mouth?”  

“Before I could make sense of my own statement he replied, “Yes, I would really appreciate a ride to my home in Sioux Falls.”  (About 60+ miles.)

Well... it would only be a few miles 
out of Shannon’s way!

“I agreed to give him a ride.  As we drove to Sioux Falls, I learned that he was a bull fighter.  He and his girlfriend were at a competition in Duluth when his truck broke down.  
“He did not carry a credit card nor did he have a cell phone.  He only had enough cash to pay the mechanic there to order the needed part to fix his truck.  Yet the truck was not to be fixed till the following week and he needed to get back to Sioux Falls for work.
 “He had enough cash left over to 1) purchase a bus ticket to Albert Lea for his girlfriend to get home and 2) buy a ticket for him to get to Worthington.  
“He had no idea how he was going to get from Worthington to Sioux Falls until I showed up.  I had showed up less than 5 minutes after the bus dropped him off at the gas station in Worthington.  
“I did not see or hear from this man after I dropped him off at his home.  
"I do thank God that He gave me 
an opportunity to be a blessing.”

"May I love... without fear."

This is the morning prayer of Shannon Bauer, pastor at Wangen Prairie Lutheran Church, southwest of Cannon Falls.  And each evening Shannon reflects on the ways God has used him... “and when my stubborness kept me
 from being used by God.”

Friday, October 6, 2017

Scary stories... crime novels!

The invitation to the crime novelist’s book release party at his home up in the cities sounded interesting.
But I was pretty scared.  
Not because of the novel or the author.
I just didn’t know how I would get through the busy traffic.
But all went pretty well.  In fact, the author was delayed coming from his previous book launch gathering because of traffic!
Am I in the right house?
We had been told to park on a side street and enter the house on the lower level through the back patio for easier access. I was all alone and with no numbers on the back sides of the houses I wasn’t sure if I was going into the right one!  I hoped I wouldn’t be arrested for unlawful entry or possibly surprising someone coming out of the shower!
I heard voices upstairs and headed that way.  Among the crowd I finally found the hostess. Then she had her friend from New York City visit with me while she retrieved a surprise for me!
It was a small replica of a Colombian saddle for a horse - that I could hang from the mirror in my car.  Yes, I realize that might not be legal to do that in Minnesota but it’s really cute and I’ll find someplace in the car for it.
I was still recuperating from my fear of driving to the party so I got a half cup of coffee and checked out all the folks talking to each other in the crowd.  
My next thought was: I might just leave right now!
How to “mingle”?
But then I thought... I drove all the way up here... there must be some way to “mingle”.   
Surveying the crowd I finally found two couples who had left a space open that I could quietly shift into.   
And it was an interesting conversation.
Then I found another group that had left an empty space - just for me, right?
The guests appeared to be mainly close friends of the hosts.  But I was probably the only one who had had a part in one of his novels!  
Well, kind of anyway.  
“Assassins... drugs... bring your shovel?”
A couple of years ago I wrote about it in my column:  “Assassins... drugs... bring your shovel?” Or you can find it on my blog: Along the way by Rosie.
It’s the novel where the drug lord’s assassin was burying bodies on a Paso Fino horse farm outside of Cannon Falls, MN!  I didn’t know about this when the book was published.  I found it out when I was interviewing several crime novelists from the twin cities!
ACKKKKKK!  Not my sweet little farm!
When I told a Cannon Falls Police Officer what I had discovered in my interview he just shook his head and said, “Now I suppose we’ll have to get a shovel and come out and dig.”
Later on at the party another thought worried me.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned this episode to the guests because who knows if they believed that I was innocent!
Hazardous driving?
Soon I began wondering if the drive home would be as hazardous as coming up and I decided to leave.  It wasn’t.   
When I got home I decided that because of my concerns about driving in the cities, I would like to let other drivers know I’m not purposely trying to irritate them.  I’m just trying to be “careful”!
So I wanted to make a bumper sticker to express this.
I decided that it probably would not be appropriate to make one saying:  “F.... YOU TOO!”

So I decided on:

(Thanks to Christopher Valen and his wife Martha. Chris’ latest book was just released: St. Paul Homicide Detective John Santana in “Speak for the Dead”.)

Friday, September 29, 2017

                SURPRISE!  (OH NO!!!!!!!)

It was the opportunity to experience a different culture.  The 79 year old white-haired Grandma had just had her hair styled and hoped she looked pretty while enjoying a quiet birthday lunch.  Her grown-up children wanted her to cultivate new customs, they explained.
They found a restaurant during a trip to Minnesota and the food was delicious even though grandma had no idea what to expect!

The staff had been told that it was her birthday - although she would have preferred to be anonymous.
So when the servers showed up after the meal with a rather silly looking “birthday hat”, she gamely put it on and smiled.  And a large glass goblet with dessert was put in front of her while the staff sang “Happy Birthday”.
This sounds as if it’s going well... right?
                                        Oh Oh!
When the song was finished, one member of the staff quickly reached over the table and shoved a large slab of foamy substance onto her face! (It turned out to be whipping cream.)

Her immediate reaction was:  Is something bad happening?  Do I need to protect someone?

A cultural tradition?
Although shocked, grandma had to wonder if this was part of this culture’s tradition?
She accepted the pile of napkins the staff was giving her to clean off her face.
In confusion she tried to decide how to react.  
Apparently she was supposed to like this experience and laugh.
Instead, her daughter watched concernedly as grandma’s hand was inching toward the large glass goblet... with the possible intention of throwing it!
But instead, grandma decided to simply taste the sweet dessert... although feeling quiet desperation.

And why do this?
After leaving a nice tip - the original meal was good - grandma waited until her children had left the restaurant and quietly asked to talk with the manager.
Her idea was to find out if this was a tradition in their culture?  Because it wasn’t in hers.  This could be part of learning to know each other.  There are many new things they learn when coming to the U.S.
And maybe they could accept that this was not something everyone enjoys!
The manager said it wasn’t their culture’s tradition and he thought they could ask people next time.  

And so...
So how did I get this story?
I am the grandma.
I’m not mentioning the name of the restaurant because it’s really good and it looks like they will change their policy.  
I’ve probably done things I thought were fun that someone else might not have enjoyed as much as me!  And now my friends will probably keep whipping cream ready to spray me!
But I would still like to protect other “grandmas” who don’t want this surprise!  So if you run into a similar situation, please let me know.
And Happy Birthday to you too!  
(Yes, my son captured the whole scene on my iphone!  No...I don’t plan to put it on Youtube!)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

We can’t save them all... 
 but we can show them love”

            “We teach them how it is to be loved.”
“Nobody was their voice... they had nobody to protect them." 
This is the heart’s desire of three women whose mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome slaughter bound horses and also horses in situations involving abuse, neglect or the inability of the owner to provide needed care.
The gals are: from L-R:  Madeline (Maddy) Snyder, Apple Valley, Kat Rohl, Cannon Falls and Kathy Peterson, North Branch.  Kat has turned her home stables south of Cannon Falls into Resthaven Horse Rescue.

The business acumen of the three who also work full-time resulted in getting legal recognition of their tax exempt status with a 501c3.  And they have the enthusiasm to organize fundraisers to help with their project.

Their years of experience with horses has provided them with the understanding of the amount of work involved and the dedication needed.
Kat explained:  “All we do is work hard.”
Maddy added: “We can’t give up now!”

Why do this?
Kat explained how they got into this project.  A few years ago they knew they wanted to save horses from slaughter but decided they would focus on helping horses who were in life threatening situations.
Their plan is to get the horses healthy and then find homes for them.
Where do they find them?
They find the horses they rescue in various ways.  Some are seen online where it is explained that if they aren’t sold by a certain date they will go to slaughter.
Or someone gets a horse out of a slaughter pen and then finds it’s too much for them and they need the help of these gals.
Or authorities call them.
Where the horses come from...
It’s not always the fault of bad owners, Kat explained.  There may be circumstances that led to the problem.  They have a strict privacy policy and do not release the names of the owners.
In one case no one knew what the problem was.  The horse was deteriorating. They had tests done that showed an intestinal cancer that was difficult to diagnose or treat.  This horse didn’t make it.  To this day they miss her, Kat explained.   
“We cannot save them all, but we can show them respect, compassion and love.”

Some of the success stories...
The horses reflect a variety of breeds... quarter horse, mustang, mini and then there’s Erica, a “Jenny” mini mule. 

Kat explained, when Erica came she would not eat, she had a heart murmur, stomach ulcers, fluid buildup on her belly, open sores from her jaw to her tail and was so skinny her bones stuck out.  She was very sick.”
Here she is today.

Another horse, Sable, was missing one-third of her tongue.  And Kitchi is a mustang from North Dakota that had had no food or water over the winter and was severely malnourished.
Resthaven Horse Rescue is full at the present time.  Like Kat explained:  “We are responsible for the animals we have now.”
More stories and examples of ways to help are listed on their website: