A mental game

When I was in high school, believe it or not, I was a decent athlete. I have always had pretty good hand-eye coordination, and I was lucky to have good genetics in relation to my height and weight. Sports came easy to me, and that was fortunate because academics, social situations and general responsibility did not. 

Backing up to take another look at decades long buried, we admit that, if we recall celebrating Decoration Day, we’re quite elderly.  Almost every society has created a day given to acknowledge the memories we hold of persons who no longer live but were once held dear or were well respected, or those who were persons noticed as one among the crowd and welcomed as fellow travelers. 


“If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives,” Mother Teresa wrote as part of “Anyway,” a poem she wrote. “Be kind anyway.”   While the overall quote presents an argument for good and follows with some potential perception difficulties, it exhorts us to do good anyway. Similarly, this part of the quote speaks to kindness, presents a potential difficulty and offers direction, which is to be kind anyway.

The great American straw man

This might feel like one of those, “Here’s the problem with America” kind of columns. And while I would never synthesize the totality of issues we face as Americans into a singular element, this is an issue that permeates everything from the highest levels of politics to our everyday conversations. I call it collective straw manning. A straw man fallacy, which is a long-established and routinely referenced logical foible, is when somebody distorts or misrepresents their opponent’s argument or position to make it easier to refute.

A late-blooming spring

In this late-blooming spring, central Minnesota is experiencing a confusing this-way, that-way reopening of our traditional growing season. In March and early April, with winter stubbornly refusing to loosen its grip, we began predicting the outcome of this strange seasonal divide: the end of winter, a brief nod by springtime and a sudden summer.

SpaceX explosion

This past week, approximately four minutes into its flight, a SpaceX unmanned rocket aimed for the moon exploded amid cheers from the SpaceX employees charged with making the rocket. Reportedly, the cheers came as employees were excited to find out what was working but more excited to learn what was not working. Progress is often seen as an effort to take research, best practices, experience, training, expertise and action to formulate a theory of action and promote a trial run. At the trial run phase, all of the above mentioned elements come together, the trial is forwarded, and data is collected to see how well the trial works. 

Through snow, mud and uncertainty, we crept into April, wondering if spring is just a myth, a promise not kept or maybe, especially this year, a new kind of winter: an offshoot with slightly longer hours of daylight. 

Multitasking is a myth

In the past 20 years or so, the term multitasking has become a popular way to describe doing several tasks simultaneously. This has become somewhat of a legend as people take pride in their ability to multitask as well as utilize multitasking as a reason to make mistakes within the realm of doing any one of the tasks involved.

BEP intern spotlight: Ngango

Benton Economic Partnership Inc. is pleased to announce the onboarding of Johanna Isaro Ngango as an intern for the remainder of 2023. Isaro Ngango is an international student at St. Cloud State University, who is triple majoring in political science, international relations, and planning and community development. She expects to graduate in the fall. She is originally from Kigali, Rwanda.

On gun control

Following the school shooting in Tennessee that claimed six lives, which adds to the at least 125 other mass shooting events so far this year, we have a few options. Option No. 1: We do nothing and hope that the situation resolves itself. This sounds trivial, but violence can be cyclical and contagious, and I guess we could sit around and hope it passes.

The springboard to spring

Easter Sunday, an age-old holiday as variously celebrated by much of humanity as is the Christmas season, is largely a Christian holiday with secular overtones. Perhaps we who abide (not always happily) in a distinctly four seasonal environment regard Easter as an “at last, at last, done with winter” milestone. Not always a reliable exit from a stubborn winter, we welcome, however, whenever the day arrives and maintain memories associated with the anniversary.

Doing difficult things

It seems like a trend these days to avoid doing difficult things. In this avoidance, we seem to generate a more comfortable and secure existence; however, avoiding challenges only causes us to learn how to avoid difficult things. Avoiding challenges does not prepare us to do great things, only to shrink from doing great things. Educationally, we always want to provide an appropriate level of challenge to a student. Make an assignment to a class that is too easily accomplished and students are bored and unmotivated to complete the task. Give an assignment that is much too difficult and to which the student is not adequately equipped to complete, and there is a tendency for the student to not start, or once started, to give up. 

Mr. Boberg

In the forgotten and the remembered history within a specific locale, the name of a family or an individual rides to the surface of our thinking now and then. We’re not sure why we’re curious about someone absolutely unknown to us; the name in question barely and casually having been referenced by persons no longer living. 

There seems to be a notion going around that the city of Foley’s wastewater regionalization project, now that it has run into a significant funding snag, was poorly timed. Some residents, whether at meetings or on social media or in my ear, believe the city should have waited until the $7 million in Point Source Implementation Grant funding was solidified before approving the project in 2022.

The emerging expert

American actress Helen Hayes said, “The expert in anything was once a beginner.”  Oftentimes, we view those who are considered experts through a lens that begins from the moment we are introduced to their expertise. Think of the moment we see an extraordinary athletic achievement or view a specific artistic talent for the first time and are in some level of wonderment about how an individual can possibly be that talented.

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