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The Literate Learner Featured Article of the Week

Writing the news gives insight into community


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by Steve Gardiner
October 18, 2019

 

Much of my introduction to living in southeast Minnesota has come through the articles I have written for the newspapers produced by RiverTown Multimedia. Working as a reporter serves as my second-act career following 38 years of teaching high school English and journalism. It wasn't too much of a stretch to move from the classroom to the newsroom.

One of the features of this area are hills, more commonly called bluffs here, that line the banks of the Mississippi River. One of those hills, Barn Bluff, overlooks the town of Red Wing and is a city park with hiking trails and a beautiful view from the top. It is also a sacred site for the Dakota tribe at Prairie Island Indian Community. Differing ways of valuing the bluff caused tension between the two communities, until on October 16, a ceremony involving a hike up Barn Bluff brought members of both communities together.

 

Read “Ceremony unity of two communities” at https://www.rivertowns.net/community/4518800-ceremony-celebrates-unity-two-communities

 

One person deeply involved in the Barn Bluff ceremony was Dakota spiritual leader Art Owen. He attended the ceremony, then fell ill and passed away ten days later. He had spent his life helping people and was very happy about the effect the ceremony had on Red Wing and Prairie Island.

 

Read “Art Owen, Dakota spiritual leader, dies at 68” at https://www.rivertowns.net/community/4091752-Art-Owen-Dakota-spiritual-leader-dies-at-age-68

 

In January, ice formed on Lake Pepin and ice fishermen and others took to the ice for fun and sport. One snowmobile driver rode to Maiden Rock for lunch, and on his way back to his home in Stockholm, his snowmobile broke through the ice, leaving him neck deep in 34-degree water. The story of his rescue is an amazing account of good timing.

 

Read “Timing was the key to ice rescue success” at https://www.rivertowns.net/news/4554282-timing-was-key-ice-rescue-success

 

And on a happier note, one family in Red Wing can trace their heritage back to Austria and a man named Josef Mohr who wrote the lyrics to “Silent Night” in 1818. Two hundred years later, the Harris family performed the song at an emotional celebration in Red Wing to honor their relative.

 

Read "Silent Night has special meaning for Red Wing family" at https://www.rivertowns.net/community/4545588-silent-night-has-special-meaning-red-wing-family


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