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One thing I’ve noticed since businesses have reopened at full capacity and are getting busier is that at many places, service is absolutely terrible. We’ve been to a couple of our favorite restaurants where a single waiter or waitress was responsible for a large section of tables — in some c…

When Jake Kutina spent the fall semester of his junior year in college studying abroad in Italy and then in Athens, he developed a love for traveling and wanted to return to Italy. At the end of July, he’ll have the opportunity. He’ll spend nearly 12 months living in Sant’Anselmo all’Aventin…

The complexity of nature is sometimes hard to understand and even harder to justify or feel good about, especially when seen through the human lens. I was reminded of this the other day while filming a family of American redstarts (Setophaga ruticilla) that is nesting on my property.

A reader suggested I interview David Schleper for my column because of his work researching, documenting, and promoting the history of Shakopee. I liked the idea. I talked to Schleper about a year ago for a column on what makes Shakopee unique, and he gave me a summary of the city’s past and…

Several years ago, a friend’s son got his driver’s license. My friend told me she was happy for him and it meant she no longer had to drive him everywhere, but at the same time, she said she’d miss the one-on-one time with him in their car. Even though their car rides where typically less th…

Like a lot of people I know, I wasn’t able to see my parents for more than a year because of the pandemic. They were isolating at their home in rural Indiana, so we respected their decision. Now that they’re vaccinated, as are other members of our family, we were finally able to get together…

Various businesses install reserved parking signs in their parking lots to accommodate certain customers or workers. For example, St. Francis Regional Medical Center has a variety of spots on its multiple lots for cardiac/pulmonary rehab patients, pharmacy pickup with a 15-minute max, certai…

I know several young adults who are now in the workforce and looking to move to an apartment. Some are wrapping up leases on campuses, others are living at home and want to move out, and still others want a change of location. I’ve asked some of them if they’ve considered buying a house or t…

I miss live music, food truck festivals, and people coming together, so I’m glad to see Rhythm on the Rails is being planned this summer starting July 14 and running five consecutive weeks. I talked to Main Street Director for the Shakopee Chamber of Commerce Ashley Grotewold about what we c…

One of my guilty pleasures is watching 80s videos on MTV Classic. This week I caught one of my favorite songs. It’s Bonnie Tyler’s former hit “Holding Out For a Hero,” which was featured in the movie “Footloose.”

We’re heading into year two of the pandemic. It’s been tough in many ways, but there have also been some positives. For example, flexible work schedules and working from home will continue long-term for many employees. A lot of people improved their hygiene habits by washing their hands more…

This year we seemed to zip right past Groundhog Day without even noticing. Perhaps this is because during COVID time, every day seems the same, just like the movie "Groundhog Day." Nothing new or different. Just one day like the other. But for the groundhog, also known as the woodchuck, spri…

When I went to my favorite board game store last week, it had several shelves filled with jigsaw puzzles. I asked one of the workers if that many puzzles had always been there and I never noticed, or if they boosted their inventory. She told me it was the latter because the store is selling …

When Nina Makem and her family moved from the central African country of Cameroon to Shakopee in 2015, she had no idea she’d one day be heading to college as a wrestler. Her family moved to Minnesota for a better life, and it’s paid off. Makem is currently a senior at Shakopee High School an…

As winter loosens its grip on the northern states and it finally feels like spring, my mind turns to all the changes in nature. In particular, the animals in the northern climates that change the color of their coats (pelage) or the birds that change their feathers (plumage) from brown to wh…

It looks like we’re not going to get a post-election break from politics. We’re already seeing candidates stepping up, or at least testing the waters at the local, state and national levels for 2022 races. The posturing and criticizing have begun for the next election cycle, or maybe they ne…

The bison turned quickly, ready to charge. The two feet of snow didn’t slow its powerful hooves, but rather kicked up a rooster-tail of shiny ice crystals into the cold winter air, highlighting the bison’s efforts.

The bison turned quickly, ready to charge. The two feet of snow didn’t slow its powerful hooves, but rather kicked up a rooster-tail of shiny ice crystals into the cold winter air, highlighting the bison’s efforts.

Last week my wife and I went to see the Sistine Chapel exbibit at the Mall of America. I’ve never been to Vatican City to visit the pope’s official residence in person, although I’m familiar with the incredible artwork. Seeing the images replicated larger than life at the mall exhibit was a …

I enjoy watching most sports, especially football. During college bowl game season and now as we head into Super Bowl Sunday, a variety of storylines dominate talk radio and sports news. Oftentimes what I find personally inspiring or motivating is not necessarily what’s grabbing the headlines.

Someone I know from high school told me she had a 37-year friendship end in November because of politics. It got me wondering how common this is, so I did some poking around on the internet. Turns out, there’s a seemingly endless number of stories about people ending friendships, family rela…

My parents bought me a JCPenny clock radio as a birthday present when I was a teenager. I’ve been using it almost daily ever since. It’s officially named an AM/FM Clock Radio Cassette Player. The radio offers two alarms, which I’ve grown accustomed to using so I can have one alarm for workda…

One thing we should be able to expect from our government, or any other entity for that matter, is a general sense of fairness. When one person, group, or industry is treated differently from others, it causes resentment. Plus it’s just bad policy. Unfortunately, that’s what we’ve seen since…

This winter has been a bit strange in the northland where I reside. Not much snow but enough cold temperatures to start freezing the lakes. The small lakes and ponds freeze up tight right away, but the larger lakes have open water near the center or in the deeper areas. While out photographi…

Have you ever received a Christmas present you didn’t like, but lied and said you did? If so, you’re not alone. A recent survey of 2,000 people found that only 15% respond honestly about getting a gift they don’t like. The top reason people fib, not surprisingly, is to avoid hurting someone’…

I still get excited at Christmas time. I enjoy decorating the tree, shopping for presents, and listening to Christmas music. One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is seeing so many decorative lights on houses and in yard displays. In a year that hit us hard with one challenge after …