Making progress and making history

A lot of your hard-working neighbors deserve pats on the back for the work you’ve seen in the Messenger over the last few months.

So far this year, we’ve published two issues in celebration of the Isle centennial.

You have four more issues to look forward to, and the whole bunch will be available in a keepsake edition like the ones we did for the Wahkon and Onamia centennials in recent years.

The community owes a debt of gratitude to those who have worked on them, many for little or no reward. (I’ve had little to do with the project, so I’m not patting myself on the back — That comes later.)

First and foremost is Randy Christensen, who is almost like an unpaid Messenger employee lately.

Randy is putting heart and soul into this project because he loves his town, loves history and wants the Isle Centennial to be a success.

Following close behind are other contributors: Gerald Wollum, Dolores Haggberg, Hans Woelfle, Bob and Jean Snyder, and Dawn Christensen. They’re drawing on many old Messenger articles — a good number from Mille Lacs historian Joe Fellegy.

Linda Becker, our phototech at the Messenger, and Paulette Paulsen, our graphic designer, may get paid for what they do, but they’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty to make this project happen.

Finally, our boss Kevin Anderson deserves credit for footing the bill and also putting in a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

I heard a second-hand crack someone made when asked to advertise in the special centennial issues. This wiseacre allegedly said Kevin Anderson, owner and publisher of the Messenger, should stop looking for ads and put out the issue for free as a public service.

Well, yeah. And it would be nice if the grocery store gave away its food and the gas station gave away its gas.

In reality, Kevin is heavily subsidizing the centennial issues.

Generally speaking, in our business about 50 percent of a product needs to be advertising to turn a healthy profit.

There were two pages of ads in the last Isle Advance 12-page section. You do the math, and instead of accusing Kevin and the Messenger of being cut-throat capitalists capitalizing on the centennial, send him a thank-you note.

Or better yet, consider advertising in the remaining issues.

We’re also in need of more photos and memories, especially from more recent decades in Isle — the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Progress edition

I can take a little credit for editing and laying out last week’s Progress Edition — 48 pages of feature stories on your neighbors and friends.

We’ve heard a lot of compliments about how well the issue turned out, and I thank everyone for passing along those kudos.

The real credit goes again to Linda and Paulette and our reporters — Diane Gibas, Rob Passons, Bob Statz and Mary Rains — as well as those 18 individuals who were willing to share their memories of growing up at Mille Lacs.

An old cliche in our business is that the newspaper is the first draft of history.

As we write articles for special publications like Progress and go through old papers for something like the centennial issues, that old cliche takes on new meaning.

Brett Larson is the editor of the Messenger.

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