An early summer grabbag column

Finally, a perfect weekend in central Minnesota. I spent much of the weekend watching wrens go in and out of their birdhouse, waiting for the hot tub to warm up, and visiting with my wife on the back porch. I jogged on my trails and took a swim in my brother’s pool.

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I even got some work done. Temporary insanity made me buy 40 chickens from Brau’s Hatchery a few weeks ago, and I got their coop cleaned out, and built an outdoor pen for them. (My favorite made-up joke this spring: “Have I told you about my chicken problem? I have chickens.”)
I missed most of Onamia Days, but there were plenty of Messenger folks wandering around, including our newest summer intern, Naomi Weyaus. If you run into her in coming weeks, I’m sure you’ll find her as charming and smart as we have.
Naomi was one of the top graduates at Onamia last year, and she spent the school year at Marquette University in Milwaukee. She’s majoring in writing and would like to work for a publishing company someday. She’s a voracious reader, which means she fits in around all the bookworms at the Mess. The Mille Lacs Band is sponsoring her internship (along with a contribution from us).
Ben Sam, one of last year’s interns, will be back with us this summer, too, thanks to the Pohlad Foundation, which sponsors summer interns at newspapers around the state. We also kick in part of Ben’s pay.
Ben will be a senior at Onamia next year and is another kid who’s as smart, talented and driven as we wish we had been when we were young.
The interns are just one change around the office this summer. Kevin Anderson, who is now the sole owner of the Messenger and the Aitkin Independent Age, has decided to upgrade the Age website, so we’ve found a developer who will also take the Mess website to the next level. The design will probably change a little, the speed will improve, and it should be easier on the eyes.
As we move forward in this Internet age, we’ll be doing more and more with the website while continuing to put out a paper product that makes the staff and the community proud.
A final note in this little grab bag of a column: Kudos to Mille Lacs Health System for spearheading a Community Wellness Challenge this summer. “Wellness” may be a buzzword these days, but for good reason. We Americans are in need of a kick in the pants to get us off the couch and out of the fast food restaurants.
The Mille Lacs area is becoming a little healthy living hotspot with thriving farmers markets and restaurants serving fresh and local foods. The schools and health system are taking a leadership role in community health and fitness, and many of your friends and neighbors are taking advantage of the great outdoor and indoor recreation opportunities. I’d encourage you to sign up and start counting your fruits and vegetables and minutes of exercise, as many of us at the newspaper are doing.
Part of my new exercise regimen is hitting wormburners at the driving range at Fiddlestix. If you see me there, stop and give me some pointers, please. My son Leif (who used to ride in the backpack as I photographed basketball games at Isle) is now 13, and he routinely kicks my butt at golf. Since Bob won’t help me (see his column to the right), maybe you can.

Brett Larson is the editor of the Messenger.

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