"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn
The multi-ethnic building was the original home of the music department at UMM. (B.W. photo)

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Don Quixote-like mission of Fox News

Roger Ailes is president of Fox News Channel.

I wonder if Roger Ailes was teased as a child. I wonder if Sean Hannity had college professors harass him.
These people don't deserve a place in the top tier of political discourse in the U.S. They do have such a perch, so we need to try to understand what motivates them.
They approach politics like a siege. The heroes are the conservatives or the Republicans. Only people on the right have the answers for creating a happy and prosperous America.
America isn't getting happier. Technology has created efficiencies the likes of which are hardly done being implemented. The middle class as boomers once knew it has been evaporating.
The Fox News empire hammers away continuously on how only conservatives have the answers. Regulate less. Tax less. Let the rich get richer.
The boomers who endorse this leave me flabbergasted. The disheveled young boomers were idealistic, decidedly to the left side of the political spectrum. Rich people, in our eyes, were like that bad guy character in the movie "The Towering Inferno" - the tycoon who wanted to cut corners.
We subscribed to that paradigm.
Today a lot of us have drifted to the tea party side. We assail "government regulations" of the type that would have protected people in "The Towering Inferno." We assail taxation.
And we are influenced more than we realize by Ailes' Fox News juggernaut.
A lot of us don't have time to watch much of it. But, enough opinion leaders do watch it, that it is a force that looms.
Real Republicans are temperate. They have principles but they don't vie with the other side as if applying flamethrowers. A real flamethrower works (partly) because it denies the enemy oxygen. Fox News strives to deny the opposition the oxygen of open expression.
Democrats don't have real "facts" at their disposal, you see. When Democrats seek to supply facts, those facts are assailed emotionally as having no foundation. Democrats are really an extension of Che Guevara and they are to be stomped down.
When Hank Williams Jr. got into trouble recently it was because he was lulled into thinking Fox News would really put its imprimatur on what he said. The country singer was a guest on a Fox News program. He likened President Barack Obama to Hitler.
Now, why would he get the impression that such a rhetorical hand grenade would go over on this show? People who watch Fox News regularly know.
The network is disrespectful to the other side. It not only disagrees, it laughs and mocks. It is horribly thin-skinned. It recoils at any criticism. It sends out "ambush interviewers" (although I haven't seen this abomination lately, so maybe some pressure was brought to bear from sensible Republicans).
Fox News hassled the Girl Scouts not long ago, merely because the Scouts thought the "Media Matters" website was a useful media critique resource. It was the usual mountain out of a molehill for Fox. Fox decided Media Matters was a "left wing" site, and they exuded the typical odious paranoia.
Media Matters sees itself as a media watchdog, keeping an eye on the extreme right of political commentary - how that element spews misinformation and twists things. It's only a website. I have been there and it seems reasonable. It does not per se seek to indoctrinate people from the left.
But Fox News had kittens until it seemed the story disappeared, probably because a lot of people got ticked off. Again, pressure brought to bear?
The on-air personalities seem like puppets this way, following directives from above. There is a daily script, I would suggest, pushing the right wing angle in certain ways.
Bill O'Reilly seems to have backed off on harassing judges. Again, pressure? Is civility pushing back? Even Bernie Goldberg, often an on-air sidekick of O'Reilly, has said "nay" about the "ambush" interviews which have often been aimed at judges.
Are some judges too "lenient?" What about Haley Barbour? But he's a Republican, so this brings no special ire.
The Barbour pardoning incident ought to keep O'Reilly mum now. But now I have to worry about O'Reilly perhaps sending an ambush interviewer after me. Well, it would spice up our morning at McDonald's if such an individual (like Jesse Watters) showed up. So, come on out to Flyoverland, guys.
Hannity with his prime time show is so bad he almost seems harmless now, a caricature of himself. There is no suggestion of fairness. It's just that the Democrats under Obama are suspicious, ignorant, misguided, unpatriotic and perhaps dangerous. The nightly mantra is tiresome.
But it works, having been essential in elevating the so-called tea party from the fringe status where it belonged. Fox presents the tea party as if it's organic. You know what's organic? The Occupy movement. But Occupy is demonized on Fox News.
Fox tells us the tea partiers, an aggregation led by the usual moneyed Republican interests (all too happy to put on a populist disguise), are the real heroes. All this is done under the guise of being a legitimate TV news network.
The last time I was in the Morris Dairy Queen, the house TV was tuned to Fox News. I haven't been back since.
Here's a question for Roger Ailes: What would America really be like under one-party government? This is what you obviously want. Newt Gingrich says we should even shove aside certain Federal judges. What would America be like if Republicans simply "ruled?"
Have they shown they can even handle a majority in government? When they get power they do what all politicians do: consolidate it and build fiefdoms. You don't do this by "cutting spending." You get re-elected by dispensing goodies.
Republicans are as good at this as anyone and they don't even have the sheen of true populist idealism like Democrats do. They'll say "if we just promote more growth, we'll be OK." Eviscerate regulations, wipe out unions and give the super-rich more latitude. Yup, this will create a contented America.
But the Founders envisioned a vigorous political dialogue in which both sides could find their legitimate place and offer people a variety of solutions. Sometimes the redistributionist ideas have their place. But Republicans view such ideas like Kryptonite.
The "us vs. them" mindset comes through with a relentless tenor on Fox News. Fox identifies little stories that might cast doubt on Democrats (or those nasty "liberals") and elevates them to a suggested scandal stature. They "carpet bomb."
The thinking begins to seep into the minds of some of our leaders. A Republican said after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting that "regardless of the motivation. . .we must condemn this." (This is a paraphrase.) It was as if the idea of shooting a Democrat might actually be weighed.
This politician later issued an amended or additional statement, as I recall, but there was no furor.
Of course, Democrats need to weigh the nuances of every word they utter. Fox News is ready to pounce, to express "outrage" (so typical of cable TV news talking heads) and suggest stupidity or un-American motivations. The healthiest motivations, in the eyes of Fox, might have been expressed by Gingrich when he said certain judges might have to be pushed aside, maybe even arrested.
Let's shove aside the judges we don't like, vote all Democrats out of office and see what kind of America we end up with.
The experts say it isn't wise making Nazi analogies. So I'll try to refrain, but when you impress your opinions as if they're the only legitimate ones, totalitarianism looms.
Frankly, we are seeing a profoundly changing economy and I feel neither Republicans nor Democrats have their finger really on the pulse.
The young people of today have the truest sense - they see the absolute folly of SOPA and PIPA, for example - and they will someday usher in a new economy. They just don't have the power yet. The Newt Gingrich's and Roger Ailes' do.
From these two we'd get the mantra of lower taxes and less regulation.
They'll flog that dead horse until a river catches fire.
It's Don Quixote redux, thrusting at the windmill.
We boomers had to wait to get power. This is always the way of things. Fox News flails away like it has the answers. It speaks to its flock.
And it leads us to nothing but folly.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hoops update: Morris Area Chokio Alberta

John Tiernan drives toward the basket in the Tigers' 54-39 win over YME Friday. (B.W. photos)
Jacob Torgerson plays defense during the Tigers' WCC-South win at home Friday.
Austin Dierks shows the kind of form that produced 21 points. Morris Area Chokio Alberta treated the appreciative home crowd to a 54-39 win.
Logan Manska sizes up the Yellow Medicine East defense.

Boys basketball: Tigers 54, YME 39
Win No. 11 was notched by the Morris Area Chokio Alberta boys hoops squad Friday (1/27) at home. The success came at the expense of the YME Sting.
The orange and black cause prevailed with a strong second half. The second half really told the story as coach Mark Torgerson's squad outscored the Sting 30-15.
The Sting held their own in the first half, good enough to be tied with MACA at halftime, 24-all. The usual robust fan turnout was on hand at our gym. Tiger boosters smiled as their team seized the second half "mo."
The ultimate 54-39 win was the Tigers' sixth in conference.
The success was in spite of cool three-point shooting where the numbers were three of 17. Chandler Erickson made two of the long-rangers and Logan Manska had the other. In total field goals the Tigers were 20 of 54. In freethrows: 11 of 18.
Austin Dierks came to the fore with his caliber of play. He scored a team-best 21 points and also led in rebounds with eleven. Riley Arndt grabbed six rebounds.
Jake Torgerson had four assists and Brody Bahr three. Manska and Arndt each had three steals.
Dierks with his 21 points was followed in scoring by: Erickson 8, Manska 7, Arndt 6, Bahr 6, Tom Holland 2, Daniel Nelson 2 and Nic Vipond 2.
Adam Savariego was YME's top scorer with 13 points.
The Tigers came out of the night at 11-4 in overall, 6-1 in conference. The YME numbers: 4-9 overall, 1-5 in conference.

Girls basketball: NL-Spicer 62, Tigers 48
New London was the destination for Morris Area Chokio Alberta girls basketball Thursday (1/26).
The host Wildcats made a statement with their first half play, outscoring the Tigers 37-18. Coach Dale Henrich's Tigers upped their caliber of play in the second half, outscoring the Wildcats 30-25. But the damage had been done.
Taylor Thunstedt put in 32 points as her Wildcats downed the Tigers 62-48.
The Wildcats came out of the night at 15-3 in overall won-lost.
The Tigers made six 3-pointers but needed quite a few attempts to achieve that. Katie Holzheimer made five of the long-rangers and Tracy Meischner made the other. The Tigers' six-for-26 stats in 3-pointers were part of 18-for-61 overall stats in field goals.
Their freethrow numbers were six of 12.
MaKenzie Smith made a statement for MACA in the loss, scoring 21 points and grabbing seven rebounds. She led the team in both categories. Nicole Strobel grabbed six rebounds.
Beth Holland and Courtney Gades each had three assists. Gades and Holzheimer each stole the ball twice.
Smith with her harvest of 21 points was followed on the scoring list by: Holzheimer (15), Meischner (5), Brooke Wente (3), Holly Amundson (2) and Holland (2).
The MACA stat in attempted 3-pointers seems substantial, at 26, but New London-Spicer eclipsed that, putting up 29 tries from what a lot of us writers used to call "three-point land." My goodness, that's nearly half the NL-S total in field goal attempts.
Is this a trend? Even if the percentage of makes seems low, which it often is, is the extra point for each success enough justification for this approach? Interesting.

Boys basketball: Monte 56, Tigers 43
Tuesday, Jan. 24, was a big day in WCC-South boys hoops, featuring a clash of upper-crust teams. The site was Montevideo. The MACA Tigers took the court there hoping to preserve their unbeaten status in conference wars.
The host Thunder Hawks were striving to take advantage of an enthusiastic home crowd. Whether or not the crowd was in fact a factor, the Tigers came out on the short end. Coach Torgerson's squad had its conference momentum blunted in a 56-43 final.
The Thunder Hawks led 22-17 at halftime. They came out of the night with still-unblemished conference won-lost numbers, at 5-0, and with an 11-4 overall record.
The Tigers were humbled but owned the still-impressive 5-1 record in conference and 10-4 overall.
Monte's home crowd certainly didn't boost the T-Hawks in three-point shooting. They found a lid on the hoop, going 0-for-9. But while the ball was clanging off the rim, they were able to execute better in other categories. The T-Hawks looked poised in freethrows, going 18 of 25 here.
The made freethrows helped keep the Tigers at bay in the closing stages, when fouling became a tactic for MACA.
The Tigers made four of ten 3-point tries. Logan Manska had two of the long-range makes, and Jacob Torgerson and Chandler Erickson one each.
The Tigers were 17 of 42 in total field goals. In freethrows: five of 12.
Austin Dierks attacked the boards for nine rebounds. Erickson deftly dished out five assists, and he also had three steals to lead in these categories.
Let's roll up our sleeves for the scoring list: Erickson 10, Manska 8, Torgerson 7, Riley Arndt 6, Dierks 6, Lincoln Berget 4 and Nick Vipond 2.
Jake Douglas and Colton Vien topped Monte's scoring with 12 and eleven points, respectively.

Girls basketball: Monte 50, Tigers 47
A tie score at halftime developed into a Montevideo advantage on Tuesday evening, 1/24, at the Morris Area gym.
Kendyl Anderson of the Thunder Hawks was a major force denying the Tigers victory on this night. Anderson made four 3-pointers and posted 18 points.
The Tigers shot decent in 3's, making four such shots, and were 15 of 56 in total field goals. Katie Holzheimer made three shots from beyond the three-point stripe. Beth Holland had the other success in that department.
Holzheimer finished with a team-leading 13 points and Holland with ten. In between these Tigers on the scoring list was Nicole Strobel who put in eleven points. Tracy Meischner scored six points, MaKenzie Smith five and Brooke Wente 2.
Meischner led in rebounds with ten followed by Holland with nine and Strobel with seven. Meischner and Courtney Gades each had three assists.
Meischner made her presence felt in steals too, accumulating five, while Smith had three.
The Tigers made 13 of 22 freethrow attempts.
The halftime score was 28-28. The home court wasn't enough to give the Tigers their desired second half push.
Kendyl Anderson and her T-Hawk mates picked up their sixth win of the season.
Coach Dale Henrich's Tigers came out of the night at 5-11 in overall, 3-6 in conference.

Girls basketball: Litchfield 58, Tigers 49
The Walsh sisters had big impact for their Litchfield Dragon hoops squad on Saturday, Jan. 21, here vs. the MACA Tigers.
Greta Walsh was precise and poised in her shooting, putting on a clinic from long range. Greta made seven 3-pointers as (a big) part of scoring 26 points.
Sister Shelbie Walsh scored eleven points as the Dragons downed the Tigers 58-49.
Bailey Koch put in 13 points for the victor.
Litchfield charged out of the starting gate strong and owned a 35-24 lead at halftime. The Tigers outscored the Dragons 25-23 in the second half.
The Tigers made five 3-pointers but needed 20 attempts to do so. Katie Holzheimer made three of those long-rangers. Courtney Gades and MaKenzie Smith each connected for one.
It was Smith leading in rebounds with eight followed by Nicole Strobel with five. Tracy Meischner led in assists with four. Holzheimer's three steals made her team-best.
The Tigers were 18 of 48 in total field goals. In freethrows: eight of 15.
Holzheimer topped the scoring list with 15 points and was joined in double figures by Beth Holland (12) and Strobel (10).
The three other Tigers in the scoring list were Smith (7), Gades (3) and Meischner (2).
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, January 27, 2012

Neighborhood bonding built inclusiveness

Our neighborhood had parties when I was a kid. Were those times better? It's a matter for discussion.
We were a typical neighborhood with boomer children. The orange school bus stopped several times, maybe as many as four, although kids from more than one family might gather in one stop.
Those buses don't even rumble by today. It seems it has been years.
We often hear neighborhoods aren't as close as they once were. There has been a slow cultural move away from neighborhood affinity.
None of this stuff happens overnight. The late Doug Rasmusson once wrote about slow cultural changes in rural outstate Minnesota. He lived in the Morris area and was a unique talent. He and Del Holdgrafer of Donnelly might have become famous if they grew up in a big city and got sent through more refined educational channels.
But "there's more to life than being famous." That's a saying that Rasmusson could certainly seize on for a piece in one of his self-published books.
His writing set an example for what I aspire to on this website (or blog). He would have found the Internet, in its fully developed form, an immense treasure in which to get involved.
Self-published books were once called "vanity publishing." This is a judgmental term or at least smacks of such.
I remember a TV documentary doing an expose on this mode of publishing a long time ago. The suggestion was that companies offering this were misleading or unethical. Looking down their nose, the likes of TV documentary journalists thought these common writers were being misled into thinking they could make money on their books.
Maybe people in the big corporate media felt journalism was pointless unless you were trying to become rich and famous.
Today there is no controversy over "self publishing." I hope the term "vanity publishing" has died.
You're not vain to want to see your own writing in a polished published form. If you have the money to do it and want to do it, go for it.
These authors also seem uninhibited talking about it.
And while we're burying the term "vanity publishing," let's do the same with "blogging." I feel "blogging" is a horrendous term, having been born when the Internet was young and it had a different complexion. Many people with questionable intentions seized on the Internet.
Today it is such a medium of the masses, we take it for granted. We all know there's bad stuff on the web but we brush it off.
A blog is a website. It's a type of website designed for journalism or diary-style writing. It can be as good as you make it.
I'm sure Rasmusson would have been mesmerized by the web in its mature form. He might have skipped "publishing" (on paper).
He was an intellectual because he was an observer and showed curiosity.
Holdgrafer was a homespun philosopher. We can say RIP about both individuals. I'm not sure how well acquainted they were or if they were acquainted at all. Their bond of being self-made philosophers and artists gives them a niche in Stevens County history. I might suggest an exhibit at the museum.
Individuals like them must not be allowed to drift from our collective memory. I might suggest also Willie Martin.
People like those I'm citing grew up when neighborhood bonding was a given. They could relate to the kind of neighborhood parties our family can remember. (The main facilitator of these in our neighborhood, Northridge Drive, was Oscar Miller, school superintendent.)
More people lived in the countryside. Families had more children. Small rural towns were still viable enough to have their own schools.
The Good Shepherd church of Morris was located south of Alberta - yes, physically located there - and up through the 1960s was thriving.
It was more difficult to combat boredom. We used our immediate social contacts in that regard. Mobility was more restricted, making us want to connect in our immediate community more.
We were more aware of our neighbors' situation even if this concern could spread into gossip. We cared about their welfare.
There was much less of a feeling of doing everything "by the book." There were mores we all recognized. Children were our treasure and they were given more latitude to horse around.
The children of our neighborhood always felt welcome at the farm down at the end of the road. It was the typical diversified farm of its time. We'd go into the barn and even up into the "hay mow." We played "kick ball" with the hired man's kids.
Boomers could follow their impulses in a pretty uninhibited way then. The kids formed their own sense of community.
We weren't segregated off (from each other) because of "behavior disorders" or the whole crazy quilt of psychological issues. We weren't "pilled up."
Our mostly matronly and wise elementary school teachers knew how to handle us the way a rancher might handle a herd. We were kept together through "social promotion" before the term originated.
"Flunking" was a delicate and disturbing thing. Reportedly it happened more often in the Catholic school than in the public. Is the term still heard? Or are kids with "special problems" just put into special sequences or "alternative schools?"
Lots of kids have special needs or problems. We used to just nudge kids along the same path regardless of their differences.
Was that a better system? I'm not sure, but when you designate a kid with a special need, you're giving that kid an excuse to depart from the norm the rest of his life.
Is it good to aspire to the norm? Can we really define the norm in any meaningful way anymore? Is it too tempting to use pills or referrals to psychologists to avoid dealing with kids and their myriad traits? We're just human.
There's no truly methodical way to get us all through the system.
Boomers were "mainstreamed" with certain exceptions. That middle ground of kids with "behavior issues" didn't really exist (i.e. wasn't formally acknowledged). Kids have behavior issues almost by definition. People who are Christians should easily understand this. We were created imperfect.
There was no formal approach of "conflict resolution."
Today we think we can eradicate "bullying." No one has ever thought favorably of bullying. We just tried using our conscience to discourage it back then.
If someone noticed a jackknife in the front seat of your car, you didn't have to worry about getting expelled.
We think we can make rules, prescribe pills and develop policies and programs to eliminate everything bad in the environment of kids. It's utopian. Like all utopian visions it's ill-fated.
We all need to try to get along, in our neighborhoods, schools and organizations. We have to see each other's flaws in a light where we realize we can't simply eradicate them. There are times we have to work with them. We become so consumed with trying to create a perfect world.
Boomers can all remember some of their peers having problems when young. Sometimes these problems mystified us. We didn't feel we had to totally "understand" them.
We accepted each other to a large degree. It's so easy to think pills or exotic handicapped terms can relieve us of simply dealing with the human reality of fast and slow, smart and dumb, conformist and non-conformist.
We seek refuge in that utopian vision. The people who supervise our youth retreat to it. It gives us comfort to think there's a solution or prescription for everything.
There's a saying that covers this: "When you have a hammer, all you see is nails."
The old bonding, as with neighborhoods, was an unconditional type of friendship within certain bounds, and it's a shame it has been retired to the dustbin of cultural history.
Today we're more apt to practice "cocooning." Good luck with that. And there are far fewer children out there.
I doubt God would smile on this. I suspect God would smile on those days when families flocked to rural churches. We didn't seek tangible rewards for every little thing we did. Kids could mystify us with their misbehavior but we loved them.
Today we think we can create a perfect world. History doesn't suggest a positive outcome for this.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Monday, January 23, 2012

Guest post: Combining Morris' old and new

by Laura A. Carrington
Morris' own Brian Williams has referred to the historic Morris High School in several of the articles he has written on his ilovemorris73.blogspot.com site.
On January 17, 2012, Brian wrote: "The old school needn't have been discarded like an old shoe. It is a rebuff to the long-ago visionaries of the community."
That comment and others in his January 17 article indirectly refer to the Morris City Council's recent 3-0 vote - one member abstained and another was absent - to go ahead with plans for possible demolition by moving ahead with the Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) process.
Certain community, state and Federal requirements must be fulfilled if permission is to be granted upon completion of the EAW process to allow demolition of the school. This process is necessary because the historic school is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Why has there been no public outcry or media blast promoting reuse and preservation of our historic school, perhaps similar to the one waged in 2002 before the vote on construction of a new school?
Are there not others of you out there that feel that Sixth Street will seem forlorn with its educational historic marker and monumental entrance to the school demolished? Or have we just been hushed and/or shamed into silence by those with louder voices?
But, you say, the looming obstacle is money. So let's talk for a moment about that major obstacle for renovation/rehabilitation and preservation of at least the most structurally sound and historically significant parts of the school: the 1914 original Morris High School, the 1930 art deco auditorium/gymnasium, and the 1949 classroom/cafeteria addition.
(And, let's not forget that in order to accomplish demolition and landfill requirements of the entire school building complex, the City of Morris would have to somehow come up with around $800,000 to $1.3 million.)
Many of the available grants for historic preservation projects require matching sums of money from community or community-raised sources. Couldn't a group of us organize and raise some money? Maybe we could accumulate stories and pictures from former students and staff and compile a book or video that could be sold to generate more funds.
Do we really want the building and grounds destroyed without even a collection of data to verify that part of Morris' history?
Although the economy is not rosy, there are some financial perks now that were not available a few years ago. Maybe there is a developer or community member willing to look into using the State of Minnesota's new 20 percent rehab tax credits for historic properties. The Legacy Amendment has also provided a relatively new source of grant money, although it is shared by other entities.
The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM) and other preservation agencies are committed to helping Morris and others with National Register properties use these and existing Federal resources in renovation efforts and reuse.
PAM, the Minnesota Historical Society and the National Trust for Historic Preservation have sent representatives to Morris numerous times, and are standing by to help us.
What reuses might be possible in a town such as Morris? It is another good question to ask. Some ideas were suggested even before our historic school was vacated, but there are some new possibilities as well.
Here is a combined list of some of those options:
1) Condominiums for people of all ages with a gymnasium/auditorium facility,
2) Artist studios and exhibit space for the many talented and creative people in our community,
3) Senior citizen facility with exercise and food preparation and serving capabilities,
4) Additional community theater and showroom space,
5) Housing for a community church with room for auxiliary classrooms and events,
6) Outdoor swimming pool with plenty of parking availability,
7) Regional Fitness Center expansion,
8) City office relocation and/or extension,
9) Community Education classes and activities, and. . .
10) One of the newest ideas: short-term or long-term hotel accommodations with restaurant, banquet, gift shop and exercise potential.
Some of you probably have other ideas which would just add to the desirability of the property. The problem is that the above list has barely been investigated, explored or advertised for any actual reuse.
Much time, however, was spent in only one arena: development of green housing.
The studies and grants related to a "green" housing development for the property were touted as a way to put the land back on the tax rolls. However, this property has never been on the tax rolls. In fact, the benefactor who donated the land a century ago specified that this land was always to be used for educational purposes.
As Williams asserted in an earlier April 7, 2010, blogpost, he "just can't believe there is a substantial need for new housing in this community."
Even if there were, he pointed out in that article, "the residents. . .would probably just be transplants from other parts of town and not newcomers."
In other words, there would be no real additions to the tax rolls. Besides, a housing project there would cost the City considerable dollars in infrastructure for a new building site, even if potential homeowners would foot part of the bill in increased property taxes.
By completing any one of the ten reuses above, it would help revitalize Morris as well as bring in local revenue. In addition, Morris would keep its historic school and site functioning, hopefully incorporating some educational purpose(s) as well as contributing to the aesthetic and cultural aspects of our town.
Brian Williams went so far as to liken the former school with its playgrounds, parking areas and football field to a "town square." Could it once again have such a distinction?
Any takers? If you have questions or are interested in being on a committee to look into reuse, rehabilitation and preservation of this extremely important Morris landmark, please contact Laura Carrington by phone: 320-589-1999. By mail: 29841 U.S. Hwy 59, Morris MN 56267. Or by email: laurac@fedtel.net
Action needs to start now, and a meeting will be scheduled soon.

(Laura Carrington is a Morris Area school board member and long-time acquaintance of mine. - BW)

morris mn - Assessing weather, tourism draw

Is it myth or fact that west Morris has five-way intersections? The navigating seems not quite conventional in some places. Don't question your sobriety when you arrive at this intersection, where my camera seems to affirm the five-way reality. Look closely at the left side and you see two streets entering, complementing the three others? Maybe St. Paul isn't the only city in Minnesota to have been designed by a "drunken Irishman," the way then-Governor Jesse Ventura asserted with levity on a nighttime TV program. Seriously and with respect for Morris city planners of days gone by, west Morris had to be laid out from two main arteries, known as Pacific and Park Avenues, that started at the same place (by the railroad tracks) and "fanned out." We've all adjusted, haven't we? (Photos by B.W.)
Biking/walking trails flow in, around and out of our UMM campus. Looking at this photo, one is reminded of the Yogi Berra quote "when you come to a fork in the road, take it."
The best-kept park secret in Morris? Here's Thedin Park, which I'm told is an official city park although one needs special instructions to locate it. It's on the west fringe of town.

I'm writing this on a weekend when Morris feels a little like Siberia. Did we ever in the past get such gale force winds out of the south or southeast? For the first time in about 50 years of living here, we're designating one door on our home as being unusable when strong south winds are predicted.
The sky is gray. There isn't enough snow to engage in snow-inspired activities.
We have always been told this is what it's like south of Minnesota: Winter never really materializes. Winters to the south are slushy. We here have crisp snow, so much sometimes the roof on the Metrodome collapses.
Northern Iowa seems to get by all right. It's south of that where the dreary type of winter prevails, according to conventional thought. We're getting a lesson in Minnesota in how that dreary situation feels. The snow isn't able to build up beyond a "dusting."
The wind has to be the worst aspect of what we're seeing here now. We're supposed to be especially terrified of the northwest wind. Windbreaks are established to the north. We design our property like castles this way.
Wind out of the south has seemed just as wicked over the past few months. Maybe we ought to just hibernate in our castles. Nothing good comes of going outdoors.
You might be tempted to walk backwards into the wind, the way cartoonist Dick Guindon once drew a group of school kids on their way to school. "Walking backwards" thus seemed quite Minnesotan.
It's with all this as a backdrop that we ponder how Morris is going to accent tourism. We hear more about this push. Step #1 toward promoting tourism might be to cease all seat belt citation sweeps.
A school board member told me last week that our new school campus has borne out the prediction of "build it and they will come." I of course had been waxing nostalgic about our old school campus.
Maybe it would be easier to forget about the old school complex - that erector set series of buildings - if it would just be torn down. I'm greatly perplexed why it wasn't done sooner.
Reuse would have been the best outcome. But we have waited years.
A well-positioned source told me the city will probably borrow the money to do demolition. It's like we're not even spending it, then. Pay the money back over, say, 40 years and we won't feel the slightest pinch. Except that it seems too easy.
All bills come due.
Since we have solved the apparent problem of our old school campus (by deserting it), what other problems might we look at? You know what really seems "bush league" in Morris to me? It's the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and West 5th Street. This is where those mammoth trucks coming from the north have to make turns.
If you're a motorist coming from the west, you and others behind you might be expected, via an unwritten rule, to back up and give room for these large trucks. All this happens right next to the main street coffeehouse. This system needs to be modernized.
The traffic should flow smoothly and not in a bottleneck sort of way.
The empty Coborn's building is an embarrassment. How about making it an indoor putt-putt course?
Let's take a look at UMM. Everything seems to be going wonderfully there. A recent news report, though, indicates UMM might have to confront an issue not of its own making. This issue comes out of the department of "when you think you've seen it all."
Here it is: A school elsewhere in the U.S. has decided there are concerns about a proposed "Cougars" nickname.
We all know "Cougars" can be understood to denote more than big cats, right? I'm not totally hip on this, but apparently there's a definition having to do with middle-aged women.
You can click on the link below to read about the current item in the news:
http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlesports/2012/01/20/new-school-rejects-cougars-nickname-due-to-negative-double-entendre/

I once wrote on this site that sports team nicknames, navigating over a minefield of political correctness, were safe if they were simply "cats." I called "cat" nicknames "default" nicknames.
The NFL was safe in bringing the "Carolina Panthers" and "Jacksonville Jaguars" into existence.
But is anything safe where sports team nicknames are concerned? Is it possible the whole concept of team nicknames is bordering on anachronistic? Might they seem sort of, well, tribal?
Nicknames are the same as mascots. So they're almost demeaning by definition. This is the minefield UND ran into with "Fighting Sioux," in an imbroglio that has gone on way too long. North Dakotans look foolish. So do Iowans who blew it with their biggest claim to fame: the Iowa caucuses. After weeks of media hype of the Iowa doings, we got the climactic day of decision-making and came away with. . .a Bush-Gore situation.
First Mitt Romney (a.k.a. "Scrooge McDuck") won, and then Rick Santorum. No wonder my friend Glen Helberg says the letters in Iowa stand for "Idiots Out Walking Around."
I'm sure some UMM-oriented people caught the recent news item about the potential controversy with "Cougars." My goodness, what if we really have to face this issue? It wouldn't be good for tourism, would it.
Enjoy the rest of your winter.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Boys beat Benson, girls come up shy vs. YME

Tiger basketball went 1-1 on a TGIF night of action - Friday (1/20). The boys won and the girls came out on the short end.
The boys' foe was Benson and the outcome was a 54-52 win in a nail-biter at home.
The Tigers had to overcome 26 points by the Braves' Sam Peterson. Austin Dierks of the Tigers helped neutralize that. The rangy Dierks put in 17 points and swatted aside six shots.
By surviving the renewal of this WCC-South rivalry, the Tigers preserved their unbeaten conference record. They owned 5-0 conference numbers coming out of this night. They eked ahead of Montevideo in the race. The Tigers sit at the ten-win plateau in overall (at 10-3).
Nail-biting time set in when the Braves got the score tied 52-all in the closing stages. The winning margin for MACA finally came when a calm Dierks sank two freethrows. The clock showed 30 seconds remaining.
A subsequent missed freethrow gave Benson the opportunity to try to win if they could just make a three-pointer. Their last-gasp shot didn't cause any holding of breath because it was clearly off the mark. The orange and black throngs could depart from the venue quite pleased. "TGIF" had a happy ring.
The halftime situation was a two-point Benson lead, 32-30. Coach Mark Torgerson's Tigers outscored the Braves 24-20 in the second half.
Benson came out of the game with an 8-4 overall record, 2-2 in conference.
The Tigers made 23 of 57 field goal tries and were cold from long-range where their numbers were three of 14 in 3's. Those three makes ended up precious of course and they were put in by Chandler Erickson (2) and Jacob Torgerson (1).
Dierks had seven rebounds followed by three of his mates each with five: Lincoln Berget, Logan Manska and Jake Torgerson.
Erickson led in assists with five followed by Torgerson and Brody Bahr each with three. Dierks led in steals with three and in shot blocks with six.
The Tigers were five of 13 in freethrows.
Let's roll up our sleeves for the scoring list: Dierks 17, Erickson 8, Riley Arndt 8, Manska 6, Jon Tiernan 4, Torgerson 3, Tom Holland 2, Tyler Henrichs 2, Berget 2 and Bahr 1.
Here's how coach Torgerson summarized the exciting closing stages of the game in his Maxpreps report: "John Tiernan came off the bench to score two late field goals to put the Tigers ahead. The Tigers had a 52-48 lead with two minutes to go, but it wasn't over yet. Benson got baskets from Carl Hoffman and Colin Ose to tie the game at 52-all.
"Riley Arndt got a key offensive rebound off a missed Tiger shot with just over 30 seconds to play and went to the line. Arndt missed the one-and-one attempt, but Dierks snared the rebound away and was fouled on the putback attempt. He nailed both freethrows to give the Tigers the lead.
"Benson went down and missed on their next possession and were forced to foul Dierks with eight seconds to play. He missed the one-and-one and the Braves called a timeout with three seconds left. A last-second three by Matt Arndt was off and the Tigers had the win."

Girls basketball: YME 46, Tigers 41
The Tigers went cold in three-point shooting in the Friday night game against Yellow Medicine East.
Three-point shooting can be a sink or swim proposition. On Friday (1/20) this department did not smile on coach Dale Henrich's Tigers as they went down to defeat against the Sting in Sting country. The final score was 46-41.
The Sting's Courtney Hinz was a big reason why this was no happy TGIF occasion for Morris Area Chokio Alberta. Hinz was all over the court keeping the Tigers in check, stealing the ball five times while scoring 19 points and grabbing seven rebounds. She hit two 3-pointers.
The Tigers made just one three-pointer in 14 attempts. Katie Holzheimer had that lone success. She scored nine points to tie for team-best in scoring.
Tracy Meischner scored nine, and MaKenzie Smith and Beth Holland each scored eight. Nicole Strobel put in three points and MacKenzie Van Batavia and Holly Amundson two each.
YME led by three at halftime, 19-16.
The Tigers' lackluster three-point shooting numbers dragged down their overall field goal stats to 16 of 47. In freethrows they shot eight of 13.
Meischner grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Holland led in assists with three.
Smith and Holzheimer each picked up three steals.
The MACA girls came out of Friday with a 5-9 overall record, 3-5 in conference.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, January 20, 2012

The 3's rain down in MACA girls triumph

Girls basketball: Tigers 57, Benson 47
Morris Area Chokio Alberta girls basketball won by a margin of ten Tuesday night (1/17) at home.
Winning was a good feeling for the MACA crew which has been under .500 for much of the season. The Tuesday story was a 57-47 triumph over the Braves of Benson. The Tigers were on top the whole way.
Coach Dale Henrich surely beamed when the final horn sounded. His Tigers owned a 5-8 mark coming out of the night, 3-4 in conference. Benson has languished below .500 too.
Katie Holzheimer was a cog for MACA as she put in 22 points and was spectacular from long range, making five 3-point shots. The team numbers in 3's were five of nine. In total field goals: 25 of 66.
MaKenzie Smith was proficient on the boards, collecting 12 rebounds. Holly Amundson and Beth Holland each grabbed eight rebounds.
Holland picked up six assists. Holzheimer stole the ball four times and Smith three. Smith had three shot blocks.
Holzheimer with her team-high 22 points was one of seven Tigers who scored. Here's the rest of the list: Smith (12), Holland (10), Amundson (5), Nicole Strobel (4), Tracy Meischner (2) and Brooke Wente (2).
Smith with her ten points and 12 rebounds was credited with a double-double. The struggling Braves, losers of six straight, had Emma Peterson as a bright spot with her 27 points.
The Tigers led 29-22 at halftime.

Boys basketball: Alexandria 46, Tigers 39
The MACA boys went on the road to face larger school Alexandria on Tuesday and played a close game.
This matchup brings together the Tigers and "one of their own," Forrest Witt, who coaches Alexandria. Forrest feels proud today wearing the red of Alex but he was once orange and black. He's the "middle son" of MACA coaching stalwart Jerry Witt and his wife Holly. Zachary is the eldest and Taylor is the "little one" (well, the youngest anyway).
Yours truly wrote about all three in an earlier time.
Alexandria built a six-point lead at halftime and basically held on in the second half. The game ended as a 46-39 loss for the orange and black.
The MACA record coming out of the game was 9-3. Alexandria's: 4-6.
Coach Mark Torgerson of the Tigers shares game review material on the Maxpreps website. I'm assuming most fans don't avail themselves of the MACA boys' Maxpreps page. I'd love to be wrong about that. We're all making a transition to online that can have its fits and starts.
You needn't look for a magnifying glass to read the game stats as might be required with the Willmar newspaper. Wrestling match details are awful this way. Online, nothing has to be "squeezed in."
Many fans might like to consume prep sports info without purchasing a newspaper if there's no big other reason to purchase one. Steadily all the stuff we used to consume "on paper" has trickled onto the web. Actually it has become a flood.
If you seek MACA boys hoops info on Maxpreps, and if you're using their search, be sure to click on "Morris Area Chokio Alberta" and not "Morris." Maxpreps has been a little confused because of the pairing.

Coach Torgerson's Maxpreps report:
The MACA Tigers saw their 5 game win streak come to an end as they lost to the Alexandria Cardinals by a final score of 46-39. Cold shooting and good defense by the Cardinals were the story in this game as the Class AAA Cards had just enough offense to upend the Tigers. The Tigers shot only 32% for the night, far off their season average of 46%.
A tight man to man defense by former Tiger Forrest Witt's Cards gave the Tigers some problems most of the evening. The Cards weren't exactly connecting from the perimeter either, but with the inside presence of 6'7" post Logan Doyle, they had enough to hold off the Tigers. Doyle scored 8 points in each half to lead all scorers.
The score at halftime was only 20-14 in favor of the Cardinals as neither team got off to a good start. The Tiger zone defense helped hold off the Alex attack and they were able to keep themselves fairly close. Austin Dierks scored 8 of the Tigers' 14 first half points.
The second half started strong for the Cards as they built their lead to 10 points on several occasions. Sophomore forward John Vogeler was the main spark in the Alex offense including a pair of 3 pointers. He scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half to help the Cardinal offense.
The Tigers, however, got some spark midway through the half and closed the gap to 3 points on 2 separate occasions. Jacob Torgerson provided a trio of 3 pointers to close the gap.
The Tigers had the ball twice with a chance to tie, but failed on both attempts and the Cards iced it down the stretch.
Alexandria finished the night shooting only 37% and were just 4 for 21 from 3-point land. Rebounding was virtually even with Doyle leading the Cards with 12 rebounds, and Dierks finishing off another double-double with 11 rebounds to go with his 10 points.
Torgerson finished with 9 points. Nine different Tigers scored, but they could muster only a season low 39 points.
(End of coach Torgerson's report)

Some of the recent game photos taken by yours truly appear on the Maxpreps page. Look for the heading "Fan photo uploaded." It really should be plural. I consider myself a "journalist" and not a "fan" but that's a nitpick.
Here's the complete scoring list: Austin Dierks (10), Jake Torgerson (9), Riley Arndt (4), Tom Holland (4), Chandler Erickson (3), Logan Manska (3), Brody Bahr (2), Nick Vipond (2) and Tyler Henrichs (2). Jake Torgerson made three 3-pointers while Erickson had one. Dierks led in rebounds with eleven.
Erickson had two assists. He and Manska each stole the ball twice.
You'll notice if you go to the Maxpreps page that coach Torgerson works with a template that has quarters rather than halves. He uses the first and third quarter headings, and he makes clear with his terminology that he's talking about a particular half.
Again, these systems are progressing in fits and starts. Maxpreps may prove to be a transitional or experimental phase in the adjustment of prep sports to online. Personally I think these reporting systems could find their home on sites directly supervised by the programs. We're getting into futurism here.
Here's the link for the MACA boys basketball Maxpreps page:


Girls hockey: 3-2 win on road
The destination was Windom for Saturday, Jan. 14, girls hockey action involving the MBA Storm. It was a winning trip. Goals by Abby Daly, Hannah Lindblad and Morgan DeHaan gave the winning push.
The final score in this Southwest Conference contest was 3-2, the Storm celebrating.
The Storm outshot the host 43-28.
There were no goals in the first period.
The teams traded goals in period No. 2. Daly put the puck in goal for the MBA cause. Kayla Benson supplied an assist on this power play goal.
Kylie Willard scored the Windom goal.
The third period made the difference. Hannah Lindblad scored a power play goal with an assist from Morgan DeHaan. Then it was DeHaan scoring what proved to be the winning goal. Holli Christians assisted.
Windom's Lizzie Schoenenberger scored in the third too, assisted by Kaylee Rosenkranz.
Shianne Vold worked in goal for the Storm. Her save total: 26. Amber Svoboden was the Windom goalkeeper (40 saves).
The win was the Storm's second in this rebuilding and learning year.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pondering history as we weigh old school

What's to become of all this? (B.W. photo)

We rarely have a sense of history as it happens. On rare occasions we do, as with the assassination of JFK or 9/11.
Many important changes happen at such a slow rate we hardly have a sense of what's happening - its import.
When we think of "history" in connection to Morris we're likely to think of the very earliest days. As a particular phase becomes more remote in time, we're more likely to feel fascinated in that detached sense where we call it "history." We call on the museum to do something.
A book was finally published on the WWII era in Morris. It encapsulates the "home front" along with all the dangerous far-flung pursuits. We say "hats off" to all those intrepid young people. It might be too easy to forget the ones who didn't make it.
I would guess the printer of the WWII book cut some corners. The pages of mine are coming out constantly as I page through it. It's still a treasure even though it's ending up as a "pile of pages."
It's a treasure partly because it helps me remember some unique people of the Morris area who have passed on or succumbed to the ravages of age. The stories they tell encapsulate a challenging era.
It's a given that the '40s were distinct. History remembers periods of war so much better than periods of peace.
Whole libraries can be filled with books about the Civil War. What if that war could have been avoided? That would be preferable, of course. But a placid decade doesn't make for shelves full of books.
We feel a sense of history in Morris now as we face the inevitable razing of the old school.
Around Christmas I wrote that the school has been a fixture of our "skyline." The stately building stands out from a number of directions. Imagine looking east along 6th Street and not seeing it there. Wouldn't that blow your mind? For long-time "Morrissites," it surely would.
The 1914 building is the anchor of the complex. It was seen as having potential for restoration and reuse. The elements to the north, ironically newer, were written off.
What's especially ironic is that the old elementary media center, really quite new, is the most susceptible to condemnation. There are issues about how it was built.
The grand 1914 edifice was built when masonry was done with greater skill than today.
The Welcome Center at UMM was built inside the old shell of a building. I'm not sure why a similar revival couldn't have been planned for the grand old school.
The art deco auditorium is attached to the south. Countless special events were held there through the years. It's odd that we should now just discard it.
It's especially sad, unforgivable really, that the whole complex has been allowed to fall into serious decay. The demolition will be quite belated. The City of Morris is going to have to deal with these issues.
We are reminded of changes in economic geography here. The old school and the immediate area had an atmosphere of vitality for a long time.
Kids dashed downhill, barely even able to contain their momentum, hungry for a sack of chips at the neighborhood grocery store. That store is a monument business now, as in gravestones, which is probably symbolic.
You're a "Morrissite" through and through if you remember the "Pylin" eating/snacking establishment. This was another East 7th Street fixture along with the Dairy Queen. The "large" DQ cones were a dime, the small ones a nickel. It wasn't a sit-down restaurant then.
The playground next to the school seemed larger than it needed to be, but that was a blessing. The landscaping for the football field seemed totally perfect.
East 7th Street was once the main entrance to Morris from the east. All in all the area around the school was a real focal point.
Then things slowly started shifting to the south. Little by little the old school lost its standing.
The new high school brought a badly needed new home for high school basketball. A true Morrissite can remember varsity basketball being played at the - well, what do we call it? - the "old elementary auditorium." Thing is, it wasn't "elementary" when I was a kid, it was just the "school auditorium," where in 1970 the grand all-school musical "Oliver" was presented.
It's hard for someone like me to accept that the old structures had to be totally abandoned as if there was no hope for them.
UMM certainly hasn't taken this attitude. The Welcome Center is the best example of how UMM has blended current needs with old structures. UMM hasn't turned its back on the WCSA era. The eras embrace each other.
We were ecstatic about the 1968 gym. I might have been there for the first basketball game but I can't be sure. There was a concession stand hand who always knew I wanted "orange pop" when I showed up.
The new school and its gym represented a shift in the town. We got an auditorium attached to the new school. No longer would concerts and Homecoming coronations have to be held in the 1968 gym. I always thought the gym was a nice place for a lot of that stuff. It certainly was less confining.
I guess the auditorium was a little controversial in how it was funded. It's amazing how these "new" school attributes seem to lose their "new" shine rather quickly. We go from a time where we're positively gleeful about the new (1968) gym, to where we're told it isn't even good enough anymore. It almost seems like a racket.
We need (?) new generations of school resources all the time. Today I frankly think the whole school campus here is overbuilt.
The concert hall is a great idea if it had been built with the idea of fully sharing with UMM. We accomplished this with the football field, so I don't see why arts couldn't mirror.
An arts or humanities facility doesn't sit cold, empty and godforsaken all winter.
Much of our present-day school campus was designed when large "commons" areas were considered desirable. I might translate "desirable" to "trendy." Education is notorious for trends, which is fine but, watch you wallet.
Someday the practicality of intimate school settings, where the real business of education can be conducted, might be impressed on us. Forget the "cavernous" atmosphere. Perhaps these were designed to "wow" the public at times where their wallets got pried open. "Look what you got for your money."
You could shout in these and get an echo, maybe. I think it's a charade.
We have discarded the past too fast. The old school needn't have been discarded like a dirty shirt. It's a rebuff to the long-ago visionaries of this community.
Wouldn't it be great to see that expansive playground alive with the exuberance of youth again? We maybe could have preserved that, even if we couldn't preserve the five-cent or ten-cent cones at the Dairy Queen, or the "American Graffiti" atmosphere at the Pylin.

Invitation to read further
Click on the link below to read my "Elwood Dowd" essay on the old school property, posted in April of 2010. Note: Some of my skepticism about Big Cat Stadium has tempered since then. But I still miss the unique "town square" atmosphere that Coombe Field gave us. Have the attendance concerns faded at Big Cat? I can't be sure but I haven't heard the question raised in a while. I have also covered Tiger football there for two falls since I wrote this.


Click on the link below to read about my "adventure" of looking around inside our old school in August of 2010. This was legal.

- Brian Williams - Morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Boys take command in 64-47 hoops win

The Tigers play defense vs. the Falcons in the Friday game. The Tigers in the foreground are #10 Brody Bahr and #34 Logan Manska. The driving Falcon is #22 Dylan Hoerchler. (B.W. photos)
Austin Dierks uses his height to put up a shot over the ACGC defense. The Tigers won 64-47.
Brody Bahr swiftly advances the ball up the court during the win over Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City.

Fans flocked to our airy Morris Area High gym, where it might be fun sometime to test for an echo, to see more West Central-South Conference basketball. The boys of Morris Area Chokio Alberta hosted ACGC Friday. It was a night for the Tigers to shine.
The orange and black crew notched win No. 9 of the season overall, 64-47 over the Falcons. MACA led 23-15 at halftime.
The Tigers had a quite solid night shooting from long range. The numbers there were seven of 17, part of 27-for-60 overall field goal stats.
Jacob Torgerson and Logan Manska each made three 3-pointers. Tyler Henrichs made the other.
Austin Dierks with his 18 points was tops on that list. Manska's 3's helped build his total to 15. Jake Torgerson's 3's helped him get into double digits too, at 11 points scored.
From there the scoring list includes: Lincoln Berget (4), Chandler Erickson (4), Brody Bahr (3), Henrichs (3), Daniel Nelson (2), Tom Holland (2) and Riley Arndt (2).
The top ACGC scorers were Trevor Heining (17) and Jacob Belgum (16). Belgum made four 3-point shots.
The Tigers made three of ten freethrow shots.
Dierks cleaned the boards for six rebounds, leading the Tigers. Erickson led in assists with seven. Bahr topped the steal list with four.
The Tigers came out of the night with a 9-2 overall record and 3-0 in conference.

Girls basketball: loss to the Eagles
Jen Kack and her LQPV mates had too much firepower for the MACA girls on Tuesday, Jan. 10, here. This WCC-South game had a grim look for the Tigers as they went down to defeat 49-31.
Lac qui Parle Valley can boast of considerable success this winter. Their Tuesday win was their ninth overall and fifth in conference. The Tigers are languishing below .500.
Kack scored 14 points and accomplished a double-double with her eleven rebounds. She dished out six assists and had six steals, so she was a force all over the court.
The Eagles led 25-12 at halftime.
The Tigers struggled in long-range shooting, finding success on just two of 16 three-point tries. This hurt. Hats off to Katie Holzheimer who had both of the makes.
Holzheimer and Beth Holland both scored ten points to share team-best scoring honors. MaKenzie Smith scored four points and led in rebounds with nine. Smith had two assists as did Cassey Hickman.
Three Tigers each scored two points: Hickman, Holly Amundson and Nicole Strobel. Tracy Meischner scored one point.
The Tigers were 12 of 58 in total field goal shooting. In freethrows: five of 12.
Three Tigers each had three steals: Holland, Courtney Gades and Holzheimer.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Friday, January 13, 2012

MACA boys roll past Lac qui Parle, WC Area

Boys basketball: Tigers 58, LQPV 36
The MACA boys stayed on a roll with the holidays fading ever further into the past. Rolling into mid-January, the Tigers continued a hectic portion of the schedule by defeating Lac qui Parle Valley.
The score was 58-36. At halftime it was 32-16.
The relative ease of the win was well-timed, as the squad was coming off a rare Saturday contest. The Saturday win over West Central Area is reviewed further down in this post.
Against the Eagles of LQPV, Tuesday (1/10) at LQPV, coach Mark Torgerson's squad efficiently connected on 23 of 54 shots from the field (four of 13 in 3's). In freethrows they were eight of 14.
Logan Manska made two of the three-pointers and he was team-high in scoring with 14 points. Jacob Torgerson and Chandler Erickson made the other 3's. Manska was joined in double figures scoring by Austin Dierks with eleven points and Riley Arndt with ten.
Continuing with the scoring we have John Tiernan (7), Jacob Torgerson (5), Chandler Erickson (4), Brody Bahr (2), Sam Mattson (2), Nick Vipond (2) and Lincoln Berget (1).
Dierks grabbed five rebounds to set the pace there. Bahr raced around the court to get six steals.
No one on the LQPV side scored in double figures. The Eagles are stumbling a little this season and came out of Tuesday winless in conference (and 2-9 overall).
Morris Area Chokio Alberta's win was its eighth overall, continuing a skein of success.

Tigers 62, West Central Area 56
You might think West Central Area is a conference opponent but it isn't. The Tigers made the fairly short trip to Barrett Saturday (1/7) to take on the Knights in non-league hoops.
The Tigers were fresh from Tuesday and Thursday wins and weren't about to relinquish any of their momentum. They notched their seventh win in a 62-56 final. They led 28-23 at halftime.
Lots of Tigers ended up with their names on the scoring list - a pleasing state of affairs. The list was topped by Austin Dierks with his 20 points. Chandler Erickson poured in 14 and Riley Arndt ten.
The list continues with Logan Manska (6), John Tiernan (4), Brody Bahr (3), Jake Torgerson (3), Tyler Henrichs (1) and Lincoln Berget (1).
Coach Mark Torgerson could be very pleased seeing his team exceed 50 percent in field goal shooting. The numbers here: 24 of 46. And in three-pointers alone: seven of 14 (superlative). The successful 3's were launched by Erickson (2), Manska (2), Torgerson (1), Bahr (1) and Dierks (1).
The MACA freethrow stats were seven of 16.
Arndt led in rebounds with seven followed by Dierks and Henrichs each with six. Manska led in assists with four followed by Arndt with three.
Tom Holland and Erickson each had three steals. Arndt had three shot blocks while Dierks swatted aside two shots.
Dakotah Kashmark scored 16 points to lead the Knights.
West Central Area coach Kraig Hunter was quoted saying, on the Craig Olson website: "I had a Morris fan tell me it is not humanly possible to play any harder than our kids played, and I would agree with that. We were giving up a lot of size yet our kids hustled all over the floor and played as well as we could have.
"I cannot ask any more than what they gave. Credit Morris for making some big shots under pressure at the end. They are a solid, deep basketball team."
Thank you, coach Hunter.
Coach Torgerson of the Tigers reported on the Maxpreps site: "The second half was very intense as both teams battled hard. We got into a little foul trouble and the depth we have shown all year was a real asset. The Knights got to the freethrow line 16 times in the half and that kept them in the game. Although they never did take a lead, they got within a single point at 50-49 before Manska hit a key three-pointer.
"Dierks added a two-point basket and then a top-of-the-key three, and we were able to hold off the late run by the Knights. Despite missing several freethrows down the stretch, we won the game by six."
The Morris Area Chokio Alberta boys emerged from the weekend with a 7-2 mark. West Central Area's record: 4-5.

Wrestling: success at BOLD
The Tigers won not one but two duals at Bird Island Tuesday. It was a triangular challenge and it had the BOLD Warriors as one of the teams (the "B" standing for Bird Island).
The Morris Area Hancock Chokio Alberta wrestling athletes took care of business with a 44-23 score vs. BOLD.
Let's acknowledge the individuals, weight class by weight class: At 106 pounds it was Mitchell Ascheman coming out on the short end vs. Brady Zitzmann, 14-4. At 113 it was Travis Ostby getting Lukas Melges' shoulders pinned to the mat in :20.
Devin Robertson didn't fare so well at 120, and this Tiger lost by major decision to Benny Garcia, 17-5. Evan Nelson (126) of the Tigers pinned Derrick Lothert in 1:04. Dillan Johnson (132) came out on the short end vs. Brett Grund in a 6-5 decision.
Myles Smith (138) came on strong to post a major decision win over Scott Rauenhorst, 11-3. Seth Nelson got a forfeit win at 145 pounds.
Jordan Thooft (152) lost by technical fall to Alex Hatch in 4:05. Tim Ostby (160) notched a major decision win over Ben Steffel. Connor Metzger (170) was on the losing end of a major decision vs. Sean Weibel, 10-2.
Wade Ehlers (182) was defeated by Joel Erickson in a 14-9 decision. Tyler Moser at 195 pounds pinned Trevor Nissen in 5:01.
Joel Harrison at 220 pounds won by forfeit. Zach Gibson rolled to a victory by fall over Nick Steffel at 285 pounds, in :49.
That same day, the Tiger wrestlers defeated Tracy Milroy 42-31.

Girls hockey: stalemate vs. Worthington
The rebuilding girls hockey team of Morris Benson Area fought Worthington to a draw on Saturday, Jan. 7, at Worthington. The game extended into overtime but both teams posted a zero in OT. The game went into the books as a 4-4 tie.
The first period ended with Worthington leading 3-2. Kamri Kalthoff scored the fist MBA goal with an assist from Hanna Lindblad. This was a power play goal and it came at 10:27 of the first.
Worthington built a 3-1 lead as the period progressed. MBA fought back as Kelsey Rajewsky scored, assisted by Abby Daly, at 16:52 to close out scoring in the period.
The teams traded goals in period #2, with Lindblad beating the clock to get the puck in with just one second left, shorthanded!
Lindblad scored again in the third to get the score knotted. There would be no further scoring.
Shianne Wold worked in the net for the Storm and her save total was 32. Her goalie rival was Amanda Bristow.

School calendar note
The MACA boys hoops squad is hosting ACGC tonight (Friday the 13th - uh oh). Problem is, this game appears on both Thursday and Friday of our school calendar.
On both Jan. 12 and 13 of the "dead tree" (paper) version of the calendar, you'll see "BBB-ACGC-H-6 p.m." I'm not confusing a junior high game.
The purpose here isn't to point fingers, at least not for the actual booboo. I'd only point fingers in the sense I think the school calendar should be online-only. I realize it is online but in my opinion, it's not in an optimally user-friendly form.
I had a parent demonstrate how to reach it and use it, and in my assessment there are some hoops to jump through. I would normally look for the words "school calendar" to click on, but no, there's a picture. From there you face choices along with figuring out how to get words enlarged on the screen - perhaps easy once you "learn the ropes," but it's got to be easier for a casual or neophyte web user, IMHO.
If this stated ideal were to be realized, I think Supt. Monson could go forward with the goal of having the calendar be online-only. With an online-only approach, any mistake such as the one I cited with the basketball game could be corrected.
Paper is permanent. It's also getting quickly outdated.
Five years ago you'd hear the argument "not everyone is online." In the year 2012 this is a difficult argument to make.
Technically I'm not online but I use computers at our public library and senior community center. And look what I can accomplish here.
People access the Internet at Wi-Fi places. People use the Internet through gadgets that go beyond the old "computers." Someday the word "computers" might even be obsolete. We'll use a variety of terms for the various devices, with the mobile ones gaining increased popularity.
OK, so there might still be a few people who want the paper calendar. Some paper copies could be printed off, stapled together and made available on request at the school. If the school finds there are still lots of people who want it this way, they can go back to having one printed. That costs money of course. Online it costs nothing. So, there's an incentive to more forward.
I can't emphasize enough the "user friendly" angle. You should be able to click on "school calendar," click on a month and then be able to click on a specific day to see an enlargement. Anything is doable with the web.
Have you ever been to a website that seemed great in theory only to get confused when trying to actually use it? It's as if the creators never thought of experimenting by using it themselves. They set it up as fine in theory, only to fail checking it out in raw practice.
We can overcome all this.
Supt. Monson might be hesitant to make the change, but it would be good to think about it. Just like it would be good to think about the myriad ways the school website could be improved to become a full-fledged PR arm of the school. We mustn't underestimate that.
Change lunges forward albeit in fits and starts. Remember, the ice business lasted up through the mid-1960s.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"Tell me more" about the "Grease" movies

I had thought it was Yogi Berra who said "nostalgia isn't what it used to be."
It sounds like a classic saying that would cross his lips. A friend recently corrected me on this. Let's just pretend it came from the famed Yankee backstop. He probably didn't say many of the other logic-challenged things attributed to him.
Yogi was a player with the image of a character who played in the nation's leading media and cultural center. He may have said a malaprop or two at one time. The image makers then went to work on him. It's a harmless bit of exaggeration.
To the extent it built his personal riches, Yogi was likely happy to get right on board. "Yogi Bear" was born. In the recent past he did a TV commercial for Aflac, sitting in a barber's chair and speaking typical Yogi-isms.
Casey Stengel inspired a similar image of eccentricity. He managed baseball in the same city: New York. It's a city that can devour you or put you on a pedestal. Just be careful.
It was once a sign of celebrity if you socialized at the Toots Shor nightclub in NYC. That faded in the late 1960s like so many institutions of another age. It has gone the way of the Dean Martin "rat pack." You know, with Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra and Joey Bishop.
I suspect the "lifestyle" those guys projected was sort of a myth and they were simply entertainers who had found their niche. We can be entertained by things that seem odd or undesirable. Entertainment can be a dream factory.
We wouldn't want to raise a child that spoke malaprops the way Yogi Berra (according to the popular image) does.
"That restaurant is so crowded, no one ever goes there anymore."
Nostalgia can be really big in the entertainment industry. As I began college we saw the eruption of "back to the '50s."
The 1950s iconography was truly ripe for the entertainment industry. I'm not sure we've seen anything quite like it since. We got the musical group "Sha Na Na" with "Bowser," remember? We got the TV series "Happy Days" but that was campy. "Happy Days" was a caricature of the craze.
We certainly got movies. There was "American Graffiti," such a hit that it launched careers. It had its dark side but at the same time celebrated the iconography.
Then there was "Grease" which presented John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, megastars. Allegedly (LOL) there was a sequel to "Grease" but that movie has been written off as a failure.
I'm not a fan nor student of either of the "Grease" movies. I recently caught the closing portion one night on a cable movie channel, and wondered if it was the original or the sequel. Yes, the Travolta/Newton-John pairing did appear on he screen but I wasn't sure if they were in the sequel. Remember, Roy Scheider was in "Jaws 2."
I'm told Scheider was locked in by contract. I'd like to have been a fly on the wall when he had a discussion with his agent about this.
I watched the "Grease" movie for a while and began to think "this can't be the original movie. It seems ridiculous."
Since it was the sequel that conventional wisdom (CW) has labeled "ridiculous," I felt the movie I was watching could be "Grease 2."
Occasionally the cable channel superimposed "Grease" at the bottom of the screen (sans the "2").
"Is that a mistake?" I thought.
An actress who I remembered as Stockard Channing sang a song that I thought was completely flat. There was a drag race, set up as climactic, that looked ridiculous, almost like Fonzie jumping the shark.
Even when the movie concluded I wasn't sure what I just saw. Some quick research at our public library computers indicated I had in fact watched the closing portion of the original "Grease."
What judgment was I to make? Was the movie simply overrated or over-hyped at the time? Remember, Hollywood had more power back then to tell us what was good, back in the top-down communications universe when the general population had to just sort of go along. We were told "Annie Hall" (Woody Allen) was genius. And, "The Goodbye Girl."
I hate to even mention movies like "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" and "The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea."
The '70s could be phlegmatic. Other adjectives are welcome.
Frankly I consider "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" to be just another western. I saw nothing special in "the French Connection."
I remember when Hollywood writers seized on the idea that Stockard Channing had found success despite being "ugly." The same meme was extended for Bette Midler. We all went along because in those days we consumed media, we didn't create it.
Anyway, the notions about women being attractive, or not, were ridiculous. Women considered "attractive" were the type the rat pack would drool over. Or Bob Hope, who loved having a singer of pedestrian talent in his troupe, who'd stand by him and be the butt of dumb-blonde type patter. This is the universe in which we once lived.
And what of the "Grease" universe? And "Sha Na Na" and "American Graffiti?"
They portray a world that never really was. I would suggest the appeal was much like for the movie "Titanic." Kids sat enthralled and entertained by a world in which kids could get by being irresponsible.
Where were the parents of the kids of the type seen in "Grease?" They were home taking care of business, getting a good night's sleep etc. They worked and worried and made sure they could get enough assets to support their silly children. They went to church on Sunday.
It dawned on me: There was an explanation why I came away from watching "Grease" thinking it was insipid (so insipid I felt it had to be the "bomb" sequel).
The reason is that I'm 56 years old. I don't find the conduct of those kids to be entertaining. I'm more apt to find it disturbing or at least pointless.
The songs can have a nice melody ("Tell me more. . ."). Maybe that's the nicest thing that can be said.
Olivia Newton-John was a shimmering top-level celebrity at the time but faded. Travolta has stayed very much with us.
Travolta helped preserve the disco era in our consciousness. This wasn't a nostalgia movie, rather it was made at the height of the infamous (CW again) disco era.
It's odd how disco just came and went. What was it all about? Pointlessness? Many would say that's what the '70s were all about, a time when we were nursing our wounds from Viet Nam and found escapism to be appealing.
Like "Grease," the movie "Saturday Night Fever" glorified frivolous and irresponsible behavior by youth. Thanks, I think, Mr. Travolta, for foisting such simplistic and myth-based eye candy on us. We did go through the turnstiles, so to speak.
We would never choose to step into a time machine and go back to the 1950s. Heavens, the real world was far more drab than popular culture suggests. Women were pigeonholed. Girls didn't play sports - they were groomed as homemakers. Gays were scared and secretive.
And if you were black? Need I explain? Or if you had heart trouble that today could be remedied by bypass or other methods? Just imagine.
Bobby Darin died because bypass methods were just developmental at the time.
No, "nostalgia isn't what it used to be."
That quote, incidentally, was spoken by someone named Peter DeVries. I wasn't going to conclude without sharing that.
Fortunately we live in a world now where Hollywood doesn't have so much power to tell us what we should like. Ditto regarding the paternalistic New York Times newspaper, or magazines like Look and Life.
The communications tech revolution has democratized everything.
We can make our own judgments like I did watching that "Grease" segment.
Today I'm on the same page with the parents, not with the kids.
"Tell me more?" Tell me more about reality, please.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Student athletes hit gym floor running for 2012

Jacob Torgerson advances the ball during the January 3 game against Milbank. Two days later, Jake would have a memorable shooting night from long-range vs. BOLD. Both games were Tiger wins. (B.W. photos)
Lincoln Berget shoots during the Tigers' 1/3 win over Milbank.
It's a breeze: Chandler Erickson of the Tigers goes in for two against Milbank in the 1/3 home success. The Tigers won on both 1/3 and 1/5.

Boys basketball: Tigers 63, BOLD 51
Two home wins during the week put mighty big smiles on the faces of MACA fans. The gym was rocking with hoops excitement Tuesday and Thursday.
The Tigers entered the weekend with a 6-2 overall record, 2-0 in conference.
The Milbank game has been reviewed previously on this site, so please scroll down. And while you're at it, you could consume some of my current thoughts about the Minnesota Vikings.
Let's move on to the Thursday story which had BOLD as the opponent. BOLD was tough in football but what would they present on the basketball court?
It turns out they were beatable. Coach Mark Torgerson's orange and black squad took care of business with a 63-51 score.
Much of the oomph was supplied by Jacob Torgerson whose shooting eye was sharp from a distance. Jake made five of his six shots beyond the three-point stripe. The junior topped the scoring list with 15 points.
Shooting in general was quite upbeat for the Tigers. You can hardly beat that. The total field goals category showed MACA making 23 of 46. Even I can conclude that's 50 percent.
Jacob's hot hand helped produce eight of 15 team numbers in 3's. The freethrow numbers: nine of 14. Four Tigers scored in double figures which is quite encouraging.
Following Jake with his 15 points we have Austin Dierks with 13, Chandler Erickson with eleven and Logan Manska with ten. Other Tigers scoring were Riley Arndt (8), John Tiernan (4) and Tyler Henrichs (2).
Two BOLD players tied for their team-best total of eleven: Kyle Athmann and Zach Remillard. Athmann made three 3-pointers.
Joining Jake Torgerson in the Tigers' 3-point barrage were Manska with two and Erickson with one.
Dierks attacked the board for ten rebounds. The Tigers outrebounded the Warriors 31-20. Arndt dished out five assists and Dierks four.

MAHACA wrestling: Thursday success too
The matmen of Morris Area Hancock Chokio Alberta won with a flourish vs. Minnewaska Area Thursday. Momentum took hold for them right away. They tucked away the first six matches as wins, getting up 36-0 on the scoreboard.
When it was all over, the orange and black crew could savor the 57-12 win at 'Waska.
The story at 106 pounds was Mitchell Ascheman pinning Spencer Libby in 5:28. The story at 113 was Travis Ostby bearing down for a pin of Joseph Weaver in :21.
Devin Robertson won by forfeit at 120. Evan Nelson in the 126-pound class got Weston Lardy's shoulders pinned to the mat in :47.
Myles Smith at 132 pounds was a forfeit winner. Ditto for Dillan Johnson at 138. Minnewaska got a win at 145 pounds as Zach Steffensen decisioned Seth Nelson, 14-11. 'Waska likewise won at 152 pounds where Ryan Stottler decisioned Jordan Thooft 5-3.
Tim Ostby of the Tigers came on strong at 160 pounds to pin Brook Wollschlager in 4:35. Connor Metzger (170) took a firm stance on the mat to defeat Taylor Lundebrek 9-3.
At 182 pounds Laker Jorge Munoz-Peterson won by fall over Tiger Wade Ehlers in 4:58. Tyler Moser, the 195-pounder for the Tigers, decisioned Brad Jacobs 10-8.
Big Joel Harrison at 220 pounds got the job done in a pin over J.R. Formo, in 1:06. Zach Gibson supplied an exclamation point with his win by decision over his Laker foe, Dan Holtkamp.

Girls basketball: loss at ACGC
Courtney Gades hit a pair of three-pointers but the Morris Area Chokio Alberta girls came up short Friday against ACGC.
Playing at Grove City, the Tigers were bested by the Katie Knisley-led Falcons in the 58-45 final.
Gades finished the night with eight points. MaKenzie Smith and Brooke Wente matched that total.
But no one broke into double figures for coach Dale Henrich's squad. Knisley of the host Falcons certainly did. She in fact had a double-double in the stats. The talented Falcon scored 15 points and snared 17 rebounds, plus she stole the ball four times.
Falcon Jessica Gilbert also scored 15 points. ACGC's win was their third in WCC-South play against no losses. They're 6-5 overall.
The Tigers came out of Friday at 3-6 in overall, 2-3 in conference.
Katie Holzheimer made a three-pointer and finished with five points. Nicole Strobel and Beth Holland each scored five too. Cassey Hickman added four points to the mix. Tracy Meichsner scored two.
Smith picked up eleven rebounds. Gades produced five assists. Three Tigers each had three steals: Holland, Smith and Hickman.
The Tigers made 17 of 49 shots in total field goals. In freethrows: eight of 17.

Boys hockey: 7-4 triumph on road
Tuesday, Jan. 3, saw the skating athletes of MBA win 7-4 on the road over Redwood Valley. This was boys hockey action.
MBA got the 1-0 advantage in the first period when Taner Gimberlin scored at 10:32, assisted by Darion Helberg and Chad Schwarz.
It was Tanner Picht scoring for the Storm at 1:03 of the second period, assisted by Kelly Enquist and Jordan Staples. The lead grew to 3-0 when Luke Schwarz got the puck in the net at 1:31.
Colin Bailey scored the first Redwood Valley goal, shorthanded. Luke Schwarz scored on the power play at 4:09 with assists from Picht and Staples. The Momentum continued for the Storm at 6:50 with a Riley Blake goal - assist from Luke Schwarz.
Redwood Valley's Jordan Skele scored the last goal of the second period.
Redwood also scored the first goal of the third. Austin Kritsch scored that goal.
Picht seized the "mo" back for MBA with goals at 14:23 and 14:44. Enquist assisted on two of those goals, and Mac Beyer picked up an assist too.
Redwood's Jake Prouty scored the game's final goal. Add 'em up and it's a nifty 7-4 win for Morris Benson Area.
Matt Huot picked up 14 saves in goal for MBA. Parker Revier was the Redwood goalie.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com