"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)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

MACA girls humbled at hands of Sauk Centre

The MACA volleyball Tigers got a reminder Monday (10/13) that they're mere mortals. Our orange and black athletes had been on a terrific roll. All good things must come to an end, I guess.
MACA was on the short end of a sweep against the obviously fine Streeters of Sauk Centre. Sauk Centre was a prime rival of the Tigers in my high school days. I never liked those Sauk Centre kids. (Just kidding.)
The Monday match was played in Morris, but I'll re-check that with the MAHS school calendar. The West Central Tribune of Willmar reported in its Saturday edition that the MACA vs. Minnewaska football game was played "in Morris." I went with that information for about two hours on this blog. I should have been suspicious, because had the game been in Morris, I would have made a mental note earlier in the week and stopped by at around halftime, in transit via my trusty bicycle. 
I posted about the MACA football win at our Morris Public Library at about 11 a.m., then went home. I took a look at the school calendar just to get the general lay of the land. Uh-oh! OMG, the game was played at Minnewaska Area! I needed to get back on a computer. Great thanks to the Sarlettes of Starlite Music - excuse me, it's Sarlettes Music - for allowing me to borrow their computer, so I could correct that stupid error from the Willmar newspaper. To think I paid $1.75 for that thing.
You could guess at the location for a game and have a 50 percent chance of being right.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) the football Tigers will in fact be playing at Big Cat Stadium for the "fall break" game (formerly the MEA week game). The foe will be a tough Paynesville team.
Sauk Centre 3, Tigers 0
Fans gathered at the MAHS gym for West Central Conference volleyball on Monday. The start of the week can be depressing enough, and on this night the Tigers fell 0-3. Scores were 20-25, 19-25 and 21-25.
Becca Weir was a force for the victor, coming at the Tigers with 17 kills. Weir went up to perform six ace blocks. Morgan Gamradt had seven kills. Streeter Jill Klaphake was busy in setting with 31 assists. Taylor Triebenbach had 19 digs.
Karly Fehr of the Tigers raced around the court to put up 43 set assists. Brooke Gillespie took advantage of those assists to post a team-best 17 kills on 43 of 48 in good/attempts. Kayla Pring had 14 kills on 23 of 28 in G/A. Lacee Maanum's numbers were 12 kills on 45/49, and Haley Erdahl added two kills to the mix on 13 of 17.
Pring had two ace blocks and Maanum one. Gillespie was at the fore in digs with 23, followed by Kourtney Giese (20 as the "libero"), Erdahl (14), Fehr (12), Lindsey Dierks (8), Pring (6) and Maanum (5).
Gillespie had the only serving ace and was seven of eight in G/A. Erdahl was 16 of 16 in G/A, Dierks 14 of 14 and Giese 11 of 11.
Progress or not?
I can remember the days when we had parking meters in Morris. That was when "downtown" was where you went to buy things and socialize. Men often went to the "pool hall."
Such was the primacy of the old "main street" in America, cities got revenue from parking meters. I remember photographing an incident outside the Chamber of Commerce office in Morris, located where "Stephanie Foto" is now, where Congressman Arlan Stangeland's vehicle was about to be ticketed. He may have gotten a pass on that, most appropriately.
The Beatles had a song with the lyrics "Lovely Rita, meter maid."
Cartoonist Del Holdgrafer of Donnelly did a cartoon marking the end of that institution of parking meters in Morris. It had to happen. Economic geography was changing. The "Gibson's" store was a shot across the bow for that. I remember an apprehensive main street merchant saying sarcastically "I'm heading to Gibson's to get my 19-cent windshield scraper."
Go ahead and be sarcastic, people were going to be lured to these larger stores. The old main street model with its men's clothing stores and the like, was going to be "gone with the wind." Eventually people were lured not only by Gibson's (later to become Pamida and then Shopko) but to Alexandria, a much more practical destination due to cars being made more durable and reliable.
I chuckle whenever I see a sign outside of a community pointing me to a "business district." That term is a vestige of the old model. What the sign is really saying is, "main street is this way." Really, who cares? Main streets have largely become a quiet collection of businesses not nearly as attuned to the old walk-in model.
As some primary businesses in Morris seek a new location on the outskirts, out north of the highway by McDonald's, we have to wonder if our main street might be on the verge of actual blight. Maybe that term is too strong, so maybe I ought to stick with "quiet." Quiet and peaceful can be pleasant attributes but they don't make cash registers ring.
I have been hearing comments in a vein of levity about whether there are "enough financial services companies" to fill any holes on main street. When I was a kid we were scarcely aware of "financial services companies." People put money in the bank or they simply spent it. The stock market seemed a distant, mysterious and even rather foreboding place. It was a place where rich people played around with their money. Silly rabbit, rich people are never careless with their money. How do you think they got rich?
I have never accepted this new model that has common, middle class people lured into squirreling away money in non-FDIC investments. I have waited years to be vindicated on my thoughts about this, and maybe I still will be. As they say, if you wait long enough, the bears (on Wall Street) are always right.
In the old days in Morris, going downtown was rather a social occasion, especially on that one night of the week when stores agreed to stay open. You'd make your rounds, toting your sacks of items, and seeing your friends/neighbors. You might dine at the Del Monico Cafe, next to Messner Drugstore. That space is now occupied by Thrifty White Drug (on the west side of main street).
The Morris Theater might be abuzz for an Elvis movie. Today the theater survives as a co-op. I'm not sure it's worth the trouble. Some things are best left in the past, like parking meters.
So, Heartland Motors, Thrifty White Drug and Town and Country are re-locating, at least according to "word on the street?" This will bring a sea change unless other interests move into the vacated spots.
What will become of City Center Mall? Hats off to Floyd Schmidgall for his dream of building something classy on main street, and certainly that building is a pleasant place. Stevens County offices seemed to work out quite fine there. Stevens County used Floyd's space while the renovation or new construction of the courthouse was proceeding (a project I'm not sure we needed at all).
I heard positive comments about county offices being at City Center Mall. It was handy and on ground-level - truly "people-friendly." Of course, government doesn't want an image that is too friendly.
I feel rather intimidated entering our courthouse now. If I'm there to pay a bill, I have to use an elevator. Offices that regularly receive checks should be on ground level. I was advised once that parking is available higher up on the building's east side, but the space often fills up. Not only that, you'll see law enforcement vehicles parked there which can be very scary. If some cop comes out of that building and sees your seat belt not on, you're toast.
Reports are coming in from around the USA of cops who can become very irritable and testy even during a seat belt stop which you'd think is trivial. In at least one instance, someone got shot by a cop. I try to keep my distance from these individuals (cops) as much as possible. They can be dangerous. "The system" has created this and there's apparently nothing we can do about it. All those citations bring in revenue to grease the wheels of government.
I expressed my frustrations about a seat belt stop with a city councilman (while we were waiting at McDonald's) and he responded with one word (and a smile): "revenue." I wouldn't smile so readily. At least keep your guns in holsters, guys (or women), and maybe consider not bringing them into restaurants.
If the drugstores vacate Morris' main street, that part of town is going to be challenged attracting "foot traffic." "Foot traffic" is an intangible - it means that the potential for commerce is always around. What will happen to those old drugstore spaces?
What if businesses invest a ton of money to re-locate and then the U.S. is beset by a fallen economy? Look what the stock market has done lately.
Here's a sudden thought: What if we learn after the economy tanks that Jim Cramer actually had all his money in bank CDs? Business news reporting may not be what it appears. I have read that "trading floors" are really only maintained as "a backdrop for the financial networks." Enron had faking trading desks. Don't let the media unduly influence you.
What is to become of the Morris "business district," that place where families would wander on that designated weekday evening with a festive air presiding, toting those sacks? Saying "hi," pausing to chat?
We have ushered out those parking meters long ago. Wasn't Marlene Reineke a "meter maid?" The main street men's clothing store is a museum candidate. Long ago, "hats" were a big part of their business, along with the traditional suits and ties. Today people dress "grubby" to go to church and no one cares.
Time marches on.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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