Our connection to each other

I recently heard the word Ubuntu. If you are not familiar with this term, it means “I am, because we are.” The story I read was about a group of children playing outside. A person had a beautiful basket of fruit that they placed under a tree across the meadow. They told the children that…

‘The Death Boat’ a story of tragedy and loss

By Michael Tidemann “The Death Boat” is a gripping account of a tragic boating accident the night of July 28, 1929, that claimed nine lives of West Lake Okoboji in northwest Iowa. Author Lloyd B. Cunningham lives in Lakeland, Fla., and summers at West Lake Okoboji. Cunningham, a photographer for nearly 40 years for the…

The domestic side of war

By Michael Tidemann Martha Forsyth Haut, formerly of Estherville, Iowa, and now living in Joplin, Mo., has penned a remarkable trilogy of historical novels that chronicles the human side of war-ravaged southwestern Missouri during the Civil War. In the first novel of The Weller/Martin Trilogy, “Left”, the author tells the raw and bitter tale of…

Potato famine forever changed both Ireland and America

‘Black ‘47’ was the worst of the disaster By Tom Emery, historian Though the people of Ireland are known for their engaging manner, the history of the nation is rife with sadness. The infamous potato famine, however, stands alone. The worst year of the famine, 1847, was so stark that it was dubbed “Black ’47”…

Birds up!

I recently had my annual Women’s Wellness Weekend with nine ladies from my family. It was our best weekend ever. We rented a beautiful home on the St. Croix River in Hudson, Wis. Our age range is 44 to 93, but we are all 21 at heart. The theme this year became “Birds Up!” as…

Community journalism matters because communities matter

By Matt Geiger, Executive Editor – News Publishing Co. Black Earth, Wis. “Everything in this newspaper is important to someone.” It’s become something of a mantra for me, in recent years. Weekly community newspapers are eclectic, to say the least. We publish photos of ribbons being cut at bakeries, and donations being dropped off at local food pantries.…

Sunshine Week is March 12-18

Welcome to Sunshine Week, a national effort to promote openness in government.

Sunshine Week is brought to you by the American Society of News Editors and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

When we are experiencing ?Äúfake news,?Äù ?Äúalternative facts,?Äù frequent falsehoods and efforts to label journalists as ?Äúenemies of the people,?Äù there is no better time to shine the light on government.

While I was executive editor of the St. Cloud Times, we did several in-depth reports on how citizens could access public information. The Times did reporting projects to request public information from city and county governments, including law enforcement, to make sure information that is required to be public was readily made available.

Reading your local paper is ?ÄòWay to Know?Äô your community

Several years ago cyberspace was frenzied over many popular websites going dark for 24 hours to protest a federal bill meant to crack down on video piracy.

The Stop Online Piracy Act ?Äì or SOPA ?Äì was a controversial and perhaps misguided effort championed by the Motion Picture Association of America to end illegal online sharing of copyrighted material, primarily movies and music.

To protest SOPA and its potential threats to the First Amendment, Wikipedia, Google, Reddit and ?Äì heaven forbid ?Äì I Can Haz Cheezburger, among many others, all shut down for a 24-hour period to show the web-surfing world what it would be like without its daily fix of photos of cats riding in baby strollers.