We recently spent a month in Brazil. You can't help ticking off features you find familiar and those you find strange, and of the latter, those that are delightful and those that aren't so attractive.
> Remember President George W. Bush's proposal to privatize social security? Fortunately, the Democratic Congress would not budge. If they had, millions of seniors would have been bilked by the Wall Street derivative and mortgage scandal, their retirement incomes permanently downsized. The American labor movement was a key group opposing privatization.
Yet for all that, the plant may never be built. "FoxConn has a relatively bad track record on following through," wrote Tim Culpan in Bloomberg Businessweek. In 2013, the company announced plans to build a $30 million plant in central Pennsylvania that never materialized. In 2014, it signed a deal in Indonesia to build a $1 billion plant in Jakarta that fell through, too. Culpan concludes, "Wisconsin isn't building the American Dream — America is building the Foxconn machine."
Earlier this year, our state's demographic center published a report that helps clarify the complex relationships among Greater Minnesota counties, cities and towns of all sizes.
Over five years, they worked to buy 3 ½ acres of land for $175 paid by the women of the church! Many joined in where they could to donate lumber, tools, skills, ideas. The altar and pulpit were donated by Bethel Lutheran Church in Duluth. Mr. C. J. Anderson made the hymn board and its numbers, still in use today. The structure cost $2,500, incurring a debt of $500, paid off in a few years. For this 100th celebration, Margaret Webster donated a silkscreen of her painting of the tiny church and its congregants on opening day, July 23, 1917.
"She gave me my first car loan, on generous terms," one man recalled. "She taught me how to save," another said.
In late June, the Duluth Art Institute (DAI) hosted an opening of Jonathan Thunder's latest show, "Peripheral Vignettes," of large-scale paintings and animations. Fellow Ojibwe artists including Jim Denomie and Karen Savage-Blue, The Tweed's Director Ken Bloom, DAI staff and board members, and young and older aficionados of contemporary Native artwork crowded the series of narrow high-ceilinged rooms.
I think about lighting and placement: which objects would look best with indirect sunlight and which will blow away if too close to the Pavilion's overpowering air-conditioners. I am still madly writing artist statements in the final hours and ferrying them over to the Northview Bank which kindly donates the use of their color printer.
The men of my college class of 1968 who died in Vietnam. Ancestors whom my brothers, cousins and I never knew personally. That they made life decisions and gave us so many gifts. Their humor, their courage, their loving, their music. And, some not-so-great traits for us to struggle with.
Late last month, the Cromwell-Wright community mourned and celebrated Ray Mowers' life. Among his achievements are his work as the local "go-to" man for people struggling with alcoholism. In an interview five years ago, Ray — who grew up on a Cromwell farm — talked with me about his life and work.