Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

About this blog & commenting here August 10, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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That’s my post, labeled “Barn Memories,” published on November 30, 2013, on Freshly Pressed, a feature of WordPress, my blogging platform.  My work has been highlighted on FreshlyPressed thrice. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

 

I’M NOT A PARTICULARLY opinionated person, at least not publicly. I mostly steer from conflict, discord and disagreement. I’m more the mediator type, the “let’s work things out” and treat others with kindness and respect. That includes the topics I generally cover here on this blog. My blog.

In recent weeks, several particularly mean-spirited comments filtered into this site. They were inflammatory and accusatory and just plain awful, with some directed at me personally. I chose not to publish them. I refuse to allow this blog, my blog, to become a platform for hatred, false accusations and unproven allegations.

Yes, I’m aware some may term this as censorship or a denial of free speech. I have worked as a newspaper reporter and value freedom of the press. Suppression of the media rankles me. In recent months the media have been under intense attack unlike anything I recall. This scares me. Freedom of the press is essential in a democracy. I hope the general public understands that.

We may not like what the media report. But we also need to stop blaming the messengers for the news they deliver. They are just doing their jobs.

That brings me back to Minnesota Prairie Roots. This blog is not mainstream media. No one pays me to write here. I earn some income from photos that people/businesses/organizations find here and buy from me and also from writing jobs tracing to this blog. But I am not on anyone’s payroll nor do I have an agenda other than to share my images and words with you. Writing and photography are my passions.

If you choose to submit hateful, accusatory and inflammatory comments, I won’t publish them. This is my blog. It’s as simple as that. I won’t bend my values, morals and beliefs.

To the many faithful readers and commenters who write with respect, thank you. I appreciate you and value your thoughts.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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Driving home a political point along a Minnesota interstate November 4, 2012

IF YOU’RE LIKE ME, you are fed up with all the political literature, billboards and advertisements.

If you’re like me, you don’t even read the campaign material that arrives in your mailbox.

If you’re like me, you don’t even want to answer the phone or door any more to listen to another pollster or campaign volunteer or candidate.

But then along comes a political statement like this, posted along Interstate 94 about 15 miles east of Alexandria (between mile markers 117 and 118 near the West Union exit):

Driving east on I-94, you’ll see the car ramp first, then the limo driven into the ground and then the message.

Creative freedom of speech

I don’t care what your political persuasion or whether you vote red or blue, support Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. You just have to admire the creativity and hard work of whomever planted this limo in the ground along a busy Minnesota interstate to drive home a political point.

Spotting this political billboard of sorts this past weekend truly caused me to pause and consider how very fortunate I am to live in a free country like the United States of America.

Here we are free to express our opinions, to let our voices be heard, to speak out, to tell others what we think, to vote. And, yes, I pretty much duplicated myself with all of those phrases.

Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

In gratitude to our veterans for protecting our freedom May 28, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 12:28 PM
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The annual Memorial Day parade proceeds along Central Avenue in historic downtown Faribault.

MY HUSBAND AND I TOOK in the annual Memorial Day parade in Faribault this morning. The parade, as it always does, featured military personnel and horses and old cars and marching bands and a fire truck and kids waving flags.

Flag-waving from an old pick-up truck during the parade.

Typically we sit in the same spot on a street corner so I am assured of a wide open view to photograph the event. But this year, attempting to gain a fresh, photographic perspective on the parade, we opted for another location.

Let’s just say that things did not work out too well for us at that spot.

I’m going to take the high road here, though, and not go into details which would publicly embarrass an individual who already embarrassed himself by shouting across the street at my husband. He later walked across the street and apologized to both of us.

As I ponder that incident, the one positive I can take from the experience is this:

We are blessed to live in a country where freedom of speech is protected.

I wasn’t, of course, thinking this at the time the angry words were fired toward us. But, in retrospect, it seems the appropriate thought to have on this day when we honor those who have fought for freedom.

Several military vehicles were in the parade along with color guards and honored veterans.

Checking out the candy scooped up during the parade.

The Scouts handed out flags to parade attendees like this little girl.

I upped the contrast on this image because I wanted to emphasis the beautiful blanket on that horse.

After the parade…

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

This is what it means to be free July 5, 2011

FOR THE PAST SEVERAL days, I’ve kept my eyes peeled for the perfect July Fourth image.

I thought that photo might come from my extended family’s annual July 4th weekend gathering or from the Roberds Lake Independence Day boat parade. Or perhaps I’d just see a patriotic display worthy of showcasing. Maybe a field of flags.

However, the photo I selected to best portray our nation’s birthday falls into none of these categories.

I chose this image, taken along Seventh Street in Faribault late Monday afternoon.

Let me explain.

This homeowner disagrees with a recent decision by the Faribault City Council to forgive a $72,000 water bill assessed to FWF Fund One, current owners of the Faribault Woolen Mills property. The woolen mill closed some time ago, leaving an original $120,000 unpaid water bill, which has since been paid down $48,000. Now new investors are working on purchasing the property and restarting the mill, thus prompting the request to forgive the remaining portion of the unpaid water bill. Read more about the issue by clicking onto this recent Faribault Daily News article.

Even though I happen to agree with the homeowner, I didn’t choose this as my favorite Independence Day photo for that reason.

This grassroots expression of an opinion represents to me the cornerstone of our nation: freedom.

As citizens of the United States, we are free to speak—to voice our ideas and opinions and concerns.

We needn’t be eloquent speakers or writers or members of city councils to express ourselves.

A simple handwritten sign posted on a tree along a busy street epitomizes freedom at its most basic, individual, level.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling