Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Just vote November 5, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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IN A YEAR WHEN POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS have reached a new level of negativity, it’s refreshing to see nonpartisan billboards encouraging people to vote. Just vote.

Who wins matters banners hundreds of billboards posted across Minnesota. The Pohlad family, owner of the Minnesota Twins, paid for the signage. I don’t know their political affiliation, and it doesn’t matter to me. What matters is the message.

Election Day presents an opportunity to exercise our freedom to vote, to choose the candidates we want in office. If you don’t vote, then don’t complain about the results.

I am so ready for this campaign season to end. I am weary of the attack ads. I’d much rather a candidate told me who they are, their views and what they hope to accomplish than attack an opponent.

I am so weary of the phone calls, including one from a particularly insistent campaign caller who pushed to the edge of harassment/intimidation/bullying/verbal abuse when I stated my viewpoint. You can bet that candidate will not get my vote, not that I intended to vote for him anyway.

I am so weary of the campaign literature that fills my mailbox daily. I don’t even read it. The mailings go directly into the recycling bin. I don’t need to read the accusations, the words that are unkind, hurtful, bordering hateful. I’d rather read positive words. I’d rather just vote on November 6.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Vote November 8, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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vote

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 helped African Americans exercise their right to vote under the 15th Amendment to the Constitution. Stephen Somerstein photographed Bobby Simmons, a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committe. Simmons was wearing zinc oxide to prevent sunburn and wrote VOTE onto his forehead. This photo shows a section of Somerstein’s portrait of Simmons showcased in an April 2015 exhibit, “Selma to Montgomery: Marching Along the Voting Rights Trail,” at St. Olaf College in Northfield. I photographed the photo with permission. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2015.

DO YOU REMEMBER a time when elections were focused primarily on the issues? Minimal or no name-calling? When candidates acted like anyone mattered outside of themselves. When candidates treated each other with decency.

Yeah, I know. It’s difficult to remember that in a year dominated by such campaign negativity. On all levels, not just national.

I’ve read signs and bumper stickers and words I can’t repeat. Likewise with TV ads I’ve heard.

No matter where you stand, what you think, how frustrated you are, remember this. You have a voice. Use your voice today. Vote.

There was a time when not everyone in this country could vote. On Election Day 1920 women voted for the first time after the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was passed, giving them that right. And now a woman is on the ballot for President of the United States.

No matter which candidates you support today, remember, you are free to vote. And that is something for which you can be especially thankful. You have that democratic right. Use it. Vote.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Minnesota Prairie Roots needs your “best of” vote August 5, 2015

TYPICALLY, I AM NOT ONE to promote myself. That is why, perhaps, I am not some famous worldwide blogger.

I have, though, made a name for myself in Southern Minnesota. Not because that’s highest on my priority list. Rather, I am passionate about writing and photography and my work seems to resonate with readers, Minnesotans or not. Minnesota Public Radio has noticed as has MinnPost.

Best of Southern MN 2015 logo

That all said, I am once again among nominees for the “Best Local Blog/Blogger.” The regional arts and entertainment magazine, Southern Minnesota Scene, is sponsoring a competition to choose the “best ofs” in Southern Minnesota. And I happen to fall in to the miscellaneous category.

Now, if you think my Minnesota Prairie Roots blog worthy of this honor, please vote for me in the miscellaneous section of the ballot. There are lots of other categories to vote in, too, such as art, music, theater, restaurants and more.

You can vote once a day per email address.

I am competing against four other blogs/bloggers. So your vote is important. Please share this on social media, if you wish.

Minnesota Prairie Roots has been voted the best in southern Minnesota.

Minnesota Prairie Roots was voted the “Best Local Blog/Blogger” in Southern Minnesota in 2014.

Thank you for your support as I defend my title of “Best Local Blog/Blogger” in Southern Minnesota.

FYI: Click here to vote.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Keep voting for Minnesota Prairie Roots as best blog in southern Minnesota August 16, 2014

southern minnesota scene best of logoVOTING CONTINUES now through Labor Day for the Best Local Blog/Blogger in southern Minnesota. “The Best of SOMINN 2014” is sponsored by the regional arts and entertainment magazine, SouthernMINN Scene.

And just to remind you all, Minnesota Prairie Roots is one of three blogs vying for this honor.

I’d appreciate your vote. I’m in the “miscellaneous” category. Yeah, I know…

Unlike other elections, you can vote once daily per email address. Yes. Hey, I don’t make the rules. So, please, exercise your democratic right and stuff my ballot box.

Thank you for your support.

I make this campaign promise: I will continue to blog about people, places, events and more with a passion. I love writing. I love photography. And I love this place called Minnesota.

And I appreciate all of you faithful readers, especially the nearly 1,000 of you currently subscribing to Minnesota Prairie Roots.

Click here to vote.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Update: Vote for MN Prairie Roots daily for best blog August 5, 2014

southern minnesota scene best of logoABOUT MINNESOTA PRAIRIE ROOTS‘ nomination for Best Local Blog/Blogger in southern Minnesota…

Turns out you can vote for my blog/me more than once, as in once a day per email address, until voting closes on September 1. I just learned that today.

If you’re so inclined, continue voting for me every single day by clicking here (I’m in the miscellaneous category near the bottom of the page).

I know it’s a hassle. But I didn’t make the rules for this contest sponsored by the regional arts and entertainment magazine Southern Minnesota Scene.

To those of you who’ve already endorsed my writing and photography by voting for Minnesota Prairie Roots, thank you.

A big thanks also to all who have spread the word via social media. I am grateful.

Most of all, I am grateful for all of you, my loyal readers.

 

Vote for Minnesota Prairie Roots as the best blog in southern Minnesota August 1, 2014

southern minnesota scene best of logoTHE NOMINATIONS ARE IN, dear readers, for the “Best of Southern Minnesota 2014,” sponsored by the regional arts and entertainment magazine Southern Minnesota Scene.

And, ta-da, Minnesota Prairie Roots/Audrey Kletscher Helbling is among nominees for best blog/blogger, along with Dennis Vogen and Anhedonic Headphones/Kevin Krein.

I am honored. Truly. To those of you who nominated me, thank you.

Now, you have one month, until 11:59 p.m. September 1, to vote.

Click here to cast your ballot for Minnesota Prairie Roots and nominations in more than 150 other categories of “best ofs” in southern Minnesota. You need only register your name and email (there’s a promise not to sell your information).

You will find the blog/blogger ballot in the miscellaneous category, near the bottom of the page.

If you are reading this post, you likely are already among the nearly 1,000 Minnesota Prairie Roots subscribers. You know that I write from the heart about places I go, people I meet, everyday life, area events, my native prairie, the arts, small towns, poetry and so much more.

Writing and photography are my passions.

I love Minnesota. I love sharing stories and photos from rural Minnesota. It’s as simple as that. I give this place, and you, a voice through my words and images.

If you are so inclined, please share this “vote for Minnesota Prairie Roots” request via good old-fashioned word-of-mouth or on Facebook and/or Twitter. I’m not on either social media outlet. I know. I’m among the last hold-outs, just like the last one to get a cell phone several years ago. My husband and I still get our TV reception from a roof-top antenna.

But that’s me—the woman who hangs her laundry on the line, finds the scent of freshly-mown alfalfa intoxicating and writes with a passion.

Again, click here to vote.

Thank you for your support, but most of all, for reading Minnesota Prairie Roots.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Looking for the best of the best in Southern Minnesota June 24, 2014

southern minnesota scene best of logoWHAT DO YOU LOVE about Southern Minnesota?

Now Southern Minn Scene, a regional arts publication/entertainment guide, is once again opening up nominations for the best restaurants, bars, music, theater, art, sports/outdoors, retail/services and miscellaneous offerings in our area of the state for 2014.

Who has the best fish fry or catering or BBQ in Southern Minnesota?

Where can you find the best Bloody Marys or happy hour?

Which music festival is a must-attend?

Who’s the best visual artist?

What would you rate as the best campground, sledding hill (yeah, I know, who wants to think winter) or bait/tackle shop?

What’s your go-to antique store?

And, finally, in the miscellaneous category, you can nominate “best ofs” like the best farmer’s market, best place to watch people and best blog/blogger (ahem, maybe Minnesota Prairie Roots).

From now through July 27, you can submit your choices. The top three to five nominees in each category will then be announced as finalists around August 1. Thereafter you will have until Labor Day to vote for the winner.

Simple and fun. And a great way to honor all the great people and places and things of Southern Minnesota.

Click here to begin the process of nominating your favorites in Southern Minnesota.

 

Shareholders vote to sell historic Blue Earth County Fairgrounds January 10, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 12:52 PM
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The beef barn, shaded by an oak tree.

This beef barn is representative of the many old buildings which grace the 154-year-old Blue Earth County Fairgrounds. The oak-covered fairgrounds sits along the Watonwan River in Garden City, Minnesota.

THE VOTE IS IN.

And if all goes as planned, the Blue Earth County Fair will move from an historic 154-year-old site in Garden City to within a two-mile radius of Mankato, 10 miles away.

Shareholders, during a special meeting Thursday evening, voted 175 in favor and 76 against to sell the long-time fairgrounds, according to an article in the Mankato Free Press. (Click here to read that story.) That sale authorization paves the way for possible construction of a new fairgrounds near Mankato, the county seat and county’s center of population.

For background on this story, click here and read my post, “Deciding the future of the historic Blue Earth County Fairgrounds.” Also click here to read an earlier post about my visit to the fairgrounds in July.

I am disappointed. Once an historic gem like this is lost, you can never replace it. Let’s hope, at least, that those old buildings can be saved.

And I wonder, too, whether simply moving the fair will increase attendance and push the fair out of debt.

This will be an interesting process, no matter what side of the issue you favor.

 

Winona Winhawks represent Minnesota for “most unique high school mascot” honor March 6, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:04 PM
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WinhawksTHE WINONA WINHAWKS beat out four other Minnesota high schools this week to advance in the next round of selecting the nation’s most unique high school mascot.

In an online contest sponsored by the High School Sports Staff of USA TODAY, the Winhawks defeated the Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms, the Roosevelt Teddies, the Jordan Hubmen and the Sauk Centre Mainstreeters to represent Minnesota in Region 4.

Results show the Minnesota voting was close—between two of the schools—with the Winona Winhawks grabbing 52 percent of the online votes and the Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms nearly 46 percent.

That’s an impressive showing for the Awesome Blossoms given the considerable population difference between the two southern Minnesota communities. Blooming Prairie is home to about 2,000 people while Winona has some 27,500 residents.

Tom Ressler created Blooming Prairie's logo, a black-and-white Awesome Blossom , in 1979.

Tom Ressler created Blooming Prairie’s logo, a black-and-white Awesome Blossom , in 1979.

Blooming Prairie High School substitute teacher Tammy Wolf noted that difference in a comment posted on the USA TODAY Minnesota voting page:

Great Job Blossom Fans! For a community of 2,000—we did ourselves real proud with 143,376 votes! Proud to be an “Awesome Blossom!” Thanks to all of you who voted for BP!

Voting began today for six regional winners who will then advance to the finals. The Winhawks are now competing against eight other mascots:

  • Hodags (a fictional monster) from Rhinelander, Wisconsin
  • Kernels (yes, after the Corn Palace) from Mitchell, South Dakota
  • Honkers from Kenmare, North Dakota
  • Norsemen from Roland-Story High School in Story City, Iowa
  • Orphans from Centralia, Illinois
  • Nimrods from Watersmeet, Michigan
  • Fighting Jeeps from Northeast Dubois in Dubois, Indiana
  • Zeps from Shenandoah, Ohio

So, Minnesotans, here’s your opportunity to put Minnesota, specifically Winona, into the national spotlight by voting for the Winhawks between now and March 14. Just click here to vote.

And what exactly is a Winhawk, you ask?

According to the online ballot, Winhawks is a nice play on words that transforms the stereotypical “Hawks” mascot into a winning proposition. Blackhawks. Seahawks. Plain-old Hawks. They have nothing on the Winhawks. Winona’s mascot, Herky, is a cartoon bird with bulky arms.

Prizes ranging from $100 – $2,000 will be awarded to the winning high school athletic departments. And in these days of cash-strapped schools (speaking generally here and not necessarily referencing Winona), that money, I’m certain, would be welcome by any district.

TO READ A PREVIOUS post I wrote about this mascot contest, click here. I really wanted the Awesome Blossoms to win. Sorry, Winhawks. But good luck now. Go Winhawks!

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

My prayer for our country on election day 2012 November 6, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:18 AM
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A message posted on the McNeilus Steel, Inc., building along U.S. Highway 14, Dodge Center, Minnesota. On the company’s website, the family makes this statement: “The McNeilus family acknowledges the providence of God in continued success. We plan to remain privately owned, continue our growth, and provide job security to those who work for us.”

ON THIS TUESDAY, Election Day in the United States of America, I pray that God will bless our great nation and guide those whom we elect.

Exercise your freedom.

Vote.

Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling