EVERYTHING WE DO has to be done differently. Wearing a mask in public, keeping distance, avoiding crowds and no hugging.

For Father’s Day we planned an outdoor picnic and asked the family to bring their own food and beverages. Some chose not to come, but for those who did it became a meaningful time to catch up with each other. We met one great-grandchild for the first time.

COVID-19 HAS TURNED life upside down. The highways are less crowded as people are either working from home or not working. As a result the speed has increased so when accidents occur, they are more severe.

THE DEMONSTRATIONS THAT continue are more peaceful, yet shootings and deaths continue to be on the rise in Minnesota.

THE LEGISLATURE DISMISSED from special session with little legislation approved. We can’t expect to change everything all at once, but why not focus on a few key issues and get them passed?

LAW ENFORCEMENT IN many areas of the country, including our own Twin Cities, appears to be unjust, inhumane and very discriminatory. Perhaps our police departments are expected to handle too many different issues beyond their training and competence. Accountability is so important in whatever endeavor we participate in. It sure seems like something is falling between the cracks on that issue.

There must be some better models that could be researched and considered.

Perhaps the police department is just too big. There are always critical masses for effectiveness in whatever the business profession or government service required.

GRADUATES - WHATEVER LACKED in your graduation celebrations, you are faced with a troubled world and we are looking to you for leadership and ideas.

Don’t overlook the values of our nation and that of your parents as they brought you to this point. Remember we need liberty and justice for all.

Set goals, have mentors, be generous, serve others…this is a good idea not only for graduates, but for all of us.

Give thanks daily for those who have helped you along the way and find opportunities to learn about the many cultures of this world.

Remember, life is a classroom where you learn continuously regardless of age. Build friendships, nourish them, reach out, engage, take a chance.

WHEN I PURCHASED my first newspaper at the age of 20 in Atwater, a western Minnesota agricultural community with a population of 900, Atwater had a blacksmith shop across from the newspaper office. On the wall was a placard with an Indian philosophy that went something like this: Never criticize another man unless you have walked a mile in his shoes.

The name of the newspaper was the Atwater Herald, but when a couple farmers would stop by to say hello or I met them at the coffee shop, they would always refer to the newspaper as the “Atwater Spreader” and then they would jokingly ask me if I stood behind it. They were referring to the manure spreader that farmers used to fertilizer their land. The manure more than likely came from the dairy barn.

The newspaper’s purpose has been to be truthful, sincere and humble in presenting the community back to itself through stories, editorials and photos.

It’s been a wonderful and challenging experience. Friendships have grown immensely. Wisdom and memories have been planted deeply and faith in mankind to do what’s ethically correct comes through.


Gene Johnson is publisher emeritus of Press Publications.

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