Some life events over the past few weeks have got me thinking about what it means to be a good person. A lot of people look to religion to determine their moral compass and that usually includes no stealing, lying, killing, adultery and filial piety, among other things that sometimes gets ov…

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Last Monday, Jan. 13, The Daily Journal launched its new app and it’s great and easy to use. This is very exciting because The Daily Journal produces a lot of local news that we distribute through various means like our print product, website, e-newsletter, e-edition, Facebook, Twitter and n…

My last column was published shortly after a church in Texas was able to thwart an attack of a lone gunman, by having a well-armed, well-trained security team. This is only possible when the public is allowed to arm themselves. It so happened that this very topic came up at the Otter Tail Co…

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Midwinter can be a bit of a difficult time for anglers as the hot bite of early ice, particularly for walleyes, has passed on most bodies of water. Those anglers who shift gears and chase panfish like crappies can, however, often find cooperative fish at this time. Here is a look at some tho…

Petunia got a moth orchid for Christmas from her boss. He didn’t know that she has the fingers of death for house plants. Even the bridal wreath shrub that lives next to the back door nearly gave up the ghost last summer when she attempted to prune it. Those shrubs are almost unkillable.

“Pickles” cartoon  is in the spotlight again. Today’s topic is the generation gap in slang words and expressions. My grandchildren don’t know the slang terms of 60 years ago. I don’t know their expressions from the 2000 era. “Pickles” starts us on our journey.

The most electric moment of Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate didn’t come during the official proceedings, which were sleepy to the point of being comatose. You might have expected sparks to fly when Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., were asked about her …

One of the advantages of ice fishing over open-water fishing is that bites from fish can often be “seen” better in winter than in summer!  What I mean is that, since anglers fish vertically right below where they sit and on stationary platforms, monitoring baits being fished and detecting bi…



The year was 1976. Having finished college, I was working in retail sales.  As I began my journey to adulthood, I realized I was a poor salesman.  My passion was for helping people rather than talking them out of their money.  I applied for work at the Fergus Falls State Hospital.  In additi…

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I have known Jim Bjornerud since high school days. We played football together for the Fosston Greyhounds; I was a defensive end and Jim played behind me as linebacker. If I missed a tackle,  Jim was sure to back me up. Over these many years, I have stayed in touch with Jim and his wife, Glo…

My son, his best friend, Dave, and I were chatting over a pizza last weekend when Dave dropped some (absolutely incorrect) information: The elderly are forgoing nursing homes for cruise ships, because the room and board cost about the same, plus you get entertainment and travel.

Question:  Sgt. Grabow, what allows private, for-profit ambulance companies to run tax-exempt license plates on their vehicles?  Thank you in advance for your time and help. 

Since 1969, “Virginia Is for Lovers” has been the tourism and travel slogan of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Advertising Age called it “one of the most iconic ad campaigns in the past 50 years.”

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There are 99 better, or at least less abject, senators. However, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is inadvertently useful by incessantly demonstrating the depths to which senators sink when they jettison institutional responsibilities to facilitate subservience to presidents of their party. Consider …

In Suzy Hames’ meandering Jan. 9 letter to the editor (“Kudos to Collin Peterson”), we are treated to an anti-impeachment missive devoid of actual fact, followed by a sharp veer into a critique of the global warming “scheme,” the Green New Deal, and a most curious assertion that such a progr…

The upcoming census is important to us all because it provides essential data about our community that is used in many federal funding formulas and helps to determine how and what services are provided to our residents. Incidentally this will also be the first ever U.S. Census to offer optio…

President Trump’s incoherent recklessness is not the only problem for American foreign policy dramatized this week. Also troubling is the eagerness of Republicans to fall in behind whatever he does and turn to demagoguery to paint his political opponents as traitors, a term Trump regularly d…

My birthday is this Sunday, Jan. 12 and I’ll be turning 29. It’s not quite a milestone birthday, that’ll be 2021, but my best friend and I are already thinking about what we’d like to do for that. That being said, it is the first birthday I’m celebrating as a professional journalist, so I’d …

It’s true, Minnesota dogs are smarter than the average dog. I’ve witnessed this firsthand when we welcome dogs from other rescue organizations into the shelter of Otter Tail County. For example, Minnesota dogs have learned not to lick the fence in subzero temperatures and how to lift their p…

My iPad just bit the dust. It died of old age. I forgot all my passwords. I’m in trouble.

I fondly remember those weight loss shows from a few years ago, “The Biggest Loser” and various knockoffs, where a person spent what seemed like a few weeks starting at 400 pounds and dropping to 150. The show ended with these newly thinned-out people riding off into the sunset, with the pla…

If you had “host Ricky Gervais becomes a conservative darling” in your office Golden Globes pool, congratulations, because you must have won a bundle. The rest of us will continue our slow, astonished blink as we contemplate the fact that this year’s most talked-about speech slammed not oil …

“It came upon a midnight clear…the glorious songs of old.” I’ve heard it sung…but watched it play out as it rang out so near and dear.

Azure skies, white clouds, brisk breezes, cold temperatures and plenty of snow, ah, winter in Minnesota.  As kids, we loved to play in the snow.  If it was anywhere near civil outside, we dressed warm and went out to play.   We made snowmen (when it was warm enough for sticky snow),  snow an…

Now that the impeachment process has begun, let’s set the record straight. The Democrats did not impeach President Trump for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” They have brought these charges against him because they wanted to get rid of him. They told us that from the beginning. So they have f…

Well another new year is upon us. Already we have seen an abundance of headlines that have left a lot of us questioning whether 2020 will be better than 2019. It has been worrisome to say the least.

If a real-life “Beetle Bailey” -- the Mort Walker comic strip soldier who’s a perpetual grumbler and questioner of authority in the U.S. military -- were to mutter a cynical assessment of what’s happened in the days since the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, he might be tempted…

Never has the poison of social media been more evident than at the current moment when our nation is deeply divided on the decision by President Trump to kill Iranian Revolutionary Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

President Trump’s decision to kill Iranian Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani should have come as no surprise to the Iranian regime. The administration had drawn a clear red line, warning Iranian leaders they would pay a severe price if they killed a U.S. citizen.

On Dec. 29, many innocent lives were spared from a bad guy with a gun, by a good guy with a gun, in a Texas church service.  In the past five years, armed attacks in churches and church parking lots are third in line behind the number of attacks in workplaces and schools.  In a small, unoffi…

While winter is always treacherously cold it is especially dangerous for everyone when the temperature dips to double digits below zero like we all know it will very soon. It is also dangerous for pets. While we are taking extra precautions for ourselves we need to remember that our furry lo…

One good thing about the 21st century is how easy it is now to keep in touch with people and meet new people online. My generation was the first to have internet access as children, so talking to people online is like second nature to me. I found my job online, I applied to college online, i…

The mission of the YMCA is to provide programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body. As an example of how coaches build spirit, I overhead while walking the track, a coach speak of goals and then ask for a show of hands. The “itty bitty” basketball players were asked to raise their han…

My crystal ball got a little cloudy in 2019, so as the new year dawns, join me in what the late, great New York Times columnist Bill Safire liked to call the “office pool,” where, as he put it, “every reader becomes a pundit.” Some of my suggested answers are fanciful, some entirely serious.…

One thing people talk about every day of the year is weather. Weather is so unpredictable. If you live in Minnesota, you know it can magically change within 24 hours. The poor fish houses never know if they will freeze or float.

“There for the grace of God go I.” You’ve heard it said. Now, let me tell you a true story that brings it to life. 

This time of year, we are inundated with suggestions for changes we can make to greatly improve our lives in the new year.

Happy January!  Some people refer to this time of year as the post-holiday slump, but it is one of my favorite times.  Oh yes, I love Christmas and all hoopla that goes with it, but now that the holidays are over, I have time to relax and enjoy my Christmas tree, decorations, and read a few …

On my last Amtrak trip to California, I shared a seat with Andrea Ye, a 19-year-old college student from China. She is a sophomore at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, my son Alan’s alma mater. Boy did I luck out! She was humble, polite, kind and highly intelligent.

Question:  What is the legal following distance?  What can I do when someone is following too close behind me? Isn’t there a rule of so many vehicle lengths for miles per hour to use as a guide?

As of Dec. 26, Kim Jong Un’s “Christmas gift” to President Donald Trump had not arrived. Most foreign policy analysts predict it will be a missile test more impressive than any Pyongyang has yet carried off.

If you got one of these little trees decorated for Christmas, you probably want to know how to care for it.  To start with, its not really a pine.  Pines only grow in cold climates like ours.  The Norfolk is native to Australia, not known for below-0 temps.  Norfolks belong to the Araucaria …

In his third year in office, President Trump continued to deliver an extraordinary list of accomplishments. Today, I offer my annual list of the 10 best things Trump did this year (my next column will list the 10 worst):

For sure 2019 flew by like a flash and we have every reason to believe 2020 will go by just as fast. Seems like every year moves just a little bit quicker than the last. Sometimes that can be a good thing, but sometimes we often wish time could move just a little bit slower to make a special…

I don’t usually set New Year’s resolutions for myself because I usually set self-improvement goals throughout the year. My own personal tradition is to reflect back on the books I read throughout the year, I started keeping track when I graduated college in 2013, and post recommendations on …

It’s cheering this Christmas week to repeat the bromide, “love thy neighbor.” But the unfortunate truth about America these days is that many of us seem to hate our neighbors. We don’t understand how other people can oppose the values we cherish most. Their behavior is infuriating and, it of…

As I celebrate my 50th birthday, I had to ponder the question, are we as Minnesotans, Americans, human beings better off than we were 50 years ago?

The night was sacred from many a vantage point. Within the stillness one could sense the mystery of something much greater than the present holiness alight in the nighttime sky. 

Well, here we are the day after Christmas. It’s another really big shopping day, as people are returning the things they don’t want, or things that don’t fit, and people like me who are busy buying clearance items in preparation for next Christmas.  Our family has yet to celebrate Christmas,…

To be a Christian, or a person of moral integrity whatever your religion or culture, you need to be following God. Because we needed help in this due to our human weaknesses, God sent his son and our Savior Lord Jesus Christ through his love for us. Merry Christmas!

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.