Fergus Falls has been a great place to live these past two years. You have welcomed me and my family into your community, and, through the stories in The Daily Journal, into your homes and businesses. Since the public announcement Tuesday of my departure, I have received so many kind words from many readers. Thank […]

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Sometimes I write about the old journalism books I have on my shelves. Often the older ones are better than the newer ones because they show more conventional ways of writing, which is great for understanding the latest trends in writing. Today, let’s peruse through my New York Times Manual of Style and Usage from […]

My oldest son, Forrest, is in fourth grade at Cleveland Elementary School and enjoys going to the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center. The lessons he has learned there he has put into practice in a video game called “Minecraft.” You can find out what “Minecraft” is by asking just about any child. In video game lingo, […]

Now that the season is over for the Minnesota Vikings, who finished at 8-8 after beginning the season 5-0, let’s go into the offseason without a quarterback controversy. Sam Bradford is our guy. Yes, I, too, had high hopes for this squad. And when on Aug. 30 quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was hurt with a non-contact […]

Now and then we get feedback where a reader asks us something along these lines: “Because you published that letter, does that mean the Daily Journal agrees with that position?” Sometimes, it’s the same question but about a political cartoon or someone’s column or even one of those editorials from another newspaper. So I thought […]

Wasn’t it fun to be downtown Saturday? My two sons enjoyed making art at the Kaddatz Galleries and riding the carriage rides that departed from Cooper’s Office Supply. We would have taken them to the performance at A Center for the Arts, except I had the role of roving photographer while my wife and I […]

People in Fergus Falls don’t beep their horns much. We’re Minnesota Nice, right? You can sit at a light that has turned green three seconds ago, yet no one honks at the lead-car driver who is staring at a cellphone. If it gets ridiculous — perhaps six or seven seconds — someone will gently beep. […]

Now that we have 27 baskets for a disc golf course and plans to install concrete tee pads in the spring — after Tim Litt and I do more fundraising over the winter — a few readers have told me that I should explain how the game of disc golf works. It doesn’t take much […]

So what happened on Tuesday? Why was it that on the eve of the election, polls and pundits were predicting a victory of Democrat Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, and on Election Day voters opted for Republican Donald Trump, a TV personality and real estate developer. Statistician Nate Silver’s website for number lovers, […]

By now, I am sure you have heard that the TV ratings are down for the National Football League this year. The ratings were down 11 percent from last year for the first six weeks of the season. Jim Souhan, a columnist for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune I like and read often, said he thinks it […]

I hope Fergus Falls residents know what a fine mayor they have in Hal Leland, who isn’t running for re-election this year. If you’ve only seen the Fergus Falls City Council in action, then you don’t get the perspective of experiencing mayors in other places. I hope the candidates seeking the mayor’s seat have learned […]



When I was managing editor at the Albert Lea Tribune in June 2011, I had an intern ask me if bikes were supposed to ride against traffic. I had to give him some grief. Immediately, I asked him to surrender his driver’s license so I could cut it up. He didn’t want to, for some […]

Let’s pretend for a moment we could go back and redesign the streets of Fergus Falls. What changes would we make so that getting around town would be easier? It’s interesting how there aren’t any roads that just go all the way across town. It’s not quite a corn maze like some cities, but there […]

Teams in the National Football League each year battle for division titles, playoff victories, conference championships and the Lombardi Trophy. Of course, that’s just on the field. The real battle is for eyeballs. Each year, I like to write a column about the local market TV ratings for the prior season and share which teams […]

Football is back. College and high school games are under way, and pro football gets going today. We all know football is the country’s leading spectator sport, right? Let’s talk about participatory sports today. I’ve often speculated that schools serve students well by teaching lifelong sports — activities they will play for life, not just […]

Column: From the Inner Tube Marketing decision-makers are hit with numbers from every media outlet in the market. Our audience is this big. Our audience is that big. This is a trend. That is a trend. This is new. That is sparkly. Yada yada yada. Borrell Associates tracks media numbers and has figures that show […]

Book gives old-school advice The first editor I had coming out of college was a Pulitzer Prize winner named Michael Gartner. He edited and, with partners, owned what was then called the Ames Daily Tribune after leading news organizations such as the Des Moines Register, Louisville Courier and NBC News. That all came after being […]

After the Fourth of July weekend, I received a fine letter from reader John Kilde. “Part of my July Fourth celebration is to write this brief note to you as publisher and editor of the Fergus Falls Daily Journal in order to compliment you for the 25 Favorite Places photo and text series. It was […]

Rural issues would not matter Tim Engstrom: From the Inner Tube I read a daily newspaper from another part of Minnesota and read a column by that newspaper’s editor. He was frustrated with the attention Ohio received in the 2012 presidential election and expressed a dislike for the Electoral College. “It’s like the rest of […]

Nearly 1/3 have college degrees Tim Engstrom: From the Inner Tube Fergus Falls has another honor to hang its hat on. Or perhaps a mortarboard would be more fitting. I was doing some digging around with statewide statistics as part of an analysis I was completing, and I discovered this: We are one of the […]

World sports belong on big stage Tim Engstrom: Soil for Thought Back in 2004, I had the opportunity to be part of a group of media members interviewing Arnold Palmer after he had designed a new golf course at a resort in the Cascade Mountains called Suncadia. My question was whether he thought golf should […]

One of the biggest arguments some car drivers make when they describe why they don’t like bikes, bike lanes or any non-automobile means of transportation is this: Cars and trucks buy fuel, which has a fuel tax that pays for the roads. Bike riders are freeloaders because they don’t pay the fuel taxes. The fact […]

Tim Engstrom: Soil for Thought Everybody has cockamamie theories about the weather. I’ve got my crazy weather thoughts, too. You know how our weather in Minnesota always comes to us from other places? Alberta Clippers in the winter. Summer dry heat from the American Southwest. Humidity surging up from the Gulf of Mexico. Gentle eastern […]

The balls of my feet hurt so badly that I gave great consideration to walking anywhere. It was the weekend after Ground Week at the U.S. Army Airborne School at Fort Benning in Georgia. Still, on this Saturday, I managed to hobble over to the pizza parlor where I liked to soak down pop and […]

Tim Engstrom: Soil for Thought I really like the new program Fergus Falls Police Chief Kile Bergren has instituted to reduce speeding in our fine city. He has hired 20 people to drive around really slowly at all times — between 10 and 20 mph — so that all the other cars back up behind […]

The latest installment of the “Star Wars” series of movies is great for many reasons, but one that stood out for me is quality dialogue and believable acting. Forrest, my 8-year-old son, and I went to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” last week at Westridge Mall. Forrest loved it. I loved that he loved it. […]

WCI projects help community When was the last time you had an interaction with the West Central Initiative, which has offices right here in Fergus Falls? The organization is dedication to blending the needs of business and philanthropy, whether bolstering early childhood education, getting paint for community projects, helping farmers pass their land to the […]

It’s nice to move into a house So the Engstroms are officially residents of Fergus Falls. Lisa and I closed on a house on Aug. 21, a Friday, and we proceeded to move in that weekend with help from my folks and my brother, all of whom reside in Minneapolis. For the record, I didn’t […]

There’s more to disc golf than meets the eye. In 2012, there were three times as many disc golf courses than there were in 2000. It’s a swiftly growing sport. I am always suspicious of any activity claiming to be the fastest-growing sport because what I have learned is there is no clear authority on […]

Have you heard of welcomed advertising and unwelcomed advertising? Basically, all the ads you see daily can be divided into two kinds. You can spot the two kinds as you go through your day. Unwelcomed advertising are all the ads that seek to bother you. The ones on TV and radio interrupt programming. The ones […]

Do you know about the Blue Zones? National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner and his team traveled to the places in the world where people live the longest and examined their ways of life: Ikaria, Greece; Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Loma Linda, Calif.; His team called those areas “blue zones” and the term […]

Let’s talk about the newspaper industry. I have some numbers for you. While it is true that advertising revenue is down among newspapers in general, those figures are weighed down heavily by the slow demise of large metro newspapers. Community newspapers have a different story to tell. According to the Reynolds Journalism Institute’s survey of […]

If you are a fan of the professional baseball club based in Minneapolis, you probably have read how the addition of Torii Hunter for this season has boosted morale in the locker room and on the field, in addition to him being a fan favorite. It’s interesting how the chemistry of a team can change […]

I’ve lived in Fergus Falls for about five months now, and I have noticed a few traits about our fair city. 1. You know someone is from Fergus Falls if they enter a business from the alley. It seems only out-of-owners use the front doors to the downtown merchants. OK, not entirely true, but it […]

The Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon that took place every Labor Day weekend has come to end. MDA — which made oodles of fundraising dough* last year with its Ice Bucket Challenge — pulled the plug on the 45-year-old telethon last week. I know, I know. Many people grew up watching Jerry Lewis and […]

What is the most successful car of all time? It all depends on the criteria we use to determine “most successful.” If it is based on sales, the Toyota Corolla is the winner. In July 2013, it reached the 40 million mark. The car was launched in 1966 and surpassed the Volkswagen Beetle in the […]

You know it is a good summer day when you end up wearing only one piece of clothing all day — your swimsuit. I grew up on a lake, and, in my teen years, summer meant putting on my trunks and heading out of the house for the day. I learned a few rules for […]

Stomach queasy, I was about to ralph. All I could think about was, “Get me off this bird!” The closer I was to the door, the sooner I could escape the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter. On a jet, paratroopers don’t jump. They just fall out a door on each side near the rear of the aircraft. […]

My family is all moved into an apartment, as of last week. We are hoping to sell our house in Albert Lea so we can buy one here. It’s nice to come home to my lovely wife and two sons. Let me introduce them to you, but first, allow me share with you my experience […]

Football is a big, tough, full-contact sport, right? And the teams of the National Football League have mascots that inspire the fans and players and reflect the aggressive nature of the game, right? So I have always wanted to consider which one would be the champion in a death-match playoff among all 32 teams. My […]

Minnesota is the 12th largest state in the union. I hear that from time to time. For example, Enchanted Learning, an online classroom, says it is. So does Wikipedia. So does our state government. So does the Minnesota Historical Society, and its historians are pretty good about facts. But when I bring up some other […]

The NFL regular season is over, and the Super Bowl is coming up Feb. 1. Unfortunately, the Minnesota Vikings aren’t in the big game. Finishing at 7-9, they failed to make the playoffs. But let’s find out how the Vikings did in the other contact sport the NFL teams play — TV ratings. In the […]

Everybody says Fergus Falls is a nice town. And you know what? Upon first impression, it sure seems like it. Downtown stores look full, which to me always seems like the thing people judge the most. And around the town, there are plenty of retail options and dining options. That’s another thing people like. Handy […]