As we drive the backroads of southeast Minnesota and western Wisconsin, we often see old farm equipment that has been placed along the road, near driveways, or in front of barns or garages as decorations. The project I did earlier on old pickups inspired me to do another photo essay on farm equipment. Those photos are available here.
Earlier this year I read a book called The Cold Vanish about people who disappear in American wilderness areas. The stories included are fascinating, but I also noticed a couple of references to the Jon Francis Foundation which is located in Stillwater, Minnesota, not that far from where we live. I contacted David Francis, director of the foundation and father of Jon, and talked with him about the amazing work they are doing to help families who have lost members in wilderness areas. His background story and the work that is being done by the foundation is inspirational. Read it here.
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Driving around Minnesota and Wisconsin, we often see old pickups that have been positioned as decorations in front of farm houses or at the edge of fields. I had an idea to take photos of them and build a project showing the variety of pickups and their locations. The result is a photo essay published in RiverTown Multimedia publications.
After retiring from teaching, I assumed that I was done working. By chance, after we moved to Minnesota, I found out about a job as a news reporter. That was something I had always wanted to try, so I applied and got the job. I've now been working with RiverTown Multimedia for two years and have truly enjoyed it. Getting out to cover stories has taken me all over this region and I have had the opportunity to meet some incredible people who call this area home. Taking photos and writing articles suits me very well, and I am so glad I had the chance to experience this job. It is the perfect second career for me.
In January, a special section of the newspaper called The River is Life, a magazine about the commercial, environmental, and recreational aspects of living along the Mississippi River, won first place in the Minnesota Newspaper Association contest. Because RiverTown Multimedia publishes papers in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, we are members of both states' associations, and we just learned that The River is Life won first place in the Wisconsin contest, as well. We are very excited about that.
"There are moments in life that change our perceptions. When we are faced with difficult challenges, with scenes of beauty, with frightening emergencies, with quiet solitude, we often experience a sense of time in different ways. Sometimes it seems to speed up, to race, and in other situations, it seems to move slowly, to crawl. In Adventure Relativity: When Intense Experience Shifts Time, author Steve Gardiner takes the reader on a journey through a childhood game, a cardiac arrest, a high-altitude climb, a solo trip into the mountains, a heated run in the Boston Marathon, and other adventures that stretched his senses, pulled at his emotions, and gave him a stronger sense of meaning in life."
That's the blurb off my latest book Adventure Relativity, which is available on Amazon.
I had the opportunity to interview Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers about former Wisconsin Governor and Senator Gaylord Nelson who founded Earth Day in 1970. The Wisconsin Historical Society was generous with photos. You can see the article here.
My newspaper work continues from home. The phone interviews are working better than I expected. Everyone else is working from home, too, so perhaps we all are excited to talk to someone from outside our house. Coronavirus has taken over the news cycle and most of our stories deal directly with COVID-19 or how it affects some aspect of our lives. I've written about lowering gas prices, how realtors are dealing with the stay-at-home order, and how food security is threatened by the current situation. I've been trying to get out for a walk or bike ride or both, and realized that this is a chance to look at our own neighborhoods more closely. That became the topic of an editorial.
Like many people today, the newsroom is now moving into our homes. We packed up our notebooks, computers, cameras, and supplies and took them out the door. We will be working remote indefinitely. It will be strange doing interviews only by phone and trying to find photos to accompany articles. This will be a challenge.
The Minnesota Newspaper Association held their annual convention in the Twin Cities on January 30. In the evening, they held their awards ceremony, and I placed third in the Sports Feature category for a story about a Red Wing woman who has had a successful run in a major roller derby league in Los Angeles and has skated in the National Championships and World Cup.
Last May our staff created a magazine about the commercial, recreational, and ecological aspects of living along the Mississippi River. It is titled "The River is Life," and it placed first in the Special Sections category. I was involved in five of the stories included in that publication. It is available only in print form, so I am unable to include a link here, but I am very pleased with how it turned out and how it was received, both by our readers and by the contest judges.
Photo by John Jancik
Dr. Steve Gardiner is the author of six books and over 900 articles.