Steve Gardiner taught high school English and journalism for 38 years in Montana and Wyoming. He started working at the Republican Eagle in May 2018. He focuses on features and outdoor stories.
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When Dia Her walks the rows of plants on her parcel of land, plucking weeds and commenting on the size of the cucumbers, her face tells a story of pride. She farms a 5-acre plot on the HAFA—Hmong American Farmers Association—near Vermillion and west of Hastings along Highway 52, where she grows beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, peanuts, tomatoes and flowers. "I like to grow everything," Her said, "but I don't have enough time. I try to do it, but it is not possible."
It happens every day. Maybe several times a day. The phone rings, you answer, and a recorded voice tries to sell you a vacation in the Caribbean or a fast track out of debt. Sometimes you answer and no one responds. Either way, you get angry. These marketing calls used to be made by human beings who could make dozens of calls a day. Now they are made by computers with recorded messages, and they are capable of making millions of calls a day. Cheaply. They are robocalls. They are annoying. They waste time and tie up phone lines. In most cases, they are illegal.
Farming has been a tradition with Hmong Americans since the first refugees left Laos and arrived in the United States after the Vietnam War. "We don't celebrate birthdays," said Pakou Hang, executive director of HAFA, the Hmong American Farmers Association. She said a Hmong person is more apt to say, "I was born in the time of planting corn."
LAKE CITY — When the SkiDox water ski team roared past the crowd at Water Ski Days y with members stacked three levels high, they were focused on one thing — teamwork. "It is incredible teamwork," said Kindra Walstad, who has been on the team 20 years. "We have to move with one another. There is a lot of talking and communicating. You have to trust the people who are out there next to you."
WABASHA — The National Eagle Center is launching the summer fishing program June 20 and the celebration of Bald Eagle Days June 22-24. With paid admission, kids 15 and younger can use fishing equipment supplied by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the National Eagle Center to fish on the Upper Mississippi Wildlife and Fish Refuge from the public dock at the National Eagle Center every Wednesday until Aug. 29.
If Sophia Sanchez has a theme in her life, it is caring about people and social issues. When the Hastings High senior was a freshman, she co-founded the Feminism Club. Over the past four years, she and the club have organized many projects to help people at the school and in the community. One of the biggest projects was to connect with the St. Olaf College Sexual Assault Resource Network and the American Association of University Women to bring speakers to Hastings High School.