staff columnist

See Jeff Hage’s photos from Diana Nyad’s 2012 attempt to swim from Cuba to Key West. It’s not every day you get to greet one of the world’s greatest athletes. But that was the case for me just over a year ago while I stood on Smathers Beach in Key West, Fla. It was the [...]

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It’s not surprising that some Minnesota educators are angry about how high-stakes MCA testing operated during the past year and how some newspapers reported results. The rules changed, there were statewide computer “freezes” caused by problems with the testing company’s technology, and one of the state’s tests was much harder. Whether from suburbs like Hopkins, [...]

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Ron McKinley loved motorcycles, and he loved to laugh. He especially loved riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles around the country. He also was a wonderfully effective mentor and advocate for expanding opportunity and justice. Some of his happiest moments were riding his Harley. But sadly, several weeks ago, McKinley, 64, of St. Paul, died after a motorcycle [...]

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Fortunately, a second medical opinion this week showed I did not need a painful “spinal tap.” Instead, the second doctor who examined me (after I expressed concerns about the first, dramatic diagnosis), prescribed ice on my back and anti-pain pills every four to six hours. My morning’s very sore neck felt much better by the [...]

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Not unlike a lot of people, I often hop in my car and drive hither and yon. Mostly, I cart my children to and from activities like baseball, gymnastics and swimming. Usually, I am thinking about important things, like what’s for dinner? Or do I have an important meeting or deadline coming up? Mentally, I [...]

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Two frustrated questions at a recent Stillwater “Conversation in the St. Croix Valley” community meeting mirrored each other.  One came from a parent of a teacher.  The other came from a senior citizen, also a parent.  Together, they help illustrate two passionate, opposite polls in our national debate about improving schools.             One person identified herself as the mother [...]

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