In May 2014, Naval Admiral William H. (Bill) McRaven gave the commencement address at the University of Texas. McRaven brought an enviable pedigree — himself a grad of the University of Texas, a 35+ year Navy SEAL, and later, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command. He also designed the SEAL raid that took out Osama bin Laden. Wow.
In the St. Croix Valley, neighbor may be pitted against neighbor when the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings play football twice a year. Of course there's always the odd family who cheers for the Chicago Bears, further adding to the rivalries in the valley. Green Bay fans may be unaware, but an ancient Viking game, now adapted as a lawn game, is growing in popularity right here in Packerland. In fact, nearby Eau Claire, Wisconsin lays claim as the game's North American Capital.
There are fewer things hotter in the St. Croix Valley than home sales. Sellers may receive multiple offers, and in some cases, exceeding the list price. Home builders are part of this hot market, too. As fast as they can be built, new homes are sold and crews move on to the next one, just like in the good old days.
Even with a winter that woudn't go quietly away, baseball and other spring sports are finally underway. Sort of. Young men found places indoors to hit baseballs into nets or off tees. On those dreary days of 35 degree temperatures and a steady rain, a baseball game may still be contested. Even avid fishermen (women) would likely have packed it in for another day.
John F. Kennedy started a tradition in 1963 as the first U.S. President to designate a National Small Business Week. Fifty-five years later, the proclamations continues as a way to recognize the important contributions of entrepreneurs and small business owners. This year's Small Business Week is set for April 29-May 5 and includes statewide celebrations to honor the likes of a family-owned small business winner, a young entrepreneur, a small business person of the year, a minority small business champion, and small business subcontractor of the year.
With life's hectic pace, very few consumers pay attention to receipts from retailers. Clearly noted at the bottom of a receipt is a reference to "state tax" and "local tax." Wisconsin collects a sales and use tax of 5 percent and almost all of the 72 counties impose an additional half-of-a-percent tax. St. Croix County's optional tax has been on the books for decades. Other counties are still coming to the party. Brown County began its half-cent tax on Jan. 1, 2018 and Calumet will begin collecting on April 1.
Whether it's East L.A. or East Overshoe, there may be occasional coffee shop chatter that your community is on the brink. First, don't believe it. And second, find inspiration in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In early 2011, Newsweek magazine published a list of America's dying cities. Grand Rapids, sometimes referred to as Bland Rapids, made the unenviable list. Seven years later, Rand McNally and even satellite intel suggest Grand Rapids is alive, well, and thriving.
Older Americans will likely recall when Nov. 11 and Veterans Day were known as Armistice Day, so-named to mark the armistice treaty ending World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month back in1918 (wow, almost 100 years ago). WWI veterans returned to their hometowns and found opportunity. Some returned to the farm. Some helped populate growing cities and were part of the era when industrialization ruled. Some furthered their education and had long careers in education, business or government.
Woodrow Wilson (Woody) Guthrie, the folk singer who found inspiration from the Dust Bowl era, may be best remembered for writing "This Land is Your Land." A key line in the ballad is, "As I was walking that ribbon of highway, I saw above me that endless skyway." The term, "ribbon of highway" creates a dark image of desperate Okies from Oklahoma migrating to California on bad two-lane roads during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Has the economic impact of high school football games across the U.S. ever been measured? Win or lose on Fridays, my unscientific reasoning includes ticket sales, concessions, benefit raffles, pre-game meals, convenience store stops, new sports apparel, and post-game wrap-up sessions, commonly referred to as parties.