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The Carpenter Nature Center in Hastings has a new executive director. Jen Vieth was the unanimous choice of the three committees tasked with hiring a new leader for the non-profit center. The position became available earlier this year when Jim Fitzpatrick decided to retire after serving as the director for the past 32 years. Vieth is just the second executive director at the center. A comprehensive search began when Fitzpatrick announced his retirement in late 2012.
ST. PAUL -- Troy Reinke may have killed a record-setting buck last month in southeastern Minnesota. Goodhue County prosecutors on Thursday offered another description of the kill: poaching. The Cannon Falls man was charged with 13 counts, including gross over-limits of wild animals, after allegedly shooting the deer without a license or tags. The charges carry a maximum penalty more than five years in a jail and a $19,000 fine. Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Tyler Quandt said the eight-pointer had a gross score of 190 and five-eighths inches.
Several years ago, the chair of the University of Minnesota Journalism Department felt me out about whether or not I would like to join its faculty as a writing teacher. I replied that sounded great, thinking about its famous grads, like Harry Reasoner, Eric Severaid, Max Shulman, et al. "Good," said the chair. "It'll be a tough sell, getting you accepted by the department?" How so, I asked. "You don't have any publications," he replied. "I most certainly do.
It's time to roll out several summer reading books, including Lisa Gardner's "The Neighbor" (Bantam, $25). South Boston has always fascinated me, ever since movies like "Good Will Hunting" and "Mystic River." Gardner ("The Killing Hour)" sets her new novel in the world of the "Southie." A housewife, Sandra Jones, from South Boston turns up missing, leaving behind only a four-year-old daughter and her husband, Jason, who seems determined to destroy evidence of his wife's existence. Detective Sgt. D.D.
A wag of my acquaintance once said that word processors are ruining the art of biography. He explained that it's so easy to type on them (no carriage return, no worries of hyphenation, etc.), that "if Moses had one, there'd be 17 commandments rather than 10." In some ways it's true. Back in the 18th century, Dr. Samuel Johnson wrote wonderfully perceptive and readable biographies of writers like Richard Savage in about 50 modern-day pages. But even before the advent of the word processor the modern taste for detail led to biographers piling more and more detail into their work.
Any who has ever dug into a fish dinner at Afton, Minnesota's Catfish Saloon, or licked an ice cream cone from the town's storied ice cream parlor will most certainly want to pick up a copy of "Death Row" ($17.99), by Hal Barnes, available in bookstores and through Lulu.com. And if you've never sampled the culinary delights of the beautiful little town pick one up anyway because it's a crackling good mystery, chockfull of international intrigue and contemporary concerns. Barnes, a Twin Cities business writer, lives in Afton and his infectious enthusiasm for the neighborhood shows.
Powerful military nation decides its time to teach a lesson to small Moslem nation, certain that its people will welcome the enlightened country's victory over outmoded religious country whose time had come and gone centuries before. Strangely, the little Moslem nation didn't take kindly to the incursion from Big Brother and threw the big guy for loss after loss. Does this sound familiar? Of course. Only problem is that the countries about which historian Paul Strathern writes in his new book are 19th century countries, France and Egypt.
Nancy Gaillard, age 61, of Hudson, Wis., formerly of Hastings, passed away Aug. 22, 2008. She was a former active member of the United Methodist Church of Hastings.
Here comes yet another book about Adolph Hitler. Hundreds have been written about the madman, scholars keep digging away to find even more about him. This one's called "Killing Hitler," by Roger Moorhouse (Bantam, $25). I've read tons of Hitleriana, but I must say Moorhouse has convinced me that I've still missed a great deal. Everyone's heard about the famous plot to kill Hitler during his trip to the Eastern Front, led by Claus von Stauffenberg.
Authors who take apart a region or a community have always been dear to my heart. It all began when I was in high school and my English teacher said I should not read novels by Sinclair Lewis, who was an agnostic and a drunk. So I went right out and checked out his novel "Main Street." The town he wrote about was his own, Sauk Centre, Minn., but he called it Gopher Prairie. He nailed that town dead to rights. It was just like my hometown, full of well-meaning people with a rather narrow view of the world. Later on, I read "Winesburg, Ohio," by Sherwood Anderson.