Contributor

A metal monster made with love

Nick Shinkle’s scrap metal dragon has a new home in Alaska


Not every town can lay claim to a 500-pound dragon, but Virginia can! It’s not green and doesn’t blow fire, but it is seven feet long, stands eight feet tall and boasts a 36-inch tongue! For two of the past four years, my son, Nick Shinkle of Mt. Iron, has been devoting his imagination, talent, skill, hundreds of hours of […]

Condiment-oriented nomenclature! Are you a ketchup person?



The idea was to develop a system that describes a person’s traits and tendencies by their preference of condiments. I said it was an idea, not necessarily a good idea; however, the idea stuck and it had to be worked out. Not only that, relating to food comes naturally to most, so the notion seems plausible especially given what else […]

Mental health care is vital at this time

Range Mental Health Center remains open, adjusts services


The question: Zoom, Zoom? The answer: The pace at which Range Mental Health Center has been moving to change how it provides services, and the new video conferencing platform keeping RMHC in touch with the people it serves. Mental health providers are scrambling to find new ways of how to provide services as well as gearing up for an increased […]

#COVParkChallenge

Virginia: Get out and enjoy the parks!


VIRGINIA — The staff of Virginia Parks and Recreation knows that good mental health is often related to having access to the outdoors and greenspace. Research over the years has shown that when people are more stressed, anxious and socially isolated, as we are right now due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, having access to parks, trails and natural areas […]

How to draw a map

Smart aleck cartographers can keep fishing holes a secret


While cross-country skiing recently, I stopped to rest in an open area and faced the sun. Even though the temperature hovered just a few degrees above zero, there was a definite warmth I could feel on my face. It was a warmth that had been missing since the early part of November. The sun is once again higher in the […]

County announces new hours and access points to county buildings

ST. LOUIS COUNTY — Following an emergency meeting of the St. Louis County Board on March 23, St. Louis County is announcing it will re-open some of its offices to the public beginning Wednesday, March 25, but with reduced hours and limited public access. While the county is mandated to provide certain services, it is limiting face-to-face contact for the […]

Dentists remain available in emergencies

As Minnesota dentists follow a mandate by the Governor’s Office to temporarily suspend non-emergency and elective procedures in order to lessen transmission of COVID-19, many dentists remain available to provide emergency care, and they urge people to seek that care by contacting a dentist if they need it. “Oral health is an integral part of overall health,” said MDA President […]

A survivor in more ways than one

Frank survived World War II, cancer, and boyhood mischief


I am a survivor of World War II, serving aboard the light cruiser U.S.S. Birmingham as a gunner’s mate in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater. In our combat battles, close to 300 shipmates lost their lives, and close to 500 were wounded—some seriously, some with minor injuries. I am also a cancer survivor. I had lung cancer surgery at Mayo Clinic in […]

The creel and the apron

Janet tells her tale of becoming an apron-clad fisherwoman


Dear Hometown Focus readers: as you have had the pleasure of reading Doug Nelson’s (my sweetheart) adventures for more than a decade, including my participation in these adventures last spring, summer and fall, I am now about to give you a slightly different perspective of one of these adventures. As our fishing journeys moved through the seasons, it became apparent […]

CDC encourages blood donations

In healthcare settings all across the United States, donated blood is a lifesaving, essential part of caring for patients. The need for donated blood is constant, and blood centers are open and in urgent need of donations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages people who are well to continue to donate blood if they are able, even if […]


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