Postcard: February 14, 2016

Winona Media (Leslie Schultz) - Sat, 02/13/2016 - 10:53am

Categories: Citizens

Oh, Xcel, this is long overdue!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 02/12/2016 - 5:47pm

Look what just appeared in the inbox:

20162-118280-01_OAH_Letter to Chamber of Commerce

And here’s what the ALJ in the Xcel Energy rate  (PUC Docket GR-15-826) had to say to the Chamber:

Categories: Citizens

Cliven Bundy arrested — Complaint here

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 02/11/2016 - 9:21pm

He’s still in jail and looking for public defender… how would he qualify?

Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy to remain jailed, asks for attorney

Here’s the Complaint:


Categories: Citizens

Encourage public participation? Yeah, right…

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 12:40pm

Here we go, thanks to Xcel Energy and Office of Administrative Hearings, based on the bias and double standards for participation and obstructions to intervention in the latest Xcel Energy rate case (PUC Docket GR-15-826).

Yes, Intervention in the rate case denied again:

20162-118122-01_Denial #2_Overland-NoCapX Intervention

And I quote:

Further, the Petition states that purposes for which No CapX 2020 was “specifically formed” (fn omitted) was to participate in dockets which are now closed, raising the question of why No CapX 2020 continues to exist.

H-E-L-L-O?!?!?!  This rate case docket is all about shifting the CapX 2020 and MISO MVP 17 project portfolio transmission costs from one scheme to another.   I specifically cited all the references to CapX 2020, MISO MVP, and transmission.

Here’s what has gone before…

Intervention Petition II

Xcel objection to second petition to intervene

Overland-NoCapX_Intervention Petition 2

Intervention Petition I

20161-117574-01_Order Denying Intervention Petition 1

No CapX 2020_Response to Xcel’s Objection

20161-116957-02_Xcel’s Objection to Intervention

NoCapX 2020 and Carol A. Overland_Intervention Petition Packet

And in a parallel track, note the double standard in pleading.

  • Note that Xcel has objected only to the Overland/No CapX 2020 intervention.
  • Note that Xcel has not objected to those who participated in the “e21 Initiative” which is the basis for this rate case “multi-year rate plan” and transmission shift.
  • Note how little the other “intervenors” say.
  • Note they do not state their interests.
  • Note they do not state how their interests are different from general ratepayers.
  • Note they do not state how their interests will not be represented by OAG and Commerce.

OAH has approved Interventions of “The Commercial Group,” “Suburban Rate Authority,” and “City of Mineapolis.”  I’m sure the approval of “Clean Energy Organizations” will soon follow, despite the lack of specific pleading and the apparent conflict with one “attorney” representing so many organizations that either have differing positions and interests, or which are adequately represented by other organizations and don’t need to intervene… funny how this double standard works…

Read the Petitions:

Petition to Intervene of the Commercial Group

Petition to Intervene of Suburban Rate Authority

Petition to Intervene 0f City of Minneapolis

Petition to Intervene 0f “Clean Energy Organizations”

Petition to Intervene of MN Chamber of Commerce

Check out each of these petitions.  Look at the pleading, what’s stated, and as importantly, what is NOT stated.  What are their interests?  How are the “interests” different than general ratepayers in their class?  How are their interests not represented by Office of Attorney General and/or MN Dept. of Commerce?

So what to do?  Participating in the public hearing is not sufficient, and if that’s the limited offering, well, there’s no Discovery for a public participant.  What’s next?  Fight for the privilege of an unfunded intervention, as if there’s nothing else to do?  The issues raised by Overland/No CapX 2020 will not be addressed otherwise.  And thos overt quashing of participation is not consistent with the “public” in “Public Utilities Commission” and the Commission’s mandate.

Meanwhile, FERC just denied the 2010 Petition for Intervention too in the case regarding the cost allocation for these CapX and MISO MVP projects, yes, that took them 5 1/2 years to do, so why now?  Check this out:

FERC Order – Docket ER09-1431 (p. 8)

Odd that should come up now… naaaah, not really.

Categories: Citizens

Calling All LSW Members: It’s time to reunite

Pegasus Librarian - Iris Jastram - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 10:02am

Back in the ancient days of social networking, all the way back in 2007, my friend and former classmate Josh Neff posted a tweet that rocked the library world, we just didn’t know it yet. He declared that there would be a library society that didn’t charge dues, and that this society would be called the Library Society of the World. My friend Steve Lawson took up the call, and I signed on as a “founding member” along with several others. We gave each other goofy titles and made up goofy bylaws (my contribution was that we would always be one short of a quarum). After a while we set up a chat room on Meebo (remember Meebo??), and a while after that we took up residence on FriendFeed. And little by little it dawned on us that we weren’t joking any more. We were a real library society comprised of library folk from around the world.

In the 7 years we lived together on Friendfeed, membership grew to the thousands depending on where you counted, friendships blossomed and drama came to visit from time to time. Some people left the profession, and new librarians were born. FriendFeed got bought by Facebook (and donated likes and threaded comments to the Facebook interface). And finally Facebook pulled the plug on us in April of 2015.

For nearly a year we’ve been in diaspora. Some went to Facebook, some went to Slack, others went back to Twitter. We tried message boards and Nothing felt like home.

Then appeared. And now I’m mounting the call: it’s time to come home! LSWians Unite! And if you aren’t sure just how much like home it will feel, here’s a screenshot for you. Look familiar?

Categories: Citizens

Happy Mardi Gras!

Winona Media (Leslie Schultz) - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 9:16am

This image was inspired by a poem by Stella Nesanovich and made possible by art objects from Corrine and Elvin Heiberg–takes a village to make a photograph!

Categories: Citizens

How Well Do You Know Your Dad?

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Mon, 02/08/2016 - 7:52pm

I couldn’t resist this meme-y questionnaire that was floating around Facebook, and luckily the girls were into it, too. No real surprises here, which is probably good! (Neither one mentioned beer in any response!)

J = Julia, age 11, sixth grade
G = Genevieve, age 9, fourth grade

1. What is something I always say to you?
J: “How was your day?”
G: “I love you!”

2. What makes me happy?
J: Biking
G: Biking

3. What makes me sad?
J: Not biking
G: When I’m sad.

4. How do I make you laugh?
J: “By doing weird stuff.”
G: “By tickling and being super strange.”

5. What was I like as a child?
J: A fat baby
G: Chubby

6. How old am I?
J: 42
G: 42

7. How tall am I?
J: 5’10”
G: 5’10”

8. What is my favorite thing to do?
J: Bike
G: Bike and snuggle with me.

9. What do I do when you’re not around?
J: Bike
G: Bike

10. What am I really good at?
J: Biking
G: Cheering me up

11. What is something I’m not good at?
J: Punishing Genevieve
G: Getting mad [“You never get angry.”]

12. What do I do for a job?
J: Grantwriter
G: Grant writer at Carleton

13. What is my favorite food?
J: Pizza
G: Pizza

14. What do you enjoy doing with me?
J: Biking
G: Biking

Categories: Citizens

The Digital Humanities and the Librarian

Pegasus Librarian - Iris Jastram - Mon, 02/08/2016 - 9:30am

Image by

Here at Carleton I’ve been tasked with helping to draft a proposal for a campus-wide digital humanities initiative and infrastructure. Being the librarian that I am, I’ve been spending a good deal of time reading the literature of the field in addition to investigating potential model programs at other institutions and pulling together what amounts to a SWAT analysis about our own institution. And one of the really interesting things in the literature of the field is how librarians are thought of (and think of themselves) in relationship to DH work.

There’s a sizable camp of  vocal “librarians should be full partners in the research” proponents. There are quite a few “provide good, quiet service and provide it well” advisers. There’s the “this is a new thing for librarians so we really need to figure out what we can do” camp. And there’s the “there’s nothing new under the sun for librarians so just do this” camp.

I fall somewhere in the middle of all this. There aren’t well-oiled mechanisms here or at many other institutions for humanists (as opposed to scientists) who want to do digitally inflected research, and yet this research is becoming more and more of an expectation in humanities fields. So in that sense there’s an awful lot to figure out, cobble together, and invent when it comes to supporting this research.

On the other hand, librarians have always studied and supported information use and dissemination, research methods, and scholarly communication cultures. We have always fought to make sure that intellectual freedom is a reality and that everyone has a chance to create new knowledge from the record of human thought. These things sit at the core of our profession — the core of our guiding documents and professional ethics.

A few years ago the humanities departments I serve became much more dependent on data and statistics as they engaged in scholarship, so I learned what I needed to know about finding, understanding, and using numerical information. Right now it’s becoming clear to me that the humanities research in my departments has taken on a decidedly spacial flavor, so it’s time for me to learn enough about spacial analysis and GIS to be conversant with the information and methods of the scholarship in my areas. And while I will never be a GIS specialist, basic familiarity is no more outside of my professional scope than leaning database searching was for the librarians who trained me. The stuff of scholarship changes, but our professional expertise lies first in understanding and facilitating how information flows and functions within scholarship, and it lies second in understanding the mechanics of locating the particular kinds of information that happen to be in use at the moment.

On top of all of this, the information that makes up the bulk of the data for humanities scholarship resides in various kinds of libraries, the “labs of the humanities.” The ties between librarian and scholar have always been particularly strong in the humanities. We geek out together over dusty codexes and digitized primary source collections, monograph browsing and frustratingly jargonless full-text article searching, bulky archival boxes and streaming video collections. Humanities scholarship has never been the solo enterprise that has gotten so much air time lately. Librarians and scholars have been there for each other through the ages, though the librarians’ role is often invisible to the broader community. The librarians aren’t listed as co-authors (and shouldn’t be!), but they do participate in very real ways in humanities scholarship’s inception, feasibility, creation, dissemination, and use.

So I think librarians and scholars function best when they are full partners with each other, and I think that “full partnership” often means playing a pretty invisible role.* I think that there is a lot that’s new that needs to be figured out, and I think there’s nothing new under the sun. But most of all I think that this is our world and our reality, and I think that we are equipped to tackle it, messiness and unanswered questions and all.

* There are some problems with invisibility, including things like being underpaid, over worked, etc. But that’s a topic for another post.


Here’s a bibliography of things that contributed to me thinking these thoughts.

Aarsvold, Nancy, Kasia Gonnerman, and Jason N. Paul. “Shaping the Roles of Academic Librarians to Meet Emerging Demands of DH Scholarship.” In Supporting Digital Humanities for Knowledge Acquisition in Modern Libraries, 44–65. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference, 2015.

Maron, NL, and Sarah Pickle. Sustaining the Digital Humanities Host Institution Support beyond the Start-Up Phase. New York, NY, 2014.

Nowviskie, Bethany. “Asking For It.”, 2014.

Posner, Miriam. “No Half Measures: Overcoming Common Challenges to Doing Digital Humanities in the Library.” Journal of Library Administration 53, no. 1 (2013): 43–52.

Schell, Justin, Jennie M. Burroughs, Deborah Boudewyns, and Cecily Marcus. “From Digital Arts and Humanities to DASH.” In Supporting Digital Humanities for Knowledge Acquisition in Modern Libraries, edited by Kathleen L Sacco, Scott S. Richmond, Sara Parme, and Kerrie Fergen Wilkes, 234–252. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference, 2015.

Vinopal, Jennifer, and Monica McCormick. “Supporting Digital Scholarship in Research Libraries: Scalability and Sustainability.” Journal of Library Administration 53, no. 1 (2013): 27–42.

What would you add to this list?

Categories: Citizens

Postcard: February 8, 2016

Winona Media (Leslie Schultz) - Sun, 02/07/2016 - 5:22pm

Categories: Citizens

Blue Belted

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Sat, 02/06/2016 - 4:16pm

Today the girls did their tae kwon do testing for their blue belts. They had not had as long a training session as usual, and thanks to busy evenings and snow days had also missed a couple classes, but as the test approached they buckled down to learn everything they needed to know. As the only purple belts in this testing cohort, they did all of the various phases of testing with each other, which was fun to see. They nailed it! I’m so proud of them for their hard physical and mental work!

One Steps
Categories: Citizens


Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 5:40pm

With this year’s Arrowhead now complete, I’ve crunched some numbers.

In my view, the big story of the race is Tracey Petervary’s third straight win. With the three-peat, T-race is now the winningest Arrowhead bike racer, female or male. Her winning times have ranged from 27:22 in 2014 (the cold year) to 18:27 last year – just 9 minutes off Eszter Horanyi’s women’s record (2012). (John Storkamp has three wins on foot.)

On the men’s side, Jay Petervary’s win places him alongside Dave Pramann (2006, 2008) and Jeff Oatley (2010, 2011) as two-time champions.

The 2017 race could be interesting simply as a chance to see if any of those three riders can win for a third time or if other one-time winners like Jorden Wakeley (2015), Kevin Breitenbach (2012), or Todd McFadden (2013) can win again. (Sarah Lowell [2007, 2008] and Alicia Hudelson [2012, 2014] both have won twice on foot, and Jim Reed appears to be the only person to have won the race in two disciplines – ski in 2010 and foot this year.)

Here’s a spreadsheet on all of the AH winners:

Obsessing a bit about ways that I can get faster, I ran some simple analyses of bike finishers the last two years, basically tabulating the time taken to ride the four legs of the race (start to Gateway, Gateway to Melgeorges, Melgeorges to Skipulk, Skipulk to finish) and time spent at the checkpoints.

The two takeaways are stupidly and slightly less stupidly obvious: first, the fastest racers go fast on the course, and second, the fastest racers spend very little time at the checkpoints.

While the top five men all got to Gateway this year in less than four hours, only Jay Petervary, Will Ross (2nd man), and Dan Dittmer (3rd man) did the second leg of the race in under five hours (4:13, 4:16, and 4:44, respectively), and only Petervary (5:33) and Ross (5:44) did the leg to Skipulk in under six. (Dittmer was next closest, at 6:25). The flat fourth leg saw a huge accordion effect, with fifteen racers going under four hours, including Ross at 2:52 (the only person to cover that leg in under three hours) and Jill Martindale (2nd woman) doing it in 3:41.

Fast on the bike, fast off it: Plenty of folks – including most of the men’s top 10 finishers and Martindale – didn’t stop at Gateway at all. (Like several others, Tracey Petervary stopped for only a minute). At Melgeorges, only Jay Petervary, Will Ross (2nd man), and Ben Doom (4th man) spent less than 10 minutes refueling. Eight men spent less than 10 minutes at the luxury of Skipulk, led by Dittmer at 2:00, Petervary at 3:00, and Doom and Pat Adrian (6th man) at 5:00. All told, Jay Petervary spent just 6:00 at checkpoints (about three seconds per race mile!), while Ross spent 12:00 – more than accounting for his three minute gap behind Petervary at the finish. Only seven racers – including Jill Martindale – kept their total stops to under an hour.

Too long, didn’t read? Ride fast, stop quick.

Here’s the full spreadsheet of data for this year’s race, which can be sorted as you might like:

For the hell of it, here’s the data for 2015 too:

Categories: Citizens

Tangible information literacy

Pegasus Librarian - Iris Jastram - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 3:19pm

Photo by Abhi Sharma

One of the professors I work with a lot on campus has me join her American Studies Methods course a couple of times each term she teaches the course. The first time centers around three main questions:

  1. Where does your research question sit within the theory of the field?
  2. Where does the information you’ll need to explore your question sit within the archive of the field? (“Archive” here means the universe of sources useful within the field.)
  3. And how much of the archive of the field is necessary for your purposes?

Last year we had them mind-map their research questions onto the blackboard in among the major topics of American Studies research that they’ve been studying. Then we used these mindmaps as the basis for search strategies for primary and secondary sources.

This year for various reasons we didn’t do a full class on the information literacy of American Studies. Instead, I visited their class for the full class period and participated in their conversations about the two readings assigned for that day, pitching my participation to help draw out the patterns of information use in each of the readings.

What can we tell about the theoretical foundations of the author’s claim based on the bibliography? Who are the major voices the author claims as theoretical kin? What kinds of primary sources appear and how does the author use them? Why these sources and not others?

To help us grapple with the archive of these readings, I spent the morning hunting down every single primary and secondary source that Amy Kaplan used in her article “Manifest Domesticity” (American Literature 70.3 (1998): 581–606) and piled them up on the classroom tables. We had print copies of many of the early 19th century monographs and periodicals that Kaplan marshaled in her readings of the overlap between the rhetoric of empire building and of domesticity. What we didn’t have in print we had in digitized primary source collections, so I could print off a few pages of each. And of the secondary sources we had ready access to all but 2 of the books, one of which could have come over from St. Olaf if I’d planned ahead a little more.

So there we sat, exploring Kaplans scholarship while her archive lay there in front of us for direct exploration, manipulation, and interrogation.

I’m not sure what the students got out of the exercise. I hope they sensed the possibilities for their own research – that writing from 190 years ago is not exotic and out of reach and that the major voices in their field are represented here in our library’s collection. I hope they enjoyed holding paper and ink from the 1830s in their own hands. I especially hope that they sensed the vital research practice of mining other scholars’ bibliographies.

For me, I experienced wonder at just how much is accessible these days even in a curricular collection on a small liberal arts college campus. And I admit that it was a thrill to open those pages and see what other scholars saw, exactly as they saw it.

It certainly wasn’t a traditional library session, but I hope it was as useful. It was certainly fun.

Categories: Citizens

Rick James testimony for Goodhue Wind Truth

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 7:39pm

It’s about time — I’m cleaning and finding things that should have been posted eons ago. Soooo… here’s one — I’ve uploaded the testimony of Rick James, INCE, of E-Coustics Solutions, regarding wind turbine infrasound, in support of written Direct Testimony filed in the Goodhue Wind proceeding on July 22, 2010. You can find his written testimony and many, many exhibits, by searching HERE for docket 08-1233 and scroll and scroll for “Testimony of Rick James” and the exhibits, using the date on the right side to get close in that voluminous docket.


Categories: Citizens

COSMIC EDUCATION, The Child’s Discovery of a Global Vision

The Children's House - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 10:40am

Here are some excerpts from the always enlightening Michael Olaf newsletter. Perfect for snowy day reading:
Age 3-6 Years
The child’s world at this age moves from the family to the primary class. The world is brought into the class rather than the child taken out into the world at this age. We do not believe in pushing a child toward early intellectual studies, however if presented correctly, young children show an amazing interest in a wide range of subjects, something that can be hard to believe...

Before age six, the child absorbs—totally, easily, without effort, and with deep love—all the attitudes and impressions in the environment. It becomes a part of him and forms his mind, so parents and teachers as models are the strongest element in these years. If kindness and patience, enjoying reading, having good manners, enjoying math and biology, for example, are in the environment at this age, these attitudes and actions will be of great value to the child. If they are not part of the early environment many of these things can be learned later, but they will not make up the basic personality of the child.

Before age six, the lessons and experiences of Cosmic Education are carried out by means of a lot of movement and sensorial experience. But along with the basic and extremely valuable practical life and sensorial lessons, the child begins to learn about the earth and water, physics, plant and animals, the variety of humans on earth, art, dance, music, geometry, math, and language. By the end of this first plane of development, the child has a lively curiosity about and love of all of these areas of study.

Maria Montessori understood the child's built-in receptiveness to all these areas of interest and found that the young child could comprehend what was considered far beyond a child's reach, given the right environment, the right equipment, and a teacher who was skilled at putting the child in touch with this environment.

Madame Montessori,
Even as you, out of love for children, are endeavoring to teach children, through your numerous institutions, the best that can be brought out of them, even so, I hope that it will be possible not only for the children of the wealthy and the well-to-do, but for the children of paupers to receive training of this nature. You have very truly remarked that if we are to reach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with children, and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won't have to struggle, we won't have to pass fruitless idle resolutions, but we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which, consciously or unconsciously, the whole world is hungering.

— M. K. Gandhi, 1943
Today our world is shrinking and we have finally learned to cherish diversity—economic, racial, all kinds—to prepare children for living in the real world. Gandhi's desire is coming to pass.
michaelolaf news cultural geography

Categories: Citizens

Arrowhead on Strava

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 9:04pm

For those who’d care to see such a thing, here’s my Arrowhead race on Strava – or at least most of it; I had to reset my GPS unit at mile 9.5 after noticing that it had registered the distance (but not the time) of the drive up to International Falls! Weird.

92% of the 2016 Arrowhead 135

Categories: Citizens

Boomers, we’ve got work to do!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 10:41am

photo from AP

In the New Yorker:

Bernie Sanders Just Changed the Democratic Party

At eleven forty-five, Sanders addressed his supporters, who were cheering even more wildly than those Clinton’s crowd had been. “Iowa, thank you,” he began, his voice hoarse. “Nine months ago, we came to this beautiful state. We had no political organization, we had no money, we had no name recognition, and we were taking on the most powerful political organization in the United States of America. And tonight, while the results are still not known, it looks like we are in a virtual tie.”

Boomers, we need to get to work.  It’s easy to volunteer for Bernie, just go to and they’ll contact you with options!

Caucus and Primaries:

  • Nevada — Saturday, 12 noon (get there early) February 20, 2016.  Go HERE to find out where to caucus, David Overland, this means you!
  • South Carolina PRIMARY — Saturday, February 27, 2016.  Go HERE to find your polling place.
  • Super Tuesday (includes Minnesota) Tuesday, March 1 Alabama – Primary Alaska – Caucus American Samoa – Caucus Arkansas – Primary Colorado – Caucus Georgia – Primary Massachusetts- Primary Minnesota – Caucus North Dakota – Caucus Oklahoma – Primary Tennessee – Primary Texas – Primary Vermont – Primary Virginia – Primary Wyoming – Caucus

There’s more after that, but let’s get through Super Tuesday!

Categories: Citizens

Arrowhead Race Report – Arrowhead III: Revenge of the Snows

Blowing and Drifting - Christopher Tassava - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 8:37pm

I was lucky to have Salsa Cycles publish my Arrowhead 135 race report on their “Culture” blog!

Arrowhead III: Revenge of the Snows

They wove in a bunch of my own photos as well as some much better shots taken by Mike Riemer from Salsa, like this one.

Early On (Photo by Mike Riemer)
Categories: Citizens

New task over winter — plan a boat trip!

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 1:43pm

Right there, down the hill from us, is the Mississippi River.  Not only does Amtrak’s Empire Builder run through there, with direct train to Seattle or Portland, and Chicago, but from Chicago to LA or NOLA (how cool is that!), but there’s a river there that’s a highway headed south.  Never been further than the north end of Lake Pepin, but … the boat’s out in the driveway, and I’ve been assigned the task of planning a boat trip to St. Louis (or maybe just north, to Pere Marquette State Park, which has a big marina now).

We’ve got this cheap OLD very used Bayliner Capri, with a cuddy & the full canvas for the back, so it’s a floating tent too, like this, big enough for the Mississippi:

It’s definitely liveable, better than a VW BUS for sure!

First pass at research says a trip to St. Louis & return is doable.  Here’s some folks who went all the way to the Gulf, and it looks like it’s a nine day trip to St. Louis.  Return upriver will take more gas and probably more time.  But how will Little Sadie do on a boat?

The US Army Corps of Engineers has charts online:

Upper Mississippi River Navigation Charts

And better yet, there’s a large “Field Guide” to the Mississippi that has things ranging from hazards to fuel stops:

Mississippi River Historic Sites and Interesting Places

This is a little more complicated than hooking up the trailer and heading down the road.  I get nervous on the river, because it’s not like a lake where you can just cruise along, it keeps moving and requires paying a lot of attention — the Mississippi is NOT that deep, and it’s easy to get hung up or hit the bottom, ask my little bro about that!

Categories: Citizens

Votes for Women - Celebrating 96 years

My Musical Family - Joy Riggs - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 12:46am
The U.S. presidential campaign has been on my mind lately. It’s not the one you might expect, given the barrage of news coverage on the eve of the Iowa Caucuses. I have been thinking about the election of 1920.

That was the first year that my great-grandmother Islea Graham Riggs was allowed to vote. She was 45 years old and had been an accomplished pianist and music teacher for nearly three decades. She had organized and participated in women’s music clubs in several different towns. She had given birth to four children and had lost two of them. Yet it was not until November 2, 1920, that she was allowed to do what so many U.S. citizens—men and women—now take for granted: cast her vote for president.

Islea and her husband, G. Oliver, were living in Bemidji when the 19th Amendment was ratified. Although I don’t have proof that she voted in the election, I can’t imagine she would have bypassed the chance. My guess is that she voted for the Republican candidate, Warren Harding.
Islea Graham RiggsThanks to coverage in the Bemidji Daily Pioneer, I can, however, provide details about another Bemidji woman who went to the polls for the first time that November: an 81-year-old woman named Lydia M. Ward.

The newspaper explained that Mrs. Ward was “a strong advocate of the G.O.P. and said she was going to cast her vote for Harding. Going to the polls to vote was no easy matter for Mrs. Ward at her age but she said she would not miss her chance if she could help it, especially after waiting for so many years to aid her party.”

With Mrs. Ward’s help, Harding defeated Democrat James Cox in a landslide.

Because engaged female citizens like Mrs. Ward and my great-grandmother paved the way for me, the only time I ever had to march for votes was in 1976, when my Brownie troop dressed up as suffragists and marched in a Bicentennial parade. I grew up feeling that I had just as much of a right to vote as anyone else, and I looked forward to being old enough to exercise that right.

This fall, my two oldest children, Louisa and Sebastian, will both be old enough to vote in their first presidential election. It is an exciting rite of passage, and I can’t imagine denying that right to one of them simply because of gender.

In honor of all the women who worked for the right to vote, and to encourage voters young and old to participate in the political process this fall, I present some of the lyrics from one of my favorite Schoolhouse Rock songs, “Sufferin’ ‘til Suffrage” (which, incidentally, first aired in 1976, the year I dressed up as a suffragist). Sing along if you know them!

Oh we were sufferin’ until suffrage. 
Not a woman here could vote no matter what age
Until the Nineteenth Amendment 
Struck down that restrictive rule

And now we pull down on the lever,
Cast our ballots and we endeavor
To improve our country, state, county, town and school

Right on! We got it now!

Since 1920 ... 

Sisters unite! Vote on!
Categories: Citizens

Dark Water in Winter

Penelopedia: This & That in Northfield - Sun, 01/31/2016 - 5:44pm
I'm endlessly fascinated by the relatively rare (in Minnesota) sight of unfrozen water in wintertime. The contrast to the snow on the banks makes the water look so dark and mysterious, and the bare trees are beautiful when reflected. My friend Adele and I went for a walk on Saturday and I captured these scenes.

In the first photo, you may be able to see a group of mallards at the back.

As my friend Adele and I looked down at this next bit of the creek on Saturday, it almost looked like a summertime scene where skimming insects leave constant dimples and ripples on the water -- but this was late January, so insects weren't a possibility. We soon realized that there was very fine drizzle, which we hadn't noticed until then, making the drop marks on the water.

This next one is a crop of the photo above. Click the photo to see the larger version showing the many overlapping ripple marks.

Categories: Citizens

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