Overcoming Fear of Fermentation

I’ve been a home canner for a long time, making jams, pickles and sauces using the water-bath canning method. But I’ve always had a fear of fermentation — something about the prospect of leaving foods on the counter until they started to bubble with live bacteria brought out my inner germ phobe. But after interviewing ... Read More about Overcoming Fear of Fermentation

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Categories: Citizens

St. Olaf, mask up

Manitou Messenger - 29 min 9 sec ago

Masks have become a part of everyday style here on campus. The one you pick out each morning might match your mood or your outfit, or it may be a rushed decision when you’re late for class. Though St. Olaf provided all students with masks, many homemade or individually purchased masks roam around campus each day. Here are just a few of those, and what their owners have to say about them:

“My mom brought this mask to me from the kitchen store she works at. I like it because it has flowers on it, and I like flowers.” — Brennan Brink ’21

“This one’s reversible!” — Freya Gordon ’24

“We got these ones from Target.” — Emma Borkowski ’21
“I think it really brings out my eyes.” — Gretchen Olson ’21

“You want me to say something about my mask?!” — Sam Bailey ’21

“I love this mask because it’s sustainably made with salvaged hemp! Go green!” — Reilly Friend ’24

“It’s laundry day for my masks!” — Solveig Gordon ’21

So, whether you’re tossing your mask in the laundry, or you’ve got on your absolute favorite, wearing your mask is what counts! Thanks for masking up, St. Olaf, and let’s continue to see all those unique face coverings around campus so that everyone can express themselves while staying safe!

Categories: Colleges

Humans of St. Olaf

Manitou Messenger - 45 min 50 sec ago

“I just want to slow time ‘cause two hours passes really quickly. I have already had two classes. I really leave everything – my electronic devices except my phone because I was listening to music. I just want to feel the music. So I usually get some coffee and enjoy the time. When you are not around electronics and work, time passes much much slower. It’s kinda the way we create time – you cannot really add an hour to a 24 hour day. You really stretch your time with what you have: either by experiencing the full immensity of it, by leaving everything behind or you could be doing what you are doing and let time pass quickly. That may be efficient, of course, but is it really living? Sometimes we have to take a moment. I am surprised I have drank coffee, I have listened to about 10 songs and I have gone to the registrar to get some contacts but it’s only been 35 minutes. Though it felt like two hours already. I have created a lot of time today.”

Categories: Colleges

How Northfield’s businesses have adapted to COVID-19

Manitou Messenger - 48 min 8 sec ago

Northfield has a thriving business community. A range of stores, coffee shops, cafes and restaurants find success in a relatively small town, driven in large part by a combined population of around 5,000 St. Olaf and Carleton students.

Oles and Carls are central to the vibrancy of Northfield’s small businesses. Think Goodbye Blue Monday, Content Bookstore, Rare Pair, Hogan Brothers — all locally owned downtown businesses that rely both on the patronage of college students and tourists who frequent these establishments.

“We are known for our downtown, for our ‘boutique-iness’,” said Lisa Peterson, the president of Northfield’s Chamber of Commerce. “And part of that is the experience of going in the shops, looking at things, touching things, asking questions.”

However, fears of COVID-19 and restrictions put in place to mitigate the virus’s spread have dampened the usually lively downtown business scene by limiting the in-person aspects of Northfield shopping. 

“If you’re talking about small business, small businesses are struggling,” Peterson said. “Our small restaurants, our small retailers, they are still fighting to stay afloat. Even though business has picked up in the last month and a half, it is still touch-and-go.”

To keep up with changing pandemic-driven demands, restaurants and retailers have tried altering their business models to include expanded delivery, new products, special offers and e-commerce options. These alterations have seen various levels of effect.

Hogan Brothers Acoustic Cafe, a Division Street staple, experimented with an expansive delivery system April through June after Minnesota heightened its restrictions late March. The system didn’t stick around for too long once business picked up again. 

“They realized that once more people kept coming in, it was just not profitable to have a delivery driver all the time,” Elijah Leer ’22, a current Hogan Brothers employee, said. “It’s so sporadic now because people are more comfortable coming into the store that there’s not really a point anymore.”

James Gang Coffeehouse, not located downtown but further away just off Dahomey Avenue, saw its existing delivery options expand significantly once St. Olaf students returned to campus.

“A St. Olaf student just accessed that — I mean it’s never not been an option for St. Olaf students, it’s never not been an option for anybody in the city limits,” said Tanya Mollenhauer, owner of James Gang, in reference to the coffeehouse’s delivery service. “It spread across campus like wildfire, especially because everybody was quarantined.”

This sudden increase in delivery to St. Olaf contrasts James Gang’s delivery patterns pre-pandemic.

“What’s really interesting is that we used to deliver a lot more to Carleton than St. Olaf, and now we’re at St. Olaf more than Carleton,” Mollenhauer said.

For James Gang, unlike Hogan Brothers, the delivery model has been and will continue to be a part of their business. 

Loon Liquors, a local distillery, took advantage of the newfound demand for hand sanitizers to begin producing its own, in-house. Loon has been able to provide hand sanitizers to not only local customers but to businesses across the state and country, according to Peterson.

The distillery first produced the hand sanitizer using government guidance and a formula from the World Health Organization on March 21, according to a post on Loon Liquors’s Facebook account. Dozens of community members expressed their gratitude in the comments section of the post.

Content Bookstore, a downtown shop about a block away from Hogan Brothers, received the first order for their new Bespoke Boredom Busting Bundle on March 22. Since the initial order, Content has put together more than 350 bundles, from $30 to $200, according to Jaye Lawrence, a bookseller at Content. 

“The primary idea behind the bundles was to provide personalized service to customers who were suddenly no longer able to visit us in person — and in the process, we sincerely hoped to inspire the same kind of surprise and delight that customers experience browsing our physical store,” Lawrence wrote in an email to The Messenger. 

For Content’s customers, the bundle makes ordering “quick and easy,” Lawrence wrote. Customers choose a price, fill out a short questionnaire about their interests and preferences and Content’s booksellers select books and other items to fill the bundle.

The bundle is then delivered or shipped anywhere in Northfield or throughout the United States. This growth in delivery and shipping alongside the new bundle is the biggest change to Content’s usual business, for which Lawrence is thankful.

“The pandemic has reminded all of us that small local businesses are the heart of our communities, and we’ve been heartened by how many people have made an effort in these trying times to purchase from us instead of big impersonal online retailers,” Lawrence wrote. “We are deeply grateful for all the support we’ve received from loyal Content customers, near and far.”

The Chamber of Commerce shares the belief that small, local restaurants and retailers are the heart of Northfield’s economy, and they have sought to assist these businesses, Peterson said.

Working with Northfield’s Economic Development Authority (EDA), the Chamber helped create a grant program for small businesses looking to develop the e-commerce side of their business models.

“[EDA] created a grant program where they had a $1,500 matching grant,” Peterson said. “You put in $1,500, then the EDA put in $1,500 for each retailer to get some e-commerce help, whether that was developing the store or buying a module, or whatever that happened to be.”

The Chamber also developed its own e-commerce store where businesses that hadn’t yet developed their own store could sell gift cards. 

“Through our own e-commerce efforts, we sold in eight weeks $12,200 worth of gift cards in the community and over $13,000 in Chamber bucks,” Peterson said. “So over $25,000 was spent by community members to keep money local — that was huge.”

Establishments throughout the city have, in one way or another, been forced to adapt. Whether that is through expanded delivery services, new book bundles or the development of e-commerce websites, many Northfield businesses have undergone significant changes.

Categories: Colleges

HeartBeat: Being in love with your friends

Manitou Messenger - 49 min 29 sec ago

Can you be in love with your friends? And if so, what does that look like, and is it a good idea?

To me, being in love with your friends means prioritizing those relationships in the same way you would a romantic partner: making sure your friend feels appreciated, that you are spending time together and continually striving to maintain your relationship. Ever since a podcast introduced me to this idea, I’ve found myself thinking much more deeply about the time I spend with my friends and the state of our relationships. 

It is often easy to take friendship for granted, assuming that your friends will always be there even if you screw up or don’t check in as often as you should. But I have realized just how crucial it is to intentionally invest energy and care into close friendships — especially in college when we have the potential to make friends that will last a lifetime. Placing more importance on my friendships makes me feel secure and fulfilled. It takes away some of the pressure to find romantic love, because I know that I already have people in my life whom I love and who love me.

Intentionally forming closer bonds with your friends is fulfilling and rewarding, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t come with growing pains too. It’s no coincidence that the podcast that introduced me to this idea of being in love with your friends is titled “How to Be Single.” It is a lot easier to prioritize your friends when neither you nor your friends have a romantic partner in your life. So, when a romantic partner does enter the picture, it can be tough. 

Even though my brain knows that we can pursue romantic love while still maintaining close friendships, my heart says otherwise. I don’t like the idea that my friend would rather spend time with someone else, or that someone else will become the top priority in their life. Realistically, I know that people can have multiple priorities, but in the moment, I can’t help but feel confused: I’m sad that there is an aspect of my friend’s life of which I won’t be a part, happy that my friend has found a new form of happiness and worried about how this will impact my relationship with them.

All in all, I think it can be great to be in love with your friends — I recommend it even. It definitely felt strange to talk about my friends in this way at first, but doing so has given me a new perspective on the role my friends play in my life. Friends don’t have to be secondary to romantic partners. In fact, if they’re good ones, they’ll likely be around for a lot longer than your current crush.

Categories: Colleges

Mayor's Youth Council Meeting

City of Northfield Calendar - 50 min 41 sec ago
Event date: October 7, 2020
Event Time: 07:45 AM - 08:45 AM
Northfield, MN 55057

Media Beat: 070 shake surprises 2020 music scene

Manitou Messenger - 50 min 57 sec ago

2020 hasn’t gifted much to the ear. Coming off a year in which Tyler the Creator’s, albeit solid, victory lap album, “Igor,” won the Grammy for best rap album, it seems as though inspiration is scarce among our favorite musicians. Kanye is off the deep end, Lil Uzi’s ego didn’t do him any favors on “Eternal Atake” and the Weeknd couldn’t help but sing in the same pitch for an entire album on “After Hours.” Among all this mediocrity from generally talented artists, we must truly consider our freshman class this year.

It is a shame that we have largely overlooked one of 2020’s most prolific artists, whose debut studio album, “Modus Vivendi,” is the freshest hip hop/R&B mix since “Blonde.” You might recognize her swinging vocals from Kanye West’s “Ghost Town” and “Yikes,” or from Pusha T’s “Daytona.” Stealing Kanye’s show on his album “Ye” is no simple task, but her contributions are surely the highlight. 

So, to whom am I referring? And is it truly possible that you haven’t heard about someone this good? I’m talking about 070 Shake, and yes, it’s possible. Here’s why: Danielle Balbuena, better known as 070 Shake, is a New Jersey native whose unique sound can be described as “transitional,” but who has received little attention. One listen and you’ll be scratching your head for comparisons. Is it Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Frank Ocean? I don’t know, and neither will you. It’s new, but we need new. Almost everyone in hip hop has sounded like Lil Uzi or Post Malone for the last two years anyway. 

Mike Dean — the man behind musicians like Travis Scott, Kanye West, Young Thug and Big Sean — produced much of “Modus Vivendi.” He blends 070 Shake’s unique sound with his signature synths while maintaining a clear direction throughout the album. 

It’s quite confusing to hop into the album from the first track, so I suggest starting with the more appealing “Guilty Conscience” to get a feel of how 070 Shake expresses herself through the album. This track even caught the attention of Tame Impala and resulted in his own take on the song in a remix. Next, listen to the fleetingly cosmic “Flight319” and the mysteriously sci-fi “Terminal B.” I find “Divorce” to be the most moving on the album, but only because I didn’t listen to it first. 070 Shake establishes her own sound in her expressive debut. “Modus Vivendi” can only be appropriately described as a breath of fresh air.

Categories: Colleges

Artists in isolation: Watercolors on the quad

Manitou Messenger - 54 min 51 sec ago

This past week I refreshed my inbox to find one of the most exciting emails a St. Olaf student can receive. The subject line read: “You have a package!” As I headed over to the Post Office, I was shocked to receive yet another email with the subject line, “You have some packages!” Now this was really curious, because I only remembered ordering one item. I approached the Post Office window with excitement. The student worker handed me three small parcels, each wrapped in different packaging. I opened the first to find the gouache paints that I was expecting, a birthday gift for a friend. The next two contained the exact same paint set! I checked my bank account and found they had only charged me for one, but sent me three! 

Over the summer one of my friends Maddy Bayzaee ’23 and I would FaceTime once a week for about two hours to watercolor and catch up. It was so wonderful to have something to look forward to. During one of these FaceTime dates she mentioned a paint I’d never heard of called gouache and expressed interest in trying it. When her birthday rolled around I knew exactly what to get. If she liked them, then I was going to get a set for myself, but the happy postal snafu beat me to it.

I just about skipped back to my dorm that afternoon, elated that I’d had such good luck. I soon carved out time in my schedule to do some painting. I sat outside my Ytterboe pod on a blanket in the shade and tried out the new paints. Generally, I use watercolor, but the gouache turned out to be very similar. It was fun to get to try a new type of paint without any expectations on myself to get it right. Afterwards I felt the most relaxed I’d been in a good while. Watercoloring has been a way for me to release stress throughout the pandemic. It is one of the few spaces where I let myself truly try different things, without expecting the outcome to be good.

It has also become one of my favorite ways to give gifts. I love watercoloring images that I know are special to my loved ones. I’ll ask people to send me their favorite photos and then I’ll do my best to recreate it. Having a creative outlet has allowed me to relax into the importance of making something. I still struggle with making time for art in my life. I am someone who would rather wait until all the work is done to have fun, but I am learning the necessity of stopping to make spaces of rest for myself. I’ve found that if I wait until the work is done then I never get to paint because the work really is never done in college. I hope everyone is able to make time to make art because we are living in unprecedented times, and the ability to find spaces of rest within that is absolutely necessary.

Categories: Colleges

Ideas for hanging out with friends safely during COVID-19

Manitou Messenger - 57 min 52 sec ago

While we have been on campus for over a month now, many students are struggling to invent creative ways to hang out with their friends, and first-years are finding it difficult to meet new people. Being able to spend time with friends while continuing to follow St. Olaf’s Community Standards may seem difficult, but there are many opportunities to socialize safely.

Walk in the Natural Lands

St. Olaf’s campus is blessed to have the extraordinary Natural Lands and their many trails. The different trails offer a variety of distances, catering to those who would rather go on a quick walk as well as those who prefer to take a longer path. I highly recommend going on a walk with friends around sunset to experience the beautiful views! Walks in the Natural Lands are relaxing, and they provide the perfect setting for catching up with friends after a long week. For a map of the Natural Lands trails, go here.


Instead of having a group of friends hang out in your dorm room, move it outside! Plan a day where your friends can get together to eat lunch or dinner, listen to music and just hang out.

Distanced game night

Who doesn’t love some good competition and fun? Game night is a perfect opportunity for both. 

I recommend playing What Do You Meme, Cards Against Humanity, basic card games (such as BS, War or Go Fish) and, my personal favorite, Jackbox. Jackbox Party Pack games range from trivia and drawing to fill-in-the-blank statements and more, often accompanied by voting on other players’ responses. In a similar style to Kahoot, the game displays on a screen and players participate through their phone. What I love about Jackbox is that you don’t need to be in person with your friends to play. Just start up a Zoom meeting, share your screen and your friends can play along — no matter where they are! Whether you want to play with someone off campus, with your friends from home or just don’t want to leave your dorm room, Jackbox has got you covered. 

Outdoor games

The cool autumn weather is creeping up on us, but there is still time to play outdoor games. Frisbee, soccer, cornhole or just throwing a football or baseball is a great way to get fresh air while spending quality time with friends. If you prefer a more structured game, spikeball is a great option. In spikeball, players in teams of two hit a ball onto a circular net, causing the ball to bounce back up for the other team to return. Much of the gameplay is similar to volleyball, as teammates can set each other up for spikes. You earn a point when the other team fails to return the ball or it hits the rim, and whichever team earns 21 points first wins. Spikeball tournaments allow more people to participate, and they are a great way to meet new people. Most of the equipment needed for these games is available at your dorm building’s front desk. If you can’t find the necessary equipment, ask around! There is a good chance one of your friends or someone in your building has it.

Despite the restricted options to hang out with friends during the pandemic, it is important to continue to connect with others around you. Become creative with the ways you spend time with others, and recognize that you do not need to be doing anything special to form amazing memories with your friends.

Categories: Colleges

St. Olaf choirs return to in-person rehearsal

Manitou Messenger - 1 hour 23 sec ago

St. Olaf College has prioritized campus choirs — part of the College’s distinctive music program — in its reopening plans for the semester. Having now begun in-person rehearsals, singers have to contend with all sorts of pandemic-related changes to normal operations. 

Directors hold in-person choir meetings in the tents near Hoyme Hall and Thorson Hall, or in large indoor spaces like the Pause or Boe Chapel. Most of the choirs are split into multiple groups, as there are too many participants to meet at once. Choirs meet for less time than normal because rotating sessions and time needed to air out indoor spaces make longer meetings impossible. Campus protocols also require singers to wear masks and stand approximately nine feet apart. 

“We’re being extremely protective and careful, because we don’t want to be that ‘thing.’ It’s a time to be very, very careful,” Visiting Associate Professor of Music Therees Hibbard, director of Manitou Singers, said. “We don’t mind putting up with a lot … it makes us realize how important [in-person choir] is.”

Students agree that the opportunity to sing together eclipses the inconveniences and difficulties of COVID-19 restrictions. 

“With the restrictions all said and done, they’re doing it very well,” Eric Heffelfinger ’23, a member of Chapel Choir, said. 

Choir members are also navigating their personal growth as musicians amid the new restrictions. 

“Part of it is just that hearing other people sing helps me sing better, but since we’re so spread out or online, I don’t really have access to hear other people sing, so I have to rely on my own skills,” Jarret Krous ’23, a Chapel Choir member, said. “Hopefully it helps me improve, but it is too early to tell.”

The inability to rely as readily on other singers and the changes to articulation and projection that come from wearing a mask and being socially distant certainly pose technical challenges for both new and experienced singers. 

In a time of social distancing and loneliness, the emotional and spiritual impact of singing together on this campus has been renewed. 

“And in one way, if you are to look at it with a silver lining, we will never take this for granted again,” Hibbard said. “Of course you can sing over Zoom and we often teach that way; but to be together here, it’s a different dynamic, a different human empathy in artistry.”

Categories: Colleges

Face-to-face with the St. Olaf Blizzard

Manitou Messenger - 1 hour 9 min ago

This past week, I had the pleasure of interviewing the face behind the St. Olaf Blizzard Press, a satire Instagram account created in February 2020 that has since taken the St. Olaf community by storm. Although The Blizzard’s creator originally based the account off of satire news source “The Onion,” the Blizzard delivers fresh headlines specific to St. Olaf students and their experiences — which makes the page all the more refreshing and relevant. 

When asked about the page’s sudden popularity, the creator expressed how surreal the process has been — from the first headlines, to following fans of the St. Olaf Dog Spotting page (the original target audience) and watching the page grow from there.

While much of the Blizzard’s content is produced by the creator alone, they also rely on a healthy dose of suggestions from friends and peers. When asked about the page’s many direct messages, the creator showed nothing but appreciation.

“I receive a lot of DMs,” the creator said. “It can be a lot to sift through, sometimes. But I always encourage new headline ideas; I always want the page to be really open and fun, with multiple perspectives.”

Although the Instagram account was ultimately created with the aim of making people laugh, the creator has since been tasked with figuring out how to navigate running a satire page in light of a pandemic, and more recently the anti-racist protests both on campus and beyond. 

“During the summer, I made the deliberate choice to not post much at all. While I want to make the page a platform for anti-racist work during the school year, last summer I felt it was more responsible to not misuse Instagram and take that time instead to observe and educate myself.”

After they graduate, the creator hopes to preserve The Blizzard by passing ownership down either to another student or perhaps even a student organization. While a change in leadership might change the type of content that is produced, the creator is untroubled by this fact. At the end of the day, the creator is firm in their belief that The Blizzard must remain a space where students can share their thoughts, anecdotes and opinions, regardless of their class year.


Categories: Colleges

Could 35/19 intersection get a roundabout?; Underdahl comments on whistleblower lawsuit; Volunteers, sewers and cloth donations needed

KYMN Radio - 1 hour 13 min ago
By Teri Knight, News Director On Tuesday the Rice County Board of Commissioners officially approved an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to review, develop and fine tune a proposed roundabout at I-35 and Hwy 19. The Faribault Daily reports the county will spend $33,000 with MnDOT covering the remainder, about $67,000. This intersection

The Burden of Beauty

Manitou Messenger - 1 hour 14 min ago

I sat in my room nervously scratching away at my fingernails.

Chipped black nail polish forming 

10 Rorschach tests readily available on my hands so I’m ever prompting my own wellness.

I anxiously grab a lock and twirl it around my fingers and it reminds me of how my mother started her dreads:

In times of high stress, she would compulsively twist her naps into knots until they locked or until she got her work done….

My sister was an heir to the War on Hair;

She would tug at her lashes all throughout her pregnancy.

By the time my niece was born, my sisters’ eyelids were a raw, fleshy bright pink from the incessant plucking, so she began wearing fake lashes and I haven’t seen her without them since. 

My Grandmother could not be caught dead without a bottle of lotion on her. 

Ointments and creams would rain down on the drought that was her skin

In a fruitless attempt to mend the cracks of old age.

Her once silky skin over time weathered against the the forces

Of heat

And water

And marriage

This is a woman quite literally tearing at the seams, but in her mind the solution was at the bottom of the bottle of shea butter. 

My aunt always lets her long hair flow. 

The Black Rapunzel, she would waltz into Thanksgiving dinners with weaves down to her back.

I watched her swat her hair out of her face as she ate and asked why she never wore it in a ponytail.

She said she has an irrational fear of a man yanking it from behind 

The fairytales lied when they said that’s how Rapunzel’s prince should enter a castle.

My step-mother 

Spends more money on clothes than food because

Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.

I call my mom in tears after a failed French quiz

And she offers to send me skin care products.

In this moment, I realize

I come from a long line of women that blend beauty standards with coping methods. 

Women with societal norms deep in them as poison

Women with a man’s requests reverberating through their bone marrow.

Women who even when the floor is lava, the world is still their runway. 

They understand

“If I cannot act the part, I will damn sure at least look the part.”

I wonder if this is where my fashion sense comes from. 

A valiant attempt at beautiful veneer.

Clothing for the sake of catharsis, not couture. 

The allure of self expression is escapism not demure.

I’ve got narcissism coursing through the branches of my family tree

The sweet sap to dilute the bitter taste of not being enough. 

I wear my sunday best 7-days a week

This is my form of prayer. 

And maybe it’s compensation.

Maybe I am doomed to be added to the tapestry of women in my family who paint their face as a painkiller

Maybe I am simply a stray drop of ink on a white campus canvas.

Maybe my anxious trembles are just heartbeats and I need to come to terms with them.

Or maybe.

Maybe I just need a haircut. 

Categories: Colleges

Don’t you wish the speed limit was 75?

Manitou Messenger - 1 hour 15 min ago

She tied a bright red scarf in her hair and decided it was finally time to go. The paper she held was crumpled from being folded and unfolded a thousand times over by damp hands. 

Brrring, brrring, brrring. Her phone went crashing to the pavement as it rang. 

“Hello?” she answered as she fumbled with her keys.

“You need to get here now,” the other voice said, “it’s important.” 

She trembled as she picked up speed, staying silently on the phone just for the comfort of breath on the other end. She stuffed the paper into her backpack and flung the whole thing into the backseat as she got into the car.

She shifted into first. 


Two hours later the car had barely come to a stop as she jumped out and ran towards the door, immediately enveloped in a hug. Her sister smiled as she pulled away.

“Don’t worry, it’s good news.”

Categories: Colleges

Woodward’s “Rage” is not a deal breaker for Republicans

Manitou Messenger - 1 hour 18 min ago

Nearly 80 percent of registered voters have heard President Donald Trump’s comments to journalist Bob Woodward, where Trump admitted to downplaying the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump repeatedly makes shocking and grotesque statements, so is this month’s revelation really any different?

Typically, when a Trump soundbite makes media rounds, it’s because he has further tarnished his character. Trump has said he would date his daughter, defended white supremacists as “very fine people,” and made ridiculous comments about women’s bodies — all of which reflect Trump’s general immorality as a human. Trump remarks to Woodward, however, represent his failure as a president. Even so, it probably will not sway any voters. 

Democrats have long felt that Trump’s character makes him unfit for office. But many Republicans have rationalized Trump’s behavior through a utilitarian lens. As long as Trump pushed Republican policy and rhetoric, he could behave however he pleased, or so the line of reasoning goes. 

Too Much and Never Enough” by Mary Trump and “The Truth about Trump” by Michael D’Antoni both raised concerns about what type of person the President is, but neither did much to sway public opinion. Bob Woodward’s “Rage” simply levels the argument that Trump is unfit for office.

Woodward’s interviews reveal that Trump knowingly mishandled the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike many of the previous books about Trump’s presidency, “Rage” uses corroboration from interviews with the President himself. 

Trump told Woodward the truth about the virus, while he lied to the public. “[COVID-19] is also more deadly than even your strenuous flus,” Trump told Woodward on Feb. 7. Three weeks later, Trump told reporters at the White House, “this is a flu. This is like a flu.” 

In his blatant maladministration of the pandemic, Trump has made the U.S. the epicenter of a global catastrophe. Trump has cost Americans’ lives and damaged the economy. How can Republicans reconcile Trump’s emergency response with their utilitarian perspective? 

An article in the Atlantic examines how cognitive dissonance, the discomfort we feel when our beliefs and actions contradict, affects modern political beliefs. “The minute we make any decision—I’ll buy this car; I will vote for this candidate; I think COVID-19 is serious; no, I’m sure it is a hoax—we will begin to justify the wisdom of our choice and find reasons to dismiss the alternative,” write Social Psychologists Elliot Aronson and Carol Tavris. 

Revelations, like those in Woodward’s book, will not sway Republicans’ perspective because they have already decided Trump is a good president. The polarization of our media allows for further alleviation of cognitive dissonance, as Republicans can read, watch or listen to sources that rationalize Trump’s actions. 

The Woodward tapes might offer a terrifying glimpse behind the Presidential veil, but they are not swaying any voters.


Brennan is from Rapid City, SD. His majors are ancient studies and religion.

Categories: Colleges

St. Olaf Sentiments – Having family affected by the wildfires

Manitou Messenger - 1 hour 21 min ago

I was on the phone with my parents the other day and had just finished speaking with my mother, who handed the phone to my father. I asked him how he was doing and received an impressively vague non-answer: “Well, you know, I’m not too happy about all this crap. It’s no fun.”

There are about a dozen events in 2020 that my dad might be referencing to as “all this crap,” and all of them are indeed “no fun.” I asked him to clarify and felt out-of-touch when he replied, matter-of-factly, “The smoke. It hurts to breathe.” I had completely forgotten that my parents’ home was covered in a thick, gray haze. 

My hometown, Seattle, had managed to win a respectable silver medal for worst air quality in the world on that day. The three worst cities in the world by Air Quality Index (AQI) rankings were all West Coast cities, with Seattle at 228. On that day Sunday, September 13, our AQI here in Northfield, Minn. was a measly 9.  

AQI ratings are an amalgamation of multiple pollution measurements meant to provide a quantifiable metric by which the public can understand their local air quality. An AQI under 50 is considered ideal and anything under 100 permissible. Levels over 100 are dangerous for sensitive groups, including asthmatics. At 150 and beyond, everybody’s health is impacted, and beyond 200 the air is considered cause for a health alert. Children, the elderly and people with lung conditions should not leave their homes when the AQI surpasses 200, and everybody should avoid spending time outside. 

My dad has some complaints about the smoke beyond his own health. It can be difficult to drive; visibility in the city is down to about one block in any direction. The urban bird population of Seattle is grounded, unable to see or fly through the dense smoke. They stop singing as well, making mornings eerily silent. Across the West Coast, people are finding dead birds with no apparent injuries, flummoxing scientists as to their cause of death.

Hearing my parents explain their dilemmas reminded me immediately of a conversation I had with them six months ago when Seattle was one of the first cities shut down as COVID-19 made its way into the U.S. A few weeks later, I was on a plane to join them in a city where everything was shuttered. With the smoke, at least, everyone knew the drill on how to shut things down and stop going outside. In most cases, Seattleites had never opened back up. It seems only right that we should have a little time to recover from one crisis before the next. But these days, a breather seems to be a tall ask.


John is from Seattle, WA.

Categories: Colleges

The tragic consequences of Sept. 11

Manitou Messenger - 1 hour 25 min ago

The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 proved that the United States of America was fallible. U.S. citizens could be threatened, attacked and stirred to fear over the reality that their government could not be trusted to protect them. But in the wake of a deadly pandemic that has killed over 200,000 Americans, we must ask ourselves why the events of Sept. 11 continue to be the tragedy that elicits such an emotional response from U.S. citizens. 

The Sept. 11 attacks and repercussions thereafter led to a loss of idealism for our country due to the politicization of the events. In addition, many people realize that these attacks have taken precedence over other global tragedies that have been directly or indirectly caused by the U.S. in its mission to achieve democracy and liberty. The attacks have been politically emphasized in a way that frames them as the worst tragedy in recent history. That is not the case.

This realization happened when people uncovered more facts, year after year, about the scope and nature of U.S. interference overseas. This led to a change in the cultural zeitgeist, where people were much more willing to pay attention and learn about international issues they had previously ignored — especially in regards to U.S retribution, interception and control over other foreign nations. 

According to a 2011 investigation at the Pew Research Center 55 percent of Muslims found it more difficult to live in a post-9/11 world. Between 185,296–208,295 Iraqi civilians died due to violence since 2003, a consequence of former President George W. Bush-led War on Terror, according to the Iraq Body Project. Iraqi citizens continue to suffer via economic sanctions and military occupation.

Yemen has suffered the worst humanitarian crisis in the world in recent years, another indirect consequence of U.S. involvement in the Middle East. These facts are made more accessible with the growth of technology, especially as news outlets focus on moving online and expanding their reach to more citizens. 

Traditional news outlets aren’t the only source for information regarding U.S. retaliation after the Sept. 11 attacks. Twitter user @ocapreina wrote on Sept. 11, 2020: “9/11 was just one day in history where the US experienced the violence and terror they inflict on other countries and ever since then that memory is misused to justify atrocities far worse than what happened that day.”

During a chapel talk on the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks, President David Anderson ’74 said, “we remember feeling angry, perhaps vengeful. Perhaps some of us still feel angry, still yearn for vengeance.” While this may be true for some, there has been a contemporary realization that the U.S. often causes more harm than good in its foreign interventions.

In turn, people can no longer embrace anger without considering the consequences resulting from the U.S. response. This leads to questions as to why Western tragedy continues to take priority and to be considered the gravest calamity among the tragedies of other countries throughout this century — especially those caused by Western powers. 

Our inability to thoughtlessly grieve shows how much our knowledge has expanded. It may be challenging to embrace all the world’s difficulties, but ignorance to other tragedies, though easy, is an unacceptable and insensitive path.


Kamila is from Panama City, Panama. Her major is English. 

Categories: Colleges

SGA fall applications close, Senate candidates campaign for positions

Manitou Messenger - 1 hour 30 min ago

Applications for the Student Government Association (SGA) Senate positions closed on Sept. 15. SGA has nine executive branches, and there are several candidates running for positions involving student life, organizations and other aspects of campus life. 

Linh Nguyen ’22 is running for Curriculum Senator. Nguyen served as the Ytterboe Hall Senator and the Bylaws Chair last year.

“With the new GE requirement rolling out soon, it would be a great experience in learning more about the changes and be more involved with the faculty and departments at Olaf,” Nguyen said during her online campaign. 

Clovis Curl ’21 and Andy Harrison ’23 are both running for Environmental Senator. 

“I would prioritize open communication and transparency between the student government and students on campus,” Curl said. “I would actively reach out to environmental student organizations as well as the wider student body with funding opportunities, senate updates, opportunities for open dialogue and questions about how SGA can better support them.” 

Curl has officially been endorsed by the Climate Justice Collective. The Collective is a student-run organization that advocates for sustainability on campus and within the broader community and urges St. Olaf to divest from fossil fuels.

Harrison explained his own campaign. 

“The environmental crisis is the defining issue of our generation, and likely many generations to come. It is my belief that we as a community need to focus on the climate crisis, environmental justice and the carbon, water and waste footprints of our college, and adequately communicate our concerns to the administration,” Harrison said.

There are several students running for one of the three Class of 2024 Senator positions: Harry Olander ‘24, Geovani Pena ‘24, Ben Schwartz ‘24, Brent Sykes ‘24 and Chau Truong ‘24. All candidates said that they are interested in supporting their classmates despite their differences in culture, background and education. 

Goldion Nogo ’23 wishes to offer his perspective as the Class of 2023 Senator.

“As part of the international student body, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ community, I wish to offer my perspective in Senate meetings; not just about issues that the majority are experiencing, but also those of the minority who are often silenced in campus-wide discussions,” Nogo said. 

Kenzie Todd ’22 is campaigning for a position as the Class of 2022 Senator. 

“I have stood as president of every dorm I’ve lived in and I was disappointed that Interhall Council has been cancelled this year due to COVID. I’m hoping to stay involved in student affairs and SGA by joining the student Senate and keeping my peers informed,” Todd said in her campaign.

Sophia Skinner ‘21 and Zoe Plewa ‘21 are both campaigning for the two class of 2021 Senator positions. Plewa is passionate about advocating for her class and engaging with the rest of the student body. She has experience as a SARN advocate and Title IX intern and her experiences have helped her think critically about issues on campus. 

Skinner transferred to St. Olaf in 2018 and has since served on the executive leadership board for Model United Nations. 

“I believe that if we take the time to meaningfully engage with each other on complex issues, we will be able to synthesize our goals as a community and translate these goals into positive action here on campus,” Skinner said in her online campaign. 

Learn more about the candidates and their goals at Voting will take place on Sept. 24.

Categories: Colleges

Steve Underdahl discusses enhanced Birth Center and more

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Northfield Hospital & Clinics CEO Steve Underdahl discusses the newly enhanced and expanded Birth Center, Covid 19,  and more.

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Rice County John Fossum discusses enhanced traffic enforcement, police body cameras, data privacy, and more.
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