Granite Falls Advocate Tribune
  • River Ramblings.....

  • The tradition continues. The success of the hardworking and very talented YME Silhouettes is becoming legendary. For 17 straight years, beginning back in the tough winter of 1997, they’ve been fixtures at the state Dance Team tournament. This tradition has gone on so long that the oldest girls on this yearR...
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  •     The tradition continues.
        The success of the hardworking and very talented YME Silhouettes is becoming legendary.
        For 17 straight years,  beginning back in the tough winter of 1997, they’ve been fixtures at the state Dance Team tournament. This tradition has gone on so long that the oldest girls on this year’s team were just a year old when the Silhouettes made their first state tournament appearance. The majority of the team wasn’t even born when this run first started.    Yet the tradition has been passed on and built on and each year they seem to rise to the challenge. We have come to expect excellence and they consistently deliver. It is simply amazing.         
        In 11 of those 17 consecutive state tournament appearances, they have come home with a trophy and individual medals. In seven out of those 11 trophy winning years, they’ve come home with two trophies and two medals each.
        Again, this year, you hear the girls as they walked off the floor and own the hallways. Those two state medals on ribbons around their necks make a distinctive tinkling sound that  only multiple medals can make.      Very few teams ever achieve that sound but the Silhouettes have done it for the seventh time. They are in a class by themselves and are the pride of the community.
        Our congratulations to the team members, the coaches and the team’s parents.  Good for all of them.
        The tradition continues and  seems nowhere close to being done.
               *   *   *   *   *   *
        Our grandson Kian’s celebrated his sixth birthday with some of his friends at the Kilowatt Community Center about a week and a half ago. His four grandparents were there to help  out, blow up balloons and join the fun.
        It was great fun to get some mid-winter swimming in. Most of the time we were giving piggy back rides in the pool or slipping down the water slide. Going to the KCC is fun for the kids and was worth it for the adults, too. Other folks were there too including some other   grandparents and they were having plenty of fun with their youngsters.
        Just escaping winter’s dreary  chill and enjoying  some warm water, even for a bit, makes you feel a whole lot better. The kids could stay in the pool all day but they get hungry and there is birthday cake and ice cream.  The adults seemed to like that, too.
    Page 2 of 3 -             *   *   *   *   *   * 
        Later that same day we joined a large crowd at Prairie’s Edge Casino for the annual CURE banquet.  Being in a room full of enthusiastic folks is always interesting no matter if it is a Pheasants Forever gathering, a Wood Lake Battlefield symposium or a Chamber community banquet.
        This gathering of river enthusiasts was equally interesting with lots of good conversation and  a chance to renew some old acquaintances.
        I had a nice chat with former congressman and retired state Appeals Court judge Dave Minge and visited with retired state senator Dennis Fredrickson of New Ulm who serves as the Regional Manager of the DNR.
        The most fun of the night came from talking with DNR water trails specialist Erik Wrede from St. Paul and local river devotee Tom Cherveny about the beauty of our local area and the unique quality of the Minnesota River as it tumbles over rock outcrops and along side bedrock cliffs.
        Erik is as enthusiastic about the Minnesota River as anybody I’ve ever met. He hopes to build excitement for river recreation and called our area “an absolute gem”.
        Despite the winter weather he couldn’t wait to drive out here for the banquet and make some connections. We visited about river access improvements that will enhance  river-based recreation and other work that can be done to make the Minnesota River a place where people want to spend time.    
        It’s fun to hear that excitement coming from someone who has serious input into where the state’s resources can be spent. There may be no end to what we can do.
                *   *   *   *   *   *
        The winter weather put many of those out-of-town CURE banquet goers back on the road before more snow hit our part of the state. I can’t blame them.         Those many years I worked on the railroad taught me to respect winter. Winter is the defining time of the year when it comes to the challenges of living in the great north. Being cautious when there are difficult driving conditions is easy to understand.
         What’s hard to understand is how quickly travel conditions can change. We saw that this week. The weather can be tough and it can be cruel. It can even be tragic.
        So it was on Monday morning this week when a young mother lost her life south of Granite on Hwy. 23 due to slick road conditions and unfortunate timing.
    Page 3 of 3 -     Most of us drive with caution all winter but on a day like Monday, with the wind blowing and the temperature being just right to freeze that drifting snow onto the road surface, there can be little warning and sudden and terrible consequences.
         One driver was killed and the other was slightly hurt and badly shaken. The trooper, deputies and police who covered the scene and the fire and rescue crew members who responded must have all gone home thinking how unfair it was for everybody involved and asking why did it happen. There is no answer.
         It was a terrible tragedy and a big loss for her husband, her infant daughter and her family as well as the people and families she touched at the Granite Manor.
        Winter, once again, defines how we live and what we do. It even defines who we are.

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