In the weeks following the Newtown, Conn., shootings, there has been a lot of talk about firearms - more specifically, what purposes they serve in society. I'll admit, I'm not a gun enthusiast. Like many other outdoorsmen in our area, I enjoy pheasant hunting with friends and family. But similar to a select crowd of U.S. citizens at this time, the sight of certain guns still makes me nervous. I grew up in a small North Dakota town, so I'm used to seeing deer rifles perched inside pick-up trucks.
A group of snowmen stand watch in front of a southwest Wadena home Wednesday, as a driver passes by in the background. Photo by Dain Sullivan
As New Year's gets closer, many people are asking the same question: "What should my New Year's resolution be?" There certainly seem to be a lot of popular ideas that are thrown around. Many will hit the gym to lose weight, while others might decide to spend more time with family. One of the Pioneer Journal's Facebook friends said he wants to stop texting while driving. Making the decision to seek positive change is relatively easy, but following through with that change is often challenging.
Marilyn Higgs of Wadena braves the cold Wednesday to bring a letter to the post office. Photo by Dain Sullivan
If you ask me, the phrase "forgive and forget" is harder to utter these days. For many of us, it seems as though our world has taken a dark turn, and it's not easy to keep our chins up. After the Dec. 14 shootings in Newtown, Conn., I admit that my initial reaction was one of anger and hatred toward the man responsible for taking so many innocent lives. Upon hearing of the tragedy, my feelings of disgust motivated me to inflict judgment before all things, even after the shooter had ended his own life, and placing blame ceased to matter. Such is human nature.
Chris Weber, left, Shannon Roering and Derrick Lass, who are all enrolled in M State's Electrical Lineworker Technology program in Wadena, finish packing up a vehicle near downtown Wednesday before taking a study break to go ice fishing on Big Pine Lake. Photo by Dain Sullivan
On their way home after school Wednesday, 9-year-olds Sy Whitaker, right, and Aidan Vry were part of an epic snowball battle near Wadena-Deer Creek Elementary. Photo by Dain Sullivan
Robert Jindra, currently attending school at M State in Wadena, shovels snow off a southwest Wadena driveway Monday morning. Local residents were bundled up early this week, after weekend snow and below-zero temperatures hit the area. Photo by Dain Sullivan
From left, Dena Flath and 3-year-olds Stephanie Kovar and Emma Snyder hold hands as they walk down a sidewalk near Wadena-Deer Creek Elementary School on Monday. Photo by Dain Sullivan
I've been in Wadena for seven months now, but I delight in the fact that I'm still learning about the traditions of our tight-knit community. Wednesday night's 86th Empty Stocking Talent Show is a prime example. The Empty Stocking program was among the first subjects presented to me when I arrived at the Pioneer Journal. I even remember being shown the special room in our office that is used for storing supplies for the yearly program. As time has gone on, I have become more and more impressed with efforts behind Empty Stocking.