After deadline: I've had it up to here, people!

So, the National Weather Service in La Crosse is predicting some winter wet stuff this weekend.

Tell me more, you cabal of gypsy fortune telling hucksters. I’ve spread your lies before, only to look the fool.

Fake News, Indeed

After they looked into their crystal balls, read the tea leaves and shuffled their tarot cards last week, the soothsayers in La Crosse breathlessly predicted heavy snow all across the region.

Being a caring and diligent reporter, I wrote a story about it for Friday’s online edition. Hey, you folks are my friends. I don’t want to see you caught without gas for the snowblower.


But Friday, Saturday and Sunday all came and went. Snowless.

So, the "meteorologists" can forgive me if I don’t believe their tales of snow woe for this weekend. I’ve had it up to here (I’m holding my hand high above my head, making it hard to type) with their doomsaying.

Frustration Week

The NWS’s "lies" were just the start of a frustrating week.

You see, with all the talk of student marches and gun violence, I thought, "I wonder if there are students with a different point of view." That led me to the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League.

Here, I thought, is the story that’s not being told. High school kids who shoot guns — albeit shotguns, not rifles — as part of a school-related function.

I’d just finished an interview with John Nelson from the league headquarters in the Twin Cities when the editor to my right asked, "Have you seen today’s Star Tribune?"

I had not. It turns out my great idea was run — pretty much as I planned it in my head — by the accursed Twin Cities paper.


While I won’t link to their story, I will tell you mine’s better . They didn’t bother talking to anyone from the clay target league to get that perspective. They also had lame photos compared to the shots (pun intended) taken by photographer extraordinaire Joe Ahlquist.

So, there!

Talking to Teens

The other frustrating thing about the story was trying to find a teen I could talk with. Tim Gerber and Doug Courneya were about the fourth team’s coaches I called. The rest didn’t want to talk to me or didn’t want to allow me access to their team members.

Something along the lines of "I don’t want them to have to get political" was the normal excuse. I understand. These are teens. While they have the right to speak, I don’t think it’s unfair to note most don’t have the life experience of seasoned adults.

That said, there have been a lot of teens calling for gun control in the media, so giving some teens who use and respect firearms a chance to chime in seems reasonable. Eventually, I was able to find Doug Courneya and his daughter, Ashley. They were thoughtful and interesting to interview. Both the most ardent anti-gun advocate and the NRA would have found points of disagreement with the pair.

So, at least for that interview, the week was not completely frustrating.

What Can I Do?


Not every frustration is something I can fix. This one might be. Well, sort of.

About a year or so ago, I met a man named John Clemens. We chatted over one story, then he told me he had a tip for another.

Clemens has a friend named Charles who grew up near Sandy Point on Lake Zumbro where his grandfather, a man named Charles Bell, operated a tour boat on the lake taking passengers from one end to the other back before World War II.

Charles, the grandson, is getting up there in years and is looking for anyone with information or old photos of the ferry. John wanted me to run a story asking for the information and for people to contact Charles.

As interesting as it might be — and I love history — there isn’t really a story there other than Charles wanting more information about which to reminisce. There’s no news there. And we are, in fact, a newspaper.

Well John got back to me again last week. Can we run a story? Can Answer Man ask his many readers? Sadly, and this is frustrating, there’s nothing about this which calls for me to invest my limited time.

So, here’s me fighting back against the frustration. If you have information about the passenger ferry that ran on Lake Zumbro, shoot me an email at I’ll forward it to John.

Finally, some satisfaction.

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