Turning on the Heat 2022

Sitting at my desk shivering this morning seemed dumb, so I guess it’s time. We woke up to snow this morning, it’s 32 degrees outside right now, and the high is only 43. There are a couple days with highs in the 60s on the horizon, but there are also days with lows in the 20s.

2022 Mountain Bike Solo Trip

I took a solo vacation the second week of September for mountain biking, Colorado, a concert, and to visit my grandparents. I’d been wanting to get back to Colorado for a while and my new mountain biking obsession opened up a whole new world of stuff to do. My grandparents also moved into a senior living facility at the beginning of summer, so I wanted to see them. The rest of the family were busy and not super excited about this kind of trip, so I opted to do it myself.

I also hoped to see a bit of fall color, but going for the concert in early September meant it was way too early for much. That just means I’ll have to get back to Colorado for a bucket list fall color trip.

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Explore West St. Paul Days

We had a pretty fun few days with the first ever Explore West St. Paul Days event. I wrote over on West St. Paul Reader about my gratitude at seeing this community come together:

“Best of all, people kept exclaiming when they recognized West St. Paul Reader. I know we have a lot of supporters, but I didn’t expect that. People kept shouting out ‘thank you’ for our coverage and telling us how much they appreciate neighborhood news. It never gets old hearing that kind of support, and getting it in the middle of a parade was an experience I’ll never forget.”

What a fun few days.

Thankfully, we captured the magic through pictures, hiring a local student photographer to cover both the parade and the West St. Paul Rider community bike ride. We also managed to create a new postcard.

(Photo by Sam Amundson)

Protecting Gay Marriage: How to Support the Respect for Marriage Act

Nov. 15, 2022 Update: It looks like the Senate will pass a slightly watered-down version of the Respect for Marriage Act as early as tomorrow. About damn time.

In a total shocker, last week the U.S. House passed the Respect for Marriage Act, which protects same-sex marriage, on a bipartisan vote. Roughly a quarter of the Republicans joined all Democrats to pass the bill. Next up is the Senate where the bill needs to get 10 Republicans to pass. So we have work to do.

What do we do?

Anyone who values freedom, supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and civil rights should be interested in persuading senators to support the bill. This kind of advocacy has worked in the past (remember protecting the Affordable Care Act in 2017?) and we can do it again with the right organization.

What can I practically do?

I created a Google Doc listing all Republican senators and where they stand on the bill. Currently we have five yes’s and a lot of undecideds and no comments. So these senators need to hear from their constituents.

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Star Wars Has Guts (Sometimes): Obi-Wan Kenobi Series

I loved the new Disney+ Obi-Wan Kenobi series. Trying to fill in gaps between two established trilogies is a tall order and they do it really well. But it raises some interesting questions about when Star Wars is willing to take risks and how much they listen to fans.

Spoiler alert: I’m going to spill it all, so you’ve been warned.

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2022 Seattle Vacation

I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest, so that was a major vacation destination for us. Especially when I learned how many National Parks are there. We hoped to go in 2020, but we kept putting off our planning as we heard worrying reports of a pesky virus. But we finally came back in 2022. And what a vacation—I’ll call it the summer vacation of snow and starfish.

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Support Local News

It’s my birthday. If you’d like to help me celebrate, consider supporting one of my projects and becoming a member of West St. Paul Reader through Patreon.

What Is West St. Paul Reader?

Back in 2019 I started reporting on local news here in West St. Paul. I attend city council meetings, I find out what’s being built on the corner, I low-key bug people, I interview candidates, I research history, I take a lot of pictures, I try to celebrate the amazing things and people in this town. I can be a very dorky tour guide.

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Give to the Kids

A while back I remember a kid coming to the door selling something. I don’t remember what they were selling, but I think they were on the girl’s hockey team at the local high school. Whether in a bad mood or feeling cheap, I turned the kid away without buying anything.

Almost immediately, I regretted it. That student had a lot of guts to go door to door, and their team clearly needed the help if this student was putting forth that much effort.

And I let them down.

Here’s a general tip for being a nice human: When kids ask for money, you should try to help.

So when I heard about the local elementary school doing away with door-to-door fundraisers and instead doing community service projects, I wanted to help. Students are doing acts of kindness in the community and asking for support. I wrote a story about Moreland’s Raise Craze fundraiser and then we did another story on their first kindness event.

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A work-at-home dad wrestles with faith, social justice & story.