Five by 8 – 7/8/10: Letting go

1) So you have a young adult in the house about ready to head off to college in the big city? What’s your plan for letting go? It’s nearly college orientation season, but the hot new orientation isn’t necessarily for students; it’s for the over-controlling, helicoptering, Baby Boom parents.

At a Michigan college, they play tapes of homesick students calling home, the Associated Press reports:

“The girl’s voice in the homesick tape makes many parents cry every time we do it,” said Christine Greer, dean of students at NMU. The tapes were made some years ago, but “the issues haven’t changed — independence, breaking rules, not doing well in classes, homesickness. They are still things that parents worry about, and students deal with, every year.”

Did you make the call when you were in college? Were you on the receiving end? Pull up a chair. Share your homesick story below.

2) In Canby, Minnesota, you know what makes a baseball season fun for a group of youngsters? A rookie old enough to be their father. In one player’s case, he is, the Marshall Independent reports.

“The ironic thing is on Friday, the parents of Trever Citrowske, who constantly joke with me that we have to make the field handicap accessible, his mom came to me in the grocery store and said that Trever’s never had so much fun playing baseball,” Randy said. “Another teammate, as we got home on Friday night, said, ‘Thanks for coming out for baseball. You’ve really made this season fun.’

Apparently, last year wasn’t much fun for the players, but they decided not to quit the game when they were reminded that it’s a game.

3) With the humidity much lower today, delightful weather, and two days of work to go before the weekend, it’s entirely unfair of MPR’s Stephanie Hemphill to tease us city slicker, cubicle workers with the state’s plans for the new state park on Lake Vermilion. It’s enough to make you call in sick and go camping.

They’re also thinking of building primitive campsites for tents near the lake, with trails to carry canoes to the water. Pop-up trailers and RVs would park in different campgrounds.

Links to existing long-distance biking and snowmobiling trails could bring people into the park. One idea is to devote some winter trails to dog-sledding. Planners want to make the park a destination year-round.

Another issue is where to put the visitor center. It could go in a nearby town, where it might get more traffic.

Likely amenities include a boat launch, a beach, and a fishing dock. Planners want to make the water — and the pleasures of fishing — accessible to people without boats.

The piece could’ve used more pictures in the slideshow, but that’s easily rectified thanks to Flickr, including MPR reporter Tom Weber’s time lapse video of sunset at the lake.

4) So much for the idea of official presidential portraits in government offices — at least in North Dakota. Democrats there are complaining that anti-Obama posters are being put up in some state offices, the Fargo Forum reports. One shows a young girl making an obscene gesture with the caption, “Thanks, Obama. You’ve spent my lunch money, my allowance, my inheritance, 35 years of future paychecks, and my retirement. You (expletive).”

5) A tale of two dogs. In Afghanistan, British soldiers raided a Taliban stronghold to liberate one of their own — a stray dog who had adopted the soldiers and proved surprisingly good at warning them about roadside bombs.

In Battle Lake, a man has reportedly told the real story behind Star the dog, whose throat was cut and has since become adopted by the community. Ben Stavaas says Star was untrainable and chased a car. So he stabbed the dog and left it to die in a ditch, the Fergus Falls Daily Journal says. The dog didn’t die. Stavaas could go to jail for a couple of years.

Bonus: National Public Radio is changing its name. Apparently because radio is so yesterday.


It’s a year since the Minnesota election recount ended with Al Franken going to Washington. How do you grade Al Franken’s first year in the Senate?


Later this morning, I’ll have the story of an anthropologist who has been studying an exotic land: Fargo.

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: The jobs numbers for June were another reminder of the steep hill that the U.S. economy has to climb to return to pre-recession levels. While President Obama looks for ways to stimulate job creation, career coaches say the key to finding work is to be flexible, creative, and smart about the job search.

Second hour: Both Gayle Lynds and Barry Eisler had careers that afforded them an inside peek into the world of spycraft. Midmorning discusses how their experience with espionage informed their fiction.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is in the studio to talk about the challenges facing the city.

Second hour: The founders of Twitter, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, speaking this week at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Rebuilding Haiti, six months on

Second hour: The rules, and your rights, when it comes to video-recording the police.

  • Bonnie

    NPR, MPRNewsQ, KFC…

    (Still trying to figure out the Q thing. )

    Was on the receiving end of homesickness, my eyes still tear up thinking about it. When it was ME leaving home, I did not experience it at all. And there were no free phone calls, no emails, just an occasional letter from Grandma. I’m not sure what has changed. I do think I have a closer relationship with my child, than I had with my parents.

  • kennedy

    Political posters do not belong in the workplace, whether public or private. Topics I think to be out of bounds include opposition or support for candidates, parties, religion, political issues (gun control, abortion, gay rights, etc.)

  • Jake K

    Dog lover or not, we’d all do alot better as humans if we took note of their lessons.

    After reading these stories, my pup will be looking for a place to escape all my hugs by day’s end.

    Thanks Bob

  • Kassie

    I remember being very, very homesick for college on a winter break my Junior year. By then I had no friends from high school left and just wanted to be back at college with something to do. Being at home was boring.