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Clearing the desk

We're now a week into the new year and I've got a few things that have been sitting on desk for while (for maybe even more than a year).
So let's get to it:
New pavement
I was back in Windom the day after MnDOT officially opened all four lanes of Highway 60-71 through Windom, back in early August.
I remember finding a very lame excuse to take a drive up and down the new pavement.
Anybody ever see the animated Pixar movie "Cars"? Yes, the one featuring Lightning McQueen, voiced by Owen Wilson, and Mater, voiced by Larry the Cable Guy. Well, Lightning McQueen is trying to get to his next race, but is arrested in Radiator Springs, a little town off the beaten path, forgotten since the new four-lane expressway was built. The town is pretty much inhabited by local "town's vehicles."
Anyway, the town judge ruled that Lightning must work off his fine by paving the new road through Radiator Springs.
When he's finally finished, all the locals come out to take a drive on the new pavement. Everyone, including Lightning McQueen, is taking a nice slow drive over the new pavement. In fact, when the sun goes down and the street and store lights come up, Radiator Springs comes to life.
Well, I felt just like Lightning McQueen when he took his first stroll down the main drag in Radiator Springs. Indeed, taking my first drive down the freshly paved stretch of Highway 60-71 in Windom was truly a "Radiator Springs" moment to savor.
So, here's one last "thank you" to MnDOT for bringing a smooth ride back to Windom residents and motorists passing through our community. It's greatly appreciated.
Lights, please!
OK, I'm going to admit that what I'm about to voice my disappointment with is a bit nit-picky. But I'm disappointed nonetheless.
With what, you ask?
The street lights along Highway 60-71. I realize that there must be a cost savings with the new LED lights that have been installed over the past couple years and while it may be brighter under the lights, it's definitely not brighter through town.
In the pre-LED days, you could see the highway clearly lit from the south Highway 60-71 junction all the way to downtown Windom. It was a bright, welcome-to-Windom sight to see the highway fully visible. If you were traveling on a snowy night, it was a relief to see the lights and know you had finally reached your destination.
Now, sadly, it looks dark and dismal - and if it weren't for businesses on either side of the road, you wouldn't know you had arrived in Windom until you were directly under the lights.
Here's a vote - whatever the cost - to go back to the old lights. I realize it won't happen, but I've at least said my piece.
Fleck proved me wrong
P.J. Fleck has brought excitement back to Minnesota Gophers football.
I wasn't sold on him when the University of Minnesota hired him, but I can definitely see a change in the program. And the win over Auburn was a prime example. I kept waiting for the old Gophers to return, to let down at halftime, to give up big plays on third-and-long - and it never happened. They beat a good Auburn team with very good, fundamental football.
I think Fleck has changed the culture. Granted they played a favorable schedule in 2019, but I see something in the program that hasn't been there in the past. Maybe it's nothing more than having learned how to win.
If that's the case - that's everything.


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