Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at http://lagniappe.areavoices.com/.
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WORTHINGTON -- Kevin and Kami Lease were reveling in having their daughter, Lindsey, home safely Tuesday after two days of distress about her safety and whereabouts. "We're tired, Lindsey's tired, but she's home," said Kami Tuesday afternoon, explaining that Lindsey had been resting for most of the day. "She's just exhausted. Kevin and I slept for a few hours; our baby was home." The Leases were notified shortly after 11 p.m.
WORTHINGTON -- After finally navigating through several years' worth of paperwork and red tape, Rena Willardson thought the U.S. citizenship ceremony would merely be a formality. She didn't expect to get choked up. "It was (a formality) until the last 10 minutes, when they played the message from President George Bush on video, then they sang 'Proud to be an American.' That's the moment it hit," Rena explained. "I thought I was going to coast right through, but it got a little touchy at the end." Rena was among 32 immigrants from 14 countries who were welcomed as new U.S.
WORTHINGTON -- Liz Radtke is a native of Florida, and her husband, Ryan, hails from Wisconsin. So when this pastoral couple started thinking about job placement after seminary, they hoped for a location somewhere between. "When our assignment said Region 3 (the Upper Midwest), we were in shock," recalled Liz. "Region 3 was not at all on our radar. At first, it really did scare me. I'm originally from a populous area, and we knew that Region 3 included North Dakota.
LUVERNE -- Morning showers brought a sea of umbrellas to Luverne's Main Street but didn't keep people away from the 57th annual Tri-State Band Festival. Proud parents and marching band enthusiasts lined the sidewalks Saturday to watch area students strut their stuff in the morning parade competition. This year's event attracted 15 bands to the parade competition and 17 bands to the field competition later in the day at Luverne High School Athletic Field.
PIPESTONE -- Two centuries ago, Minnesota had 18 million acres of tallgrass prairie. That prairie has mainly disappeared, tilled under by plows, with less than 1 percent of the original acreage remaining. But pockets of native prairie still exist, such as the land surrounding the Pipestone National Monument.
WORTHINGTON -- One out of every 10 people has a hearing loss. That means one out of 10 people, and probably even more in a community with a large elderly population, isn't hearing and understanding the message being relayed in a church service. David and Cathy Harrison, missionaries with Silent Word Ministries who currently live in Chattanooga, Tenn., want to help churches reach out to hard-of-hearing people and will conduct a Hearing Accessible Workshop Oct.
WORTHINGTON -- Betty Atchison was fretting over an upcoming medical test on Wednesday morning, but when she opened her front door, she was immediately distracted from those concerns by what was on her doorstep. There sat Miss Kitty, a stray cat she had earlier befriended that had been transported weeks before to a country haven many miles away. "I never really believed those stories before," about animals returning long distances to the place they considered home, Betty said.
WORTHINGTON -- Many people know Jon Benson as a local funeral director, now retired. During his lifetime spent mostly in Worthington, he's assumed many other roles: Avid Worthington promoter; member of many civic boards and organizations; tireless volunteer. And come each September, Jon takes on a task that may seem small, but is an important part of Worthington's King Turkey Day tradition. Jon is the Keeper of the King Turkey Day Button Collection. A framed display of the buttons, going back to 1940, hangs in the lobby of the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce office, 1121 Third Ave.
WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Turkey Race Team wants to regain its dominance. The Cuero, Texas, team is hoping for a three-peat. To that end, both sides are talking tough in advance of Saturday's first heat of the supreme test of fowl fleetness, the Great Gobbler Gallop. "Ruby and Ruby's team have won five heats in a row, and that ties a record that goes back to the early '90s," boasted Erik McCowan, a handler on the Cuero team and creator of "Ruby's Town," a documentary that profiles the Texas turkey and Cuero's festival history.
WORTHINGTON -- They rip telephone books and license plates as if they were pieces of paper. They smash blocks of ice and concrete. They can blow up hot water bottles like balloons, and snap baseball bats like twigs. It sounds as if the members of The Power Team are bent on destruction, but through school assemblies and church programs, their intention is to encourage people to live a life of excellence and challenge them to be the best they can be. The Power Team -- a group of world-class athletes who perform exhibitions of power, strength and speed -- will conduct secular assemblies in 11