August 6th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

In January of 1971, I attended a Coon Rapids City Council meeting to complain about the snowmobiles that were running up and down the streets in my neighborhood. I was not impressed with my representation, so that fall I decided to run for the Third Ward Council seat. I had met a few folks at a caucus in 1970, so with their help, we managed to pull off an upset victory. The fellow that we beat was a lawyer and the Vice President of a large insurance company and he was going for his third three year term.

I think what did him in was his decision to distribute a legal sized document with all of his qualifications on one side, filling up the whole sheet, and my qualifications on the other side, taking up not even half of the page.  Things like: “Attended college”.  After all, I was 27 years old when we started the campaign.  It was kind of mean spirited of him.

One of the guys that helped me get elected was Gene Merriam. We had spent a lot of hours collecting rummage for a garage sale fundraiser, so we got to know each other quite well. The next year Gene ran for Council at Large and he won that seat. Rick Reiter ran for the first ward seat and he won.  In late 1973, we filled a vacancy in Ward 2 by appointing Dave Therkelsen. We served together in the year 1974.

Last month the four of us met at Kendale’s Tavern &  Chophouse at the Bunker Hill Golf Course in Coon Rapids. Loren and Arnie were asked to join us.  They had both worked very hard on our campaigns. Dave brought a copy of the Coon Rapids Herald dated March 22, 1974 with the headline “Ban the Can Ordinance Adopted”.  Dave and the mayor Don Erlandson had voted no, but the rest of us voted for the ordinance.  All five of the council were pictured above the headline.  It looked like a Junior Achievement class photo.  The citizens had to gather signatures for a petition to place a referendum on the ballot that fall to overturn the new law.  The referendum passed.  The young idealists were overturned.  In the month of September of that year we had 20 public hearings.  I did not even consider running for another three year term.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your wild and precious life?”  from Mary Oliver’s “The Summer Day”, a poem beloved by Arlene Helgeson.

PS:  The Whit Gallery is having a special show tonight in downtown St. Cloud.  Works by Tony Caponi will be on display.  Tony created the Granite Trio which is also on West Saint Germain. Arlene Helgeson was a driving force behind the Granite Trio. Details on the event are at 

July 30th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Sun Valley was discovered by Count Felix Schaffgotsch about 80 years ago.  Averell Harriman, the chairman of the Union Pacific Railroad, had asked the Count to go west and try to find a suitable site for the creation of a ski resort similar to those that he had visited in Europe.  The railroad needed “destination places” to encourage rail travel.  The Count was advised to take a trip to Ketchum, Idaho, a mining town in central Idaho. Upon arrival, the Count wired Harriman, “This area combines more delightful features than any place I have seen in Switzerland, Austria or the United States for a winter resort.” 

Within days they purchased a 4,300 acre ranch and the Sun Valley Resort opened in the winter of 1936.  The “chair lift” was invented in Sun Valley.  You can visit for information on the resort.   When you get there be sure to tune in to KWRV 91.9 YourClassical MPR. 

The Sun Valley Music Festival is live from the Sun Valley Pavilion once again this year. This year’s theme is: “Instilling a lifelong love of classical music.”  If you live in the Sun Valley area you can enjoy live concerts outdoors now through August 19th from within the open-air Sun Valley Pavilion or from the lawn. More information is at  The Gala Concert will feature violinist Joshua Bell on Wednesday  August 4th.

“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.”  Thomas a Kempis

July 23rd, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Donald McNeely made his fortune in the warehouse business.  “A savvy entrepreneur and a forward thinker, he joined his father’s business , The St. Paul Terminal Warehouse Company after the war and turned it into a national company called Space Center, Inc.”  (St. Paul Pioneer Press obituary).  Donald was instrumental in helping to launch many of Minnesota’s organizations including the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Twins.

However, one of his passions is housed on the campus of St. John’s University on the third floor of Simons Hall.  The Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship is dedicated to giving young men and women the skills to succeed in business.  Every year the Entrepreneur Scholars participate in special classes and work with mentors to strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit. As a recovering entrepreneur, I deeply appreciate this educational resource. 

I crossed paths with Donald McNeely in 1986.  Jimmy Dorr and I had opened the Knoll Office Furniture showroom in International Market Square.  Jimmy was big on design but I insisted that we print temporary calling cards immediately, not wait until his graphic designer perfected the final design of business cards.  As it happened Jimmy’s locker at the Minneapolis Athletic Club was next to the locker of the President of Space Center. Jimmy apologized for the quality of the printing, but wisely handed his new calling card to his friend and told him about his new venture.  To make a long story short , that exchange lead to an order for over $250,000 of Knoll Office Furniture including Knoll carpet which is top of the line. Donald McNeely kept his old furniture, but all around him was the highest quality contemporary office furniture influenced by the Bauhaus school of design.  Never go anywhere without your calling card. 

Next Friday and Saturday there will be a rare opportunity to enjoy a self-guided tour of the St. John’s Abbey gardens.  Details on scheduling your visit are online at Saint John’s Abbey dot org.   I am booked for Friday at 10am.   I hope to see you there.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with the cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt

July 16th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Fisher’s Club is a seasonal restaurant next to a city owned swimming beach on the north shore of Middle Spunk Lake in Avon, Minnesota.

George “Showboat” Fisher was a major league baseball player from 1922 until 1932. He played for the Washington Senators and the St. Louis Cardinals. He was 33 years old when he opened Fisher’s Club. The dance floor was added in 1937 and they started serving their legendary Fisher’s Famous Walleye. The secret recipe is still used today. The main dining room was added in 1953 and the porch in 1954.

When George Junior came home from a construction job in Greenland to work with his dad at the Club, ‘Showboat’ told his son, “Stick around to help me here at The Club or I’m going to sell it.” Junior and his wife Sally took over in 1959.  It used to be a bottle club. The lockers that the regulars used to store their bottles are still on the wall with their names on them.

The new owners, Cory and Jacob Voss, have a full service bar. Jacob graduated from Upsala High School in 2011. The new schedule is to be open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 4 until 8.  On Friday, Saturday and Sunday they open at 11am. Be sure to call for reservations, 320-356-7372. 

“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”  Yogi Berra

July 2nd, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Building an art monument to honor our military veterans requires dedication, commitment and a team to get the job done. It takes an artist willing to spend a decade researching, designing and creating the paintings. It takes a committed group of individuals to share the dream and it takes hundreds donors to make it come true!

The Veterans Art Monument was commissioned by the Minnesota State Veterans Memorial Association and consists of five 8’ X 10’ oil paintings; each paying tribute to the men and women of the five branches of the U.S. Military: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The artist, Charles Gilbert Kapsner, a native of Little Falls, studied in the studio of Nerina Simi in Florence, Italy.  He has spent the last 10 years working on what he says is perhaps the most impactful project of his career.

The five paintings are installed in the Committal Hall at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery north of Little Falls. The paintings tell the story of each branch of service, commemorating the sacrifices of all who have served. Besides being a memorial to our nation’s military men and women, the paintings are educational tools which will help citizens and future generations to understand the vital role that the U.S. Military plays in maintaining our freedom and democracy.

Yesterday a new exhibit was dedicated at the River’s Edge Convention Center in downtown St. Cloud.  The “Minnesota Veterans Historic Art Monument” was financed by major donations from Marco, Ickler Inc., the Morgan Family Foundation, the Coborn Family Foundation, Stearns Bank, Freedom Flight, the Bernick Family Foundation and Rice Companies.  The exhibit features reproductions of the paintings and an audio visual kiosk with the artists explanation of the content of each of the five paintings.  King Banaian, Dean of Public Affairs at St. Cloud State University narrated the histories.  The St. Cloud Committee that made this possible included Burt Dubow, Len Wohlman, King Banaian, Dieter Pape and Ron Brandenburg. 

This Sunday, July 4th, the artist Charles Kapsner, will be at the Committal Hall at the Minnesota Stare Veterans Cemetery from noon until 3pm.    I hope that you will be able to take the time to visit with him and learn about the making of the monument. 

“Millions of men and women have served. Many were wounded in battle. Many died to keep us free. The least that we can do is to remember them.”  Jack Peck  Veteran U.S. Navy  and Past President of the Minnesota State Veterans Memorial Association.  

June 25th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Tomorrow I plan on helping with my daughter’s garden in Upsala.  After I finish working in the garden, I plan on visiting “Hippe Landing” west of Upsala near the American Legion Memorial Park on Cedar Lake.  The park has one of the best swimming beaches in central Minnesota.  There are camping spots also, but I understand there is a long waiting list. 

There used to be an old store without any signage located where the landing is now.  At one time it was called Cedar Lake Pavilion. The store was owned and run by Emie Hippe. Emie was a real character and for many years she served ice cream, candy and pop to kids from the park and 3.2 beer to the adults. The PayDay candy bar was a favorite of mine.

Strangely, you could not buy a Coke there and I always wondered why. One day my brother Craig and I went in to have a drink and I finally had the nerve to ask her, “Emie, why don’t you serve Coca Cola?” She slammed her hand on the bar and said “The dirty rascals.  My husband Ben used to travel quite a ways with the empty bottles and bring back the full ones. Then during the war, they asked us to simply hold on to the empties and they would pick them up later.” So what happened Emie? “The dirty rascals changed their mind and would not pick them up.” “What did you do with them Emie, they would be worth a lot of money?” “You will never find them!” she proclaimed, “We buried them under two ton of rock!”

For over 60 years no Coca Cola products were sold from this store, all because someone broke a promise. I am sure that the Coca Cola route driver tried a few times when he would see the Pepsi truck out front, but she never let them put Coke back on the shelf.

“In the best institutions, promises are kept no matter what the cost in agony and overtime.”  David Ogilvy

June 18th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Sunday is Father’s Day. In 1998 Dad moved from his high rise apartment in downtown St. Paul to my house in Upsala. He had been a city fellow for most of his life, but he was raised in Upsala. I was working in Minneapolis as a sales manager with Albinson Inc., a Xerox agency, and I was gone most of the week. It wasn’t much of an inconvenience to have him there. His passion was cooking, however I told him in no uncertain terms that I hated the smell of fried foods and I did not eat leftovers.

In July of 1999 Albinson Inc. and Xerox parted their ways and so Albinson no longer needed a sales manager. I spent the summer painting old buildings and garages in the Upsala area and started working here at MPR in October of that year. If I did not leave a post-it note on the counter in the morning that said “NO SUPPER”, there would be a home cooked meal on the table when I arrived home. The food was awesome. The baked potatoes were done in a special way. He boiled them 10 minutes first and then baked them for one hour at 400 degrees. As Dad struggled with old age and cancer, sometimes the quality was not up to the usual standards. Also, many times the smell of burnt food or worse, burnt plastic, from the tea pot handle, would greet me at the back door. He burned three tea pots, with plastic handles, in the last six months. It got so that the only time I did not leave out the post-it note, “NO SUPPER”, was on Fridays.

On Friday November 19, 2004, I came home and he greeted me with “I have to go to the hospital, but you can eat first” I responded “No way” and I put on the oven mitts and grabbed the baked potatoes and dish of meatballs from the oven and shoved them in the frig and we drove to the VA in Minneapolis.

That was Dad’s “Last supper”, he never did come home. That weekend I ate the leftover meatball supper. It was a very tasty meal.

PS:  No, I did not catch the biggest Walleye last weekend.  My son Erik did.  Maybe next year. 


“To be courageous requires no exceptional qualifications, no magic formula. It’s an opportunity that sooner or later is presented to us all and each person must look for that courage in their own soul. ”  John F. Kennedy

June 11th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

This weekend I am going fishing with my four brothers, my son Erik and my grandson “Walleye Willie” plus brother Craig’s son Grayson.  A total of 8 Osberg men ages 12 to 77.  My sister’s grandson Adam and Cousin John will also join us.  Sometime in the nineties, my youngest brother Craig was invited by his father-in-law, Jim Keeler, to go along on a fly-in fishing trip to Trout Lake in Canada. Over time, my other brothers, who were into fishing, were invited to go along. In 2003 brother Bill offered to pay the way for my son Erik, so I decided to go along.

I am the oldest of five Osberg brothers and it was a wonderful bonding time. I told the camp host, Murdoch, that I would be back every year for the next 20 years. The next year we went to brother Brian’s cabin near Aitkin instead. The year after that went to Rainy Lake. Erik was working as a weekend sportscaster on Channel 10/13 in Duluth and he did a story on fishing with the guide and resort owner Woody for his TV show. He suggested that we try Woody’s instead of the fly-in in 2005. We had a great time and the greatest part was that Woody had a wonderful pub filled with memorabilia from his hockey days. For many years we went back to Woody’s. We never did do the fly-in again. You can check out Woody’s at  It is worth the drive just to meet Woody. In 2011 we switched to Brindley’s Resort on Leach Lake. A large home across the road from the marina worked well for the whole gang, but fishing was tough.

In 2017 we decided to try Holly’s Resort on Otter Tail Lake.  Erik is an ambassador for Otter Tail County and we reasoned that we would have a better chance to find the elusive walleye.  We had a great time. One of the cabins is right on the lake.  Brother Bill is the chief cook and bottle washer, so we put him in that cabin along with brother Geoff from Chicago.  Next Friday I will give you a complete report. There is a traveling trophy and guess who’s name has never appeared on it.  Maybe this year. 

“Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that’s the stuff Life is made of.”  Benjamin Franklin

June 4th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Good sunny morning from Mill Stream Village,

This has been a very challenging year. Music has been very important to me.  I enjoy the many YouTube videos even with the short ads.

A year ago this video was posted on the MPR YourClassical Choral Stream Facebook page.

The video was taken at a rehearsal of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City performing “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.  The mission of the Young People’s Chorus is “to provide children of all ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds with a safe haven for personal and artistic growth.” 

“Although the world is very full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”  Helen Keller

May 28th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

When I was a youngster in Upsala, we always had a Memorial Day service in the school gym, followed by a parade down Main Street. Sometime after I graduated in 1961, the practice died out. Then in the 80’s, Lorna Koehn, a member of the American Legion Auxiliary brought back the Memorial Day Celebration in Upsala. I can still picture her marching in front of a group of children, each holding a bunch of lilac flowers.

This year the Memorial Day celebration in Upsala will start at 9am at the Veterans Memorial Park across from the school, south of the Catholic Church. The 105th Engineer Combat Battalion reenacting group will portray the U.S. Army combat engineer soldier in the European Theatre of Operations during World War II.

At 10am there will be a program in the school gym.  Following the indoor ceremony the celebration will return to the Veterans Memorial Park for the 21 gun salute. There the children will wait in anticipation for the chance to collect the spent brass shells after the 21 gun salute. They make good whistles.

After that, there will be a parade to the City Park where the `Upsala First Responders’ will serve a picnic lunch including “Bee Bop A Ree Bop Rhubarb Pie”.

Be sure to take the time to honor those that you know who have served. If you meet a service member, simply put our your hand and say “Thank you for serving”. They deserve our respect.

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”  John Fitzgerald Kennedy