By Brian Schommer
What do you do when your publisher comes to you and asks if you would be open to writing a feature article each week about “in general things that are happening around town” in everyday life and business? Before you can answer, he adds that he wants it to be loose and fun, which are two words used daily in your personal vocabulary. You say “yes,” of course. For the faithful readers of “Outdoor Adventures,” do not fear as the column will not be going away. This “Out and About” endeavor is a bit different as it will be a feature article versus a column, which style wise opposes the other. “Outdoor Adventures” is based off personal experiences of the writer, with plenty of opinion and even a few hidden (or not so hidden) messages within. There are definite slants to the words within the column and the use of “I, me, and we,” can be found scattered about from start to finish. There is no “I” in “Feature Article.” There is if you look at the word “article” so let the distinction be known from the start, “Out and About” is only a FEATURE, not an article. Now there is no “I” in “Out and About.”
So, what is going on in Hastings, Cottage Grove, and the surrounding area that a reader may find interesting in the “Out and About” feature each week? A lot of that will be up to you, the readers of the Journal Newspapers because as a “reporter,” only one pair of eyes exist and while they will be open, looking for scoops while “Out and About,” the “it takes a village” concept will help this project become more successful and fun, which is a key component according to the publisher. For now, “scoops and leads” can be sent to [email protected] gmail.com. An official email is being set up through The Journal, but we need to come up with something fun. The “Out and About” feature is going to be all about fun; just in case you missed that.
What kind of scoops should be sent in? This is a communityfocused feature section where things like “Mrs. Jones is celebrating her 100th Birthday and is having an openhouse at Roadside Park,” to “Joe’s Auto Garage is having a Grand Opening on Saturday with free hot dogs from noon to 2pm.” These are examples and not to be taken as real events so please, do not go looking for Mrs. Jones or hot dogs at Joe’s Auto Garage. Another angle might be, “after 30 years in business, XYZ Company is closing it’s doors as the owners look forward to retirement,” while yet another point of interest might be “Rivertown Live, produced by the Hastings Area Rotary Club with exclusive presenting partner Hastings Automotive is set for September 10, 2022.” The last one is a real event, and you can read more about it in todays paper. Fun, community focused events and happenings that will be put into a hodgepodge style conglomeration of “ministories” to illustrate just how much there is to do and is going on around the area. Hastings, Cottage Grove, and across the river… we want your scoops and leads.
Speaking of scoops, did you know that right in Hastings, there is a fantastic ice cream shop along Vermillion Street in the Schoolhouse Square building called “ Schoolhouse Scoop?” If you did not know, now you do and with the heat that has been predicted to be upon us soon, you just might want to check it out. If you are not from Hastings, be sure to plan to head this way to check it out. Be sure to add some time in for your travel however as in case you missed it, the Hastings Bridge is going to be under repair and such so, if sitting in traffic on a hot day is not your thing, alternate route planning should be exercised. Maybe a run down through the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River and a quick stop at that cool little drivein restaurant at the intersection that brings you back into Minnesota between Hager City and Red Wing. River City Days is going on in Red Wing the weekend of August 6th and 7th also so, traffic might be just as much of a bear on that route, but there is sure to be a few things at the festival that might suit your fancy. If you were to take this route to Hastings for ice cream, you could swing through Hastings Ford and Hastings Chrysler, also known as Hastings Automotive to check out a potential new ride. Are you seeing a pattern here?
“Out and About” will be a weekly conglomeration of tidbits creating plenty of feelgood information which will hopefully impart a bit of positivity into daily living in the readership areas of The Journal Newspapers. What will next weeks tidbits be? Unless you have a crystal ball, the answer to that question remains to be seen. Again, a lot of it will depend on what you, the faithful subscribers of the Hastings Journal, Cottage Grove Journal and Pierce County Journal newspapers tell us about. New businesses opening… we want to hear about it. Celebrations such as retirements and milestone birthdays, please let us know. Business expansions, location changes, product development or any other type of special interest activities… for sure, let us know. Community activities, events, and happenings… we know our readers are intelligent and get the picture. After all, we are an informationbased media group and unless we know, we cannot let anyone else know.