No fewer than four times in the past month, Mille Lacs area citizens have found their pictures on the front page of the Minneapolis StarTribune. First, Joe Nayquonabe, Sr.’s picture and quote appeared in a feature article on how tribal elders and four new books are helping keep alive a mostly oral language among the Mille Lacs Band of Ogibwe. A week later, a huge picture of a doctor in full anti-virus garb was the focus of a piece on the impact on small-town medical facilities with regard to issues of the resurgent Covid-19 plague. The man in the medical garb was Mille Lacs Health System’s Dr. Arden Virnig.
Then, a front-page picture of Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz standing in front of representatives from the 11 native-American tribes in the state as he re-affirmed tribal sovereignty, included the Mille Lacs Band Tribal Chief Executive, Melanie Benjamin.
And finally, on the opening page of the Nov. 17 issue of the Strib, a picture appeared front and center of a crane lifting the notorious, hug cherry from the art piece “Spoon Bridge CHERRY” located in the sculpture garden across from Walker Art Center in downtown Minneapolis. The cherry was loaded on to a flatbed truck and hauled away to be repainted at a shop in New York. The man operating the crane just happened to be Sean Petty, until recently, a resident of Isle. Petty has also used his crane skills installing panes of glass that adorn US Bank Stadium.
Asked by a by-stander about how hard this job was, Petty said this was nothing compared to other jobs he’s had.