Dorr: Pizza delivery in driverless cars? That, and many other stories, are missed without a newspaper in hand

For about 65 years now I have begun nearly every day with a newspaper in hand. That part of my life began when I was a paper boy in the small town of Tracy in southwestern Minnesota. I would sit on the curb before delivering my papers and read the headlines, baseball box scores, and anything else that  caught my eye.

I realize that many people today don’t do that. They get their news from a computer, their phone, or for the old fuddy-duddys, from their television (and here I am just coming around to watching TV news early in the day, like the reports this morning on Hurricane Irma.)

But, for as long as I can and as long as newspapers are available, I will start my day with a daily newspaper. When I’m traveling, or in another state for an extended time, I enjoy reading other newspapers, especially the opinion pages that might have a different outlook than my hometown papers. During my years as an editor I would scan the Minneapolis, St. Paul and St. Cloud papers to begin the day and then read them more closely later in the day.

Why? Not sure. It’s a habit hard to break after that many decades. But it’s a quick look at the world and what’s going on around us. And the reports are usually much more detailed than, let’s say, television news or a story in USA Today, a paper I don’t usually read except while on vacation. It’s easier and quicker on a phone, people tell me. But then I’ll ask about a story that wasn’t on the front page and they won’t have seen it.

For instance, on Aug. 30 if you weren’t closely reading the Star Tribune, you might have missed a story that proves the world is going to Hades. Of all things, there may now be pizza delivery without a driver. Domino’s and Ford are teaming up to see whether customers will go along with the idea of pizza being delivered by driverless cars.

Some Domino’s outlets in Ann Arbor, Mich., began that day bringing pizzas in a Ford Fusion outfitted with radar. There was a Ford engineer at the wheel but the front windows were blacked out so customers couldn’t talk to the driver. Customers would type a four-digit code into a keypad mounted on the car and that would then open the rear window for customers to get their order from a heated compartment.

A guy from Domino’s said the company, which delivers a billion pizzas each year around the word, “needs to stay ahead of emerging trends.” The test is to last six week. Domino’s is also testing pizza delivery with drones. And the story included an item that a company called Otto had delivered 50,000 cans of Budweiser beer from a self-driving truck in Colorado last fall.

Now, see what you missed?

On Tuesday of last week there was a letter in the paper that addressed a subject I wrote about years ago as there was talk of renaming Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis because the guy it was named after – John Calhoun, the seventh vice president of the U.S. – was a supporter of slavery. Agreed, Calhoun’s views were abhorrent. But then, I wrote, you’ve got to get rid of the Washington and Jefferson monuments in D.C. (the former presidents were slave owners) and change the names of schools, cities, avenues, etc., that include their names. The letter writer also noted that there are eight army bases and several National Guard facilities named after former Confederate generals.

Another letter writer in the same issue suggested the removal of anything named after Franklin Roosevelt because of “his despicable treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.”

All in the name of political correctness, I guess, but ridiculous.

See what you missed?

Today (Sept. 10) there is a story about a report from Bloomberg Markets that says Minnesota’s public pensions are in crisis. It says Minnesota fell from having a system that was 80 percent funded  and 30th in the nation, to having the seventh-worst funded system in the United States, with only 53 cents on the dollar to”pay for pension promises.” The TRA (Teachers Retirement Association) assumes an 8.5 percent return on investing pension funds, compared to 7 percent in new York.

But, in what I thought was a very fair treatment of that story, there was a story on the same opinion page written by executive directors of three pension systems in Minnesota (including TRA) that gave a different view and stated, categorically, that the state’s pension funds are not in crisis. Mentioned was that money invested by the State Board of Investments had an average return of 10.2 percent over a 35-year period. The story said the three pension systems have more than $64 billion in the bank

See what you missed?

Then there was an opinion piece by D.J. Tice in the Aug. 6 Star Tribune shortly after a “foul-mouthed New Yorker interview” with Anthony Scaraamucci, President Trump’s former communications director, that asked what prominent figure on the U.S. political scene “unleashed the following colorful witticism about his adversaries (abbreviated here for publication in a family newspaper): “I F— Hate Those … Motherf—ers!”

Tice wrote that many would assume it was Scaraamucci but that it was actually Sen. Al Franken and that it was used three times, spelled out, in Franken’s new book. There’s a lot more to the opinion piece than that. If you’re interested, you can probably call it up on a computer.

See what you missed?

Every Friday in the Strib, in the Variety section,there is a list of the top 20 TV shows from the previous week as determined by the Nielsen Company, as well as a listing of the top 20 movie rentals as determined by Redbox (who?). I had only heard of two of the 20 movie rentals but who’s counting? There’s also a listing of the top 20 albums in the Twin Cities. Check that out and see if you know even two or three of the artists.

And on Saturday the lead story on the front page told us that (surprise, surprise) the Minnesota Supreme Court had decided a case on a line-item veto in favor of Gov. Mark Dayton who had appointed four of the seven justices. Of course, that story was also on TV and radio, although we’re all likely tired of the back-and-forth that has existed since the legislative session ended.

One thing a bit off the beaten path: The last couple days television stations in the Twin Cities have been trumpeting the weather conditions for Monday’s Vikings-Saints football game that features the return of former Minnesota star Adrian Peterson. Who cares what the weather is? THE GAME IS INSIDE!!

Anyway, there are lots of other stories that are found daily in newspapers that are interesting and are likely missed by many. I don’t read every story but I do scan a high percentage of the headlines to see if the story is of of interest. I’m in the apparently ever-increasing minority but I’ll keep reading newspapers as long as I can. There’s lots to be found on those pages, even if it’s not as immediate as what’s on a computer or a phone.


(Note.: This a series that began with the year 1967 and will conclude with 2017.)

The Hardee’s restaurant (Sherburne Bank today) in Princeton closed as 1996 ended after being open for 10 years. In October that year plans were announced to open a Hungry Hobos restaurant at the former Hardee’s site, the fourth in a small Minnesota chain. In the same week Williams-Hanson-Kaun Funeral Home got the city’s OK to buy the former armory (next to Dairy Queen).  The funeral home is located there today.

Sales at at the city’s municipal off-sale liquor store were up 10 percent in 1996 to $1.175 million.

A federal judge gave the  Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe the go-ahead for netting and spearing at Mille Lacs Lake.

In February the school board launched a process to seek the building of a new middle school.

Sherburne County was the fastest-growing county in the state, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics.

PHS student Marshall Thompson was a state champion in the discussion category at the state speech meet.

The long-awaited project to reconstruct LaGrrande Avenue (now Rum River Drive) was scheduled to begin in June at a cost of $3.2 million. Also included were three blocks of First Street.

The graduating class at Princeton High School numbered 185.

After Dale Hurni resigned to take a superintendent job in Lewiston, Wayne Harper was chosen as the new principal at PHS. Harper, in education for 30 years in Princeton, was a high school dean here at the time.

The Strand Theater, located in Riverside Plaza downtown, closed its doors in June. A teen center was planned at the site.

The speed limit was increased to 65 mph on Highway 169.

Gov. Arne Carlson appointed PHS grad John Hoffman as a Tenth Judicial District judge.

A downtown tradition that went on for many years began with a pork chop feed in the Princeton Mall parking lot. Local retailers sponsored it for their customers who had to put up with the reconstruction of LaGrande Avenue. About 800 people attended the feed at a cost of $1 per person.

The first-day enrollment total at Princeton schools was 3,067, the highest ever and 93 more than projected. When the Oct. 1 reporting date to the state came, enrollment was at an all-time high of 3,020. Kindergarten and first grade showed much larger numbers than projected, prompting Supt.Tom Kleppe to say there must have been a number of move-ins.

The Central Rivers Co-op gas station, the last full-service station in Princeton, closed as August ended. It was located where the Federated Co-op offices are today, across the street to the north from Spire Credit Union.

District court judge Steve Ruble of Princeton was named judge of the year in Minnesota by the administrative council for the state’s trial judges.

Colonel Tim Wilhelm of Princeton, a PHS grad, was given command of a National Guard brigade in Minnesota.

A referendum to finance the building of a new middle school passed by 2,039-1,074. Elected to the school board were Tom Meinz and Bob Loeffler. Citing irregularities in counting at Greenbush and Baldwin town halls, board candidate Dan Whitcomb requested a recount. When the recount was finished  Whitcomb finished farther behind than he had the night of the election.

Detour signs were removed on Oct. 31 and LaGrande Avenue opened after fourth months of reconstruction.

Rep. LeRoy Koppendrayer (R-Princeton) resigned to take a job with the Public Utilities Commission at $86,000 a year.  He was halfway through his fourth two-year term as a state legislator. Mardi Lacher, a Democrat, and Sondra Erickson, a Republican, were endorsed by their parties for a Jan. 6 special election. Both were from Princeton. Erickson then beat Lori Bergmann of Milaca in the Republican primary election, 1,289-202.


Sept. 19, 1957 – Princeton won at Spring Lake Park in a Friday afternoon game, 33-0. Dick Southard scored twice, once on a 60-yard run,and kicked three extra points.

Sept. 20, 1962 – Princeton beat Braham 25-0 as Dale Thiel, Steve Lindell, Neal Hofius and Bob Robideau scored touchdowns.

Sept. 21, 1967 – Bob Backlund, Denny Sternquist and Tom Enger each scored twice in a 52-6 win over Rush City as Steve Carlson threw a TD pass to John Priess.

Sept. 20, 1972 – Princeton lost to Elk River in a cross-country dual meet but Erwin Top of PHS won the race . . . Mike Froelich ran for 54 yards and Tom Rogde caught 3 passes for 43 yards in a 34-0 loss to Orono.

Sept. 22, 1977 – Dave Wankel’s two interceptions led to touchdowns in a 24-6 win over Pine City. Jim Klabunde ran for 55 yards and a touchdown . . . In a 50-bird tournament for Rum River Gun Club members, Russ Anderson and Frank Kosloski each broke 50 in a row before Kosloski won the shootoff.

Sept. 16, 1982 – Princeton beat Mora and Cambridge in volleyball as Annette Schimming led in kills vs. Mora . . . The swim team beat Cambridge for the first time ever as the 400 freestyle relay team of Tracy Schultz, Debbie Becker, Marie Nidecker and Mary Beth Sauer set a school record.

Sept. 17, 1987 – Tami Clemensen placed third in the Bluejacket Invitational (Cambridge) for the PHS cross-country team . . . Jason Miller threw for 130 yards in a 21-7 loss to Mora . . . Princeton beat Mora in volleyball as Judy Bornholdt led with 6 kills and Lisa Hartmann and Karen Bromberg had 5 apiece.

Sept. 17, 1992 – Jeremy Snow threw for 130 yards in a 42-6 win over Pine City as three touchdowns came in fewer than three minutes, Brad Peterson scoring twice and Frank Tadych once. . . PHS, off to an 8-3 start in tennis, beat St. Cloud Cathedral and North Branch, a win at No. 4 singles by Nicole Koskey deciding the 4-3 Cathedral match.

Sept. 25, 1997 – There were 3,890 runners at the 27th annual Princeton Cross-Country Invitational, a record for the meet billed as the world’s largest . . .  Princeton (4-0) beat Sauk Rapids 35-0 as Matt Wilhelm (122 yards) scored three times and Dan Patnode scored twice. Princeton had a 372-84 edge in yardage.

Sept. 12, 2002 – Princeton beat St. Michael-Albertville 27-7 despite being outgained 378 to 221. Mike Patnode scored twice and offensive linemen Cass Bowen and Chad DeHart recovered fumbles for touchdowns. . . .Seven former PHS players were on college football rosters, including brothers Steve and Paul Gibbs at Northwestern College in St. Paul.

Sept. 13, 2007 – Final statistics for the Princeton Panthers (31-7) showed, for the first time ever, three players hitting over .400. Jesse Zimmer hit .460, Tony Stay .453 and Brian Dorr .429. Dorr ended the season with an 18-game hitting streak . . . Don Koskey of Princeton had a hole in one on No. 8 at the Princeton course. It was Koskey’s second hole in one, the other coming two years earlier at the same 158-yard hole.

Sept. 8, 2016 – The volleyball team beat Grand Rapids as Sierra Mattson had 41 set assists and Maddie Nierengarten had 20 kills . . . Kelsey  Dorr joined the 100-victory club in PHS girls tennis with a win against Forest Lake. Others on the list are Mary Claire Mayerchak, Bri Dorr, Shelley Ziwisky, Sarah Cartwright and Jenny Cartwright.