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Judy Spooner Viewpoint: Local trivia test trips up volunteers

"I'll take Cottage Grove trivia for $200, Ryan," would have been a good statement to pose to Cottage Grove City Administrator Ryan Schroeder at last week's annual dinner the city hosts to honor and thank members of city commissions and a gaggle of people, including the Holiday Train and Yellow Ribbon Campaign committees.

The first year I attended the Volunteer Recognition Banquet as a member of the Advisory Commission on Historic Preservation, I enjoyed Schroeder's "state of the city" speech, but people giggled when he said the speech would be shorter than the previous year.

I wondered what was so funny until I was told his speech got a little longer each year.

Mayor Myron Bailey now gives the speech, written by Schroeder, but shorter than before.

Without a speech to give, Ryan inserted a Cottage Grove trivia game last year. It was fun until the question about how many airports the city once had was asked. Most people said, "one." Others said there were two. Debates were still taking place in the parking lot of the River Oaks Golf Course Banquet facility as the party broke up.

This year, Schroeder asked the question again and hooting ensued as he read the list of possible answers. The answer is two, one at the top or south end of 90th Street near County Road 19 and one about where the closed municipal pool is on the west side of Highway 61.

I got that one correct but, unlike the "Jeopardy" quiz show, there was no money involved.

Test yourself on the rest of the test.

Question 2: Which of the following was not a restaurant in the city? Griffs, Mr.Quick, Big Steer or Burger Chef? The answer is Burger Chef. Griff's was a great place to stop at closing time. You could buy remaining burgers for 25 cents each.

Question 3: What was the percentage of registered voters who voted in the 2012 election? 73.4 percent, 83.4 percent or 93.4 percent. Most of us, including me, missed this one. The answer is 93.4 percent. The remaining 6.6 percent know who you are.

Question 4: Which business was never in the shopping center anchored by G-Will Liquors? Was it Coast to Coast hardware, Sears, a library or fabric store?

"Trick question," Ryan said. "They all were."

Some booing could be heard as nearly everyone, including me, got it wrong. I couldn't remember Sears being there.

Though he promised that the last one was not a trick question, there were skeptics.

Question 5: How many athletic fields are there in the city? 20, 40, 60 or 80? Trying to guess what is a likely answer, most people raised their hands at 60. It's actually 80.

We all got a reusable shopping bag with a Cottage Grove umbrella and a copy of the city's annual report to curl up with before going to sleep. It was a fun evening.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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