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Here's a trio of new autobiographies that cover lots of time and lots of ground. There aren't many literary figures who have had more stories written about them than the 18th century poet and lexicographer, Dr. Samuel Johnson, himself an accomplished biographer.
Dianne Lynn Heins, age 57, of Stillwater, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her family and friends after a very courageous battle with cancer on Friday, Oct. 3, 2008. She and her husband, Dennis, operate Heins Nursery in Woodbury. A funeral service for Dianne will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, October 7 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 490 Fourth St. N., Bayport. Visitation will be from 9:30-11 a.m. that morning. Interment will follow in Cottage Grove, Minn. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Mayo Clinic for cancer research.
Attention Civil War aficionados! "Dixie Betrayed," by David J. Eicher (Little, Brown, $27.95) turns the tables on the old saws about the gallant men of the Confederacy, their patrician values, their bravery. The whole Ashley Wilkes syndrome, if you get my meaning. Eicher, a Milwaukeean says no. And he brings to bear meticulous research revealing that the North didn't best the South with superior strength and resources. Eicher claims the South did much to undermine its own cause.
I've read quite a few books in my day, but it always amazes me when I read yet another and I realize I've most certainly not read enough. Once again this became apparent when I recently read "Magnifico," by Miles J. Unger (Simon & Schuster, $32). Maybe I should back up. For years my wife and I have spent several summers in Tuscany, where we rent a cottage on an estate and drive around to the hill towns like San Gigmigano and Volterra to see the magnificent sites. So we've been to Florence many times, beginning in the 1970s.
Most good food writing is not found in recipe books or in cooking magazines, which usually focus on nuts and bolts issues of technique.
Kathy Lei Ostrowski, age 52, of Afton, passed away on Monday, April 7, 2008 in Afton, Minn. after a five year battle with cancer. Visitation will be held at Bradshaw's Funeral Home in Stillwater, Minn. from 4-8 p.m. on Friday, April 11. Memorial mass will be held at St. Ambrose church in Woodbury, Minn. at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 12 with visitation held one hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Kathy's Hope Benefit are preferred.
Charley Kempthorne has spent more than half his life teaching other people how to write, first as a college English professor and later as the founder of the first reminiscence writing workshop in the nation, back in 1976. He's helped all manner of folks get published, including a charwoman in Kempthorne's hometown of Manhattan, Kan., who was given $1,000,000 for her manuscript. The old lady didn't share her good fortune with her mentor, so he and his wife continued to work as a successful painting contractor in Manhattan. Kempthorne has an M.F.A.
Authorities in Oshkosh might have found a man who robbed five convenience stores but they'll never know for sure, because he shot himself to death. Bart Mitchell, 25, of Oshkosh refused to surrender when he was stopped near Omro Wednesday night. He shot himself instead, and died later at a hospital. Richard Wollangk, Oshkosh city manager, tipped off police when he saw a man in black clothes take cash from a convenience store register. He followed the person's car until authorities could take over the pursuit.
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater will host La Crosse on Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Division 3 football playoffs. They're the only two Wisconsin schools to make the Sweet-16, after winning their first-round contests over the weekend. Second-ranked UW-Whitewater eliminated St. Norbert 59-17, while number-eight UW-La Crosse beat Bethel of Minnesota 28-21. Concordia-Mequon was eliminated with a 35-6 loss in Milwaukee to North Central.
About two million Wisconsinites will go to the polls today to decide who their next governor will be and whether a ban on gay marriage should be part of their Constitution. There's a lot more on the ballot, too. However, State Elections Board director Kevin Kennedy says the extremely-tight governor's race, the marriage amendment, and a referendum on the death penalty should drive up today's voter turnout above 50 percent. It was 44-percent in the last similar contest in 2002. Voters will also choose a new attorney general to replace the defeated Peg Lautenschlager. Also, eight U.S.