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Cheers & Jeers

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Great River Shakespeare Festival 06

Aaron Young, the managing director of the Great River Shakespeare Festival, speaks to the 2019 company on Tuesday afternoon at the Winona State Performing Arts Center.

CHEER: To parents and families who are planning something super special for a Class of 2021 graduate in coming days. Now that masking and distancing requirements are eased for those vaccinated, gatherings can be held. For these students who have missed out of so many key moments and events for a year and a half, it’s time to celebrate like it’s 2021. They deserve it.

CHEER: To the “stay at home” employees who have been persevering through the pandemic. These are the folks who get up every day, get their kids ready for school, walk down their hallway and go to work, while maintaining some semblance of order in their household. They may be called back to the office soon, and their routine will change, but before that happens they deserve a cheer. Job well done.

CHEER: To the return of the Great River Shakespeare Festival, less than a month away in Winona. This year, the festival will be held outside at the Levee Stage and the Winona State University Green. Productions will include “The Tempest,” “Great Expectations” and “Every Brilliant Thing,” along with and apprentice and intern showing of “Romeo & Juliet.” Get ready. It’s going to be amazing.

JEER: To the leaders of the Minnesota Legislature and Democratic Gov. Tim Walz, who couldn’t get over themselves for agreeing to a budget deal on Monday’s deadline that fully exempted from state taxes federal Paycheck Protection Program loans to businesses and unemployment insurance benefits that were raised during the pandemic. “Minnesota did it again. We found commonality amongst ourselves,” Walz said. Are they tone deaf? Businesses had to file their taxes not knowing of this agreement, which should have been made weeks ago. Another classic example of the government class out of touch.

CHEER: To Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center, one of the leading mental health and substance abuse facilities in rural southeast Minnesota. Its largest clinic is in Winona, with additional clinics in Caledonia, Rushford, Wabasha and Red Wing, and it provides mental health services from birth through geriatrics and substance abuse services to children as young as 9. It’s a gem in our midst, celebrating more than 50 years of mental health milestones.

CHEER: To something we all have been waiting for — unmasking once fully vaccinated. If you’re like us you took a photo, or several, of this magic moment. We invite you to visit to share those photos for publication in print and online. Show that 2021 smile during the summer we all deserve.


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