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Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.

Oct 18

Fall, the Best Season of All!

Posted to Park and Rec Staff Blog by Timothy O'Connor

Fall, the Best Season of All!
Drake Simonson – Recreation Supervisor

The yellow and orange colors you see in the fall on trees, in fact, always exist in leaves, but they are overpowered by the abundance of green from chlorophyll. The amount of chlorophyll starts to decrease as the sun weakens and the days grow shorter. Get out see all the stunning fall colors in your beautiful parks!

Fall is my favorite season. Who doesn't enjoy observing the leaves from the trees and plants changing into multi-colored works of art before finally falling away? The cool, crisp morning air that is energizing and makes for a great start to the day, or for those who do not like it cold, makes you want to stay curled up in a warm blanket! Family outings to an apple orchard for those delicious fresh picked apples or hunting for the perfect pumpkin at the patch are great ways to get out and enjoy the fall season! And for the people who cannot wait, it truly is pumpkin spice season, you know who you are. There are many reasons why I love fall and why I think it's the best season, but here are just a few.

The Trees Change Color

Here in Minnesota, all the seasons are very apparent. The spring season is very green, the summer is hot and humid, the winter is bone chillingly cold and the fall is full of magnificent colors and perfect weather.

The maple trees are especially vibrant with colors of red and golden-yellow and combinations of both. When I was younger, these leaves resembled "tree stars" to me, a reference to the movie The Land Before Time, and would occasionally call them such. To this day, they are my favorite trees when the season changes.

This season is perfect for taking beautiful scenic photos and spending time outdoors. Nothing can relax and rejuvenate you more than enjoying nature and its surrounding scenery. Being in Owatonna we have access to several parks, Kaplan’s Woods is a great one, to see the changing of colors or are within an easy drive to the North Shore or the bluffs along the Mississippi for a truly spectacular view of fall colors.

The Weather Is Perfect

Autumn is the "cooling off" month right between the blazing summer and freezing winter. When the cooler temperatures of fall start rolling in, saying goodbye to summer is not hard to do. Autumn, or “Han Solo Season” as some refer to it as, is a great time to break out the jackets, coats, boots, scarves and hats in preparation for the change in season.

It is also the perfect time to start making hot cocoa, having campfires as this season creates the perfect setting for a sense of comfort, warmth and reflection. To me, it is also a perfect time to get out and get in one more camping trip or road trip, which guess what, allows you to take in the fresh air and scenic colors!

Fall Is Full of Family Holidays

Autumn is the start the jam-packed holiday season. The back-to-school rush, which has come and gone and I know kids do not see this as a holiday, but come on parents; it is just a little for you! Halloween, and Thanksgiving before rolling into winter and Christmas. And these aren't just regular old holidays. These are all very involved, family-centered holidays, the best kind of holiday.

Autumn is the season to be thankful and to be surrounded by the people you love. It is the perfect time to change up your decorations by adding orange, red and yellow colors and to pull out the spice-scented candles.

The holiday season encourages you to spend time thinking about what you and your family have been through in the last year as well as the memories you have made together while looking forward to a new and exciting year.

Another reason I love the holidays is the food. You'll generally eat far better food during this season than you will during the rest of the year. I know I have my countdown to Thanksgiving, can’t wait to pile my plate with delicious food!

Some Symbolism Associated with Fall

Underneath the surface of all the obvious reasons, we love fall lie those more subtle associations rooted in science, ancient tradition and astrology.

•Balance. The Fall Equinox represents the balance between the seasons as well as the balance between light and dark. Fall provides an opportunity for us to balance ourself with our earth.

•Change. In tandem with spring, fall is a part of a beautiful cycle of loss, regeneration and regrowth. The dead leaves and branches on the ground disintegrate and become part of the soil, acting as seeds and fertilizer later once the cold welcomes the warmer weather.

•Conservation. Farmers and critters alike work tirelessly during this time of year to protect the necessities of life. We as people also work to preserve our comfy abodes like the animals do with their hibernation spaces.

As I wrap-up, I hope you will get out and enjoy the fall season. Go for a walk, relax outside, take in the colors and sounds of nature, jump into a pile of leaves, do something that will make you happy and gets you outside. We all know, once winter hits, we spend the vast majority of our time inside, though we as Minnesotans know how to enjoy winter to the fullest, but we are inside a lot more than not. Have a great October!

Oct 21

Engineering Updates 10/21/2021

Posted to Public Works - Engineering Updates by Jeanette Clawson

City of Owatonna Engineering

Just a quick update regarding the closing of the intersectin of Havana Road & Truman Avenue.  We thank you for your patience as projects near completion.   
 2021 Truman Avenue: 

Northland Grading & Excavating closed the intersection of Havana Rd. & Truman Ave. Thursday (10/21/2021).  This intersection will remain closed to traffic until Monday (10/25/2021).  Their plan is to complete 42” RCP Storm Sewer main in this intersection first.  

Then on Friday (10/22/2021) they will complete the water main in this intersection.   The water main work on Friday will require a temporary water shutdown.  Notices for this temporary water shutdown have already been sent out for affected residences.  

On Saturday (10/23/2021) they will then wrap up the remaining storm sewer at this intersection by installing the storm sewer manhole structure and the two storm sewer catch basin structures.  The intersection will be backfilled after underground work is complete on Saturday.

On Monday of next week (10/25/21), Northland will complete the sub-cut, subgrade prep., and subbase grading.  Once subbase grading is finished, they will pull the traffic control signs & barricades and restore traffic access at this intersection: for East & West bound traffic along Havana Rd. and only South bound traffic along Truman Ave. from this intersection.  North bound traffic along Havana Rd. from this intersection will still be closed to traffic until the remaining construction is completed.  

To sign up for various department notifications, use the Notify Me feature on The City of Owatonna Website.

To submit a Public Works Maintenance Request, please call 507-444-4350 or fill out an Online Public Works Maintenance Request Form.

Jul 09

West Hills Social Commons Happenings

Posted to West Hills Social Commons Blog by Jessica Abrahams

West Hills Social Commons
Did you miss us? The West Hills Socials Commons is open again to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8-4pm.
** The Social Commons will be closed on Monday July 5th
Adult Leisure Pursuit Membership
Sign up for our membership and get access to discounted programming along with discounts at several business part of our local partnership program. The annual membership fee remains at $40 for 2021 year; however, our 2020 members will receive a $16 discount off their 2021 membership with a remaining balance amount of only $24. Annual memberships are valid for January through December.
St. Paul Saints Baseball Game: Sunday, July 18th
Join others from Adult Leisure Pursuits as we take a trip up the CHS Field, home of the St. Paul Saints. Take advantage of this great opportunity to watch outdoor baseball and take a stroll through the beautiful CHS Field concourse. The Saints will be taking on the Columbus Clippers for a 2:05pm first pitch. Bring a friend, grandchild, or the whole family. Children under the age of 18 pay the members price
-Cost: $32 members/ $47 non-members
-Registration Deadline: July 9th
-Depart SeniorPlace:12:15pm
Strength Training (Free/ with Membership)
Try our FREE Strength Training Class. This program will teach you how to get a full-body workout from either a standing or a sitting position. Weights and resistance bands are available for use if you are looking for a challenge. You will go through stretching to increase flexibility, mobility, and balance. The class is held in the Social Commons West on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, from 9-10 am. No registration is required.  
Table Tennis
The table tennis program will run at West Hills Social Commons on Wednesday’s 12:30-2:00 PM ($1.00 per time). Any age can play the game, so don’t be afraid.  Players of all abilities are welcome. Wear comfortable clothing. They are willing to teach any new players!
500 Club (Free/ with Membership)
Played on Friday, June 25th, 2021. There were 13 players, 4 tables with 6 rounds each.  First place went to Betty Mikeworth with 3,480 points. Second Place went to Roger Milbrath with 3,130 points. Third Place went to Shirlly Malecha with 2,600 points. Fourth Place went to Lowell Larson with 2,440 points. Fifth place went to Mernie Malecha with 2,160 points. Sixth place went to Fran Kubista with 1,970 points Betty Mikeworth made a 10 spade bid 2 times. Roger Milbrath made a 10 no Trump Bid.

Owatonna Senior Bowling Highlights:
Friday, July 2:
Fifth Frame Strike Jackpot:  Chuck Newgard
Pins Over Average:
Game 1:  Mike Dettmer 214 ( 17)
Game 2:  Mike Dettmer 267 ( 71)
Game 3:  Judy Drevlow 198 ( 38)
Series High:  Mike Dettmer 696 ( 105)
Split Conversions:  Marty Speikers (2-5-7-8); Reuben Ebeling & Mike Dettmer (each 3-10)

Monday, July 5:
Pins Over Average:
Game 1:  Reuben Ebeling 181 ( 31); Rod Fletcher 223 ( 27)
Game 2:  Judy Drevlow 189 ( 31)
Game 3:  Dennis Branstad 220 ( 49); Sharon Hassing 185 ( 48);
Myland Vroman 204 ( 34); Jerry Drevlow 232 ( 27)
Series High:  (Tie); Myland Vroman 564 ( 54); Sharon Hassing 465 ( 54)
Split Conversions:  Bill Nelson (6-7-10); Chuck Newgard (4-7-9); Marty Speikers (2-7); Willie Peterson (3-10 twice); Reuben Ebeling (3-10)
Billiards (Free/ with Membership)
The billiards players are always looking for new players to join the group.  They meet on Wednesdays at 8:30am and Fridays at 9:00am . You don’t have to be a pool shark to enjoy a game of billiards.  Come on down and play a game or two.  Both men and women are always welcome if you are a beginner, the players would be happy to teach you the game.  Drop-in billiards is also available Monday-Friday when the building is open.  Cost: $0.50 for 2 hours.
Every Friday at 12:30pm in the multipurpose room, all participants must be Adult Leisure Pursuit Members. Pay per card.