Dear Sandy Mason,

Well, we are into it now. Winter is here. And there are question marks all over as we head into a new year – battling coronavirus.

It’s been a long time since your husband, Professor Earl Mason, retired from UND. And you are now longtime permanent residents of Arizona. I remember when you were teaching art for the Grand Forks park recreation program.

It seems that there has been a steady stream of winter visitors to Arizona as well as Florida. The virus isn’t keeping them home. And you say you are fairly well snookered down in your permanent home in Arizona.

Well, you look out on the desert and see those saguaro and barrel cactus. I always liked the prickly pear when visiting in Tucson.

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This year, our winter travelers have checked out for Florida and Arizona. But you don’t hear of anyone going to Hawaii or the South Sea Islands.

Hoops and hockey

Here in Grand Forks, things seem to be getting better. There were basketball games at the Betty on the weekend.

UND was scheduled to face Omaha in hockey this weekend, but that has been postponed due to the virus.

There are strict requirements at hockey games and limitations for seating when the games return.

The winter, so far, has been beautiful. Temperatures are mild. There is a covering of fluffy white snow.

The legislature is starting its session this week in Bismarck.

Meanwhile, I am watching the river. The Red is freezing over as usual. This year, there is wonder. Wonder of how thick the ice will be under the Sorlie Bridge downtown in the middle of February.

There’s a contest going on for the benefit of the historic Empire Arts Center downtown. They have all the details at 701-746-5500.

Joy of January

Yes, there are things going on in January. And if they want to dial a story, some people call the East Grand forks Library 218-399-3435. The library these days is open on a schedule listed online. Here in Grand Forks there is limited service.

Everyone seems to be doing their best. How are libraries handling the virus limitations in Tucson?

This is a good time for reading. A good time for sledding. And for your visitors from the north, a good time for walking.

Best wishes, Marilyn

Reach Marilyn Hagerty at or by telephone at 701-772-1055.