Going out in Steil: Longtime MPR News reporter retires

A car on Portland Avenue near Minnehaha Parkway following the Armistice Day blizzard in Minneapolis. Robert Travis Keagle | Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

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Mark Steil has worked as an MPR News reporter in Worthington for 40 years. He retires Thursday.

He's covered an incredible array of stories. Here are just a few:

'The winds of hell': Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940

A car on Portland Avenue near Minnehaha Parkway following the Armistice Day blizzard in Minneapolis. Robert Travis Keagle | Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

There is something majestic about a winter storm, the way it transforms familiar landscapes while the wind howls. The Armistice Day blizzard changed not only landscapes, but lives. It was an event which endures, a moment frozen forever in memory.

Find the full story here.

The origins of Floyd of Rosedale

The Floyd of Rosedale trophy is a bronze likeness of the original animal awarded to Minnesota in 1935. It was created by St. Paul artist Charles Brioschi. Photo courtesy of the University of Minnesota

It's late afternoon on Saturday, Oct. 27, 1934. A sportswriter from the Des Moines Register is hard at work while a cold north wind howls outside.

"Iowa Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa," types the reporter.

His story is that day's Iowa-Minnesota football game. Minnesota, bound for the school's first-ever national championship, trampled Iowa 48-12.

Find the full story here.

Edgerton remembers its improbable basketball title

Thousands of people attended this welcome home celebration for the state champions on Edgerton's main street. Photo courtesy of Ken Kielty and Tom Tomash

Much of the old high school has been torn down, but there's still an important physical reminder of Edgerton's claim to statewide notoriety — the basketball team's 1960 title run.

Find the full story here

Unchecked irrigation threatens to sap Minnesota groundwater

Brooten area farmer Jim Anderson climbs one of his many irrigation rigs. Mark Steil | MPR News 2014

Crop irrigation has boomed in Minnesota in the past few years, increasing land values and raising yields for corn, soybeans and other crops. But hundreds of Minnesota farmers appear to be irrigating cropland without the state permits required to use large volumes of public water.

Find the full story here.

Leo Thorsness' flight into history

All his life, Leo Thorsness has tackled tough challenges head-on. Born in 1932, he says he learned that skill during the difficult economic times of the Great Depression.

"I grew up in a farm between Walnut Grove and Storden, Minn. We were farm people. I was brought up with discipline, I learned how to work hard; it was just expected of us," says Thorsness.

Find the full story here.

Revisiting Chanarambie Township

The 1980s will be remembered as one of the more difficult decades for Minnesota farmers. Land prices dropped, interest rates went up and farmers were caught in the middle. Back in 1986, Steil interviewed seven farmers. They were neighbors living in Chanarambie Township, a farming community in southwestern Minnesota's Murray County.

Find the full story here.

Minnesota's Uncivil War

A war fought in the Minnesota River Valley back in 1862 still leaves scars today. On one side were the Dakota Indians. On the other, settlers and the U.S. government. Hundreds of people died on both sides of the five-week-long war. It led to the largest mass execution in U.S. history, when 38 Dakota were hanged in Mankato, Minn.

Find the full story here.

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