Daily Digest: Minnesota history; pig pays tuition; less snow could mean dry waterfalls

by Taryn Wobbema

Here's your feature-filled Daily Digest for Tuesday, April 3.

A Star Tribune Q&A with Minnesota History Library’s acquisitions chief Patrick Coleman highlights some interesting state history. He’s also a University of Minnesota alum. His job includes collecting documents that detail Minnesota history and culture. The state provided $40,000 for the library’s 2012 purchsing budget. Here’s an example of a question/answer:

Why the state paid $20,000 for a child's schoolbook on President George Washington's farewell address: There's an inscription by a 15-year-old F. Scott Fitzgerald inside the cover. "Francis Scott Fitzgerald/ St. Paul/ Minn./ Playwright, Poet, Novelist, essayist/ Philosopher, loafer. useless/ disagreeable, silly, talented/ Weak, strong, clever, trivial. A waste. In/ short a very parody, a/ mockery of one who might/ have been more but whom/ nature and circumstances/ made less. With apologies/ for living./Francis Scott Fitzgerald."

Need help paying for school? Bring some livestock to Texas in March. At an annual auction, high school students bring their farm animals to sell (the grand champion pig sold for $178,000), and a portion of the winnings goes back to them as a college scholarship, according to the New York Times. This year’s sales totaled $9.2 million — about $4 million will go to the students who sold animals or artwork, and about $4.8 million will go the livestock show’s educational fund, which pays for scholarships, research grants, graduate assistantships and other programs. Kipper was the winningest pig. Four couples paid for him, and because of him, one student will get $40,000 for college. That boy said: “All that work you put into it, it makes it all worth it when your pig does something great, like Kipper did. I couldn’t have asked for a bigger blessing than Kip. He was incredible.”

Lastly, Atlantic monthly published a book excerpt about a family’s trip to Upper Yosemite Falls. Yosemite Creek and the waterfall dry up each year in by July or August after the snow that feeds it has melted and flowed down. However, the article states, declining snowfall in areas like this could mean the waterfall dries up for good. It’s an effect of climate change on Yosemite and areas like it — Cascades snowpack has declined by 15 to 30 percent over the past 70 years. The excerpt is from Before They’re Gone. The author is an editor for Backpacker magazine.