Boy showing kindness to kitten

By Molly Butler

This week, I saw something kind of awful.

I was driving up in the metro for work and came to an intersection where an unhoused man was standing with his dog and a cardboard sign. Several cars ahead of me, someone rolled down their window and held out their hand, gesturing to the man. As soon as he reached them, they opened their fist and flung a handful of loose coins into the ditch. They pointed and laughed at the man who calmly knelt to collect pennies from the dirt. The cruelty of the interaction has sat like a knot in my stomach ever since.

Negative events have a larger impact on our brains than positive ones. We register negative stimuli more readily, and our brains dwell on these events for longer, naturally lending more importance to negative events than neutral or positive ones. Psychologists refer to this as the negativity bias. A ratio of five-to-one is needed to neutralize, meaning we need to think five positive thoughts to combat one negative one. Meaning, that man would need five kind people to appear to make up for that one interaction. What do you think his odds are of having a positive day?

Be the good stuff.

Witnessing negative interactions has the same effect. So, when our news and feeds and minds are pumped full of negativity, which spreads faster and festers longer, it’s pretty easy to see why diseases of despair are so rampant. We cannot succumb to this tendency. And, the wonderful news is, we don’t have to.

We can consciously, mindfully respond. When we see bad news, take it as our cue to fight back. Take inspired action. Share the good news. Celebrate it. Dwell on it. Be the good stuff.

I told you a negative story, so here are five positives to make up for it:

  • Homes for All has created a template you can easily use to encourage our lawmakers to include housing infrastructure bonds in their 2022 session. This tool is so simple and easy to use and customize!
  • Our apple trees and lilacs are blooming and full of bees! It’s indescribably beautiful.
  • One of my friends completed her first-ever Spartan Race! That’s a 5K sprint with 20 obstacles. I’m so proud of her!
  • Aurea Technologies in Nova Scotia developed a 3-pound portable wind turbine, Shine: perfect for campers, backpackers, wilderness researchers or anyone who could USB power in the outdoors. It’s estimated to be available in October!
  • We launched social media accounts for our farm, which we are calling Malarkey Mini Farm, and we are having a lot of fun spreading positivity online!

Have a wonderful weekend my friends!


Spring is in full swing, and southern Minnesota is coming to life! We have a ton of activities to fill your Friday. The Inspire Food Truck will be outside Fleet Farm Mankato from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with everything from homemade cinnamon rolls and breakfast to protein fruit smoothies and sandwiches. Stop by for a bite!

Shop amazing deals! The Friends of the Deep Valley Libraries will host their annual Spring Used Book Sale in the Blue Earth County Library auditorium this Friday from 1-5 p.m. Swing by for deals on books! Then, head east for the Largest Garage Sale in Waseca Benefiting Waseca County 4-H! Open from 3:30-8 p.m., shop great deals on clothing, books, movies and so much more!

The 410 Project will be open 2-6 p.m. with Semaj Roytal Tarot: Photography by James Taylor. The Mankato Makerspace will host two Stained Glass: Sun Catcher Make-n-Take classes from 3-6 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. The cost is $80, and all materials are included; register here.

Head to the WOW! Zone from 5-8 p.m. for Queers & Beers, organized by South Central Minnesota Pride. Tables will be reserved, so come meet new folks and build community; allies are encouraged and welcome to attend! The Wooden Spoon invites you to experience a farm-fresh four-course dinner Friday at 6 p.m., made in partnership with LOCAL food growers!

Loose Gravel will perform from 6-9 p.m. at the WOW! Zone in Mankato, and the Oleander Saloon will host B&B karaoke at 8 p.m. It’s Emo + Punk Night at the What’s Up Lounge! Drag Me With a Spoon will be awarding merch to the best punk/emo outfit in attendance, so dress up and get your $10 tickets here!


Rise and ride! Nicollet Bike & Ski’s Saturday Gravel Ride takes off at 7 a.m. sharp from its shop in Old Town. Or, head to the Kiwanis Mountain Bike Trailhead at 10 a.m. for MAMB Day on the Trail with the Mankato Interscholastic Cycling Team! The 8th annual Bookin’ on Belgrade Nearly 5k takes off at 9 a.m. This is a family-friendly opportunity to get moving in North Mankato. Register here to run.

Shop local! The Mankato Farmers’ Market is open in the Best Buy parking lot from 8 a.m. to noon. The Spring Used Book Sale continues at the Blue Earth County Library from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Then, head to the 410 Project’s Pop Up Mini Youth Art Festival at the Centenary United Methodist Church! Artists 18-and-under will be selling and showcasing their art.

Minnesota’s Original Brat Dog will be at the Mankato Brewery serving food from 3-7 p.m. Stick around for Hop Heads, performing from 4-7 p.m. Or, head to Indian Island Winery for a 1920’s-themed murder mystery! Murder at the Speakeasy will be happening 5-8 p.m.; tickets are available here.

Jazz10 will be at the WOW! Zone at 6 p.m., and KillinTime will be at the Prairie Saloon from 7-11 p.m. The What’s Up Lounge will host Cymothoa, Plague of Stars and Seldg in a 21+ event. The cover is $10; the show starts at 9 p.m.


Safe Relations presents Learn + Move, an intentional afternoon of learning, connection and movement. Head to 1109 N. Riverfront Drive from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for healthy snacks, refreshments and a curated workshop focusing on social issues and action-based solutions.

The Mankato Moondogs, Special Olympics and Mankato LEEP invite you to the Country Inn & Suites from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Batter Up Mankato! Play for prizes, grab a bite to eat and test equipment. Plus, bid on the silent auction and enter the $5 raffles!

Head to the Mankato Makerspace from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for their May Maker Market! Celebrate spring with local creative vendors at this indoor/outdoor event. Catch Matilda the Musical by the Merely Players Community Theatre at the Lincoln Community Center at 2:30 p.m.

It’s time for the May KidVenture with the Ney Nature Center! Learn more and register here. Scooter riders can hop on the Mankato Scooter Riders Group Ride, taking off at 2 p.m. from the Madison East Center. The ride will wind around the golf course, through lower north and Sibley Park and end at the HUB food park!

Added Value: Positive Psychology

If you’re curious about the negativity bias and want a little more detail, here’s a great article featuring ways to overcome the bias and links to related TED Talks.


Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.