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Chuck Haga, The King Of Hagaland Is Retiring - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Chuck Haga, The King Of Hagaland Is Retiring

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  After a 40-year career as a newspaper reporter and columnist for the Grand Forks Herald and Minneapolis Star Tribune, Chuck Haga is retiring at the end of this month at the age of 64.

  Back in 1987 I did a live interview with then, Grand Forks Herald Columnist, Chuck Haga on a little piece of land in the middle of the Red River he had  proclaimed, Hagaland.

  Haga was leaving town for a 20 year stint at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, before returning to the Grand Forks Herald in 2007.

  Today we returned to the place of that 1987 interview to talk about his retirement, and of course, Hagaland.

Reporter: "It would appear the years and flood of 1997 have washed away Hagaland?"

Chuck Haga, Retiring from Grand Forks Herald: "It's not washed away, it's pretty well covered up. But, I'm still hoping to someday host the Hagaland, hole-in-one, invitational golf tournament…ha."

  Haga says during his time at the Minneapolis Star Tribune he wound up interviewing Polish Labor Leader, Lech Walesa, retracing the route of author, John Steinbeck across America, and in 1997 he wound up back in Grand Forks covering the flood.

Chuck Haga: "I spent 3-months back up here living in a van."

Reporter: "Down by the river?"

Haga: "Down by the river… ha. And then of course I came back for the Dru Sjodin abduction and murder. I've been back a number of times. I was the reporter at the Star Tribune who always saw an assignment in the Dakota as a good thing."

  Haga says one of his favorite stories was that of a new Russian immigrant, who was working as a cab driver in New York City. That cab driver was quoted in Newsweek saying he was disillusioned with America. Haga says the cabbie was invited to spend a week with him here in Grand Forks. He says that Russian cab driver came away with a whole new attitude about America.

Chuck Haga: "When he finally left he said, Chuck this is the America I meant to come to.  It's the America his mother had told him about."

  Haga says he won't be hanging up his pen completely in retirement. Yes, he says there is the possibility of a book with the tentative title, "In Other News".

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