A couple of neat things have happened in Morris over the past few weeks. Two of those have been the film festival at the Morris Theatre and the appearance of Leigh Anne Tuohy at the University of Minnesota Morris.

A community cooperative theater is exactly the place to bring in movies of various genres and subject matter. Viewers had a chance to stretch their habits by watching a movie they may not typically chose at the theater or through other means.

If you had a chance to see one or two of the film festival movies, you may have watched as folks gathered in the lobby or outside to talk about the movie they just saw.

Thanks to all of those who made the film festival possible including the theater, Barbara Burke at the University of Minnesota Morris and Anne Barber of the Morris Public Library.

Leigh Anne Tuohy was scheduled to originally appear at UMM in February but her event was postponed because of a snow storm. Although Tuohy spoke in Morris on a Friday night, Sept. 28, which is a night of high school football, a good crowd turned out to hear the famous mom from the popular movie "The Blind Side:"

Tuohy isn't a lecturer. She's famous. She's popular. She was played by Sandra Bullock who earned an Oscar for the performance. Tuohy is also the kind of guest UMM should try to bring to the campus more often.

Folks mention the town and gown divide between UMM and the community every so often on campus and in the community. Tuohy helped bridge the divide for one night. Folks who may not typically get on campus did so on Sept. 28.

Tuohy's message was positive and encouraging. While she may not appeal to everyone and may not meet the standards of some, she is a professional and has plenty of public appeal. She is someone a public university should want to provide access to.

The film festival and Tuohy's appearance are examples of how community members can have a shared experience. Shared experiences build communities as they connect people. If you missed these two events because you didn't know about them or didn't have time, that is unfortunate. We hope the success of these two events means there are more to come and then, you won't miss out.