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ST. PAUL - Traveling Minnesota's smooth roadways likely will continue to be a comfortable ride, but motorists may experience more bumpy jaunts in coming years. Unlike bridges, which undergo an extensive inspection process - particularly since the Aug. 1 Minneapolis bridge collapse - there is no similar program to inspect state roads for structural problems that could pose safety concerns. However, Minnesota Department of Transportation experts rate the condition of highways annually to determine what roadways need maintenance and how to prioritize proposed construction projects.
Being Minnesotan means hunting, fishing, boating, camping, exploring the great outdoors, right? Well, maybe not so much anymore. Recent surveys conducted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service show troubling declines in what once were the bread and butter activities that defined people who lived in this state. These declines are also not unique to Minnesota. They are occurring across the country. Apparently, nature-based outdoor recreation does not have the priority in younger people's lives that it once did.
ST. PAUL - Listening to a Minnesota Department of Transportation spending request is being compared to farming. "You go out to plow the field and you think you had a really nice, clean field to plow," and instead you hit rock after rock, said House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, who was raised on a farm. "That's what this has felt like," she said following a legislative hearing Tuesday.
NEW LONDON - A chilly northwest wind was blowing Tuesday as Tim and Julie Rittenhouse medicated and fed some of the 2,000 honeybee colonies they maintain at 65 different locations in Kandiyohi, Stearns and Meeker counties. The cold snap kept the bees inside the hives, which made it easier for the Hawick couple to do their work. But with the spread of the varroa mite creeping into hives and killing entire colonies, there was a harsh edge to their fall work with the bees.
A Frazee man now in prison for sex crimes against children is due to be released later this month, but if state and local authorities have their way, he will instead be committed to a state hospital for sexual offenders. John Curtis Barnes, 29, is scheduled for release from the state prison at Rush City on Oct. 22. He was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in 2000 for assaulting a preteen boy, and 46 children of all ages and both genders are listed as "possible victims" of his sexual assaults in court papers seeking a civil commitment to St.
WORTHINGTON -- During a Tuesday afternoon press conference at Prairie Justice Center, authorities released more information on the case involving a teen who was missing for more than 36 hours, but were unable or unwilling to answer the question of whether she had been taken by force or left with a teenage boy voluntarily. A petition to the juvenile courts was filed Tuesday against the suspect in Nobles County District Court, charging Sonny Syhavong, 17, with violating a restraining order and depriving another of parental rights/concealing a minor, and fourth-degree criminal property damage.
Years ago, I watched a French film that still haunts me. "Le Jeux Interdits" (translated "Forbidden Games") tells the story of a little girl and her parents who are fleeing Paris as the Germans approach. Stukas strafe the road, the parents are killed and the girl finds her way to a kindly farmer, who takes her in. She's sad and disoriented, so the farmer tells her to play a game with his son, the "cemetery" game. Collect all the dead birds left over from the Stuka attack and bury them, complete with rudely-fashioned crosses as grave markers. The kids go at it with gusto.
CLARA CITY -- Jason Zimmer was watching the soybean yield monitor in his 9600 John Deere combine Friday afternoon jump from 35 bushes to 65 bushes an acre. On the low grounds the yield was good. On the hills -- not so good. Coming off a two-month drought, west central Minnesota farmers were a little nervous about what they would find in the fields. With harvest moving into full gear this week, farmers are seeing wide variations in yields from field to field, but are pleased with the overall average. "It's a little better than we expected," Zimmer said.
With Monday looming as the deadline for public comment on rules affecting docks on public waters, Sen. Mary Olson fears the general public isn't aware how those rules could shape the quality of Minnesota lakes. Olson, DFL-Bemidji, put out an alarm Friday that the state Department of Natural Resources' comment period on how the state regulates dock construction ends on Monday. And, based on public input at what she said was little-publicized open houses, the DNR may loosen its rules further, allowing larger docks -- which some rule-change opponents call "party platforms" -- on public waters.
The Hubbard County Sheriff's Office has issued an alert of e. coli contamination in the city water in Park Rapids. Fecal coliform or e. coli bacteria were found in the city water supply Friday, according to a news release from the Sheriff's Office. These bacteria can make people sick and are of particular concern for people with weakened immune systems. The Sheriff's Office warns residents not to drink the water without boiling it first. To decontaminate the water, bring it to a boil, let it boil for one minute, and let it cool before using. Residents can also use bottled water.