Here’s a story that takes up a lot of space in the newspaper, but really you only need to read the headline and first couple of sentences to slake your curiosity. Dan Linehan of the Mankato Free Press has his byline under a story headlined “Bikini parade raises eyebrows in Madison Lake.” Right there you know about half of everything you need to know about this story. Here is some of the rest: Cynthia Frederick, owner of the Electric Beach tanning salon in Mankato, wants to gather several hundred women to march in the World’s Largest Bikini Parade as an entry in Madison Lake’s July 28 Paddlefish Days parade. She hopes to break the world record of 450 bikini-clad marchers in a parade. The City Council doesn’t think the entry fits the family image of the parade, and they not only have a beef with the skin, they also disagree with the charity: the Breast Cancer Natural Prevention Foundation, which advocates cancer prevention through sun exposure and higher vitamin D levels. However, the council can’t ban specific parade entries. Why Madison Lake? Frederick thought July 28 sounded like a good date. She’s also inviting national media to cover the parade. Some may already be in the area to cover Vikings training camp, which starts July 26.
It’s hot. You know that. Every media outlet is hitting every angle of the story. For what it’s worth, here’s one more: Fargo is in the midst of its warmest calendar year on record and Grand Forks is posting its second-warmest average daily temperature, the National Weather Service reported Monday. Ryan Johnson of the Grand Fork Herald reports that the entire Red River Valley has seen temperatures 2 to 4 degrees above normal for the past month. Since Jan. 1, the region has averaged 6 to 8 degrees above normal. The current outlook is for above-normal temperatures in August, but an El Nino system that could develop late this summer could lead to cooler, wetter weather for the valley.
Back down in Mankato, the economy is warming up. Tim Krohn of the Free Press writes that in the first six months of the year, housing sales in the Mankato-North Mankato area rose 13 percent compared to the same period in 2011. The median sales prices rose slightly from $150,000 last year to $155,000 this year. Housing inventory is down. But some Realtors predict a flood of new foreclosures that will upset the supply-and-demand balance. New housing starts jumped 74 percent compared to the first five months last year. Residential building permits are up 32 percent over the same period. Krohn also reports that vehicle sales are up, sales tax collections were solid and more people were eating out. The number of people filing for initial unemployment claims fell by 24 percent. The number of non-farm jobs held steady in June.
It’s actually kind of surprising this doesn’t happen more often. Two traveling magazine salesmen were plying their trade in the 300 block of 17th Avenue North in St. Cloud last Friday evening. When a 29-year-old man at one residence declined to buy their magazines, police say 21-year-old Shane Lee Timmerman of Iowa and Angel Israel Andrade, 18, of California kicked the door open and attacked the homeowner, according to a report in the St. Cloud Daily Times. Neighbors heard yelling and restrained the suspects until police arrived. The homeowner had minor injuries that did not require treatment. Timmerman and Andrade are in Stearns County Jail waiting for expected first-degree burglary charges.
I want these guys on my team when the revolution comes. Duane Oftedahl and Jamie Brandt of New Ulm will participate in the 24-hour, 10- to 12-mile world championship Tough Mudder obstacle race based on British Special Forces training. Josh Moniz of the New Ulm Journal quoted Oftedahl, who has served as combat medic, saying 5Ks and Warrior Runs weren’t challenging enough. While most of the Tough Mudder course remains secret until the race, a common portion of the race is created by bulldozing a path through the forest and mining it with wires carrying 10,000 volts. Oftedahl said the 30 cuts he received from shrubbery and the linebacker-like intensity of hitting a 10,000-volt wire made a previous race very difficult. Racers run the course repeatedly for 24 hours without quitting or being disqualified for medical reasons. The winner completes the most laps. The 2011 winner completed six laps. Oftedahl is training by running three to four miles in the morning and 10 to 12 miles in the evening, punctuated each mile with an intense muscle workout until he’s exhausted. He then runs the next mile and repeats.
If voters in the United South Central School District approve an Aug. 14 referendum for a new school, Internet and telecommunications provider Bevcomm has pledged $100,000 for technology upgrades at the school, reports Kelly Lageson of the Albert Lea Tribune. Bevcomm CEO Bill Eckles said the company, which services south and southwestern Minnesota, wants to make sure there’s an educated work force. He said having newer technology and a new school building would attract new families and businesses to the area. The current school building is one of the oldest in the state. Voters will be asked to approve $28.825 million for the new school.