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Minnesota River water quality improves

Water quality in the Minnesota River continues to improve.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) says water quality in the Minnesota River continues to improve, reports Fritz Busch of the New Ulm Journal. Tests conducted in August found improvements in oxygen, phosphorus and chlorophyll during low flow, according to the MPCA. The results showed improved dissolved oxygen levels supporting fish and other aquatic life even during stressful conditions. The MPCA linked positive results to the effectiveness of its 2004 plan to reduce phosphorus that affected wastewater treatment plants along the Minnesota River and its tributaries. Glenn Skuta, MPCA water monitoring manager, said new strategies included avoiding stabilization pond discharges from June through September, upgrading inadequate sewage treatment in 12 cities and improved phosphorus removal in wastewater treatment. Control of river sediment was key, too. MPCA Project Coordinator Larry Gunderson said “best-management practices like perennial vegetation and water storage can help reduce upland sediment.”

Three well-established Albert Lea businesses shuttered their doors within the past month, all for very different reasons, according to the Albert Lea Tribune. Steve and Debbie Tubbs have owned the Lakeside Cafe & Creamery since 1999. Steve Tubbs said they made a tough decision to close the eatery. Doing so allows them to test the market for a tenant moving into the location at 408 Bridge Ave., which has 13,000 square feet, is attached to the Tubbs’ primary business, Ben’s Floral & Frame, and has sidewalk seating with a clear view of Katherine Island and the Fountain Lake fountains. Kari Fjeldberg of Classic Reflections Salon & Spa said she closed last week because her mother is ill, the lease is up, and she wants to place family as her top priority. She  is known as one of the most high profile fans of the Minnesota Vikings in the city. She said she will be taking her skills to Dinah’s Style, 405 E. William St. Gene Jesse, owner of Courtly Manor, 137 S. Broadway, said he decided to close the business because of the streetscape work on Broadway in 2013. The work will make automobile access difficult. Courtly Manor rents and sells tuxedos and gowns, sells bridal dresses and rents costumes. 

For the second year in a row, vandals have hit the Cloquet Ski Club for copper wiring, the Duluth News Tribune reports.  In 2011, they vandalized and stripped copper wiring from the ski-jump lights. This year they dismantled the rope-tow motor — also cutting the electrical wires leading to it — and stole the copper from inside, rendering the 60-year-old motor useless. “It’s sad. They got basically chump change, but it costs us thousands of dollars,” said ski club secretary Darren Rud during registration this week. “The benefit they got from that isn’t even close to what it costs us.”  

The percussionist who became the Mankato area’s gold standard for drummers has died. Jerry Udelhofen, who died Wednesday at 91, made a living as a drummer, his vaunted technique earning him widespread respect and opportunities to perform with jazz greats such as Dave Brubeck and Charlie Byrd, writes Brian Ojanpa of the Mankato Free Press.  “He was considered to be the top of the heap. A lot of drummers would just come to watch Jerry play,” said Jim McGuire of Mankato, who played in bands off and on with Udelhofen for 40 years. “Basically, music was his whole life,” McGuire said of the never-married Udelhofen, who continued to drum until 2008, when health issues silenced his sticks. Mankato music store owner Rod Scheitel said Udelhofen drummed locally with a band into his old age.  “He’d sit back there and you could just see that endorphin-release thing,” Scheitel said. “He became fluid, and he’d be smiling,” Scheitel said. “As he was playing his drums as an older man, he became a younger man.”

From midnight to 6:30 a.m. Thursday morning, Winona patrol officers wrote 362 alternate-side parking tickets — resulting in $9,050 in potential fines for forgetful vehicle owners, according to the Winona Daily News. It was the first night of enforcement for the seasonal ordinance, in effect from Nov. 15 to March 15. Because of changes in the ordinance, the alternate parking season is 30 days shorter but starts each day an hour earlier than previous years. Most of the tickets appeared to have been written near Winona State University. Each alternate-side parking ticket results in a $25 fine to the owner of the tagged vehicle. The ordinance requires that between 12:01 a.m. and 6:30 a.m., vehicles must be parked on the even-numbered side of the street on even-numbered calendar days and on the odd-numbered side on odd-numbered days. Municipal Lot 1 in downtown Winona is open for overnight parking on even-numbered days; Municipal Lot 3 is open on odd-numbered days.

Sales for class rings are on a downward trend, writes Amy Pearson of the Winona Daily News. Dale Komro, a representative of ring vendor Jostens, said two decades ago as many as 65 percent of high school sophomores bought the jewelry. That number now hovers between 20 and 30 percent of students. Winona Senior High School seniors Danny Young and Coral Weinstock are among the growing number of students in recent years who have chosen not to buy rings. “I don’t really know anyone in our grade who has gotten one,” Young said. “I don’t really think people our age are that interested in them. There’s no purpose behind them anymore.” Rather than jewelry, an increasing number of area high-school students are turning to Winhawk sweatshirts, Pirate hats, Rambler jackets and other apparel and accessories bearing mascots and slogans to show their school spirit.  

Employees from Citizens Bank Minnesota in New Ulm kicked off their “Go Local” campaign by “cash mobbing” Retzlaff’s Hardware store Monday afternoon, writes Steve Muscatello of the New Ulm Journal. A cash mob, like a “flash mob,” is designed to help small businesses by organizing a group of people to meet at a local business and spend about $20 each. The location is kept secret until the last minute. The bank also challenged its employees to shop locally for all of their holiday needs with a goal of $200,000 for its 80 employees to spend locally in November and December. Citizens Bank Minnesota will continue to cash mob retail stores and restaurants. For clues on the next cash mob target, follow the bank on its Facebook page.

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