Move over zebra mussels and Asian carp, there’s a new player in town. John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune has the details : “Another invasive species has reached the most-wanted list for eradication in the Northland. This time it’s Japanese knotweed — Polygonum cuspidatum — often referred to as ‘bamboo.’ The plant actually is an Asian member of the buckwheat family, but its tall (10 feet and higher), cane-like stems make it look and feel like real bamboo. The knotweed recently has been found growing in backyards and wooded parks in Duluth … The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says Japanese knotweed is spreading from Maine to Minnesota and as far south as Louisiana. The DNR calls it a “significant threat,” especially near water such as streams, lakes and wetlands, where it can survive high water and floods and spread before native species recover. The invader tolerates full shade, high temperatures, high salinity and drought.”
This isn’t a Minnesota story – yet: West Nile virus has been found in birds in Grand Forks, reports the Grand Forks Herald. “A bird from Grand Forks has been positively identified as having West Nile virus. The Grand Forks Health Department is urging residents to take extra precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. … When a mosquito feeds on an infected bird, it can pick up the virus and transmit it to other non-infected birds. Occasionally, infective mosquitoes will feed on mammals such as horses, dogs, cats, and humans, and transmit the virus to them. Most people infected with the West Nile virus do not develop symptoms. Sometimes, mild illness results 1 to 2 weeks after exposure with symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph nodes. Less than one percent of infected people may develop a serious illness that includes encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). These persons might experience headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, convulsions, and muscle weakness. Infection may prove fatal, especially among the elderly, in a small number of those who develop encephalitis. West Nile virus is not transmitted directly from birds to humans.”
If the wind in Moorhead blows just right, the sewage lift stations have a certain stink to them, writes Erik Burgess of the Fargo Forum. “It makes me almost puke,” Kari Plienis says of the ‘sour smell’ that emanates from the sewage lift station near the corner of 15th Avenue and 11th Street North, less than a block from her home. Last Monday, City Council members discussed spending up to $1.5 million on as many as three new buildings designed to curb the rotten-egg stink caused by hydrogen sulfide gas, and prevent corrosion of the city’s wastewater pipes. The buildings would be injection sites to drop into the city’s sewers ferrous chloride, which prevents hydrogen sulfide gas from entering the atmosphere. The chemicals alone would cost about $228,000 per year, said City Engineer Bob Zimmerman. It could be paid for with bonds backed by increasing wastewater rates over the next few years. Plienis thinks it would be money well spent. Her neighbor Faith Olsen agrees, arguing that the odor hurts property values in her neighborhood. ‘If (the smell) doesn’t appeal to people, they’re not going to want to live here,’ Olsen said.”
A Rochester Post-Bulletin reporter with the improbable name Kay Fate writes about how a passer-by foiled the robbery of a man in a wheelchair Thursday. According to police, “about 5 p.m. the man made a cash withdrawal from the Wells Fargo bank on East Center Street. As he headed west on Center Street, two males in their late teens allegedly blocked the sidewalk and demanded money. When the man refused, one of the suspects began to go through the victim’s belongings, the report says. A passer-by stopped the men, telling them they wouldn’t get any money from the victim, said Capt. John Sherwin. The suspects then ran off, the report says.”
Despite a snowy spring and a rainy summer, including another inch and a half of rain last Saturday, Mankato is going to continue its ban on watering, writes Mark Fischenich of the Freep. City leaders will keep the “even-odd watering rules prompted partly by concern that last year’s severe drought would return this year, but the shut-down of a city well for repairs was a larger factor. Mankato Well No. 14 … is back on line, but City Manager Pat Hentges wants to keep the watering restrictions in place for the foreseeable future for conservation reasons. Hentges also wants to see if the restrictions — which prohibit the use of lawn and garden sprinklers at even-numbered addresses on odd-numbered days of the month, and vice versa — will equalize water demand and reduce the surge in water pumping required on some sultry summer days. … The preference is to rely primarily on the city’s shallow wells, which draw water from about 35 feet below the bed of the Minnesota and Blue Earth rivers. When demand is high, there’s more reliance required on deep-aquifer wells, like Well No. 14. ‘I think Minnesota is really recognizing that that water is a precious resource,’ Hentges said.”
That’s $16,000 to the good for the Worthington Police Department, writes Alyson Buschena of the Worthington Daily Globe. The windfall comes after $80,000 was confiscated during a drug investigation. Here’s the scoop: “Worthington Police Sergeant Brett Wiltrout (said) police received a call from [a federal agency] about a year ago, advising officers to be on the lookout for a red Volkswagen station wagon in connection with a drug investigation. On June 6, 2012, Wiltrout stopped a vehicle at Minnesota 60 and Interstate 90 being driven by an Arizona female that matched the description … . Wiltrout conducted a vehicle search that did not reveal any drugs or drug-related material. ‘So we brought the K-9, Thor, around the vehicle, and he positively indicated that there was an odor of narcotics coming from the vehicle,’ Wiltrout said. With the assistance of the Minnesota State Patrol and the Nobles County Sheriff’s Department, a more intense search was conducted, and $80,000 in cash wrapped in black electrical tape was found. … the department intends to use its share to buy a new four-wheel-drive vehicle.
Elgene Wayne Mahn, 58, of Atwater, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of DUI. He has been convicted 10 times of the offense since 1974, with recent convictions in April 2007, November 2007 and December 2010, according to the West Central Tribune in Willmar. At his first appearance Monday, he was charged with felony driving while impaired for allegedly attempting to drive a vehicle Saturday in Spicer while he was intoxicated. Unconditional bail was set at $90,000. His next appearance is Aug. 8. Mahn also faces a gross misdemeanor charge of driving after cancellation – inimical to public safety and a misdemeanor charge of open bottle. According to the complaint, a Kandiyohi County sheriff’s deputy was called around 5:20 p.m. Saturday to Salisbury Beach in Spicer regarding an intoxicated person attempting to drive a vehicle. The deputy found Mahn in the driver’s seat of the vehicle and the keys lying on the floorboard. A preliminary breath test showed a blood-alcohol content of 0.27 percent. The legal limit for driving is 0.08. Officers also found an open bottle of vodka in the vehicle, according to the report.