Concordia College in Moorhead had an enrollment average of between 2,700 and 3,000 for the past 20 years, but the enrollment has dropped from 2,626 in 2011 to 2,398 this year. Grace Lyden of the Fargo Forum writes that Concordia officials note there is a statewide trend of smaller freshmen classes – first-year enrollment at all Minnesota higher education institutions is down 21 percent since 2004. They also note that the school’s German Institute was an enrollment driver in the 1990s but was eliminated about 10 years ago. The recession has something to do with it, they say, as does the fact that minorities make up the largest growing segment of freshmen, and Concordia has not marketed itself to minority students very well. The officials hasten to add that the college is well funded and has not cut back on staff, meaning the professor-student ratio is better now than it was several years ago.
John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune got ahold of a report issued by State Farm that says 1 in 88 Minnesotans will hit a deer this year. The report says Minnesotans will collide with 37,549 deer in 2014. That’s the 8th-highest rank in the states – Wisconsin has a 1-85 chance, or 7th in the nation. Hawaiians have the worst odds – 1 in 10,281. Last year, Minnesota ranked 6th and officials say the drop is due to fewer deer. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says the deer harvest peaked in 2003 and has been declining. The buck harvest is down more than 27 percent in the same period.
Sam Cook of the News Tribune reports that raptor watchers on Hawk Ridge counted 6,622 raptors Monday. The numbers peak in mid-September. Here’s what Cook wrote: “On Monday more than 5,500 broadwings were observed, bringing the broadwing season total to 13,385. That’s nowhere near the single-day record for broadwings at Hawk Ridge. On Sept. 15, 2003, nearly 102,000 broadwings coursed over the ridge. Also on Monday, the count included 876 sharp-shinned hawks, 57 bald eagles, 45 American kestrels and numerous other species.Through Monday, this fall’s total hawk count is at 19,331. Counting began in mid-August, and 18,771 hawks have been counted in September so far.”
Carolyn Lange over at the West Central Tribune writes about a new business in Renville County that uses drones to monitor agriculture production. The drones have two cameras and monitor plant growth, weed identification and disease patterns. Early flights help farmers analyze soils, tillage, tile, drainage and residue while later flights show emerged crops, weed observations and nutritional needs of the soil that can be overlaid with other precision agricultural data the farmers may use, like planting data from tractor monitors, fertilizer application, digital tile maps and yields, Lange writes.
A website has named Rochester the second-most livable small or mid-sized city in the U.S., just behind ol’ Madison, Wisconsin, according to a report in the Rochester Post-Bulletin. The web site is Livability.com and the other cities in the top five are Arlington, Virginia; Boulder, Colorado; and Palo Alto, California. The cities in the poll have populations of between 20,000 and 350,000 and were judged using more than 40 data points. The site says Rochester has a vibrant business and arts culture as well as a high average income and low average housing cost. The site warns that fast growth can stall a city’s vibrancy, but Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede says that probably won’t happen and also that it’s a pretty good problem to have.
Here’s one that elicits an “oh my God” response. The Winona Daily News reports that deputies were called to a Kwik Rip where they found “Nathan Jon Barbian, 27, of Minnesota City coming out of a stall in the women’s bathroom with a backpack and a zippered case, according to the department. Deputies entered the bathroom and discovered a drinking straw with one end melted, matches, a broken pair of scissors, a used syringe and drops of blood, according to the department. Barbian admitted he was melting the straws so he could fish used needles out of the sharps container in the bathroom, which he would bleach and then use again, according to the department. While questioning Barbian, deputies noticed anti-theft tags on his clothing, and Barbian admitted that the clothes were stolen, according to the department. He also admitted there was a syringe and other drug paraphernalia in his backpack, and deputies additionally found a capsule in the backpack that contained morphine sulfate, according to the department.”
The Bemidji Pioneer must pay by the word because Crystal Dey wrote a loooooong report on the city dog pound. She talks to Bemidji Police Officer Tom Charboneau, who oversees the pound. The pound is where officers put stray dogs and cats until they are retrieved by their owners or are sloughed off to an animal rescue agency. There are usually one to four or so animals in the pound on any given day. It costs the city about $4,000 a year to run the pound, including food and maintenance. Animal registration fees cover most of the cost.
A businessman wants to open a hydroponic marijuana growth near Bemidji, reports Zach Kayser of the Bemidji Pioneer. Jake Chernugal wants to put “Headwaters Health Center Medical Cannabis Manufacturers” in Bemidji. The pot will be grown and distilled on site into oils and pills and then be distributed by the local MedSave Family Pharmacy, which Chernugal said is owned by his father. One problem: The state prohibits cannabis manufacturing or distribution facilities within 1,000 feet of a public or private school. Leech Lake Head Start operates a facility next door to the proposed indoor cannabis farm on Fifth Street NW. Chernugal said he just learned about this and will figure out a solution.