More than 100 people gathered at a cemetery in Winona Monday for the burial of U.S. Army veteran Richard Rhodes, 73, who was found dead in his apartment Dec. 16, alone and unnoticed, writes Jerome Christianson of the Winona Daily News. After Rhodes died and no one claimed his remains, Hoff funeral director Brittany Horton arranged a graveside service, contacted area veterans organizations to arrange for a military Honor Guard and worked to make sure his burial would at least not be a lonely affair. Her kindness was rewarded when more than 100 veterans and citizens showed up for the burial.
Gov. Mark Dayton is answering the call of the pheasant, which needs more and better habitat in order to thrive, writes Brad Phenow of the Faribault Daily News. Dayton said he’ll ask the Legislature to require a 50-foot buffer along most streams, lakes and wetlands to boost Minnesota’s struggling pheasant population. In Rice County, Commissioner Jeff Docken said the DNR is already too powerful and should enforce existing buffers rather than adding to existing laws.
A new statewide study by the nonprofit MN Community Measurement shows that the cost of health care in Northeast Minnesota is higher than it is in other areas of the state, writes John Lundy of the Duluth News Tribune. The average cost for a month of care at Essentia Health clinics in Northeastern Minnesota is more than $80 above the average cost at St. Luke’s hospital clinics, but all 11 Northeastern Minnesota clinics listed in the report charge more than the statewide average. Why? No one really knows, but officials at both organizations swear they are working to bring costs down.
Although the Diocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has declared bankruptcy under the weight of church sex abuse, the Diocese of Winona, under the same weight, has no plans to file for bankruptcy protection, writes Brett Boese of the Rochester Post Bulletin. Diocese spokesman John Hennessy said Archbishop Nienstedt’s news won’t affect the local organization.
The Associated Press, via the St. Cloud Daily Times, reports that thousands of young turkeys died in a fire at a barn owned by Jennie-O, a producer in Todd County. About 19,000 4-week-old turkeys died in the fire.
WE Fest, that venerable Detroit Lakes institution, added a few names to its summer extravaganza, writes the Forum News Service via the West Central Tribune. Tyler Farr, The Swon Brothers and Jackson Michelson will join headliners Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert at the Aug. 6, 7 and 8 concerts at the Soo Pass Ranch near Detroit Lakes.
Frozen septic systems are bedeviling the northland, writes Renee Richardson of the Brainerd Dispatch. Honey Wagon owner Tony Fyle recommends leaving a trickle of water at all times to keep the frost away, and also suggested seasonal owners who check on their houses should just wait until spring to worry about overflowing septic tanks. Going up now and starting the water will just cause a mess, he said.
Speaking of winter in Minnesota, it was a busy weekend for first responders and ice. Emergency crews had to rescue people after their boat cracked through the ice on Leech Lake, reports the Bemidji Pioneer. Cass County Sheriff’s Deputies and the Walker Fire Department had to use a hovercraft to rescue four people from an SUV that had submerged so that only the rear of the vehicle was exposed.
The Fergus Falls Journal reports that police had to rescue a man who had driven his vehicle into Otter Tail Lake Saturday night. Fergus Falls resident Taylor Ray Perala Perala was arrested for DWI.
Lake Ida was the scene of a similar incident, reports the Fergus Falls Journal. The driver of the vehicle and his 16-year-old daughter were in the vehicle when it broke through. They were able to exit the vehicle and make it to solid ice without injury.
Here’s a headline that grabs your attention: “Burger King: Home of the Whopper and bus stop.” The story is by Sarah Stultz of the Albert Lea Tribune. The Jefferson Lines bus stop in Albert Lea has moved to Burger King, according to a news release from the company, instead of at Ole’s Eastside Shell ,where it had stopped for the past 16 years. The move came about after Casey’s General Store purchased Ole’s Eastside Shell in December.
How much is Oprah’s stamp of approval worth? About a 1,000 percent jump in sales, apparently. The Winona Daily Tribune reports that, after being recognized last Christmas as one of Oprah’s favorite things, Annie B’s caramels, made in Kellogg, Minn., saw a 972 percent jump in online sales from one year ago. “Our website sales were pretty amazing,” Amanda Henke said.