The Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona received the rump cousin of one of America’s most iconic pieces of art, Emanuel Leutze’s “Washington Crossing the Delaware.” Marcia Ratliff of the Winona Daily News tells the story: As is common in the art world, before he painted the famous 12-foot by 21-foot version of Washington’s triumph in the Revolutionary War, Leutze did a trial run on a smaller canvas. That’s the one that now hangs in the Winona museum. Both were painted by the German master, and both were finished in the same year: 1851. The big version now hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The smaller one went through a series of private collections before landing in Winona, where folks are agog: “This picture says everything about the United States of America,” museum partner Mary Burrichter said. “It says liberty, independence, and freedom.”
Speaking of ships and icy bodies of water, the shipping season has begun out of the Twin Ports, reports John Lundy of the Duluth News Tribune. The freighter John G. Munson blasted into Lake Superior Monday evening hauling a load of taconite for Gary, Indiana. Hot on its heels was the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alder, which will carve a path through the ice so the Munson can get through the locks at Sault Ste. Marie. A second vessel, the Mesabi Miner, headed north Monday for Taconite Harbor with a load of coal.
Like many cities and schools across the nation, Austin officials are trying to figure out what to do about e-cigarettes, writes Jenae Hackensmith of the Austin Daily Herald. The one-hit vaporizers are becoming exceptionally popular, especially among students because they’re easy to hide, don’t give off the noxious aroma of traditional tobacco, and they come in fruit flavors. Unfortunately, there’s no proof that e-cigarettes stop anyone from using traditional tobacco, and the ingredients include more than 10 carcinogens. Last week, the Austin City Council voted to ban e-cigarettes in public places like bars and restaurants, a stance that is tougher than the state’s rules. Police and health officials hope the school board follows suit.
Gov. Mark Dayton has put forward the idea to require a 50-foot buffer around any body of water that “has a bed and a bank with flowing water during the majority of the growing season,” reports Kim Hyatt of the Blooming Prairie Leader. But before Dayton and lawmakers make any decisions, they want to hear from people who live in such areas. That’s why Rep. Peggy Bennett, R-Albert Lea, conducted a listening session with more than 80 people at the Blooming Prairie City Center last Saturday. The bill is now in the House of Representatives and if passed, buffers would need to be in place by September 2016.
In Clarkfield, Tom Cherveny of the West Central Tribune writes that Council Member Scott Vold’s request for a restraining order against Mayor Albert Gates has been granted, so Gates missed the last meeting and will continue to do so until the restraining order is lifted on June 6. At a City Council meeting, the mayor threatened to “come across the table if I didn’t answer as he wished,’’ stated Vold, 49, in court documents. The threat allegedly “followed a three-hour discussion on proposed wage increases for city employees. The council members were disagreeing over a longevity pay increase for the city librarian,” Cherveny writes. Gates thought Vold said something disparaging about the librarian, and he responded with language that was descriptive in both tone and intent.
Here’s a bummer of a situation and no one seems to know what to do about it. Peter Passi of the Duluth News Tribune writes that East Fourth Street is in a state of tremendous disrepair. To fix the road properly, the city needs to dig up the road, replace the ancient pipes underneath and rebuild the entire road. Good deal for the people who use that road, eh? Not so fast. Fixing the road will require cutting down about 200 mature shade trees, mostly silver maples. Concerned citizens turned to the City Council for help, but the councilors voted 8-1 for the project.
If the roads aren’t bad enough in shady Duluth, things are going to get nasty this summer near Detroit Lakes as road construction goes into high gear, reports Paula Quam of the Forum News Service. The heavily travelled Highway 10 will be resurfaced and new entrance lanes to the frontage roads and the big box stores that exist there will be built. The project will require many lane closures, flagmen and lane shifts. Meanwhile, planners want to build a bridge over Highway 10 so drivers on Highway 59 can access the big box stores without having to turn on to Highway 10.
A man is suing two Moorhead police officers for punching him – hard – in the testicles during an arrest stop on Feb. 23, writes Adrian Glass-Moore of the Fargo Forum. While nothing can be seen on the officer’s dash-cam, the audio is fairly clear. The suspect, Marcus Hemsworth, is handcuffed and telling the officers they are hurting him as they are putting him in the back of their prowler. That’s when Hemsworth says Officer Toby Krone punched him three times in the testicles while Officer Brandon Desautel looked on. Hemsworth was booked in jail and is serving a 58-month sentence in a Moose Lake prison on a drug charge, Glass-Moore writes. Hemsworth says the punches to his testicles caused prolonged pain and “emotional distress, shame, humiliation, and embarrassment.”