Bison herd doing well in new surroundings: Tim Krohn of the Mankato Free Press reports the 11 bison brought to Minneopa State Park one month ago are adapting well to their new surroundings, although park visitors aren’t adapting as well. Kathy Dummer, regional manager with the Department of Natural Resources, has put up copious reminders that visitors “can’t get out of their vehicles inside the range, which some have done, and that they certainly can’t get out of their vehicles with their dog, which has happened at least once. (Bison have an aversion to wolf-like looking animals),” Krohn writes. Dummer says as many as 120 vehicles per day come to the park to see the bison.
B&G Foods finishes acquisition of Green Giant and Le Sueur brands: Suzy Rook of the Le Sueur News-Herald reports that B&G Foods has completed the acquisition of the iconic Green Giant and Le Sueur brands from General Mills for $765 million in cash plus an inventory adjustment of approximately $58 million. Ramkumar Iyer of Reuters says the deal allows General Mills to shed two divisions that have seen slow growth as a result of the nation’s emphasis on fresh vegetables, while B&G gets an entrée into the frozen foods market. B&G plans to double Green Giant’s marketing budget. B&G sells Vermont Maid syrups, Pirate’s Booty popcorn and Cream of Wheat breakfast porridge mixes, Iyer writes.
New RCTC official has a past: Jay Furst of the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports that Anthony Brown, “Rochester Community and Technical College’s new interim vice president for student affairs, was at the center of a controversy two years ago that brought down a North Carolina state university chancellor and also led to his own resignation.” In 2013, when Brown was vice chancellor of student affairs at Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, N.C., a student reported to campus police that a man had attempted to assault her three times in her dorm room over three months. When campus police appeared not to investigate, the woman went to city police. In their probe, police and the North Carolina Bureau of Criminal Investigation found campus police had failed to investigate or inform officials of about 125 criminal incidents, including more than a dozen sexual assault reports. The campus police chief resigned in May, 2013, followed by the university chancellor. In August, 2013, the interim chancellor announced Brown’s retirement. Prior to coming to RCTC, Brown was interim vice president for student support services at Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, N.C. RCTC President Leslie McClellon said she was aware of some of the Elizabeth City findings, but not all. “Some of these things are just not uncommon on college or university campuses when you’re dealing with a large number of investigations. This isn’t something that was of great concern,” McClellon said.
Austin man’s death ruled a homicide: The Austin Daily Herald reports that Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi will investigate a body found in the Cedar River along Highway 105 Sunday as a homicide. The victim, David Allen Madison, 39, of rural Austin, was found at about 11:30 a.m. Sunday, about halfway between County Road 4 and County Road 5 on the east side of Hwy 105, by three people heading to a fishing spot. He was 10 feet from shore in about 3 feet of water, fully clothed, and appears to have been in the water at least overnight, the newspaper reports. Deputies do not know if Madison was killed at the river or if he was placed there later, and they do not have any suspects.
Anhydrous ammonia leaks force evacuations, close I-90: The Austin Daily Herald also reports that homes were evacuated and Interstate 90 was shut down for several hours Monday night because of separate anhydrous ammonia leaks. “Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi confirmed two 1,000 gallon anhydrous ammonia tanks leaked from burst hoses — one while being towed by a farmer and the second about two miles away at a grain elevator on County Road 7 south of Elkton sometime before 5 p.m.” Law officials cordoned off a one-mile perimeter around Elkton and evacuated an unspecified number of homes. Winds then pushed the cloud toward I-90, forcing the closure until it could dissipate at about 9:30 p.m. Anhydrous ammonia is used in fertilizer and is toxic. Several firefighters and a deputy sustained minor injuries when the cloud unexpectedly changed direction. No other injuries were reported. Exposure to gaseous anhydrous ammonia can result in lung damage and death.
Deer hunt in Owatonna parks begins: William Morris of the Owatonna People’s Press reports that the city’s second annual archery deer hunt began Sunday and will last through Dec. 20. Hunters can use elevated stands at least 100 feet from park trails or amenities and at least 150 feet from inhabited structures in eight city parks. Officials ask hunters to report each deer they see so they can get an accurate count. Officials also remind park visitors to keep their dogs on a leash while the hunt continues.
Lake Superior water level drops: John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune reports that although the water level in Lake Superior dropped more than usual in October, it still remains above average, according to the International Lake Superior Board of Control. The water level dropped 3.5 inches in October, a month it usually drops one inch. The lake now sits 4 inches above its normal level for Nov. 1 but 5 inches below the level at this time last year.
No ethics violations found for Houston County planning committee chair: Craig Moorhead reports in the Winona Daily News that “the Houston County Board of Commissioners has absolved planning commission chairman Dan Griffin of ethical public policy violations alleged by a group of local citizens,” he wrote. Families Resisting Energy Extraction filed the complaint in September alleging a variety of ethical lapses. Griffin requested the open session to rebut each allegation. “Because I and the majority of the planning commission disagree with a group of individuals in this county regarding frac sand regulations, I have been subjected to a barrage of personal attacks in public hearings and in letters to newspapers. I’ve been accused of being corrupt, dishonest (and) wanting my own frac sand mine. I’ve had profanities yelled at me in the halls of the courthouse.”
TV personality offers $10,000 reward to find missing Redby woman: The Bemidji Pioneer reports that reality TV personality Duane “Dog” Chapman has offered a $10,000 reward in the case of a missing Redby woman. Rose Downwind, 31, was last seen in Bemidji on Oct. 21 wearing a blue sweater and black pants and may have gotten into a blue vehicle. She is described as a light-skinned American Indian, 5-foot-4 and 115 pounds with long, straight dark hair. Downwind is the granddaughter of Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement. Banks said Chapman, a bounty hunter best known for his television series “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” offered to put up $10,000 of his own money for any information leading to Downwind’s location and safe return. People can email email@example.com A Facebook page has been created — Help Find Rose Downwind — and anyone with information can call the Bemidji Police Department at 218-333-9111.
Students turn plow blades into works of art: Brittney Neset of the Northfield News reports that students at St. Dominic School have spent the last four years painting Northfield’s snow plow blades with replicas of traditional works of art and book illustrations. The idea came from Northfield streets and parks supervisor T.J. Heinricy after he saw another city doing the same. St. Dominic School art and technology teacher Kelly Lynn Stanton-Nutt, said students have painted 12 blades so far, “and if they had more plows, we’d do them. The kids love it.” Students in grades four, five, six and eight collaborate on the paintings.
Iconic bait shop for sale: Tom Cherveny of the West Central Tribune reports that Brad Foshaug is looking to sell Brad’s 71 Bait and Sports on Eagle Lake after 15 years. The shop on U.S. Highway 71, which opened “sometime around 1960,” Cherveny writes, “has been an iconic symbol of the Willmar area hunting and fishing tradition since it opened.” About a year ago, Foshaug, 59, was diagnosed with an extremely rare cancer in his bone marrow. It’s so rare that doctors tell him he is probably one of only 10 in the country diagnosed with it. Doctors say he needs to pace himself and spend less time on his feet. “I’ve gotten better. I’m holding my own,’’ Foshaug said, but operating a business devoted to hunting and fishing takes a commitment. “I still enjoy coming to work. I love it. I still love it,’’ he said. “I’m going to miss the people so much,’’ he said.