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Scientists confirm rogue waves on Lake Superior

ALSO: North Waseca Lutheran Church Lutefisk Dinner a success; study analyzes health gaps between counties; records outline Austin murder; and more.

Time for a new verse, Mr. Lightfoot: John Myers at the Duluth News Tribune reports that “scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have confirmed the phenomenon of rogue waves on Lake Superior — waves double the size of others at the same time and which have been named as a potential cause of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Professor Chin Wu and research assistant Josh Anderson are studying rogue waves in the Apostle Islands area where they observed waves as high as 17.7 feet when the other waves at the time averaged only 8.9 feet.”

The uninitiated may think it stinks, but the initiated love it: Suzy Rook at the Waseca County News reports that, despite the fact that some turn up their noses at the delicacy, the 30th anniversary of the North Waseca Lutheran Church’s Lutefisk Dinner was a sell-out success. The dinner included lutefisk, lefse, mashed potatoes with gravy, mixed vegetables, Swedish meatballs, cole slaw, beverages and Norwegian desserts. Jan and Lowell Wadd said at least 120 diners from over 20 cities outside Waseca attended, including patrons from Zumbrota, New Ulm and Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

The haves live longer than the have-nots: John Lundy of the Duluth News Tribune reports that a new study shows “thousands of premature deaths could be avoided annually in Minnesota and Wisconsin if their healthiest counties were emulated statewide.” Of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute’s report the article says, “If all Minnesotans were as well off in terms of health as residents of the top 10 percent of Minnesota’s counties, the report claims 122,000 fewer adults would smoke, 60,000 fewer adults would be obese, and 147,000 fewer adults would drink excessively. … 9 percent of traffic deaths involved alcohol in the best counties, compared with 60 percent in the worst. The average for the best U.S. counties is 14 percent.” 

David Madison told people that Michael Francis McIntosh wanted to harm him: Jenae Hackensmith and Jason Schoonover of the Austin Daily Herald report that newly released court documents show “tension between the men (stemming) from Madison sleeping with McIntosh’s girlfriend while McIntosh was in jail for prior charges. McIntosh, 37, was charged Monday with second-degree intentional murder in the killing of the 39-year-old Madison, whose body was found Nov. 1 in the Cedar River along Highway 105 south of Austin.”

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The restocking (reflocking?) of chicken and turkey farms can commence: The Associated Press reports that “commercial chicken and turkey farms that were infected by the bird flu have been cleared to restock. … No new cases have been reported since June 17, when the last Iowa farm said chickens were dying from the H5N2 virus. However, wild birds’ southern migration has been delayed by a warmer fall, so officials still need about a month to assure farmers there were no recurrences. … Turkey farms should be restocked by mid-December but egg farms will continue introducing new hens next year and into 2017, industry officials said.

Big gross nets small profit: Ashley Stewart of the Owatonna People’s Press reports that the 2015 Steele County Free Fair “saw a gross profit of $1,165,791, which is a 4 percent increase from 2014 and makes it the highest grossing year in the fair’s 97-year history. However, a decrease in several fair revenues and an increase in some expenses left the fair with a net profit of just $5,755. ‘We didn’t lose money. We didn’t make a lot of money, but with two and a half days of rain, I think we did OK,’ said Tim Arlt, Steele County Fair Board treasurer.”

It’s good to get a fresh tiger once in a while: Megan Carson of the Duluth News Tribune reports that the Lake Superior Zoo is sending off its Amur tiger, Ussuri. “He will be transported to the Riverside Discovery Center in Scottsbluff, Neb., to participate in a breeding program. There, he will be paired with Nika, an 11-year-old female tiger, to help further the species. In exchange for Ussuri, the Lake Superior Zoo will be giving a warm welcome to Lana, Nika’s sister. Lana was born at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley in 2004 and transferred to Scottsbluff four years later. She is expected to arrive sometime next week.”

The saint of self-control Jim Morrison said it best: Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel: Sam Wilmes of the Albert Lea Tribune bears a warning from Freeborn County Sheriff Kurt Freitag – to avoid car-deer collisions, “Pay attention, don’t watch just the roadway. Watch the ditches as well. Be aware of the environment you are driving in.” Freitag says combines scare the deer out of the fields and into the road, and deer-car collisions “happen on an everyday basis this time of year.” If Jim Morrison were commenting on this issue, he might say that for deer “the future’s uncertain and the end is always near.”

Bears spotted near school in Thief River Falls: The Forum News Service reports that a mother bear and her cubs have been spotted near Challenger Elementary School in Thief River Falls. “Officers have not had to tangle with the bears, but children were held inside for recess as a precaution Wednesday, Police Chief Dick Wittenberg said. … Bear sightings around Thief River Falls are not unusual, with a number of reports coming in over the summer and fall, Wittenberg said. Bears are normally close to or are hibernating by this time of year, but the mild weather and presence of food has kept them active longer than usual.”

Tough decisions ahead for Solon Springs: Emily Kram of the Duluth News Tribune reports on attempts to keep the small school in Solon Springs viable. The 259-student school is a focal point for the community. “At sporting events, almost everyone in town can be spotted in the bleachers, (fourth-grade teacher Donna) Smith said. When students put on a production of ‘The Music Man’ recently, community members were not only in the audience but also on stage helping out. …  For the past decade the school district has watched its funding dwindle. The district’s expenses now exceed its revenue, and it will run out of money in 2019 unless action is taken. The Solon Springs School Board is discussing final details for a referendum to exceed the revenue cap, but it has yet to decide whether it will be on a recurring or nonrecurring basis.” The board is having listening sessions to decide on a course of action leading to an April 5 referendum.