Litchfield turkey producer is almost back on his feet

Eight months after influenza wiped out his turkey stock, Greg Langmo of Langmo Farms in Meeker County says he is nearly at the number he had before the outbreak. Tom Cherveny of the West Central Tribune reports that the problem the third-generation producer encountered is that the influenza also affected the breeder farms that supply the poults that growers need. And while restocking has taken nearly a year, fixed costs like labor, insurance and taxes have remained the same. The good news is that the new birds are healthy and growing, although growers are apprehensive about the spring waterfowl migration and the potential return of the flu. “We’re starting to gain some traction here,” Langmo said. “In another month or two we should be turning the corner and back up to speed. Then it’s a matter of re-establishing normal cash flows and everything.”

The body of a woman found in Northfield has been identified as Tiffany Louise Smith, 31, who was last seen Friday and was the subject of a search during the weekend. Brad Phenow of the Northfield News reports that Smith was last seen at 5 a.m. Friday. On Sunday, volunteers gathered at the AmericInn Lodge and Suites to distribute missing person fliers around Northfield. The report of the body’s discovery on the 400 block of East Third Street came in at about 3:10 p.m. Sunday. The body had been there for “at least a day,” according to the police department’s release. There were no obvious signs of a struggle or other suspicious activity, police said. An autopsy and toxicology results are pending.

Phenow also reports on a Faribault woman and Lakeville man who are facing meth charges. On Saturday, a Dundas police officer pulled over a vehicle driven by Maria Concepion Renteria, 42, of Faribault, in which Nicholas James Reinhardt, 30, of Lakeville, was a passenger. Reinhardt admitted he was carrying a needle for a friend. Upon searching Reinhardt, the officer found a second needle, which was broken and had white substance on it, a blue band tied around his arm and fresh track marks with dried blood on his skin. Reinhardt had also been holding a napkin containing a small crystal, which field-tested positive for methamphetamine. In the car, the officer also found a brown container with marijuana residue and two glass pipes with residue that tested positive for meth. Renteria reportedly told the officer that she was told earlier in the day from a friend’s friend’s neighbor that someone had borrowed her car and put drugs in her car and “sprinkled M” [methamphetamine] on the passenger floor.

The Winona County board has approved six Amish dog kennels despite stiff opposition from people opposed to kennels as “puppy mills.” Glen Olson of the Winona Daily News reports that five of the kennels were capped at 50 dogs and one, owned by LeRoy Yoder, was dropped from the asked-for 125 dogs and capped at 85. The board also stipulated the kennels undergo mandatory visits from the county, the state Board of Animal Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A veterinarian and a neighbor spoke in favor of the kennels while the board meeting room was packed with opponents, some of whom were from outside the Winona area, Olson writes. Ann Olson, founder and executive director of Animal Folks MN, asked the board to deny the applications or set a temporary moratorium. “It’s about the mass breeding of puppies,” she said. After the vote, several opponents yelled angrily at the board, one to the point of sobbing, Olson reports.

Here’s a headline that grabs your attention: “Woman looks for cat, finds man hiding in bedroom closet.” Kay Fate of the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports that a 65-year-old woman came home from playing bingo Saturday and when her cat didn’t greet her at the door – an unusual occurrence, she told police – she began to search the house. That’s when she found a man later identified as Lazzaria Buchanan, 24, hiding in her spare bedroom. She left the room to call police and he left the room via a window. Tracking him via “distinctive” snow prints, police found the suspect nearby, where he said he had been staying at a nearby apartment since his move from Milwaukee. Nothing was taken from the apartment and the man was charged with trespassing.

Freeborn County Sheriff Kurt Freitag said the department is in the market for a drone. Sam Wilmes of the Albert Lea Tribune quotes Freitag: “We’ve had quite a few situations in the last year alone where if we would have had a drone it would have been a game-changer,” citing searches in London and Twin Lakes. Freitag wants a drone that’s a foot and a half long and a foot and a half wide, can be flown in all weather, has an infrared and a day-use camera, is battery-powered and has a half-hour flight time. Freitag said the drone would be used in searches, disaster surveillance, pursuits and to help other agencies. Despite the $20,000 price tag, the drone is a necessity, he said. “We just have too many uses to not have one,” he said.

A Spicer woman has founded a nonprofit that provides microloans for women in Uganda. Linda Vanderwerf of the West Central Tribune tells the story of Tonya Thimons, 34, who became involved in Uganda five years ago when heard about women who were having trouble getting their lives on track after being widowed. She cofounded Destiny EWO Elderly, Widows and Orphans to provide small loans or simple assistance — a few goats or chickens, a sewing machine and fabric, jewelry-making supplies — to help the women become self-sufficient. With their livestock or small businesses, the women can buy food, maintain their homes and pay children’s school fees. The women repay the loans however they can. “If we give them a couple goats and a couple of chickens, once those start producing, they must give back to us some of the little ones, and we can give them back out to other people,” Thimons said.

It’s a fact: Some haircuts are better than others. Few are as productive as the haircut Sami Hameister received about a year ago from Stephen Woitalewicz — Worthington’s lone male hairdresser. Gretchen O’Donnell of the Worthington Daily Globe writes about how friends suggested the kindergarten teacher go to the stylist for a cut, knowing the two would hit it off. They did. They went to dinner. A few weeks later they went to a concert. Nine months later they were engaged and six months after that they were married, tying the knot on Oct. 16,” writes O’Donnell. “I knew we were going to get married from the day I met him,” Hameister said. 

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