Despite the events surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline, the builders of Minnesota’s own pipeline that runs from Edmonton, Alberta, to Superior, Wisconsin, are certain it will be competed. John Hageman of the Grand Forks Herald reports that Enbridge Energy Partners is confident that it will be able to replace the aging 1,097-mile pipeline that, when refurbished, will nearly double the line’s capacity to 760,000 barrels per day. Despite the challenges faced by the Dakota Access Pipeline and Enbridge’s own Sandpiper pipeline, Paul Eberth, project director for Enbridge, said, “in our case, if a stakeholder is significantly opposed to our project, our response will be to increase the engagement to see if we can’t reach a mutually agreeable solution.”
Last week we reported on a marked increase in the number of patients at Moorhead’s Planned Parenthood clinic in the wake of Donald Trump’s election victory. Tim Krohn of the Mankato Free Press reports that the Mankato clinic has seen a 150 percent increase in people asking for appointments. Connie Lewis, an executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, said there are nearly double the number of women making appointments for longer-term birth control such as IUDs or implants. “… it seems since the election women are concerned they may lose the benefits they have for getting birth control through their insurance coverage or through Medicaid,” she said.
Down in Austin, the city’s new Spam Museum greeted its 100,000th visitor last week. The Austin Daily Herald notes that Bonnie Johnson of Austin received blue and yellow balloons from Spam mascot Sir Can-A-Lot as well as a gift basket with the 15 varieties of Spam products and other Spam swag. Hormel Foods and the Spam brand are also donating 200 cans of Spam to the local Salvation Army. The new museum opened in downtown Austin on April 22 and officials hope to hit the 125,000 mark by the first anniversary.
Looking for a quiet weekend in Duluth? You might have to wait a while. The Duluth News Tribune reports the Minnesota National Guard’s 148th Fighter Wing will be conducting night-flying training through Dec. 15. “Local residents will hear F-16s taking off and landing during the afternoon and evening,” the unit announced, although they plan to have their jets on the ground by 10:30 p.m.
A Moorhead woman has been sentenced to 15 days in jail after being accused of taking a group of children she was baby-sitting to a swimming pool when she was intoxicated. The Fargo Forum reports that Chelsea M. Gapp, 23, was also sentenced to pay more than $500 in fines and fees. A preliminary breath test taken during the July incident indicated Gapp had a blood-alcohol level of 0.252 percent, more than three times the legal driving limit, according to the complaint. She was baby-sitting six children from two families from ages 2 to 10 years old.
Experian’s State of Credit report has anointed Mankato area residents the best credit in the nation for the third consecutive year. Kristine Goodrich of the Free Press writes that the report looks at millions of credit scores and factors that contribute to credit scores in over 100 metropolitan areas in the U.S. Mankato had an average score of 708, while the nation’s average score was 673. The Rochester area also had a 708 average but was ranked No. 2 on the report. Experian public relations officials didn’t respond to requests to explain how the ranking is decided in the event of a tie. Perhaps the tie went to Mankato because it took the crown the prior two years. Rochester was No. 1 and Mankato was No. 2 in 2013.
Cold weather leads to cold thefts. Someone stole the top 12 feet off a 30-foot pine tree in Martin Running’s yard last week. Lisa Kacke of the Duluth News Tribune writes, “It looked like there was just something wrong out there,” he said. He planted the tree in his yard about 20 years ago. He estimates that the top 12 feet was cut off, adding, “All I can really say is, I hope they really needed it.”
Stephanie McLain of the Natural Resources Conservation Service office in Worthington helped farmers celebrate World Soil Day last week by showing examples of good soil and bad soil. Julie Buntjer of the Worthington Daily Globe reports that World Soil Day each year helps raise awareness of the critical importance of soils. Many farmers did heavy tillage this fall to counteract soil compaction. Minnesota’s soils have long been known for having high levels of organic matter. McLain said building organic matter back up in the soil isn’t going to happen overnight. It was lost over a period of 150 years, and will take a long time — and the willingness of farmers — to improve the health of their soil.
On the same day that Sioux Falls building collapse victim Emily Fodness was released from the hospital, the third of her three missing dogs was found in the wreckage of the 100-year-old building. Barry Amundson in the West Central Tribune reports that the building collapsed Friday morning as workers were refurbishing the former Copper Lounge building into a new Lewis Drug store. Construction worker Ethan McMahon died in the accident. Fodness lived in an upstairs apartment with a husky and a beagle who were recovered during rescue attempts on Friday. Her third dog, another beagle, was found Sunday underneath a mattress in the rubble.