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22January 2022

Never-freezing creek frosts everything

LEWISTON, Minn. – Spring-fed Peterson Creek, which flows from above the Lewiston Sportsmen’s Club gun range, never freezes. Year-round it’s 42 degrees. But it steams on sub-freezing days and frosts the rocks and  rushes on its route along U.S. Highway 14 to Farmers Park, where it joins Garvin Brook on the way  eventually to the Mississippi River at Minnesota City.

Winter froth. At the Arches enclave near Winona County’s Farmers Park. Image: Steve Lunde

21January 2022

Cocaine overdoses caused garage deaths

EYOTA, Min. – Autopsies blamed two deaths at a garage party among friends last week on cocaine. The medical examiner said further tests were under way to determine if additional drugs were involved. The men were at one of their homes and had retreated out to the attached garage to party. A family member found them dazed and called police. Anthony Holzer, 43, was dead. Brandon Mueller, 38, died in a hospital. A third man was hospitalized and then sent home for further recovery. It was possible, the medical examiner said, that a stand-alone drug was also a factor or that something possibly was laced with a powerful synthetic opioid like fentanyl or carfentanil.

Earlier R.I.P.: Tony Holzer

Earlier R.I.P.: Brandon Mueller

21January 2022

College scores

Basketball (men): MSU-Moorhead 74, Winona State 58

Basketball (women): Winona State 77, MSU-Moorhead 66

Gymnastics (women): Winona State 179.25, Hamline 176.975

Hockey (men): Saint Mary’s 4, Hamline 2

Hockey (women): Saint Mary’s 3, Hamline 2

More scores  (more…)

21January 2022

Minnesota prep

Basketball (boys): Lewiston-Altura Cardinals 63, Winina Cotter Ramblers 45

Basketball (boys): Winona Winhawks 65, Rochester Mayo Spartans 55

Basketball (girls): Winona Cotter Ramblers 65, Lewiston-Altura Cardinals 32

Basketball (girls): Rochester Mayo Spartans 60, Winona Winhawks 19

More scores  (more…)

21January 2022

Wisconsin prep

Basketball (boys): Blair-Taylor Wildcats 59, Alma Center Lincoln Hornets 23

Basketball (boys): Melrose-Mindoro Mustangs 58, Alma Rivermen 51

Basketball (boys): Augusta Beavers 70, Independence Indees 45

Basketball (girls): Cochrane-Fountain City Pirates 56, Houston Hurricanes 45

More scores  (more…)

21January 2022

Charges filed in fatal blizzard smuggling

MINNEAPOLIS A Florida man was charged in federal court with human smuggling in a case with four deaths in a blizzard and two cases of serious frostbite. The criminal complaint said that Steve Shand, 47, of Deltona, Florida, planned to pick up a total of 11 India nationals who were trying to cross the Canada border into Minnesota. Only two of the Indians were picked up before border agents caught the van on bypassing the border station on a backroad near the border town of St. Vincent. The others were wandering around all night in a blizzard. Documents in the van showed that Shand had rented it.

Earlier: Blizzard takes four lives at Manitoba border

Shand. Accused as coyote. Van was rented in his name.

21January 2022

High-profile lawyer to lead UW system

MADISON, Wis. – University of Wisconsin system regents unanimously offered the presidency of the state’s public universities to the chief executive of a Milwaukee law firm. Jay Rothman, 62, accepted. Rothman had been recommended by a regents’ search committee that also considered Jim Schmidt, chancellor at UW-Eau Claire, as a finalist. Rothman’s new salary: $550,000. As president he replaces former Governor Tommy Thompson, who will step down in March after two years as interim president.

 Earlier: Wisconsin universities search narrows to two

Closed sessions

The regents’ search committee interviewed the finalists, Rothman and Schmidt, in closed meetings. Edmund Manydeeds III, committee chair, said the committee opted to forgo a public session because of significant public input it received. Even so, why the fait accompli?  Manydeeds did not mention the disastrous 2020 search for a president that resulted in faculty and student protests that forced the regents’ choice, the president of the University of Alaska, to withdraw. To settle the very public mess, regents asked former governor Tommy Thompson to step in as interim president.

Family tradition

Rothman is the son of two UW-Stevens Point alumni. One of his two children earned a degree at UW-Madison. Rothman himself went to Marquette before earning his law degree from Harvard. He joined the law firm of Foley & Lardner in 1986 and worked his way to the chair and chief executive. Aside from having gone to college, he has no experience in higher education.

21January 2022

Their Mustang all guzzied up, then poof

HOUSTON, Minn. – Mike and Kelly Beckman couldn’t resist. The 1966 Mustang convertible needed work, but it sure would fun once fixed up. They bought the machine in May 2019, laid new carpet and replaced the window rollers, then racked up miles any sunny day they could. This Christmas Mike took the classic yellow Mustang out of winter mothballs to wheel through the Houston Holidazzle parade. With yellow masking tape, he attached five strings of lights and mounted a wreath on the car, which, Ford, not foreseeing any irony, had called “spring time yellow.” It was a perfect December night for the parade – a clear sky and lower 20s. Mike and his bride drove to town to join the parade line-up. Then the lights shorted. The car went black. Merry Christmas, Mike. Merry Christmas, Kelly. So what next Mustang adventure awaits the Beckmans?  Well, there’s the next Holidazzle parade 11 months off — and they hope for another ideal albeit parka-appropriate evening for the top down and all lighted-up  to cruise through the streets of Houston.

Mike and Kelly. They had the holiday spirit. Their Mustang, well, not so much.

21January 2022

Cancer claims Minnesotan Louie Anderson

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Comedian Louie Anderson, who was reared in Minnesota, died of cancer. To television audiences he was known mostly as host of the game show “Family Feud.”

Earlier: Louie Anderson hospitalized with cancer

21January 2022

R.I.P.: Brandon Mueller

EYOTA, Minn. – Brandon Joseph Mueller, 38, of Eyota, a union carpenter who worked at farms and construction sites, died unexpectedly after partying with neighborhood buddies Saturday. He was a graduate of Elgin High School. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, going to auctions, and running. His family remembered him for an infectious smirk, a hearty chuckle and for his generosity

Details: Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes

Earlier: Second man dead after garage party

1983-2022

21January 2022

Walz: Let’s share state surplus all around

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Governor Tim Walz, eyeing what to do with a $7.7 billion state revenue surplus, said: “How about sharing the prosperity with the people and sending them all a check.” Walz, who is up for re-election, unabashedly called them “Walz checks.” How much? Under the plan that Walz is advancing to the Legislature:

> Single tax filers:  $175 if they earn up to $164,400.

> Married couples filing jointly:  $350 if they earn up to $273,470.

In all, Uncle Tim would be sending out $4.4 billion — a tax rebate. But wait. There’s more: Frontline workers in health care, child care, school, grocery store, food service, transportation, long-term care, building service, public safety, manufacturing, and retail workers, would receive a possible $1,500. Walz also proposed $115 million for citizens who provide life-sustaining care to people with disabilities, seniors, those with behavioral health needs, and those experiencing homelessness. There also are tuition reimbursements, and child-care grants.

Earlier: Walz puts record construction plan to Legislature

Earlier: Economists’ crystal ball: Happy days here again

“Walz checks.” At least $175 to everyone.

21January 2022

Stars and stripes over Holmen — and a star

Another cold day. Dawn started at minus-5 with 7 mph winds. Image: Steve Lunde

HOLMEN, Wis. – A brisk wind, very brisk, whips the American flag over Holmen. Look carefully and upwind you’ll see a framework for a star that’s illuminated for the December holidays but now is dark. The decorations are at the end of a long climb from McHugh Street up Duffs Avenue, then Wade Drive, then Curt Road. A great view, but you’ll see your breath for sure. Huff. Huff.

21January 2022

CoVid test shops targeted in fraud probe

ROCHESTER, Minn. – A pop-up CoVid testing site locked its doors, apparently going of business, after being sued for fraud by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. The company, calling itself the Center for CoVid Control, operated from a barebones storefront at Northgate shopping center. Nationwide it had operated 275 Northgate-like sites. Ellison acted on complaints that walk-in customers were told that results would be e-mailed within three hours but never came. Some customers said that after giving their personal insurance information, they were told to swab their noses themselves. “Unprofessional,” said one of them. Ellison said that action is being taken against two companies — Center for CoVid Control of Rolling Meadows, Illinois, and Doctors Clinical Laboratory, also of Rolling Meadows. The companies, Ellison said, collected samples from Minnesotans and failed to deliver results as promised.

Plastic film signage. Flapping in the wind.

20January 2022

Midwest Music Fest corrals regional acts

WINONA, Minn. – Twin Cities guitarist Haley and the synch-pop band Polica have been booked to headline the Mid West Music Fest in Winona the weekend of April 29-30. The lineup for the follow-up LaCrosse fest in Septenber is still being organized. The Winona performances, besides Haley and Plica, include Bad Bad Hats, Graveyard Club, and Humbird; emerging s[performers Durry, Papa Mbye and Gully Boys; and Winona locals Karate Chop, Silence, Sleeping Jesus, and Afflatus. Organizers said the festival will return to its original pre-CoVid multi-venue, multi-stage, multi-genre format. Advance tickets: $70 at MWMF.

https://www.tixr.com/groups/midwestmusicfest/events/mwmf-2022-winona-mn-30495

Haley. Albums include “Haley Bryn Bonar,” “The Size of Planets,” “Lure the Fox.” Most recent: “Pleasureland.”

20January 2022

College scores

Gymnastics (women): UW-Oshkosh 187.875, UW-Eau Claire 180.825

Hockey (men): UW-Stout 5, Northlamd 3

Hockey (women): UW-River Falls and UW-Superior, cancelled

Wrestling: Southwest Minnesota State 32, MSU-Moorhead 8

20January 2022

Minnesota prep

Hockey (boys): Faribault Falcons 7, Winona Winhawks 6

Hockey (boys): Baldwin-Woodville Blackhawks 7, Winona Cotter Ramblers 1

More scores  (more…)

20January 2022

Wisconsin prep

Hockey (boys): Baldwin-Woodville Blackhawks 7, Winona Cotter Ramblers 1

More scores  (more…)

20January 2022

Blizzard takes four lives at Manitoba border

TOLSTOI, Manitoba — A family of four people, including a baby, was found frozen to death at the Minnesota border – just 40 feet inside Canada. What happened is not altogether clear, but this much is certain. Eleven people, all from India, were being smuggled into the United States from Canada during a blizzard with minus-30 chills. It was white-out dark blinding on back roads between border crossings. Here’s the best sequence on what happened that can be pieced together at this point.

January 18 (Tuesday): Eleven India nationals stocked up on on plastic cups, bottled water, bottled juice and snacks at the population 650 border town of Emerson, Manitoba. The stuffed their backpacks. Although without U.S. immigration documentation, they intended somehow to cross the border and walk to an unstaffed Keystone Oil Pipeline pumping station two miles straight south at population 60 St. Vincent, Minnesota. There they were to be picked up and driven deeper into  the United State. They set out in foot, carefully out of sight of border stations. Somehow in the storm they became separated.

January 19 (Wednesday,) roughly 8:30 a.m.: U.S. border agents from Pembina, North Dakota, spotted a white 15-passenger van suspiciously traversing a farm road on flat Red River croplands on the Minnesota side of the Canada border. This was within a mile of the Pembina border station. In the van was the driver, Steve Shand, 47, Florida and two India nationals, neither of them with immigration documentation. In the back of the van were cases of plastic cups, bottled water, bottled juice, and snacks.

Roughly 9 a.m.: A quarter mile south of the border, in Minnesota, U.S. authorities found five more India nationals wandering through the storm. This was near where the van had been stopped. They said they had been walking in the blizzard 11 hours. Two had weather-related injuries and were hospitalized. They said they had become separated from others in their group, 11 people in all. They destination they said, was the Keystone pumping station two miles away in St. Vincent. They said that they had walked across the border expecting to be picked up by someone. Oddly one of the Indians had baby formula in his backpack, as well as children’s clothes, a diaper, toys, and children’s medication. But here was no child. Could there be a child out there, lost in the storm?

9:22 a.m.: U.S. border agents contacted their Royal Canadian Mounted Police counterparts, who immediately began their own search.

1:30 p.m.: Forty feet inside the Canadian jn border but 30 miles from Pembina, mounties found the frozen bodies of three individuals:

> An adult male.

> An adult female.

> An infant.

Mounties continued searching a found the body of male, in his mid-teens. This was all within 40 feet of the border.

Border marker. On Minnesota-Manitoba line.

Verbatim

Jane MacLatchy, assistant commander, Manitoba sector, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: “These individuals, including an infant, were left on their own in the middle of a blizzard. These victims faced not only the cold weather but also endless fields, large snow drifts and complete darkness.”

After the storm. Searching the wind-swept Red River flatlands.

Binational mission. U.S. Border Patrol and Royal Canadian Mounted Police agents found victims on both sides of border.

20January 2022

Great River Shakespeare tickets on sale

WINONA, Minn. 2022 — Four centuries after peaking as a prolific playwright, Shakespeare lives on in Winona. Seats for main-stage performances at the Great River Shakespeare Festival, ranging from $10 to $49, have gone on sale at the GRSF site. The performances:

> “The African Company Presents Richard III,” which opens June 10.

> “Twelfth Night,” June 18.

> “The Taming of the Shrew,” June 30,

Earlier: Festival back indoors with Shakespeare triad

Main-stage productions. At Winona State University.

20January 2022

Ashley for Arts books Brooks & Dunn

ARCADIA, Wis. – The country music duo Brooks & Dunn has been booked as a headliner for August’s Ashley for the Arts festival in Arcadia. The performance will be August 13 as a finale for the three-day arts celebration. Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn have won 17 County Music Association awards, 29 Academy of Country Music awards and two Grammies.

Ashley headliners. Hits include “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” and “Only in America.”

20January 2022

Winona grad endows college scholarships

WINONA, Minn. – 1957 Winona High School grad, Bruce Rhoades, and his wife, Katherine, donated $250,000 to help Winona High students go to college. Scholarships will be $20,000 each over four years. Rhoades graduated from Winona State in chemistry and physics at age 17.  He earned a medical degree from the University of Nebraska at 21. He worked 57 years as a board-certified psychiatrist, primarily with underserved populations.

Rhoadeses. High school seniors eligible for $5,000 a year for college.

20January 2022

R.I.P.: Tony Holzer

EYOTA, Minn.  – Anthony “Tony” Holzer, 43, of Eyota, a ventilation installer for Tonna Mechanical of Rochester for 20 years, died unexpectedly Saturday with two buddies in a late night garage party. He graduated from St. Charles High School in 1997. He had lived in Eyota since 2016. His family remembered him as “a one of a kind, tell it like it is kind a guy who liked to make people laugh with his witty and sarcastic comments.” His passions included snowmobiling, older cars, Busch Lite, tattoos, and hanging with the family and friends.

Details: Hoff Funeral Home

Earlier: Second man dead after garage party

1978-2022

20January 2022

On drawing boards: Downtown concert hall

WINONA, Minn. – A classy state-of-art concert venue will be built on the edge of downtown by billionaire philanthropists Bob Kierlin and Mary Burrichter. The couple calls it the Minnesota Masterpiece Hall.  The plan is a $35 million 700-seat auditorium. There will be an on-site art gallery to accommodate overflow art works collected over the years by the Kierlins – more than can be accommodated by the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, which they built in 2006 on Riverview Drive. The music hall will be on Fifth Street. where the old and abandoned Winona Junior High School auditorium is being torn down. It’s in the neighborhood of these historic Fifth Street landmarks: Public Library, Masonic Temple, and the Laird-Norton headquarters, which now is Winona States University’s Center for Art and Design. The site is across the street from Kierlin’s new Main Square commercial-residential-school complex.

Uni-purpose concert hall

Burrichter was clear in an interview with the Winona Post that that the Minnesota Masterpiece Hall will not be a multi-purpose event center. It is being purpose-designed for optimal acoustics and stage design for music. “It’s for music. It’s not for 25 different purposes,” Burrichter said. Hers was an oblique reference to a failed Winona State University plan, hatched with community leaders 10 years ago, for state funding for a combination convention center-auditorium-sports arena. Burrichter’s subtle point: Masterpiece Hall will be more a Carnegie Hall than a LaCrosse Event Center.

Classy Fifth Street neighborhood

Masonic Temple

Winona Public Library

Laird-Norton Building

20January 2022

Brazen burglars drive off with ton of copper

ROCHESTER, Minn. – When they opened up for the day, workers at Elcor Construction realized a ton of scrap copper had been stolen overnight. Police said the thieves broke a door to get inside, then opened a larger overhead door. The copper would have filled four pickup trucks. Elcor officials put the loss at $20,000, not to mention $4,000 in tools that also were taken.

CAPTION Elcor loading docks. On a sunnier day. On northwest side at 2535 Highway 14 West.

20January 2022

State Fair: Need more jingle in your jeans

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. – he budget-strapped Great Minnesota Get-Together, the largest state fair in the country, is boosting admission prices. For aduolts it’ll ne $17, up a buck. The governing board also raised admission for children 5 and 12 and seniors 65 and older to $15. Kids under 4 still get in free. Presale tickets are available for $13 each. The Fair fell on tough times in 2000, when it cancelled because CoVid and lost $16.5 million. Last year, with attendance down mostly because of CoVid, the loss was $1.3 million. The  2022 dates: August 25 to September 4.

Earlier: State Fair attendance off almost 40%

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