25September 2023

Skyscape? Or landscape? You decide

Bluffs a blaze. The first wave of fall, yellowing hillsides, is shifting to oranges and bronzes as September progresses. Such is the spectacle as lit by sun penetrating through an uneven sodden sky along the Mississippi River bluffs. Image: Steve Lunde

25September 2023

Zollman Zoo boardwallks to be replaced

Woodland zoo. The Zollman Zoo at Byronn will be closed through October 6 to replace boardwalk trails with asphalt. The bison, elk, deer and natural playscape will still be accessible, announced Olmsted County, which operates the zoo. The  new trails will be more accessible and safer, the County said\. The rest of Oxbow Park, including the nature center, hiking trails, and public programming will remain open.

24September 2023

Expert: First Amendment supports gay flag at Gale High

MADISON, Wis. – The Galesville School Board may have gotten itself into s pickle for removing a gay pride flag from the G-E-T High School library. Howard Schweber, a constitutional law expert at the University of Wisconsin, faulted the Board’s decision as a First Amendment violation. There is no constitutional requirement to ban an expression of one opinion just nobody has presented a counter-opinion, Schweber said in a WKBT interview. In short, any and all opinions can be expressed under the First Amendment. No limit on free expression by government are allowed constitutionally, including public school boards, he said. Schweber cited a 1991 U.S. Supreme Court opinion: “When Congress established a National Endowment for Democracy to encourage other countries to adopt democratic principles, it was not constitutionally required to fund a program to encourage competing lines of political philosophy such as communism and fascism.” In the G-E-T case, the School Board erred in defending its ban as an issue of fairness, Schweber sid. There is no constitutional requirement on the School Board to assure that all expressions be present in the schools – although, to be sure, the lack of opposing view cannot be a rationale  for a ban.

Earlier: Gale High ruling: No gay flag, no any flag

Schweber. A political theorist at the UW-Madison law school. His scholarship includes books on the First Amendment, from Peter Lang Press, and American legal development in the 1800s, from Cambridge University Press.

24September 2023

College scores

Soccer (women): Winona State 2, MSU-Moorhead 2

Soccer (women): Saint Mary’s 1, UW-Stout 0

Soccer (women):  UW-LaCrosse 1, Virginia Wesleyan 0

24September 2023

The wonderment of autumn

Stop to be amazed. The bluff rises in brilliance at the foot of Wacholz Drive. Facing south in Stockton. Image: Steve Lunde

24September 2023

Man flees Eau Claire SWAT team, leaves child behind

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – A manhunt was launched for 28-year-old Mitchell Henke after a woman reported that he pistol-whipped her and threatened to kill her child. This was about 11:45 p.m. at a house west of Eau Claire in Union township. Sheriff Dave Riewestahl called Henke armed and dangerous. The woman had fled the house and called 911 for help. Her 2-year-old child, she said, was still inside. A regional SWAT team surrounded the house. After several hours of negotiation, the SWAT team entered the house through a bedroom window and rescued the child. Henke wasn’t there. This was at 3200 block of West Cameron Street.

Henke. Wanted for several felonies. Sheriff: He’s armed and dangerous. Don’t approach.

24September 2023

WSU outcome data ranks high in region

WINONA, Minn. — Winona State emerged again as a leader among universities in the region in the annual report of the ranking site U.S. News & World Report. The report attempts to measure academic quality on graduation rates, retention rates, graduate indebtedness and social mobility. Those outcomes comprise 40% each each school’s overall score. The latest Winona State rankings:

> Number 1: In the seven-campus MinnState university system.

> Number 2: Among public universities in Minnesota.

> Number 3: Among public universities in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

> Number 4: Among Minnesota public universities for social mobility

> Number 9: Among public universities in the 12-state Midwest region.

The university retained its second place as for accessibility for veterans and active service members. The U.S. News ranking singled out programs in nursing, engineering, computer science, business and psychology for quality.

Phelps Hall. A campus signature is the neo-Dutch classroom building for mass communication and psychology studies. Built in 1914.


Ken Janz, Winona State interim president: “Our data shows that Winona State is exceeding expectations and outperforming other universities across the state, from superior student support and financial aid opportunities to academic success and impressive graduate outcomes.” He pointed to a  92% job placement rate for graduates.

23September 2023

Week’s summary: Ending September 23, 2023

23September 2023

Gunfire in bad-blood West End street brawl

WINONA, Minn. – At least two shots, perhaps four, were fired in a volatile street fight about 10:20 p.m. on the Far West End. Police believed that the shots were fired in the air. No one was injured. The primary combatants were a woman at the house and a woman  who drive up in a van load of people, police said. Police recovered a 45-calibre SIG Sauer automatic pistol from a car that sped away. The weapon’s serial number had been ground off, police said. No charges were filed immediately, but police said that charges may be forthcoming after interviewing the six people in the van further, as well as people at a residence in the 900 block of West Wabasha Street where the fight occurred. Police found one shell casing at the scene. The shell was the type used the SIG Sauer that was confiscated. No one admitted to firing the gun. A neighbor later reported a dent in his parked car, apparently, he said, from a ricocheting bullet. Police learned of the fight from a caller who reported gunshots and shouting and a van packed with people speeding away. As best as police could determine immediately, there were eight people in the melee — one 16 years old and the others 18 to 23.

23September 2023

College scores

Football: Winona State 39, Northern State of South Dakota 16

Soccer (men): Saint John’s 2, Saint Mary’s 1

Soccer (women):  Saint Benedict 1, Saint Mary’s 0

Soccer (women): Christopher Newport 1, UW-LaCrosse 0

Volleyball (women): Concordia of St. Paul 3, Winona State 0

Volleyball (women): Concordia of Moorhead 3, Saint Mary’s 0

Volleyball (women): Central of Iowa 3, Saint Mary’s w

23September 2023

Minnesota prep

Football: Spring Grove 35, Alden-Conger Knights 0

Football: Mabel-Canton Cougars 35, Lanesboro Burros 26


23September 2023

Bad weather cancels Luke Bryan’s Eyota show

EYOTA, Minn. – Because of pending thunderstorms, a mega-concert by country singer Luke Bryan was cancelled. The show was scheduled for 6 p.m. at the giant Gar-Lin airy farm just outside Eyota. Last year Bryan’s concert dew 26,000 people to Eyota. Bryan’s staff issued this statement: “We are having to make the tough decision to cancel the show. The safety of each of you is our first concern, and we do not want to jeopardize that in any way.”. Refunds would be available at original poinst of purchase, the statement said.

Earlier: Eyota again on Luke Bryan’s radar

23September 2023

Autumn colors coming early, may linger longer

WINONA, Minn. – The Winona bluffs have begun their early fall shift to yellow even before any frost. And it’s er early. A state environmental biologist, Pete Boulay, said the early change is due partly to drought. The good news, he said, is that progress through the yellow-bronze-red spectrum may be elongated. “Not all leaves are going to change at once,” he said. “Some trees are driven by temperature, some trees are driven by light.” Boulay noted that this is Minnesota’s fourth consecutive year with below normal precipitation levels.

Autumn dropping southward. The latest autumn color mapping. Dots represent state parks. Image: Minnesota Natural Resources Department

23September 2023

Sun dawning through morning mist.

After a squall  Winona-bound commuters shaded their eyes climbing Stockton Hill after heavy albeit scattered showers. Every drop was welcome, alas  insufficient to reverse the drought in southeast Minnesota. Image: Steve Lunde

23September 2023

R.I.P.: Bob Dulek

WINONA, Minn. – Robert Paul Dulek, 76, of Winona, a custodial supervisor at St. Mary’s University, died at Gundersen hospital in LaCrosse. He worked also as an over-the-road and local trucker. He graduated from Cotter High School.

Details: Hoff Funeral Home


23September 2023

Car in ditch: Deputies cite youth as drunk minor

ALTURA, Minn. – Police cited an Elba man who had been reported waving for help beside his car in a ditch. This was about 3:30 a.m. west of Altura on County Road 26 just off County Road 248. Deputies had been called by a passing driver who said the man waving for help appeared intoxicated. When deputies arrived, the vehicle was being towed out. Then two men in another vehicle arrived. The passenger matched the description of the driver whose vehicle had been in the ditch, although, deputies said, he denied it. Deputies were convinced, however, that he been boozing and cited him as a minor consuming alcohol.

22September 2023

Kwik Trip marches west into South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The Wisconsin-based Kwik Trip chain has planted its flag in South Dakota. The company opened its first South Dakota convenience store in a Sioux Falls suburb just over the Minnesota birder. Soon there will be five more around town. The new store is Number 1,021 on the company roster, although it carries the alternate corprate name Kwik Star. Actually, too, the number of stores is nearer 800. The numbering system maintains stores that have been rebuilt or relocated. The new store is 9,000 square feet. Still, it’s a lot of karuba.

Earlier: USA Today poll: Kwik Trip tops again

Sense of humor, anyone? Kwik Trip posted this map to help people know the states where it operates and where  the brand name is Kwik Trip oand where Kwik Star. Could Ohio be next?

22September 2023

College scores

Soccer (women): Northern State of South Dakota 2, Winona State 1

Volleyball (women): Gustavus Adolphus 3, Saint Mary’s 0

Volleyball (women): Edgewood 3, UW-LaCrosse 1

Volleyball (women): UW-LaCrosse 3, Cornell of Iowa 2

22September 2023

Minnesota prep

Football: West St. Paul St. Ctoix Lutheran Crusaders 22, Winona Winhawks 21

Football: Winona Cotter Ramblers 22, Wabasha-Kellogg Falcons 14

Football: St. Charles Saints 27, Dover-Eyota Eagles 25

(Football: Stewartville Tigers 35, Plainview-Elgin-Millville Bulldogs 0

Football: Harmony Fillmore Central Falcons 12, Rushford-Peterson Trojans 6


22September 2023

Wisconsin prep

Football: West Salem Panthers 27, Galesville-Ettrick-Trempealeau Red Hawks 20

Football: Eleva-Strum Cardinals 30, Whitehall Norse 14

Football: Black River Falls Tigers 14, Arcadia Raiders 12

Football: Cochrane-Fountain City Pirates 41, Augusta Beavers 6

Football: Melrose-Mindoro Mustangs 28, Independence Indees 9

Football: Alma-Pepin Eagles 56, Blair-Taylor Wildcats 24


22September 2023

Drivers hurt when milk truck, pickup collide

UTICA, Minn. – Two drivers — one from Winona, the other from Hokah —  were injured seriously in a traffic accident near Utica and taken 31 miles  to a Rochesster hospital. The State Patrol said a milk tanker truck crossing U.S. Highway 14 and a pickup truck collided about 5:40 a.m. The Patrol said the milk truck was driven by Anthony Joseph Vonarx, 68, of Hokah. The pickup was driven by Manuel Estrada Salazar, 37, of Winona. Officers said the milk truck, a 2010 Freightliner, was going north, crossing from County Road 18, which serves several central Winona County farms, to County Road 33, which leads to Altura. The county roads cross U.S. 14 about 1-1/2 miles east of Utica. The Salazar’s 1993 Nissan pickup was headed west toward Utica on U.S. 14.

22September 2023

Walz to lawmakers: Clarify School policing limits

ST PAUL, Minn. — Governor Tim Walz is hopeful for an interim solution to police concerns over new legal restraints on school policing. Although expressing  optimism after meeting with law enforcement agencies and legislators, Walz was unspecific about what form an interim solution might take. Police agencies already have ceased staffing in 40 school districts. The question regards  the level of force that officers can use to maintain order. Walz said he will ask the 2024 Legislature to clarify the  law, which was created this spring.. But the Legislature doesn’t convene for another 3-1/2 months. Walz noted that Attorney General Keith Ellison has issued a binding interpretation of the law that, the governor said, allows school resource officers to do their jobs effectively. Even so, law enforcement agencies still see the law as vague and can be read to mean that any restraint of a disruptive student is prohibited. To the law agencies, Ellison interpretation that allows “reasonable force” is vague.

Earlier:  Police quitting school duty: “Legally risky”

Earlier: Maple Gove yanks officers off school duty


Walz: “I am committed to further addressing this issue next legislative session and eager to see school resource officers return to schools as soon as possible.”


Meeting with Walz to seek a solution:

> Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association.

> Minnesota Sheriff’s Association.

> League of Minnesota Cities.

> Legislative leaders.

> Lawyers representing the attorney general.

22September 2023

Why speeding? To get back to hotel to sleep

WINONA, Minn. – A St. Cloud man, Kevin Jarmaine Christians, 42, was arrested after a traffic stop in which police said he displayed signs of drunkenness. The officer said the man’s finger dexterity was obviously impaired: He fumbled in trying to retrieve his driver license from his wallet. Also, said the officer, he had bloodshot eyes, smelled drunk, and failed two field sobriety tests. He refused a third test, the “walk ‘n turn,” because he was “uncomfortable.” Police said Christians admitted to a beer half an hour before the stop but later said it actually was two drinks and a shot. The stop was for speeding on Riverview Drive and sliding through a stop sign. Police said he explained he was needing to hurry back to his hotel and sleep The was about 1:40 a.m. at Fifth Street and Pelzer.

21September 2023

Appliance buying group applauds Volkmanns

Forty-one years later. The only remaining stand-alone appliance store in Winona, Volkmann Appliance, was named the leading regional Brand Source dealer. Owners Debbie and David accepted the honor at the buying group’s annual convention. The store has been operating since 1982. Brand Source supplies 500 dealers nationally.

21September 2023

College scores

Volleyball (women): Winona State 3, Augustana 1


The worthiest goal of journalism is to promote intelligent citizen involvement. Such is our goal with Winona Journal. We focus on local issues so you can go about your daily activities with confidence that you can be a genuine and valued part of informed public dialogue on the kind of community we’re building.

Although Winona-centric, we are attentive also to regional issues. Our community doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

You will find opinion here. We quote and paraphrase with attribution so you know the source and can assess ideas and thoughts. Sometimes you will find our commentary but always clearly labeled.

As journalists we are committed to accuracy but not perfect. Please let us know if you spot an error, whether substantive or even just a dumb typo. We’ll get errors squared away promptly.

We’re glad you’re with us.

John Vivian, editor


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