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Beneath Tropical Seas


Fri, Mar 16th, 2001
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Monday, February 5, 2001

Waves roll in and then recede, as the ocean endlessly caresses this lonely tropical shore. Shallow, crystal clear and deliciously warm are the waters of the all-encompassing sea. The white sand beach is deserted, polished smooth, and except for the gentle sounds of the surf is eerily silent, peaceful and serene. Not even a single insect’s persistent whining buzz splinters the mood of pristine tranquility.

Although reading like one of those tourist agency advertisements for some South Pacific Island paradise, the location described in the opening paragraph above is far away from any place so exotic. Could it be somewhere down in the Caribbean then, out in the Indian Ocean, or perhaps maybe one of those isolated rocks that dot the Sea of Cortez?

The answers, however, to each of these questions remains no, as our quiet, wave lapped shoreline is to be found much more closer to home. Somewhere right here in southeastern Minnesota in fact, since it is time and not distance that separates us from this seemingly mythological destination.

To reach our beach we must first travel back into the heart of the early Paleozoic, the "Era of Ancient Life" somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 million years ago. More specifically, we are in the Ordovician, a unit of geologic time lasting some 65 million years and named for a "Stone Age" Celtic Tribe that once inhabited Wales where rocks of this period were first identified.

From outer space the Earth, while certainly recognizable, probably appeared far different than it does today. For starters, all of the present day continents were most likely fused together into a single gigantic mass of land. Known as Pangaea, this island "super-continent" straddled the equator placing what was to eventually become today’s Minnesota well within the world’s more tropical zones.

As was the case in the immediately preceding Cambrian Period, shallow saltwater seas cover much of future North America. The name of this earlier period 500 million years before the present has Celtic connections as well, being derived from "Cambria," which is what the ancient Romans called the Celt’s homeland of Wales.

The Ordovician shoreline, on dry land at least, is equally alien and unfamiliar. There are no trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses, nor are there any ferns or mosses. Away from the water’s edge, the landscape is barren and desolate, almost as lifeless as the moon. Without vege .....
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Escape from America

Fri, Mar 16th, 2001
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Monday, December 11, 2000

I guess I’m a snowbird at heart because every year about this time, once the temperature dips below zero and looks like it’s going to stay there awhile, I start yearning to go south. Way south. All the way down to Ecu ..... 
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More for Your Money

Fri, Mar 16th, 2001
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Monday, March 12, 2001

When the clock radio comes on these late winter mornings, I am often surprised by how much daylight already exists at that hour. I lose track of sunrise during the cloudy months of January and February.

This time ..... 
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Money Well Spent

Fri, Mar 16th, 2001
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Monday, March 19, 2001

I sat in a seat in the middle of the theatre and looked upward.

“The ceiling is still up there after all these years,” I thought. Masonite panels tacked up with nails and painted green. Usually the lights are lo ..... 
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Weller sentenced to 10 years

Fri, Mar 9th, 2001
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Monday, February 26, 2001

Lloyd Albert Weller was sentenced to 10 years in prison by Judge Robert Benson in Fillmore County District Court on Thursday, February 22.

As part of a plea bargain agreement, Weller had plead guilty to one co ..... 
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Zoning Summit looks at Ag District

Fri, Mar 9th, 2001
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By John Torgrimson Monday, March 5, 2001

County leaders, township officials, and interested residents attended the joint meeting of the Fillmore County Board and the Fillmore County Planning Commission on Monday, February 26. The two bodies me ..... 
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Lanesboro City Council

Fri, Mar 9th, 2001
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Concerns raised about damBy John TorgrimsonMonday, March 12, 2001

The historic Lanesboro dam was the topic of some concern at Monday’s Lanesboro City Council meeting.

The hydro-electric plant has not been able to generate electricity ..... 
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Land issues dominate agenda

Fri, Mar 9th, 2001
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Monday, March 12, 2001

By Mike McGrath

If you own property along a trout stream in Southeast Minnesota, you probably have been approached by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) about selling a fishing easement. If you haven’t bee ..... 
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Band still going strong

Fri, Mar 9th, 2001
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On the road with Troubleshooter By Bonnie PrinsenMonday, March 12, 2001

Everyone knows that Michael Jordan is a multi-talented athlete who has also dabbled in the restaurant business. But few know that he’s at least indir ..... 
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