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"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Commute 004


Fri, Sep 7th, 2001
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Monday, September 10, 2001

Its been twenty-four years since I took ninth grade biology, so it came as a real surprise when my teacher called me a couple of weeks ago. My name has changed since then, so he wasnt sure whom he was calling, but hed read my column about Olivia, Minnesota. "Who were you when you lived in Olivia?" he asked. When I told him, he said, "This is Gary Russell, and Im teaching over in Spring Valley."

"Mr. Russell?" I said, in a voice suddenly two octaves higher than usual. Turns out hes a native of Fillmore County. My favorite teachers always had an aura of mystery, almost an other-worldliness, as if enlightened beings from far off places were sent to teach us mortals. I had not known back then that the far off place from which Mr. Russell came was Fillmore County.

He was one of the good guys. My father was on the school board back then, and while some of my teachers in junior high enjoyed mentioning during class any unpopular decision my father had voted for, Mr. Russell had the grace to never mention my father. Or my brilliant sister who had passed through his class years earlier. He had a way of taking people as he found them, not requiring you to carry anyones "baggage" but your own.

He found me to be a little green in the face the day we dissected frogs. I remember really wanting to be "tough" and participate in this ritual of adolescence. But Id been cursed with a vivid imagination, and as my lab partner made the first incision, I was mentally comparing what I saw to the tuna noodle casserole served routinely in our cafeteria. Still, I was sure no one guessed how sick I felt until Mr. Russell walked over and quietly asked, "Are you okay?"

"Yeah."

"You dont have to do this," he said. "Its not a requirement to pass the class."

It wasnt? But Id look like a wimp! I was too busy swallowing hard to argue with him, so at his suggestion I went to study hall for the remainder of the hour.

Another memory of ninth grade biology was the day we pricked our fingers to test our blood types. I was the only one in the class who ended up with a negative Rh factor. Right away I assumed Id made a mistake, but Mr. Russell accepted my results matter-of-factly.

Years later I was assured that Id done the test right as I endured a series of shots for negative Rh factor during my pregnancies.

My most lasting memory of Mr. Russells class was a lesson he offered abo .....
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Foods Weekly Ads

Are You Game?

Fri, Sep 7th, 2001
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Monday, September 10, 2001

Another N.F.L. season is upon us and I am ready to make my predictions.

Looking ahead 16 regular season games and several playoff matchups from now, I pick the St. Louis Rams and the Miami Dolphins to go al ..... 
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Butterflies through Binoculars

Fri, Sep 7th, 2001
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Monday, August 6, 2001

What creature flies; makes no sounds; does not bite, sting or carry disease; is bright orange with dark bands on its upperparts and silver spots below; and is common in meadows, fields and along roadsides in Fillmore Cou ..... 
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Why Study Turtles Anyway?

Fri, Sep 7th, 2001
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Weaver Dunes Field Report Late Summer 2001By John LevellMonday, August 20, 2001

With nesting finally completed, those of us working on the Weaver Dunes Blandings Turtle Research Project can at last step back to enjoy a m ..... 
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Seed Saving Starts Now there.

Fri, Sep 7th, 2001
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Virginia CooperMonday, September 10, 2001

If it makes a seed, you can save it. Whether it comes true, or the next generation of plants is identical to the parent depends on whether the plant is open pollinated or a hybrid.

Open pollin ..... 
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The Day of the Cricket

Fri, Sep 7th, 2001
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Monday, August 27, 2001

It is an ill wind that blows no one any good. This summers heat and lack of rain will result in a crop disaster for some farmers. To those of us who dont like to mow lawns, the same weather gives us a vacation from th ..... 
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A Journey West

Fri, Sep 7th, 2001
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Monday, September 3, 2001

June 1975

The northwest wind, gusting to 30 miles an hour, brought tears to my eyes as I concentrated on the road ahead. Huge cumulus clouds drifted across the blue skyline, playing tag with the sun. We drove ..... 
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Fri, Sep 7th, 2001
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Fri, Sep 7th, 2001
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