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Ancestral search leads to Telemark


Fri, Oct 24th, 2003
Posted in Features

Sabotage, heavy water, and atom bomb are words one would normally not expect to encounter when merely trying to locate ancestral farms in Norway. Knowing only that the two farms were located in the area of Tinn i Telemark, my family and I set our course west from Oslo for the town of Rjukan, renowned for its death-defying cliffs and deep gorges. History was coming to life beneath our feet as we learned about one of the most daring sabotage acts of World War II, which not only prevented Nazi Germany from carrying out their atomic agenda, but also put Rjukan on the world map.

Town of Rjukan

Rjukan itself is located at the very bottom of the narrow Vestfjord valley, surrounded by steep cliffs that lead up to the Hardangervidda (Hardanger mountain plateau), the largest mountain plateau in Europe. Towering majestically above the town of Rjukan, at a height of 6,178 feet, is Gaustatoppen, one of the most beautiful mountains in Norway. On a clear day, one can see one sixth of Norway, all the way south to the coast and east to Sweden.

Norway was still a poor country around 1900, with farming and fishing the primary means of subsistence. Up to 1905, there were still only about 50 farm families or 350 people that lived around Rjukans isolated farming valley.

Engineer Sam Eyde, 1866-1940, whom Rjukans main street was named after, sought to improve agriculture by finding a way of extracting nitrogen from the air in order to make artificial fertilizers. Together with physicist Kristian Birkeland, 1867-1917, they developed the electric arc furnace for making mineral fertilizer and founded Norsk Hydro in 1905.

The mighty Rjukan waterfall, with a sheer drop of 341 feet, is located on the west side of Rjukan, in Vemork. With a never ending supply of water flowing from the Hardangervidda down into the Vestfjord valley, the waterfall provided Sam Eyde the basis for building the largest hydroelectric power station in the world, in 1911. Laying the highly visible water pipes on the mountainside was a great feat of engineering. With the industrialization of the peasant society, the Rjukan population in only ten years swelled to over 10,000.

Krossobanen

Krossobanen, northern Europes first cable car, was built in 1928 as a gift to the Rjukan townspeople from Norsk Hydro. Rjukans mountainsides are so sheer that the town didn .....
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Preston City Council: Heartland denied building permit

Fri, Oct 24th, 2003
Posted in Features

At the October 6 Preston Council meeting it was decided to get an opinion from Mary Tietjen of Kennedy and Graven before approving or denying a building permit for Heartland Energy & Recycling. The attorney was to contact the MPCA to see what permits ..... 
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Lanesboro City Council Report: Priority one for Lanesboro Council: Police Protection

Fri, Oct 24th, 2003
Posted in Features

Police protection for the city of Lanesboro was a top priority at the Lanesboro City Council meeting October 20. City Administrator Bobbie Torgerson informed the council that she had spoken with Prestons Assistant Chief of Police Jesse Grabau about ..... 
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Fillmore County District Court: Benson will hear Morten case

Fri, Oct 24th, 2003
Posted in Features

Morten is charged with second degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Tim Loeding on August 29.

On September 16, Mortens attorney, Chris Ritts, had asked that Judge Benson to remove himself from the case. Benson had presi ..... 
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Rushford Village Council meets

Fri, Oct 24th, 2003
Posted in Features

The October 7, 2003 meeting of the Rushford Village City Council was called to order by Mayor Gordon Johnson. Council members present included Roger Ekern, Dennis Overland, Dale Schwanke, Howard Otis Zoning Administrator, Karen Petersen Treasurer ..... 
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A Day in the Life of Autumn

Fri, Oct 17th, 2003
Posted in Features

Click on the Internets Foliage Network and youll get a forecast of the seasons peak foliage conditions throughout the state. But just step outdoors and youll get an in-your-face blast of what a southeastern Minnesota autumn has to offer.[Read the Rest]

County goes after Clean Water Act funds

Fri, Oct 17th, 2003
Posted in Features

Donna Rasmussen, Soil & Water Conservation District, was before the County Board on Tuesday to request a letter of support for the Clean Water Act Section 319 Program from the board. The grant would provide funds for technical assistance for feedlot ..... 
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Rushford City Council Report: Council focuses on problems at lift station

Fri, Oct 17th, 2003
Posted in Features

There is a density to the Rushford City Council meetings that few organs of government in Fillmore County can equal: the agenda on Tuesday was four pages long and the council handouts for the meeting ran 57 pieces of paper. Many pages of the document ..... 
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Harmony City Council Report: Property owners along TH 139 frontage discuss final assessments

Fri, Oct 17th, 2003
Posted in Features

The public hearing for Harmonys TH 139-reconstruction assessment roll was a quiet one as Mike Lynch of Bonestroo, Rosene, Anderlik & Associates outlined property owners responsibilities. Firm figures were presented now that the project has been com ..... 
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